you guys! my travels for the year are done (Texas was super FUN and i will tell you all about it soon!) and it feels good to know i’m sticking close to home for the remainder of 2015. this weekend i’ll be in Kingston selling at the 3rd Hudson Valley Hullabaloo, a lovely artisan market with loads of personality! so many of my favorite local artisans will be there; take a gander at the vendor list if you’re curious, plus food, music, and 2 kinds of photo booths!
also coming up quick (December 5) is my Embroidery & Applique workshop at Drop Forge & Tool in Hudson. these two endlessly helpful skills can help you make gifts more personal, commemorate events, hide mending or stains, or just give a tired old item a new life.
and on December 6 i’m teaching Hook Up a Hat at White Barn Farm in Gardiner. Learn how a simple formula enables you to crochet hats for any size head, with any yarn, in any gauge.
see you ’round the neighborhood!
in about a month, i’ll be heading down to the Texas Hill Country for what has become one of my favorite teaching gigs of every year: Lucky Star Art Camp. this will be the 3rd year for this event and it just keeps getting better! i wanted to let you know that it’s not too late to join me if you’re needing a little Autumnal getaway; registration is open until October 16 at noon.
the setting is spectacular, right on the Guadalupe river, and Texas is gorgeous in November! warm days and cool nights mean most of the workshops take place outdoors, but you might need a cozy blanket in the evening around the fire…
most evenings we sit around the campfire and sing along with in-house Rock Star Mandy Rowden.
did i mention the FOOD? local, healthy, farm-to-table Southwestern fare. you won’t go hungry!
Ranch House #2 has been my home-away-from-home both times i’ve attended Lucky Star.
Lucky Star feels like summer camp; in fact it’s held on a campus — Camp Waldemar — that is indeed a girls’ summer camp since 1926, founded by a real live cowgirl! so there are lots of activities that bring back the awesome memories of being a kid and attending camp: riding horses, singing ’round the campfire, swimming in the river, and yes, leather crafting! but then there are the workshops, with more grown-up and super-fun subjects like Selling Your Art Online, Making Cheese at Home, Apothecary Cafe, Girl Guitar, and Making the World a Bluer Place (aka Shibori dyeing with indigo)! the awesome group of teachers, some local and some who travel from afar, have so much to share. i wish i could take all of the classes myself!
i always offer a mix of sewing and crochet, so this year i’m teaching Sew Your Own Leggings, Zip It!, Crochet on the Edge, and Stitch It! the embroidery workshop has become something of a tradition and this will be my 3rd year doing it. last year we had a huge group of beginning crocheters, so i hope to see many of them expand their skills this year in my edgings class.
the guitar (and ukulele!) class gave a moving performance the last night of camp.
for me, my absolute favorite thing about Lucky Star is the horses. i had a pony and a horse as a kid, and rode many days a week while growing up, but it had been thirty years since i’d been in the saddle! riding through the Texas hills at sunset and seeing the native flora and fauna from the back of a horse is definitely a highlight.
i hope you can join us this year! take a peek at the schedule to get a tiny taste of how much fun you’ll have. see you in Texas!
last week we launched Part 1 of my newest online workshop for Creativebug, Pattern Drafting with Knits, and i showed you how to use your Master Pattern to make a more fitted knit empire waist dress. today, Part 2 is live, and i’ll be teaching you how to draft your own custom-fit hoodie! i don’t know about you, but hooded sweatshirts are a staple in my wardrobe. i must admit though, i had never made one myself before! i’m pretty happy at how my sample came out (i even made the crazy choice of using stripes for my first attempt) and have been living in it ever since getting it back from the photo shoot.
i’ll also show you more style variations, all originating from that same shift dress pattern. some of these use the pattern with the ease removed, and some have the additional positive ease we add for the hoodie. the possibilities are really infinite!
this cozy yellow French terry tunic with reverse patch pockets is fast becoming another staple of my Autumn wardrobe… what are YOU going to make?
you guys! all of you who’ve been asking for more pattern drafting and sewing workshops from me are in for a treat! i’m super excited that my newest online class, Pattern Drafting with Knits, debuts today. it builds on my original Pattern Drafting workshop from last year, which mainly focused on wovens, and shows you how to use that master pattern to make all sorts of new additions to your handmade wardrobe, like the empire waist dress you see above.
a big factor in converting the pattern to knits is adjusting the ease. in Part 1, i’ll show you how to take ease out, so you have “negative ease”, which makes for the kind of close fit you can only get with knits, and we’ll talk about different kinds of knit fabrics and their properties.
i’ll also show you some of my favorite techniques for sewing knits, no serger required! we’ll cover neckline finishes, hems and seams with built-in stretch.
most of us wear knits all the time, so we shouldn’t be afraid to sew with them. once you see how much fun they are, the style options from your basic pattern are infinite!
it’s been quite a while since i released a new crochet pattern, but i’m pleased to share with you the Urchin Stripe Cowl. it’s a quick little number, perfect for the transition between summer and fall (in other words, NOW!); wear it with a cardi or hoodie to extend the season of your summer dresses and tops. i designed it as a way to practice the 4 basic stitches and where to put them at the beginnings and ends of rows, an aspect of crochet that beginners often find a bit confusing.
this little project is a collaboration with my pals at Kelbourne Woolens, purveyors of the lovely Fibre Company Canopy Fingering that i used to hook it up. the combo of fine, soft yarn and a bigger hook makes for a lightweight, drapy cowl that practically floats around your neck. you can read more about it over on their blog!
can you believe it’s SEPTEMBER? i for one cannot, but that doesn’t mean i’m not happy about it. to me, there’s no month more promising than September. it just feels like a new beginning. i may be inspired to make new clothes all year ’round, but this is the time of year when a new handmade wardrobe (or more accurately, taking stock, adding to and filling in the gaps of a handmade wardrobe, since they are to be developed over a lifetime and not something we discard or acquire every season) just feels essential.
to that end, i’m super happy to announce that my newest online workshop, Pattern Drafting with Knits, premieres on Creativebug next week! and look at all the fun company i’m in! it’s almost like a complete seminar on building a handmade wardrobe: Creating Color Palettes with Anna Maria Horner, Brush Painting on Fabric with Anna Joyce, Screen Printing with Hilary Williams, and more Sketchbook Explorations with Lisa Congdon!
if you’ve taken my original Pattern Drafting workshop (which mainly dealt with wovens) in the past, and are excited to jump into working with knits, you may want to review the first one this weekend, as you’ll need your basic shift + sleeve patterns for the new class. just wait until you see all the cute stuff you can make with knit fabrics, just by tweaking your pattern and learning some new techniques!
it’s not too late to join in on the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge if you want to develop your wardrobe with an enthusiastic group of makers cheering you on! and you’re also invited to join my Pattern Drafting group on Facebook to share/discuss/ask questions about all things related to patternmaking and sewing clothes.
do you love podcasts as much as i do? i listen to them while i work, and also when i’m driving. i subscribe to lots of different kinds, but my favorites are those that interview makers. they keep me company while i’m sewing or cutting out dresses or crocheting, and it fascinates me to hear other creative people’s stories and practices.
back in June when i was at Squam, one of my cabin-mates was the lovely Helen of the Curious Handmade podcast. Helen designs exquisite knits, plans awesome events, and talks about running an independent creative business, and i’ve listened to every episode of her show, so i felt like we were already old friends, since she’s been hanging out with me in my studio for years! she knew at the time that she’d be doing a series on clothes-making, which has now evolved into the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, and she aired her interview with me on Friday to coincide with kicking off the challenge. this month is for plotting and scheming so i’m still coming up with how exactly i want to participate. believe it or not, my own handmade wardrobe has some holes to fill!
i wish we had a photo of us recording, because we both had our needlework in our laps as we giggled on the couch in the living room of our darling cabin, with a crackling fire (it was a slightly chilly, cloudy afternoon). the photo above will give you some idea of the mood, as it was taken in the same cozy room. but alas, no one was around to visually capture the happy hour or so we spent chatting. when i listened the other night, i was transported back to that wonderful moment. we laugh a lot, and talk about why i love crochet, how i began teaching at my little shop in NYC, tips for beginner sewing projects, why i don’t sell sewing patterns (yet), and lots more. i think you might enjoy grabbing a project and a drink and listening in, and you may even feel inspired to join in the fun of the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge… it’s very flexible, and you can set your own goal, and it’s open to sewing, knitting, and even crochet!
i am so pleased to announce that at the end of this month, i’m heading to Ithaca, NY, to teach with my dear pal maya at the wonderful new artspace called Craftstitute. this delights me in a number of ways, not the least of which is that i’ve always wanted to teach with maya, and visit her, and we’ve been scheming up ways to make it happen for years now.
so, when my friend lisa richards opened Craftstitute (along with her friend robin) in maya’s neck of the woods this past spring, we knew it was meant to be. we’ve always loved the idea of mixing or layering different crafts in one workshop, and thus our Print & Sew Folk Dress weekend was born. maya will teach you to carve your own blocks and create your own printed textiles, and i will show you how to make a simple and customizable folk dress or blouse. we’re pretty excited about it, and are hoping you can join us!
learn more and register over at the Craftstitute site.
crochet for knitters
hello! i am so happy to announce that i have a fun new workshop debuting today over on Creativebug. it’s called Crochet Techniques for Knitters, and it’s packed with simple and useful ways that a crochet hook can become a valued addition to your knitting toolkit (if it isn’t already)!
knitters tell me all the time “i saw this cute pattern on Ravelry but then i saw that it had a crochet edging so i passed it by” and this, my pals, is a travesty. i’m a firm believer that, though we may lean toward one or the other, every knitter should crochet, and every crocheter should knit.
following are some of the ways i’ll show you that the hook can help your knitting:
i think the timing couldn’t be more perfect. i mean, last week a crochet sweater pattern appeared on Knitty. (whaaaaat?!? i know! i never thought i’d live to see this historic day). and every day i see more beautiful crochet patterns by new designers. you can see some hot-on-the-hook crochet action right now if you check the #crochetsummer2015 hashtag on Instagram.
i’ve started a Crochet for Knitters pinboard to collect lovely patterns that utilize both hook and needle. please let me know if you come across any that i can add!
note: i haven’t mentioned this before, but any links from my site to Creativebug are affiliate links. i don’t accept any advertising, sponsors or other affiliates here, but i think it’s pretty obvious that i think Creativebug is pretty freakin’ awesome (my clearly biased opinion) and if you click over from my links and subscribe, i will get a tiny commission. thanks for your support!
it’s been a really lovely spring here in the Catskills/Hudson Valley of New York, possibly a bit more appreciated than usual because of that super-cold winter we had. there’s been lots of warm sunshine and we finally got a dose of rain this week, and more is on the way. i’m extra excited about my garden this year and so far things are going well. the peas are actually almost a foot taller than this photo (taken last weekend) thanks to the rain! it had been quite dry for most of this month, so growth was very s l o w…
these are my Egyptian Walking Onions, with some volunteer kale flowering in between. one of my favorite things about gardening are all the plants that either survive the winter or re-seed themselves. i have about 10,000 baby kale seedlings thanks to self-seeding. and many kale plants simply live under the snow in a dormant state and then sprout new leaves when it warms up again. so we actually have greens to eat in late April/early May!
on the left is my first planting of lettuce from seed, which is nearly ready to start picking (and reminds me that i should sow some more so that we have salad all summer and fall) and on the right is my poppy patch. every year i mean to plant poppies which like to be sown when it’s still very cold, and even (bizarrely) like to experience some freezing spells. this year i finally got seeds in the ground in April, and they are looking quite good.
but the MOST exciting thing happening in our garden this year is that for the first time, one of our hens got “broody” and started to sit on eggs. since we happen to have a rooster, and we don’t usually, we thought we should seize the moment and let her do her thing. Midge is our oldest hen; she’s 5 years old! so 21 days after she started her vigilant nesting, one by one each of the 4 eggs cracked open just like in cartoons and out popped these wee bouncing balls of fluff.
Midge is being an excellent Mom, and it’s really fun to watch these chicks progress so much faster then our previous broods, because they are learning from a pro! i saw one of them eat a little caterpillar at about 3 days old. and they can live outside (in our original portable coop) because they’ve got Mom to keep them warm…
more chick pix to come, i promise…