Hello September!

Tryon Creek State Park
End of summer hike at Tryon Creek State Park near Lake Oswego, Oregon

Can you believe it’s September already?! This summer has just flown by but I’m super happy to report that the sun is still shining here in Portland. We had one cloudy day last week, but it’s back to blue skies, sunshine and supposedly  into the 90s  again this weekend!

I may be one of the few Portlanders who actually love the forecast of continued heat. Blame a year in California with sunshine every.single.day.

September means things start changing and the daughter goes back to school. We’ll get back to a routine of work/school days with homework and weekends for fun. I’ll be teaching again and I’m thrilled. Plus I have a few consulting gigs starting this month and the pincushions and pillows are coming right along.

 

Then there are all these projects on this month’s to-do list:

  • Kell’s quilt
  • Laura’s quilt
  • Natalie’s quilt
  • Luke‘s quilt
  • Negroni shirt for class prep
  • Rae skirt for class prep
  • Sail repair for Eric
  • Plaid cape for myself
  • Wool coat for my son

I’ve got Kell’s quilt started and Luke’s is cut out. So are both the garments for class. At least there is a bit of a jumpstart, but this could very well take all of September if I’m not careful with my time.  So I’m up early again today, did some yoga and now it’s down to the studio to get cracking on that list. Welcome to September.

Settling in and sewing

It’s been two weeks since we moved in and the house is still a crazy wreck, a mix of our things and what the owner left behind nearly a year ago. It’s a weird situation and one I wasn’t quite prepared for, tbh. The carpets won’t be cleaned until the first of August, every room has to cleared out and cleaned, and the garage needs to be re-arranged to fit all of her belongings that are still here.

There might be boxes are strewn throughout the house, half-open and rifled through, but the sewing area is nearly finished. There was no way anyone, let alone the carpet cleaner, was going to convince me to wait any longer to set it up. My soul needs it too much.

When days are rough and I feel the nervous energy zipping through me, I can sit down at my trusty old machine, run a through seams through it and suddenly feel much better.  Yesterday was one of those when I just told life to suck it ’cause I need to sew.

So I whipped up this little prototype of a pincushion (more will be coming to the Etsy shop as soon as I can start really really sewing again). Made with a denim bottom and pieced vintage feedsack prints on top, I think I like the way it turned out.

What do you think? Cute? Silly? Sellable? Or back to the drawing board? feedsack pincushion

 

White on white on white

Recently I had the opportunity to work on yet another quilt for Luke using the Winding Ways traditional quilt pattern. The 72″ x 96″ quilt is made with 10 different variants of white fabric, including sheers, twill, quilting cotton, silk/cotton blend, and more. It made it a challenge to sew, mixing fabric weights, but using spray starch on the lighter-weight fabrics made it much easier to combine them without too much swearing.

So it started with a big stack of cut pieces: 20140421-174128.jpg

And then I sewed and sewed:20140421-174205.jpg

Clipped and sewed: 20140421-174217.jpg

Pressed and stacked: 20140421-174229.jpg

And sewed more: 20140421-174253.jpg

Until it arrived at this: 20140421-174302.jpg

Which looks even better with a little sunshine behind it: 20140421-174314.jpg

 

You might even be able to see it at Luke’s show this Friday at the BluDot in Los Angeles. After that, I think the only place to see it will be in his room–this one he’s keeping. (And I’m a little jealous! I might just have to make another for myself, but with another color, perhaps?)

Cooling Down

I have lived most of my life in the Pacific Northwest where autumn rolls in dramatically with heavy rains and a sudden drop in temperatures. I’ve wrapped my annual body clock around that change, but here we are in October in SoCal and still wearing tank tops and getting sunburnt on the weekends. My body can’t seem to figure out that it actually is fall. But where’s the cold? the rain?

For example, this was last Sunday, October 6. High of 90°F at Disneyland. Seriously? This is fall?

Disneyland_Oct6

Of course, if you ask my fellow Californians, the ones who lived most of their lives here, they’ll tell you it is definitely fall. The temperatures are cooling down (into the 70s? oh brr!), the morning marine layer is more common, the leaves are beginning to drop. So I guess this is how fall rolls in down here, gently and with sunshine. I like it.

Quilt Market is just around the corner, though, along with both of my children’s birthdays, and into the holiday madness of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I needed something to convince me of these changing seasons, so I decided to make myself a scarf. Robert Kaufman Fabrics has these lovely new Mammoth Flannels which are soft and warm and, if you ask me, they are the perfect colors to get me in the mood for fall.

scarf_fabric

I was able to get my hands on a small swatch of Carolyn Friedlander‘s new Botanics collection, a fabric  that just was calling out to be tagged up with the flannel. The color is Curry and it makes me want Indian food every time I look at it.  But I digress, back to making scarves…. I simply cut a couple of width of fabric strips (about 8″ wide), sewed them together, flipped it and topstitched. Bam! A scarf!

scarf
scarf_on

Now I don’t really have an excuse to complain about the A/C being on high everywhere I go.  I don’t have to be cold in the grocery store anymore because I have a lovely new cotton flannel scarf.

It’s like having autumn wrapped snugly around my neck.

Threadbias pincushion swap

I’m a big fan of Threadbias, even though I don’t seem to get over there as often as I’d like. It’s a great site for sewists and quilters to share their projects and be inspired by the amazing work of others. One of the best things about it, honestly, are the people there. Everyone is so supportive of each other. It’s the perfect place to go when you need to have someone say ooh and aah over what you just made.

Recently I signed up for my first swap through them, a pincushion swap with Gena from Ontario, Canada. I made her this one using scraps of fabric from Art Gallery’s Alhambra II collection, with a little slice o’ selvage. I’m in love with the colors and their fabrics have a nice hand–soft, but not limp.

20121107-060708.jpg

I made a double layer for the bottom and stuffed it with lentils to give it a little weight. I like added oomph that the lentils give it. I’ve also used rice to weight pincushions and that works just as well.

And Gina sent me this… a little mouse pincushion (complete with braided tail and whiskers!) and some little bits and baubles. She included a pack of pins, a bodkin (something I always thought of buying, but never have) and some chocolates that I ate faster than I could snap a photo. Oops.

20121103-053941.jpg

It’s super cute and sitting on my desk at work, reminding me to enjoy the creative process and the thrill of handmade. Thanks so much, Gina!

xo!

Giving a Little Gift of Love {guest post}

I want to thank Teresa for the opportunity to sew for the orphans of Tam Ky, Vietnam. I’m Mary Striegel and when I’m not working as a chemist for the National Park Service, I’m teaching 4th, 5th and 6th grade girls to sew.  The girls are part of the Girls in Action mission group of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Alexandria, Louisiana.  The Girls in Action, or GA’s as they are called, are learning to open their hearts and make a difference in the lives of others through God’s love.

GA’s stitching up diapers with the help of Jessica Guidry.

I’ve been teaching girls to sew for almost 10 years. When I read about Teresa’s Sewing for Orphans project, I thought that this might be the perfect project for our girls.  The five young ladies are bright and enthusiastic about learning and this was a way for me to teach them about Vietnam and the needs of the children there.  They jumped at the chance to make diapers for the babies.

Emily Mackey concentrates on the sew width.
This is Mary Katherine Hickman first time sewing and she loves it!

The GA’s weren’t alone in their desire to help.  This summer I had the chance to teach some women of church to sew.  When they learned about the project they wanted to do their share.  The Sewing for Orphan’s project was infectious…I placed a call for seamstresses and soon had a group of nine members ranging in age from 7 to 70 ready to sew.

Linda McKee was handy with boys shorts (and the seam ripper!).

We met on Saturday morning and shared laughter and joy while making pillowcase and popover dresses.  Some of the sewists had never used a serger, but they whipped out more diapers. Others fashioned boys shorts out of men’s tee shirts.  By the end of our sewing session, we had completed 16 dresses, 9 pairs of shorts and 22 diapers!!!

Jason Gray finishes a pillowcase dress.

More importantly we gave a bit of love from our hearts to the children of the Tam Ky Orphanages.  Thank you, Teresa for the chance to show we care.

And really, I cannot thank you and your crew enough, Mary. It has been so amazing to me to have so many people join me in my efforts to do something special for the orphans in Tam Ky. Thank you, again!

I love a good swap

I joined up with Victoria Wolfe‘s 15 Minutes Play swap this month, my first in so many years that I can’t really remember the last time I swapped fabrics with a stranger.

We set up swap partners in the first week of December and I’ve been gathering bits and pieces here and there. My swapper said she likes smaller pieces and batiks, so she’ll be getting some that I’ve acquired, but never seem to find a proper use for. Plus some fun new fabrics I got just for her. So while, I’ve been gathering, she was super quick and -surprise!- I found a box of fat quarters sitting on my doorstep a few days ago.

I love these bright colors and can imagine making all manner of things for my little nieces. I especially love the blue-green floral. Not sure what I want to do with it, but it will be something just for me.

Thank you, Ellen!

And just for fun, here’s a shot of the box o’ fabric as it landed on the table in my sewing studio. What a mess!

I’ll be so glad to have some extra time in January to get the place back in order and seriously hoping that the injuries from my November accident have healed to the point that I can be active for more than a half hour at a time. Until then, it’s a bit of chaos down there.

Working, Sewing, Quilting

It all keeps happening, despite the headaches and the sick daughter.

I’ve been working on the little boy’s quilt, heading out to a nephew nowhere near me quite soon. I was originally going to make it for another nephew, but my daughter pointed at that he really loves super heroes and crime fighters, not cute monkeys and chevrons. So, instead, it will go to a nephew I haven’t had the joy of seeing in a couple of years (and therefore have no idea if he’ll like monkey or chevrons). I know his mom, though, and she’ll think it’s adorable.

Maya's jacket, in the beginning
Then there’s the coat project–another gift, this time for my bff’s daughter. She turns 10 on Friday and I wanted to make her something, mostly because I love handmade gifts. I found this awesomely adorable owl corduroy and eventually stumbled onto this Alexander Henry “Pumpkins in a Line” print for the lining. So far, so good. The corduroy was a bit on the light side, so I underlined the whole thing with some extra denim I had. Now it’ll be toasty warm and have a bit more body. The pattern I’m using, Kwik Sew 3818, isn’t lined, but I just can’t bear to make a jacket with exposed seams. Maybe if I had a serger? It’s coming alone nicely though and with a couple more hours to put into it tonight I think it just might be ready for gift giving on Thursday.

Kate's "Terrain" line quilt top
The third project for the week is the quilting of Kate Spain‘s quilt top. She sent it to me a week ago or so along with some fabrics for the backing. I pieced that together over the weekend and made a nice little quilt sandwich, but have been stuck on the quilting design. With only my Pfaff to do it, there’s no fancy-schmancy stuff going on. But that’s okay, it’s a utilitarian quilt, destined for someone who really needs it, not an art gallery. Today I’m pondering circles. I don’t know, though, I’m so in love with following the design of the quilt top when I actually quilt it. I’m trying to mix things up though, y’know, try something new. We’ll see. Oh! but sweetest of all is that Kate thanked me on her blog. So nice of her and fun to see my name up there! She’s also got a giveaway going on, so check out her post for the Moda Blog Hop and enter to win.

It’s a Giveaway!


I’ve participated in plenty of blogger giveaways, but always as the one hoping to win (which, in fact, I have been lucky enough to do twice!). Now it’s my turn to give back as part of the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day. There are a five hundred-odd blogs participating, and just for the price of leaving a comment, you’ll be entered to win. I’m offering up a brand-spanking new wallet that I made just for this giveaway. It’s made from both re-used and new fabric. The outside is remnants of a linen blouse with pintucks that I used as inspiration for the padded quilting that runs in the opposite direction. Inside are two pieces from the new Spring Street line by Carolyn Gavin and a colorific polka dot that I used for the trim, too.
You can win this totally one-of-a-kind wallet by leaving a comment. Tell me what you like about it, or what you’d like in another version. Or tell me what you think about the new Strawberry Patch quilt I’m working on:

The Strawberry Patch quilt is coming together slowly thanks to all that patchwork.

You have until Friday to leave a comment. Like Crinkle Dreams on Facebook for an additional entry. I’ll be choosing a winner on Saturday, shipping on Monday. I’ll ship it anywhere in the world, too. The U.K., Malaysia, Easter Island… it doesn’t matter where you live. (I’m probably jealous, anyway, if it’s outside the U.S. and warm.)

Not loving this one? Check out the others in the Etsy shop.