Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Heather Ross Sewing Workshop in Palm Springs

Well, here goes... I am going to give a detailed account of my trip to Palm Springs this past weekend. Feel free to skim through, this will definitely be long... but I know at least a few people who are waiting to hear all the nitty gritty.

   I don't know about other mothers out there, but I feel like traveling alone is an opportunity for indulgence! I planned carefully for my hours of solo travel. With Anna Karenina playing on my audiobook app, I started making a litter of hexies... my first attempt. I used this tutorial and got my template from this free template generator (really cool-- endless possibilities!).
   I had to make a connecting flight in Texas. While I waited in the line to board the plane I realized that a little question I had been pondering was already answered... You see, I am a really (REALLY) big fan of Anna Maria Horner... and while I knew that before the weekend was over I would have to come clean and profess my undying love, I couldn't decide if I should play it cool first and avoid coming across as a scary stalker (yikes!). Well, turns out my wardrobe choice for the day made my decision for me... I guess you can't hide the truth. As I was standing in the boarding line who do you think walked up to introduce herself with a smile on her face?... oh yes, it was Anna Maria herself (and her super cute husband---we are both married to bearded men... I'm telling you, similar taste;-). I was wearing an outrageous patchwork twirly skirt I made with her fabrics a while ago... She knew from a mile away that I was a big fan... no playing it cool... but hey, my unabashed admiration landed me a little spot on her blog!
  So after giggling to myself like a preteen who just met New Kids on the Block, I finished basting my hexies all the way to California... and then met Deborah from Whipstitch and took a taxi with her and the Horners to the Ace Hotel.
  Deborah and I hung out by the pool for a little while and met Gretchen and Heather, and a few of the workshop attendants.  Then we had a little meet and greet and on to dinner.  After dinner we had a few hours to set up our sewing space and get started on projects.
  Unfortunately, though it was 2am east coast time when I settled into bed and I was completely exhausted-- sleep was not meant for me that night :-( The combination of some food poisening from the airport that hit around 1am, and the super cool hipsters staying in the room next to us who went in and out of their room every 5 minutes or so chatting up a storm, I didn't get a wink of sleep until the sun came up. 5 am was definitely a low spot for me... I cried a little and called the front desk begging for gatorade. But, the show must go on! I traveled across the country and had been looking forward to this for 6 months! I was weak as a day old kitten, but I made it out of bed and sewed up a storm.
setting up
Here is my little spot... the purple velveteen will be a perfectly fitted jacket soon.

 This is the view from my humble little breakfast of toast... Don't worry I got to taste the deliscious pancakes the next morning as I ate breakfast with Heather's assistants Vera and Lesley and Denyse ( I am going to have to go to one of her quilting workshops, it would be so awesome to have her guidance through designing a quilt.)
too cool for school

pattern tracing tools
 I must get a big sheet of carbon transfer paper to transfer papers onto fabric-- saves you the step of cutting out the pattern. I inherited a transfer wheel from my grandmother, but thought it was useless with the 8"X10" sheets of carbon paper I had.... the key is to use a large sheet of paper, something more in the 3'X4' range.
Denyse demo
Denyse demonstrated a string pieced zipper pouch... I learned a few very helpful tips!

making plans
 Can I tell you how fun it was to plan out a lovely dress and be able to walk over and get Anna Maria's opinion about whether to use this fabric or that... so fun! I worked on a sundress using her Evening Empire Dress pattern as a starting point. I wanted my dress to be a bit more adjustable in the size ( I would love to have a good reason for needing a larger sized dress ;-), so I made the back bodice as wide as the skirt panel and will be adding 4 or 5 rows of channeled elastic across the back. Do notice the ribbon that I will be adding to the strap... Anna had a table set up with all her lovely goodies for sale. Her new ribbon is ABSOLUTELY exquisite!

I feel like most of my sewing time was devoted to figuring out the fitting process... making up a muslin for a different style bodice to a jacket I started last year and gave up on b/c the fit was just so wrong. Instead of the raglan stye sleeves the pattern called for, Anna and Gretchen (of Gertie's Blog for better sewing ) helped me draft a pattern for inset sleeves. Deborah from Whipstitch was kind enough to photo document (where as I devoted all my packing space to fabric instead of a nice camera and all my time to sewing--oops!)... I am not computer savvy enough to figure out how to post pics from her flickr into this post, but if you are interested, here is a link to a picture of Anna adjusting my muslin and you'll be able to find more pictures from the workshop in Deborah's photo stream.
where the hipsters who don't sleep hang out at night
here are a few shots of the lovely hotel...
beautiful beautiful, wish you were here

w/ Gretchen Hirsch
Gretchen is coming out with a book in the fall... and let me tell you- she knows her stuff! I saw the amazing dresses that will be in her book. She is definitely the vintage sewing expert and she can get a dart just right... in this picture I am modeling the bodice piece for my jacket-to-be... She helped me get the dart placed just right- I told her that no one had every made my bust look so good, and I meant it ;-)
you should definitely check out her blog.
w/ Anna Maria Horner
Anna was so nice to me(and extremely helpful!) ... glad she didn't call in a restraining order ... hehehe!
w/ Denyse Schmidt
 photo op with the ever cool Denyse ( I, however look odd... i don't know what kind of smile that is?)
I was is such a mad dash to catch my taxi that I didn't get a picture with Heather Ross- the hostess with the mostess... bummer!
Palm Springs Airport
Ok. this is the view you have as you sit on a bench to put your shoes back on after going through security on your way into the airport... so lovely!
East of Eden
Here is a quote from East of Eden (some of my in flight reading)... I believe that creativity is SO important and I love how Steinbeck points out how it is inherent to humanity, what makes us different other creatures. He is correct that an idea can only come to one person and the group can't invent anything together, but it was very nice to be in a group this weekend extending upon each individual's creative thoughts.
  Thank you Heather for bringing together a lovely group of people to teach and learn together in an incredibly lovely spot! And thank you Andrew for sending me as an excellent birthday gift (just as wonderful as a minivan would've been ;-)

palm springs update

Jane by Whipstitch
Jane, a photo by Whipstitch on Flickr.
Here I am in our hotel room in Palm Springs... with Deborah of Whipstitch in Atlanta. small small world! I am working on a mother load of a tell all post about my trip-- stay tuned!

Monday, January 30, 2012

some show and tell...

I have been going through pictures and realized that I have so many things that I have intended to share here... 
wedding gift wall art
 One of the groomsmen from our wedding recently got married and I wanted to give them something special... He married an artist and their invitation had a lovely motif at the top. I made this 8X10 pieced embroidery based on the invitation design and put it in a frame for them.
warm and cozy
 I finished Anna's sweater in plenty of time for the little bit of cool weather we have had... It is the little garter cardi - a free pattern through ravelry. I used Malabrigo yarn which is my all time favorite yarn.
before and after
 I have been intending to give this craiglist find a makeover for 3 years now... after Christmas I finally got the impulse to get it done.
fly away!
 Oh how I love Pinterest! I have the tutorial for this lovely simple project pinned. It is simple to make, but time consuming...
wing span
 Instead of tying the wings around her neck the way the tutorial suggests, I made longer ties that wrap around and tie in the back... just didn't feel comfortable with something around her neck. I also put the feathers on a fabulous silk dupioni- never waste an opportunity for fabulousness ;-)
feathered friend

late night sewing
 I have finally joined the crowd of people wearing the figure eight scarf from Anna Maria Horner's tutorial. I stayed up way too late piecing some of her velveteens and voiles (and a bit of silk)... I made my scarf a bit shorter and more narrow than her pattern... I think my dimensions are 15"X 65".
hand knits times two
Remember the sweater I knit for Anna a few years ago that she wore almost every cold day for two years? Well, it is getting a second life on cute little Charlotte (who was desperate for a nap and would not stay still for an instant)... yes it is the same exact color as the sweater I knit for Anna this year. I couldn't resist- goes so well with everything! It is too bad babies don't understand the importance of photography-- both girls were also wearing cute scrappy skirts... not exactly matching, but definitely coordinating.

merry christmas
And here is a little late Merry Christmas from us! and ... yeah, I wanted to show off my fabulous yellow boots. I kept looking for some and finally found them at Kudzu antiques in Decatur... they are great for brightening a gray day ;-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy January

Normally "happy" doesn't go in the same sentence as January for me. But this year is different ... The whole month has been changed by the fact that the last weekend is going to be AMAZING! My big birthday present is a trip to Palm Springs for a sewing workshop with 3 of my favorite fabric designers (yes- Anna Maria Horner will be there!!). Having that to look forward to has really changed the whole feel of the month for me....Another thing that has made a huge difference is the timer on our lamp that gradually turns the light on before we wake up has really made waking up to the dark winter mornings so much better that I find myself singing on the way to preschool!

Here are some other things that have made this position in our orbit around the sun bearable :

::Spending time in the basement turning these patchwork squares into...

...this lovely clergy stole for my sister-in-law who is undergoing the Methodist ordination process this year.

::finally completing this big girl bed quilt for Anna.... Not ready for said big girl bed just yet, though!
edit:: turns out it didn't matter that I wasn't ready-- she not only could climb out of her bed, but she figured out how to unzip her crib tent and climb out... then she figured out how to reach her hand around and undo the safety pin I used to keep the zipper secure... I had to give in-- she has been sleeping under that lovely quilt in her big girl bed for a week now (sniff sniff... where did my babies go?)

:: having my sewing space transform from this ...

...to this! Being organized is fun... sometimes...

::putting a few more things(ok, ok-- a few more chickens) on my collage wall.

:: sewing with my girlie right beside me( who am I kidding- that was special, but also stressful ;)

:: having my chickens come visit me through my sewing studio window ;). ... You may have also noticed how much I have been enjoying instagram !

:: receiving a package from fabric.com... And having my 4 year old son as excited about the prettiness as I was! Those velveteens are so delightful!

edit-- I have been blogging from my phone b/c otherwise I just haven't been making time for it... trouble is- the pictures are small and awful, but they aren't as awful if you click on the image and it opens in a separate window.

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