My Charms collection for Kokka is in stores now!  Click here for a list of retailers. This collection features three cotton/linen blend prints and three prints in double gauze cotton. See all the prints here.

Monochrome for Kokka at Quilt Market

monochrome-by-ellen-baker

Introducing my new fabric collection for Kokka, Monochrome. See the full collection here.

Market Sewing

market-sewing

It’s all about balance. I almost never go to Spring Quilt Market, but I’m still doing a bit of sewing. I made a decision a while ago that I will only go to Market when my company covers all expenses, which Kokka generously does every fall and I haven’t asked for more. I enjoy visiting with people and meeting the shop owners who buy my fabric, but several days of non-stop action is just overwhelming for me. In this digital age of constant self-promotion, I’m afraid that I’m at a loss.

I’m sure that many of you, like me, feel that we are doing too much — making more work for ourselves and burning the candle at both ends. After some recent self-reflection, I am making an effort to stop this madness. This summer, I plan to have more “do nothing” days with the kids, which always turn out to be my favorite days. And for Quilt Market, I’ve decided to only make samples that I will use once I get them back from their trip around Japan with Kokka. Useful items only! No more quilts stacked in closets, or fussy little items that I’m afraid to use. (I already wore that Staple Dress pictured above.) I think a lot about return on investment — what I’m getting for the time that I put into a project — so I’m just not going to kill myself sewing non-stop, but rather enjoy the process and the end product. Kokka always makes lots of amazing bags for the booth and everything will be fine.

This collection is called Monochrome and it’s full of simple monochromatic designs with touches of metallic silver and gold in double gauze and cotton/linen. Less is more. Less is more. Less is more. I’ll be repeating that to myself until I really mean it.

Making with Meaning

monochrome-bolts

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about making with meaning. I’ve been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, wherein the hyper-focused author suggests that we rid our homes of everything that doesn’t “spark joy.” As difficult as some of her ideas are for a cynic like me, it has helped me reflect on the tangible objects in our house that make me happy — many of them handmade or passed down from family. It’s the objects that evoke memory, pride, or love — not the things with monetary value.

I watched last week as my daughter took a sewing class from the fabulous teacher Reign at Fabricate Studios. Every day that I came to pick her up, she and the other two girls were beaming with pride about what they had made and I wanted to know why. I think it’s a few things: the feeling of success — accomplishing something within a prescribed set of technical rules, then the idea of creating — choosing fabrics and making something unique, and finally the need for utility — all of the things they made are functional. There’s something dramatically different about making art for your wall and creating an object to be used every day.

This all got me thinking about when I started this blog in 2007 and felt so inspired by making. I called this “a blog about handcrafted goods in an age of mass production.” With our cluttered homes and our consuming lives, we tend to get overwhelmed and forget that almost nothing we own was made by us from beginning to end.

Here’s my sewing room before and after. I had to re-organize several rooms to get all of our craft supplies in order and in one place. The kids always end up in here with me making things, so now all of their supplies and mine are here together. Above you can see bolts of linen from my next collection for Kokka, Monochrome. I’m working on making samples for Quilt Market in May and the fabric should be shipping this summer. More photos soon.

sewing-room-before-and-after

Spring Cleaning

strike-offs

After dedicating way too much time to our school auction, I am finally getting around to getting my house organized so I can get ready for new fabric to arrive! My next collection for Kokka, Monochrome, will be shown at International Quilt Market in Minneapolis in May. I used some touches of gold metallic again, plus there’s silver in this collection as well. The title is Monochrome because each fabric is in shades of one color, but there are a variety of colors in the collection. I’m showing you a few from the neutrals today.

And I finished our school-wide auction project. It turned out much like the plan shown in the previous post, but I layered the leaves a bit. Done is good!

bloom mandala

mandala-detail

 

Auction Projects

auction-mandala

This year, I’m again working on my daughter’s elementary school auction project. We decided to make a flower mandala, so I designed this to be made with almost 400 children. I made each grade a ring of the mandala (PP-6th grade), so there was math involved. Boo. Each grade is using a different technique on a square piece of paper, then we’re cutting the shapes and mounting them to the white background, which will then be framed. The finished piece will be around 36″ square, so the pieces are pretty tiny. Anyone want to offer framing services? Really.

The kids are doing watercolor with salt, collage and painted paper, styrofoam printing, pastel and watercolor relief, tissue paper collage, zentangle, and cross-hatching. Luckily, our school art teacher makes the art with the kids so all I have to do is assemble the piece. I hope to have the piece ready in a couple of days. Fingers crossed.

auction-project

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