Living in the middle of Los Angles during this coronavirus pandemic has been, for lack of a better word: interesting. We are surrounded by millions of other people, yet our apartment faces a cement wall that abuts the Interstate 5 freeway. Through fences and gates, I can see another road, but it hasn’t been busy in months. Two months ago, hardly anyone crossed in front of our space, but now it’s become a walkway to the climbing gym next door. It’s been lonely, then weirdly busy.
It’s quieter than it was last year at this time, but with the freeway right there and a train yard within throwing distance, there’s always noise. Always. I hadn’t realized how much it was wearing on me until my partner Hawke and I took off for a desert weekend.
I’ve been using and loving the DIY Style Cutting System for a year now and it’s one of my favorite finds. Created by a fashion designer for working with slick activewear and swimwear fabrics, the system also works great for minky fabrics, as well as quilting cottons.
If you do a wide variety of sewing and quilting, this new patented system from DIY Style will make an enormous difference in how quickly and easily you can get work done. The magnets make it easy to tackle slippery and stretchy fabrics and hold stronger than pattern weights for easy cutting or tracing. The rulers are designed to work with the magnets making it easy to get accurate and consistent cuts. Sold exclusively by DIY Style, the system includes:
DIYStyle® Magnetic Pattern and Cutting System Base Set
This week’s Sew Together Tuesday class we finally got to do a sleep mask. This is one of those ‘duh’ projects–of course you’d use Cuddle® minky for it–but I just hadn’t gotten around to designing one yet.
I drew up the pattern and made a second version where I added some cute eyelash appliqués, though that isn’t required to be effective. I just like adding a touch of cute when I can.
This marked my third year teaching at Road to California and it was the best by far. I had four classes, Thursday through Sunday, focusing on fabrics that many are intimidated by: minky, double gauze and knits. I’d spent hours and hours over the last few weeks prepping kits and samples for the classes and it was all worth it.
On Thursday, we made Ellie Elephants using the pattern from Funky Friends Factory and Luxe Cuddle Heather Fog from Shannon Fabrics, along with a couple of solid Cuddle minky fabrics. They turned out so well and everyone was so happy with their elephants! I saw a couple of students walking the show floor with them later and it was adorable. Look how pleased they were!
Last fall my daughter asked if I could get her some fabric so she could make a faux fur coat. I’ve made coats before and knew this was no small task and not exactly beginner-friendly. So I said, “Hey, let me make it for you.” She didn’t have much say because I was already holdingthe fabrichostage. 😉
I started by tracing the pattern onto the back of the fabric (Shannon Fabric’s Tibetan Sand Fox in Pewter/White). This was a pretty obnoxious task because it was SO MUCH FABRIC. Thankfully my work table is pretty big, so I managed. If I didn’t have this table, I would have just laid it out on the floor. The faux fur is so heavy, trying to do it on a smaller table would be super frustrating. I’m a big believer in not fighting with the fabric, if at all possible!
If you look closely you can see that I’m using big bolts as pattern weights. I prefer them over the washers that many people use. I find that they are just as heavy and so much easier to pick up.
Registration opens today for the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington. This will be my third time teaching at Sew Expo and I’m excited to be revisiting some classes that have been popular in the past.
If you haven’t been to Sew Expo and you are interested in sewing apparel as well as quilting, you are in for a treat. It started as an apparel-sewing event and has a definite lean toward garment- and bag-making, which is exactly how I started, too.
I hope you’ll make the drive and come visit. I’ll be teaching classes and spending time at the Dutch Quilter booth, as well as wandering the show to find all the new goodies I’ve just got to have.
I was on Jenny’s team and we worked like mad women for an hour making a lovely pinwheel quilt that was designed by Jenny Doan just for the event. Sue Daley was there so we had to add some EPP hexagon flowers thrown in; hand-piecing with a strict time limit just makes it that much more fun–ha!
It’s been a whirlwind of a year and after three months of being on the road far more than I was off, I’m back home in Los Angeles. I’m busy cleaning my studio and the rest of my apartment, getting things back to a place that feels like I’ve, at least sorta, caught up with the time away.
People often want to know what is the best part of my job (the people) and the worst (not being home); I’ve realized that the hard part of not being home is so much more than not having my own pillow every night. It’s more about eating restaurant food every single day and not being able to work on projects and not being available for phone calls from family and friends. But I made it through and I’m home again.
Home. There’s something about how wonderful it is to have that I never realized until I was spending most of my time away from it. So now I’m basking in it and having cold cereal for breakfast and sweeping the floor and dusting shelves and doing laundry and loving every bit of it. Hawke is home, too, so we’ve had date nights and stay-home-and-watch-Netflix nights. It’s amazing how much the everyday monotony that folks complain about has really become the thing I ache for.
And my studio. There’s a list of 20 projects that I need to finish, not including any planned Christmas gifts, so I think I’m in trouble there. I’ve ticked a couple off the list (finishing my son’s quilt and making a sample for work), but there’s plenty more to keep me busy for the next five weeks that I’m in town. No rest for the wicked.
I’m here. It’s good. Next month, I’ll be teaching in Medford, OR and out at the Road to California show and I’ll be thrilled to be out teaching again. I already miss it a little. Yin and yang. Home and away. It’s all a balance and I’m learning how to do it better all the time.
In September, and again in November, I had the opportunity to teach for the Cuddle-centric shop yet–Cali Quilt Co. They’ve been selling online for a eight years, but in recent years they decided to open a physical location for local customers to browse and buy, in addition to their online store.
Their selection of Cuddle minky is amazing! They have all the solids and dozens and dozens of the Luxe Cuddles. They have really developed a following when it comes to the fabric, so they are on top of getting the newest and stocking the best-sellers. It’s a great place to go if you are looking for something very specific from Shannon Fabrics.
The shop doesn’t have a classroom space, so they rented out the Sit n Sew in nearby Carmichael and we got together with a few dozen women (and a handful of men!) for a trunk show on the first night and the second day was filled with Cuddle strip quilt making. It was a chill group, open to suggestions, new ideas and lots of hand-holding when needed.
You can find Cali Quilt Co the next time you are in the Sacramento area or visit them online; you’ll be amazed at the variety they stock.