Friday, December 11, 2015

Yes, Potholders

Rhonda of Rhonda's Creative Life is one of my favorite bloggers. She is creative, positive, and generous, as I'm sure you know if you too follow her.

In a recent post, she highlighted a number of gifts to make including these fun potholders:

Mary of Miss Mary's Sewing Classes gets credit for the sweet design that she calls Easter potholders, for obvious reasons.

I altered Mary's original design by finishing the edges with bias binding. The original pattern involves sewing right-sides-together and turning through a narrow opening between the pockets. I did try that with my first one but found that the turning process stressed the opening too much. It is fairly stiff due to the use of Insul Bright batting. And there are six layers. I could not make it work.

I am one of those people who really enjoys hand-finishing a bias binding, so that made the process even more fun for me.

I made two pairs to take as hostess gifts to a party a few days ago. I enjoyed making those four so much that I decided to make them as party favors for my sewing group party last night at my house:

I did run out of time with the party favors though and could not hand-finish them. I thought about trying to machine finish, but really did not even have that much time. My sewing buddies were gracious about receiving a UFO as a party favor.

Many thanks to Rhonda and Mary!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tremont Flight

In the late 50's my family moved into a rental house on Tremont Street in Dallas. Daddy had just taken a new job and we lived there during one summer season. By the time school started, my parents had found a permanent home in the suburbs where I lived until high school graduation.

As I made the Tremont jacket from the Sewing Workshop for the third time, I thought about its name. Tremont. I have no idea about the origin of its name but I have my own memories of Tremont. Tremont Street.

It was a wide street with trees. I was unused to trees, coming from a very flat, very dusty Texas panhandle town. There were sidewalks where I could ride my bike. And the house was huge of course.

But I did not know how to ride a bike. That I learned on Tremont Street. We fought about how to learn, with training wheels or not. But eventually Daddy wore me down and I learned to fly. When you ride a bike, for the first time, anytime, you are flying. I still love that feeling of flight.

And the house. Oh yes, two bedrooms, one bath. Google Earth shows Tremont Street to contain sweet little craftsman bungalows. I'll never know which one. It must have been cozy, the five of us there. And it must have been hot. I do not remember.

All of this has nothing to do with the lovely Tremont jacket pattern, But I do like that too. This third time I made no changes to it. It folds right over left as it should, creating an asymmetric closure. It has sleeves that fold back to make a shallow cuff.

I did alter the fabric, a black woven wool with texture in the form of wale-like stripes. I interlined it with a fabric called radiance - a blend of silk and cotton with a satin side and a flat side. I quilted the two layers together in vertical lines about 1.5 inches apart prior to sewing the pieces together. This added more texture and so it does not have the drape that is probably best for this pattern. But it feels lovely on my shoulders.

For closure, I sewed a short bias tube to the inside of the right front, creating a flat loop for a button. I tried a button on the left side but finally chose to tack a long bias tube to the other side. It slides through the loop on the right and can be tied together.

I am still hand-finishing the interior by pressing each seam open, folding the raw edges under and slip-stitching in place. This may be my last Tremont. I have some other patterns I'm anxious to try out. And some other ideas.

So what are you sewing now?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Whole Cloth

This piece is by Ben Hollingsworth. I was lucky enough to receive it during the 5x7 exchange with Fiber Art Fusion. I posted my piece, Namaste, in the last post. Interestingly he received my piece.

Ben's piece is a whole cloth quilt, albeit small per the challenge (5 inches by 7 inches). He created the design and then drew it on cloth. He painted it with inktense pencils and set the color. Then he quilted it and bound it in the traditional manner.

I am always amazed and inspired by his work. Can you tell he is a life-long artist? He is relatively new to fiber and quilting but he has already mastered that too.

I am delighted to own a Ben Hollingsworth original.

You may want to go check out his other work here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gift 1

This is one of my favorite signs of the new season, the blooming of the Christmas cactus. Some of the blooms are full and some are just buds. The color is luscious. It almost makes me want to sew and wear something pink and green. Almost.

Today I deliver my first hand-made gift of the season. Each December Fiber Art Fusion has a holiday dinner party where we exchange small works of fiber art. The pieces are to be finished at 5x7 inches and we are free to use any technique or idea as long as some fiber is involved.

This year I had been sketching something that relates to how I feel during yoga.

I am not quite ready to render this in fabric so I returned to a technique I've used and enjoyed in the past - stitch and flip:

I used scraps of silk for the star-burst portion and an off-white silk noil for her face. Then I added French knots and other hand stitch to her face. The back is made from a piece of wool given to me by a friend who hates to throw away anything:

She is now wrapped in brown paper for the exchange tonight. I can't wait to see what others have made, as well as the piece that comes home with me.

So are you sewing gifts too?