Sunday, June 16, 2024

Weekend Review: Quilt Out Loud

Quilt Out Loud / Thomas Knauer
Concord, CA: C&T, c2023
144 p.

I read this one via my library, and found it very interesting! The subtitle says it all:  "Activism, Language and the Art of Quilting". It really does live up to that billing, combining all three effectively. 

I read it as part of my investigations of using text on quilts, and this one has some ideas that I really liked. Knauer is a quilter who has exhibited many of his social commentary quilts, and he talks about activism and the quilting world, alongside presenting quilts and techniques to incorporate text (or other forms of semantic meaning) into quilt projects. 

There are only so many ways one can do this, and because I've read so many of these kinds of books, I've seen many of these techniques before. But I appreciated the layout, photos and all the context he gives for the specific quilts here. Not only techniques, but the "why" of his projects is given, and I found that inspiring beyond just the practical. Many of these examples are serious, commenting on gun violence, racism, misogyny and more. But there are also lighter, whimsical quilts, as with the one he made for his wife with their wedding vows in code. 

There are instructional elements to this book featuring applique, quilted text, piecing, even using Morse code and binary code. But there is also a lot to read, not just simple how-to's. There are essays included by other quilters who have been quilting in a combination of text and activism for a long time, like Chawne Kimber or Denyse Schmidt, and these elements add to the book. It's a nice balance of voices, and a deep dig into how domestic arts (here specifically quilting) can be used in activist ways. I really liked this one, and will definitely look at it again in future. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Sew What You Need in June

When I was trying to pack light for my recent travels, I was having some difficulty putting together a small capsule wardrobe. Many pieces in my wardrobe are standalones, and trying to put together 5 or 6 pieces that could be interchangeable was harder than I'd expected! I really noticed a lack of button up shirts in my closet. I was hoping to take one that I could wear as a shirt and also open as a kind of jacket. There was nothing really suitable for that purpose.

And then a Sew Over 50 challenge called "Sew What You Need June" popped up in my IG feed and I thought, well, I know what I need! So I've decided I could really stand to make one or two solid colour button up shirts for my wardrobe this month. 

I have sorted through my patterns and chosen a few that might do the trick. I have 3 choices for a long sleeved button up shirt, just have to choose one to move forward with! 

I have also pulled 3 patterns for short sleeved button front blouses, all from my thrifted retro stash; the Simplicity one has a hidden button placket. The Simplicity and Burda ones use small amounts of fabric so might work well with some of my recent thrift store fabric purchases. 

I have a few fabrics I'd like to make summer wear with, so hopefully I can match up at least one of these blouse patterns with one of these fabrics! I seem to be sewing very slowly these days so if I can get to one I will be happy :) 

Solid rayon, cotton & linen

Colorful cotton prints!

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

More Patterns, Thrifting and Travel!

One more thing I like to do when I travel is to check out local thrift stores, of course! Luckily for me, my sister & Mom are also thrifters and we had a fun day checking out a list of shops when I was visiting them. We found a few books, some nice clothes & fantastic shoes, and of course I went straight to the craft/sewing area in each shop to see what was available. 

I had to be judicious as I didn't have much room to carry things home with me, but I did find some wonderful patterns at a great price in one shop. I ended up with a handful of more contemporary patterns, two of which (McCalls 5668 & Simplicity 2852) I've been looking for for a while!

I also found a few from the 80s/early 90s, my favourite kind ;) The two on the right are both culotte patterns, with a jacket in the Burda one as well. My fave of this set is the "Super Combination" Burda, 4709. I love the green tunic and plan on making that for my fall wardrobe. If you look at the line drawings, this pattern even includes stirrup pants! Shades of high school...somehow I don't think I'll be going there ;) 

I had a lot of fun shopping for these, and I think I'll enjoy sewing some of them up, hopefully within the year. Even if I don't, I always enjoy looking at the details in all my patterns and coming up with new ideas!

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Weekend Review: Text It!


Text It! / Sherri Noel
Bothell, WA: Martingale, c2019.
64 p.

This is a cute book, a great addition to the books I've been reading about adding text to fabric projects. It incorporates fusible applique, needle-turn and wool applique, and bias binding lettering, as well as ideas on how to use hexies as lettering (ie: like pixels). It provides a few projects for each one as well, incorporating quilting patterns alongside ideas on how to add text. There is also a pattern sheet for 7 distinct alphabets tucked in the back, if you want to trace some lettering for the projects (at the size required).

It's a smaller book but is bright and cheerful, with a sense of humour in some of the projects, and nice ideas, from simple (like a throw pillow) to more time-consuming (like a wedding quilt). One of my favourite projects is the infinity quilt on the cover. It's an unusual design and really graphic and pleasing. She includes both the whole quilt pattern and a smaller pillow sized one to add to the quilt project, or just to make on its own. 

The cover shows fusible applique (on the infinity quilt), wool applique (pillow) and bias lettering (the home pillow) so you can see a variety of techniques right off the bat. I thought it was well designed and laid out, with quite a few options to try and see which one strikes you best. I am most intrigued by the bias tape lettering, it gives a cursive effect that I really like. And the use of hexies was a fresh approach with a neat visual effect. I can see how this could be used to make modern styled projects. 

I enjoyed this one and could see using these techniques in a variety of ways. Definitely a fun one to read through and learn from!

Friday, June 7, 2024

Literary Sewing Circle project roundup

Today I'm sharing some of the projects that have been posted online for the "To Say Nothing of the Dog" round of the Literary Sewing Circle. Many people are posting only on IG these days so a blog roundup, especially with a cumbersome link tool, doesn't really do it anymore! I even forgot to link up my OWN project, as there was an extra log in step I couldn't do on mobile. Sigh! 

Anyhow, there were a few fun pieces entered into the roundup, and here they are. I'll start with mine, the Oxford Dress by Treize Cocquelicot. It was a breezy, fun project reflecting one of the place names in the book, and made with a watery kind of fabric. 

Sarah, @Sew.Focused on IG, shared the first piece of her travel wardrobe inspired by the book,  a hack of the Laurence Top by VivianShenChao. You can read her thoughts on her IG post!

Jan, @conlon.jan on IG, shared her Vogue 1510, a summer white dress inspired by the character Verity, when she is in the Victorian era. She even has a summer hat to match! You can read her thoughts about it on her IG! 

I hope that you enjoy these! Don't forget that another round of the Literary Sewing Circle will be happening this fall. Keep your eyes on this space ;) 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Travelling and Stitching

I wasn't posting much over the last week as I was out gallivanting -- I made a flying visit to see my parents and had a very busy week! But in the midst of all the visiting and such, I also learned something new. My mom is an expert crocheter, and has tried to teach me in the past. I asked for more lessons, and this time it took. I started with the basic stitches 

Then I moved on to trying a granny square 

This was extremely basic for my Mom, but I felt very accomplished when I had finished! Now I really want to learn more about this craft. 

We also stopped in to a quilt shop when we visited Canmore, as recommended by my Mom, who is also a quilter. The Sugar Pine Company had quilting, embroidery, knitting, crochet, sewing supplies, needle felting and more. It was a fun chance to look around at such a variety of things, but knowing I had limited space to carry things home, I settled on a yard of text print fabric and a Purple Thang, which I've always wanted ;) 

Do you try to fit in craftiness when you travel? I sure do, and I'm so glad that my Mom and I can shop and learn together, too!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Weekend Review: Embroidered Lettering

Embroidered Lettering / Debra Valencia
Mount Joy, PA: Design Originals, c2019.
176 p.

This month I'm all about lettering. I was looking forward to this book on embroidery, as I really like lettering and the cover example is really nice. I found it a good read, with some useful tips, but it's really more of a project book than a technique book.

The lettering is almost entirely done with the same techniques; primarily stem stitch outlines with various fill stitches. I also like - and often use - this combo, so I don't feel anything new or groundbreaking was learned here -- for me. That said, this book does include various alphabets for you to use for your projects, which you can incorporate into anything you please, not just the ideas given here. And there are a number of simple sewing projects, so those new to both sewing and embroidery won't feel overwhelmed by complexity. 

There are 25 simple projects -- zipper pouches, coasters, tote bags and the like -- and 7 full alphabets. Unfortunately they aren't to scale so you would have to photocopy to scale if you wanted to follow these patterns exactly. There are fairly solid instructions for the stitches she uses to embroider the lettering, so if you haven't tried this before you might find it helpful. Overall, a pretty book with nice photos, entertaining to look through but unlikely to be a keeper for me.