Apr 21, 2014

Dyed Fiber Embroidery Thread (and Bubblegum Sampler) Giveaway!

One of my favorite things about the subscription programs, is that every so often, I am lucky enough to partner with other small companies to offer subscribers samples of beautiful threads.  Last year, when the first subscription program was just starting, I reached out to Kathy Leever, the maker behind the beautiful threads at Dyed Fiber, and asked if she would be interested in including a small sample of her hand dyed tencel threads at some point in the first year.  Not only did she, but she reached out again to me this year to include threads in March's envelopes.
I can tell you from first hand experience that these threads are a joy to work with.  I love variegated threads so much,  if for no other reason than the fact that their changing colors keep me motivated to stitch longer.  I've long been stitching with Perle Cotton, particularly DMC, but  until I found Kathy's shop, I had never heard of Tencel Perle.  In Kathy's words, it is as soft as silk, but as strong as polyester.  Her threads are hand dyed in her Texas studio, and no two skeins are alike.

I used a combination of Kathy's threads and solid colored DMC threads in my version of the Bubblegum Sampler (which is the first in the Colorburst Subscription), and I love the way the two combined.
Along with the samples that Kathy sent along for subscribers, Kathy sent me eight full sized skeins of Tencel Perle to give away!  I'm sweeting the deal with a copy of Bubblegum (pictured above).    There are a few ways to enter to win- feel free to enter one or all ways to up your chances!  

  • Leave a comment.
  • Visit the Dyedfiber Shop and tell me what color you'd pick.
  • Post one of the photos in this post to pinterest and leave a link.
  • Post a photo of one of your samplers in progress (esepcially if you used Kathy's threads- we want to see!) to the Flickr group.
I'll pick two winners at Random next Monday, April 28th.  Winners will receive four hand dyed skins of Dyedfiber Tencel Perle and one Bubblegum Sampler.  Please make sure to include your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you!   

Apr 16, 2014

Stitch Sampler of the Month: Running Stitches

This month, we're focusing on Running Stitches.  This stitch is so easy, and it is probably the first stitch you learned when you were learning to sew, or quilt, or embroider.  It looks ok on it's own in a straight line, but my favorite way to use it is to make dense rows of it, over and over again to create a beautiful background pattern (as in the darning stitch, above).   To know me is to know that to me, more is more, so of course, I love to use the running stitch in the densest way possible.

How about you? Did you stitch this one last year?  I would love to see your version!  Please leave a comment with a link to your photograph!

The First Color-Burst: Bubblegum!

I spent this morning packing up subscriptions and getting them ready to head out to you*.  I can't wait to see how everyone is going to embroider this first design, which I'm calling bubblegum.   I thought it would be fun to show you some in progress photographs of this one, although if you follow me on instagram, you've probably seen some of these.  I've gotta tell you, this one was so much fun to stitch...
I stitched the dots in the center with vintage silk button twist (or is it button hole twist? I can never keep the two straight), and the outside lines with a combination of Valdani perle cotton, and Dyedfiber hand dyed perle Tencel*.  

 Check out this version that my mom stitched! I love how it looks completely different by using chain stitch instead of backstitch.  Great job, mom!  Speaking of other versions, everyone that came to The Makerie got a Color Burst in their goody bag- if you got this one, post a link in the comments when you start working on it so we can all see how you're doing it!

*PS- Stay tuned next week for a chance to win a collection of Dyed Fiber threads!

PSS- Due to the printing taking a little longer than I thought, I'll be sending samplers out tomorrow and Friday, which means that if you want to get in on the fun this month, there is still time!  

Apr 9, 2014

Three Things New York...Rooftop Edition!

Quickly before I get serious about putting everything in my suitcase to go the Makerie, I wanted to give you three things I'm loving about New York right now.  I haven't done it in a few weeks, and to be honest, I was looking and not finding anything. My winter jacket gave up the fight last week when a snap just plain fell off.  I was sick of wearing it, and I think it was sick of being worn (I'm off to Steinlauf and Stoller's next week to get that snap replaced...).

And then, the season changed.  The daffodils bloomed!  I got to wear my spring jacket!  Everyone started smiling again!

So, three things.

1.) Rooftops!  I don't always love how close together everyone is here, but up on the rooftops, I love the way I am always reminded of the dancing chimney sweep scene in Mary Poppins.  Katy and I go up on top of ours at midnight on New Year's eve to watch the fireworks in Prospect Park and scream and shout and listen to everyone else making a racket with their noisemakers and shouting good wishes into the ether.  For one night, and for one moment, we don't mind the noise!  It always feels so romantic and old fashioned.    I just came down from the roof where I took this panoramic snap shot this afternoon.  Can you believe that sky?  It's beautiful today!

2.) Watertowers.  They have become the symbol of Brooklyn.  You can see them from every rooftop.

3.) Finally, on an unrelated note: Aire!  I spent the earlier part of today at this spa, blissed out in the salt pool, floating motionless and feeling like I was in outer space.  I used a gift card that I got for my birthday (in July, I sure stretched that party out!).  It's so sunny and beautiful outside, so I had the place mostly to myself.  If you're in town visiting I highly recommend this splurge worthy experience.  If you're a New Yorker, you gotta go.  This place is quiet, posh, and super chill.  A tonic for the crazy of NYC.

I'll see you next week!  Meanwhile, I'll be instagraming in Colorado at the Makerie.  Follow along @dropcloth.

P.S. A big THANK YOU to everyone who ordered Color Burst subscriptions.  I'll be packing them up and shipping them out on Tuesday.  There's still time to join this month.  

Apr 1, 2014

Introducing: Color Burst Embroidery Subscriptions!

It started with the Makerie.  I was invited to teach a workshop there this year, and I started sketching up ideas.  One day last summer when I was sitting in my studio wondering about what to teach in Colorado, I stared straight ahead of me at a wall of patches that I had collected.  The patch class I’m teaching a week from Saturday was born, and so was a nagging feeling that patches could keep going in other ways in the studio.

It also started with a text message from my friend Jackie earlier this year,  it was a photo of a drawing that she was making.  It was a beautiful drawing, but it gave me a little twinge of jealousy. My new year’s, (monthly, weekly, daily) resolution, had been to  start drawing again after a long break, and I wasn’t.   Then Jackie and I talked on the phone and she said something that really stuck with me about her own drawings.  “I realized that they didn’t need to be a big deal, I could just draw in a notebook for fun”  Yeah!  Immediately I started doodling, just for fun, for no big deal.

We started sending each other photos of what we were working on, and I started amassing a huge collection of drawings on my studio wall.  Some of them were pretty bad, but some of them I liked a lot.  One day while I was painting in the studio it clicked- this collection of drawings could become a new series of samplers, and their small size led me to think that maybe this series could be dreamed up as a collection of patches.  So, after many iterations, and more than a few flopped designs and prints, I am so happy to bring you this new collection.  With many thanks to my good friend in California for getting the ball rolling……

Introducing: Color Burst Sampler Subscription!  From lots and lots of pen and ink and gouache drawings came this collection of twelve samplers, each handmade by me in my Brooklyn studio and printed for you to stitch. Subscriptions are now available in three, six, and twelve increments. I hope you'll join the fun!

This collection is making its debut as the follow up to last year’s popular  Stitch Sampler Subscription.  Each design is hand drawn and painted by me in my Brooklyn studio using pen and ink and gouache.  Not all designs make it to the printing process, but twelve did!  These small samplers started out life as patches, but I quickly realized that they have a lot more potential.  Will yours be the center of a quilt block, a coaster, a collection of patches, the beginning of a pieced pillow?  I can’t wait to see what everyone does…..

Each month, I'll mail you a brand new sampler, available only to subscribers, based on a unique drawing.  Each three to five inch sampler fits perfectly into a five inch hoop, and can easily be completed in a month's time- just in time for the next one to arrive!   These small embroidery samplers make the perfect on the go project.

Samplers will ship on the 15th of each month starting April 15th (order by the 10th to be included in the current month). The designs are available only to subscribers (they cannot be purchased individually)

The design size ranges from 3-5" round, and the fabric they are printed on is approximately 5-7" square, 100% Cotton.  

Each month I’ll tell what threads and stitches I used on the blog. I can’t wait to see how you stitch yours!

Mar 27, 2014

Something New!

I'm heading into the studio this morning to take some photos of a new embroidery sampler series.  Here's a sneak preview.  More to come soon!

Mar 20, 2014

Five Things New York...

1.) Chinatown sidewalk markets, with hot pink fruits (vegetables?)

2.) Year round farmer's markets, but especially SPRING farmers markets, that bring pansies, and hyacinths, and tulips and daffodils to us by the great big tables full.  The hyacinth I bought last weekend can be smelled from all the way outside our apartment.  The essence of Spring. I love it.

3.) Events like the one I attended last night for Bibliocraft, where I saw so many friends and got to meet some new ones.

4.) The promise of Cherry Blossoms, soon....

5.) My favorite egg salad sandwich at the Brooklyn Larder.  

Mar 17, 2014

Bibliocraft Release Party!

Since I moved to New York, I've been on a quest for quiet.  It's so loud here, and the chaos and crowds can often seem overwhelming. At least a few days of the month, I go to the New York Public Library, to write and catch up on deadlines, amidst the quiet tables in the Rose Reading room.   Of course, I've also spent countless hours there researching images and ideas for my artwork.  Like the Chicago Public Libary (which I waxed on about here) the NYPL has an incredible collection of images, objects, and information.  

You can't imagine how thrilled I was when Jessica Pigza, the special collections libarary at the NYPL, reached out to me to ask me to contribute to her beautiful new book, Bibliocraft.   Since that first meeting,  we've met for tea and talked about the book writing process and become friends.  She herself is amazing- a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.   We share an editor, and one day, while sitting in my (our) editor's office a few weeks ago, I got a little preview of this beautiful book.  It is so beautiful- and I can't wait to get my hands on my very own copy this Wednesday  (tomorrow) at the book release party.  It's being held at the Brooklyn Craft Company in Greenpoint, and all the details (and RSVP info) can be found over on Jessica's blog.  I hope you can make it!

I contributed a project that was inspired by the library's collection of maps, which required several meetings with the library's Geo-Spatial librarian, who laid out a huge table full of antique maps of Manhattan, complete with plot lines of the farms that once were the upper east side.  What a day! In the end the project pays homage to antique maps, and to my Grandma, who died a year ago last week, and whose birthday (91st) would have been this Wednesday.

March Sampler of the Month: Threaded Stitches!

March already?  There's a blooming hyacinth on my kitchen table, so it must be true.   The sampler of the month is Threaded Stitches- perfect for using up your favorite thick threads and embroidery ribbons.  And...I'm happy to report that there's an awesome little extra in everyone's envelope this month as well- a sample of thread from DyedFiber, a Texas based thread dyer named Kathy Leever.   Each order gets a sample of two different color ways of her hand dyed Tencel Perle threads.  They are lovely to work with.  I've been using them on some new samplers I'm cooking up, and I love the way the colors shine.  I'll show you more later this week.

 Instead of choosing from the Flickr pool this month, I wanted to show you my mom's version of the Threaded Stitches sampler, that she worked into a book with all the other samplers.   Each page (er, sampler) is hand quilted and bound into a book that's finished with covers made of fabric that I dyed long ago.

What about you? Do you have plans to turn your samplers into a bigger project? If you stitched along last year, what has become of yours?  Please do leave a link to your work, I'd love to see it!

Mar 5, 2014

The Return of Five Things New York

When I first moved to New York a little over three years ago (three years?!) I started a little blog theme called Five Things New York, it was a way to focus on what I was discovering and loving about this city.  While the city seems intent on staying frozen a few more weeks, I thought it would be a good time to bring it back.  I've been trying my hardest to stay positive these days; I've got a lot to be thankful for.  In my sketchbook I've been writing down three things that I notice everyday, inspired by one of my favorite writers, Naomi Shihab Nye.  I'm picking the best of the week to share with you here.  Five things to melt the cold hearts of winter.

1.) These two, doing a couples skate  to Gene Kelly in Bryant Park last week during my lunch break from writing at the library.  I smiled the rest of the afternoon.  It was so cold that day!

2.)  The man on a six foot tall unicycle who bikes up and down Flatbush avenue with his Border Collie on Sunday mornings.

3.)  Doo wop bands that play on the subway.

4.)  Ramen Noodles at Naruto.

5.) My new to-go thermos that is perpetually with me,  full of hot water with lemon and ginger.

What about you?  What's keeping you going through this last stretch of the winter doldrums?