Tuesday, September 24, 2013

another week...AARRGGHH

The weekend  passed uneventfully, except that is was my baby brother's birthday and the anniversary of my meeting Luke (33 years)...a little bittersweet not having him around to share the special day.

and another week has begun here at work... the garments for next photo shoot are coming in.
there are little tweaks i need to make in the fitting but nothing too major..thank heaven!
The models are chosen and on will be here the first weekend in October. Hoping that the fall weather decides to stay warm and sunny enough for the on-location shoot.

I have finished a Qiviut raglan pullover and hope to sew a skirt to match...have a great knit plaid chosen for the skirt.  A friend is finishing another pullover design for me while i am making scarf/ cowl/ mobius  to match, now I need to decide how to finish it...to be one of the 3 pieces...finished writing the pattern, and am working on schematics, illustrations and graphics.

We are 5 weeks from our next Stitches, and that too will be a ton of work...fortunately the Modeling Agency has already contacted me agreeing to furnish the talent, i have worked with them for many years...and glad to have them in my corner.

I need to get sewing, if not for work than just for my own well being...not sure why, but when i get home all i want to do is relax and cuddle with Pucci.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Turning 13

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Luke's death, which means I have been single for 13 years.  I won't say alone, because I have some pretty spectacular friends and family.   That also means i have been here at work and in Sioux Falls about 13 years. My oh my,  how time flies!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What happened to august

On August 20  I drove out to Colorado to visit family and attend my niece's wedding. Along the way I shopped for fabrics...if you ever get to Material Girl in Grand Island,  NE, tell them Rick and Elaine sent you!?!? You'll get star treatment!!! LOL

It was a blast at the wedding, Wendi was as beautiful as ever with her 3 sisters as attendants. I did their make-up and assisted with the hair...pays to have a gay uncle!!! Her Dad, Ron, walked her down the aisle, and Wendi asked me to  escort her Mom to her seat as the ceremony was about  to begin...I was so honored!  

All 7 of  us ( siblings) were together, that hadn't. Happened since my Grandmother's funeral, the only hitch was one brother decided not to attend the wedding because his girlfriend had a meltdown the night before over her  grown kids...and I cooked for the masses like I had learned to do, many years ago thanks to my mentor, Clara DePriest.  as I cooked dinner the first evening, my father said, "every time you come home, I gain 5 pounds.". To which I responded, " now you know my problem, I have to eat my own cooking."

Had a wonderful 12 days at home (with a few work related problems I had to solve through emails) where I  met 2 of my grand nieces, and 2 grand nephews for the first time. Saw most of my nieces and nephews and a few of my cousins. Gawd, are they getting old!?!?! 

On Monday, We went t to Chimayo, bought red and green chili for the winter, then went on to Albuquerque to fly home....airports in Denver and Albuquerque being pretty empty... Pays to travel on a holiday (as long as it isn't a car).

Back to work just to realize I really need a vacation!!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Home again

With a photo shoot under my belt— 2 book projects, one complete the other a partial shoot—completed in a day and a half. downtown chicago is a great place for shooting knitwear. The activity, the art, the buildings, and Buckingham Fountain...(the Married with Children" fountain in the opening  credits).

We hired 4 women from Factor Chicago, and had a great time working up and down michigan Avenue.  If you ever wanted to model you should rethink, these women need to stand in the heat and look pretty no mattern what they are required to wear...we had sweaters coats and jackets...and a few accessories and thay needed to look great in every shot and did...BTW it was 4500 frames shot!

so in review of the trip,
Bought  "From the Cauldron"  yarn to make a sweater for myself...in reds and blacks. This yarn was my favorite thing from the Stitches show...and no wonder...
 i just fell in love with everyone in the booth. Pretty edgy women—intelligent, witty, and totally fun...plus their work is stellar.

the yarn itself is a looooooonnng repeat which flows from red to black in only one repeat, and the other colorway has red and white that flows to black........i see a few more purchases from them in the future.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Friday is over...bring on Saturday

fashion show done....no major glitches....

Had 8 beautiful women from Elite Chicago on the runway with 102 different ensembles....it was a blast....happy audience so I cannot complain...
Going down to market to demo knitting back and forth.....and then to give a Tour through the Pages of Issue 112.

Friday, August 9, 2013



Her I am middle of night, ready for bed.... Great day!!!

Yesterday, WEDNESDAY, I started at Vogue Fabrics....bought silks and cottons for garments...but my best find was some great Sewing workshop patters that are no longer in the current catalog....along with a couple of Lois Ericson patterns. Had the clerk not been so annoying and listened i would have bought more. My time was limited and I decided to give up and use mail order instead!

Got back to Schaumburg Convention Center to judge the 3rd round of The Fiber Factor.....so many things to say during the taping, I don't envy the editing process of this round....Laura Bryant, Cirila Rose, Elaine Rowley, Karin Skacel and I had so many ideas and opinions. And not always agreeing made it even more fun and rewarding.

Opening day talk with Laura, and it was really informative...if you like hand-dyed yarn this was definitely a must see. Went to the luncheon, and was flattered when Laura commented that she wished we could live closer so we could collaborate and design together.

Spent the afternoon working on the fashion show. We have 102 garments....with full commentary for Friday night's show....some great knits and a few that make me wonder what the hell is someone thinking.  Building 102 ensembles can be a challenge, but we have some really great ones.

The market opened with the unveiling of Knitter's issue 112, my sweater is on the cover... And the photo is stellar.

I wore the Pan Pacific shirt with my pink chinos...to great  kudos when they learned my shirt was from my hands. Not sure what to wear later today, but I think I'll wear another handmade shirt....will let you know tonight...

Friday, July 26, 2013

murky but cool

last night's results... the yellow, orange and lime are now more earthy....remind me of moss and algae....thinking of making a Jean Cacicedo style vest.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dyeing to sew

I machine washed and dried the wool/rayon boucle fabrics i bought at the Fabric Workshop hoping to felt them. I think they fulled enough to be totally stable. i then  sampled small pieces  in a dye bath of black Wilton food color...the black broke leaving  cool colors ( magentas and teals) in the wool with the rayon keeping much of its intrinsic colors.

So, last night they took the plunge. They started out as yellow, orange, and green....I put all three half yard pieces into an enamel pot and left them to dye till i get home and wash them tonight.  Interestingly, as i played with the pot of dye to check things this morning, my hands turned magenta and the plate i used as a weight was covered in teal ...heaven knows how the fabrics will look tonight.

I am feeling a kind of deconstructed/ artsy vibe with this  fabric ( so i also dropped in a few pieces of black and white houndstooth and glen plaid for accent patches, maybe). Shooting to create something akin to  these cool looks. if not the fabric be repurposed to something else i am sure.

on another front....
 if you follow knitting,  Skacel is hosting a design contest, much like their own project runway with 12 contestants.  I am one of the judges for the current challenge with the judging  in 2 weeks at our Stitches Midwest show. take a look i am a little perplexed at how this all will shake down...the other two judges are my boss Elaine, and our latest Author Laura Bryant of Prism Yarns.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Got home at midnight from Kansas, went to a workshop at the Sewing workshop with Linda Lee...I had met her in Puyallap Wa at the Sewing Expo back in February.  My pal, Elaine , insisted that I join her for this event....I call it an event because it was!!!!! 3 days of sewing which expanded to 4... We went through fitting, design and sewing instruction...we were enveloped by hundreds of finished samples and gloriously beautiful fabrics. 

I used to sew the majority of my wardrobe. Somehow, after Luke's death and my move I lost interest...but kept knitting. But since knitting is a work responsibility it no longer is a diversion from work stress...the quilting, and now garment sewing is soothing that need.

More about Kansas.....
I made 3 garments that I will use for work and special events.

Made a reversible Peony silk vest, a Pan Pacific shirt (with double color and hidden placket and double cuffs), and a color blocked t-shirt. The Pan Pacific is made in a fine-weight cotton with a motif that graduates from nothing to full blown pattern across its width. I still need to make the buttonholes and redo the collar as I made it a tad too tight for my neck.  And the t-shirt is linen knit combined with a stretch sequin in copper.   Can't wait to wear this under a blazer.

I brought home an Indian silk, wool gauze, python black on black wool print, wool/rayon blend in 3 colors for color blocking, and a Pucci print silk!!!!   We stopped in Kansas City,  shopped at Kaplans and got two stunning peices of fabric for  a couple more fun shirts.  I was a little conservative in the amount of  fabrics I bought, mainly because our Mini Coper was pretty packed when we arrived...now I am alread living with regrets of purchases missed. Thanks heaven for mail order!!!!

I cannot say enough about Linda, Kathy and Erin....what a staff !!! I  felt so at home, being the only guy, and I think the first in one of these classes.....Linda warned the ladies I was coming and promised them I would move away into a corner when they wanted to try on clothing and while fitting....it worked for the first morning, after that first morning there was  little problem for them to be changing as if I weren't there— bras and undies were seen by all.
I mentioned to Linda, " I think I am one of the girls, now."

Kathy sews the most impeccable garments and has a style and color sense rivaled by no one I have ever known, and Erin is a sweetheart with the GenX vibe, modern look, and  so much polish.

Anyway I will dress my mannequin tonight and post pictures....because I am thrilled with all the amazing things I now own.
I was fortunate to purchase 2 shirts from her, they will be well loved and used in the next month....Stitches and Wendi's Wedding arre coming up soon.....

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Still sewing...

Just finished a raglan t-shirt to wear with these. Shoes to dye for!!!????

It is grey cotton tricot with embossed silver stars...felt I needed a little blue accent and dip dyed the finished  piece in teal, advancing the fabric every half hour to create a gradient of color. Like what I have seen on pinterest, although I went for pale colors.   Looks great with my white linen slacks....dark jeans....or my grey wool slacks and a blazer.


Today I am cutting out my velvet leopard print...it is a jade and black combo,--pretty unexpected--but should be a fun piece for a jacket for  one of the evening events I host at Stitches.  I decided to keep it pretty casual and make it a raglan bomber with elasticized waist and cuffs. I found a great NEW LOOK pattern a few years back (is 15 years a few?) and finally have time to do something with it....did I tell you I am going to SEW KANSAS this week, and hope to get a vest and jacket made...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Still high from the fumes....

I am shocked at how fast i can finish a sewn garment...i am so accustomed to knitting a garment that takes 20+ hours, that i forgot how gratifying sewing something in a few hours can be...and hand-finishing is a breeze. i think i might just be wrapped in sewn threads until the weather changes.

Made a raglan pattern for a T-shirt night before last, it was taken from a Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt I bought about 10 years ago. It took all of 20 minutes to get it to work as i knew I just wanted a sliver more room in the body.

I cut it out and had it done in a couple hours and wore it to work yesterday. It is black with beige tiny  polka dots in front, solid black short sleeves, and a striped back. The back is  Ponte so i used the wrong side for the back so a triplet of smaller lines make up each stripe...stripes also in the collar.

Not only does it look cool, it is really cool to wear— which works well when i get overheated. and that happens more than i like these days. Gotta balance the blood pressure...keep calm and bite your tongue!

I am now up to 5 fun shirts from this class, tonight i am  cutting out a new shirt...in fabric i bought at SR HARRIS in the Twin Cities. it is grey with silver embossed stars.  it willl be dip dyed to match my new Donald Pliner Ponts....hoping it turns out cool enough to wear at STITCHES, otherwise it will be  back to old standbys...or a trip to Nordstrom when i hit Chicago.

Also ordered a pair of Donald Pliner Sandals, yesterday....with their sale and my 30% off coupon they were really reasonable, and the black with red soles...will be perfect for my trip next week to Kansas....going to The Sewing Workshop for a sewing class with Linda Lee.  I think it will be a challenge for her in that she wasn't expecting a man, and i will have to bring my own pattern and ideas....i am thinking either a red dupioni silk jacket (like a jean jacket) or a raglan jacket in a green animal print. Either way these babies are destined for the Fashion Show at Stitches Midwest.
made in the class with Katherine Tilton.... high-lighted with gold foil, shiva stick and jaquard paint......next...I just played with tucks, added the long sleeves as side panels and wore it over a dress shirt in black and white blocks

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week End of Stitching!

OK now!

i have received a real kick in the pants, and am deciding to share here more regularly.

Just returned from a sewing workshop with Katherine Tilton in Minneapolis, The "Arty T" was a real blast. I went with my boss, Elaine, and her cousin Sarah from Brooklyn, and besides eating like there is no tomorrow, and shopping, we accomplished our goals.

A little history, Elaine and I went to the Sew Expo in Puyallup, WA last February after our weekend at Stitches. The whirlwind of 3 days in Seattle/Tacoma included fabric, pattern and surface design shopping along with a series of mini workshops. We made time also for  the glass workshop, the Murano hotel.( i wanted to visit the space needles but maybe next year, my parents went to the worlds fair when i was a kid)

The  Sew Expo highlights were meeting a few "sewing" stars. Amongst them were Marci and Katherine Tilton and shopping their booth was  just what i needed to get back to sewing my clithing. Katherine told us about the Arty T  workshop and we decided right then to go for it!

So this past weekend was a room full of sewing machines, knit tricot, stencils, paints, 15 women and me. we all worked on our own individual projects and had a blast. i made 2 pieces in 2 days. helped draft a pattern for the husband of one of my classmates. And refined a pattern with Elaine.  i also pushed Sarah, into purchasing stuff to keep sewing at home.

i will post pictures of my two pieces later....one is in the wash as it is full of dog hair from Mr.B and my visit to pick up Pucci last night. the other is hanging ready for an occassion!