Embroidery month: tools, tips and inspiration

By Nanette Webb on  •  0 Comments

Along with probably 99% of the US population, I have heretofore been unaware that February is National Embroidery Month! I had the flu about a month ago, and was all snug and cozy on the couch in front of the fireplace with, gasp! idle fingers. Embroidery seemed like something doable between coughs and naps.  So while poking around on the internet for inspiration I learned about embroidery month and was prompted, with this as justification, to share an old fondness for this ancient art in the form of free classes and (ta da!) a blog post!  You won't be surprised that embroidery is making a comeback (along with coloring books and Zen-doodling). All of us are are so eager to employ new ways to re-direct the mind away from daily stressors (not to mention our phones and computers) while at the same time making something beautiful. Our anecdotal evidence is that four out of five of our free embroidery classes filled up in two days!! Here are just a few tidbits to get you going on your journey: tools; tutorials; books; patterns and kits; freebies; and inspiration. I'm not going to re-create the wheel here, there is enough out there. Let this serve as your map to...

Our historic field trip to the Western Reserve Historical Society!

By Nanette Webb on  •  0 Comments

It feels like we are sneaking into someone’s private closet as the big door is unlocked and the lights switched on. Debbie and I stand in awe to be privy to walk among the rows and rows of hanging racks and shelving that line the costumes and textiles storage room at the Western Reserve Historical Society. Debbie browsing the historic textiles at the Western Reserve Historical Society.   Hanging on these racks are the precious garments once worn by the famous and not-so-famous of Cleveland: President Garfield’s dressing gown, Ellen Wade’s wedding dress, an afternoon dress worn by Elizabeth Mather in the 1930s…as well as gowns and suits custom made in Paris by Chanel, Dior, and Guy Laroche. Patty Edmonson, curator of costume and textiles at the WRHS, holding President James Garfield's dressing gown. Can't you just picture him having his morning coffee in that?   And on the shelves above the hanging clothes are delicate shoes and heavy boots, hats in hat boxes and so many other coordinating accessories (lots of feathered...some still attached to their bird bodies!).     Thinking back, it's no wonder we were so awe-struck…it’s one of the largest collections of historic costume and textiles in the United...

Cowlin' Around

By Debbie Christensen on  •  0 Comments

A few years ago for Christmas I made my boyfriend a scarf. A lot of work went into this scarf. I bought a drop spindle to spin wool roving into yarn, but hadn't quite picked up on the technique, and so my yarn came out very thick. I collected a sackful of acorns off the sidewalk and received a fair amount of strange looks, smashed them with a hammer and tried not to be too grossed out by the wormy ones.They soaked in water for a few days with some rusty thing and I dyed the yarn to what I hoped to be a charcoal gray, but turned out to be ever-so-slightly gray. I knitted the yarn into a scarf, but it had come out so thick that there was no way I would have enough yarn to make a decent scarf. So I unraveled it and wove it (because I have a loom!), which helped with the length a little. But a 3 foot scarf really isn't that substantial, and not long enough to wrap around a neck really. I wasn't super happy with it, but Josh liked it and it was his only scarf, so that was good...

Plaid Flannel Grainline Archer (again)

By Debbie Christensen on  •  1 Comment

Welcome back, flannel season! Every fall when our new flannels come in, I can't help myself. I need to make a new flannel shirt. I used to have a shirt in a similar colorway to this navy / evergreen plaid that I loved so much, but the fit and quality were terrible and  it had to go. So I made another Grainline Archer Shirt. You're probably thinking, "Oh wow, like the internet needs another Archer." Yeah, this'll be the last time I blog about it. Unless I try to combine it with the Alder dress... Though I do find it helpful, when I'm Googling a sewing pattern to see how it fits other people and to imagine how it will look on me and what alterations people have made, to see all the versions of it that could possibly exist. So here is my latest Archer. This is a size 2. When this pattern first came out, I didn't love how oversized and boxy it was. But it's really grown on me. I layered a long-sleeved thermal and a sweatshirt under my Archer and I could move comfortably. I've modified the fit over my last few shirts (see the linen one here...

My new favorite dress!

By Nanette Webb on  •  1 Comment

The Rose City Halter Dress pattern by Sew House Seven is the quintessential summer dress: easy and breezy. The design beautifully shows off whatever fabric you choose and can be made dressy or casual.

Rose City Halter Dress in progress

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Voodoo, Karma and Chakra Dolls for Mardi Gras!

By Nanette Webb on  •  0 Comments

As a prelude to Mardi Gras (coming up on February 9 this year) and with a nod to the epicenter of Louisiana/New Orleans Voodoo, we are making voodoo dolls! To be specific, that's the collective we: you and we. Oui? My family thinks I've gone around the bend and off the deep end, but they think that a lot. This little idea has blossomed into a bit more so read on... Many years ago a friend jokingly gave me a voodoo doll as an outlet for my frustration over a boss that was ignorant and overbearing. They are both long-gone now, but something about making the doll has "stuck" with me over the years (pardon the pun). And so, we're having a class. It's the perfect beginner project for both machine sewing and hand stitching - especially showcasing our new Sajou embroidery floss and Merchant & Mills linen. And if you mess up, it doesn't really matter because it will just add to the "enchantment" of the doll! (Couldn't resist.) Moreover, you can be tres creative with these - embroider them, add scraps of fabric or ribbon, beads, buttons, found objects, whatever. Once I started down this path, of course,...