Gathering inspiration, ideas, materials, tools, information; Gathering together with friends, new and old; and Making things beautiful, delicious, healthy, sustainable, and useful ~ Gather & Make.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

High Fiber Arts Symposium and  Hand Stitching class ~

Scalehouse, a non-profit in Bend, put on a sensational event this past weekend, the High Fiber Arts Symposium. What a wonderful gathering of pioneers and general enthusiasts of the fiber type.

Jeanne Carver was the keynote speaker, kicking off the whole affair. Boy, is she an inspiration. This stunning, cowboy boot wearing, flowing blonde maned beauty is hard working, forward thinking, a steward of the land and the environment. Jeanne and her husband Dan own the Imperial Stock Ranch. Her mantra was "food, clothing, shelter". She spoke about basic needs and elevating them higher with an artistic viewpoint. The feats she accomplished, including bringing salmon back to her farm, starting over from ground zero after NAFTA, utilizing castoff pelts, just to name a few, are mind boggling. If you ever have a chance to meet her or hear her speak or read her story, I would highly recommend doing so. Pivotal to say the least.

She is committed to her animals, the land she works, and the craftsmen she collaborates with. Those makers include everything from the local artisan women to Ralph Lauren and Ethan Allen, private labels, and others. Her "Farm to Fashion"wool products are breath-taking.  Slow fashion at its finest.

Jeanne was just the tip of the iceberg. After she finished up, there was a round table discussion and a number of artist/maker vendors. Saturday included about a dozen hands-on fiber and art classes. One of those classes was taught by yours truly. We hand stitched tea towels, using the reverse applique technique. Elizabeth over at Gossamer was so kind, hosting our class at her beautiful shop. It was very exciting being in a room filled with so many local fiber enthusiasts. We all learned, and laughed, and stitched our way through the morning.

Saturday afternoon I was fortunate enough to take a class with Marie Bay, photographer extraordinaire. I came away with a number of hints and ideas about photography and the internet and branding. I'm sure you'll see evidence of some of them in the coming months on my blog.

Saturday evening was a reception, then the fabulous runway fashion show finale. I felt honored to share a couple outfits I had made in the show.

I do not commit lightly. I cherish my untetherdness, but I will become involved. Bringing makers together, in a sustainable, conscientious way is what I've been all about, what I'm passionate about, hence ....Gather and Make.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

New two-day workshop ~

I am thrilled to announce I'll be teaching a two-day workshop in Gig Harbor, Washington August 13th and 14th with Kathie Vezzani. Kathie, Bellissima Art Escapes, hosts classes and workshops all around the world, and has been doing so for many years. Kathie creates a wonderful atmosphere, serves up fresh, delicious food, and knows how to bring everything together just right to provide a truly memorable experience for all.

Have you ever wanted to create your own beautiful, flattering, comfortable clothing?

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Join me in this exciting two-day workshop as you cut, stencil and hand stitch your very own Alabama Chanin inspired garment from scratch. Using your Alabama Chanin master pattern and Pellon, you will make your sized pattern, then cut your garment from Alabama Chanin’s most wonderful organic cotton jersey fabric.

Next we’ll have fun with spray paint as you stencil your garment and a small sewing sampler with fabric paint.

The second day you’ll practice hand stitches and techniques on your sewing sampler, then progress to stitching your garment.

During this two-day workshop we’ll talk about tips and hints for a smooth sewing experience. You’ll learn about cutting fabric, stenciling, stitches, techniques, and construction. You will not have a completed project at the end of the workshop, but you will have gained key hands-on experience to complete this and other beautiful, heirloom hand stitched projects.

You may choose from these projects:

From the Alabama Stitch Book - corset, shawl, swing skirt
From  Alabama Studio Style - camisole top, tank top
From Alabama Studio Sewing and Design - T-shirt top (sleeveless, cap, short sleeved), bolero,fitted top, fitted tunic, short fitted skirt, mid-length fitted skirt

All books are by Natalie Chanin, and available at  or

Once you are registered with Kathie, contact me by July 25th with your project and color choices. I’m here to help you with any and all questions you may have. Please email me

The only thing you need to bring with you to class is your Alabama Chanin paper pattern with corresponding book and fabric scissors. I will have a couple pair of fabric scissors to share if you happen to be flying in and cannot bring them on the airplane. I will supply everything else, including Pellon (2 yards), Alabama Chanin organic mid-weight fabric (2 yards), foldover elastic (if applicable), 4 spools of thread, fabric for your sewing sampler. During class you will also have the use of:  Clover chalk, spray fabric paint, assorted stencils, spray adhesive, paper, rags, pins, healing mats, rotary cutters, rulers, assorted scissors, needles, etc.

Kathie will be working her magic in the kitchen and cooking up tantalizing meals for us, two lunches and a dinner, during our workshop.

Please contact Kathie Vessani at Bellissima Art Escapes for complete details.

I hope you can join us for this inspiring, technique-packed two-day workshop where you'll meet new friends, enjoy scrumptious food, all while learning how to create your own beautiful Alabama Chanin styled clothing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lovely Alabama Chanin Poncho~

I've just completed stitching the most beautiful Alabama Chanin poncho, ballet over natural 100% organic cotton jersey, in the Magdalena pattern. I promised Rhonda Fargnoli, the Education Director at Makers' Mercantile in Kent, Washington, that I would sew and Fed Ex this poncho ASAP to add to her display for our upcoming one-day workshop, Hand Stitching and Embellishing The Alabama Chanin Way on June 4th.

Shown with short side worn forward.

Rhonda, I am having difficulty parting with this garment! A tiny tug of war is going on, and its a bit of a struggle taping up the box and sending this gem off to you. I know, I know, a promise is a promise, and this pretty shall soon be speeding its way up to your awaiting hands. I'm just so delighted with the beauty, drape, and shape of the poncho. I can't wait for our class, and to share this delight with fellow sewers in the making and wearing of such a lovely garment.

Stitched and mid way through cutting, negative reverse applique.

A more detailed shot.

It took around 20-25 hours to complete this poncho.

Even the back side is pretty.

This is before washing. Notice how the edges aren't curled up yet.

After one washing the edges begin to curl. 

For more information on this class and many others, please contact Rhonda at Makers' Mercantile, 253.220.9951 or


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

High Fiber Arts Symposium ~

I'm thrilled to be teaching at this wonderful event!

"ScaleHouse, with artists working on the cutting edge of traditional craft, presents Bend’s first ever, High Fiber Art Symposium.
This is a two-day interactive art event in which we will consider how the handmade has been influenced by technology and explore how the expressive needs of the artist have caused the use of fiber to transcend its humble origins. Join us for  hands-on workshops, art talks and demonstrations, exhibits, an all-day Marketplace trunk show and a fiber art Fashion Runway Finale."
May 13th and 14th, there will be a panel discussion and speakers, an array of fun workshops, a marketplace, and a fashion show! I'll be teaching at Gossamer Saturday, May 14th, 9:30 to 12:00. We'll be hand stitching tea towels, using 100% organic jersey cotton from Alabama Chanin, learning the running stitch and the reverse applique technique. I'd love for you to join in!

You'll get to take home your very own hand stitched tea towel!

Follow to Scalehouse for more information on this event and how to purchase tickets. I hope you can participate in this most interesting and enjoyable gathering. See you there!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Crust Cruising ~ Lucky me

The last five years I've been transitioning from Alpine/downhill skiing to Nordic/skate skiing, and I've most recently added classic/tour skiing as yet another way to enjoy the snow season. Nordic skiing is quiet, close to nature, serene. I love my cozy little Nordic lodge, with it's crackling fireplace. And everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to be drinking the Kool-aide because there are happy smiles everywhere. I don't think I've ever heard a crying baby or a whining child or adult. Even the teenagers are happy, acting like puppies; frolicking, zooming around, playing and tumbling about. And talk about a workout! My running friends, whom I admire and have the utmost respect for, say skate skiing has a cardio component akin to running. I'll take their word for it, because I do not run, never have and never will. It's just too HARD!

We have a fairly large trail system and a talented grooming team that never disappoints. Our paths meander through the woods, with high mountain, scenic lookouts, visiting foxes and chubby gray jays to greet new passersby.

A few times a year, usually in the Spring, when the planets align just right, the nighttime temperature falls to the exact low, the morning air and snow temperatures cooperate, the sun rises warming the snow, oh, so perfectly, there exists the optimal conditions offering up the opportunity for Crust Cruising.

This morning, as I was skating around, it wasn't even on my mind, this fleeting fancy of fun. I was just enjoying the view. Then my wandering eye glanced at the sparkling snow, the way the sun was glinting off of it. My breath caught and my heart skipped a beat. Would it? Could it be? I tentatively stepped my skinny skis off the track. They didn't sink; nor did they skitter and squirrel around. Cautious I was, because like Bambi in the scene where he tries the ice for the first time, too slick of a surface may cause a skier to slip and flail about, and land unceremoniously on one's back. Not a good athletic maneuver to attempt with this middle-aged body for sure. But no, the surface was firm, and smooth, with just a tiny bit of tooth to make for a steady skate.

I pushed off. My skis left no telltale tracks and only made the quietest whisper as I left the beaten path and headed out into the meadow on my own. I rambled through the trees, around snow laden creeks, over the flats and up to the Butte. I went around, and back and forth, and here and there, feeling like a puppy myself. I laughed out loud, even though I was by myself. I couldn't help it. The conditions were absolute perfection, and I was able to enjoy it fully, because as perfect as the conditions were, Crust Cruising is an evanescent state of affairs.

As the sun climbed higher, I could feel the air temperature changing. The breeze on my cheeks as I skated around was warming up. I was glad I had remembered to put extra sunscreen on! When the sound of my skis went from a whisper, to the sound a saddle makes when a rider mounts their horse, and I could see the telltale skate pattern in the snow, I decided it was time to turn around and head back to civilization. I knew the expertly groomed paths would still be that crispy corduroy that all skiers love. You see, I was down hill, a slightly lower elevation, where it's warmer and the snow softens first.

I made my way back to my happy little lodge, euphoric really. I had enjoyed the bounties of nature, the beauty of the Cascade mountain range, thrilled at the gifts life has to offer, grateful to my core. It was my lucky day. As I drove back down the mountain, away from the Alpine skiers, windows open, enjoying the warm spring sunshine, passing cyclists and then runners, I thought, well really, it's a lucky day for all of us.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Alabama Chanin T-Shirt Top with stripe, in Indigo ~

I have been coveting a length of hand-dyed indigo that I made with my friend Debbie a couple of summers ago (read story here). I've already made a skirt, a short tank dress, and a jacket, so I finally decided a top would be the ticket. I chose the Alabama Chanin T-Shirt Top pattern because it has sleeves. I like a V-neck, so I cut that into the pattern. For this top, I liked the look of the extra seam in the front and back, so I cut those in also. What I forgot to do was account for the extra seams, and how it would make the garment two inches smaller ~ oops!

When I tugged the top on, I was so disappointed! I knew I would never wear such a clingy garment, so the only thing to do was put a stripe in it. I cut a 3" stripe for the back of the top. I picked out the old seam and sewed up the two new seams. It worked like a charm! It fits wonderfully, and I really like the extra little detail.

I also felt the short sleeves were still too long for me, so I folded those up and secured them in place by sewing lots of tiny Alabama Chanin eyelets. I used slate button craft thread and variegated embroidery floss (4 strands) for the eyelets.

Just in time for Spring weather, and as always, the hint of summer from the Indigo dye makes me happy.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Coffee Cozy ~

I'll admit it, I am a creature of habit. I love my morning routine, from slipping on my fuzzy slippers to sipping my perfectly made organic French roast, French pressed coffee. Only thing is, my second cup gets a little tepid without something wrapped around the press to keep it warm. We have been using a tea towel, which does work, but recently I dreamed of making a lovely little cozy. I had some already felted wool sweaters for warmth, and of course to fancy it up a bit, I would add something a la Alabama Chanin. I adore the "Lovelace" stencil, and so I set off to create my sweet little coffee cozy.

I used a paper bag to create a pattern to fit my Bonjour 12-cup French press.  My initial measurements were a little different, but a final version of a 14" by 6" rectangle body and a 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" rectangle closure would be good.

I had a thickly felted sweater that worked nicely as an under layer; and my top layer was Alabama Chanin's medium weight organic cotton jersey in black.

I used my rotary cuter to true up the top and bottom layers. I then stenciled my Lovelace pattern onto the cotton jersey, using the Simply Spray fabric paint.

After the paint dried, I used these clips to secure the top and bottom layers together. It was easier than pinning them together since the felted wool was rather thick.

I stitched around each element and reverse appliqued the piece. I then whipstitched the entire perimeter. I left the tab plain wool, and topstitched it onto the body. I used adhesive velcro on the edge of the body and the tab. I took a few stitches at the edges to keep the Velcro from pulling up.

Here's the top view:

Here's the under view.

Here's a bit of a close up.

I like that this was created from scraps and bits that I already had on hand; and that the project was finished within a day. I think I'll make a couple more as gifts.