Spring Fever

Finally! Spring is here!
Since the early 1940s, only one other year has been wetter than this one.
It’s been rain, rain, rain, followed by more rain. And then some more.
[shhhh, this is a secret: I do not mind the rain. I’ve been just fine inside, right in front of my sewing machine.]
But, when the sun comes out and everything is sparkling and clean, it’s impossible to stay inside.
And besides, all these beauties are calling to me.
My Royal Sunset rose is just about ready to bloom.
I can’t wait. It has the best fragrance.
I didn’t even know this one had opened!
The things you find out when you finally go outside.
I confess that I was amazed to find how well the weeds have been doing.
This now liberated iris was about to be swallowed by unruly grass and other uninvited plants.
A pretty rhododendron in full form.
This one wasn’t so sure about my yard. I’m happy to see it doing its best to adjust.
And just wait, the peonies are about to explode.
Except for all the flowers that are also my favorites, peonies are my favorite.
I can’t wait.

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Next Generation

Every new jacket I make has its genesis from a previous design. One idea will spawn another. Or,  a new fabric inspires a new direction. Or a customer asks for a change that in turn sends me off into new ideas and new possibilities.
Sometimes the connection is obscure, it makes sense to me, but is not noticeable to others.
Other times, the parentage is obvious.
For example, the jacket below, which is similar and obviously related to the first, but is sewn with different fabrics.
The original jacket below. You can see the similarities.
But different, like a mother and daughter.
Another jacket, from the same family. I posted this one in process, here finished. This one uses the same fabrics, but instead of solid black the sleeves are pieced.
All three jackets are different from each other but related. Like members of a family. Like a mother and her two daughters.
Generations, one follows the next, similar and related but new and different.
Happy Mothers Day!

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Piecing Meisen

All last week I was piecing meisen……
‘Piecing Meisen’, doesn’t it sounds like the title of a novel?
My week.
I spent it cutting up the beautiful Japanese ikat fabric, meisen.
You remember meisen, you weave it, print the design, unweave and reweave.
Yep, reweave. For that soft edge on all the shapes. So cool.
I was cutting it into small pieces, then piecing them back together into blocks and finally, into jacket pieces.
The one above ready to be sewn into a jacket.
The one below, not quite yet.
I love this! Because I loose myself in the process.
It’s just me and my fabrics. We’re finding our way, seeing what shapes and patterns emerge.
It’s magic.

Posted in kimono silk, piecing | 1 Comment

Black on Black Swing

A quick snapshot before it was boxed and shipped to its new home.
A coat from all black silks, pieced into strips sewn together with a beautiful black wool.
I had started this a few weeks back and promised a picture of the finished coat.
Thank you Jackie for coming up with a great idea. I love it!

Posted in jackets, piecing | 5 Comments

Workshop in Winter Park

I left Portland, where it was the end of winter, a few buds here and there and hints of spring.
And landed in Florida, with 90 degree days, a warm sun shinning and orchids thriving on the back patio.
Louise Cutting had arranged 2 [!] retreats, each with fabulous groups of eager sewers.
We set up, machines in a row.
I described techniques and showed examples.
My goal, give enough ideas so that no matter the skill level or taste, whether they’re the jump and hope to land or a careful planner, each student would find the technique that was right for them.
After a minute or two, projects began.
Fabric in piles, a good sign things were happening.
Machines were humming,
Shapes and designs emerged.
I love the ‘Aha!’ moments. When people understand and begin to see results.
It’s the pride of making. I relate! It’s why I do it too.
Some sewed stripes,
some random ‘crazy’ piecing.
I had put together color choices, each student chose their favorite: black and white, or neutral, or blues, or bright reds and orange.
The best part of teaching? When each person’s individual identity emerges.
Just black and white wasn’t always enough, “I need red here. Can I get some red?”
These people were after my heart.
And at the end of each class, beautiful things emerged.
I can not wait to see the finished projects!
Goodbye, for now, to beautiful Winter Park, Louise, Sandy, each and every student who came and jumped in and experimented, those beautiful orchids, sunny skies and these adorable kitties, in a bowl,
And in a basket.
Thank You Louise for making a most wonderful retreat!
I loved every minute!

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Winter Park Workshop

Hosted by the amazing Louise Cutting, next week I’ll be teaching a workshop in beautiful Winter Park, Florida.
Teaching is an excellent brain exercise. You have to break down each part of the process into an understandable and logical order.
Normally three or four steps ahead of where I am, I’ll need to slow down and move logically from step 1 to step 2, to 3 to 4. No jumping around!
It’s the same with what to bring. No running to the other room for the example I want to use.
Below, the floor of my studio. Doing my best to think in a logical and strategized order.
workshop prep
Teaching is energizing.
I can’t wait to meet all the people in the class!

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Black on Black

I have a system in place for my pieced swing coats and choose the colors carefully. So when people ask if I can make one in a different color way, I almost always have to decline.
However, this one intrigued me, black on black. Nothing but texture to differentiate the various fabrics.
Below, the coat in mid-piecing,
After piecing,
It’s cool isn’t it? The reason you see the separate pieces of fabric is because of the way light is reflected from the surfaces. Very subtle.
A detail so you can see the various fabrics.
I can’t wait to see this one sewn into a coat.
Stay tuned.

Posted in jackets, piecing | 8 Comments

Spring Forward

Light colors for Spring! A jacket pieced from various white and cream kimono silks.
cream bold
See the very pretty brocade, with the touches of silver and crimson? I’ve been saving the last pieces of this fabric for a special project. It turns out the special project was this jacket.
It adds just enough color to remind us that winter will soon be over!
cream bold det

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Home from the ACC Baltimore Craft Show

Whew! A whirlwind cross country trip from Portland, Oregon to Baltimore, Maryland. It’s always an energizing, fun and inspiring week.
I bring all my clothes, set up my booth, carefully hang everything in place, then wait for the doors to open and my friends and customers to stop by.
It’s like an open house for 3 solid days. A big party!
In the morning before we opened, when it was quiet, a picture over my scarves and into my booth.
And the weather! A wonderfully pleasant but very unusual 75 degrees.
On one night, all these people were out enjoying the warm evening in a sidewalk cafe.
Yes. Eating outside. In Baltimore. In February. In shirtsleeves.
Remember this picture from 2 years ago? The same time, February, the same place, outside the Convention Center, there was a blizzard! Snow a foot deep.
Baltimore, you keep us guessing.
Nina and Elisabeth were bundled up and trying to start warm.
On the last day of this year’s trip, it had cooled back down to 50 degrees and no one was interested in sitting outside.
Empty tables and chairs overlooking the inner harbor.
After the show was over and during tear down, the cutest of dogs, Kuma, stopped by to say hi.
I’m a sucker for a cute dog. Kuma is most definitely that!
Then home! Back to Portland.
Looking out my window at the gorgeous sky.
It was a fantastic show!
Thank You American Craft Council for putting together another one!
I had a wonderful time!

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Ready for 2017 ACC Baltimore

Just around the corner! It’s the American Craft Council’s annual show in Baltimore.
I’ve been at my sewing machine, head down, kimono silk flying, scissors snipping, pins and needles everywhere and finally, in the end, a new group of jackets and coats.
Like this one below, cut and reassembled to emphasize the gorgeous red and black chrysanthemums.
I’ve added red with appliqués and buttons to this jacket sewn from a black and white shibori silk.
Black and white with a touch of red, you can not go wrong with that!
All my meisen remainders! I can’t possibly throw them away.
These smaller pieces went together so well, like they were made for each other.
A red ‘Rugby’ jacket. Rugby, because of the horizontal stripes. This one pieced from two similar red and white kimono silks. Each hand painted by a Japanese artisan.
And a new trench from the same fabric I used in the first jacket, but with a very different look.
Like sisters, from the same family but unique in their own way.
It’s next weekend! February 24, 25 and 26.
I’ll be there with these pieces and many more.
See you there!

Posted in applique, jackets, kimono silk, misc, piecing | 4 Comments
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