My friend Jenny has been encouraging me to start playing around with quilting and patchwork. She’s a talented quilter herself, and she successfully taught me how to make my first whole cloth quilt (I’ll share more soon about that particular quilt’s supporting role in my forthcoming book). Jenny’s efforts have paid off: this year I joined a quilting guild, attended QuiltCon, and became a collector of fat quarters. Basically, I’ve gone from being a quilt lurker–reading about quilts, collecting books about quilts, and admiring exhibitions of quilts–to trying my hand at making my own.
And with her encouragement, I entered the Double Wedding Ring Challenge hosted by my guild. Because I was pretty confident I’d not enjoy the curved piecing (wow, was I right), and because I’m already fully immersed in what will be a rather large hand pieced hexagon quilt, I chose to make the small single ring option. I pieced it on my machine and then quilted it by hand, adding cross stitch arches to complete the “pickle dish” forms along two sides. Here’s one pickle dish that’s patchwork on both sides, in progress:
In making my little XOXO quilt (O for the circle shape and X for the cross stitches), I learned the following: I prefer hand piecing and hand quilting to using a machine; I really need my own design wall; and I enjoy color play more than I expected. Here are the fabrics from my stash of fat quarters that came into play, early on:
I also learned that I prefer to make finished objects that have a functional purpose. This little round guy is nice, but I’m itching to turn it into a pillow cover or something purposeful. We’ll see what XOXO becomes!
It’s hard for me to believe it sometimes, but Handmade Crafternoons at New York Public Library have been going strong since 2009. I first joined up with Maura Madden four years ago to launch a DIY salon for adults that would draw creative inspiration from the library’s collections while drawing in a community of artists and crafters. The fall 2013 series is about to get underway!
Continue reading “This Fall at the Library.”
Yesterday was a perfect creative escape. Craft Camp was everything I thought that it would be–a full day of creative classes, yummy food, and craft inspiration. But it was more, because of the chance to hang out and talk with crafty ladies all day long. I connected with some people I already know–like Craft Camp teachers Julie Schneider, Sarah Goldschadt, Jessica Marquez, and Cal Patch, crafty writers Haley Pierson-Cox and Megan Nicolay, and the savvy and fabulous agent Kate McKean–but I also met lots of new people who I’ll hope to run into again, either online or in person. From jewelry designers to journalists, and from an oyster expert to a mathematician, the day was stimulating, social, and full of surprises. It was also impeccably organized (congrats for making it all run like clockwork, Brett!) and lovely all around.
Continue reading “Craft Camp Report.”
There’s been a whole lot happening in my craft brain over recent months, and it’s all exciting and stimulating (and stressful too!). It’s mostly details about my book project, and I’ll be ready to start sharing bits of news about that a little later this spring. But while trying to balance demands of the book-to-be with the rest of my life, I’ve found tiny bits of time around the edges to work on a few of my own creative exploits.
Continue reading “Winter Projects and Field Trips.”
I have lived in New York for over seven years, and by now I feel at home. But on many days I still haul myself home, exhausted by the unexpected and unexplainable weight of daily life here. And after too many days in a row like that, it can take a grand gesture on the part of city life to offer me needed perspective. My attendance at Lotta Jansdotter‘s surface printing workshop this past weekend did the trick to remind me of one of the reasons I do love New York: the easy proximity and friendly accessibility of so many talented designers and makers.
It all started with potato carving.
Continue reading “Starting with a Potato.”
I’m currently working on a book, a crafter’s library companion. It’s going to have a bunch of library collection-inspired projects by a cast of talented contributors, and it’ll also include heaps of guidance to help you learn how to find and use library collections both in person and online for your own creative inspiration and information. I’m working on the guidance section right now, and I wanted to ask fellow crafters for help.
Continue reading “This Librarian Wants to Know.”
It’s true–sheep in the city! For one day only–Thursday, Sept. 27th–sheep will graze alongside midtown lunchers in Bryant Park, which I like to think of as my library’s backyard. I’m particularly excited about their visit because, after a trip to Ireland this summer that included five days of hiking across green hills and pastures among countless sheep (a few of my many pictures of them are below), I am a bigger fan of sheep than ever.
Continue reading “Sheep in Bryant Park!”
It’s really easy to love Marimekko, with their outsized textile designs, their legacy of women design entrepreneurs, and their clothes that seem designed to be comfortable and fashionable at the same time. I don’t generally shop at Marimekko, because I know I’ll want goods beyond my price range. But when I was in Minneapolis a few months ago, I visited the official Marimekko shop there, FinnStyle, and had a look around.
Continue reading “Marimekko Summer.”
This past week my colleagues and I were featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Work Wear series. The series, if it’s new to you, uses photographs and brief quotes to document how people at different companies and organizations dress. There’s been plenty said about library fashions, and too often coverage falls yawningly and predictably into one of three themes: librarians are sexy, librarians wallow in cat hair-covered linen, or librarians surprise us with their stylishness. So, all in all, I was pleased that after the obligatory joke about sensible shoes and cardigans, the Wall Street Journal avoided these easy routes and let the staff and their clothes speak for themselves.
Continue reading “Style and the Library.”
I’m hard at work on an exciting new book project that combines my two loves–libraries and craft. And I’d like to invite library-loving crafters and makers to be part of it!
Continue reading “Handmade at the Library: A Call for Contributors.”