Road Trip/ Business Trip, Part One!

by Heidi Emmett

Last Thursday, my husband and I drove north to Portland, Oregon. One of my distributors, E.E. Schenck, had a show for shop owners(from many states) in their ginormous warehouse. They invited me to come and speak about “Art To Wear” patterns, MY patterns. I was so honored to be asked. And I decided I had sooooo much eye candy to show that I would need to bring it up myself (not on a plane).  And, it was time for a road trip. So pull up a chair, and pour a cuppa, as you travel from Cedar Ridge, CA to Portland, OR .  It’s still winter so snow and rain greeted us right outside Lake Shasta. We were stopped along with 1000’s of other vehicles for 2 1/2 hours while they cleared two jack-knifed big rigs because of snow. Everyone involved were o.k.  Mount Shasta was totally covered by clouds so I got this picture of an “itty bitty” cinder cone that is next to 14,162ft.  Mt. Shasta.

Whaaat?? A business owner likes color as much as I do…this came up so fast I couldn’t get a panoramic shot. Every color of the rainbow, trucks lined up out front. 

A much needed break for coffee in Yreka, CA. Look, more color, but better yet, love these, half oval shapes.  Perfect for some machine stitching. When this idea pops up in one of my designs, I will remind you of this very picture. 

Ohhh, what cool patterns, shapes, and colors we have here. 

At last, over the border into Oregon. First thing I noticed barns and ranches and happy cows, sheep, and horses, and green grass everywhere! Again, in the barn I see rectangles, washed colors, and depth of design. 

Cottage Grove, Oregon. Blooming ornamental plum trees, EVERYWHERE! Gorgeous!

The largest pansy flowers I have ever seen.

I see an entire palette in this picture. Hmm…does all that moss on this plum trees trunk mean lots of rain to go with? Well, Oregon is noted for it’s rain, rain, and more rain. 

And SUDDENLY here I am in my “Meet and Greet” area, after my Trunk Show. The beautiful quilts behind me, sadly, are not mine, but they are each made of only one fabric that is produced by E.E. Schenck. This is called “Gelato”, and each piece in the line is what we call  “ombre” fabric. I am wearing my Off The Grid Vest, and the base of it is this same Gelato fabric in Gray.  I love, it sew much.  Schenck is adding new colorways to this line as well.  If you want some now but can’t find it in your local shops, visit, She carries it in her online store. I’m holding my Tahoe to A “T” (black & white) and my latest Terrific Tabard. And showin’ off all the projects in my book, “Quilted Fashion Accessories.”

More about my trunk show and other pictures in “Part 2” next week. Thank you for stopping by. I have to cut this short as I have to get out a ton of orders for my patterns and books. And that’s a GOOD thing! Hugs, Heidi

YIPPEE!!! I’m Busting Outta Here!!!

by Mary Boalt

Just a quick note to let you know what this Artistic Alchemy member is doing for the next week. It’s that time of year for my semi annual retreat. I can’t wait!

This is where genius ideas and new patterns are born. I come home recharged with fresh inspiration and renewed energy. I’m excited to be sharing this experience with Sandra and Christine this year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to visit with each other away from the regular meetings of planning the Zephyr Retreat…..although I’m pretty sure Sanda and I will be creatively brainstorming for that too.

So, I’m staging my stash/luggage/projects/giveaways/machines/show and tell by the back door for an early Sunday morning departure when I swing by the airport and add my sister and her luggage to this array of goodies.

If a retreat is what you’re craving to push ahead creatively, we still have some openIngs for Zephyr in September. Retreats are wonderful! I’m a fan! Click on Workshops.

Franken Patterns

Mary Boalt

When looking for a definition of Victor Frankenstein’s monster, I found this: In an unorthodox experiment, an obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses. I couldn’t think of a better way to start this blog!

As wearable artists, we too can become obsessed with assembling disparate parts, incongruous elements that turn our garments into something that brings life to our wardrobes. My sister, a rather new sewist, has become a master at fearlessly blending different pattern parts to make what suits her. She calls these “Franken Patterns”. Don’t we love that option? To leave sleeves off of a coat and make it a vest? Or to add sleeves? Change necklines? Add darts or pleats? Take off a collar or add two collars? Paint, dye, bleach or bead the fabric? And don’t even get me started on pockets! Plus we may even go digging in our graveyard of thrift store scraps to find the perfect details for our creations. Oh what a lucky lot are we!

I’ll start with a pattern I have used many times. Vogue P954. Sadly out of print. Added to that pattern is Sandra Betzina’s drawstring collar from Vogue 1515. Some fabrics that come my way are just asking for some scientific experimentation. This black rayon/tencil like fabric wanted to be bleached. Check my collection of bleach ideas on my Pinterest page. The coordinating rayon was a remnant from Fabrix in San Francisco.

My bleach of choice for this project.

Next up: Marcy Tilton’s Vogue 8934. I lengthened it by quite a bit. Long enough for a tall monster. I left the pleats out at the hemline. A different sleeve has been reset into the armhole. I was inspired by a coat made by Carol Lee Shanks who used tone on tone patches in a most elegant way. It’s very difficult to photograph black. 

And now for the triple decker pockets. There are pockets in the side seams. And there are zippered pockets with leather pulls on top of the large deep patch pockets. Hiding places for snacks!  Monsters get hungry.

Here’s another Marcy Tilton pattern, Vogue 9287. This pattern has a most unusual pocket. It’s not just a patch pocket. Fun to add this little gem to your repertoire of sewing tricks. I’ve been wanting to make a jacket from mixed men’s suiting and have been collecting them for awhile. I chose the collar, front band and pocket to add artwork. The circles are made from hand stamped silks (students from my classes will recognize the stamps), men’s ties and checkered taffeta all placed under black silk organza and top stitched in place. Although I can’t remember the brand of the round buttons, they came on a card and can be purchased at a fabric store. They weren’t anything special. The rectangle part came from a bin of odds and ends. I think from Fabrix. They fit! A monsterous surprise! A hardware store might turn up some unknowing parts for a button in your collection.

Last September Sandra Betzina was the guest speaker at Artistry in Fashion at Canada College. I was inspired to try one of her dresses. Vogue 1552. Be sure to make this in something drapey.  I used a navy ponte knit.

This is probably the most complicated piece of jewelry I have ever made. But in the end, all the pieces are where I wanted them and hopefully it doesn’t look like a giant bolt through my chest! Thank you Victor Frankenstein for helping us all be bold in our desire to create.

And for those of you wanting to spend a few days in a peaceful setting indulging in creating art, the Artistic Alchemy website has the new retreat and class descriptions up and running. We already have quite a few sign ups! Be sure to secure your place as class sizes are limited.

And continue to carry on creatively!

A Fond Farewell and a Warm Welcome! Artistic Alchemy Retreat- 2018

Welcome everyone.

Christine here, with news about my status in Artistic Alchemy. After twenty years of teaching color, I’ve decided to declare myself an “Alchemist Emeritus,” that is, retired. I won’t be at the retreat this year, but you’ll see me now and then, perhaps as a guest blogger. My last regular AA post will be on February 23 and will include my studio sale items.

Being a part of AA has been a delight, and I dearly love my colleagues. And my students—wow, you have inspired and amazed me, and have kept me going with your eagerness to try new ideas. When you have success with color, my heart sings. I already miss you.

I’ll now be sharing my latest work in my newsletter, “Christine’s Color Connection” (you can sign up on the Home page of my website, I’m working on a re-design of my website, with new features, and 2018 is down as my year to produce my first online class.

So, onward to new experiences, and a big welcome to Jane Haworth—she is a delight, and you will love her work. Please stay in touch; I’m guessing and hoping that our paths will cross again.

Enjoy your new adventures Christine. You will be missed, but we know we’ll see you when we pop into the local quilt shop.

And now a warm welcome to the newest member of our Alchemy Team,



We are so happy to show you  what we’re doing this year!



Go to the home page of our blog and tap on each menu bar topic. All the information you need is right there. Make this the year you join us at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. September 3rd-7th, 2018.