Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oh how many feet you meet!

I finally made a pair of socks for myself.  

I have made several pairs already for my family, but this is the first pair for me.  Funny how sometimes I get a lot more excited to make stuff for them.  I did follow through and actually finished knitting a pair for me.  Last time I tried this, I only made 1 sock, and you can imagine how useful that is.

The yarn (by Blue Moon Fiber Arts) was a gift from my quilting friend (thanks m.a.!) and it was really fun to knit.

The pattern is by Cookie A and called Monkey.  It is so popular I think most knitters on this planet have already knit these socks.

In between clothing laundry duty this week I slipped in a load of Liberty of London fabrics.  They were all quarter yards so of course they ended up in a giant ball when the laundry was finished.  They are all ironed and in a neat little stack now.  Just waiting for me to play with them.  Oh so pretty.

This weekend was pretty slow given our little one had a fever for the better part of it and is still trying to get back on his game.  

Speaking of game, I played tennis with my 6 yr old and he gave me a decent workout.  I may have created myself a little tennis partner.  Who knew that was possible.  It all starts with love!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blue and White Japan by Amy Katoh and searching for the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival

By this time in January, the Tokyo Dome quilt show is in full swing and plenty of bloggers have been there and shared their photos.

This year I haven't seen any photos pop up yet, so I am wondering what kind souls will be posting their photos.  Have you seen any pix?  AHHHH!!!  I'm going to die if I don't see some photos soon!!!  Don't tempt me to go there myself next year!

To keep the Japanese Quilting tendencies happy, and after reading Lis' blog post over at Piece n Peace blog, I broke out my copy of Amy Katoh's book called Blue and White Japan.
I have the version that was published in 1996/1997.  There are other versions that were printed more recently.  It discusses why blue and white are the most perfect combination of color, and at some level I have to agree.  It's clean, simple and very easy on the eye.

Lately I've been gravitating to the color combo of turquoise and olive green, but's certainly not as peaceful as blue and white.
Anyhow, if you are looking to learn about indigo or Japanese textiles, this book is awesome.  I want to visit the shop in Japan someday.

In other news, I've recently become obsessed with knitting striped yarn from Twisted Limone  - an indie Brit dyer.  It's so wild and colorful.  I cannot help but be seduced.  I named my project, "She Blinded Me With Legwarmers".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Modern Architecture Applique Quilt Block: inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

Last weekend I taught our applique class at Verb (now carrying Liberty fabric - w00t!).  The block is our 9th block in a series inspired by modern architects and the work they have done in Northern California.

This block specifically was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Hanna House which is located basically on campus at Stanford University.  It was a real blast to make.  You'll have to let me know if you think it captures the spirit of the home itself.

I went there and photographed it, and wanted so badly to take a tour of it.  I hear that photos are only allowed outside, not inside.  They also only let you tour it if you are over 12 yrs old, and since the company I keep on the weekends has almost another 10 years to go before that hope is that they keep the place in good working order so eventually I can take the tour.

Teaching this hand applique class is perhaps the high point of the month for me since the students are all so creative and lovely.  They inspire me and make me wonder about what will be next once all these blocks are complete.  So many many choices.

The block shown above is 99% made out of Japanese taupe fabrics.  I slipped a piece of Liberty of London fabric in there because I could not resist.  It reminded me so much of Wright's designs.  I picked it up on my trip to Purl Soho and it's called Green Ebs on their site.

Why did I even visit Purl's site?!  Now I am wanting some Elephant fabric.  I digress....

While driving around I'm listening to this awesome podcast called Stash and Burn - it's more knitting related that sewing, but it's super well done and very entertaining. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Mystery of the Middle Finger

At the dinner table the other night our 6 yr old boy said, "Mommy, I heard at school today that if you show somebody your middle finger, it means something really bad."

I of course told him he was right and that he probably doesn't want to be holding up his middle finger to people.
Of course it can't be left at that.

He says, "So, does it mean the 'S' word?"

I ask in a very quiet voice so the 3 yr old cannot hear me, "do you mean stupid?"

He nods.
I tell him that it's way worse than stupid and that he should put it out of his mind and not worry about it.

The next morning we are getting ready for school and he asks me out of nowhere, "Mommy, does it mean dam?"...(or damn for that matter)

I try to find out if he knows what 'dam' implies, and he says that he doesn't understand what that word means either.

So for now, the meaning of the middle finger continues to be a mystery to us in this household, but we are not very satisfied with that ending.  Oh well.  Get used to disappointment.

This weekend we have Thomas the Train layouts to build, ice skating to be had, and hand applique class to be taught.  I think everybody is looking forward to it.
Hope your weekend is shaping up just as nicely.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How to configure your quilt studio: out of Legos!

We've been keeping busy lately as usual.

I am still hand piecing small triangles to make more patchwork balls.  So relaxing and rewarding to see them come together.

We visited the Exploratorium in San Francisco with the kids and none of us were sure who had a better time, kids or parents.  Usually parents can drag kids along to certain places where they will tolerate being there, and vice versa.  In this case, we all had a blast which is a rare treat.  You can see my 6 yr old in the above photo using their wall of bubbles.  If you look long enough you might even see me in there.

We did not have time to stop in at PeaPod Fabrics, time I'll make time for those beautiful Japanese imported fabrics.

I also was aimlessly wandering around in Target tonight and picked up THE MOST amazing LEGO set ever.: Lego set 3639!  It's called Emma's Fashion Design Quilt Studio.  It includes a storage unit for your quilt stash, a desk with a laptop and a veggie sandwich, a cutting table complete with iPhone, quilting ruler, pink coffee mug, and Ott light, a camera (for taking photos for your blog), and a fashion sketch area quilt design wall.

You know I love Legos, but this one takes the cake.  It's ME, in Lego form!  Serious cuteness.

In the vein of keeping busy:
  • I'm teaching hand applique again next weekend on Sunday, 1/22 at Verb - Northern California Modernists at Home.  You guessed it, more modern home applique blocks!  Would love to meet you, come join us for some fun.

  • I'm becoming a student at Stitches West and trying to figure out how to design knitwear (scary!)

  • I've been listening to a new podcast called Knit Knit Cafe - very informative and super adorable mother/son team.  Ben and Abby rock.

  • I'm waiting with bated breath for the new/old camera my DH found on eBay - watch out, it makes ViewMaster photos!  I'll be armed and dangerous shortly.
With that, to those of you who are having a long weekend in celebration of the great MLK, do enjoy your extra day off!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Mecca of Purl Soho: Japanese Fabric & Liberty of London Fabric

While I was on vacation over the holiday I visited the Purl Soho warehouse in Tustin, California.

It is a great place to hang out and get inspired.  An entire warehouse of imported Japanese fabric, Liberty of London Fabric, and a room full of yarn that is larger than life. 

I ended up adopting some Liberty fabric (I couldn't help myself!) and a few other pieces of fabric as well. 

Somehow I missed seeing their new submarine fabric.  Gee, my kids would have loved it.  Oh well, next time.

The Purl Soho staff was as sweet and friendly as ever.  If you order from their web site, the gals who work here put a lot of love and care into making sure you get just what you ordered.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Jennifer while she was helping me with my order.  She is one of the genius Purl Soho partners that keep all of us fabric and yarn junkies happy by making sure Purl is well-stocked.

I picked up a little piece of this apple fabric by Kokka and I am wondering if I should not have gotten a bit more of it.  It is just wonderful.

Some Spud and Chloe sweater yarn also jumped into my arms and insisted I purchase it.  My darling sister gave me Rebecca Danger's Big Book of Knitted Monsters for Christmas and I intend to make a bunch more of them.  My knit nite friend Susan got me addicted to them.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Grab your Viewmaster and Go!

Did you have a Viewmaster when you were a kid?

I did.  I remember loving it.  I sort of don't remember what themes the photos were that I had, but I think I had a zoo animal pack at the very least and I kept it in a thick cardboard cylinder shaped box. 

Original debut of this toy was at the 1939 World's Fair and since then 1.5 billion reels have been produced.

My kids get a kick out of presents that I make for them, so this Christmas I made them a Viewmaster Tote.

The fabric I used is from Melody Miller's Ruby Star Rising collection.  I've had the fabric for a while and think it is pretty difficult to find at this stage of the game as yardage.

Bag handles I used are available from SuperBuzzy (awesome online Japanese fabric shop - they even include candy with your order) and are from Leicen's Candy Pop line.

The insides of the bag are Timtex interfacing which give it that stiff construction (4 layers on the bottom - that was really fun to sew through).  I put pockets on the inside that hold the 6 extra Viewmaster reels.  Because the reels come in 3 packs, and I was making 3 totes, they could borrow each other's reels to see all the images.  

On our 7 hour car trip from Northern California to Southern California over the holidays, my sons literally played with this toy for the first three hours, and for some significant time after that as well.  It was so cute.  They really appreciated the toy and the work put into the tote.

It looks like I'm not the only one in love with Viewmaster though:

  • Hardcore fans can have wedding invitations custom created with reel photos of the happy couple and a Viewmaster shipped to each of the lucky guests.  If only I could get married all over again!

  • Hang a pop art retro poster up on your wall to show your Viewmaster enthusiasm
  • Dress your 3 yr old girl up in a head to toe Viewmaster dress.  Why don't they offer these in adult sizes?!
  • For around $25 you can star in your very own 3D Viewmaster reel.  I'll let you know as soon as a Quilt Otaku reel becomes available.
  • Become a serious Viewmaster photographer and tote your Viewmaster camera around with you on your next family vacation.
I realize this post is already way too long, but I cannot also resist the urge to include a link to this adorable hexagon/pentagon patchwork ball with tutorial that I saw linked to from Ms. Miller's blog created by Kristy Daum.  I'm adding this to my rapidly growing "To-Make" list!