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

 

Sewing with Double Gauze

charms-double-gauze

Some of the prints from my latest collections are printed on double gauze cotton, so I thought I’d talk a bit about the fabric for those of you who haven’t tried sewing with it yet. Above are the double gauze prints in my Charms collection for Kokka (shipping to stores now).

As you can see in the photos below, double gauze cotton is made of two layers of loosely woven cotton, stitched together every centimeter or so to keep the layers together, which you can see on the back side. These two gauzy layers together make for incredibly soft fabric, perfect for baby items, clothing, or quilts.

double-gauze-detail

When I first bought double gauze for myself, I assumed the layers would make the fabric pucker or be difficult to manage when sewing, but in fact, that’s not the case at all. It sews very well and has a nice drape, perfect for garments. It makes a super soft quilt back and I often mix it with quilting cottons and linen in my quilts. Below are some ideas and links for things you can sew with double gauze cotton. I also created a Pinterest board with more sewing project ideas.

Right now, it looks like you can find my Charms double gauze fabric online at Fabricworm, Imagine Gnats, Pink Castle Fabrics, and Gooba Designs. For wholesale ordering information in the US, contact Seven Islands Fabric.

double-gauze-projects

Sailor Top from Fancy Tiger Crafts.

Double Gauze Scarf from Poppy Makes for The Daily Stitch.

Prefontaine Shorts sewn by SewBon.

Circle Skirt from You and Mie.

Lap Duvet from Purl Soho.

Tunic from Stylish Dress Book sewn by Make Something.

Geranium Dress sewn by Probably Actually.

Infinity Scarf from Imagine Gnats.

Shearwater Kaftan sewn by Skirt as Top.

 

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