Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

The Common Ground Fair

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

You know the seasons have begun the swing to winter when it is time for the Common Ground Fair in Unity / Thorndike, Maine.  Put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Garderners Association, it is the best of a country fair.  Because this is just a lot of pictures, I’ll just add captions and let you enjoy the day vicariously!

Some new buddies — two sheep and a goat in a lovely blended family!

The only daunting part is the long, sssslllooowwww wait to get in and park!

A fair isn’t complete without little kids getting to pet the animals

The handspinners have been to this fair for 31 years, what a beautiful spinning wheel!

And the other side of the same wheel

 

I was lucky to see some of the dog agility/herding demonstrations

Good Karma Farm is near me, up in Belfast, Maine. They had a booth and I am SO IN LOVE with this yarn, and blend of Alpaca and sheep’s wool.  Find them at GoodKarmaFarm.com

I’m at a point in life where cardigans (on, off, on, off) are a must, but I found a pattern on Ravelry while there. I forcibly restrained myself from buying the bundles for these sweaters, but know I will knit one up as a cardigan before too long. AND I can go visit their farm! Yes, they have a website, yes they are on Ravelry, yes, they have a pattern for these sweaters (but it’s not on Ravelry…just write them)

Applies equally to quilts

An EXQUISITE hand made canoe

inside the spinner’s tent

Random too-cute-for-words kid

More new friends…was trying to sketch but rain was incompatible with paper!

Cashmere goats

a REAL Gyro, meat on spit, heavenly!

Love these earrings, have several pair. Now have the reindeer. Love the pussy willows, too….my colors…maybe next time! You can find her work here at papermoonjewelry.com.

Stunning tiles…made by Jon White of ODD INQ, www.oddinq.com, and kinginq on instagram (ends in a Q)

Immense horses for pulling large wagons

Even more immense Oxen. I mean HUGE… the hips were well above my head!

Perhaps my favorite photo of the day!  The other end of the IMMENSE Oxen…the size of a small elephant!

It appears some cows like to get scritched as much as cats. This lady was petting the one nearest her, and the other one wanted equal time LOL!

I had a thoroughly wonderful day, walked my feet off.  Combined with dog walkies about 14,000 steps today!   Perhaps tomorrow I’ll sketch from photos!

 

Dinner Cruise to Statue of Liberty, Janome Education Summit Post #8

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

OH MY….let’s just say every single person on the boat was snapping pics like mad!

Though this was the evening before the last session, it needs to go last as a spectacular wrap-up to a fun and informative week at the first ever Janome Educational Summit.  We had Artisans and Makers from the US and Canada, members of Janome America and Janome Canada staff, so many generous and inspiring sponsors, worked on the Janome 15000, 9400, Serger, Cover-stitch machines, did piecing, quilting, Acu-design work, worked on garments, fleece, double gauze, knits, learned about industry trends and upcoming machines and campaigns, and most of all had a blast getting to know each other.  It is amazing how quickly a community of like minded souls can meld into a group that sticks together even after you go home.

At the last minute, just the Friday before the summit (we arrived Monday afternoon), Shin Yamamoto the President of Janome America, decided they needed to lay on something special for our last evening.   OH MY did they ever!   A dinner cruise on the Hudson from NJ down to the Statue of Liberty and back.  The rain of the earlier week had vanished, the temperature was perfect, the humidity low.   Traffic en  from Park Ridge to up by the Hudson and back was something else again for this Maine Mom (more cars in the 90 minutes it took to get there, there were more cars on that route than I think in the entire state of Maine), but what a treat.

At the dock waiting to depart

Sailing under the bridges…arches that I recognized from photos of NYC and some of the Janome crowd, including my main contact Erin S.

After dinner up on deck, the Janome crowd enjoying the perfect weather…gosh what a FUN group.  The collective skill level in that room was beyond amazing!

Miriam and Karen….what a fantastic photo!

Me and Meredith–can you tell we were having fun?

Terry, Sam, Meredith and the sunset, Liz, Miriam and Karen behind the pole

MORE sunset, Statue of Liberty at far left

Lady Liberty, as the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America / Land That I Love (cue Kate Smith!) played. Utter. Complete. Perfection!

After the Statue of Liberty we turned around to head back to the dock, as night fell and the lights came up. Magical!

I’m so not a city girl, but if you’re gonna do city, this is pretty spectacular.  Look at those reflections in the water!

The NJ side of the Hudson as we headed back…loved the light falling light water down the side of that skyscraper.

The end of the trip. WOW.  THANK YOU JANOME AMERICA, and you betcha I’m shouting!

Thank you Shin Yamamoto and David Manierka for being such good advocates for Janome, Janome users, and all the folks at Janome, and for such a phenomenal week. It was such a treat to be able to meet in person folks from shipping to marketing to headquarters whose names I have known these past fifteen years. THANK YOU Regena Carvelaro for putting together a Summit that has to rival the best of these events anywhere, any time.   Thank you Erin Schlosser, for being a great contact, for supporting the makers and artisans that work with Janome, for all you did to make this event such a success.  And thank you to the sponsors/presenters, Educators, Makers and Artisans who were the lively, inspiring heart and soul of this event.  Let’s do it again!

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Knits, Sergers, Cover Stitch machines, and more at Janome Education Summit 2018 Post #7

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Thursday was a whirlwind as we finished up at lunch time.

Me with my Summit t-shirt (we also did some iron-press decals…this was a basic shirt with an altered neckline also done at breakneck pace) with my skirt tucked underneath. Even my lime suede sneakers go with it!

In that morning we had a presentation on My Fabric Designer Software by Eileen Roche and made a knit skirt using sergers and cover-stitch machines thanks to Girl Charlee.  The amount of machines and work Janome America put into having them onsite for us all to test-drive and learn was amazing–huge kudos to Janome America for such a great Summit!  And of course major thanks to the sponsors and presenters for all the goodies and best of all the learning!

Today I am actually wearing the skirt I made (photo above)…the project was to make a pencil skirt.  I’m afraid that pencil skirts and my body and lifestyle are not a match made in heaven, so once again I was the disobedient child and made a gathered skirt.

The fabric I chose…other choices were a solid denim look and a blue floral print. Heather Peterson’s Girl Charlee site is here, with a wide range of VERY reasonably priced knits. This particular fabric is still available as of early July 2018, here, and is only $8.50 a yard! It’s a lighter t-shirt weight skirt (so not too heavy for a full skirt) and is soft and comfy.

Owner Heather Peterson showed some of the fun projects she has made and gave us tips for sewing on knits.  For those who don’t have a serger, even the most basic sewing machines have an overlock stitch that you can use to whip up these fun things on your domestic machine.  What I learned:  don’t be afraid of knits!  You can do it!

Heather holding up a comfy knit dress

And on the screen behind her, tips:

Different types of knits….I had never heard of Vegan Leather….but it looks leather-ish and it actually stretches! I don’t think leather leggings are in my future, but maybe this might work on a quilt….hmmm…….

Some of the delectable fabrics at Girl Charlee

A couple knit projects up on the front table

The ladies who DID make the pencil skirt wore them and fell in love–the entire time I was thinking “I wish I had Ashley’s (DIL) measurements” because this project was ideal for her.  When I showed very petite Ashley the pattern provided (here) she was delighted and said “OMG, a pencil skirt that would actually FIT!”  The pattern has you start with your measurements, then subtract a bit, calculate the length, and presto, nearly instant skirt.   I used the full yard of fabric to make a nearly ankle-length skirt.  I didn’t have time to be afraid…we had to work FAST, so I serged up the side seams, serged the elastic (my first time ever doing that!) to the top, then switched over to the cover-stitch machine to stitch down the elastic and hem the skirt.

The hem of my skirt. I’ve never used a cover stitch machine before–I love the look of this three-needle hem. On a domestic machine, you can simulate the look of a cover stitch machine (or setting on a serger) by using a twin needle. The bobbin thread zig-zagging on the bottom side gives stretch to the hem, which means the threads don’t break.

After the summit I did some noodling around on the internet: the one issue I had was the fabric curling at the top edge of the hem.  Terial Magic would take care of that by stiffening the edge, but there is also stuff called wash-away tape that is 1/4″ wide.  That, placed on the cut edge, would hold the hem in place AND keep it from curling (which it does between the pins).  Thanks to Heather’s workshop I’m determined to take the fabric I bought to make leggings 2-4 years ago will be MADE UP into leggings this summer!  I’m not afraid any more!

Back to Eileen Roche– her company prints your designs (similar to Spoonflower) on a wide range of base goods (cottons, knits, poly, etc).  But she also offers software that works on PCs (sorry, not on Macs which is what I have) that helps you design repeats.  I could see having a lot of fun with this!

Here’s the print fabric website: https://www.myfabricdesigns.com and here’s where you find the software: https://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-software/my-fabric-designer/

Although I’ve returned to earth after the rush of the Summit, just revisiting these photos has brought back what a great week this was.  A TON of good stuff packed into 3 full days!

Miriam Coffey, Janome Educator, at the Janome Education Summit 2018 Post #5

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Several years back I had the great good fortune to have Miriam as the educator in one of the classes I taught in Houston.  It was fun to see her again at the Summit, and a jaw-dropping experience when we got to see some of the goodies she has made.  As she put it, she’s not a bows and teddy bears sort, but she DOES to machine embroidery on her Janome embroidery machine. I don’t do hearts and bows either, so I love how her entire approach–totally in keeping with her personality–is fresh and fun and inspiring.

Miriam brought show and tell, and it’s a miracle none of us tried to sneak home some of her goodies, except we wouldn’t do that to her! This sewing items case (could easily be an iPad cover etc), she used the embroidery module to create fabric, then cut the stitched fabric designs apart to use in patchwork. All those green bits were solid / plain fabric until she decorated them with embroidery.

Miriam must have been sitting under a vent because she was wrapped in this snuggle throw. It was made from flannel on one side, the Cuddle fleece (see earlier post) on the other, then free-motion quilted using fuzzy yarn and the couching foot. Let me just say I loved it so much I have already ordered fleece which is waiting for me in my workroom!

And another one of those throws. WANT!

Here’s a close up of a sample: Miriam hooped the fabric, embroidered it with a sashiko pattern (I think using a twin needle)

Lookit how modern the tumbling blocks pattern become hen using cloth that Miriam “made” by embroidering a simple solid.  With a little imagination, it would be possible to achieve some of this effect just using the decorative stitches on most machines.

A case Miriam made…same idea!

This is part of a wall hanging Miriam made using programmed designs. But I want to try to re-create that cross-cut of tree bark and tree rings just using the variable zigzag feature on my 9440 and free-motion stitching.

And a sample of a honeycomb programmed stitch (done on the embroidery module) on top of pieced squares.   It would be a fuss, but you could do this (probably not as perfectly!) using careful marking and a satin stitch, but obviously lots easier when it is a programmed design on the 15000 that you hoop and hit “start.”   It’s almost enough to convince me to try embroidery LOL!

Anyway, Miriam was so much fun to have in class…helpful, professional, capable, and obviously has a lot of creativity and skill to teach and share.  Thanks for schlepping ALL those things to share with us, Miriam!

Words –> Power –> Action

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Two and a half weeks ago, I came across a Jimmy Fallon re-working of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ on Facebook and Youtube (hear it here–really LISTEN to the lyrics).  I was so moved by it that I wanted to create a quilt based on the song, but realized there were all those pesky copyright issues with using Fallon’s lyrics, so instead I created this quick piece to capture the spirit of the re-worked song. I pretty much never just drop everything and make a quilt this rapidly, but I just had to do it. I have titled it Words –> Power –> Action because, as our mothers told us, words have power.  Over the past two years, the election cycle, the results, and the first year of the current Presidency, have galvanized many so many of us. I have changed.  Legions of us have changed.

Words–>Power–>Action, © 2018 SarahAnn Smith

 

As a US Foreign Service Officer, I was not allowed to participate in partisan politics (federal regulations) because our job was (and should be) to serve ALL Americans.  I was used to keeping my mouth shut.  As a national level quilting teacher and artist, I felt it was better to keep politics and religion out of the classroom (and still do), so I kept my mouth shut.  But the past 20+ months have convinced me that I must speak out.  My quilt about the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017 was my first overtly political quilt.

Speak Up, Speak Out © Sarah Ann Smith 2017.

I’ve been so distressed about the polarization and apparent lack of civility, compassion and understanding, of tolerance for differing views, that the past two years have been pretty depressing.  Our political climate has made me angry and galvanized me to take action and speak out.  Inspired by Fallon’s lyrics I went in search of quotes.  I’ll share all of them after each detail photo in which they appear.

I began like our nation, with revolutionary words from the US Declaration of Independence, which are written at the top of my brick wall (yes, I have the Pink Floyd lyrics “another brick in the wall” running on loop in my head, along with the phrase “the writing is on the wall”–I resisted the temptation to use that as a title!).  I dyed fabric to be a wall, using cold wax (from ProChem, and can’t find it any more on their website!) to create a resist for the mortar.  The backing is dyed cement grey.  The edges are raw, like my nerves and emotions (and those of so many others), torn on both the top and backing, with a tiny bit of batting peeking out and scruffed up.

The top portion of Words–>Power–>Action . There are more visible bits of words and phrases, and longer quotes written in lighter ink behind, as if they were fading graffiti.

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Speak Up, Speak Out
  • get woke
  • We the People
  • Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.  Barack Obama

Background quotes:

  • Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governedwhenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  US Declaration of Independence
  • We did not come to fear the future.  We came here to shape it.  B. Obama

Closer view of the center of Words–>Power–>Action with quilting that I hope simulates the rough texture of brick.

Center portion of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Take a knee
  • Listen
  • Reach Out
  • #metoo
  • When they go low, we go high.  Michelle Obama

Background quote:

  • We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.  B. Obama

Center bottom of Words–>Power–>Action .

Bottom right of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.  Hillary Clinton
  • Vote!  Get Involved
  • Courage can be contagious.  Michelle Obama
  • e  Pluribus Unum (for non-US readers, this phrase comes from our Founding Fathers and means out of Many, One which represents who we are as a nation, a government of the people, by the people and for the people)

Background quote:

  • here in America we are waging a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.  Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thanks for reading this far.  I hope you like it.

 

 

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