Monthly Archives: November 2014

Friday Finds: Four in One + One

I know this is Black Friday.  I should be doing some kind of promotional thing for my Etsy shop.  But guess what…I’m in the middle of another road trip.  The shop will have to wait until I get back.

Think of this as a break from all the consumerism and a chance to dream about making stuff.

OK, back to Four in One…(links to four posts at one website)

Pic of Abby Glassenberg

Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps

You know how the web leads down some many rabbit holes.  I found the FIELD of rabbit holes at one podcaster’s website.  Here’s how I wondered into this field…Kristen Nicholas, of Getting Stitched on the Farm, posted earlier this year her podcast interview by Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps.  Of course, I had to go listen to what Kristen is doing.

I was surprised that the format was so different from all the other crafting podcast interviewers.  It is more about the behind the scenes/business side of the crafter’s life.  She is asking all the questions I’d be asking.   Abby’s podcast immediately became one of my favorite weekly audio listens.   She finds people in so many areas of creativity that I wouldn’t normally encounter.  Ok, I like seeing all possible rabbit holes for future deeper exploration.  Plus the second half of the podcast is a round robin of their favorite things.  When I listen, I must have a notepad at hand (or be on her website to checkout the links) to dig deeper into their favorite things.  So many tips, tricks, apps, or tools that have made my life easier.

Here are three of my favorite interviews:


Jenny Maj, Fluffmongers

This interview is on the website and not a podcast.  I’m guessing it’s because you have to see the pictures she’s included.  I love how Jenny Maj of Fluffmonger styled her soft toys.  So cute!



Ann Woods

Ann Wood, Paper mache ships pattern

Ann Wood, Paper mache ships pattern

I love Ann Wood’s aesthetic of rescuing precious remnants of fabrics and turning them into

beautiful botanicals (mushrooms and plants), birds (love the owls) and gossamer ships of muslim and lace.  I bought the ships pattern as a weekend craft project.


Kristin Nicholas and Gale Zucker

Kristen Nicholas, lambs at Leyden Glen Farm

Kristen Nicholas, lambs at Leyden Glen Far

Most of you knitters and crocheters know Kristin Nicholas.  She’s a regular expert on Interweave’s Knitting Daily TV.  I love her blog about living on a sheep farm in New England.  Always the best place for sheepy pictures.



This Is Colossal

You may as well just keep this website on your radio.  LOOK at these portraits of goats and sheep!

This Is Colossal, Photography portraits by Kevin Horan

This Is Colossal, Photography portraits by Kevin Horan




I’m Just a Fiber Festival Rookie

Have you heard about Rhinebeck, New York Sheep and Wool festival?

Of course you have. It’s an annual October event with hundreds of vendors, tens of thousands of visitors, miles of yarn and tons of fiber. From what I’ve read or heard, it must be the mecca of the America’s fiber folks. Some day I would love to go. But not for a few years. I’m not ready.  

You see, I’ve only been to a few small events.
Oxford Fiber Arts Festival in Oxford, Mississippi
Fiber Fusion in Snohomish, Washington
Seattle Weavers Guild Annual Sale
Portland (who needs a festival when there’s 15 yarn shops in Portland)

I’m still a rookie fiber festival goer.

Oxford was my first festival.  I did not know about indie dyers.  I was safe because most of the vendors were bats and braids and fleece for spinners.  I was only an aspiring spinner and bought a drop spindle.

Last year I went on a fiber trip to the Northeast, I thought ONE souvenir yarn from each Portland LYSs and Seattle would let me stay within a budget limit. I blew that budget. (Ok, budget means the cash I have saved for fiber splurges.  If I blew the budget, it means I pulled out the credit card.) Still happy, no regrets. I have knitted four projects, a linen shawl, a cashmere lace shawl, charity auction shawl and one pair of socks. But there are still four left. I am struggling with what to do with them. They seem too precious still. No worthy pattern has been found to match it.  Or is it me who isn’t worthy of the yarns? Probably a mix of both are holding me back.  

Silly.  It’s just yarn.  I think I’ll go get the Mountain Colors, Portland Rose colorway to work on next.  

I thought SSK was just another small event. Yes, it is small but no, it’s not just another event. It was my first experience where I spent my budget at just the first three booths. I did better than the Northwestern trip.  I had more cash saved.  I did not pull out the credit card.  Again, I love everything I got. I just hate that I couldn’t really visit the other booths.  You see, if I looked, I would have pulled out the credit card.  I HAVE set a goal of making something with all the yarns before the next SSK (whether I get in or not.  I’m still on the wait list.)  I LOVE my first pair of socks from Must Stash yarns. Looking forward to the second. But lots to knit before next July.

Vendors at Fiber in the Boro

Vendors at Fiber in the Boro

My cute 92 year old mom went with me to the local festival a few weeks ago, Fiber In The Boro. While I was texting friends that we just arrived, I hear her whisper, ‘Don’t buy anything! Don’t buy anything!’. She’s so cute!  I had no intentions of buying yarn.  I just wanted to see.  Really!

Fall Color in Murfreesboro, TN

Fall Color in Murfreesboro, TN

Actually, I had a great time GETTING to the festival. There were a few patch of rolling hills with the last flashes of fall color.  That alone was worth the drive. I was suffering from a bit of fall color envy with all the pictures from Rhinebeck the week before.  I know, I know, I have lived in Boston and Minnesota. Nothing compares to the north and northeast.  Your fall color can be really spectacular and breathtaking. But I am going to enjoy what I have.

Bookhou Pouch from Fringe Supply Co.

Bookhou Pouch from Fringe Supply Co.

The only vendor I knew was Fringe Supply Company. I follow her on pinterest and her blog. And from her I started following Bookhou. Love her aesthetics. I bought one zippered bag.  Technically, Bookhou is a competitor of mine.  But, I don’t think I will ever get to her production level or marketing skills.  She’s good.

One souvenir was all that was planned, which I thought was the Bookhou pouch. Saw some wonderful shibori dyed silk scarves. Not tempted, just admired. I didn’t see any yarn that was better than what I already have. And I’ve decided SSK is where I will buy yarn (cross my fingers that I will get in next year). Fortunately, no fabrics at the festival.

Saori Wool Spools

Saori Wool Spools

But here’s the beginning trouble… I did fall in love with the colors in one booth, Saori. Not for knitting or for spinning, but WEAVING. Look at these spools of wool!  I missed taking a picture of the sets. Yummy colors. I asked if they can be used for knitting. He said knitters don’t like the single ply, but the two ply works. Oh dear, I do see trouble in my future…

My new Seam RIpper

My new Seam RIpper

And then the vendor mentioned his turned wood pieces. He had seam rippers with turned handles. THIS I could justify. Ergonomic for doing a dreaded task. Brightly colored, so I won’t lose it. A unique item, especially at a festival for knitters and spinners.

Maybe I should add quilt festivals to my activities.  Will have to research what’s in my area or where we’ll be traveling.  Any chance they’ll have somethings for sewing on a road trip?  OK, maybe not a good idea.


Stitches South will be in Nashville next spring.

Maybe making a 2015 knitting goal list will help me focus. Yep.  I’ll do that soon, while on the next road trip.  

Happy Thankgiving everyone,


Another Roadtrip: A Floral Wedding Diversion

Another trip, but no road trip pictures.  I assume you are not interested in seeing LA traffic.  Besides, I flew in for a family wedding.

The last time I chatted with the bride, I thought bouquets were eliminated.  So it was a bit of a surprise when I found out a week before the wedding that I was making bridesmaids bouquets.  I’m sure it’s a case of too many spinning plates, that she didn’t tell me earlier.  I did panic just a bit.  This could be a challenge since it’s ONLY been about 30 years since the last time I worked a wedding.  So I’m a bit nervous, plus I’m working with two strangers, friends of the groom.

Sister-In-Law's Wedding Flowers

Sister-In-Law’s Wedding Flowers

Well, ok, my sister-in-law sprang the same thing a few days before her wedding (and a thousand miles from my supplies).  Thank you Trader Joes (where I found most of her flowers).

And, yes, the son’s wedding was the exception, but I didn’t make the bouquets.  I made the table centerpieces and alter piece EARLY.  They wanted cherry blossoms in May.  We compromised, I made cherry pies for the grooms dinner and made the cherry blossoms out of tissue paper.  That took 4 months and a floral invasion of much of the house.

Cherry Blossoms, preparing for wedding

Cherry Blossoms, preparing for wedding

I should do a tutorial for the cherry blossoms.  I still haven’t seen anything like it online.

Back to the current wedding… I knew the dresses were purple and the brides’ favorite color was a yellow green.  Perfect color combination.  If you want the technical color analysis, I decided on a split complimentary combination of colors.  Purple’s complement/opposite on the color wheel is yellow.  Next to yellow is both yellow green and yellow orange.  Should be plenty to choose from at the flower market.Split complementary

OK. No hyperventilating, we will be driving right by Michael Levine and the garment district in LA.  All will still be closed when I’m riding through the area.  Good thing I just decided to be on a fabric diet.  Plus I will not have time to shop.

Bridesmaid's bouquet

Bridesmaid’s bouquet

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in the LA Flower Market.  It’s big, but manageable. The great gals, strangers no more, knew who would have what.  We were in and out in less than an hour, really good considering it feels like the size of Ikea.  (Thanks Karen and Lynne, that was a great day working together.)  I’ve included several pictures from the market.  I assume that most people have never been there.

What was found:

  • Lisianthus for the Iris
  • Yellow calla lily
  • yellow green dendrobium
  • Maidenhair fern and an umbrella shaped fern (my new favorite)
  • Added Melaluca and a fun yellow button/pompom.

It was a fun day.  Of course exhausting.  I’m glad I’m home.

A few pictures from the market…Yes it does smell wonderful.  But only when you first walk in.

LA Flower Market, blurry picture

LA Flower Market, blurry picture

Buckets of roses

Buckets of roses

Dendrobium orchid sprays

Dendrobium orchid sprays















And after the wedding, a few minutes to breathe, relax and see the ocean.

Point Vicente Lighthouse

Point Vicente Lighthouse




Friday Fabric Stories

I have to start sharing the things I’m discovering on the internet.  This is something I use to do with the Midsouth Knitting Guild newsletter.   But now I get to share more than just knitting stuff.

This week’s blogs about fabric….

Alabama Chanin
Alabama Chanin skirt Designer clothes, organic, local artisans, handmade… I originally wrote them off as beyond my price point.  They are, but I was wrong.  I just started following the blog and found this post, Alabama Cotton Revisited, compelling (includes a NPR audio segment).  And I’m putting their School of Making workshops and books on my bucket list.


Marcy Tilton
MarcyTiltonLogoUntil this year, she was just a name with a funky logo and funky designs in the Vogue Patterns catalog.  I never thought of her as a real person.  Wrong again.  This year, I found her blog and have been following her trips to Paris, sewing projects….she has a fabric barn!


This Is Colossal
Woolnough's Ginko LeafThis Is Colossal is an amazing website with every kind of art work imaginable.  My current favorite fiber artist is Meredith Woolnough.  I’m a sucker for ginkyo leaves and nautilus shells.


Fixing the Process

Tote Bag prototype 1

Version 1 of Tote bag

Version 1 of Tote bag


love the look and feel
I have enough room to hold 2 project bags, one purse, a book and binder
the gals like it.
only minor changes needed, (add a stiff bottom, lower the handle tabs, maybe add a closure…)


one major change needed, if staying with the rouleaux style, a metal hinge.  Probably need to use a rivet to close it.  More equipment and stuff to learn.


This little piece took 1 hour

This little piece took 1 hour

And again it’s the handles.  Managed to trim it down to 5 hours.

The body and lining of bag takes at least a day to make.  One complete bag in two days does not make a good business unless I charge a few hundred dollars.  Not interested in making this thing so exclusive that my friends will think twice about buying one.


So what can I do?
Changing the order can help.  Handles and tabs first.  Pockets and snaps second.  Get the hard stuff done first.  Think, veggies before dessert.  Assembly and top stitching las

Can anything else be simplified?

  1. Find a specialized leather foot that fits my machine to stitch the handles and tabs.  Looking for the Babylock Leather Quilting Roller foot for a low shank. Hopefully less struggle equals faster finish.
  2. Switch to a leather handle and tab.  Expensive, more equipment and supplies needed.
  3. Switch to a leather tab if I want to keep the rouleaux style.  Now need to find a leather source and colors. Is this getting more complicated not less?  Wait…Stick with available colors.  I have black leather, purple and tan suede.  I can experiment with these first.
  4. Modify the handles:
    What does changing to a hardware connector between the handle and tab do?
    Improve the look and feel, probably.
    It could affect the weight.  Now need to find the right hardware.
    Maybe focus with fabrics that work with readily available hardware until the design is settled and interest is good.
    I do have smaller brass and nickel D and rectangle rings and big antique brass rings.
    Will need to swatch.
    Does it make the stitching/assembly more or less complicated?
    Don’t know.
  5. If the above don’t work, I need to design an alternative handle.  I saw a bag in Seattle made of seatbelts.  It’s too heavy for a whole bag but maybe the handles.  Look for smaller seatbelt strapping.
  6. Do I eliminate something?
    a. Pockets, will need to check with the gals.  I’m biased towards as many pockets as I can get.  This one has four.  Twist my arm, I can eliminate one or two.
    b. Move the handles to the top of the bag?  Hmmm…that means the outside and facing are separate cut pieces.  + stronger edge + no tabs needed – might need a magnet tabbed closure
    c.  Or have a front and back facing, attach the handles/tabs at the seam.
    I like this one better than b.
    I’m starting to like this one a lot.  And I can do the metal connectors and tabs.
  7. I’m going with the last idea 6.c. 
  8. If 5.c. doesn’t work, than go to 5.

But everything is on hold until I’m back from the trip.  Road testing this bag, of course.


Hunting for Fabric

I loved the hunt…and it’s a problem.

I remember as a kid, walking between the rows and rows of fabric, hearing the swish as my hands glide through them.  I learned early the feel of good cotton, linen, silks and wools.  Nothing like having champagne taste on a juice diet.  Our favorite shop was a teeny tiny British textile shop in Carmel where Liberty cottons seemed so outrageously luxurious.  Britex in San Francisco and Mode is New York are the only ones I can think of that still have that magically feel.  Sigh….the good old days…Today, most of the bolts are rough feeling quilting cottons or polyester something or other, which means I rarely roam through the aisles anymore. 

But have you been in a decorator fabric store?
Why is there such a difference between the big box stores and decorator fabric stores?
It’s different from childhood memories, but still t
he colors, the textures, and oh, ouch, the prices…Real silks, real linen, cotton… Fortunately, most large metropolitan areas have fabric warehouses where you can find end-of-the-bolt discounted fabrics.  Yeah for me!  The best I’ve found recently are Dallas and Raleigh.  I haven’t been to NY’s fabric district.  I’m sure NY is fabulous.  Don’t tempt me.

I did set a criteria for the hunt:

  • quality decorator or upholstery weight fabrics
  • quality vinyls and micro-suedes
  • strong colors, graphics
  • below a set price/yd (this usually keeps the credit card from screaming and quickly limits my selections, otherwise, I’d have problems with decision-making).

The warehouse disadvantage:

  • quantity, you have to buy the whole bolt or pay more/yard.
  • what you see is what you get (no back stock, no resupply, not one of every color)
  • It’s not well organized.  Hunting takes a lot of time.
  • I usually don’t find exactly what I want, but instead find something for a brand new project.  AND here lies my problem.

Reality hit while I’m walking, struggling with three bolts, out of the last shop in Atlanta struggle. Excited, I’m in love with the new fabrics, and I had enough for 20-25 bags.  Simple math…if I average 5 bags a week, I have work for the next four to five weeks.  BUT I have two projects to finish which will delay the start two weeks and another trip, another two weeks delay.  Oh, man, I can’t even think about working on these new fabrics until middle of November.  AND don’t forget about what was already bought on the last three trips.  Guessing…enough for the next year.


Reds in stash.

Not the same as SABLE (Stash acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) a knitting term, but close enough.  Hmm…I remember this same knock on the head when I posted all of my yarn stash.

Maybe a NY trip can be a carrot for the end of next year.  Oh, I LIKE that idea!

Now the focus will be turned to efficiencies, modifying the designs, streamlining the process and hunting for hardware.  Hardware…something new to hunt….