here + there

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i had a super fun time in San Francisco,  filming 3 new Creativebug workshops that i can’t wait to unveil! for now they’re under wraps, but if you’re eager to move forward in the realm of designing and drafting your own custom sewing patterns, i suggest you brush up on my previous workalong class, Pattern Drafting, to be up to speed for the new material.

in the meantime, i’ve got some local and semi-local workshops happening over the next month, and i wanted to make sure you knew about them:

this weekend, April 17-19 is the 5th annual Yarn Cupboard Fiber Arts Retreat and Market in Syracuse, NY. unlike many retreats, this one allows people to come just for a class or two and to take in the market, so if you live within driving distance, you might want to come check it out! this year’s teachers include Norah Gaughan, Amy King of Spunky Eclectic, Lori Versace, Jill Draper, Emily Giraudin, Beth Coye, Jennifer VanValcar of Holiday Yarns, Christine Huppman of Knit Swirl, and Lisa Merian of Spinner’s Hill. I’m teaching 3 classes: Crochet on the Edge, Gaga for Grannies, and Crochet Color Play.

next weekend, 2 local classes at my two favorite local shops:

saturday April 25 — Block Printing and Stenciling for Textiles at Sew Woodstock

sunday April 26 — Gaga for Grannies at White Barn Farm

and the following weekend, May 2-3, i’ll be down in NYC, hanging out at my old haunt Brooklyn General Store to teach Patternmaking Simplified on Saturday and Custom Fit Leggings on Sunday.

gosh, i sure do get around. i hope to see you somewhere!

teaching in 2015

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i’ve just updated my teaching page with what i’ve got planned thus far for teaching in 2015. i’m always updating this page so check back in as the year progresses to see where i’ll be. last year was a new record for me; i traveled to California, Colorado, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Maine and Texas to teach. that was a bit much, as i really am a homebody! i’ll be taking it a bit easier this year travel-wise, as i’ve got some projects i need to hunker down on…

which means i am extra glad to now have a wonderful place to teach sewing and patternmaking locally! i’m teaching Befriend Your Sewing Machine (2/7) and Make Your Own Leggings (2/14) in February (heads up: February starts on Sunday!) at Sew Woodstock. if you haven’t been to this warm and lovely shop yet, you really must visit. i’m also teaching a series of crochet workshops at my favorite sheep farm/LYS, White Barn Farm, beginning 2/8.

a fun new development is that i’m teaching a 7-week Design and Sew Your Own Clothes as part of the Saturday Arts Lab program at SUNY New Paltz, for ages 14 through adult. it’s rare that i get to teach such a long-format class, so i’m excited to have the opportunity! we’ll be drafting patterns, sewing and fitting muslins and then making final versions of a skirt and shift dress. starts 2/21; reserve your spot while there is one!

 

 

 

 

 

get out your sketchbook!

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you guys! i could not be more excited about the newest work-along happening NOW* on Creativebug: Sketchbook Explorations with Lisa Congdon. i’m sure you know who Lisa is; she’s such a prolific + inspiring illustrator and teacher. i love her bright, clear, colorful and bold graphic style, and especially at this time of year we can all use a little creative energy boost! i had a lot of fun watching her previous workshop, Basic Line Drawing too.

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back when i was in design school i did a lot of drawing and painting. we didn’t know then that computers would become household items and that things like paper and pens would become practically extinct. later, when i worked as a designer in the fashion industry, sketches were how i communicated my ideas to the bosses as well as the people who would actually make the clothes. but since i started working for myself (for over 15 years now) i’ve not had to show anyone my designs, nor convince anyone they should be made. and so i’ve fallen out of the habit of sketching. but lately i’ve felt the desire to play with ink and pencils again and see what happens…

i may have just accidentally purchased a new set of brush pens, some Micron pens, and a brand new set of watercolors, all of which i’m tossing along with my dusty sketchbook into the bag i’m packing with projects for my week at Squam Studio.

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i’ve been keeping a pinboard of sketchbook inspiration for a while now, and felt really motivated after seeing Jen of Grainline’s sweet sketches of her winter wardrobe plans. also do check out some more of Lisa’s recent sketchbook spreads. i can’t wait to get started!

*note: the work-alongs are longer format classes with new episodes debuting each week over the course of a month. however, once they air, they remain available for watching indefinitely. so even if you don’t have time this week or this month, it’s never too late to join in!

Squam Studio

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i have a fantasy that plays in my head on a fairly constant rotation. in this fantasy, i am sequestered in a cozy, organized studio, equipped with any and all supplies i might need for whatever project is at hand (or the project that may present itself on a whim) with ample space. and absolutely nothing else. a big part of the dream is that there is NOTHING i need to do except create: meals will appear, dishes will be washed, all daily chores will vanish. i’ll be able to focus and play, and delve into new territories of mental freedom.

so, what i have been most looking forward to about January is that this fantasy of mine, IT’S COMING TRUE!!! i can hardly believe it. it’s like Elizabeth read my mind, and created a new kind of retreat, Squam Studio, that is exactly what i’ve always fantasized about. unlimited free time in a dream studio environment… and i’ve been invited to be the Resident Maker for the inaugural session. oh glory be!!! and of course, you can come too, if you like!

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this wondrous escape will be held at a place like no other: a place few have visited, but those who have been there never wanted to leave. i’ve heard tales, i’ve seen photos, but i cannot WAIT to see it for myself. it’s the magical studio of madcap artist, teacher, stitcher, woodworker, landscape designer Willy Wonka Terri Dautcher. i’ve been a huge fan of Terri since taking her legendary “3 Tools” workshop at Squam back in 2010, in which i defied my inherent terror of power tools and made a wooden toolbox.

i’m kicking myself for not telling you about this sooner (and a good reason why you should get yourself on the Squam email list if you’re not already), but though the January session is very soon (SQUEEE!!!), there will be another in October. hop over here and watch the video, and find out all the details. we’re gonna need to keep pinching ourselves…

see you in the woods!

p.s. oh yes, if you’re a dog lover: Gertie is coming with me! and Daisy and Oliver will be there!

p.p.s. all photo above courtesy of Squam Art Workshops.

aaaaaahh... J a n u a r y

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here we are. a whole new year!

as usual i’m not quite done with the last one, but still we plow ahead.

January for me is always so filled with promise and potential… the previous 4 months are always something of a blur, leading up to the crazytown holiday craft fair season that really does a number on me. the whole time i keep telling myself: just wait until January. then you can relax, re-set the dials, take stock, maybe work on some things you WANT to do and not only things you need to do for others…

that’s what i say anyway. it keeps me going. the reality is that so many things get pushed back all those months, and now i need to finish them during my precious January. but still, it’s a better pace. there’s a little bit of free time, and the intense pressure is off.

i’ve got big plans. lots of ideas. projects to finish, and projects to begin.

Happy New Year dear readers!

note to self: in the future, don’t get a new dog* during the 4 months of crazy season. it doesn’t help.

 

*more on that later!

the last of the minutes

give_getif you know me, you know that i’m not really a “plan ahead” kinda girl. the plotting and scheming and idea-hatching may start early on in my process, but before i know it, the deadline is nigh and i’m not quite ready. hence, my annual holiday gift scramble is always a mad dash. between craft fairs and filling holiday gift orders for other people, November and December are a total blur and i end up in an exhausted panic a few days before December 25, when my family expects their presents. not until that phase is done can i begin to think about all the other people i may have liked to give something to. so i’m thankful when perfect solutions come along in easy packages that i haven’t missed the boat for, like Creativebug’s end-of-the-year GIVE a GIFT / GET a GIFT deal:

Through December 31st, when you buy someone a 1-year Creativebug subscription, they’ll give you a 1-year subscription to keep for yourself!

which also happens to be my favorite shopping mantra, “one for them, one for me…”

if you need further convincing that Creativebug is about the most awesome thing ever, peruse some of their free classes, or even my own free Beginner Sewing: Market Tote Bag workshop, to get a feel for the wonders of online learning on your own schedule.

 

 

 

'tis the (holiday craft fair) season!

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ack! the fairs are starting already! can’t let another minute pass without making sure you know that the craft fair season has BEGUN!!!

i know you want to shop local and support independent artisans, so if you’re in the Hudson Valley area, i hope you can come out and see us at the 2nd annual Hudson Valley Hullabaloo THIS WEEKEND!!! Kingston, NY is where it’s at, and the vendor list is a real who’s who of local talent. there will be handmade gifts galore, a photo booth, gift wrapping, food, music and FUN!!!

 

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if you can’t make the Hullabaloo, i’ll also be in the Basilica Farm & Flea in Hudson over Thanksgiving weekend (check out the Black Friday Soiree from 5-9 Friday night for food tastings, cocktails and other festivities).

 

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my last fair of the season will be the Indie Mart in Narrowsburg, a new one for me that i’m super excited about! hope to see you at one of them! and for all my pals who live in other parts of the world, please do seek out the small craft markets near you. shopping handmade is a triple WIN for you as the gift-giver, for the gift receiver, and for the artist whose love, time and effort went into the making of the gift.

 

 

 

meet the Willettes

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i first met my friends Linda and Stephen Willette about 5 years ago when we were booth neighbors at a fiber festival further upstate. they are the cutest and sweetest couple you’ve ever seen, and they make exquisitely hand-crafted wooden tools for fiber artists: crochet hooks, knitting needles, yarn bowls, looms, and a whole range of objects i don’t even know how to use. somehow i don’t actually have a picture of them but you can just imagine my childhood heroes The Sunshine Family come to life and you’ll be pretty close.

one of the (many) reasons i look forward to Rhinebeck every year is that i get to see the Willettes and (sometimes) add a lovely new hook to my collection. if you’re going this weekend, lookout for them in Building C!

 

this year’s acquisition for me will be a large hook for crocheting rugs. and, i’ve been meaning to mention that the Rag Rug-Along is still going on (through the end of November!) and i’ve rounded up a few prizes, one of which is a Willette jumbo crochet hook!!! just post your rug pics (in-progress and finished) to Instagram (you do follow me, right?) and hashtag them with #cbugragrug.

ok, gotta run if i’m gonna finish my Rhinebeck sweater and wear it tomorrow! i took a super fun spinning class yesterday with Jacey Boggs who was a fantastically fun teacher. i’ll be there both days this weekend so say “hi” if you see me! and i’ll be spinning in my guild’s booth in Bldg 39 from 3-5 on saturday.

 

 

 

in love with: Sew Woodstock

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ever since moving upstate, i’ve dreamed of having a local sewing shop where i could teach, shop, hang out with like-minded stitchers, and basically call my 2nd home. if i could conjure up this dream place, it’d look exactly like the picture you see above. lucky for me, it’s not a dream but a reality: meet Sew Woodstock.

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: : sigh : : this place! the lovely light, the sky-high ceilings, the divine plants, the comfy couches for hand stitching, the antique furniture, the enormous cutting table… Sally, the proprietress, has done a wonderful job making this place warm, inviting, and so inspiring.

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they sell Alabama Chanin jersey, plus her books, kits and all the supplies required to make the projects. and we just *might* be planning some Alabama stitchery classes…

Sew Woodstock also sells found and recycled fabrics, patterns, and vintage clothing.

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this is just a small part of the notions wall. one stop shopping! i need never go to that dreaded Big Box sewing store again when i run out of thread…

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i just love the mix of open and spacious, but also a bit of (organized) clutter! i somehow didn’t snap a photo of the sewing stations, but they are always set up (along the huge, plant-filled front window) and if you live locally, you can join the sewing co-op for a very reasonable fee, and use the equipment any time!

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should you need alterations or repairs, resident seamster Molly is your girl. she also designs a line of upcycled clothing called MoWear, and teaches private sewing lessons in the shop.   sw10

they carry the exquisite Merchant & Mills line of notions and patterns too. i covet everything on this table!

i am teaching 3 classes here this month:

Make Your Own Skirt — learn to draft a pattern and then sew your own custom skirt! Wednesday evenings 6-8pm (starts next week!)

Patternmaking Simplified — a one-day workshop in which you’ll learn to draft patterns for a skirt and shift dress

Befriend Your Sewing Machine — the ideal low-commitment introduction OR refresher class to get you sewing!

Tidal Lace Blog Hop!!!

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i met vibrant textile designer Kim Andersson of I Adore Pattern at the Makerie earlier this year, and learned that she was soon releasing her first print collection for Windham Fabrics: Tidal Lace. how exciting! of course i jumped at the chance of creating a project in one of her lovely fabrics. i chose Sea Gems in White to make the Beachcomber Dress, a simple sundress using one of the patterns i drafted for my Pattern Drafting workshop on Creativebug. it’s a sweet shift with a gathered yoke seam that makes for a loosely skimming dress that can be worn belted or not. i’ve been wearing the gingham one i made all summer, so i knew it was just the style to sew up for this tidepool-inspired print. you could make one too!

TLKim also had a Datura Blouse and an Alder Skirt stitched up to show off her prints. check out the Tidal Lace look book to see all the pretties.

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Kim was recently on the Modern Sewciety podcast. i plan to listen to while sewing this week to find out more about how her process and inspiration.

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summer officially ends tomorrow here in NY, but these prints make me long for a nice walk on the beach, collecting sand dollars and shells and hoping to glimpse a starfish. they’ll be in stores in January 2015, in plenty of time to sew up some loveliness for when the sunshine returns…

TLbundleWindham and Kim have graciously offered a fat quarter bundle giveaway for every stop on the Tidal Lace Blog Hop so you might want to hop around and enter! leave a comment here saying what you would make by midnight PST on Sunday 9/28 and i’ll pick a winner on Monday the 29th.

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