Friday, February 13, 2015

Winter–Spring 2015 Class and Event Schedule

Class Schedule

I have a new slate of classes and workshops available for the coming months—I'll update this post as more dates are set. I'm teaching everything from beginning quilting and embroidery to a yarnbombing workshop with the Buttonwoods Museum in Haverhill, Massachusetts in conjunction with a special community project they are hosting. I'm also really looking forward to the "slow sewing" quilting course coming up with J.P Knit & Stitch as we're going to be learning how to make a small wall quilt by hand from start to finish and talk about awesome things like mindful design, color theory, and the "slow sewing" movement!!

Links for more details, materials lists, and registration is included for each below as it becomes available. Hope to see you there!

Beginning Quilting
J.P. Knit & Stitch
February 28, March 7 and 14, 10am–1pm

Yarnbombing Workshop
Buttonwoods Museum/Haverhill Historic Society
March 12, 2pm

Hand-Lettered Alphabet Sampler
J.P. Knit & Stitch
April 7, 14, 21, 28, 6–8pm

Beginning Quilting
J.P. Knit & Stitch
April 4, 11, 18, 10am–1pm

Slow Sewing
J.P. Knit & Stitch
May 2, 9, 16, 23, 10:15am-12:15pm

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Shop Page! New Patterns!

New Patterns
New Patterns in my Word Series: Octobers and Bastards

I have not one, but TWO new patterns to introduce today, and I gotta tell ya, I think they're pretty wall worthy!

The pattern on the left is called "Octobers" and features an all too true quote from one of my favorite storybook characters—the one and only Anne Shirley from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books. The second one is called, of course, "Bastards," and features a sentiment of an altogether different (yet no less wonderful!) note. Really though, I can't tell you how many times I think this to myself on a weekly basis and how much I HAD to make it into something that could go onto the wall of my home office.

I now have a shop page right here on my blog! You can find A FAQ section at the bottom of the shop and can just click on the images to see more details, then purchase and download the patterns. Checkout is made easy using PayPal and the Payhip platform. Patterns will be immediately available via download link. Easy, right? My hope is to consolidate everything under one shiny new website of my very own soon, but until then, this allows me to continue making my patterns available despite the new EU VAT law that etsy has not responded to.

I won't get into too much detail but, as many in the etsy and crafting community already realize, the new EU VAT laws have a vast reach and big effect on anyone selling digital goods via the internet, regardless of where they are based (and as of 2016, the law will affect physical goods sold online too). Shops are not expected to pay the VAT taxes, but everyone who sells to the EU has to register and track them for customers in the EU who are responsible for paying them. There is no threshhold for micro-businesses like me, and since we simply do not have the resources to comply, we rely on e-commerce tools from third-parties like Etsy to ensure we are in compliance. For that reason, I have had to remove my patterns from my etsy shop.

And if you've read that far, please reward yourself—The first FIVE customers to use the code THANK YOU to purchase either one of these two new patterns, will receive 20% off! Because seriously guys, I really am grateful for your support while I work on my new website and offerings!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Series, New Pattern: DIY Embroidery

DIY Embroidery: The Word Series

For a while now, I've been wanting to find a way to combine some of my favorite collected quotes and typefaces with my embroidery work. A few months ago, a brainstorm hit and I set to sketching out my ideas for a new series of embroidery patterns that feature text in a whole new way. This is the first pattern in that series and I'm thrilled to finally be able to share it with you all!

DIY Embroidery (detail 1): The Word Series: The Story of Kat

Advice, without personal context, can be overrated. It's important to me that this series not be about preachy advice but rather inspiring and powerful words.  When I come across a phrase, thought, or quote in a book that stands out from all the noise, it can help spur me on to take then next steps forward. I relish in the power of the written word—the strength, humor, warmth, or empathy it can impart.

DIY Embroidery (detail 2): The Word Series: The Story of Kat

I hope you will enjoy contemplating the words and designs in this series as you stitch them up. They range from motivational to sarcastic and hilarious—each one drawn by me and digitized to be stitched up in an 8" embroidery hoop and ready to hang (or framed or worked into another sewing project however you like).

Check out my shop here to purchase this pattern as an instant download and keep your eyes on this space for the next two patterns in this series over the coming weeks (as well as some tutorials on stitching up text)! Each PDF includes the pattern in forward and reverse (depending on your preferred method of transfer), and comes with a guide for colors and stitches if you wish to replicate the pattern as I have stitched it up (though I love seeing the different creative directions you go in with them!) Feel free to tag your work with these patterns on Instagram with #thestoryofkat or add them to The Story of Kat flickr group here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Couple Costumes are for Blockheads

Couple Costumes are for Blockheads

So we don't normally dress up for Halloween, but decided to go all out for it last year. The party itself wasn't until the weekend after Halloween due to how it fell on the calendar in 2013, so now seems like a good time to share the results!

Peanuts costume inspiration

I love old school holiday cartoons—from claymation anything to classic animation,—it is just not a holiday without them. At some point, I got it into my head that we could dress up as Lucy and Schroeder from Peanuts. I know people normally do Lucy and Charlie Brown but it's Schroeder that Lucy is so hung up on.

Lucy Costume WIP
This is my "I just made an Anne of Green Gables-esque puffed sleeve SUCKAS!" face

I made my dress using the Kwik Sew K4002 tunic pattern as a base with some cheap blue fabric that I found on sale. I then added some length, raised the neck line to a crew neck, and  drafted a ruffled collar finished with bias binding as well as some puffed sleeves. To get the neckline just right, I traced the curve of a crew neck garment I already had and felt comfortable with. I completed the look with oversized black buttons (actually from a snowman kit on clearance at Joann's) and embroidery, hair dye, saddle shoes, and some bright blue socks from Target. Luckily, my naturally not contemporary 60's-esque haircut was just right. My husbands outfit was really easy as it was just a matter of finding a purple and black stripe t-shirt to pair with black pants and hair dye.

Couple Costumes are for Blockheads
Here we are, looking like dorky 12 year olds. It was awesome.

I'd never done alterations like this before and just went for it after reading as much as I could find. I haven't done a lot of garment sewing so this was definitely a confidence booster for me. I would definitely recommend experimenting with simple silhouettes for Halloween costumes as a way to get comfortable with sewing clothes—it's very creatively freeing and doesn't come with all the pressure of having to get things just right since it's not the kind of thing you'll be wearing on a regular basis.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Melody Miller Quilt Top
Melody Miller quilt top I'm going to start hand quilting next with sashiko stitches

Belated though I may be, I wanted to respond to my friend's gracious invitation to participate in the "Around the World" blog hop. To echo her sentiments, it's not normally my kind of thing, but I thought the nature of the questions posed were interesting and worth thinking about and sharing. Since I am so late to the party, I'm going to forgo tagging anyone but am sending a thank you to Natalie from Green Leaf Goods for thinking of me!

Sewing Table Reality Check
Reality Check: the sewing table in my workroom...want to play How Many Projects Can you Spot?!

1. What quilting/sewing thing am I working on?

The short answer is that I have one last Quilts for Boston top to finish and two quilts to sandwich and baste, my DS Quilts picnic top and my Melody Miller top. I also have a laptop case I'm trying to design for myself and two baby gift projects I want to finish, an Amish Puzzle Ball and a matching game.

In trying to better answer this question though, I had a look around my sewing room and took full stock of what was going on. I currently have eight quilts in some state of progress and five other sewing projects including several items for my shop, and some home decor sewing. For a long time, I felt almost guilty for admitting to people that had so many WIPs, as if it were some kind of reflection on my ability to finish things (or not). A recent series of articles from Sew Mama Sew on Slow Sewing helped me to reframe the issue and I've gotten comfortable recognizing that I choose and enjoy working in this way. Like so many, I have a busy and chaotic work schedule so when I get home, I like to have a bevy of projects at the ready depending on how much time and focus I have. One night, it might make more sense to be downstairs with other family members working on hand stitching. Another night, I have to be working in my office and it's easier to take a break every now and then to run a few seams on the machine as a treat to myself. At other times, I'm on the go and need something portable. Either which way, my prep work has been completed and I can jump right in on whatever I'm in the mood for! 

Kim's french press
I love adding hand stitched and embroidered details to my sewing and quilting projects

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think I fall pretty well into the modern quilting movement in terms of my fabric choices, love of asymmetric designs that put a twist on traditional blocks, and embrace of whitespace. This speaks to my background in graphic design and I love conceiving of a quilt with those ideas in mind.

I differ most in my work techniques, having been taught by my Granny who is a very traditional quilter. I tend not to use patterns and though I love and use my machine for a lot of things (and do not want to knock those that use it solely at all!), I personally find a lot more meaning and peace of mind in hand quilting so try to incorporate that whenever I can. I am terrible at free-motion quilting so I avoid it as well as the QAYG method and heavy laundering because my work in textile conservation has helped me to realize that these are not stable, long-term methods.

I also try to limit my stash buying habits to make my work process more green-friendly, using up all the scraps  I can (I love frankenbatting and stuffing plush items with too-small-to use fabric scraps) and avoiding some of the commercialism of quilting where I can. My sewing is slow, each project taking long enough to flow in and out of periods of my life so as to reflect different stories in its making and never keeps up with fabric line releases, try though I might at times.

Little Folks Quilt Top
This is a quilt top I have in progress using Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voile.
I've been hand piecing it for a while now and have no intention of hurrying up! My idea with this was that it was so enjoyable and meditative to stitch into the buttery voile, that I would hand piece and quilt the whole thing as it pleased me. The top is almost 2/3rds done and completely inspired by my love of this fabric.

3. How does my writing/creating process work?

Inspriation comes in various forms for me. Most often, the roots of a quilt design lie in the nature of the specific purpose, person, or season I am making it for. Occassionally they are formed by my vision of a fabric line that really speaks to me (Denyse Schmidt's Chicopea and Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks are examples). Frequently, I am inspired by the work of fellow quilters and love collecting and comparing stellar quilts in my Flickr favorites and on Pinterest. These examples really help me to condense what I aspects I love most and inform my own altered or mish-mashed designs.

I tend to draw these ideas out on scrap paper so that I can calculate just how much fabric I'll need. As a grad student, I don't have a lot of extra cash for fabric so, though the improv approach is very appealing to me, I tend to plot things out in advance to make the most economic use of my stash. Alternatively, I might start by pulling certain fabrics whose colors or patterns work well together. This part of the process reminds me a lot of blending oil paints as an art student in college. It's really a gut call when it comes to color for me and is the part of my creative process that I love and prolong the most.

I hope you've enjoyed this insight into my work and hope that it's got you thinking about your own habits and style. I'll be back soon with some more progress and finished pieces soon!

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