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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Politics: Family is the MOST important issue to me

Family Values is the MOST important thing to me in the election hub-bub. As a professed Christian, I truly believe God has His hand on our country. But, I also believe He has given us this form of government, and our brains, and our free will to handle it responsibly.

As the family goes - so goes the country. And, that, currently - is one scarey statment.

The most balanced source I know of is

Click on this link for some reasonable, unbiased coverage.

Check it out. Form your OWN opinions - not those constantly fed to you by the media.

Jacket/ How-to's in Sew Savvy Magazine

Yea - it's out! My first magazine article since Creative Needle back in the early 90's.

Sew Savvy - March issue that just hit the stands.

It was fun to see my Mom's face when she turned to it. :)

Though I sent as complete directions as I am putting in my pattern 'Design Booklets', it was not surprising to see how much the edited the directions down. I expected that. It's too bad they didn't put in the flower from my garden that inspired it all - which looks like a Morning Glory - but is MUCH MUCH larger. I think someone in a seminar I gave called it a Kataba or something like that - Comment here if you know the name.

Anyway - after reading carefully through the minimal directions, it certainly confirmed in my brain that I want to keep on the path I'm on with my directions - writing EVERYTHING out as completely as I possibly can - Including my design thinking in the creative process.

The collar on this jacket is what I call my "Queen Anne" collar - made from the lower band. That style, along with my "Baseball" collar and "Cardigan" neckline - and Stand-up Lettuce-Edged and Mandarin will be in a new pattern called "Transformed". That one will come out in March - after the Puyallup Show. I've had to get real with myself as to what I can accomplish right now.

We are even well into some remodeling at home...Yea!!! Knocked out a silly wall between my family room and living room - LOVE it! Found a heat vent in part of it so not totally what I wanted, but that's the way life goes. I'm sure I can design around it in some neat way. Also on tap: new carpet, kitchen flooring, countertops, sink, and faucet! Just too exciting - and I'm so grateful we can do this. AND - on top of that, an excuse for not cooking for awhile. hehehehe.

Here's a photo of the back of that jacket:

I hope you can 'see' the divisions of that huge flower in the applique sections on the shoulder, and pocket. ANYTHING can be your inspiration for a garment.

Also note that the emphasis on the collar is on the garments' right shoulder - the LEFT shoulder as one is looking at it - where one's eye goes - to the left side as one 'reads' the garment. I really go into this in my new Pathways pattern.

Sprinkled on this jacket in the center of the back, and front is Bonash Mending Powder (granules of glue) that I then laid Gold Hologram Artisst Foil on and pressed - for little specks of gold 'pixie dust'. Quite a nice, subtle touch I think.

Anyway - enjoy. Would apprecite any comments.

Off to finalize "Refined".

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Refined & Pathways pattern development

I'm hard at work on "Refined" - the pattern that will give some template patterns for armscye and sleeve cap for both the USA Comfort Color sweatshirts and the Authentic Pigment Sweatshirts. Though obviously more work - it really does make for a nicer fitting jacket. See here how MUCH excess is taken out of the armhole???
End result of what you saw above. That's the bottom band for the collar. Look closely and you'll see the circle motif of the batik worked freemotion on the silk doupionni.

I saw a jacket with eensy strips of bias irridescent silk doupioni and so I'm playing with that - which you can't see very well on this jacket - but it's there on the princess seams, and other places. That is sna tape on the collar and cuffs too. The button is one of the great Crone Art embellishments that I carry.

My resident 'help'er - Sasha. She said to tell you she looks good in pink. She's guarding my favorite tools: Dritz Rotary Cutter - which IS a Kai! , my Kai 5220 shears, and my Chakoner.
Pathways - pastel version. The collar is the bottom band, lettuce edged on the serger. This bright colored one was a joy to work on after all the more subtle colors I've been involved with.

I've got lots more figuring out to do on the Refined Pattern yet - but it's fun.

2 weeks til deadline - and I've at least 4 more jackets, plus editing all my directions, etc......

Stay tuned :)
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Brass Striped Unity Jacket

Here's what I started with - at least all the 'possibilities'. They NEVER all get to 'play together' in the end on a jacket!
The back needed to be at least one of my hand lengths the top of some jeans came to the rescue.
It turned out SO neat! Here you can see the entire lower edge - note how I 'blended' the longer back into the fronts with angled pieces of the legs. See too that pocket I put on the left sleeve. I'm lovin' this one! Too bad it is 2 sizes too large for me. I ultimately sell these jackets - so I keep trying to make a variety of sizes.
Auditioning some of the great new JUMBO snaps I have in - in antique gold (here), silver, and black nickel - both square and round. The only challenge is, I want to SEE the snap - and when fastened up - you don't see any part of it - so I guess the solution might be to use 1.5 snaps per spot - and sew another half to the outer side... I'm still thinking bout that. These are a full 1" wide... $4.00 each.

A 'stuffed sausage' collar covered with the bias cut striped fabric completed this jacket. I'm still 'noodling' the closures - and onto a petal pink and pastel jacket today...

I also get to watch my almost 3 year old grandson today - and construction sites are beckoning us - so I'm not sure how much progress I'll make on the jacket. There's nothing more fun than watching cranes at work on a construction site - WITH my boy!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Inspiration shared from daily Quiet Time

I love, love, love Taste & See devotional by John Piper. His thoughts are so full of 'food' and challenge my mind and soul. From today I just had to share...
"The toothache expected and the toothach experienced are not the same. I have come through enough to believe God's future grace will be sufficient."

Ponder that as you stitch....along with me.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Progress report on new patterns

Well - I'm hard at work designing - stitching - and then typing. My hubby snapped a pic of me at my old ironing board where I have my laptop set up. I have this down to a system: create - stitch - type the step I just did. I'm thrilled with it - as it will take less time in the long run, and surely be more accurate than ever.

Take a peek at these wondeful hand-dyed wool groups! Thse are new products that I will be able to offer on a continual basis - therefore GREAT 'paint' to use in my new designing! I also have selvage groups from the same place - and am having GREAT fun with them! See in the next picture how I pieced them together to create the front embellishment of this blue jacket.
Clipping into the selveage edge - see what can be done to create a flower! Perhaps needle felting on the inside? I stitched it onto a piece of black silk organza.

"Refined" will be a quick add-on pattern that gives 2 sleeve and 2 armhole silhouettes for really 'refining' that area of a sweatshirt for a better fit. Here are the sleeves as they come cut out of: left - the Authentic Pigment Sweatshirt brand and right - the USA Comfort Color Sweatshirt brand.
This is a jacket from "Refined" testing. It went together quite quickly. How different blacks can be! I tried to use this cut off collar from a sweater - but it was just TOO different. See in the last photo a glimpse of how it finally turned out.

The right side (as you look at it) stayed the same. I scrimped some strips of the same fabric to space out on the left side. I dyed some silk ribbon black - 3 days later, my fingers are finally back to their normal color! The bottom band became a mandaring collar. It features 3 GREAT solid black Crone Art fimo clay buttons. I realized when setting in the sleeves - that it was sew much easier to embellish the cuffs before the seam is sewn - but then the end look of that seam isn't as nice... a trade-off I suppose. Anyway - all these things 'blended' the different blacks that were still 'going on' in this jacket. My dear daughter (25) said it was "nice looking - not that she'd wear it" , but still 'nice'. O well...I wasn't making it for her anyway!

Posted by PicasaSo here's the results of this first intensive week of work. From the left: Refined, then Unity - then Pathways - then Unity. Today I'm finishing that blue one, and then onto the final jacket for Pathways - the angled front one.

Oh - a trip to the yarn shop was great fun - Needleworks, and they have a store on eBay as well - you should check that out. The perfect yarn makes creating SO much more fun!
On a personal level, I don't know why I am so lucky as to be doing this. I have friends who have lost a baby to cancer, just had serious surgery, and another dealing with being the caretaker for her hubby with Parkinson's. I pray for them all - for the peace only God can give - as I work.
In Christ,

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Second jacket for my Unity pattern - this one to replace a favorite of mine (and apparently someone else's - as it was swiped right off a HIGH rod in my booth at the Houston Quilt Festival! Grrrrrr.). Sure hope they are enjoying it as much as I did! :)

See here the stack of goodies I pulled together. See those HUGE new snaps right in the center? About an inch in diameter - oooo, I love them! The only thing that has me disappointed as I try to design with them though is that undone - you only get to see the spectacular-ness of the 'under' snap - not the guts of it on the 'upper' layer - shucky durn. My stolen jacket featured the butterfly appliques. I have those to sell, and want to use them again - but they seem to compete with the tie - so not sure if they'll end up in this or not. The yarn is wool, and it shrank on that first jacket - so I know to couch it down REAL well.
Here, you see the bottom portion of this jacket all prepared...and it took quite a few steps to get to this point! That's the waistband of the jeans to the left. I took the pockets off - as they were upside down when you use the jeans upside down... and shrunk the pockets as well.

I'm also hard at work figuring out how to easily do - and share/teach - how to cut the sleeves out, recut the cap, and an armscye - so you can have a less bulky look and feel under the arms on these jackets - yet still maintain the comfy factor of the sweatshirt to begin with.

That's the task for me today - after I finish this one up.

Here's where I stopped last night - and yea, I know that the 'tie' isn't 'even' at the top - so what???
It's gonna be covered with the collar anyway. Wait til you see it - I cut it on the bias from the legs. It will be GREAT!

What you see here is the bottom, outer main portion of that tie, all opened up and split right down the middle. I like using that wider tip up at the top. I stitched the right side of the tie to the wrong side of the sweatshirt, (which I had been sure to stabilize with fusible straight tape!). THen, folded it to the outside. I don't even turn that outer edge under. I just zigged it down, then couched the yarn over top.

I'm afraid those butterflies won't be 'flittering around' on this jacket - they're just 'too much'. I have to remember my motto: "Less is Best" .

My dear Sis wrote that she wanted to see bigger pictures - and have more how-to's in this Blog. Hmmmm - that's what the patterns are for, my dear!

My intent here is just to intrigue you and inspire do the same, and if you'd like, to buy my patterns. They will be available - added to the 3 I already have available - by early March. My goal is for the big show in Puyallup - 3, if not 4 new ones!
all at my new site:
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Saturday, January 05, 2008

I'm 'organized' now - and it's time to get started! Unity - the design where you slash around the middle of the sweatshirt and add a 'different' bottom is the one that says to me it wants to be used with this grouping of a Brass USA Comfort Color Sweatshirt, this great hunk of oriental cotton fabric, black yarn to couch, a black chenille striped sweater (from Goodwill), and oriental coins and 'things' as you see in the picture to the right.

The challenge here is that the sweatshirt is a 2XL. My duct tape double is not a 2XL - more like a 10/12. So - don't expect it to all look 'fitted' on the pictures. Eventually, I sell all my samples and I need to offer a wide size range. Also - as I design for patterns, I want to include all size ranges - offering attractive designs and guidance for a wide range of sizes. I think that is - as Martha Stewart says, "A Good Thing".

To the left, you can see my beginning - I've cut the sweatshirt apart in the middle - with angles, going down at the center front and back. That's the lower band around the neckline.
To the right above, you see that lower band embellished with small pieces of the feature fabrics described above.
Below, you see where I stopped yesterday - the bottom half is totally the bottom half of that chenille striped sweater. I thought I was creating a jacket with a LONG bottom half. Hmmmm - totally FRUMPY! Proportions are all wrong - as the right hand of this shows. Raising it up - AHhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! And what a good example for the principle I teach of proportion. Read all about it in my books on CD and DVD, and in my patterns. Today - I plan to finish this jacket and get on with yet another one.
I'm all set up in basement (messy, yet creative) space to create, stitch, and then hop over to my laptop set up on my old ironing board with stool, to type the 'guts' of this new pattern. THIS is my 'heaven on earth' - second only to spending time with my family - most especially these days with 2.5+ year old grandson Cole - reading to him. I promise some pictures soon....

God's miracle - RAIN!

In my quiet time with the Lord this morning, I read - again - John Piper's meditation in Taste and See on the grandness of God in considering such a thing as rain. I quote (though I'm paraphrasing) from him some facts that I'm sure you'll find interesting to ponder:
" 1. Consider yourself a farmer in the Near East - far from any lake or stream - dependent on water for family and animals - to exist. You have a few wells, but they are dried up. You need water - but where is it to come from? The Sky.
2. How does water then get carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea several hundred miles? Carried? How much does it weigh? If one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that woudl be 2,323,200 cubic feet of water. Equals 17,377,536 gallons = 144,735,360 pounds of water.
3. That's heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay there? Evaporation. What's that? It means that the water stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. How does it get down? Condensation. The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles betweeh .00001 and .0001 cm wide. That's small.
4. What about salt? Mediterranean sea water is saltwater. Salt kills crops. It has to be taken out. So the sky picks up millions of pounds of water from the sea, takes out the salt, and carries the water (in whatever state - I'm confused!) for 300 miles and dumps it as water again on this guys' farm.
5. Dump it? If it dumped millions of pounds of water on the farm the wheat would be crushed. So - the sky dribbles the millions of pounds of water down in little drops. The drops have to be BIG enough to fall for one mile without evaporating, and small enoughto keep from crushing the wheat stalks. Ohhhh.
6. How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh millions of pounds get heavy enough to fall? Coalescence. - Meaning the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger and when they are big enough, the fall. AND, not exactly just fall cause they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind...take my word for it. "

John Piper suggests that we just take God's word for it - as found in Job 5: 8-10. "God gives rain on the earth, and sends water on the fields."

I agree with Job - only a mighty, mighty God could do all that - and what amazes me personally is that He continues to do this for a people he created to love Him - and so very few do. I do, love Him I mean, and I'm glad. It's raining today - and I will appreciate the miracle God gives..............