Who are you calling too young to sew?

Needle case - snapped shut
Needle case - snapped shut

Have I ever mentioned how crazy I am about all of my nieces and nephews? I absolutely adore each and every one of them (even the sardonic one). For those of you (nuts) who have read each and every word of Maverick Quilts, you know that I dedicated the book to them and now I even have a new little baby niece. Yeah!

Last week I got the chance to sew with my Great Niece who is 2 and 3/4. (She’s my oldest niece’s daughter and she is GREAT!)  She sits on my sewing table or on a step stool and says, “I help. I do it. Me.” She jabs the fabric with pins (don’t tell her dad) and has learned stab, lift, and poke to pin the fabric correctly!

We made a pillow together. I position the fabric under the presser foot. She leans on the gas pedal, which we place up on the sewing table. I say go and stop, and she is great about starting and stopping at the right time. She presses the thread cut button and then helps pull out all the pins and puts them back in the pincushion. We made a darling cupcake pillow with a minkee back. It was sooo fun!

Look at this cutie with her pincushion and the cute pillow we made!
Look at this cutie with the pincushion and the darling pillow we made!

Another of  my favorite sewing experiences was last March when got to quilt with my niece, the budding quilter, Lucia. You might remember the great Boudoir Chair she made for me that was featured in the Quirkology of Quilts museum show we had in the fall.  See this post.

Lucia and I started sewing together when she was three. We would do the gas pedal on the table trick. She was already figuring out how to match fabric, sew strips together, press, subcut and sew again! She wielded the scissors without fear, and I was just there – holding on for dear life.

Kitty & Duck Quilt, by Lucia, February 2008
Kitty & Duck Quilt, by Lucia, February 2008

She is the only person who has ever made me a quilt. Now, two quilts! The first one (above) was really for my cat, Scott. She was three and a half years old.

Reading a sewing pattern
Reading a sewing pattern

She was seven when I visited her last March. We cut out a flowered dress, sewed a head band, and made an armchair quilt with some kitty fabric. How funny is it that we have the same expression on our pursed lips?

She did all the cutting and gluing
She did all the cutting and gluing

It was a hot day and we were tired, but she persevered and got the top ready for quilting.

Lookin' good!
Lookin' good!

She made a carved border, added appliques and eventually the quilt was stretched on a frame. She gave it away as a wedding gift! Lucky bride!

She lives far away (boo hoo), but I hear that she has been sewing a lot lately. The report is that she has been doing a lot of hand sewing and needed more fabric and more needles. So, being the loving auntie I am, I made a little needle case to send to her.

I took an orphan quilt block, a plain piece of fabric, a piece of flannel for batting, and sewed rick rack into the seam to make a rectangle.

Needle case - open
Needle case - open

Then, I made two felt needle holders, stuffed with wool batting. Wool helps wick moisture away and keeps the needles sharp and free of rust.  I added a cool little double-ended needle threader and I went to the fabric store and bought a cute pair of embroidery scissors. I added an elastic strap to hold the them in place.

Needle case - folded once
Needle case - folded once

I had a strip of snap fabric and I attached snaps to make it shut up nicely.

Needle case - snapped shut
Needle case - snapped shut

I added a button on the outside – just for looking at! It covers the sewing where I attached the snap on the other side.

Love the rick rack!

It went out in the mail today along with a new pincushion, flower head pins and some Valentine fabric. I can’t wait until she gets it!

Fabulous Fabric from Finland (Via San Francisco)

What is a lunch date to San Francicso without looking at fabric? Well…What is a trip to ANYWHERE without looking at fabric, I ask you!

I went on a fun lunch date in San Francisco today (to yummy Wexler’s Tavern), and, on my companion’s advice, I visited the Crate & Barrel store where they have a wonderful collection of Marimekko fabric.

With fabric prices on the rise this store made me really appreciate a humble quilting store!  Buying cotton at $14.00 per yard hurts a bit, but Marimekko makes that seem like a VERY NICE PRICE!

Yes, I tell the truth when I tell you that I paid $16.95 PER FOOT today!

OOOOOH but just look!

Marimekko fabric and PVC vinyl
Marimekko fabric and PVC vinyl

My shopping started with these PVC vinyls. They are lightweight and flexible.  I think they will be very easy to sew into some cool things. Can you say bag?

I also got a lovely piece of Lumimarja, designed by Erja Hirvi. It’s the white with pink blossoms in the photo above. Read about the designer here.

And then I HAD to get these little bovine cuties!

Wild in the Evening & Potholders
Wild in the Evening & Potholders

On sale for only $8.95 per foot! Woohoo!

I asked to see the binder which listed all of the fabrics that Crate & Barrel carried. There was a page with interesting details listed for each design.

The lime fabric with claves cavorting across it is called Wild in the Evening (Iltavilli) and it was designed in 2008 by Miina Akkijyrkka. These playful calves romp across the fabric creating “a visual tribute to freedom and uncharted adventure.”

The circular fabric is called Lappuliisa – read this!

Read this fun description
Read this fun description - Love it

In writing this post, I just HAD to do a little research and I found that the Marimekko site was as delightful as its fabrics.  You can see the fabulous fabrics and colors (so much better than my little photos) at the site. Look!

Crate & Barrel also has a wonderful collection of Marimekko bedding, party ware, dishes, and more.

Pillows
Pillows

See all of the pillows in pretty colors at the Marimekko website here.

Dishware
Dishware

I don’t usually get excited about hard surfaces like ceramic and glass, but these were all soooo yummy to look at!

Cool cups
Cool cups

Yes, please!

Green Cups
Green Cups

Who doesn’t want one of these?

There were even designs for fun elephant paper party plates and fabric to match… check out the cowboy boots on this guy!

Elephants and partyware
Elephants and partyware - can you see the zebra?

I was thinking about Marimekko and what I knew about it before today. It made me think of large-scale florals. I know it used bold, clear colors. I could recognize its iconic design called Unikko when I saw it. But that was about it.

Unikko fabric in many colors
Unikko fabric in many colors

This fabric was designed in 1964 (just like me) by Marimekko’s star designer Maija Isola. The simplicity appeals to me very much, but I think it is really the size of the flowers on the fabric that I am most drawn to. Each flower must be more than a foot in diameter. It feels unfettered, promising, freeing.

Unikko in black/white/green
Unikko in black/white/green

I was able to get some of the Unikko in this colorway. I can’t wait to use it! What should I make?

In delving into this I see that there is very much more for me to learn from Marimekko’s designs. Please hold.

I find that one of life’s joys is curiosity and that in learning new things I feel young.

See the video “Secret story of Marimekko” and feast on the colors and designs here. Creative director of Marimekko, Minna Kemmel-Kutvonen, says, “In general, when we talk about colours, we usually say here that the color doesn’t yell at you – it glows.”

2011 – My Favorite Things

Bella Boxes quilt square close up
Bella Boxes quilt square close up

Each year is made up of moments. Most of them flow together in a swirling river that winds its way through the days and weeks. It is hard for me to discern individual events when they are in the past, as I am often looking forward to what is coming next.

My photos help me remember the passage of time. With the way my computer stores my photos I can be reminded of the order of things have happened.

As I reflect on the year I am reminded of some of my favorite moments.

Here is a look back at 2011 in photos.

Teaching Dream Chair Quilts classes
Teaching Dream Chair Quilts classes
Barbed Wire Betsy
Barbed Wire Betsy
Painting class with Marcy Wheeler
Painting class with Marcy Wheeler
Koi Pond Chairs Quilt before painting
Koi Pond Chairs Quilt before painting
First Royalty Check
First Royalty Check
Bouquets to Art show at the De Young Museum
Bouquets to Art show at the De Young Museum
My trip to Georgia
My trip to Georgia
Time with my niece and nephew
Time with my niece and nephew
Making the Peonies and Pagoda quilt
Making the Peonies and Pagoda quilt
Driving to Oregon
Driving to Oregon
Visiting Mount Shasta
Visiting Mount Shasta
Seeing my nephew
Seeing my nephew
Seeing my other nephew
Seeing my other nephew
Seeing my other other nephew
Seeing my other other nephew
Save the chair for me
Save the chair for me
Making the Kapow quilt
Making the Kapow quilt
Salt Lake City with Ashley
Salt Lake City with Ashley
My little nephew
My little nephew
Seeing Maverick Quilts for sale when I go somewhere!
Seeing Maverick Quilts for sale when I go somewhere!
My tiny cousin
My tiny cousin
Making the red Kapow quilt with the other Alethea
Making the red Kapow quilt with the other Alethea
Disneyland!
Disneyland!
Learning to mosaic with Sue Horn
Learning to mosaic with Sue Horn
San Francisco with friends
San Francisco with friends
Teaching the Sew Fun Kids Class
Teaching the Sew Fun Kids Class
Seeing the work my husband and son completed at the Cal Berkeley Bolt School of Law
Seeing the work my husband and son completed at the Cal Berkeley Bolt School of Law
Creating new quilts
Creating new quilts
Mavis
Mavis
The Elephant quilt
The Elephant quilt
Working with Margaret, Carmen and Linda on the quilt show
Working with Margaret, Carmen and Linda on the quilt show
Koi Pond Chair quilt after painting
Koi Pond Chair quilt after painting
My little niece
My little niece
Camping in the rain with my husband
Camping in the rain with my husband
New Goddess quilt
New Goddess quilt
Urban Burp
Urban Burp
Teaching Maverick Quilts classes
Teaching Maverick Quilts classes
Absolutely Baby Quilt
Absolutely Baby Quilt
The Quilt Fairy
The Quilt Fairy
Ghastlies Quilt
Ghastlies Quilt
Volunteering at kindergarten
Volunteering at kindergarten
Starting the Peets Coffee quilt
Starting the Peets Coffee quilt
Walking up to Coit Tower with my husband
Walking up to Coit Tower with my husband
My newest niece!
My newest niece!
Christmas-ish
Christmas-ish
Super Cat!
Super Cat!

I wish you all, dear readers, a Happy New Year.

Thank you for your interest in me and my work. I will continue my endeavor to deserve it.