Friday FEATURE: Off The Grid Vest from Anchorage, Alaska!

by Heidi Emmett

Before we get started on this Friday’s “FEATURE”, a few words from the Artistic Alchemy team. We are in touch with Zephyr Point Conference Center quite often to find out the status of our Artistic Alchemy Retreat this September 7-11th. I last spoke with them just yesterday 4/30 and they are excited to see us all in September. So yes!! we are still a GO for the Artistic Alchemy Retreat. And there is still room for you in all the classes so, knowing you will be ohhh sooo ready for a retreat this September to the Mountains and Lake Tahoe, and all the SEWING/CREATIVE time you could want, SIGN UP NOW!

Hello spring! It has really sprung here in Northern CA. Record highs for the end of April. But wait, it’s May 1st. The dates and days are all running together in my opinion. Have you noticed that too?

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I know it’s HUGE! Surprisingly, “hugely” sweet too.
The color! Luscious.
I like how my super amazing tasting, first of the season strawberries look on my vintage tea towel. And these beauties tasted even BETTER than they look here.

Candy Tuft NEVER disappoints. Grows well in many zones. It blooms without fail every single year. I have some that is at least 25 years old. And the deer don’t like it!

And now I want to introduce to you Sandy W. from Anchorage, Alaska who made this wallhanging. Isn’t this quilt STUNNING! It is titled  “Girl With a Pearl by The Sea.” The composition, the colors, the design, the 3-dimensional quality, all come together to make for a lovely creation. It is her own design and quilting is just one of the things she does. She also creates AMAZING watercolor paintings. I can’t show you her latest as it is going into a show and can’t be seen by anyone until the show starts.  And sewing is something else she does.

Sandy, using my Art to Wear, “OFF THE GRID VEST” pattern made NOT just One, not even Two  OFF THE GRID’S, but FIVE of them, one right after the other!!  Yes, she had some time up in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Please read what Sandy had to say about her versions of OFF THE GRID VEST.
Regarding the vests, I worked steadily on each one for two and a half days. Was just on a roll, as I haven’t had so much fun sewing in years. The green one, where I put the fronts to the sides before cutting and made the collar longer, actually gave me the most trouble. Reversed front of binding multiple times.
Watercolor painting has pretty much what I have been doing daily for 20 months, being retired. I have fabrics picked out for a blue version, and might send the purple one to my 94 year old Mother.

Don’t you love how she used to basic pattern pieces and did her own thing!
I like the cool pocket Sandy added to this OFF THE GRID VEST.

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Sandy kept with the ombre’ fabric that I used in my cover shot, but the splitting of the fabric  and inserting long curving shapes gives some real depth and drama and of course the long and lean look I’m always talking about in all of my Art To Wear sewing patterns.
“Purple passion with patch pockets.” That’s what I call this OFF THE GRID VEST. I like the over and under strips that showcase the front panels.
This OFF THE GRID VEST features an Ombre’ fabric that is used so effectively in this version. It is one piece of fabric deftly cut to its’ best advantage. I think the black trim is the perfect color choice for this “Simply Elegant” look. Check out the pocket that moves over to the far side of the front, and is held in place by the finishing trim.

What’s different about this OFF THE GRID VEST? Sandy eliminated the collar piece. That’s what you do when you are on vest # 5, yes, FIVE.
The color choices for this OFF THE GRID VEST make it a stand out! Well done Sandy.
When this OFF THE GRID VEST is opened and laid out you can see all the detailing minus the collar. Sandy, SANDY! Thank you SO MUCH for this eye opening fashion show of 5 OFF THE GRID VESTS! What an amazing job! Your creativity and color sense and beautiful stitching show off my vest pattern so nicely.  You are the BEST!

Hey everyone I know this fashion show will give you ideas for your own OFF THE GRID VEST. Contact me (Heidi Emmett) at my email: hmemmett@gmail.com for ways to buy this Art to Wear pattern (or any of my others) and save $ on shipping.

Please visit my own personal blog at: DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com for more sewing and creative adventures. Go here!

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I leave you all with a song to put you in a Zen mood to get you ready for your next creative adventure. Hugs, Heidi

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Staying Creative during a Pandemic!

This is Jane. Heidi, Sandra and I have been communicating about the retreat this September and we still feel hopeful. We will keep you in informed of any news we hear from Zephyr Conference Center. Lets keep fingers crossed and positive thoughts during these crazy times. We are still taking reservations, if you feel like holding your spot.

What strange times we are in! When I am told to stay home, with few other commitments to fill my day, what better excuse is there than to SEW. I have spent the last few years trying to catch up with projects and custom orders so having few distractions its good for me. Saying that, I am finding it hard mentally, to stay focused but I tell myself I have time, plenty of time.

California Poppies

Living through this pandemic is hard. But living here in Northern California I appreciate how lucky I am and we are not suffering as hard as many people around the globe. Lets appreciate what we have and quit complaining about hair and nail issues.

Now the weather has improved I have enjoyed the time I spend walking my neighborhood with my son James. He needs to log daily his PE requirements. We like to take photos, look for wildflowers and local wildlife.

 

Lupins by Jane Haworth

Lupines along the NID

I am lucky enough to live close to one of the NID (Nevada Irrigation District) canals and it makes the perfect three mile hike.

As I said I am using this time to catch up! I have some custom quilt orders from 2019 that needed completing!  I am down to finishing my last two. The two photos above were made using T shirts on both sides of the quilt.  I have avoided doing this in the past as I was concerned about the stretch when quilting and what kind of quilting pattern to use.

T shirt quilt by Jane Haworth

Completed queen sized T shirt quilt, Notre Dame University

Actually they both turned out amazing, very drapable and soft. I made the back a little larger, taped it to the floor before layering with the batting and quilt top. I then used many safety pins to hold the layers together. My stitching pattern was a large meander for the quilting and had no problems with stretch. I will definitely do this again.

Fabric collage pet portraits by Jane Haworth

Fabric Pet Portrait, Buddy the Labradoodle

The collage above was a commission I received from one of my Craft Napa students. She wanted me to make the collage and then I sent it to her to stitch and complete the quilt. My plan is to finish many of the pet portrait samples started as demos during class when I teach.

Sewing space or studio Jane Haworth

A lot going on in my quilt making studio

This is a photo of my sewing space right now! I am working on a T shirt quilt, have a couple of projects ready to quilt and also supplies for mask making everywhere!

This was another commission I recently received for a Beagle called Teddy. I am thinking a fun way to focus on my work (as I do have trouble with this) is to set aside a week just to work on a theme. This week has been to complete all the T shirt quilts! Next week is for pet collage and another week will just be free-motion quilting. And then of course there are old UFO’s!  I’ll let you know how it goes!!

facemarks by Jane Haworth

Fitted face masks April 2020

I have plenty of work I could work on but about 3 weeks ago into the mix came mask making! To begin with I wondered is there a real need for this. But after a few days it became clear that local healthcare workers needed our help. I had fabric I could use from my stash, my trusty Juki 2010Q and I was ready to help.

The first appeal came from a Pediatric doctor friend who needed face masks for colleagues and outpatients. So I made a couple of batches for her with the help of my sewing friends. Then my friend Annie, who hasn’t sewn since school, received a request for 300 masks for a local senior care service.  With little time it came down to us to make them. So with social distancing in mind we set up a small production line and banged out 200 masks in two days! The last 100 she did at home with contributions from other sewing friends.

Mask making April 2020

First day of Face mask making 100 masks

I must admit I was a little burned out after that but now it is hard to go a day without making a few masks while the need is still there. I emailed my neighborhood association and my husbands colleagues saying I would make masks for a small donation. I have enjoyed getting to know my neighbors and these monetary donations will allow me to fabric shop and replenish my stash when the time is right.

Honey-pot Design Jane Haworth

Inspired by the honey pot for a stitching design

I will just share a few of the projects I am working on.  This is a sketch for a hand stitching project I am just starting. I do enjoy hand stitching in the evening when I can hang out with the family, be creative and not fall asleep!

These are two projects I recently finished. The Kookaburra Bag is hand stitched onto felt and the Boho Bag is hand stitched on top of various fabrics that cover a flannel foundation. Both were patterns I bought at IQF Houston. Patterns by Wendy Williams for Flying Fish Kits

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This quilt (waiting to be stitched) are beetle designs that I started a year ago. I placed the bugs onto old linens and other unusual neutrals and when piecing them together I reversed the seams so I have the raw edges on the front. If you’ve ever tried this its harder than you think! This is a new series of collage designs that I will have available perhaps for a new class.

Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2019

Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2019

Here is a photo from last years Artistic Alchemy retreat and lets keep our finger crossed that we can all meet up again in September. We are still taking bookings for all the workshops and open studio. If you wish to send in a reservation form and deposit this will ‘hold your spot” I am imagining in September we will all be in need for some creative time and company.

My workshop this year 2020 is Mark-Making and Fabric Collage. Students will have the opportunity to spend at least a day playing with mono-printing, painting on fabric, carving and stamping and creating some one-of-a-kind fabrics to use in collage.

Lino Printing and mark making Jane Haworth

Lino Cutting and printmaking

Keep sewing, keep healthy and lets use this time to be creative.

In These Times We Create

by Sandra Bruce

Our Zephyr Retreat in September feels so far away right now. We are all wondering how to fill our time at home, and what is in the future with the Corovirus upon us. It feels so surreal. Jane, Heidi and I had a group meeting, each of us in our homes, instead of physically together as we usually are. It was heartening to talk and compare our lives at the moment. We want you to know we are still frequently in touch with Zephyr, and we are thinking how good it’s going to be to be together with other like-minded sewers in September. If you are unfamiliar with Zephyr Cove, they have a super website with pictures of the breathtaking views that you might want to check out. 

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And…what better time to have something to look forward to than to sign up for our retreat!! Consider it a “placeholder”.

So…I’m going to start my post with a beautiful photograph taken by my son, Matteo Pierazzi. It captures my feelings lately. Dark clouds, yes, but the sun peeking through.As is typical around here spring has been full of this……and this.

Like so many people I know, since being homebound I’ve been doing a lot of sewing. I’m making masks for my local hospital, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. They put out a call on their website for masks and provided a video and explanation of what they wanted. I dug up enough elastic to make about 10. Then I switched to ones with ties.I’m using my  bias tape makers for the ties, they really help. In case you are unfamiliar, and are making masks (or not) here’s what they look like.They come in several sizes and I love them. You put a strip of fabric in on the ironing board, pull the strip through the tape maker pressing as it appears, and it comes out folded perfectly on 2 sides. To make the ties I fold the strip again and press, and have ties.

I completed my “Yayoi 2” quilt and it has gone to its new owner in Houston. It was satisfying to make another one of these images, and have the freedom to change little things that I wasn’t too thrilled with in the first quilt. I’m happier with the 2nd one.

Before my plans for March and April went haywire I made a big bunch of polymer clay earrings and buttons to take to a retreat I was going to, that was cancelled. But now I’l have a nice batch to be ready with when my teaching and lecturing gets back into motion. I really enjoy matching colors and making color “families”.

My son tells me I really need to get these onto my website for sale. Maybe now is a good time to investigate how to make that happen.

I was gifted a few large bags of batiks. The minute I got them home I grouped them by color. This made me want to make something with them, so I quickly made a version of my quilt “Color Dance”. But without the border. I’m looking forward to quilting it, and it will make a super sample when I’m teaching and selling the pattern.This is a section.

Having time in my studio has been really wonderful and cathartic. I’ve been wanting to experiment more with painting on fabric. In the workshop with Susan Brubaker Knapp we painted on white cotton. I wondered, what would it be like to paint onto printed fabric, or even a Matrix quilt? This piece is made of just blue squares put together, no piecing inside squares. The reference photo:

How is it to paint on top of color, and seams? It’s tricky, for sure.The fabric pokes through a bit.  

Do you know about Bo-Nash powder? I used it to adhere the top of my piece to the batting and back. For a small project it works great, and does not clog up the needle at all. Much easier than a spray. I’m just now starting to quilt this on my Bernina. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I started another one, this time from a photo I took in the Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia. I am fascinated by these giant lily pads. Some of them were 6-7 feet across.

The pads look prehistoric to me. I wanted to mix the piecing and paint more than in the pelican piece. Here it is before paint.

With paint but before quilting. Quilting will be critical to its success.

I am learning a lot about the paint, ProFab.

When I teach I always tell my students about my Strip Sticks. Here’s a shot of my lilies on the ironing board having seams open up…the Strip Stick makes it easier.

When I have a busy teaching/lecturing schedule I rarely have time for those home chores that happen on occasion, like pantry cleaning. My pantry got a thorough cleaning last week and it felt great to have my spices back in alphabetical order again (this is the result of living with a Virgo for 37 years). While cleaning it I came across a bottle of champagne, at least 30 years old, that had a label that I designed in my life as a commercial illustrator. The champagne had gone bad long ago, but I could never bring myself to throw it out. What I have decided to do with these old sentimental things is to take a picture of it, and then get rid of it. So that’s what I did. When I uncorked it I laughed as it gave out a little “pfffft” and that was it. More room in the pantry and in my life.

I hope everyone reading this post stays healthy and is able to channel some creativity from this crazy time we’re living in. Keep sewing/gardening/dancing/singing or whatever makes you happy.  Till next time.

 

Kicking off the New Year with Creativity

This is Jane and what better way to kick off the New Year than a few days away at the creative arts retreat ‘Craft Napa’  I am in Napa! This retreat was founded 5 years ago by Pokey Bolton. Pokey is founder of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines, and founding host of Quilting Arts TV on PBS. More recently she started Crafting a Life and the Craft Napa retreat.

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January 2019 Cruising by CIA at Copia in Napa with Lyric Kinard and Lynn Tubbe after a delicious lunch at the Oxbow Market.

Craft Napa celebrates the crafts of quilting, sewing, surface design, art journaling, and mixed media. It happens early January when we are all looking for a creative kickstart to the beginning of our year. The events location is at the Embassy Suites in Napa, CA and all the workshops, socializing and networking happens in the fountain courtyard around which the classrooms are arranged. Tentative dates for 2021 13-17th January

Jennifer Sampou.

Jennifer Sampou, fabric designer and quilter, and husband displaying her quilts during her lunchtime lecture.

Including the workshops Pokey organizes various events; a welcome dinner, wine blending, and a speakers luncheon. Last year we watched ‘Tim’s Vermeer’ with the inventor Tim Jenison who was present for Q & A afterwards. Then Friday night is always the Makers Market. This event, open to the public, includes tables from many of the teachers selling unique products and works of art, as well as the work and products of other local makers.

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Selling my handmade products at the Friday night Makers Market

I have attended Craft Napa for all five years since its inception in 2016 and highly recommend it. It can be pricy but I give myself an early Christmas present when I sign up in May or June. Sharing a room at the Embassy Suites with their breakfast included and their popular happy hour really helps to keep costs down.

This year I am taking two workshops by Joanne Sharpe and Pat Pauly as well as teaching two classes Pet Portraits and Beautiful Bovines. This year 2020 Craft Napa runs from January 15-19th and I will be there when this post goes out.

As part of my prep for my two classes I have been making samples to inspire my students to let them see the steps involved in fabric collage, hands-on . These samples are made using 8” x 10” photographs. The projects in this workshop are smaller and so hopefully students get finished or close to in the 6 hr class.

Ruby by Jane Haworth

Ruby, a sample of one of my cow patterns for the Beautiful Bovine workshop.

Once I’m home from Craft Napa I have two focuses; my upcoming workshop ‘Faces’ that I am teaching in Dubai at the end of February at the Dubai International quilt Show and then prep for the Artistic Alchemy 2020 Retreat announcement when registration opens  in early February

Over the Christmas break I got to play with surface design with my daughter Lucy. We painted, stamped, carved lino-blocks and generally had fun with fabric paints and fabrics.  Here are a few photos of what we made.

 

From this collection of fabrics I am going to use them in fabric collage. I really like the  layered look of collage on improv piecing. It a great way to use pieces and scraps of fabric you have already or have handmade yourself.

Succulents by Jane Haworth

Succulent Love Fabric Collage

I have started another project with my small sewing group, Sierra Sisters. We have decided to make a shared wearable piece of art. We all submitted a piece of clothing that will be cycled around the group giving us each a month to work on the piece by adding some appliqué, hand stitching or whatever takes your fancy. It will be fascinating to see how these pieces turn out near the end of the year. I hand-painted this apron dress that is pretty wacky to start off!

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Best wishes to all for a creative and inspiring 2020. I like to encourage people to drop fear and just create.  I will leave you with a photo from Serene Lakes taken around 9pm on News Years Eve. Its our tradition to head up the hill and as part of our New Year celebrations watch the fireworks on the Serene Lake.

New Years Eve 2019

View from Serene Lakes, CA on New Years Eve 2019

Keep enjoying the blog and in just a few weeks Artistic Alchemy will be announcing our workshops for the 2020 retreat. How exciting!

Zephyr Point Here we Come!

Packing up for Zephyr Point

Getting my car packed for the Artistic Alchemy retreat

Its Jane here. Just a few more days until our 2019 retreat starts at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe and I have so much to do. Over the last two weeks I’ve been away teaching my Love of Pets Fabric Collage class in Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale and Livermore . Today I was finishing up a T-shirt quilt for a customer. With all this behind me I have a day or so to get focused and pack up for our 2019 retreat. I can’t tell you how excited we all are!

Early morning at Zephyr Point

Tranquility at Zephyr Point

Last year was my first year to attend the retreat. I just loved getting up early and walking down to the dock to drink my coffee and this is what I’m really looking forward to again.

I know Sandra, Heidi and Mary have been busy making unique, handcrafted items to put in their stores and these photos are some of the tea-towels and the unique collage bags I’ve been working on for mine. We hope the attendees will enjoy browsing our stores and picking up special pieces.

Artistic Alchemy attendees 2018

2018 Artistic Alchemy Attendees

Here we all are at last years retreat! Looks like we survived and don’t we all look happy and relaxed. Now its time for me to get back to my packing so I’m ready to head up the hill later this holiday weekend.

See you all soon 🙂