Saturday, April 4, 2009

Art I Wear Has a Slow Start

I can't believe how long it's been since I sat down at the sewing machine. I was so eager to get started on the next jacket once I'd finished the one for the book. At that point Valentine's Day was coming up so I cut hearts while watching tv, arranged them on a large sweatshirt, then realized with so much stitching (quilting) that jacket was going to shrink and not fit. I'll have to make insets and gussets. Lost interest immediately, and went on to plan B. I was at Joanns, checking out one of their fabric sales. I found a fabric that was the wrong color for me but the print was exactly what I wanted for yet another sweatshirt jacket--I wanted something with movement and that's in this fabric. I figured I'd do something to adjust the color around my face. It wasn't until I got home that I realized this print was supposed to be something I didn't have to follow, to keep the quilting simple. But no, I'd picked a Japanese floral fabric, one that called for more complicated quilting (around the flowers instead of just straight rows). I took the sweatshirt apart, glued the fabric to the sweatshirt--and there it sits, mocking me! It's more work than I wanted to do. I finally picked it up today and went looking for DMC threads to do a bit of hand embroidery on it. Now it's a project like this that paralyzes me. It's not that complicated, just looks labor intensive so it stops me in my tracks--plus it feels doomed for failure. But the fact that I put my hands on the fabric today is a positive step. I bought the threads from mom so she'll be after me to get it done! Besides, who says I have to stitch around the flowers? I can do a series of waves. To be continued...

Meanwhile I'm planning my Polish vest and the ideas change day by day. At first I nixed appliques, but now I was thinking of Mark Lipinski's fabric line called Krakow and am wondering if I could replace some beading with applique--just to see how it works and make it go more quickly.

And in the very back of my mind is the garment I was planning before Christmas and before I started the one with Australian fabrics. I have a book sitting on my sewing table. It is there for a reason. I pick it up and flip through it whenever it catches my eye. That's the idea. I know what shape I want to work with, so now it's time to consider techniques.

Calistoga Yarns
My mother owns Calistoga Yarns. She used to be Adela's Yarns on Castro St. in San Francisco and in Calistoga until she sold the business. She found out she couldn't retire and so started another yarn store in her studio. She still carries imported yarns and textured and hand-painted yarns. She just found two types of sari silks that she likes and voila, I have my first technique gelling. (If you want to visit mom, please write and I'll share the address and phone number.)

A Book:Skinny Quilts & Table Runners
I've spent time flipping through the book: Skinny Quilts & Table Runners from today's top designers. Edited by Eleanor Levie. Martingale & Co., 2008. ISBN: 978-1-56477-730-0. First this is a book of ideas. The title says table runners and the book suggests wall hangings, but I immediately saw jackets and vests. We get ideas and techniques from Yvonne Porcella (who has made fabulous wearable art for years), Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy, Jane Sassaman, and Laura Wasilowski among fifteen designers and projects. Right now I'm pondering over Carol Taylor's pieced runner with couched yarn. That's the photo on the cover. I don't have to couch all over the entire jacket but I won't decide until the piecing is done. The sari silk from mom suggests the colors and in this very moment I've thought of some of the fabric I should use. Hmm, I'm getting excited about this now. I need to draw the idea to see where it's headed. (As to the book, as with every good quilting book, each of the projects has detailed instructions, clear drawings, interesting designs that will stimulate me for a long time, and quiltmaking basics.)

Blog and Website from Kristin Nichols
I read a blog by Kristin Nichols who gives us wonderful photos from her farm. Right now we get to see adorable lambs (especially the triplets) and ewes and the Crazy Chicken, and to hear their stories. Only this week the sap stopped running, but last week we saw the scenes of maple sugar time. Boy does that bring back memories from when I was growing up in Fruitland, Ontario. Every spring the teachers taught us about maple sugar. All these pastoral scenes are delightful but hmm, the blog lists "getting stitched?" What is this--why is there a list of Kristin Knits topics in this blog? Check it out. I haven't yet gotten one of her knitting or embroidery books, but that's coming up. I am very familiar with the yarn company she worked for, Classic Elite, and have admired her patterns through the years since I buy the very magazines which contain her work--very classy, beautiful and intricate knit designs. I love her style. Now I know why--she explains that she is "especially inspired by ethnic textiles." Check out her sweater patterns and look at what she has done with their farmhouse. This isn't grandma's farmhouse anymore! At least not the one I used to visit in Ontario. Check out both her blog and her website too:
You might get motivated the way I did today!

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