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.

Fall teaching schedule

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i’ve got a few new classes on the Fall schedule so i thought i should let you know!

in just a few weeks i’m coming to BOSTON! i’ll be teaching two all-day workshops at Stitch House in Dorchester. this’ll be my first time teaching in the Boston area so i’m super excited to meet some new peeps! the fun takes place the weekend of October 4/5: Saturday the 4th is Jersey Leggings in which you’ll learn to draft a pattern from your own measurements and then stitch up a fit sample and then a REAL pair of leggings! and then Sunday the 5th is Shift Dress, in which we’ll draft a pattern for your very own custom-designed dress, then go through the process of making a muslin, fitting it and correcting the pattern, so that when the class is done you’re all set to sew your own dress that FITS! find all the details right here.

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in November, i’ll be headed back to Hunt, Texas for the 2nd crafty cowgirl camp aka Lucky Star Art Camp. yes that is me on a horse last year!!! we went on a sunset trail ride through the Hill Country. it’s not too late to join us, so GIDDYUP! check out all the awesome classes!

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then in December i’ll be back at Purl Soho to teach my Shift Dress Immersion Weekend on December 6-7. this one takes you from start to finish through the process of drafting a pattern, making/fitting a muslin, correcting the pattern and then sewing a finished dress.

you can always check my teaching page for updates, and i’ll also be teaching sewing/patternmaking at my new local haunt, Sew Woodstock, and crochet at my LYS White Barn Farm; i’ll let you know when those are posted.

see you in Maine!

i am busy packing and prepping to leave on Wednesday for Fiber College of Maine. it’s always tough to spread the word about an event when you’re attending for the first time yourself, but fortunately i’m able to share these pics from photographer-to-the-fiberists Gale Zucker, who has taught there for at least the past 3 years and counting. this year she’s teaching an awesome-sounding class called Savvy Storytelling: Writing & Photography for Your Blog with Beverly Army Williams, which i’d be taking myself if i wasn’t teaching the same day.  there are still a few spots open so jump in if you’re able! you can read some of her posts about past Fiber Colleges (and see more pics) here and here.

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in addition to the classes i’m teaching, i’m thrilled to be taking a spinning class with Jackie Ottino-Graf and — i can hardly believe it myself — a quilting class with 4 of the Gee’s Bend Quilters.

i’m also rather excited about Ellen Mason‘s famous Dye Tent where i plan to reincarnate every pink skein of yarn i own into something more palatable. Ellen is another Fiber College veteran and has even been the Resident Artist at the campground earlier in the summer!

oh, and the food is sounding pretty enticing too… how many lobster rolls can one girl eat in 5 days???

 

get to work!

labordayhappy Labor Day makers! i’ve always loved September. as a kid, i looked forward to going back to school, and like most of us, that feeling of motivation and renewal has never left me. i feel even more inspired than usual to learn new skills! so, if you haven’t joined yet, now’s the perfect time to join Creativebug: you’ll get a free month trial for joining now (grab that promo code above) and you’re gonna love it SO much you won’t want to stop! the crazy amount of creative learning and inspiration potential are positively addictive. it’s like having a full-on University of Craft right at your fingertips 24/7!!!

just so ya know, if you hop over there from any links on my site, i do get a small commission which is muchly appreciated. i’ve also created a new online tutorials page right here on my site to hook you up directly with all of my offerings. i’m building up my curriculum in the fields of pattern drafting, sewing and crochet and i’m so proud of these workshops!

bits and bobs and a class this weekend

poet tunicif you live local to me (that’d be the Hudson Valley/Catskills area of NY), i just want to make sure you know about the loveliness that is Sew Woodstock. it’s a new-ish shop in the town of Woodstock, dedicated to sewing, and run by two of the nicest women, Sally and Molly. they are big supporters of upcycling and recycling and the Alabama Chanin (they sell AC jersey!) movement, and it’s my new favorite place to teach! i plum forgot to take pictures the first time i taught there, so i plan to do a more thorough post about them after this weekend. for now i just wanted to tell you that on Saturday i’m teaching a Poet Tunic workshop there and you should join us! we’ll take old XL t-shirts and transform them into cute tunics like the one you see above.

whileshenapsalso, if you missed it, a few weeks ago i had the honor of being interviewed, along with fabulous Jen of Grainline Studio, on Abby Glassenberg’s wonderful podcast, While She Naps. i’ve been listening to this podcast regularly for a few months now and it’s SO good. i love hearing the stories of makers and my fave part is toward the end when the guests and Abby all give their latest obsessions/tips/gadgets/apps/tools etc. i’ve learned a lot of good info! talking with Abby and Jen was really fun and it all went by too fast…

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and the last thing i wanted to tell you for now is that i’ve updated my tutorials page with some of my more recent tutes and fixed some broken links. you may be familiar with all or most of them, but there might be some that you’ve missed so give it a glance!

coming up: Fiber College of Maine

photos by Gale Zucker

photos by Gale Zucker

patch-folk dress

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folk dress detailin just a few weeks i’ll be headed up to Searsport, Maine to teach at Fiber College of Maine. i’ve been curious about this annual event since i first heard about it several years ago, because it sounds quite different than anything i’ve attended before. for one thing, it’s held at an oceanfront campground that has its own natural dye garden and GOATS! also, it’s a combo of fiber festival and craft retreat, by which i mean you can attend for just one day or stay for the whole thing (September 3-7). there’ll be a marketplace of vendors, longer intensive workshops Wednesday-Friday and shorter ones Saturday and Sunday.

notable teachers include Gale Zucker, Amelia Poole, Donna Drachunas, Ellen Mason, Jackie Ottino Graf, with subjects ranging from spinning, kitting, dyeing, basketry and felting to chain mail, bookbinding, woodworking, and photography… learn more and check out the teacher profiles on the FC blog.

from the Fiber College site:

Fiber College of Maine is an annual fiber festival whose sole reason for being is to celebrate the fiber arts in all forms. Maine is particularly blessed with artistic energy and inspiration from the flow of the tides, the rolling hills of the blueberry fields and the stars in the night sky. Each year, the weekend after Labor Day, fiber artists, crafters and students gather together for a weekend of casual fiber classes, time with friends old and new, live animals and good food.

i’m extra-excited to attend this year because 4 of the Gee’s Bend quilters will be there! i can hardly believe it. they’ll be teaching several workshops, speaking and exhibiting a selection of quilts. so exciting!

i’ll be teaching 3 workshops: Folk Dress (or Blouse), the versatile style inspired by the traditional Mexican dress on Friday afternoon, Wingfeathers Shawl on Sunday afternoon, and a Block Printing *pick-up class* with my pal Amy Lou Stein, Saturday night “after the beach bonfire”! find details on ALL the classes and registration over here.

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wingsif you’re in New England, please come and visit! i’m having a vendor booth too along with some of the other teachers, so you’re likely to find me there when i’m not teaching. hope to see you in Maine!

happy blogiversary to me

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yesterday marked the 8-year anniversary of this blog. wow! looking back at my first-ever post has gotten me thinking about all that has changed and all that is very much the same (ahem, current messy studio is VERY reminiscent of the one i showed back then, though at least now it’s not my living room)!

this was my “Mission Statement” for the blog as stated in 2006:

1. documenting and sharing things i am making or have made, with the general goal of trying to sell them!
2. discussing the day-to-day trials and successes of being an independent, small-scale designer
3. exploring my personal project of trying to convert to wearing ONLY clothing made by myself, friends, or other indie designers.

i still agree with each of these intentions, although i don’t feel like i’ve really done any of them justice.

here’s to another 8 years!

Let's hook up some rag rugs!

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you guys! it’s SUMMER! today is July 1st (you probably know that) and since June was pure busy-ness for me, i’m beyond excited that starting today things can finally slow down a bit.

so, what are we gonna do all summer? have you been hooking rugs like mad? why? well, surely you’ve seen my new Crochet a Rag Rug workshop, right? no? because i never told you about it? oh dear. it would seem i’m only capable of communicating via Instagram and Facebook these days. i know it’s not right. but it’s so… easy. this blog post is already hours in the making and i just started writing it. yes, we can blame that pseudo-fancypants collage up above (made entirely of rugs made from the class!). i think it’s kinda cute though. anyhoo, here’s what i’m talking about:

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it’s my latest online workshop and one of my faves. crochet rag rugs are super easy and forgiving, and you can make them out of all the old T-shirts/sheets/jeans/fabric you have lying around, or take a trip to your local thrift shop and see what goodies-that-want-to-become-rugs they have lying about! making these is so fun, and they are ideal summer projects, because you will most likely use cotton textiles (though i’ve got a wool jersey one in the works that’s really gorgeous). you can use the rugs as beach or picnic blankets, bathmats, trivets, or chair cushions, or make them into bowls, baskets or pet beds too… i’m sure you’ll find many reasons to need a few! so far i’ve been FLOORED (ha!) by the ones i’ve seen. you can see more (and find out who made them) over on my crochet rag rug pinboard.

so, who’s up for a RAG RUG-ALONG? i’ve been wanting to whip up some new ones and i’d love it if you’d join me. terms are simple: anytime before August 31, crochet one or more rag rugs and post on Instagram with hashtag #cbugragrug so we can see them all in one place. perhaps there will even be prizes. we’ll see.

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