Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Conscious Thinking // Working on my Hippie

Have you ever had one of those moments where a thought pops into your head, then everything around you starts to fit into the theme of that thought, and you find yourself swept away into a ball of synergistic energy when your thought turns into an idea which turns into a game plan that turns into an action?

You follow me? You know what I'm talking about!

I had that happen to me this week, or has it been a month? It started with a sudden sinking feeling when I realized that I needed to make more money to sustain myself, and decided after 2 years of attempting to be a full-time freelancer, to look for a job. Something part-time, just to supplement the freelance work I've been fortunate enough to get. The universe shone their blessings on me that day because, literally, 30 seconds on Craigslist produced exactly what I was looking for. Gaia Conceptions, a business that I have greatly admired (and spoken-of on this blog here) was looking for a seamstress for 2 days-a-week. PERFECT! I started work the next Monday.

Check out my next desk!! Window and all. 

Now here's where the thought started. 

One of the reasons that I was really interested in working with Gaia Conceptions is their incredibly sustainable business practices, in regards to the environment. All the fabrics for their garments are organic and consciously manufactured, dyed in the studio using natural or low-impact dyes, and made-to-order, eliminating unwanted stock. With an emphasis on quality craftsmanship and made-in-America, Andrea basically built the business that I would want to build. It's still fashion, we're not saving lives here, but she's thinking responsibly about every aspect of doing what she loves doing, designing and making clothes. She's not compromising.

I feel like as I get older, I slowly become aware of ways I can apply my morals into every action I take. I think the Slow Food Movement has been great to bring awareness to food choices we make but we need to start bringing awareness to all aspects of our lives. Every thing we put on our body, in our mouths, in our environments, and what we choose to spend our money on. 

Some small knittings that are finally getting framed this week. I start by stapling them to plywood painted in a complimentary color. I learned the hard way that I don't like seeing plywood through my knittings, painting them first looks so much better!

SO, working at Gaia gets me thinking about the materials I use in my art and where they come from. And, as crunchy as I am already, I hate to admit that I haven't considered it much. My focus is color then price, and where the yarn comes from or who's making it hadn't even been a thought in my mind. God.....I'm a monster!! Not to mention, the tools I use. I do gather the wood I use for my frames in the off-cut bin at work (aka Skram Furniture), so that's good, but the plywood is usually Home Depot new. How do I rectify this situation??

SYNERGISTIC SUCCESSION OF EVENTS

-- listening to this podcast ----> Woolful episode 1  (if you are interested in brevity or not a total fiber nerd, I'd say pass on listening to this)

...which introduced me to...

-- Ton Of Wool, a new company based out of Australia that is providing to the commercial market an ethically and sustainably produced yarn.

They only sell their yarn in the natural color of the sheep's hair (white, grey, black) so this got me thinking about the possibility of buying their yarn and dying it myself. This would change my color palette significantly. I would say that a signature of my work is bright color and there's limitations if you're not using powerful chemicals or synthetic fibers. Am I willing to make that change? Well, if you think about all aspects of the modern American life, there's very little of our habits that are ultimately sustainable. That means to create real change, we have to either use our amazing brains to figure out how to have it all in a sustainable way, or learn to reduce. Live with less. There's no time like the present for me to start to adapt more environmental practices into my art and, who knows, maybe it could push to an even cooler place with my work. The greatest place I could find would be to create the product I want and maintain the sustainable habits. No compromises. But, I'll never know until I start.

The studio table this week. My figure skating poster competition entry got mounted (left) and my first art commission in progress (right). Can't wait to share the finished project soon! I do love those bright colors...

The second episode of Woolful brought even more ideas for converting to a sustainable art practice. In this podcast, Ashley discusses methods for recycling yarn from unwanted garments with Jerome Sevilla, aka Grid Junky. What a fabulous idea!! I love recycling!! I'm totally in love with this idea. There's a possibility here to find more color options outside of what is dyeable in the domestic studio if you're good for the hunt. I'm certainly willing to try.

I was so amused by this giant mall in town (Greensboro), titled Destiny, accompanied by an empty parking lot. What is this? I almost don't want to know. I love living in the weirdness of a run-down city, lacking in revitalization. They just have so much character.

So what's your destiny?

Are you hoping it will find you or are you willing to cultivate it? To mold it into exactly the person that you want to be. I want my destiny to be an environmentally-conscious one, a destiny that can fulfill my creative dreams and stand by my ethical morals, and I'm starting now to make that happen. And maybe it will lead me to something that I never even knew was possible. I can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Art is my Therapy

This past month has put me through the ringer in ways that have led me to feel very out-of-control of my own life. The worst kind of unhinged that I just can't handle. The first being total annihilation of my backyard. Where once there was secluded woods, filled with wild daffodils and fox families, now sits a most aesthetically-jarring solar panel farm.  You can find a good before shot here.

That means there's been loud noises, construction, and workers crawling all over since the end of August and, even though the work seems to be finished, they have yet to completely depart.


It's led to me avoiding my studio in favor of hiding in my house, and become a general distraction to all else.

On the plus side, it did inspire this art piece. I made it before construction started as a way for me to face the inevitable and force acceptance. The worst part of all of it is, when things happen so close to you, you feel like there may be some way to have some power over it, and when you can't change it or prevent it, you partially blame yourself for not trying harder. And the fact that I'm only renting really provided a feeling of helplessness.

ACTUAL IDEAS THAT RAN THROUGH MY MIND:

- chain myself to trees (obviously)
- pour malicious ingredients into the gas tanks of their construction equipment
- go over to their office (hideous trailer parked in front yard) and scream every evil comment I know
- slash tires
- bitch to my landlady incessantly (actually did that) truth is, I think she lost her control over the project as well, at least she acted like that was the case
-move

And moving still is an option, even though at one point we seriously were considering buying the house. For now, we're still here. I put a decent chunk of money into building out my home studio and I'm just not ready to walk away from that investment yet. BUT I digress.

The greatest ending, at least the one I'd like to focus on, is that the art piece (filled with all my hatred and frustration) was donated to the Carrack's annual fundraiser and this amazing guy bought it. He and his family will enjoy it for what it is and not the negative feelings I've attached to it. I can't help but think that this is a good ending to my self-applied therapy session.

OK so that's just the first part...

Several different types of meltdowns have followed as a result of the backyard changes. Second being the crisis over what I call "home". Suddenly this house that I had described regularly as being "magical" became a place of hostility. The desire to own a home prioritized itself in my thoughts, and I used the fuel to work on building my "dream home". Therapy Session Round 2.

 The Tiny House series started with the Love Signs show, all original 5 sold, which obviously meant that I should make more! So now became the pertinent time to continue with them. As you can see, I've been having fun getting creative with my architecture.

The final stressor, that I'm most currently in the process of coping with, is feelings of general offense towards modern society. I abhor construction, I feel like everyone's priorities conflict with my own, the world is backwards, and we're destroying the earth, and no one is smart enough to make a change because everyone only cares about money, and it all compounds into a deep hopelessness towards mankind and the world around me. How did I get here? It hurts so bad, how do I come out of this hole?

For starters, I'm working on fixing my thought patterns to at least keep from destroying myself but I don't know yet how successful I will be. It looks like I need to think of a new art project.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Looking Ahead (aka Grant-writing)

The continuing saga entitled my art career has once again found its heroine entering new territory: grant-writing
also know as,
what-I-do-and-why-you-should-give-me-money-to-do-it.
There's certain artists out there that, with great success, follow a path of residencies, competitions and grants. This means countless hours devoted to research, writing and filling out applications. I've been of the belief that if you spend all your time pursuing these opportunities, you find yourself making less art and more persuasive essays. Why would I want to waste my time?

BUT, like all good ideas, this Regional Artist Grant for Guilford County (+ 5 neighboring counties) was placed in my inbox. All the details presented at just the right time and a far-enough-away deadline for me to think "I could do this". But grant-writing isn't me, right?

Then my next push from the universe: I went to a fundraising gala where a one-hour grant writing session, with a seasoned vet in the field, was up for auction. I took it as a sign, knowing how little I knew about grant-writing and being smart enough to see a chance to get valuable help. I made sure I won it, and I'm awfully glad I did. Sometimes, my biggest hurdle can be simply understanding the prompt. This grant proposal was no exception. The prompt was simple really; it asked "What do you want to do next year with your art?"

What am I doing? Where do I want to go?

I was stumped. I have worked so hard to get where I am this year, I hadn't even begun to think about plans for next year. I thought so hard about it I swear my head hurt for a week. I was awash in emotional instability, lost at sea on the 20-something raft of life that I had fooled myself into thinking was in the right direction. Well, not even the right direction, any direction really. I found that I didn't didn't have any pie-in-the-sky dreams for my art or art career. How can I follow a direction if I don't even have a goal? More instability, more drifting. 

With the help of grant-queen Margaret, I was able to eventually wrap my brain around what was being asked of me. We improvised our one-hour into a series of emails where I would throw all my ideas at her (I mean all of them) and she gently nudged me in the right direction. I really did a lot of soul-searching over the month leading up to the deadline, including some intensive brain-storming sessions with my bff, where we wrote down as many big dreams as we could think of in 10 minutes. And then organized them into groups and talked about it.  Lots of talking.

In the end, I went for something clear and definable, easily monetized into their mandatory budget proposal and simple to write about its benefits: I asked for funds to purchase a knitting machine. It was an idea I hadn't given more than a passing fancy but, as I reflected on my art, I realized how much I desired to scale up my work and how this machine would allow me to do it. The real reason I hadn't looked into buying a machine before was because I was WHOLLY INTIMIDATED. Where do I buy a machine? Which one do I buy? How do I learn how to use it? What if I can't figure it out and I wasted all this time and money?? But then, there was the magic of the grant. If I sit down and actually do research on them -- persuade others into why this would be great for me -- then maybe I'll gain some more confidence. AND if they actually give me the money, then I HAVE TO figure it out!

Along with working with Margaret and getting my friends' advice, I reached out to Instagram friends who I knew owned knitting machines and asked for their input. 
----(Lemme tell you, I have been blown away with the network of artists and crafters I've met through Instagram! It's been quite the valuable tool for advancing my art career)----
 Of course, they were great help and eventually led me to learning about a local machine knitters guild in my area. With fabulous luck, they were meeting the next day and 2 days before my grant was due. THAT was the ticket! They sat down with me and literally walked me through my budget proposal, telling me exactly what I needed to buy and how much it would cost. They even offered to help me shop. Not to mention, they will be a valuable support system once I actually get a machine and need to learn. That's right, now that I've done all the research, I have to get a machine, whether or not this grant comes through. I'll figure it out.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON GRANT-WRITING: I have to say, I think I might be a big fan of grants now. You still have to accept the fact that you have no control over how many other people with great ideas apply, who the judges are, and what their personal tastes may be. But I've already gained so much just in the process of writing it. It forced me to think ahead and dream big. I'm thinking that I should apply for a grant every year, simply for those benefits. It's so amazing that we have programs in place specifically for encouraging artists to keep doing what they're doing, why not try your luck at some of that funding. Even if you don't get it, you'll be amazed at where it can take you.

What are you doing next year?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Alex's Quilt

Alex's Quilt
85" x 70"


It's been long overdue that I share these pictures of my last quilt commission. Alex was a vibrant young boy who died before his time from bone cancer. His family gave me the responsibility of honoring their son by repurposing his clothing into a quilt for his bed. As difficult as this sounds, I have always been thrilled to take on projects like this. To me, this is what quilt-making is all about and I love the fact that I can help people create new from the old, beauty from pain. 

Here's Alex in his element, playing sports! This isn't the first time I have seen this shirt, I also made a quilt for his aunt, out of her boys' clothing, and we featured Alex there as well. Same shirts have popped up in multiple projects I've done over the years. Because I get all my business through word-of-mouth, it means that clients recommend me to their friends and family and I like getting a chance to learn their overlapping stories.

For starters, I wanted to infuse as much happiness into the project as I could. That's where the idea for the sun came in. I also had a very strict palette of red, white, blue, and gray that I couldn't help, so I knew I wanted to bring in a third color, and you can't go wrong with primaries. Oh, and one neon green shirt...how was I going to balance that? The best way I found to organize the color of his shirts was to group all the red around the middle, buffer the blue with the white and grey in between and go darker to black as I worked my way out. Then my solution for the green was to make sure there was a little pop in each section. This way it wouldn't look so out of place to have just the one green shirt. In the end, I love all the green everywhere. Something that came from constraints that I would've never done otherwise. Love when that happens.

When I made my preliminary sketches for this quilt top, I played with the idea of some kind of animal anchoring the middle. When I approached Alex's mother with the idea, she brought me to Alex's memorial garden out back - full of turtles. Apparently, he loved turtles and it became a symbol for his memory. I was thrilled to learn this because I love turtles too, so there was my next idea. I documented the making of the turtle here, including the zippered pouch along the bottom of his shell. 


This was definitely my most ambitious t-shirt quilt to date. Crazy quilting with stretch knits?? I utilized freezer paper to help me construct each wedge between the sun's rays. And I made a tape layout of the entire quilt on the floor before I even started, and I barely had a floor big enough in my house to amply design this piece. See proof below.

I realized that my new studio is just not set up for making quilts anymore. In my last space, I had 2 large design walls that were fabulous! But when I tried to work on projects other than quilts (ie-sewing clothes) I found it much more difficult. My passion for making quilts had been waining and I was craving sewing projects that I could turn around faster. Not to mention, in the 4-years that I had been making quilts-for-hire, I had yet to really make enough money to call it a sustainable business practice. Let's be honest, it is a labor-of-love business that I was falling out of love with. And in the months since I finished this quilt, I have discovered the lightness of living without a long-term project in my life. As painful as it can be to turn your back on something you have loved so deeply, it's important to allow yourself to change, and reassess your true feelings in the now. Especially for an artist. To be able to find inspiration, get an idea, and act on it promptly is a dream I always lust after. For now, this is my last quilt. On to new, exciting adventures!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Basketball Moons

A new piece I zipped through this past week.  "Basketball Moons"
I've always loved drawing basketballs, their undulating design just appeals to me. Nothing to do with the actual sport, just the shape of the ball. But it's safe to assume that, growing up across the street from Duke, in the heart of ACC country, the game has gotten into my blood. I can never bring myself to touch the color baby blue (the signature color of UNC-Chape Hill), it just feels wrong!! 

I am so happy I finally managed to knit a b-ball. To be honest, I didn't even know what I meant when I decided to mix a ball with a moon. Their 2 shapes just fit well together -- moons being something that frequently appear in my work. After it was finished, and people started telling me they liked it, instead of "are you crazy?" I realized it made sense somehow. Those of us who base our lives around the cycle of basketball. The general acceptance of a society who treats "sports as life". Or maybe the way a game can push and pull us like the way the moon controls the tides.

I use the term "us" loosely cause you know I don't give a shit!

An inside shot of how I manage to pull back the ends of my knitting and get them to lie flat on the back of a frame. After this point, I glue a piece of fitted kraft paper to the back to make it look nice and clean. And sign the paper once more. This stitching may seem crazy tedious but I gain a lot of pleasure in doing it and it really doesn't take that much time.

I was inspired to knit up the basketballs after local Chapel Hill store, Thrill City, invited me to show some work on their Franklin Street walls. I went in and hung "Tig Ol' Bitties", surveyed their empty spots, and came back with "Dead, Dead, Dead" and the freshly-framed "Basketball Moons"

Their store is very sports-centered so, needless to say, you can see where the inspiration came from. Really thrilled to have some pieces out in the public and not shut up in my studio. Big thanks to the Thrill City guys for giving me a chance to get my art out to Chapel Hill! Just don't make we wear Carolina blue!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

I'm really excited to share that I will be teaching some classes this fall at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem, NC. This school is situated in the Arts Council building in the heart of downtown, full of inspiring art and crafts and some seriously lust-worth studio spaces. They have brought me in in an effort to revitalize their fiber programs, and I couldn't be more pumped to offer two new classes this fall:


+


Color Knitting Techniques will be a 4-part class and you KNOW I'm confident about teaching that. As for Wardrobe Rehab, this is a spin-off of one of my favorite classes that I have taught over the years, where I help people repair and alter their existing wardrobe, teaching fundamental skills that will allow people to do-for-themselves and use-it-up/wear-it-out instead of buy-trash-buy. It's also a great introduction to the sewing machine for those looking to build their confidence with this amazingly practical tool.

In preparation for my new class, I decided to turn towards my own wardrobe. I'm usually pretty good about doing a periodical purge, but lately I've been feeling my style start to change, and my closet has not been reflecting that. In the past, donated items meant things that didn't fit anymore. But now, I wanted to get rid of all the things that didn't represent the direction I want to be going in and really start to dress everyday in a style that inspires me!

The whole project started with me taking every lil' thing out of my lil' closet and piling them up in Adam's band room (hehe) I wanted to take my time really curating what I was going to put back in there so moving it all into a room that I could leave messy for a while was a great luxury. Then I started with the obvious, the pieces that I absolutely love and wear to death. They went right back in. Next were some pretty easy choices ready for the giveaway pile. Now what was left is all the hard stuff. Things that used to be my favorites, things that fit but aren't exactly the style I'm cultivating, treasured vintage pieces, and, of course, piles and piles of t-shirts.

I'm gonna be honest, this stuff sat around for a while.

Ugg, decisions! I knew that things needed to be tried on and examined: does it fit in a way that is flattering? Do I feel comfortable? Do I look the way I want to look in this? Do I have complimentary garments that can make an outfit?

Day by day I would find the time to try an article of clothing on and run it through the ringer. Second opinions helped a lot when I could get them ("you say my butt doesn't look good in this? Bye bye!") Soon I discovered a third pile of "needs-alterations/needs-repairs" that would become my launching pad for coming up with some great ideas to share with my class.

As soon as I get a chance to snap some photos, I will share what kind of updates I've made to my existing wardrobe! I'm having a lot of fun with this!!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

US Figure Skating Championships contest

 The city of Greensboro + Greenhill Center for the Arts held a poster competition for the US Figure Skating Championships, that Greensboro will be hosting in January 2015. At first, I wasn't sure if I was interested but the cash prize was enticing enough for me to get out my sketchbook and think of some ideas. I knew I wanted to design something that was a reflection of my personal artwork, so that meant it needed to be knitted. I ended up having a lot of fun designing this piece. It proved to be my most challenging original design yet! But, with this project, I finally learned a decent way to design my knits in the computer in an efficient manner, without buying a special program. That was huge! The Intarsia knitting was not too complicated for me but the scale of the final piece (18"x 22") proved to be quite time consuming. I spent several days cramped up into positions on the couch that took its toll on my back. Oh the sacrifices I make for art!! I turned in my piece yesterday and fingers crossed I make it to the semi-finalist round.

I'm really proud of how this piece ended up and really thankful that the city and the state create these kinds of initiatives to help support NC artists. I love my home state!!

In-progress, mega-knotted knitting. The biggest problem I had working on this was a single-ply yarn that had such open fibers, it wanted to grip and tangle with anything it touched including itself. The absolute trick for doing this kind of color knitting is working with short strands of yarn that are easily pulled through any tangles you might encounter. I would ignore the tangles until I literally could not move the yarn anymore and then sit down and untangle everything. Eek!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hands

Can you tell what the image is?

Does the title of the post help??

This design was a spin-off from my very first knitted art piece, wherein I was drawn into the image of two hands shaking; a very dry way of reflecting a relationship between two people. An agreement of sorts to the commitment of being another's companion. In my first show, it was nice to show the 2 pieces side-by-side but (thankfully) "You House Wife" has a new home and this guy is left all alone to puzzle the viewer in understand what they're looking upon.

I FINALLY got a professional shot of this granny square crochet piece I finished last year. I love it more and more, every time I get a chance to look at it. Lately, it's been crumpled up in the office but even then I walk by and admire its colors. All the yarns were hand-dyed (with the exception of the black) with half being natural dyes that came from onion skins, turmeric, and alkanet root. The rest were MX Procion dyes that came from Dharma Trading Co. The whole thing measures about 7 feet wide and 3 feet tall! Alas, with all the fire places, windows, and build-outs we have at home, there's no wall to hang it. So it might just stay another cozy wool thing to stick your feet under on the couch :) and no one's complaining about that!

A dear friend's mother past away this month. She was an avid knitter and her passing inspired me to stop what I was doing, and knit something simply for myself - a project I had put in the queue months ago. I found the pattern online, while I was searching through photos of god's eyes, this being called God's Eye Mitts by Alexis Windslow. Naturally, I had to adapt the pattern a little (cause I just have to make things more challenging). I lengthened them to cover my wrists more and slimmed down the cuffs. It was a great project to knit, abet the obvious fussiness of using double pointed needles, and I feel they'll make the dropping temperatures somewhat more tolerable to face. Maybe they're not god's eyes but all the eyes of those we can't look into anymore, and they can be a reminder that those we love can still look down upon us, and remain alive in our hearts and minds.

Hope everyone is doing well! Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Slow Movement

I'm ever-so-slowly readjusting myself from a loaded summer schedule. I feel like there have been so many things to celebrate, I haven't had much of a chance to spend time in my studio. And I KNOW I should be so pleased that I have so many engagements and friends to laugh with, and I am, but I just don't get that "on-top-of-it" feeling when I don't have a chance to be at home, alone with myself - to relax in my favorite spots, to make myself a meal that's exactly what I want to eat, to sleep in my own BED, to get to do exactly what I want to do, even if it's just for a couple hours. I really need that.

Recently, I've starting hatching a plan to become an advocate for The SLOW Movement, specifically when it comes to those of us creating our own businesses and working for ourselves.

How many times do you hear a story about a freelancer who talks about how busy and all-consuming their days are with work? Where even sleeping becomes a chore that's challenging to fit in? Where their nose is smashed so hard up against the grindstone that they even lose sight of the joy and pleasure they originally found in their work??

Maybe, right when I got out of college, I would look up to these go-getters, (I mean they're getting SO much done, right?) but now I'm finding my opinions are changing. Sleep a chore?? I LOVE to sleep!! No joke, it's on my list of Top 10 Favorite Things In The Whole World! Why would someone choose to live a life where this daily (indeed, necessary) pleasure is taken away? No, now I find myself disheartened to hear of all these wonderfully-creative people throwing away their life balance for meaty portfolios and whatever kind of accolades they can find.

Certainly one of my goals in being a freelance maker is to counteract the mass-manufacturing of cheap goods that have proliferated in our world, along with humans' diminished understanding of quality and craftsmanship. There is definitely a culture of people out there, like me, who want to produce goods and provide services that center around these goals. High-quality, small batch, handmade, ethical, etc. What I don't understand is why those of us who are creating these alternative businesses still hold themselves to the rigors and demands of big business - make it faster, make it cheaper, grow, grow, more, more, more. When are we ever going to stop??

What I say is this - you make a product, you provide a service and you keep pushing until you find that sweet spot, where your materials, labor and overhead are covered, where your bills are paid at the end of the month, and you provide a quality result that makes you and your customer satisfied. And that's IT. You take on what you can handle and leave behind the rest for another day or another person. For some of us, there will be more work, for others of us, it will be less. But at the end of the day, it will be just right for you. And we can all still make the time to include life into all this.

Is that too much to ask? And, yes, I did ask myself if this was just a way for me to rationalize my laziness ... and I say "yes" and "no". I don't think I work at a rate that I'm completely satisfied with yet but I'm working to get there while also balancing the other things I deem important that are outside of the realms of a career. To always be balance will always be a fantasy but we can actively work towards it everyday. No one but you can understand what is truly important in your life.

I really like to work and move around and have purpose to my days. I also like to cook dinner every night and hike the nature trails near my house and zone out for long periods of time looking at cool things on the Internet. I don't like stress. I don't like staying up all night because I have to to meet a deadline. So that's why I'm deciding to not allow the Maserati-speed that society keeps pushing us towards to influence me or my work - to accept that this might mean I have less dough in my pocket, or achievements on my resumé, but know that instead I'm choosing a healthy lifestyle. 

With lots of sleep.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summertime clothes-making

 No time to post, must get back to my studio and then I'm headed to Turkey for 2 weeks! Thought I would share some photos and a quick word before I'm off.

Now that the art show has closed, I have no other art obligations for the rest of the year. I'm instead using the time to work on my pattern-making skills and submerging back into the world of fashion. Working with clients on custom clothing and fleshing out my own wardrobe with original designs, means I have plenty of work to do!

Above is a custom bridesmaid dress made out of holographic spandex. This was a real learning lesson since I've never worked with a 4-way stretch before. New goal is to figure out how to accurately measure stretch factor before I make a pattern. Underestimated this fabric's ability to  s  t  r  e  t  c  h !!

A quick Hemlock Tee for myself before leaving on vacation earlier this month. The pattern came from Grainline Studios with some customization on the sleeve. As much as I want to stick to my own original patterns, I thought it would be a good education to see what others in the field are doing, and reward myself with less thinking and more sewing!

A friend's wedding called for some flower girl dresses. These were pretty easy to make -- the tutus only required matching lengths of tulle, tied around ribbon. NOTE: tulle will snag and tear on anything small enough to catch within its holes! Still, great fun to make, and the girls loved wearing them.

A shot from my family reunion last weekend, where I brought a custom cheetah print dress for my grandmother (far right). What a full circle, to go from having my grandma measuring me for dresses as a child, to measuring her! It fit her perfectly on the first try (WOW). I even surprised myself on that.


I won't be posting anymore until this summer slows down. Until then, enjoy your summer! I will be getting back to spending time with my friends and family and making some room for sewing and knitting, of course!

XOXO Ann