away

I have loaded the car with all imaginable sewing supplies, including the ironing board, two large pots, two sewing machines (in case one breaks), the typewriter, yards of fabric both printed and not...

I am heading back here, to look after the critters while our friends and their beautiful daughters are zipping over to London. The few days in solitude will be used to get ready for the Artisans Studio Tour taking place next weekend. I am planning to dye, stitch, and stock up. I will report once I return.

stitching slowly



Lots of time is spent stitching lately. Slowly, methodically, and deliberately. It is hard not to feel rushed with looming deadlines, but I am trying. Taking deep breaths, concentrating on the needle penetrating the cloth, creating lines and texture as we go. I am enamored with tone on tone stitching, without much contrast, except the sheen of the thread agains the matt linen.



I am featured in a new book called Mastering the art of fabric printing and design by Laurie Wisbrun. It is a great book that covers a wide range of techniques and aspects of textile design and printing, and it includes profiles and interviews with many wonderful textile makers from around the world. The first edition is released in the UK. The book will be available in the US in the spring under a slightly different title. I'll keep you posted.

heavy machinery

 


There is something to be said about simple machines. Heavy steel casings, uncomplicated mechanics, and not a computer chip in sight.




I've been longing for an old manual typewriter for a while, wishing that I had saved the one we had at home when I grew up. After much searching and looking I found this Royal Futura in Agent Obsolete's etsy shop. It was made int the late 50's and arrived in perfect condition, original manuals and leather case included. I can't wait to use the typewriter for upcoming book projects, labels, and business cards. The writing looks amazing on the eco printed paper.


I bought the Viking sewing machine soon after I moved to the US in 1988. She was made in the late 70's in my home country Sweden, and was always super strong, durable, and easy to get along with. Unfortunately at one point I used the wrong thread for an upholstery project, and ever since something has been awry with the tension. The Viking was relegated to the attic for years, replaced with a series of expensive finicky German machines. Until I found the right repair man to coax her back to life. The stitch is as beautiful as ever and she has returned to the top of my sewing machine arsenal.

signs of fall and a worldwide band of stitchers

These choral red spider lilies are popping up all over my ruefully neglected garden. I love their determination and grace. Their annual appearance is the first sign that fall will actually happen again this year. The stifling heat is giving away to cooler days, which brings energy and ambition. My dreams and plans are always most plentiful this time of year.  There are so many things I want to take on. The front garden needs a total rework and a new stone walk, the home office needs repainting, and my head is spinning with work ideas...

I am starting off by joining India Flint's global sewing circle. Each participant will find a simple pre-used textile, that will be renewed and embellished with patching, mending, and stitching. Progress will be chronicled and shared on the blog, and sometime next year there will be an opportunity for the participants to meet up with India for a few days of dyeing, sharing, and celebrating. Several locations around the world will be selected for these events. This wonderful project will evolve over time, but the general idea is to enjoy the art of sewing, preserving, gathering, and dreaming, while sharing ideas and experiences with friends. Novices and experts alike are invited to join. For more detailed information check out India's project description. I encourage you to sign up!


Stitching and mending images courtesy of India Flint.

joyful times

Sorry for being so scarce here. Many good things have happened, and there is more to come. Here are a few reminders of things done and of what's in store. I will return in late June, with many tales to tell. Happy summer!

Happy cleaning, cooking, and washing. All in preparation for...

... my oldest son's high school graduation and its accompanying festivities.

Lots of hand stitching, my new true passion. This piece looks promising.

Admiring my youngest son tending the goal at the soccer tournament in Virginia Beach, and...

... sharing many moments of companionship, discussions, and laughter with my mom and sister.

Next week I will be here. I can barely contain my excitement.

And then I will meet up with my family at Sandbridge for a week of sun, sand, seafood, and surf.

contentment

Quiet morning. The sun is streaming into the studio. It's warmth feels good after many long days of grayness and snow. My beloved, old, ragged kitty next to me. Lots of things on my plate, but still time to cherish a moment of solitude and peace. This troublesome quilt demands finishing, there are orders to fill, and a much needed restocking of inventory, both for the shop and The Barn Swallow. I am ready to delve into it all with a contented heart.

all white

The world is blanketed in snow outside my studio window. Inside I am sifting through my vintage treasure box. Most of its content relates to my family. Every monogram and piece of lace has a history. I come from a line of seamstresses. Not the professional kind, but the kind who sewed, stitched, and embroidered out of necessity and out of joy. Weaving, knitting, quilting, tailoring, crocheting, mending, and altering were my grandmother's and my mother's artistry. Their passion and appreciation were passed on to me. Some of their skills (not all) were as well...


Each time I visit my mom in Sweden, I bring a few more pieces back with me. My promise to her and to myself is that they will be used for a special project, a heirloom of heirlooms of sort. I don't know what shape it will take, when it will be done, or how, but hopefully it will be worthy to pass on to a few more generations.


A few belated thank yous are in order. Gay over at I dreamed I saw, included my geranium sachets in her sweet smelling post this weekend, and Elaine at nestingblog recently featured my queen anne's lace art quilt. Tusen tack! I also want to thank Denise from Hamburg, Germany, (lieblings.weerke) who picked my market tote as one of the items in her beautiful fig post.

madelaine

May I introduce Madelaine. She is standing guard in our family room, and I just can't take my eyes off her. I have wanted a vintage dress form for ages. Not that I actually sew clothes that often anymore, but I love the dress form's shape and life size presence. I spotted Madelaine on ebay and fell in love. Not only did she look flawless and had all parts intact, but she was made the year I was born! After some intense bidding, possibly involving a little too much money, she became mine.

I think she is even more gracious in person. The linen covered bodice is slightly worn in places, but that only adds to her charm. I wish she could tell me her story. Where has she been? What beautiful clothes was created with her help? There are traces of threads and fabric stuck in her iron wheels, so I know she has been used for real.

Her measurements are 35, 29, 38, and while our chest circumference is almost identical, I am sad to report that my waist and hip measurements are a few inches larger. I look at her and realize that since she has the figure I wish for, she may be the motivation I need to get back into shape.