Archive for the ‘on making’ Category

June 25, 2009

my friend melissa posted a photo to flickr of the most amazing quilted pillow, and a link to an excellent tutorial on how to make a cathedral window quilt. i am officially obsessed.

above is my first attempt. well, first attempt that will result in a full quilt–it’s much easier than i anticipated! granted, my work so far is not anywhere near perfect. and there’s no way that i’m hand sewing this thing. i mean, that’s ludachristmas talk. but it’s just for our own little bed and so hey, it doesn’t need to be gallery-wall-worthy. i say this partially for my own benefit, because if i start obsessing about the imperfections, it will never be completed and that would be sad. we need a quilt! or, we will when/if it’s ever cold again.

also, i am teaching myself to knit! or…i plan to! one of the joke names for the (as yet unnamed) sprout that we came up with early on was Stripes. don’t ask. i realize it’s not funny, but for some reason, i found this hilarious. anyway, we’re not naming him Stripes. instead, we decided to buy him a toy tiger and name that Stripes. only we hadn’t been able to find just the right one, until i saw this little guy (ok, girl) on etsy and bought the pattern. cute, huh? i’m not going to make the dress. i think the tiger is cute enough on his own. and well, honestly, i am not entirely sure i’ll be able to make the tiger.

today was a 4 train sort of day (L to the G, walk to the C, walk to the…R?, back to the L) and one of my many stops was purl in soho, where i was blown away by the helpfulness of the staff, who LOOKED UP my pattern on etsy (because i was there on a whim and had not planned accordingly) and helped me gather everything i will need. everything except skill, which i am hoping to acquire from this dusty copy of knitting for dummies that i forgot i own. so we’ll see.

it’s nice to be making some things that will be sticking around. things that aren’t intended to be sold. i really don’t do this enough, which bums me out a bit. it’s nice to not feel rushed or pressured. it’s nice to feel free to experiment a little. and hopefully this tiny bit of relaxed making time will inform the would-somebody-buy-this (?) style making of making, making it better. eh? perhaps. but no! corrupted thinking. we’ll hold off on worrying about that for the time being. for lo, it is time for tea.


May 14, 2009

yesterday got away from me, but here! here is a grey day. nothing to do but sit around and post things to the internet. as promised, the patchwork undies! these are on their way to oshkosh, wisconsin, to a cute shop called dainty daisies, run by a sweet maker named michelle. i’ve received lots of requests for wholesale undies and i’ve denied every one until now. even though some people (ahem! i saw you, commenter on modish) think dear birthday is wicked pricey, truth be told, i make next to nothing on the undies, which just so happen to be the most popular item. and the rest of the things (i should not be divulging this!) are currently being priced at a more economy-friendly rate than a valerie-friendly rate. but! i love what i do. and so in some ways it’s not like work. my brain must remind my back of this fact after several hours in the sewing chair, but usually they work it out. anyway! rambling? i decided to take up michelle’s offer if she was willing to accept patchwork undies (made from scraps!) in lieu of the one-pattern styles. and she was! and they turned out super cute! hooray.

i will be making some for the etsy shop today, to post maybe tomorrow or saturday. the weather is such that i’m finding it hard to motivate. and i don’t think listening to nirvana is helping either.

April 2, 2009

finally getting back into the sewing way. made this top after dinner last night. photographed and posted to etsy this morning. it feels so good to be productive. knowing that, i wonder why it’s so hard to get to this point.

March 13, 2009

working on blocks/slopers for babywear today. look how tiny!
printing little patterns on this size would be a piece of cake! hmm

March 11, 2009

a few of my favorite books of the moment. i’m more excited to start making baby and children’s clothes, but seeing this nice little bit of publicity this morning has me determined to finish some grown up dresses first.

that little blue jammie set was finished this afternoon for ian’s boss and his wife who just had a little girl. the pattern is from amy butler’s book little stitches for little ones and it’s one i’ve been wanting to try out for our own little sprout so it was nice to have a reason to test it out Right Away.

speaking of the sprout, i’ve found so many cute patterns and awesome etsy sellers of little girls’ clothes, but the cute stuff for boys is few and far between. it seems as though boys clothes fall into this trap of being the same old base garments decorated with icons of one of the following categories: sports, vehicles, tools, or animals. the only exception i’ve found in the handmade community thus far is tie dyed stuff, which, is a no. or at least, the versions i’ve seen are a no. also no good are “witty” slogans printed on baby t shirts. any words on clothes, really. unless they’re made into some sort of awesome all-over textile print.

so i’m going to work on it. for the boys in our lives.
in the mean time, if anyone knows of a maker of boys’ clothes that break these molds, please share!

October 25, 2008

first pair! they are pretty awesome, if slightly wonky. i’m bringing them to treehouse in just a little bit, but i plan on making much more elaborate versions starting this evening. hooray! new things are so exciting. i’m supposed to be working on finishing up these kathryn dresses to bring to a shop in manhattan, but my heart’s not in it at the moment. it’s much easier for me to make the same thing over again if it’s for a specific person. but if it’s going to a shop on consignment, there’s less motivation. is that bad of me to say? well, it’s just how it feels. true! i mean, it’s awesome (so awesome!) when new places are interested in dear birthday. i’m ever grateful for new interest! consignment is just rough business, that is all. no secret there. ask any maker.


hole dug. hole partially filled.

next up?

i managed to make my very first treasury on etsy! how nerve-wracking and wonderful it is to refresh the page in anticipation as the number of treasuries nears 333! i am such a dork. my heart was actually racing. ha! well go take a look and let me know how i did–i think it’s pretty ok! i definitely want to own everything i chose. ah. some day.

October 23, 2008

have you seen cal patch’s patching-with-crochet tutorial on craft stylish? i read it yesterday and it BLEW MY MIND! cal is a genius of making and mending.

so! i’m sitting here contemplating the myriad weirdnesses that had me completely flummoxed at my plain old retail job (*not* sodafine, which is such radness) yesterday when i looked over at my beloved wooly hat, purchased for me in ireland by gramie and grampie a way while back and LO! a hole to patch! i mean, the hole’s been there, just waiting to be mended, but honestly, i’m not a knitter. i don’t know how to mend such things. and sewing a patch of fabric onto a nicely knitted woolen hat just seemed wrong, you know? anyway, i was here with my embroidery threads at the ready and decided to give the crochet patch a go.

now mind you, i didn’t have the proper size hook, but i think that the woad-dyed lambswool thread worked just fine anyway. and in case you can’t tell from the photo, that’s a little blue heart in the middle. the whole exercise was so relaxing and fun that i almost (but almost) forgot about the horrid conversation i was subjected to between two AWFUL women about the worries of whether or not a little girl’s horse’s halloween costume (complete with a wig and CLIP ON EARRINGS!) would arrive from costa rica in time for the party at the barn. i only wish i could tell you that i’m joking.

oof. the memory pains me! time to patch up something else.

March 24, 2008

i spent a long time yesterday working on this bike tote, which is totally adorable, but totally not what i was going for. as a tote-bagger, i find carrying my unnecessaries somewhat troublesome when riding. sure, you can wear tote straps like backpack straps easily and yes, this is what i resort to, but when worn this way, the bag doesn’t sit properly and just…feels weird. maybe you’re not as tactily defensive as i, but still! it must be irksome to other biking ladies, right?

well anyway. this first version is clunkier than i’d like, but i was anxious to use this liberty print (which i first saw on a shirt from jcrew that my mom gave me for xmas) that i am in love with. so clunkiness aside, it’s a super cute and fully functional bag and is up in the etsy shop at a nice sample price.

oh! and speaking of etsy, if you’ve been reading over here for a few months, you may remember the entry in which i tried to work through the ins and outs of my etsy doubts…? well, i’ve come to a conclusion and it is this: etsy is awesome. that little part of me that felt like it was somehow stealing the soul of the handmade community was (i’m being a very big person here, listen up!) utterly snobbish and horrible. it’s a beautiful, totally democratic and fun thing and (and!!!) they don’t charge exorbitant seller fees. that said, i’m not apologizing for being skeptical! it’s important to find these things out for oneself.

March 12, 2008

it’s wednesday already! it happens every week and every week it surprises me. since i work outside of my tiny bedroom studio thursdays and fridays, wednesdays are my fridays. well, sort of. i tend to work weekends too, so maybe i have no fridays?
whatever. this week is flying by too quickly.

monday i purchased screen printing supplies–tired of wondering when the gocco-ed tag screen would finally die–and burned a new tag screen using ian’s unicorn design. it would have worked out just fine, except that instead of having a copy of his drawing transferred onto a transparency via a copy machine, i decided to purchase printer acetate and make the copy at home (i do so miss having a convenient kinkos) which turned out to be a bad idea. my printer printed too light and instead of just walking up the street to jam’s to have them make me a real copy, i (determined to do it myself!) traced over it in sharpie. every. little. line. it took forever and in the end, only kind of worked. the delicate lines got lost, as did some of the smaller details. ah well. live and learn.

then yesterday i was determined to sew up some more undies for the etsy shop, but realized halfway into it that even the patchwork plan wasn’t going to work because there were so few liberty scraps remaining. so i stopped at four pairs (one for a friend) and decided to screen them with the logo on the inside. well. i tested the one for my friend first and it (naturally) came out perfectly. anyway, you can see where this is going. no undies update. we’ll leave it at that.

then i did my taxes, became despondent, took a nap (a hazard of working from home).
but! ian came home and roused me with talk of pirogies and beer and all became well and right again. after dinner and grocery shopping (yes, in that order) we watched some northern exposure (i’m on the last season!! what next?) and i got to work on a new skirt pattern. it’s a short (but not super mini) skirt with side pockets and a back zip (finally got that zipper foot) and i’m really happy with the fit! at least *something* good came out of those two disastrous days. the skirt still needs to be hemmed and labeled (pre-printed, thank you!) and then i think it will be headed to a local shop. we’ll see. but today more will be made for my own little shops, which i expect will be updated this weekend.

oh! and ian’s mom, the magical miss julie, sent me a birthday present, which ian insisted i should open early (yes folks, saturday i will be Three Decades Old!) and that definitely helped lift my spirits further–a sweet new cookbook (food!!!) and a charming little tray from three potato four (she somehow always seems to know without knowing, exactly what you’re going to love! this is why she is magical) . thank you!
lordy. my head is a jumble–apologies for any reflection of that in this post. my dreams were so crazy and epic and intense last night that they’re crowding out more productive thoughts with aftershock. aren’t dreams supposed to help sum up your day and organize things for you? sometimes it seems like it’s the other way ’round!

March 9, 2008

the working rhythm that had been eluding me has finally settled in and i actually feel like i’m Getting Things Done. it’s taken a long time, but that old art school mantra, “work makes work” has once again proven to be 100% true. or you know, maybe i’m on a manic streak?

anyway, here’s one completed project that had been sitting atop the to-do list, untouched for too long: a shirt for a friend’s husband. and like most projects i take too long to start, this one was finished in no time, making my procrastination all the more ridiculous. and you know, except for sewing on all the buttons (11 on long-sleeved versions) i really enjoy making men’s shirts. this is one area in which i definitely think that some experimentation and tinkering could produce some awesome results. in a way, i think that it’s a case of working better within a set of rules or boundaries as guides than being given free reign over a design. it’s like being given an assignment or a task. or a safety net. that need will erode in time, but as long as it’s there i’m going to make use of it instead of worrying over its implications.

anyway! yesterday i made five pairs of medium-sized undies, which are now up in the etsy shop. this week i’ll make a pattern for a large size and get some of those up there too. they’ll all be patchwork though, as i’ve run out of big pieces of the pretty Liberty prints i’ve been using. must find more…

hope you’re weekend’s been a nice one! the sun has finally come out here, but we seem to have traded for it the relative warmth we’d been enjoying–it’s cold again. you know, last week i actually *felt* the sun on my back as i was walking with a friend. i’d almost forgotten how amazingly good that feeling is. like a toasty warm hug from the universe. haha!