Thursday, August 29, 2013

To Taupe or Not To Taupe: That is the question

A recent post comment from Lynne had me laughing so hard I almost fell off my chair.  It's like a letter to the editor that just needs more discussion.

She mentioned that she still loves Japanese Taupe fabrics, but has seen a lot of chatter lately about how quilters are glad that we are moving away from this boring palette.

After some searching around, it is true that there are people out there that are tired of taupes!  Seriously!  Sick of them, and looking forward to their exit from the quilting scene.

Maybe I'm like one of those old hippies who still likes to wear tie die clothes 30 years after they stopped being popular. 

They will have to rip the taupe fabric out of my cold dead hands. 

Do you love taupes still?  Are you eagerly awaiting their demise?  

Leave a comment so I can get a better feel of what the quilting universe has to say on this one.

In other news, I've run into so many cool and interesting goodies lately, I have to share some of them with you here:  Enjoy.

Above socks by Zkano:  Made in Alabama!  Too cool for school.  Really comfie too.

Color Block Wallet:  Kids love this portable set of 100% beeswax crayons, made in Germany by NonPerishableGoods

Susan Frost Ceramics: beautiful, albeit not easy to order online unfortunately

Modern architecture & cool eats:  The Shed in Healdsburg, on my short list of places to visit

Greenware cutting boards: perfect gift for a new home or even just a treat for yourself someday

Poketo: if you like minimalism and clean lines, this is a very cool online shop for adorable goodies including some Japanese pots and pans

Oyo tiny figures:  Pablo Sandoval is by far my favorite from the SF Giants - not a Lego 'mini fig' but close and really cute

Monday, August 26, 2013

Japanese Quilt: Yoko Saito's Traditional Patchwork Lessons & Taupe Fabric

When I was flipping through the pages of Yoko Saito's Traditional Patchwork Lessons book, I ran into a super traditional flower basket quilt pattern.

This pattern has probably around for more than a hundred years, but when I saw it in the Japanese taupe fabrics I decided to go for it and make a small wall hanging.

I had some pre-cut squares from Pinwheels and put them together into 4 blocks.  Two very high contract blocks, one low contrast one, and another with different amounts of contrast but using mostly reds and pinks.

I'm happy with how it turned out and now I need to plan the quilting.

Thoughts and ideas on how to quilt this little wall quilt? 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Japanese Taupe Fabric: precut squares

Just a quick view of how I organized the taupe fabrics before making basket blocks out of them.

From left to right:


They looked quite crazy before I sorted them but they look rather neat and tidy now.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Twisted Limone Yarn: 2 Day Socks

I've never made a pair of socks over the course of a weekend before.

I would not have dreamed it possible actually, even for kid sized feet.  

Truly, 'kid' sized feet of an almost 8 yr old boy are getting quite close to the size of my own feet.  He's a little like a puppy with those huge feet.  I often wonder how tall he'll eventually become.  Much taller than me, that's for sure.

Instead of using 3 double pointed knitting needles (DPN's) to make these socks, I decided to use a teenie tiny circular by Clover.  Size 1, 9" circular to be exact.

Initially it was bothering my hands to use it because the needle itself is so short.  I almost gave up on making these with that needle set and cut over to DPN's.

It all seemed to just 'click' at some point, and it was really fast to knit them up.  The almost knit themselves really.

If this continues my family may become really REALLY sick of hand knit socks.  I take them around with me to swimming lessons, piano practice, soccer...before you know it, a pair or two show up. 


Yarn by Twisted Limone, one of my favorite shops.  Socks hold up VERY well to serious punishment.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Basket Quilt: Japanese Taupe Fabrics

Before PIQF rolls around again this fall, I wanted to do something really inspired with the small pre-cut quilt fabric squares from the Pinwheels booth.

Does this give me just cause to buy more in October?

Maybe.  Pinwheels is not on the list of vendors yet.  Oh dear.  I hope they go!  I might actually cry if they don't.

Either way, I am in process of whipping up a wall quilt with four basket blocks made out of Japanese Taupe fabrics.

So far, enjoying the process.  I was inspired by Yoko Saito's Traditional Patters Lesson book.  It's got a lot of the basic quilt blocks you see in antique quilts but all done in in the taupe colors.  Very attractive.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Alabama Chanin DIY Trunk Show: Run, don't Walk!

It's rare that I attend an event that I am this excited over or this pumped up after.

Now through August 26th A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA is hosting a DIY trunk show for Alabama Chanin's DIY clothes collection.

You can try on all the finished garments from the kits that are available on the Alabama Chanin web site, and Verb will order kits for you including 10% off!

I met my friend Marianne there and we had the best time looking at all the details of the garments and trying them on.  I was the most fun I've had in a long time.

After we got home, I was so excited to make something that I whipped up a skirt.  Yes, an entire skirt in 1 evening.  Oh yes, my first skirt that I have ever made.  And in case you're fits!

More on that later with photos of the event including my beautiful friend, DH who sat there for likely more than an hour while we drooled and kids played with ping pong balls (thank you Verb for having ping pong balls!!!), and some information about how I cheated on my homework when I made the skirt.

So run, don't walk over to Verb, try on some incredible garments, order a kit, and get cracking.  The sample fabrics they had there we just stunning and so inspirational. 

It's a hand work / applique dream come true.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Is Summer Over? Can we make soup yet?

Summer is almost over and kids are back starting to think about school.

Does that mean that I can make soup?

Recipe for best soup on earth:

1)  1/2 white onion + 2 shallots + 2 cloves garlic  +4 carrots (saute)

2)  add in 2 peeled Russet potatoes, 1 peeled apple, 1 med peeled yam, small amount of fresh grated ginger, salt, pepper

3)  add 1 box chicken broth or less if veg are all covered with liquid (add more later you you want, note you cannot remove any to make it thicker!)

4)  simmer on med-low-ish for about 30 min or until things are soft when poking w/ a fork, remove from heat

stick blend it like mad

enjoy it, don't tell anybody else how to make this, demand kisses for it or at least complements about your hair

Let's keep this our little secret, shall we?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Image Transfers: Creativebug

I've taken to watching random Creativebug classes at night before bed in order to relax.

I probably should not just watch 'whatever' because it makes me want to collect more tools and get into new things that I don't have time or space for.

The class I just watched on Image Transfers by Courtney Cerruti was super fun and requires little more than a roll of packing tape.  

She shows you how to use it to make transparent images from your own photos and also from other forms of printed media.

I was having a blast going through my latest Dwell magazine, pulling out pages to do some transfers.  Even my DH thought it was pretty cool.  In the end you have these awesome stickers that you can use for notebooks or just about anywhere.

I've been putting mine on my quilter's notebooks where I store small fabric scraps and inspirational notes.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Placemats for a Round Table

When I take my sewing machine out to the dining table my motto is Go Big or Go Home.

The fur starts to fly and the entire table is easily completely covered by my cutting mat, tools, and the machine itself.

Some time back we decided to create an eating area in the kitchen.  It was not a huge space, so a round table was a good way to squeeze a lot of people into a little spot.

Have you ever tried to purchase place mats for a circular table?

Well, it's not as easy as it sounds.

After 'enjoying' overlapping rectangle place mats, and having 'fun' with their corners flopping off the edges, I finally decided to create a pattern and some custom place mats.

My first attempt at the pattern was a little small, so I made it taller at the top.

I tested the pattern with our dinner plates before I started to cut into the fabric.

When I was at The Intrepid Thread I found some gray and yellow fabric that worked perfectly with the colors our eating area.

I'm happy with the way they turned out and the family likes them a lot.  I'm thinking of making a second set of them. 

I wonder if anybody would like the pattern I created?  I could turn it into a .PDF I think if there is any interest, give a shout.

In other news, I highly recommend that if you happen to run into chocolate by TCHO (local California Bay Area chocolate company), avoid it and don't start eating it.  It's addictive, and perhaps the best chocolate I've ever had.  The blue wrapper, milk chocolate version, does not mention any illegal drugs on the list of ingredients, but I've found myself choosing where to grocery shop based on if they carry it or not.  Beware.  

Do they have a 12 step program or something?  I'm not ready to give it up yet though.  I don't even usually like milk chocolate!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

An Intrepid visit to The Intrepid Thread quilt shop

As you have probably noticed, I have some really specific taste when it comes to quilt fabric.

Most of my shopping is done either online at places like PurlSoho, Superbuzzy, or at quilt shows where you can run into some interesting Japanese imported fabrics.

When I discovered there is a somewhat new fabric shop not far from me, I was excited to check it out and see if anything appealed to me.

The Intrepid Thread is in sort of an industrial/office space type complex, so it took a little driving around the parking lot to find it but it was not very hard.

It is located in Milpitas, California, and has been around for more than half a year.

The fabric selection is very modern with perhaps the best selection of geometric prints I have ever run into.  It feels very fresh and young compared to the other quilt shops in the area.  I found myself shopping with wild abandon, purchasing all sorts of quarter yards of fabric without really knowing what I would do with them all.

They also had some very cool ombre fabric that I want to turn into a quilt border.  I found what I thought was Liberty of London, but it was basically faux Liberty of London.  Looking and feeling very similar to the real thing, it was around $10 a yard (instead of ~$40!), so I of course got a couple of small cuts.

Employees are super friendly and helpful, inviting me to walk around and check out their huge classroom.  I felt instantly at home.

They did not have a big selection of notions, but that is the only minor ding I can give this awesome shop.

If you are looking for a better quilt shop in the California Bay area, I highly recommend that you check out The Intrepid Thread.  I will certainly be back.  

What did I make with all those fabrics I picked up?  You won't have to wonder about that for too long...I already finished a super cute project.  More on that next time.