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…
the Hudson Valley area of New York, where i live, is filled with makers, growers, and all sorts of creators. it can take a bit of hunting though to find them, as their studios, homes, shops and farms are spread out over this vast, largely rural area and tucked away on dirt roads or in tiny towns. this is why i’m quite thrilled about a new addition to the creative community in these parts: Drop Forge & Tool. based in the thriving big town of Hudson, DF&T is the new project of (freshly-transplanted from San Francisco) Katharine Daugherty and Michael Hoch. i suspect they are soon to become a key hub of our local maker scene!
in their own words:
Drop Forge & Tool’s mission is to encourage and support the making of new work of all kinds: visual, performance, written, tactile, and musical. We host maker workshops taught by leading makers in their field, and a creative residency program to provide individual artists and small groups of all disciplines with much needed space and time to pursue what interests them most.
i am really excited to teach my first all-day workshop there later this month: Crochet Rag Rug. i always love teaching rug-making because it’s such a practical and useful craft. plus i could use a few new rugs in the house! i have a special discount code to share with you: HPF25 will get you 25% off the registration fee, which includes a locally-sourced lunch.
take a gander at their full list of upcoming workshops, as there are S O M A N Y good ones that i want to take! such as the debut English Paper Piecing one on May 5, for which i also have a 50% off code of InstaEPP. and i happen to know about a few that aren’t posted yet that you might go bonkers for, so be sure to sign up for their newsletter so you don’t miss out.
just look at this amazing space, begging to be filled with makery of all sorts! they host awesome performance events too, as well as artist residencies and a weekly handcraft night.
at the tail end of summer i’ll be teaching a super-fun weekend-long Make Your Own Dress workshop with special guest Lisa Congdon! Lisa will be in residence at DF&T and we’ll be using fabrics from her latest collection, Revelry for Cloud 9 fabrics. it’s a perfect excuse to make a weekend trip to Hudson…
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.