Monday, November 29, 2010

slow work

Confession: I secretly love embroidery.  There is something so satisfying in slow, intentional work like this.  So much of the production sewing I've been doing lately is about speed and efficiency that I relish any opportunity to step away from my machine and just concentrate on one stitch at a time.

I made these booties for Elvie, and gave them to Jessica as a surprise.  She said her heart beat fast when she saw them, or something like that, which I think is a good review.  They are entirely hand-sewn from Simplicity 2867, which was originally released in 1948.

This was my first experience embroidering wool felt and I am absolutely in love.  It's perfect!  It isn't squirrely like a woven fabric so you don't have to hoop it, and the needle just glides through.  Perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps due to some magical property of wool of which I'm unaware, the embroidery floss tangled seldom if ever.  Either way, I love embroidering on wool felt.  LOVE.

Elvie was kind enough to model for me, and I think the shoes compliment her style quite nicely.  

The free-form nature of the embroidery was inspired in part by Love Maude.  When I first saw her work, I got chills!  As recommended in the pattern, I crocheted the little laces from embroidery floss... you know, so Elvie has something to untie, and so her parents have something to retie.  Okay, one more cute baby photo:

What's your favorite 'slow' project?  Do you find your sewing or craft focus shifts as the weather grows colder?  I notice myself favoring projects that can be executed under a blanket or two.  Do you switch to knitting or crocheting, or are you tied to your machine no matter the season?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bloomington Handmade Market roundup

Hello all!  We survived the Bloomington Handmade Market, but barely!  Half of the caravan (myself and Elvie) had a serious case of the sniffles, so there were two babies on the trip instead of just one.  We had a gigantic table for our booth, which was exciting after trying to cram Owlette into a 4' space at the Indie Craft Parade.  Lesson learned.

You know, I am always amazed and humbled by the positive response we receive at shows like these.  I suppose when you spend all your time romancing a sewing machine, it's hard to know whether your work is a niche within a niche, or if it has mass appeal.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth, awww!'ed the bonnets, and supported us with kind words or dollars!

Some favorite vendors from Bloomington:
  • Orange Fuzz, my new favorite soapmakers!  Check out their shaving kit.  I bought one as a Christmas gift for my other half, but was so excited about it I gave it to him yesterday!  Oops.
  • Clutches and other pretties from Felix & Jayne: her bags are made of vinyl with big, bright zippers, screenprints, and couched yarn!  You really must have a look.
  • Beautiful (and affordable) metal jewelry from Courtney Fischer, whose work reminds me why I love abandoned buildings and metal scrapyards so much.
  • And of course, Panther By Hand: for those who love colorful unders for grown-ups and breakfast imagery for their home!
We also had a chance to visit Paper Crane Gallery.  It's part art gallery, part handmade boutique (I have an aversion to that word but heck), part community workspace/resource.  When in Bloomington, be sure to check it out!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

calling it a night...

The Bloomington Handmade Market is this Saturday!  It's held at the Bloomington Convention Center and is free to the public.  Hooray!  If you are in the area, stop by and get your holiday shopping done early.

I've been in Nashville the last week getting ready for the show with Jessica.  This was her last act before heading home to get some much needed sleep:

Yes, I think I am right there with her.  Goodnight!

Monday, November 1, 2010

forgive the wallpaper, just focus on the pants

Okay, I swear this blog is not turning into a vintage kid's style blog.  That said, behold!  I love this photo of my aunts, taken in the 1950s sometime, for several reasons:

1. The wallpaper, eeeew!
2. The suspenders!  And most of all...
3. The probably handmade pants, with topstitching, and matching contrast cuffs!

The cuffs are especially great, because they allow the pants to grow with the child.  This week, Jessica and I will be drafting a child's pant pattern inspired, in part, by this photo.  It will be my first hands-on experience with flat pattern drafting and I am thrilled to learn!  

Recently I bought this book and recommend it to those who are interested in a contemporary, technical-but-not-textbook introduction to pattern drafting.  Do you have any resources to share?