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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Inexperienced quilting

This past month, I was given a rather large stack of fat quarters from Moda Fabrics. I will enter the name tomorrow. Moda was having a show and asked me if I might make a few things with these fabrics. Moda Fabrics is one of the largest manufacturers of quilter's fabrics. I had two weeks time. Not really a problem had I not have the responsibility of working the store at the same time. I knew I could make two items for certain. I wanted to create three. The apron was simple. It is reversible. The pattern is Pacific Crescent Quilting Fat Quarter Reversable Apron by Nancy Gallivan . Aprons have been very popular for the past more than a year. When it comes back to us for display in the store, people will gobble it up. The fabrics will not be available until January, but you can buy any fat quarter kit to make this. Really - use your imagination. It always amazes me how visual people are. They have to have the exact fabrics in the display. This was the first piece I made.

The second piece was a reversible tote bag which I made once before in black and white and red. I wanted to make it in this grouping because it is a popular bag. It is time to get another sample up on the wall and this would be a great opportunity to do that when the show is over. I will try to get a photo of it as well as the pattern.

Being well ahead of schedule, I decided I might have time for a third item. Marge, the Craft Dept Manager, chose this pattern and said I could cut it down to be just a center piece instead of a table runner. Oh my, I am not that experienced a quilter to be altering quilt patterns. OK. So I gathered all of my quilt-courage and I began. Whelllll - as you can see, the picture in the book is quite different from what I am working with. But I can manage that as I go along. After all, I don't want to be classified in with those customers who have to have the exact fabrics from the displays!!!! But, and this is a big but. A whole step of the process in making this piece was missing in the instructions. Not torn out of the book. Missing as "forgot to print it in the instructions". Not something comfortable for the inexperienced quilter. Nothing made sense. I just couldn't figure it out. And when I finally realized what was wrong and that it wasn't me, it was the book, then it all started to fall into place. The little piece was completed two days early and all three pieces looked great.

Moda Fabrics were pleased and from what I was told, their display at the show looked really wonderful. I suspect now that they will be asking me to make all of their samples. i don't mind at all. i don't get paid for this. Just my regular wage for Fabric Depot. But how I love the challenge of every project. I always learn something new. It is great. Never monotonous.

Trench Coat

This is the latest creation for my store. This coat is made from Home Decorating fabrics. The pattern is by Serendipity Studio, Boutique Chic. It's their Sophia Trench Coat. Very simple. Not something I would wear in my entire life. The pattern did not include pockets. This amazed me. Imagine a coat without pockets. So I added them. The first pockets I made from the giraffe fabric but when I finished, both Julie, who makes all the final decisions on all the displays for the store and in whose opinion I humbly rely, and I, agreed that they were too loud, too "cute", too "artsy". So we agreed to make them the same fabric as the coat with a trim of the contrast fabric. It changed the entire look of the trench. More sophisticated. Now more appealing to a larger viewpoint of women. Of course, you see the button. I love creating buttons, especially when I can cover them myself. I have even at times quilted tiny pieces of fabric and covered buttons with them. I think covered buttons really can make a garment. I also added a very long tie that wraps around twice with a good size channel at each side seam for easy threading. Nothing worse than constantly trying to find the belt loops especially when you are in a hurry to leave the office to catch the train.

Julie took the coat home to wash hoping to soften the fabric. I am told that although successful, unfortunately the giraffe contrast was not entirely colorfast and it looks faded. I have not yet seen it. They are hoping that, with a good pressing, it might look better. I will post the outcome.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A day of weather

Normally on a day like this I would never leave the house. On a day off from work with the wind blowing at a hundred miles an hour and the threat of rain, it is cold, what is so important that I should find the need to put on pants, long shirt, wool shirt over that, my winter coat, a hat, and leave the silence of my house? But I have not been to therapy in over two months and that is really pushing it. My ego is all over the universe and I need a voice. Even at the last minute I thought to cancel but - again?! So off I went and was able to arrive early enough to knit for awhile. It was good to get the stress out. Stress wreaks havoc on my ego and I just want to hide. I am no longer suicidal. I am homicidal.

Thank god for art. What do people do with their anxieties and their bug-a-boos without a creative outlet? Great things come from deep places. Great things have been coming out of mine, as we will all see in the coming weeks here. I am so greatful for the abilities of my hands and my imagination.

I am now setting up my Etsy site. Maybe I can finally sell. That is the next goal.

The scarves are turning out really well. Time to show them and if they sell - wonderful. Just wonderful. No expectations, but great hopes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When is a yard not a yard

So I am cutting these Noren curtains for four sushi restaurants here in Portland and for the first time I realize that my cutting mat is only 35" long not 36. Who would make a mat 35 inches? How absolutely stupid is that? How many things have I mis-cut thinking it was 36 inches? How much we take for granted. Yards, feet, inches.... Pounds are the worse. Remember the days when you could buy a pound of coffee? It doesn't come that way anymore. You say, well, the price of coffee has gone up. but also, the weight of the so called pound has gone down.

So I had to re-cut the curtains. Not really a waste because there will be more curtains ordered and I will use the fabrics cut for other restaurants. I wish they would open one in this neighborhood. How wonderful it would be to walk out the door and get sushi. And to know them so well that you just have to tell them your name and they just put a package togeter for you. I had a sushi restaurant in Manchester NH like that. It was a minute from my house and I would just call and say "Hi, it's me! Half hour?" And I would show up.

I figured out how to make a pair of socks in an evening. Make them for preemies. Such a pair is in this picture in front of a pair of my shoes. I don't think I was even born with a foot that small. Aren't they cute?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Store Displays

These are two items I made for display at the store. The pillows are Moda Homespun fabrics and the designs are all wool felts. The pattern is Indygo Junction of course. "Changing Seasons" featuring a pillow for each season. These are summer and fall. I couldn't make them on my time at work. I did this on my own time at home. I am not compensated for this but the work is peaceful and satisfying and so I don't mind. It keeps technique fresh and the fingers nimble. I love watching customers staring at the work admiring it and wondering if they can do it. I will often walk up and tell them how simple it is, and offer to guide them if they need help. A mini class if they need. Often, a customer will bring in a project needing encouragement. It makes my job interesting. Plus, when I am working on these things at home, it is better than sitting around watching "Dancing with the stars" eating popcorn and drinking beer.

Cancer Quilt

At the store, a few of us got together to make a Cancer Comfort Quilt for a vendor who is a very close friend to Julie, one of our buyers and just a great person in her own right. In the center you can see this double swirled pointed block. That is the very center of the quilt which is made of all black, white and strong pink fabrics. I made two blocks, like so many of us did. My blocks are to the right and left of the center block. What an honor. They are hand appliqued of course and also have some embroidery which is mostly what I know when it comes to quilting. The women who contributed to this put in some incredible personalities to the endeavor. I have never seen anything like it. There are even blocks that are hand-painted organza. I was so impressed to see so much caring in this. I am humbled. If I ever encounter such a thing again, I will not hesitate. It just brings me to tears.

My Mother's Birthday

I was late getting my mother's birthday present out. I am remiss. I designed this sweater from an Italian knit that I special ordered and took forever to come in. Like myself, my mother keeps the house rather cool in the winter. But I don't ever remember seeing her in bulky sweaters. My mother has always been a rather fashionable woman. Although my photography is pathetic, this is actually a fitted sweater. The front pieces however are really a wrap and can be worn many ways, three of which you can see here. I might even make one for myself if I can find a similar knit at my store. It is difficult to see but this is not a printed knit. The threads are dyed and it is in greens and blues and quite nice. I wish my mom would send me pictures of how she looks in it, but it has been a long time since she has been into pictures. When we were children, she took lots of photos. I will have to believe her when she tells me that she loves it. It's really a nice piece.

The Orchid

This is an Oncidium orchid which was given to me over two years ago. It continues to flower twice a year. However, it became pot bound in a beautiful boat shaped pot one sixth the size of this one. The orchid was trying to flower but could not bloom because it just didn't have the energy. So Karen and I went out to the Portland Nursery and I found this wonderful pot. I had to buy some orchid bark and mix it with some soil and small stones. I set it in the dish it has always lived in. There is just enough room. Just. As I was knitting that evening, I though I heard it sigh. Within two day, the flowers began to open.. I think it is saafe to say ~~~ This is one happy Oncidium.