Monday, September 22, 2014

around the world {without leaving the house}

A few weeks ago I started noticing all of these "around the world" posts in my feed, but I didn't truly appreciate them until I started sifting through what a few friends had written.  And just when I was starting to feel left out, two invites popped up in my inbox within 24 hours of one another:  one from my 2014 valentine Anne of Play Crafts, and the other from appliquér-extraordinaire Casey of Casey York Design.  (Thank you both!)  I have such great respect for each of them as designers and I'm so happy to call them friends.  If you're not already familiar with their work, I highly recommend you change that, stat.  Anne just let the cat out of the bag about her upcoming book. And Casey's brainchild will be debuting later this fall, alongside which Casey has been hosting a wonderfully informative yearlong series, "Crafting a Book," for anyone who's got the publishing itch (raises hand).  (How I have the good fortune of having such talented friends still eludes me.)

As for little ol' me, I suppose I should turn to the questions...

What am I working on?
Whatever I can, whenever I can!  (Which albeit isn't as often as I'd like, but isn't that always the case?)  There's my liberty and oakshott gypsy wife (which, by the time I'm done with it, will be more of a gypsy king for our master bedroom).

A massive lyon-bear for our daughter's big girl bed.

The first glimmer of life in a "muddy" wintry forest for the nursery (see what I did there?)

And of course #opgivewarmth is always going on in the background, because the beds in our house are certainly not the only ones that need a touch of handmade comfort.

All the palettes thus far (July, erm, fell through the cracks shall we say); find out more on this page.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
As my toddler would say, "Hmph?"  So against that backdrop, I think what sets some of my work apart (to the extent it stands out at all) is the thought that goes into it.  And by thought I mean overthought.  I don't know that I consider myself an activist armed with a needle and thread, but I certainly have found fabric as a means of expression on more than one occasion.

For instance, Liberty (of London) and Justice For All...

or Once Upon A Forest (a camp of forest creatures emblazoned with the words of environmental legend John Muir).

Stylistically of course there's my infatuation with a good gradient, and my use of monochromatic and analogous color schemes (I insist on taking the long way around the color wheel when I do choose to venture outside of a more restricted palette).  I know I'm far from alone in those regards and don't by any means consider them unique to me, but they do tend to define my personal aesthetic.

Why do I write/create what I do?
Well this one's easy.  Because I *LOVE* it.  Growing up I was both contemplative and creative, and in a serendipitous way this space acts as a wonderful outlet for both traits.  To many, I'm sure the concept of taking large pieces of fabric and chopping them into little pieces of fabric only to—wait for it—reassemble them into (yet another) large textile comes across as both anti-utilitarian and time less than well spent.  But I beg to differ.  I mean yes, in the most literal sense, I am simply reconstructing a version of what I had to begin with.  But I'm not doing it in a vacuum, and by weaving the fibers of the stories and experiences that inform my design process (read:  all that overthinking I was talking about earlier), I contend that—looks aside—there's something fundamentally different about the finished product even if the sheer physical matter may be the very same.  And so long as I continue to believe that to be the case, I'm going to keep doing what I do.

How does my writing/creative process work?
For me it's all about timing.  Maybe it's the (over)analytical part of my brain, but I just cannot help but try to make connections with what's going on around me.  And because I write and create here for no other reason than my own sanity, I have the luxury of not having to force the process.  So when I'm inspired, I latch on to that muse for dear life, eagerly awaiting to see where I'll wind up.  When I'm not, I simply wait for inspiration to strike.  (Fortunately (and unfortunately), it rarely takes much time; the trade off, of course, being a wish list a mile long!)

Tag some peeps!
To keep the conversation going, I'm tagging two friends, both of whom I have the pleasure of calling part of my local creative circle:  fellow "bee that shall not be named" members Amy of 13 Spools and Amanda of Material Girl Quilts.  I first met Amy earlier this spring and I knew from the start I'd found a kindred spirit:  she's an ombre-obsessed, paper-piecing queen (her first book is due next spring!).  Plus she's recently been showcasing some free motion quilting that rivals some of the best.  Amanda and I met a year ago, shortly after we both heard through the grapevine that there was another quilter in the office (yep, we're just three doors down from one another at work).  Which I believe makes her my first official in-real-life quilty friend.  (Tear!)  On top of that (as if I need to say any more), she's an impeccable sewist, a moda bake shop chef and the mastermind behind the layer cake sampler along (some of you may recall my gradient-fill version, pictured below).

Looking forward to hearing Amy and Amanda's reflections, and thanks again to Anne and Casey for the perfectly-timed tag :o)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"lyon(s)" and (tiger) stripes and BEAR, oh my!

I'm sure most of you have seen at least one version of Juliet of Tartan Kiwi's 30-inch "Big Bear" pattern. (I know I was blown away when I saw Adrianne's polar bear, Michelle's umbrella prints friend, and Juliet's eclectic grizzly pop up in my IG feed over the past few weeks.)  

Though the eyes look like two different blues head on, they're cut from one and the same oakshott swatch.  Whoops!

So much so, that I jumped at the opportunity to pick up the pattern as soon as it was released.  Straight away I printed it on ledger-sized paper (mine finishes at 40"), but I was pretty ambivalent when it came to fabric choice.  Until, of course, the Oakshott summer clearance rolled out, soon after which this stack of fabric showed up on my doorstep.

Okay, technically not *my doorstep* because FedEx takes that signature-required policy quite seriously.
The failed delivery attempt slip, on the other hand, was on our front door.  ;o)

Within no time, their calling became clear:  one big (big) lyon bear for our toddler's bed.  To be honest, I initially thought that my big-paper strategy would yield a 60" bear (evidently my printing math is not quite up to par), so I'm going to add some neutral borders on the sides to match the background before elongating the design with some aztec-inspired rows on each end as originally planned.

By the time all is said and done, someone's going to have a very fun, still-pretty-big new furry friend for her big girl bedroom.  ...Which will hopefully make up for the fact that we will not—in spite of multiple requests—be painting said room pink.  ;o)

Monday, September 1, 2014

#opgivewarmth {september 2014}

Every month I flip through my favorites (on bloglovin and flickr) to find palette inspiration for #opgivewarmth.  Evidently I'm somewhat predictable, as—more often than not—subdued and mostly-monochromatic color stories beat out the more erratically vibrant (and often multicolored) ones.  And that's just based on what makes it into my favorites to begin with, so I know there's a world of color combinations that I'm passing by!

In an effort to avoid becoming totally redundant—and while I take inventory of the hues we've used thus far—, I'm going with a neutral, plume-inspired collection of earthy taupes and smokey grays for September.  Mostly because I love it, but also because I'm certain this one is entirely unlike any other month's. ;o)  Plus I have just the right fabric stack in mind...

So there's that. ;o)  And as a PSA for anyone who doesn't yet subscribe to Michael's newsletter:  Oakshott is currently holding its summer clearance sale (with free shipping on large orders) through September 8!  Some of my favorites (including Lyon, Summer Stripe and Impressions) are available for $7-$10 per meter, which, I have to say, is a *steal* for this ethically-produced, dreamily iridescent goodness.  A s-t-e-a-l.  So go on now, have a look.  And if you happen to make something inspired by this palette, too, I'd love to see it pop up in the #opgivewarmth pool on IG!

For those of you who missed the announcement (or would like a refresher), this project is a monthly callout for charity blocks that will benefit My Very Own Blanket (specifically, children in the Indiana foster care system).  All styles and piecing methods are welcome.  I only ask two things:  (1)  that your block(s) fits a 3" grid system (i.e. finished sizes of 3", 6", 9", 12", 15", etc., so add a ½" to each of those to allow for seam allowance), and (2) that they mesh with that (or any prior) month's color palette.

Address for #opgivewarmth blocks:

My Very Own Blanket
c/o Sarah Sharp
P.O. Box 4586
Carmel, Indiana 46082