Sunday, May 12, 2019

Wiksten Top in Tweed Thicket

Looking for a quick make? The Wiksten Shift Dress + Top is a great choice.

From opening the envelope to hand stitching the bottom hem, I sewed it in an afternoon—including tracing my pattern size, making a muslin, and a mod to the neck.
I already had my fabric pre-washed: 2-1/2 yards of Tweed Thicket, a yarn-dyed cotton from Diamond Textiles
Pocket placement on my Wiksten Top.
There are minimal pattern pieces for this top: front, back, facings and a pocket. It would be an excellent pattern for embellishments, surface design or patchwork if you enjoy any of these processes.
Wiksten Top: front and back views
I opted for a single pocket and decided to make a facing. This Australian Aboriginal print from M&S Textiles Australia was used for the lining/facing.
Pocket facing. Fabric from M&S Textiles Australia

Modifications and Options

  • My Wiksten Top has a slightly smaller neck opening (a personal style preference). I re-drafted the neck facings.
  • This pattern includes a short and long dress. You could modify the length of the top or use the short dress version to make a tunic.
  • I'm interested in adding the side slits (see instructions for the dresses) on a top. 
  • The pattern instructions specify machine sewn sleeve and bottom hems. I enjoy hand sewing if time permits.
  • I'm planning to use this pattern for an improv patchwork version. I have a length of fabric that's not enough to yield the full garment, but could be "stretched" if mixed with other fabrics.

Front pocket on my Wiksten Top.

The Wiksten Top is another add to Me Made May and a handmade wardrobe.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Me Made May 2019: celebrating your handmade wardrobe

"If you're interested in improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe..." consider making a Me Made May 2019 pledge. I did.
May 5: Lolita knit vest and knit top. Celebrating Me Made May 2019.

For the 10th year, Zoe from the So, Zo... what do you know? sewing blog, is encouraging sewists and makers to renew their friendship with garments and wearables that they've made... by wearing them during the month of May.

Take a look at her Me Made May 2019 post to see what this Challenge is about (and not about) and how embarking on the Challenge—for just a month—could benefit you and your wardrobe-making skills and time.

On her blog, you can post your pledge. (It's easy. She's got a script and all you do is fill in the blank.) Here is mine:

I, Veronica @veronica.fiberantics, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I endeavor to enjoy wearing MeMade garments daily, explore new combinations, shop my stash first, and finish a yarn-dyed woven patchwork jacket that has been on the UFO pile way too long, during May 2019.

The participants list various reasons for participating: look for gaps in their wardrobes, alter items they aren't satisfied with, get back into sewing/knitting/etc., make a sewing plan, assess their wardrobe and make more meaningful items, etc.

Starting a month of wearing handmade
I started on May 1 wearing one of my favorite shirts—the Siena Shirt—that I made last summer with two red Australian aboriginal prints from M&S Textiles Australia.
May 1: Siena Shirt made with Australian aboriginal fabric prints.
Celebrating Me Made May 2019.

On May 2, I wore a knit tee I made from a self-drafted pattern using a knit fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics. The jacket was Me-Made, but the weather was too warm to actually wear it.
May 2: knit tee and yarn-dyed woven jacket.
Celebrating Me Made May 2019.

Today, May 5, I put on my Lolita knit vest, the third of my Make Nine Challenge finishes, over another knit top from my self-drafted T-shirt pattern.
May 5: Lolita vest and long sleeve knit tee.

Lolita vest back view.

As the month progresses, I'm sure I'll realize how many pieces in my wardrobe were actually made by me... and perhaps purge a few fast fashion items that I no longer need. I'm looking forward to seeing what others have made and to discover some new or interesting sewing patterns. Inspiration will also come from how people are styling their handmade garments.

For more frequent Me Made May posts, follow me on Instagram @veronica.fiberantics. And maybe I'll get better at taking selfies.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Simplifying assembly of Farmer's Wife blocks with strip piecing

You know what it's like when there is a bowl assorted candies... the favorites are the ones that disappear first. This is not unlike doing the Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. The "easy" blocks are the ones that get done first. Then you decide whether to continue with the project... or just say, "'nuff!"
63 completed blocks from the Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. Made with Art Gallery Fabrics.
Well, this project hasn't beaten me yet, but the "fun and easy" blocks are slim-to-none at this point in the game! I've already veered off the straight and narrow when I decided I didn't have to follow the patterns exactly as shown in the book (see this blog post). And now with 63 of the 111 blocks completed, I'm looking at the remaining not-so-easy patterns to see if, or how, I can modify the design or simplify assembly.

Strip piecing
Here is one block, Streak of Lightning, that went together fairly quick once I figured out a strip sequence.
Piecing a strip set.

The strip set was then cut into 6 strips. One for each row in the pattern.
Cutting the strip set into 6 units. One for each row.

Following the color placement, I cut off one end or the other of each strip.
Trimming the ends in order to match the block pattern.

With this method, the block was much easier to assemble and more accurate than piecing individual units.
Upstairs Downstairs.

I'm calling my block "Upstairs Downstairs." There is more than one direction to take for any given block.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Annual Easter egg coloring event 2019

Over the 10 years of this blog, I've documented our annual Easter egg coloring event. Sometimes we discover a new dye or embellishment technique to try. Sometimes we stick to the tried-and-true basics. It's fun, creative and relaxing either way.
2019 colored Easter eggs.

Egg and basket prep
Only one of the 3 1/2 dozen eggs was lost [cracked] after the hard boiling process. We worked with both brown and white eggs and I made fabric baskets this year using the Melba Flower Basket pattern from The Textile Pantry.
Fabric Easter baskets and hard boiled eggs await coloring.

We break out the big box of 96 Crayola crayons and begin the process.
Egg coloring process.

Free Motion Quilting motifs
This has been the extent of my free-motion quilting this year—putting the designs on hard-boiled eggs.
Colored eggs with free-motion quilting motifs.

Shibori resist dyeing
We experimented with the shibori resist dye technique on the eggs a few years ago. It's a favorite and the results are always graphic and interesting.
Shibori resist dyed eggs.

A few eggs were dyed solid. The dyed brown eggs have a rich depth of color.
Resist dyed and solid dyed eggs.

I was surprised that 8 eggs fit comfortably in the fabric baskets. 9 would be do-able but possibly a tight squeeze.
Colored Easter eggs in fabric basket.

On Easter Sunday, the eggs are placed into the baskets, ready for giving.
Easter egg baskets.

Wear an official egg-coloring cap
Here is our resident expert, chief egg boiler and co-colorer. He is wearing one of his official egg coloring caps.
Do you have an official egg-coloring cap?

Happy Easter 2019
Now look forward to several days of egg salad!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Happy 10 year Blogiversary!

I can't believe I've maintained the FiberAntics by Veronica blog for 10 years!

I'm not as prolific a blogger as some (I don't post daily), but I'm pleased with my diligence, consistency and the accomplishment of hitting a 10 year milestone—yep, a decade of writing! And I am happy to have this documentation of my work, experiences and progress.

Most of my blog entries feature textile, quilting, stitching, knitting and fiber art endeavors but I also post about other creative activities such as mixed media projects, Artist Trading Cards, printing, typography and the annual Easter egg coloring session that happens at our house—and the subject of my first blog post back in 2009.

A few things I've learned along the way:
  • keep making, keep learning.
  • you don't have to finish every project you start.
  • edit.
  • fix a mistake as soon as you find it. (this applies to the work as well as life)
  • take classes and teach classes.
  • take classes outside your discipline.
  • don't get down in the mud with the pigs.
  • don't waste time with the passive-aggressives, the bullies, and the jealous. Life is too short for that sort of negative energy.
  • hang out and spend time with the generous, the creative and the positive thinkers. These are the change makers! They will share and encourage without feeling insecure or expect something in return. You can be one of them, too.
  • remember we are all a WIP [work in progress].

A big Thank You to my husband, family, friends, fellow guild members, students, shop owners and industry associates who continue to inspire, share, encourage and support the textile, quilting, sewing and creative activities that I—and so many of us—love to do.

Happy 10 year Blogiversary!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A One Stop Shop Hop has it all in one place

Hey quilters, sewists and fabric lovers–have you been to a One Stop quilting Shop Hop? It's a little different than the traditional shop hop where quilters and fabric lovers hit the highways and back roads to drive from one participating quilt shop to another... but it's just as fun... and may have a few other things to offer.
One Stop Shop Hop, April 12-13, 2019 in Dalton, GA.
With a "one stop" hop, all the participating quilt shops gather in a single location and quilters go from booth to booth to shop for fabrics, tools, patterns and notions and hear about what's new and cool in the market for quilting. It's also a great vehicle for finding new shops and shops that have escaped your fabric-loving radar.

Here's an overview of the second annual One Stop Shop Hop that took place Friday and Saturday at the Dalton Convention Center, Dalton, GA.

Vendor Mall
Twenty vendors participated in the two-day Shop Hop. I only got pictures of a few of the booths as I was in awe of all that was on display and got to meet and catch up with the many quilters and shop owners who were there.
David Gilliland of Vector Quilts, Atlanta, GA.
Applique quilt samples in the Renee Taylor Designs booth. Pikeville, TN.

The Stitches in Time Quilt Shop, Tellico Plains, TN,
had fabrics from M&S Textiles Australia.

Shannon Caldwell, owner of The Common Thread in Dahlonega, GA.
Photo courtesy of The Common Thread

Anna Quarles, owner of Sew 'N So Quilt Shop, Rocky Face, GA
was wearing a rayon batik vest made with Banyon Batiks.

Special Presentation by Northcott Fabrics
On Friday, there was a presentation by one of the Northcott East Coast Sales Manager, Millie Gross. The presentation gave an overview of Northcott Fabrics and the fabric manufacturing processes. 
Northcott Fabrics presentation and quilts on display.

Quilt displays
Quilts from the 2019 Stonehenge Solstice 10-year anniversary collection and the Stars and Stripes Quilts of Valor fabric line were also on display.
Solstice Star quilt. Pattern by Patty Carey.

Quilt made with Stonehenge fabric collection.

Patriotic quilt. Pattern by Rita Guzzard and Lori Marsh
of Nine Mile Patterns.

The shops took advantage of the curtained perimeter of the vendor room to feature their shop quilts and projects for upcoming classes. There was plenty of eye candy!

Challenge Quilts
Two Quilt Challenges were issued in conjunction with the One Stop Shop Hop—the Horizons Challenge and A Ribbon Runs Through It Challenge. Quilts submitted for the Challenge were on display at the Dalton Creative Arts Guild. These are the prize-winning quilts. [Unfortunately, there were no identification plaques beside these quilts.]
First Place, Horizons Challenge.

Second Place, Horizons Challenge.

First Place, A Ribbon Runs Through It Challenge.

Although this venue was only a short drive from the Convention Center, it would have been nice to have these lovely pieces displayed in the same building with the other festivities. Perhaps a suggestion for next year.

All under one roof
All in all, there was a lot to see, do... and shop for... at this year's One Stop Shop Hop. Thanks to all the quilt shops, vendors, presenters, quilters and visitors that came out to make the event a wonderful success. What will next year have in store?

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lolita vest: third finish in the Make Nine Challenge

The third finish in my Make Nine Challenge is Lolita, a side-to-side knit vest with lace patterning. The pattern is by Jamie Thomas for Imagine Knits. This finish also moves one long-time project off the knitting UFO list. A good feeling!
Lolita vest. Completed March 2019.

I purchased the Lolita vest pattern at the Stitches South expo in 2012 or 2013. The piece finally came off the needles in 2019 and was blocked the weekend of St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Days, this past March.
After a 6-7 year time span, Lolita came off the needles in March 2019.

Once off the needles, I could definitely tell my tension was different (a bit more relaxed) in 2019 from when I started the vest 6 - 7 years ago. Blocking helped even out the knitting somewhat.
Blocking the Lolita vest.

I need more practice with seaming lace patterns. (The shoulder joins were evidence of this!) But I enjoyed getting back into knitting. The Louisa Harding 50% Merino wool/50% silk yarn was lovely—during the process and in the end result. And I am happy to have completed another piece to add to a handmade, MeMade wardrobe. 
Lolita vest. Back view.

I have about 160 yards of this yarn remaining. Maybe fingerless mitts are in my knitting future???
Make Nine sketchbook and remaining yarn from Lolita knit vest.

Knitting begets knitting
Dusting off the knitting needles for this project has also rekindled my fondness for knitting—and the mindfulness of the process. So I rummaged my yarn stash and have started a new vest—Juzu, by rie vive. You can see the ball and needles in my hands in the top photo. I've made good progress in a month's time.
Juzu knit vest in progress.

Knitting begets more knitting! 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Chattanooga Sewing Guild takes to Art Weave

Spectacular Art Weave pieces were blooming at the Chattanooga Sewing Guild this Saturday! 
Art Weave workshop with the Chattanooga Sewing Guild.

Usually, I am called to teach my Art Weave workshop for quilt shops or for quilt guilds. But this time, I had a multi-talented as well as multi-disciplined group of sewists [sewing + artist = sewist] from the Chattanooga Sewing Guild in class.
Art Weave magnolia blooms.

In addition to sewing garments and children's clothes, these women were painters, crafters, machine embroiderers, knitters, crocheters and were experienced in making draperies, home decor items and upholstery. Talk about a room exploding with talent!
Art Weave violets.

Each student put her own creative spin on the large scale fabric prints.
Art Weave red poppy.

We discussed different options for finishing...
Art Weave blue iris.

... and I had several examples in the class for inspiration. I am very curious to see how this group chooses to embellish and finish their pieces.
Project examples of the Art Weave technique.

Thank You to the Chattanooga Sewing Guild for inviting me to teach Art Weave! It was great spending a lovely Spring day with all of you... and reacquainting with two women with whom I've shared previous fiber art experiences (a surprise bonus for me!).

Please send photos of your finished Art Weave projects. I would love to see them!

#artweave  #funwithfabric  #largescalefabricprints
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