Thursday, August 28, 2014

Settling In Thankfully

What an exciting two weeks settling in to home in Raleigh. From flea markets to cookouts with the neighborhood kids, it's been an adventure all the way. First order of business was, of course, to design a new quilt for the apartment! I am almost done with it, and I'm looking forward to photographing it this weekend at the gorgeous Hunt Library on NC State's campus. For today, I just have three slightly grainy photos to share with you and a list of things for which I am so thankful.

1. welcoming churches and inviting smiles
2. space in my new room for a lovely studio
3. the boisterous open friendliness of neighborhood children
4. a French-seamed trash can liner for my new wire trashcan (you can see it's base being cut out below)
5. a wonderful roommate; I couldn't have asked for better
6. a beautiful plus quilt on the floor of the College of Textiles

What are you thankful for as summer comes to a close and we transition into autumn rhythms?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Wow, it's been three weeks since I've been here! So much has happened. I printed official yardage to list in my soon-to-be etsy store. I packed up my life in Michigan and moved cross-country to North Carolina. And I started grad school! Tomorrow is the first day of classes, and I couldn't be more pumped to study Fiber and Polymer Sciences and dyes. Check out this video about my PhD project. It excites me every time. Gah, so geeked!

Printing Pistachio yardage, I tried my hand at new registration methods, previously described to me as "complicated string systems." Well, I think I have string theory figured out, and it means a lot less drying the edge of every panel before printing the next one. I promise not to be gone for three weeks this time, but I have to run. Free grad student dinner and board game night are calling. Can you hear me smiling?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Test Print Day 6.2 // Pistachios

Sometimes I have to bargain with myself to keep going on test print days.

Chai tea latte in my mint mug. Test print. Chips and queso break. Test print. Gossip Girl. Two test prints. Test print. Surprise "inspirational Arnold Palmer" from my lovely sister. Three test prints.

But these days are so exciting too! A simple screen can become my next favorite fabric and potentially a whole set of quilts. Just check my coral hydrangeas and my senior show! The hydrangeas, however, have held my attention long enough. Today was a Pistachio day.

Inspired by Blueberry Park, I prepped with a whole stack of solid panels and then went to town. Karen (the mind and hands of Blueberry Park and an inspiration to me as she manages her own hand-printed fabric business) prints mostly white on solids, and they all look gorgeous and modern and classic, so I thought I would give it a try. My favorite is white pistachios on light grey. My sister votes for white on mint. What's your favorite of the bunch?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Adventures in Chicagoland

Quite a lot has happened in two weeks, and it has all been very exciting. From wandering San Francisco to camping Up North, I have been sketching and absorbing inspiration for a new collection of fabrics and quilts. I haven't been home for more than a minute at a time to print or sew, but luckily, a trip to Chicago was squeezed between Higgins Lake and Cali to burn screens. It was there three new fabric designs were born: Pistachios, Seeds, and Stripes.

I arrived in Chicago to a be struck with an I-haven't-seen-you-in-months hug by my dear friend Olivia. Then after an evening around a backyard campfire catching up on boys and family and the future and munching on passionfruit meringue pie (you really should try it), I ventured back to the Alma Mater. Isn't that weird? I have an alma mater haha. It's like I'm old now or something. I digress.

Brent let me into the art building and we started an adventure all our own, beginning with a hunt for emulsion. (If you don't know what emulsion is, have no fear; I detail the screen-printing process here.) Alas, it was not to be found, so we took a trip to rarely organized but oh so helpful Graphic Chemical. I had to pause outside to snap a picture of their sign, isn't it fun?

Shooting the screen itself was second nature. It's always such fun to see the transformation from pencil sketches to vectorized prints to burned screens. I tried my hand at registration marks for the Hortensia screens and then had a moment when I thought there was a random half-circle hole in my screen to fill. You can see it between the two sets of blooms below.

Now, I am back and more excited than ever to try some test prints. I'm feeling a Delft-inspired white and blue scheme.

What color schemes have you been loving lately?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bringing Baby Home

I've been on the hunt for a vintage Bernina 830 ever since I stumbled upon one for $15 in a local resale shop. That one had unfortunately been dropped and was not going to run smoothly, no matter the cleaning it endured. However, in a spontaneous Craigslist search, I stumbled upon another one that was left over from an estate sale near my home with all of the attachments, a table, and its classic red case. Score!

My family offered to purchase it for me as a graduation gift, so my aunt and I drove out to pick it up in Troy. It's previous owner, Gracie, had kept it in immaculate condition until she'd moved to a rest home, so all it needed was a good clean to get the solidified grease moving again. Now it's my new machine!

As in all transitions, I am uneasy with the newness of the situation (I'm not much for change) but I think it will be lovely. This Bernina already sews better with its walking foot than my Brother, handsome even stitches as long as I don't floor it, and to be honest, reliable straight-line quilting is probably one of the things I value most in a machine. I look forward to getting to know my new baby more in the coming weeks and going on some crazy sewing adventures together! Yippee!

What's do you value most in your machine?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Experimenting

Summer experimenting used to mean trying out new mudpie recipes, but this summer it's printing on pieced tops and matchstick quilting. One of my last weeks in the art building at school, I printed several layers on top of each other on a simple quilt top. Although it's a bit muddy, it is also a wonderful canvas for exploring new quilting ideas. Some free-motion quilting carved out the blooms, tracing certain layers, and now matchstick quilting invades from the borders. It's a soothing afternoon task, but it takes so long! I've only finished about an eighth of the quilt, and I can't even imagine how long it will take me to do the rest...

Any great book suggestions to listen to on CD as I go?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at the lovely Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chai and Binding

Our screened-in porch is one of my happy places, calm and breezy with the voices of the woods. This morning I get to finish hand-stitching a binding out here with a mug of chai latte. Have you ever bought chai concentrate? It's practically the cost of one chai latte and makes almost ten cups! Bliss in a carton.

Yesterday I finished my Lone Star to the tune of Gossip Girl. I may or may not have finished six episodes of season two as well. Watching the series for the second time lends new hilarious insights. Serena asks to meet with GossipGirl in the season finale and he (or she...) actually shows up but you don't realize it...ha! I digress.

Sunday I had a slow and steady afternoon of quilting a baby quilt on which my mum and I collaborated. I'm excited to show y'all once the binding is attached. All in all a great week so far. I do seem to be accidentally sewing several quilts in the same color scheme, but oh well. The heart picks fabrics as it may.