wow! that was super fun! from January 1-31 i (along with thousands of others) participated in the Daily Drawing Challenge of Lisa Congdon’s 31 Things to Draw workshop, which was a fantastic way to start off a New Year! each day a new segment was released, in which Lisa showed us several ways to draw a thing, like teacups, or root vegetables, or spice jars, or cacti, or bikinis. every day was a surprise to me, because i didn’t peek ahead at all the drawings to see what was coming. i’ve been wanting to get back into the habit of drawing in my sketchbook, so this daily practice was an excellent motivator. Lisa is so good at simplifying objects and making them really approachable, and it really brought me back to all the drawing and sketching i used to do in school. these days, i may sketch out an idea for a dress or a crochet design, but i rarely draw for the sake of drawing…
i think my favorite thing to draw was the root vegetables (find them below), but my fave overall doodle was the “bees” one you see above. it got me thinking about Spring and getting the garden going, and reminded me that it’s time to order seeds, especially sunflowers!
i did these right before bedtime every night (hence the poorly-lit photos) and only spent about 5-10 minutes working on them (the video tutorials are about 3-5 minutes long). i didn’t branch out too much from Lisa’s examples, but if you check out the #CBDrawaday or #31thingstodraw hashtags on Instagram, you’ll be AMAZED at some of the interpretations by very talented illustrators! i loved seeing the wide range of skills each day.
usually i fall off the boat pretty quick when i try to take part in these challenges, so it feels really great that i stuck with it. and even though this workshop debuted last month, all of the segments are up now for good, so YOU can take part whenever you like, and add your drawings to the galleries. i promise, even if you think you can’t draw at all, you’ll have fun and see that you actually CAN!
and — breaking news! — i just found out that there’s a NEW Daily Drawing Challenge workshop for February, with Heather Ross and Molly Hatch! plus there are a bunch of other illustration and sketchbook workshops on Creativebug too. my sketchbook will never feel neglected again.
hello! welcome to those of you who are following along on the Good Hair Day blog hop! Good Hair Day, for those who don’t yet know, is the latest fabric collection from my textile designer friend Kim Andersson. i’m happy to be a co-host of the Hop today, and show you the dress i made for it. plus i’ll tell you how you can make one yourself!
as soon as i saw this Bobby Pins print, i knew it was the one for me (though i’m also enamored with the Braids…), since bobby pins are key components to my own good hair days, and i pictured it in a sweet summery sleeveless number. the fact that i was shoveling snow and breaking up ice in the chickens’ water dish at 8am this morning only make this jaunty warm-weather frock look even more appealing!
this dress is made using the essential shift dress pattern from my Master Pattern Drafting workshop*. once you have the basic pattern, three easy modifications are all you need to whip up your own version and start daydreaming of Spring…
the first modification is to add flare to the pattern, which i thoroughly explain in Part 3, Chapter 8, the one titled “Flared dress modification with elastic waist” (only you won’t be adding the elastic waist, although you could, and that’d be cute too!).
next you’ll be creating a contrasting-fabric contoured yoke pattern piece. i used the same seam line front + back, but you could make them different, or only add the yoke in front. details on this simple drafting are found in Part 3 Chapter 9, titled “Gathered Yoke Modification” (and again, more design options! i didn’t gather the body into the yoke here, but that’s another way you could go…). the only slight change is that you’ll make a gently curved line instead of straight. easy peasy!
and the final mod is to add cutaway pockets (aka the Cal Patch signature pockets) to your side seams, with a contrast facing peeking through. i show you how to make these pockets on a skirt in Part 3 Chapter 3, “Modifying the Skirt Pattern”, and the process is the same for a dress. you’ll just be drawing the pocket opening and pocket bag so that top and bottom connect with the side seam, rather than the waist line. i also do a version of this pocket style in my book, on the Kathy Dress.
oh, and before i forget: leave a comment below to be entered to win a Charm Pack of all the Good Hair Day prints! and hop around all the other stops on the tour for more chances to win, plus two chances to win Fat Quarter bundles on Kim’s and Windham’s blogs (links to both + the whole Hop schedule at the start of this post). i’ll randomly choose a winner on January 20th.
hope YOU’RE having a good hair day!
*note: if you’ve just blog-hopped over here for the first time, i teach pattern drafting, sewing and crochet online workshops via Creativebug. it’s very inexpensive to subscribe, which gains you access to ALL the amazing classes, with expert teachers you’re probably already a fan of! you can get a free 2-week trial to check it out, and just so you know, all Creativebug links on my site are affiliate links. thanks!
you guys! it’s the last day of the year! and the beginning of a whole new one! for me this is always a very inspiring and motivated time because it’s the end of my busiest season and the start of my slowest one, which is something i embrace wholeheartedly. time to take stock (i’ve always wanted to do this), finish some languishing WIPs (#Eveof2016FinishingParty anyone?) and organize plans for the coming year.
one of the ways i’m so thrilled to f-i-n-a-l-l-y be able to get organized is via Textillia. have you jumped on the wagon yet? as they like to say, “Sewists, it’s OUR turn!” and indeed it is. we who crochet and knit can’t even conceive of life without Ravelry these days, but until now there’s been no place for we who SEW to document, research, share, learn and hang out amongst our peeps. i plan to, one by one, go through the garments i’ve made and document my sewing history over in *my studio*. if you’re setting up your own profile, please add me as a friend and i’ll add you back!
the lovely Ariane, who created Textillia with her partner Bruno, is hosting their first official Sew-Along for the month of January, and the project is the knit dress from my Pattern Drafting with Knits class. it’s a pretty casual sew-along, but you can read all about it over on the Textillia blog. most of the action will take place in the Cal Patch Fan Club forum* over there, and i’ll be chiming in, offering advice and moral support, and even making a new dress of my own. i’ll admit though that what i love most about this whole scheme is that i’m not in charge of it!
so, i hope some of you will consider joining in, especially if you’ve been wanting to try sewing with knits but haven’t had the courage on your own. i’ll be writing some posts about types of knit, some of my favorite resources, and the mysterious wonders of Ease. oh, and if you haven’t yet subscribed to Creativebug, today (December 31st) is the last day of the two-for-one promotion offer, so get to it! one for you, one for a friend!
*i have a fan club!!! i wanted to point out that i did not start it, and really it’s just a forum, but if that’s what Ariane wants to call it, who am i to complain?
every year i have big plans to send out holiday cards, bake lots of cookies, and make all of my holiday gifts. i have amnesia about the fact that november and december are the busiest months for my work, what with craft fairs and filling orders that check off other people’s lists. so typically, most of my handmade holiday fantasies fall apart.
but as soon as i saw my pal Courtney’s class on painting your own watercolor holiday cards** on Creativebug, i knew i had to try it. i happened to have a new set of watercolors (more on those in a second) i’ve been dying to dip into, and oh yeah i probably haven’t painted with watercolors since i was in high school. as i suspected, Courtney makes it look very approachable and i whipped out 12 cards in about an hour and a half of Sunday evening fun.
i was partial to the wreaths because i liked the organic simplicity of painting the leaf shapes with the brush, and i added a single snowflake to each envelope.* they are certainly not masterpieces, but they did get me out of my comfort zone in a really fun way. mostly i’m just super happy that i actually made these, and will send them out as Happy New Year cards.
SO! it’s worth noting that if you are anywhere near as last-minute as me, or just find that additional gift or project needs still pop up before the end of the year, Creativebug can be a great solution. their biggest sale of the year is going on through the 31st of December: Give a Gift, Get a Gift subscription in 3, 6 or 12 month increments. the 12-month plan for only $50 is a 58% savings off the regular price!
there are lots of cool last-minute gift projects (like this Fringed Scarf workshop with Anna Maria Horner, and i’m sure we all have something in our fabric stash we could turn into a scarf!) and also baking lessons with the Wilton crew (i still plan on baking some cookies this week…).
oh yeah, about those watercolors! my darling friend Beverly gifted me this sweet set of the most awesome handmade watercolors in a tiny Altoids tin from Greenleaf & Blueberry and i think it’s the best thing ever. Bev is a fan and i admired her set when we were in Maine, and now i’m totally crushing out on them too. they make their paints with natural geological pigments, gum arabic, and honey!
*forgive the 11pm poorly-lit kitchen photos; i planned to re-take them this morning but it’s currently raining and even darker.
**all the Creativebug links here and throughout my site are indeed affiliate links, so i get a few bucks if you sign up after clinking over. thanks!
if you’re looking for me this weekend, i’ll be in the picturesque Catskills town of Narrowsburg, NY, right on the PA border. this will be my 2nd year at the Indie Narrowsburg Holiday Mart, and i’m honored to be included in this lovely community of artisans! i met so many great makers, and there was a nice diversity gift ideas, from art to food to clothes and winter woolies. the event is organized by Allison of Madame Fortuna and Pam of Mayer Wasner, both of whom have lovely boutiques on Main Street. if you’re in the mood for a day trip from the city or surrounding areas, this tiny town has a surprising amount of activity! i highly suggest you have a meal at the heron, probably the best restaurant i’ve eaten at since moving upstate from NYC. and i hear they’ve got a new speakeasy performance space which i plan to visit saturday night…
note: the market goes on next weekend too, but with some different vendors, and i’m only there this weekend.
oh gosh, it’s that time of year again! i’ve got one more craft fair left (this weekend! the Holiday Indie Mart in Narrowsburg, NY!) and THEN i can finally start thinking about my own gifting. it happens every year: i can’t think straight until about mid-December because the craft fair season inconveniently occurs simultaneously with gifting season… ahem. well, of course that’s actually a good thing, and i do stock up on some great giftable items while i’m working at the markets. but my aim here is to suggest some ideas for the Makers in your life, and do double good service by supporting indie maker businesses at the same time!
how divine is this Flowers at my Fingertips sewing kit kit (it’s a kit to make a kit!) from A Verb for Keeping Warm? i don’t know any stitcher who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive this, along with Kristine’s lovely new book, The Modern Natural Dyer.
this adorable organic screen-printed t-shirt sums up my basic gifting (not to mention life) philosophy: Stitch more, buy less. brought to you by the awesome maker-space A Gathering of Stitches.
if you know a crocheter, i bet she would love one or both of The Crochet Project’s books, available as print or digital editions. and how about a hand-carved wooden crochet hook from Stephen Willette?
i’m all about experiential gifts, which are most awesome if they result in time spent together between you AND your loved one. whether you live near each other, or use it as an excuse to travel and meet up somewhere non-local, workshops and retreat gift certificates make wonderful gifts. here’s a short list of spots i can personally attest to as being lovely spaces, run by fantastic makers, with high-quality instructors, but i’m sure there are lots more:
a gathering of stitches (portland, ME)
a verb for keeping warm (oakland, CA)
brooklyn general (brooklyn, NY)
clementine (rockland, ME)
craftstitute (ithaca, NY)
craftwork (somerville, MA)
fancy tiger crafts (denver, CO)
sew woodstock (woodstock, NY)
the workroom (toronto, Canada)
white barn farm (new paltz, NY)
shakerag workshops (sewanee, TN)
squam art workshops (holderness, NH)
lucky star art camp (hunt, TX)
i’ve got some more ideas to share, but that’s gonna have to do for now. this maker’s gotta make some more stuff for my fair this weekend!
a few of my maker pals and i thought it’d be fun to do this as a series among us, so see also Bev’s, MaryLou’s, and Gale’s (coming tomorrow) gift guides! and i bet AmyLou might whip one up too.
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!