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

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 Maker's 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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Effervescent, bubbling over with excitement perfectly describes this lovely, jolly group of ladies who attended the Art & Soul, Alabama Chanin class on Friday! I so enjoyed looking out onto a sea of smiling faces while guiding these women through the physics of sewing, tips and old wives "truths", stitches, techniques, construction, stenciling, beading and more.

We had participants who traveled from all over the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and Canada. I was thrilled that a few ladies shared their own completed Alabama Chanin projects with us. It was a pleasant surprise to see Sue from 2015 Art & Soul in class! I was thankful that my friend, Miss Connie, was able to bring extra boxes in her car to Portland for me, so I had more room for samples of Alabama Chanin clothing. Inspecting completed projects up close and personal is another aide to understanding garment construction, plus it's a whole heck of a lot of fun! One of my greatest joys is seeing lightbulbs going off and sparks of ideas flying around.

My friend Phyllis was able to be my assistant for the day, and she was invaluable. Let me repeat that...She was invaluable! Thank you Glenny and Marie from Art & Soul for hosting our workshop and running such a wonderful event. And of course, many thanks to all the talented folks at Alabama Chanin for creating your beautiful, sustainable line of clothing, craft, and business.

My heart is full.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

March 4th, Alabama Chanin Way class at Art & Soul~


The Art & Soul Retreat is coming up quickly. How lucky am I? I get to spend the entire day with a room full of fellow makers and Alabama Chanin enthusiasts! I've been gathering things and making ready for our day together. Look what arrived today ~ three huge boxes filled with Alabama Chanin goodness!

Just look at those beautiful colors; and the hand of this organic jersey cotton is lovely; so soft, supple, yet sturdy, very high quality, and a dream to work with.

Pretty journals and gorgeous kits, waiting to be assembled.

And this little guy, he's a Grey Jay. They're sweet, chubby birds that always gather around and welcome you into the forest. They'll even land on you if you stay very still. I love seeing them when I'm cross country skiing or snow shoeing around. This one was waiting at the tippy top of a little shelter. Since the theme for this year's Art & Soul is "Enchanted Forest", I thought I'd add him to my post.