Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: Brooches and Hankies

I am a sucker for vintage brooches and hankies. They are inexpensive and charming, and easily found at thrift shops, antique stores, and flea markets. 

A brooch adds light and whimsy to any outfit. 

A hanky is a practical accessory and a most thoughtful gift for a girlfriend, especially a girlfriend who is hurting. I keep a stack clean and pressed for gifting. Slip a pretty number into the hand of a dear before a funeral -- actions are easier than words.

Checking in on my year's To Do list, I have loads of good fun ahead of me, and some behind me: 

Old skills: Hand knit and write patterns, machine knit, screen print, sew on the Berninaserge with the Husqvarnaserge and mock chain on the Siruba, acid dyefiber reactive dye, weave, *spin, paint, full or felt, trim, thriftreclaim or refashion.

New challenges: Discharge print, design my own fabric at Spoonflower, embroider, crochet, pompom & tassel, applique & patchwork.

Garments: *Cardigan sweater, sweater vest, pullover sweater, scarf, hat, mittens, coat, dress, shirt, skirt, *leggings, tee, pants, *socks, slip, undershirt, bike shorts, apron, handkerchief, and brooch.

* work in progress

Pants. Why did I say pants?

Friday, May 2, 2014

I Heart Machines, and I am Not Alone

Imagine the equipment you would have in your own dream textile studio. Now imagine more equipment: Think big, this is a fantasy. Next, dream up a large well lit space with jumbo tables, background music, and upbeat busy people, not too many, but enough to make your day. Throw in a well mannered dog.

A Gathering of Stitches in Portland, Maine is the place you just dreamed of. I went for the first time last weekend and was instantly smitten.

I took a Knitting Machine Restoration workshop at AGOS. We tore our machines down and became intimate with their innards, greasy fiber boogers and all.

We scrubbed out the crud with various tools, removed worn parts, wrote shopping lists for replacements, and oiled. And then we oiled some more.

Not only does the instructor have a wealth of experience with the machines (she was a product developer for Land's End and L.L.Bean), her love of the machines and calm and confident approach put us all at ease.

My Singer 360 was a gift from my parents when I was sixteen years old, and came with weekly lessons. It is all reassembled and working smoothly. I am pumped to know it well again. I want to know what every button can do. I am not certain what my parents' idea was, but I think it worked.

AGOS has is an industrial sewing machine for leather: I have intentions, a crush quite frankly.

And this secret little gem is on my short list for this year, all restored and ready for someone like me to master it. Socks are on my wardrobe list, and just between you and me, I have one hand knit sock finished ... and the other one will get done, but I will be distracted now that I have seen this.