It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! I guess I’m in summertime mode, but things have seemed busy. You can see some project photos from my Framework collection over on the Kokka blog here and here. It should be shipping to stores soon. Photo above is by Kokka.
And I just submitted my collection for fall, which seems very close. Kokka works a little closer to production than some other fabric companies, which I like because I don’t have to wait too long to see the designs. I’m impatient. This summer I am also trying to wrap my head around my next book idea and leap over the mental hurdles that seem to be blocking me. In the meantime, I posted a few of my designs over on Nuvango (formerly Gelaskins), so you can order cases for your phones or tablets. Now they have a version to fit most any device. I’m excited to see what my designs look like in this context.
A few weeks ago, we went to the beach and I read Heather Ross’ new book, How to Catch a Frog and Other Stories of Family, Love, Dysfunction, Survival and DIY. The book is about her unconventional childhood and her perseverance to find success. It’s well-written and gives insight into her fabric designs, which are lovingly romanticized expressions of her childhood memories. The book has clever DIY projects tied into each chapter. With charming storybook illustrations throughout, this memoir will help you remember to look for the beauty in life — even when it’s hard to find.
It seems to me that these days artists and designers are putting more of themselves out there for the world, both in books and online. Whether it’s a natural result of the end of anonymity in our digital age or a conscious choice, it’s a brave thing to do and frankly, something that I’ve avoided as much as possible! But I’ve been thinking more about things now that I’m getting older and I want my work to have greater meaning. I just need to figure out what comes next.
I was very excited when I discovered that the inspirational Blair Stocker had written a craft book and I was delighted that she sent me a copy. I’ve enjoyed Blair’s blog wise craft for what seems like forever in the life of craft blogs. Her quilts are beautiful and she is always experimenting with different techniques and ideas. In her book Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love, she explores various techniques and ideas for making meaningful things to fill your home.
With charming illustrations by Lisa Congdon and warm photographs by EJ Armstrong, the book feels like a cozy spot on a rainy day, a place to quietly reflect and get inspired. With projects that include craft, crochet, and sewn objects, the book is perfect for people who like to dabble in a bit of everything. Projects include picnic blankets, woven chair backs, journal covers, photo banners, embellished ceramics, and home decor. The book is divided by seasons, with each set of crafts evoking the feeling of that time of year. I especially love her zombie Barbies and sweater trees to celebrate the holidays.
After reading through the introduction, I felt inspired and have a new sense of purpose in my making. It’s so easy to get lost in deadlines and career goals, that sometimes I need to get back to making with meaning.
Below you can see the Dip-Dyed Toile Dishes and Hand-Loomed Place Mats.
You can read more about the book and watch a trailer here.
Today I’m part of the blog tour for This Book Was a Tree: Ideas, Adventures, and Inspiration for Rediscovering the Natural World by Marcie Cuff of the blog Mossy. This clever book offers ideas and projects to get away from technology and get back to nature. You can make a terrarium, sundial, journal, natural bug repellent, bird nesting ball, and garden projects. I look forward to trying the pinhole camera project with the kids soon.
The book includes space for you to add your own thoughts, ideas and reflections throughout the process, along with charming illustrations and detailed instructions. I think this would be a good book for homeschooling parents because it adds great ideas along with information and activities. It reminds me that I do need to get away from this computer and get out into nature more often!
Follow along with the blog tour:
1, 2, 3 Quilt is available now!
Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Lucie Summers‘ book Quilt Improv from F & W Media. I ordered this book the moment it was published and I have been meaning to post about it, so I’m glad to finally sit down and tell you about it! I’ve been a big fan of Lu’s screenprinted fabric designs for years and I was thrilled when I discovered that we were both designing for Moda a few years ago. She’s hilarious in person and I love the work she’s been doing with quilt improvisation.
Quilt Improv first teaches various techniques that you can use in your improvisational quilts, with simple visual instructions as shown below. Above, you can see the mini-quilts that Lucie made using the techniques covered in the book. Once you have learned the techniques, you can move on to make the quilts.
For each of the twelve quilts in the book, Lucie talks about her inspiration, followed by the process from sketching and planning to execution. She loosely plans her work before she begins, but is free to make changes during the process; this freedom is the fundamental key to making improvisational quilts. It allows you the ability to be creative and spontaneous, add new colors or patterns, make changes to your layout or add a new design element to your quilt. Here’s her Bricks and Fences quilt below:
And a bit of the inspiration and process for the design:
You can make the quilts as she shows them in the book or you can use the book as a foundation for your own designs. For those of you who may not yet feel comfortable with improvisational style, you will get instructions to make the quilts as shown, but you can add your own fabrics and color palette to create something wholly unique. The photography in the book is beautiful and the instructions are clear and simple.
So step outside your quilt box and make something interesting! Get Quilt Improv here, head over to Lucie’s blog for a chance to win a book and a mini-quilt, and take a look at her Etsy shop. See the other stops on the blog tour here.