Sunday, December 18, 2016

Magical Mystery Memory New York Tour

For the last 12 years I have had a wish to someday go back to New York.  I used to go to New York several times a year when I was working, to go to the shoe shows or to the garment district to work on clothes and shoes for several catalogs.  I would normally stay at the Warwick, at 54 and 6.  The Warwick was built by William Randolph Hearst in 1926 for his love, film star Marion Davies, and his Hollywood friends.  It is old world class and charm.  I was last in New York in 2004, as a middle-aged career woman, slim, fairly stylish, and totally in love with my new husband Carl, and the city itself.  Fast forward to 2016.  And, I do mean FAST forward.  How could this be?  I am now looking forward to Medicare coverage on January 1.  Carl and I have been married 13 years.  I carry around extra padding, and don't have a clear idea about what is in fashion.  In November, Carl casually suggested we go to New York in December, my absolute favorite time to visit.  Before the sentence was out of his mouth, I had flights booked and a room reserved at the Warwick for three nights.  I still remembered that I just needed to pack black clothes and comfortable, black shoes.  I wasn't too sure about the Lands End puffy knee-length jacket, but it was the warmest and it was the required black color.  Of course, the Sunday we were to fly out, we had our first big dump of snow.  The flight was a bit delayed, but after a good de-ice, we were on our way to Laguardia. 

On the approach to the twinkling city, I spotted Lady Liberty, something I looked for on each trip.  I had reserved a car, Call 7, a car service that is new since I was there.  Took us a while to find the pick-up point, but it went well after that.  The Warwick looked exactly the same.  I bet it still looks very much like it did in the Twenties.  The lobby bar, Randolph's is still there, the furniture is even the same.  Not shabby, at all, just quality style that is timeless.  After checking in, seeing our room with a 17th floor view of 6th Ave., we decided to see if the cocktails were still as yummy.  I believe this is the bar where Carl first had an Appletini.  The waitress has been there 19 years, so that is why I remembered her. 
I had a yummy Black Sparking, blackberry puree/orange liquor/champagne, and Carl had his Appletini.  Two each.  With tip, almost $100.  Welcome to New York!

Monday we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the hotel restaurant, Murals.  The entire wall is a 1937 mural by American illustrator Dean Cornwell.  Someday I should get a picture of that!  I didn't get a picture of that bill, but, again, it was almost $100.  I am seeing a pattern. 

My first stop on the Magical Mystery Memory Tour,  was to the European grocery store a block away, Ernest Klein.  At Christmas they have displays of European cookies and candies that are delightful!  On the way there, we passed Robert Indiana's famous LOVE art install.

You can tell that Carl and I are total losers at taking selfies.  Maybe that will be my 2017 resolution.  Anyway, we bought a few goodies and went back to hotel to grab a taxi to take us to Soho.  We should have taken the trains, but they have the cutest new taxi-vans there, and I wanted to experience near-death again!

Purl Soho was our destination.  I have been a fan a Purl Soho for many years.  Online they sell beautiful, lush yarns, and fabulous fabrics.  Patrick and Sarah and Addy, upon learning of my trip to Purl Soho, generously provided a gift certificate!  I was a bit giddy!  I was very surprised to see that the store is pretty small.  It is New York, after all.  Each yarn choice, each fabric bolt has been hand curated to be the finest.  The shop was busy with all ages of customers.  Carl quickly decided to walk around outside a bit and find a Diet Coke.  The staff was very friendly, and helpful, and extremely patient with a 90+ customer that was a bit confused.  I finally decided to buy a pattern for a sweater, called the Addy, and some beautiful wool yarn in a paprika color.  I also bought some linen/wool yarn for a scarf, and a notebook that was made for designing knit patternwork. 

Almost each trip to New York I would walk to the Crate and Barrel flagship store on Fifth Avenue.  I was surprised to learn it had moved to Soho, but pleased to see if was just a few short blocks from Purl Soho.  Christmas, again, is such a fun time to be in stores.  I could have spent a couple hours, and the required $100, but it was so HOT in there!   We actually found that most all New York places were way overheated!  No one else seemed to notice....but Carl and I thought it was awful!  We decided to walk from there to a Christmas Market at Bryant Park.  We were lucky the whole trip that the weather was cold, but very pleasant!  It was a nice long walk, taking in the sights.  We meandered through the booths.  I could have spent a bunch, again, but decided just to purchase felt taxi ornament.

Next stop was Rockefeller Center to see the tree and the ice skaters.  But, tragedy almost happened!  I always wear my handbag under my coat, but somehow the strap became unhooked and it fell on the taxi floor.  Carl just happened to look back to spy it and grabbed it before closing the taxi door.  Yikes!  Money!  Id!  Credit cards!  Phone!  God bless Carl!  We looked at a few store windows on Fifth Avenue, then on another few blocks to our Hotel.  On the way, I got asked about subway directions from a young woman.  That made my day, because I always got asked in the past at least once for directions!  I must not look too out of place!  (by the way, most people had on black, knee length, puffy coats!  I am sure they weren't the bargain Land's End variety, but I didn't feel out of place.) 

We had a little time before our dinner reservation, so we decided to drop another $100 at Randolph's.  This time a guy waited on us and asked if he knew me....I looked familiar and he thought he had waited on me before.  Maybe, but 12 years was a long time ago!  Our dinner was at Red Eye Grill, by Carnegie Hall.  I picked that place because I used to go there with various vendors.  A memory trip, again.  The food was delicious!  We walked back slowly, looking at the lights and festive windows. 

On Tuesday we had decided to take a harbor tour, down the Hudson, around the Statue of Liberty, and into the East River, a 1.5 hour cruise.  Somehow we were given the wrong information over the phone, and when we showed up at Pier 63, the only tour was 2.5 hours, around the entire isle of Manhattan!  It was a cold, but sunny day, so we decided to go for it! 

It was a guided tour, and our host was very entertaining and knowledgeable about New York history and architecture.  Relaxing and educational.  We had an early dinner reservation because we had tickets for a Broadway show, so after the cruise we decided to avoid the heavy traffic and walk the 1.7 miles back to hotel.  We did go through Hell's Kitchen, and some other interesting New York neighborhoods, but we survived.  A quick change and we were off to dinner at Gallaghers, an old New York steak house in between our hotel and the Oneil Theater where we were going to see Book of Mormon. 

Turns out, dress is much, much more casual than 12 years ago.  I do believe we were the most dressed up, but it was fun to have a fancy date!   The play was very funny, but Carl did comment that he wouldn't take his grandkids to see it.  On the walk home, we saw Times Square and more seasonal lighting. 

Our flight was early afternoon on Wednesday, so we took another car to the airport.  The driver took a very interesting route, and, at one point, I thought we could be in trouble, but he just was avoiding traffic.  It was a fixed price trip, so fare padding wasn't the case.  I did leave my favorite smart gloves in the car, though, which made me pretty sad.  Again, my selfies are pretty bad! 

We have been home now for 5 days, and it is a great hotel!!!  The bed is super comfy, and there is a whole studio full of yarn and fabric!   Carl had commented in Purl Soho that he thought our place had more yarn and fabric than was there.  Not sure that was a compliment.  Anyway, the trip was magic.  I enjoyed visiting all sorts of New York memories, and making some new ones.  Will we go back?  Not sure.  I have a few other places I would like to see again.  I will enjoy knitting the yarn I bought and trying to recreate the Black Sparkling cocktail.  If you got to this point in this long story, I thank you for hanging in there!  Jerilynn

Thursday, June 9, 2016

New Couch and New Old Hutch

The twin bed that was up in the studio belonged to our oldest granddaughter, and it was reclaimed by her back in March.  We decided to replace it with an Ikea couch that folds down into a bed that is just slightly bigger than a double size.  The only color it came in was a light beige, which was really going to show any dirt.  I decided to make a slip cover for the seat part and also cover the two big back pillows.  I remembered a couch covered with a big measuring stick print at the Spoonflower headquarters in Durham, and located the design in their Marketplace.  I had it printed on their poly-suede fabric, and, a few simple seams later, a very cute couch!  I thought I would show you a couple of pictures of the Eastern wall of the studio to show not only the new couch, but the new corner cabinet.  My ex mother-in-law Alice passed away a year ago and had said she wanted me to have the large, antique corner cabinet that had been in her dining room.  A couple of the sons brought up the huge piece and it fits perfectly in the studio corner.  It is very roomy inside - it has all my fleece in it now, and you know how bulky that stuff is to store!  I taught Alice how to quilt, so I think she would love that her hutch is now at home in my sewing place!  Jerilynn

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Simple Abodes

In continuing with the Tiny Houses theme....I have been Knervously Knitting Tiny  House squares.  I thought it would be cute to sew them all together and make an afghan, and I think it is going to be a favorite.  I am not sure how big I am going to make this.  I think I will decide that as soon as I get tired of making the same knit square over and over.  Changing the colors, though, keeps me amused.  I was going to throw in a few tree blocks or some blank blocks to make "neighborhoods", but I really am liking the rows and rows of simple abodes.  Jerilynn

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tiny Houses

How cute is this?  Well, I know I could have taken a bit of time and "staged" the top shelf, but it is what it is.  I ordered some adhesive wallpaper from Spoonflower - it's a Marketplace design by kristinnohe called home. The color says red-orange, but on the woven wallpaper, which is sticky, it is a good red.  Trust me.  I know my reds.  It was super easy to do, not at all like the horrible contact paper.  It has a good weight to it, and is easy to smooth on.  This was an old sewing cabinet that I thought could use a cute factor.  Now I need to go through all the drawers and de-stash, or find treasures that I have forgotten about.  Summer is a time of multiple visits here from friends and family.  So, it is also a perfect time to clean out drawers and closets and let someone else store the stuff for 30 years.  I have been on a house kick for a while.  Little houses fascinate me.  It must be the HGTV Tiny Houses shows.  I keep telling Carl that I could live in a Tiny House.  He thinks that is hilarious.  Jerilynn

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

First Vector Design

If you are tired of hearing about Spoonflower, then just go on your merry way.  If not, keep reading.  One of our parting gifts was a certificate for a free yard of any fabric with one of our own original designs printed on it.  This is a very nice present, but I am having a paralyzing creative block.  I want the design to be representative of the fabulous educational experience with Becka and Spoonflower and the other eleven students.  Even though I could always try again with another printed yard, this one needs to be special.  I think this happens a lot in the Maker world.  We leave quilt tops unquilted because we don't want to ruin it by imperfect quilting.  We are afraid to submit a design to a magazine because we feel it doesn't look as professional as other designs.  We buy stacks of fabrics but don't want to cut into them in case a better pattern comes along.  As with anything, the more you do something, the better you get at it.  You only get good by being mediocre a whole bunch of times.  So, I just need to work on an idea, decide on a fabric, upload, and push send.  It will be my first fabric that I designed using Illustrator.  It will be fabulous because it is my starting point, my diving board, into, hopefully, a big design pool of great vector fun.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spoonflower Printed Fleece Fabric and a 4th Birthday Quilt

The Bow Tie project from last summer's Denver Wedding is still popping it's head up in various projects.  As I may have mentioned, after a few glasses of wine at the wedding, I decided it was a brilliant idea to take a picture of all the necks of the men wearing bow ties.  I cropped all of them into neat little rectangles, collaged them, and made a large canvas print for the grooms.  I titled it "They Tied the Knot".  When Spoonflower introduced their new poly-fleece fabric, I knew right away that the bow tie design would make a good one to print on fleece.  The fleece isn't a squishy Polartec weight, but it is a nice, very soft, thinner fleece.  Almost reminds me of a heavy German flannel weight.  I used it for the back of Addy's 4th birthday quilt that I made from her tees that she wore during her 4th year.  She was in the wedding last summer, so I thought it fitting that she has a reminder of that fun time.  She wasn't all that impressed when she opened the quilt - after all, I have made her tee quilts each year.  She will like all the quilts, someday, I hope.  She did, however, love the mermaid blanket that we also gave her! I would love to say that I made it, but crochet is painfully slow for me to do.  I don't think she'd want a mermaid blanket when she was 16!  I bought it on Etsy, from Littlepatchescrafts in Canada, and it is beautifully done!   You can see that it makes a great napping blanket!
While I was printing the bow ties, I thought that I would also make a fleece blanket for Ben.  Last summer his folks took a family vacation to Duluth, MN, and went to Canal Park and visited the lighthouse there.  I thought this picture of Ben was really cute, so I posterized it using the tutorial at  .   Also turned out really well. 
This fabric doesn't ravel, so I just cut off the white borders, turned the edges under a bit, and zig-zagged in place.  One yard made a very nice 54" x 36" blanket. 

You can tell that I am a big fan of this printing-my-own-fabric!   Great fun.   Jerilynn

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Friend's House

This is a picture of a house that my very dear friend owned for many years.  When my original spouse and I moved to Chippewa Falls, WI, from Chicago, IL, back in 1978, I was a very lonely 26 year old.  He had just graduated from dental school and had secured a position as a dentist in a tiny office that came with a small attached house.  I left a great job in downtown Chicago and part of a MBA program at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University undone.  He left for work each day by walking through a breezeway, and I was alone at home, wondering what to do next.  A new doctor had just opened a family practice, and during a chance visit there I met his office person, Wynne, who happened to also be his sister-in-law. She, too, had recently moved to town from Madison, WI, and also seemed a bit eager to meet new friends.  I found out their house was just a couple blocks from ours and was told to come over at any time.  The concept of just walking up to a house and knocking on the door at any time was not my usual way, but I got the nerve, and over I went.  We became immediate best buds, went on to have babies close together, survived bad perms, organized craft nights, sang together in the choir, counseled through a divorce, and retired to far apart towns. When I found out about the Spoonflower class in Durham, I was so excited that I not only would learn a ton, but that I could visit my friends Wynne and Paul who have a darling retirement home there.  I wanted to make them a little something as a thank you for the hauling around they were going to do for me, and thought of their old house that was obviously so much a part of their history, but also so much a part of mine.  I took the picture of the house, loaded it into the Bernina software, and outline sketched around it.  I put this simple redwork embroidery on a tea towel - they are Cooks, and I thought it was fitting.  A very small thank-you gift for almost 40 years of friendship that started with a knock on that house's door.  Jerilynn

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spoonflower Visit and Illustrator Class!!!

Be prepared to a long post!  I have been absent from here lately - I lost my dad in February, and I just haven't taken the time to keep in blog touch.  But, I wanted to share with you a fabulous experience I just had.  Ignore grammer and run-ons.  This was a quick summary of the adventure!

The Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Durham was just a short, five minute walk to Spoonflower on a tree lined path.  So far, my impression of Durham, NC, and the people,was  far different than the awful news reports.  The city is green and Green, progressive, inventive, inclusive, and friendly.  Being gluten free was never met with a quizzical look...many options were always available and delicious.  My room at the hotel was a suite.  A living/dining/kitchenette, and a huge separate bedroom/dressing area/bath.  The only thing missing was Carl.  I realized that it had been almost 12 years since my days of traveling all over alone for work, and I missed sharing the adventure with him. 
We were to meet at the Spoonflower offces at 4:30 on Friday, April 22, 2016.  I had no idea how many students were going to be in the class, if I would be the oldest/slowest, or what I would take away from the experience.  I knew that I was tingly over the prospect of seeing the Spoonflower process; I had been a customer almost from their beginning.  I also knew that I always wanted to learn to draw with vectors, and that Adobe Illustrator was a complicated software that I really wanted to start to learn.  Add in the opportunity to have Becka Rahn as the can imagine my disbelief that this was really happening.

I ran into a couple of other ladies in the hotel lobby that asked if I was also a Spoonflower class attendee and they took me under their wing to show me where the path was to the class site.  I quickly realized that I should have brought my rolling laptop bag and that I am sorely out of shape.  The brisk walk with the heavy shoulder bag had me clammy by the time we found the place.

Spoonflower has a series of suites in an industrial, non-descript, one-story building complex.  A peek of brightly colored furniture through a window, and some Adirondack chairs by a door were the clue that we had arrived.  The door was locked, we needed to be buzzed in.  This is not a retail destination, it is a serious manufacturing facility that happens to have a creative-rainbow-willy-wonka-Disney-Pixar-wonderland feel. 
Walking in the door I see chairs, pillow, lampshades, pictures, clothes, walls - all covered in original, colorful designs.  Material range from poly-suede, and eco-canvas to peel-and-stick removable wallpaper and gift wrap.  I already want to burst into tears of joy from the sheer overload.  To the right of the entry room is the Greenhouse Room where the classes will be held for the next three days.  This room is where Spoonflower has one a month open work days for the public to come in and mostly work on community and charity projects, a huge emphasis of the Spoonflower's outreach mentality.

As we all gathered, I realized that even though I was probably the oldest student at age 64, there were a couple other women that may be close to my age.  The youngest appeared to be in her 30's.  Most of the other11 students seemed to be in their 40's and 50's.  As we introduced ourselves, it was apparent that there was a huge amount of talent and accomplishment in the room.  Most all seemed to be in the Makers industry  in some way and most were current Spoonflower customers and were just as thrilled as I to have the opportunity.  This was Spoonflower's first ever Mastery Class , and we were the lucky Golden Ticket holders.  At times I felt I had just landed on a reality  tv show, and was nervous I would be the first to be voted off.

As we settled in to our work areas, and admired all of our awesome welcoming gifts,  Meredith, our darling Spoonflower fabulous liason person, arrived with pizzas for our dinner. Two GF options were there!  Stuffing our faces, we   had a youngish, cute, male arrive, casually introducing himself as Stephen Fraser, founder of the company.
There are several great articles you can Google on the history of Spoonflower, but basically the idea started in 2008 by Stephen's wife.  She was frustrated that she couldn't find the fabric she wanted for curtains, and why wasn't there a place she could just print what she wanted?  Stephen, a computer whiz, and his friend Gart, then found a fabric printer in North Carolina, a state with a rich textile history.  The first few months, they could print 3 yards an hour.  More often than not, however, the printer would malfunction, and the run was ruined, and they would have to start over.  They limited customers in the early days because of the slowness and equipment limitations.  I was one of  those customers on a "waiting list" to be able to even be a customer.  In just 8 short years, they can now print 900 yards an hour, on 20 different materials.  They have 160 employees, and thousands of patterns you can get printed on those materials if you choose not to design your own.  They have just opened a Spoonflower in Berlin to service their European customers.  Do they need an American grandmother who speaks German to come and help?

Stephen talked for an hour or so, answered questions, and had us all glossy-eyed with our gratitude that he has this printing idea and made it happen.  So happy, yet I was sad.  I realize that I am on the downhill side of my creative years, and what was going to be around the bend in the next 8 short years?  Or 16 years?  My hope is that my children and grandchildren grow up with this love of Making and, Technology, and  always embrace opportunities to learn new things.

Our first class exercise on Friday night was to look through some books , by Ed Emberley, an American artist and illustrator, best known for children's books on how to draw animals using basic shapes.  We were given scissors, black paper and white paper, and instructed to create an animal with basic shapes out of theblack paper  and glue-stick it to white paper.  It would then be scanned overnight and given to us to use that as our first basis of an Illustrator design.  I chose to create  a scary fish with spiney  fins.  It reminded me of an ugly , scary fish Carl caught last summer that looked pre-historic. 

Class was over for the night.  A new friend gave me a lift in her car back to the hotel.  I knew then that I was not going to get any sleep that night.  My brain was exploding with possibilities.  A bit (or bottle)of wine might have been helpful in hindsight. 

True to my prediction, I didn't sleep much, until 30 minutes before the alarm went off.  The hotel provided a great breakfast buffet, with the entertainment being a woman casually walking around in her pajamas.  I was fully dressed, ready to start the day at 9:00.

We started the class with uploading our scanned artwork from the night before.  Using the trace feature of Illustrator we learned how to click for straight lines and drag and click for curves.  It is a bit tricky, and there is definitely a learning curve.  Prior to this class, when I needed a vector drawing, I designed an embroidery in the Bernina software, and then converted it to a vector file.  I thought that this was a roundabout way of doing it.   After an hour into the class I was beginning to think that the way I was doing it was way easier.  But, I kept at it, and eventually it got easier.  Becka had provided us with a thumb drive with many files, and we could find a background design on that and use that for our animal.  I chose a wave pattern, changed the colors a bit for practice, and added my fish.  He looked lonely, so I added two more, in different sizes, swimming in different directions.  I also added bubbles.  Each step was a learning process...figuring out how to do what I wanted.  Some steps were intuitive, some were not!  We then uploaded our finished designs to a private Spoonflower account, and Meredith hinted that we may be able to see our creations being printed.  

Becka gave a short talk on design composition and color with inspiring slides and examples.  She wore each day a skirt or dress she made from fabric she designed and had printed.  That in itself was a lesson in creativity.  I was starting to feel very star-struck.  What couldn't that woman do?  Amazing! After a delicious lunch break, it was time for a Spoonflower tour by Meredith!

Oh, my.  I can't even begin to describe the tour.  We saw the huge fabric printers in action.  There are two kinds.  One is for printing on natural fabrics such as linen and cotton.   A large roll of the target fabric  is loaded and fed through the printer.  Each customer order for that particular fabric is separated by a cutting line, and is bar coded in the selvedge so that it can be matched to the order and mailed.  Once printed, it is directly fed through another huge machine that is a heat setter machine.  It comes out the other end ready to get rolled on a tube.  These tubes are given to cutters who inspect the printing, cut apart individual orders, and stack them in cubbies that are computer assigned.  Packagers retrieve the order, package it and send it off. 

A second type of fabric printer is for man-made fabrics, mostly polyester.  For this material, the design is reverse-printed on big sheets of paper, then heat set on top of the poly fabric.  The heat opens up the fibers and the ink can penetrate each fiber.   This is why the colors on the poly fabrics are so bold and vibrant.  They also are more color-fast.  We saw examples of printed poly suede, fleece and minky that were stunning.
Spoonflower also prints two types of wallpaper, wet hang and peel-
-and-stick, and wrapping paper.  As the tour wound its way around the main building and the new expansion building, we were treated at every turn to beautifully papered walls, stunning couches and chairs in brilliant fabrics, and imaginative pillows and wall art.  Individual work stations were personalized with favorite fabrics and custom laptop skins.  It was clearly a very happy place to work, and the work force appeared to be young and enthusiastic. 

Time to learn and design more on Illustrator.  We had just started a project when Meredith burst in and told us our fabric was being printed.  We squealed with delight as we saw our fat quarters come out of the printer and feed into the heat setter and out the other end.  The operator of that machine, a young, hip lady  with gorgeous tatoos, had never had anyone watch their design being born before, and was delighted at our delight.  We were told we had to wait until Sunday to talk about the finished product.  They needed to go to the cutters to be cut apart. 

We were becoming more acquainted with our co-students, and the afternoon proceeded with Becka helping us with design challenges and others chiming in with help and opinions.  The excitement was everywhere and sparks of ideas were flying all around.  Meredith had rented a bus to take us to the charming downtown Durham for a group meal.  Great bbq and adult beverages were the perfect toppers to our day.

No sleep that night, either.  I was beginning to understand a little of the possibilities in Illustrator, and was gob-smacked at the possibilities of creating on Spoonflower.  When you hear the phrase "you are only limited by your imagination", I was beginning to think that my creativity, which I had always thought was pretty good, was woefully lacking.  I felt my life was somehow shifted to a new path.  It is hard to unsee the seen.  I knew that I had the formula to do anything.  It was up to me to figure out what that was.

Breakfast pajama lady was not there the next morning.  I shlepped all my stuff to Spoonflower, as my dear friends Wynne and Paul Cook were going to pick me up at the end of the day and take me to their house for the night.  That was another huge bonus of this whole trip:  seeing them and their absolutely charmingly beautiful house in Durham where they retired to just last year.  Old dear friends are priceless and these two are at the top of the list.

We talked more about design as it relates to fabric design.  We talked about design size, balance, variation, seamlessness, and intention.  Becka shared with us an app that her husband wrote that will help you see if your design is truly seamless.  If they are not a power couple, I don't know who is!  It is RepeatIt, and it is fabulous.  We worked on more ideas, then got to see our previous day's creations.

They all turned out great, and very varied.  A few design flaws were pointed out and we talked about how to correct them.  All were different colors than on our screens and we learned how to use the Spoonflower color map to make sure what color we want printed is the one we upload to their site. 

Becka talked a bit about the Spoonflower site;  how to navigate, the Picmonkey tie-in, the various fabrics and what they can be used for, and how we can use our designs.  Later in the day she introduced us to  Warning:  once you start playing with this design tool, you will never again have any time to cook, clean, or sleep.  Such a fun site!  I won't even tell you what it does.  You will have to discover that on your own. 

Class was officially over, but a handful of us stayed for some snacks and wine and to work on projects in an informal setting.  They would kick us all out at 8:00.  I was sad to see it all end, but I was not sure anything else could be crammed into my brain.  I arrived as a "1" on the 1 to 10 scale of how much I knew about vectors, and was leaving as a solid "6.75".  I now had 13 new friends - Becka, Meredith, and the other 11 students.  Along with Becka"s Spoonflower book, and other goodies, I was leaving with a coupon for a free yard of printed fabric, but Meredith warned us she may not print it if it wasn't something we designed.  (there are thousands of cool Marketplace designs to buy, but the whole idea of the class was to learn to do our own!) 

Thanks for reading all of this.  I need to jump into the pile of stuff I have to do now that I am home, but I wanted to get most of what happened down on paper.  There are so many things I didn't touch on that were part of the tremendous learning experience.  Wow.  If you ever want to hear me go on and on and on and on, just give me a call!  xox  Jerilynn

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Steadily Stitching

How fun is this stitchery!???!  I found this kit in Duluth at a quilt show.  It is the design of Laura Heine, of Fiberworks in Billings, MT.  Her booth was unlike any I have seen at shows.  Full of gorgeous, imaginative quilts and wall quilts.  Her original patterns were for sale, along with kits of the fabrics.  Her choices of fabrics were unusual and perfect.  I sometimes hesitate to buy kits, feeling as if somehow I am "cheating".  However, in this case, each one was a work of art that I just had to have in my home.  I bought three (!!) kits that day and added them to my huge pile of to-do's.  I decided to write down all the projects I have to do, and I came up with way too many to tell you the total.  I clearly will not outlive them!  I have a quilt top done for my mom that I am waiting on a bit more backing to finish.  I decided the above kit, Summer Fun, was mostly hand stitching, so that has been my Steadily Stitching TV Project the last four nights.  At first my hand stitches were uneven and awkward.  I used to be good at this, I thought!  But, the more I stitched, the better I with anything, practice helps.  I am loosely following the pattern, using my own thread color choices, embroidery stitch choices, and hand cutting out the appliques, roughly like the pattern sheet.  I figure it gives me a little satisfaction that I am being a little bit creative.  Jerilynn

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Make Sure Your Napkins are Well-pressed After Each Laundering

These are a hostess gift for a friend that will be unnamed (she may read this blog...).   Not original in thought, but they were fun to do.  I bought some plain napkins from World Market and embroidered them with Mom-isms.  The napkins were their everyday napkins, and I am not too in love with the quality, but they will be okay.  I think if I were to do these again, I may want to buy some nice linen-cotton and make my own.  Another thought would be to design these and have them printed on the Spoonflower linen-cotton.  Cute art could be added.   Upload file, print, cut apart and hem edges.  The Spoonflower linen-cotton doesn't wrinkle too badly when washed.  These napkins will definitely have to be pressed after each laundering.  Maybe I better also bring along a bottle of wine to soften this news.  Jerilynn

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Knervously Knitting the Day Away

I'm doing some Knervous Knitting.  I decided to make an afghan with the same colors that I made the plaid dishcloth.  To add squares as I go, I am using the same technique I used with the Hue Afghan, casting on 31 stitches and on every other row I do a center decrease of two stitches.  This eventually leaves one stitch on the needle which can be the start of a new square.  You pick up stitches from a previously knit square and cast on more stitches, or you pick up stitches from two squares depending on where you are in the sequence.  It sounds confusing, but is very simple.  I slip the first stitch in each row purl-wise, to make it very easy to pick up stitches. It is soothing and mindless at the same time.  A great knit pattern to do whilst watching tv or in the car.  The colors in this shot are not too true to color...I am using just three colors - red, burgundy and black.  I am knitting the rows in such a manner that the center decreases will create a secondary zig-zag pattern.  On a very cold, but sunny day like today, I would love to just sit and Knervously Knit the day away, but various chores are calling....well, maybe just one more square.  I am on a red one.  My favorite! Jerilynn

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Family Members Not Feeling Too Well

We've been gone a few days watching Addy, our youngest granddaughter.  She had her tonsils out last Monday, and her parents had to go back to work on Wednesday.  She clearly didn't feel very good at all, but was a very good patient.  On the way back home we stopped at the nursing home to visit my parents.  My dad was in the hospital a couple of days and the diagnosis isn't too good.  His heart is finally getting ready to call it quits.  He was in good spirits today, though.  I managed, also, to get a picture of him with the afghan I made him for Christmas.  It is made from Dishie yarn from Knitpicks and is their Hue Afghan pattern with smaller squares and made a bit longer.  He seems to love it.  The cotton Dishie yarn makes is a good weight and is very washable.  During Addy's naptime, I designed a table runner around a couple of the Christmas Tree blocks.  The quilt and the runner are being considered for a magazine and maybe a kit.  I will keep you posted! Jerilynn

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Finally some progress is being made on the quilting of the tree quilt.  I had about 4 false starts, which means some nasty un-sewing on my part.  I am challenged by the white background, the green trees, and the red corner blocks.  Add in a red back, and you can understand my problem with choosing a quilting thread color.  I finally settled on a grey.  Not great on the white, and not great on the other colors.  But, I think once it is washed and dried, the grey should just sink into the background and be neutral.  I took a class once on machine quilting, and the teacher said to quilt ESS....every stinking seam.  So, I am trying that approach somewhat.  I have straight quilting every horizontal and vertial major seam.  When I do the tree blocks, I free motion straight lines around the tree, and then do some meander filler.  Not sure yet what is going in the other blocks.  I may do red thread in the red blocks because they are now outlined and feel somewhat separate.  The last picture is of one of my newer coaster designs.  It is my log cabin coaster, but with a window light and a simple pine tree.  I like the red Woolfelt on the back trimmed to be an accent color.  Yesterday we took down the Christmas decs and I decided those decorations that remained in the boxes in the storage room this season have to go.  Children will get the chance to speak for them, the remaining will be put in a sale this summer.  There are actually some open spaces on the shelves!  Very motivating.  Do you think I can do the same up here in the studio?  Jerilynn