Tuesday, January 30th, 2007
Thank you everyone, for all the nice comments on the baby scrap dress. Despite all the rush, it was fun. I love making baby clothes, especially ones like this, that don’t require a lot of fitting. And speaking of baby clothes, have you seen this? Perfect.
I do love planning and designing more fitted and complicated garments, but when it comes to pattern drafting, I have a lot to learn. My latest attempt at more complicated drafting was not so successful. I am working on a spring A-line girls coat. I wanted this one to be a bit more fitted than the winter ones I have made, with a true set-in sleeve and collar. Drafting armholes is hard, and this one didn’t work out. It looks fine on a hanger but on a body the shoulder is way too high -sitting several inches above the real shoulder. The slightly stiff fabric really helps this along.
I should have realized this when I was drafting the armhole -it just looked funny. But I was impatient to be done with the tedious stuff and on to the fun of sewing it up. One lesson learned, I hope-trust your instincts. Making a building seems easy compared to armholes -I still feel like I don’t understand the concept, but I’m working at it.
It’s been interesting working with a patterned fabric that has a direction and repeat. Matching patterns and getting everything symmetrical has been another challenge, and something I didn’t consider when measuring the fabric. There is so much more waste than with a solid. For the amount of time I’ve been sewing you would think I would know these things. I didn’t consider it until I layed the pattern pieces out on the fabric. Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if the fleur-de thingy was centered on the back? And if the pattern matched from side to side on the front? Yes it would. I acutally think I got that part down ok.
But it’s back to the drafting board on those armholes.
Sunday, January 28th, 2007
The Kim Family auction was a great success but unfortunately, the winning bidder of two print sets, one by Natalie Tweedie and one by Jill Bliss never paid. The auction will be reopened for these two items tonight starting at 6:00 pm PST. Check the auction site for details. The bidding will only be open for 24 hours, so go quickly – these are really beautiful.
Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
I had a little panic attack today when I remembered I had promised a baby dress for a friend who is going to visit her friend who just had a baby. And she is leaving tomorrow. And she wanted a hat too. Hmmm. Ok, no time to waste. Channel Sally, aka 2 hour project queen. Pile all of my grey scraps onto the table. Nix the hat idea -too time consuming.
But what to put in it’s place? Bloomers. Perfect to pair with a baby dress, which is pretty impractical considering all they do is lay and roll and squirm, which puts the dress hem up somewhere around their middle.
More than two hours later I have a baby scrap dress that buttons up the back and is made out of 4 different linen and cotton fabrics. And some puffy bloomers made from a featherweight woven cotton, in charcoal grey. whew.
(sorry for the poor photos – it’s 9pm and there is no natural light to be found anywhere, and I need to go drop this off . Of course Sally even had time to take amazing photos of her gift before she went off to the party.)
Monday, January 22nd, 2007
I am finally getting around to putting those pictures of things in my bag into book form. For the cover I wanted a title, but wanted to keep it straightforward and subtle. I chose grey (surprise) and thought white text would be great – but unfortunately my printer doesn’t print white onto colored paper.
Then I remembered I had these metal stamps. I’ve had them forever and haven’t really used them. They are stored in a solid wood box with a compartment for each stamp – I think this is why I got them – I loved the box. They’re solid steel square bars with a letter in reverse at the end. Sort of like letterpress type, but on the end of a bar. You use a hammer to tap the end to engrave the letter onto wood or metal.
I used them to engrave the title of the book onto heavy cardstock. I really like how it came out – subtle and textural. It’s a pretty slow process though, and not very precise. This makes me wonder what they are really made for. Maybe marking your tools with your name or initials?
This book is going out to a friend far away, once I figure out some type of binding.
Other things I am working on (I have been working, even though it’s been pretty quiet here):
Dyeing linen for some fold bags.
A curriculum for the architecture studio I teach (this is where most of my time has gone)
Some things for a mid-winter shop update in February.
A spring children’s collection (samples need to be finished the first week in Feb.)
A downloadable knitting pattern.
Birth announcements and gift for a friend who had her baby 3 weeks early.
Maditi (thank you!) sent me this flickr link and I am mesmerized. The light and atmosphere captured in these photos is amazing.
Monday, January 15th, 2007
I am very, very, lucky:
My new sewing machine. It was a gift. It was made in Switzerland.
I have needed a new machine for such a long time. I thought my next one would be an industrial machine -something big and heavy and metal, like you would see in a clothing factory. I don’t really need a lot of fancy stitches and I was afraid of something computerized and complicated. What I wanted (I thought) was simple and heavy duty.
Then I was given a gift certificate from a Bernina dealership. I didn’t know much about Bernina, other than the fact that quilters love them. I did a little online research, looking to see if they had an industrial machine, which they do, but which had really mixed reviews. The reviews stated that their industrial machine didn’t handle heavy weight fabrics very well (something I need) and that it was temperamental. It has a large motor below and needs a special stand to sit in-you can’t just put it on a table.
I started wondering if I could get a refund for the gift certificate. Then I started reading more about industrial machines, and it seems that one of the main differences is that they sew fast. Really fast. And that wasn’t one of my requirements. I actually like sewing a little slower. It gives me more time to think, which for me means less mistakes. Maybe I didn’t need an industrial machine after all.
And then I visited the store and saw a Bernina in person. At a distance, it looked like most sewing machines. White, with a free arm, and some buttons on front. But it was a little different. Sleeker -a little edgier. It just felt like the design was more thoughtful. And then I saw it, the small text on the front. Made in Switzerland. And I was sold.
Of course, swiss watches are legendary, and I love the design of the original Saab, but this is the place that some of the leading design architects in the world call home. Herzog & de Meuron are practically household names now and I believe Peter Zumthor to be absolutely brilliant. I haven’t actually sewn on it yet (I need to take the free class just to learn how to plug it in) but if it came from the same country that produced this, I want one. Oh, and it makes six different kinds of buttonholes.
(Check out the book Swiss Made, for more amazing modern Swiss architecture, most of it from much lesser known architects.)
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007
In the book Intertwining, the architect Steven Holl talks about how “architecture can elevate the experience of everyday life” by weaving together form, space and light. In the last few days as I prepare material for an architecture studio I teach, I have been thinking about that word, intertwining. Such a beautiful and complex word – it suggests intangible, changing layers, filled with phenomena.
My perception of this word is what I strive for in my life. Lots of layers meshed together. LifeWorkFamilyDesignMakingTeachingWorkingParentingThinking
It doesn’t always happen so seemlessly. It’s much more messy than that. But it’s my goal to have everything I do be intertwined, not separated.
Out for a walk with my son we notice together how the sun is reflecting off of a patch of ice and how many varied shades of white it contains. A beautiful, layered white fabric of ice. I think of my studio program: can layers be considered a programmatic element in architecture? I explain what layers are. We admire the texture. I start to imagine a texture made from layering. I love to talk about beauty and design with my son.
Yesterday I received a lovely email from a designer who read a post on my journal. In the email she explained how she had seen my post, which listed her work as an inspiration. Another designer I had listed in the same post is a friend of hers, and she had recently been introduced to the work of the third person I had referenced. She titled her email “degrees of separation”.
I like to think of it as intertwining.
Friday, January 5th, 2007
I have never really made New Year resolutions. I like to see what unfolds and respond to it as it comes. I realize that in life this isn’t always the best plan, and I keep trying to be a planner, but….
I do like to reflect though (maybe too much) and try to learn from what has happened. So at the New Year, rather than looking forward, I tend to find myself looking back. Here are some of my flickr favorites from the last 4 1/2 months. The first surprising thing to me is that I have only been writing this online journal for 4 1/2 months. It seems like so much longer.
What I notice here is a lot of blue/green, fuzzy/blurry images, quiet and moodiness, and architecture that is very simple and plain. I love seeing all of these images together – a very inspiring way to start the new year. You can see all of my flickr favorites here.
Friday, January 5th, 2007
The Kim Family auction is back up and running. Go here to see all of the items on ebay. Thanks for being so patient.
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
Slowly starting to work again. Right now I am very inspired by white, especially porcelaine and ceramics. These bottles have the most elegant shape. I love how there is no seam – light just flows over them like liquid. This cup (found through mav) has amazing flow as well and the subtle undulations catch the light perfectly. No need for color. The material in both of these really dictates the shape.
Heath ceramics remain an inspiration to me. So simple and plain and yet the way they use color to highlight the inside/outside relationship is amazing.
I have also been thinking alot about linen, and all the different colors of natural linen. The subtle variations come from two threads that are very close in color being woven together, making endless possibilities of natural shades. I really like how ink works on top of linen fabric as well.
I still haven’t made it through the current issue of Dwell. I seem to be stuck on the article about felt artistisan Claudy Jongstra. I think I have read it 4 times now.
I love the mood of this photo. So peaceful.
Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007
The Kim Family auction is now live on Ebay. You can see a list of all of the items with their current bids here. While it is always exciting to watch an auction, and it’s thrilling to see the money going to such a good cause, I feel a huge amount of sadness and grief for Kati Kim and her two daughters. No amount of money will bring her partner and their father back, ever.
While I have never met this family, I find myself thinking of them often, as I am today.