24 Oct

Inspiration Sunday

Sherri Lynn over at Daintytime has started posting “Inspiration Sundays” in which she shows an inspirational photo or object and then a sketch of a possible quilt design. She’s also encouraged others to join in, so here I am.

While I’m not sure I’ll be diligent enough to keep up regular posts, this challenge struck a chord with me as I have more than a few ideas and projects right now that I can directly correlate with a specific inspirational thing.

I am so inspired by the flora of Hawaii that I endeavored to create fabric patterns. (Most I have already shared, though I could now pair them with photos of the actual plants for the purposes of this exercise.) The Rainbow Shower Tree, above, recently stuck me as a fun, frothy, possibility:

31 Aug

My Bundle of Sewing Love

Here’s my IBOL II Bundle. This time, I dove into the little used bin of dressmaking fabrics and pulled out a few pieces that were in the one to two yard ballpark. I found a pinwale corduroy, eyelet, a nice stripe and a sheer that was meant for curtains. Hopefully someone else will make good use of these fabrics since I’m obviously not getting around to doing anything with them. I don’t have many large pieces of quilting cottons, but I found a few that I either had big plans for but they fell through or I used a lot less of the fabric than expected. I think they are fun happy fabrics and hopefully someone else will too. I was also teh recipient of excellent swag at Quilt Hawaii, so I wanted to share that wealth as well. Who doesn’t love metallic threads — at least to look at and dream. Of course, I had to include top stitch needles to sew the metallics with (since I had a whole pack).

If you are interested in de-stashing and sharing our collective fabric wealth with our sewing sisters in Iraq, check out my hubby’s IBOL II blog for all the pertinant details and regular updates. Give a little.

🙂

07 Aug

Shop Hopping on Oahu

Warning: this is a long post, but if you’re interesed in fabric shopping on Oahu, it’s definitely worth the read.

I went out for some embroidery floss this morning and came back with an armload of quilty/crafty supplies.

My first (and originally planned, only) stop was Fiddlesticks. I needed a variety of lorikeet colored floss for my next 12×12 project and Fiddlesticks is really the only place on the island for anything other than DMC. The shop is primarily for cross stitch, but they stock such gorgeous silks and wools and glittery things, in addition to the stranded and perle basics, that I can’t imagine any stitch lover not enjoying the shop. Oh, and right now they have $5 grab bags. Mine had wool and cotton flosses and five cross stitch patterns which I think is pretty darn good for the price. Too bad I don’t really cross stitch. The ladies there are quite friendly too. I brought my partially completed quilt to match color and everyone oohed and awed; and then asked if I was participating in the quilt shop hop this weekend. Ooops, I had forgotten.

Each summer the quilt shops on the island band together for a shop hop two weekends in a row. One could hit all the shops in one day, like I did, but it’s nice to have the option of taking a more leisurely pace. I’ve never done a shop hop on the Mainland, so I have nothing to compare this with, but it seems well organized and fun. Customers get a booklet with participating shops, and a stamp card (passport) at the first stop to get stamped at each store. At the end of the hop, full stamp cards get gathered and random winners are drawn to win prizes like gift certificates, fat quarters or even a new sewing machine! Each shop has special sale prices and a free quilt block pattern. I doubt that I’ll make a quilt with any of the patterns, but somehow, seeing each store’s contribution to the collection was fun and there seemed to be a kind of celebratory mood overall.

So, I figured, as long as I was in town already, and hubby had the kids, I might as well join in and visit the stores.

My first official stop was a half mile from Fiddlesticks at Bernina of Hawaii. This store is primarily about the machines, but they do have a decent supply of threads and some fabric. They hold regular classes and have a mechanic on-site. No one can compare to my Renate in Germany, but this store is OK. I had ordered the needle punch attachment for my Bernina over  the phone, so I took this opportunity to check out the parts they did have in stock and see how long it would be until the other part arrived. I had a nice chat with manager Trish and showed off my half-done lorikeet quilt. I think they could use more examples of how people use their Berninas, and I could be a part of that….

Next stop was to US Sewing and Vac around the corner. I’d never been there before and was surprised to see that they had a largish selection of thread and fabric. Nothing that was up my alley, but good to know that it’s there. They are the place to go for your Singer or Viking machines. I bought vacuum cleaner bags.

New Home was stop number three. Owner Ed has endeared himself to the entire Hawaii Quilt Guild. His tiny shop specializes in Janome machines but has other stuff too. Essentially though, I think that it’s his friendliness and helpfulness that have earned him a loyal customer base (or maybe it’s that faint Swiss accent). Unfortunately, I’m not in the market for a new sewing machine (unless I add a serger to the stable) so I don’t give Ed much business. I did buy a nice heavy thread cone stand and two spools of King Tut for an upcoming quilt.

Several miles further on King street is Kuni Island Fabrics. I don’t visit Kuni often since it’s not in my regular geographic circle. They don’t have a lot of fabrics either, but they do have many loyal customers. I think what owner Terry’s (ooh, I hope I’m remembering her name right) got is a lovely boutique . She’s got a lot of patterns, mostly for bags, but also for clothing and quilted items. She’s also filled the shop with unique and colorful finished products. There are classes, and I think the shop is well connected to the community and the quilt guild. I think Terry organized the shop hop too. If so, kudos! I bought a cute little tissue holder for my purse. In addition to the free shop hop pattern, I was also given a little bottle of cold water — perfectly thoughtful considering shop hoppers would be driving around on a hot day. Again, kudos.

Then it was off to my favorite neighborhood. Kaimuki has that college vibe, and there’s not one, but two wonderful quilt/fabric stores. First is my usual stop, Kaimuki Dry Goods. They cater to sewers too and have a large (for Hawaii) selection of everything. All those hip new fabrics on the internet? Yep. Awesome Japanese home decor fabric? Yep. Kona cottons in every solid imaginable? Yep. Two aisles devoted to batiks? Uh huh! I hate going to different places for different things, so this is my one stop fabric shop for my every whim except thread. The only drawback is that I don’t always get a welcoming vibe there. The more I go though, the more I think it is just an age and cultural thing. The majority of ladies working there are older and asian and I think that they just approach things differently than a much younger Mainlander. I will fogive them this because they have free parking and what I think is the best fabric selection on the island. I used my 20% off coupon (the only shop in the hop that required a coupon to get the hop sale price) to buy a yard of Echino fabric that will be great for a bag, but is normally more money than an impulse buy will allow.

Up the street is The Calico Cat, a teeny place with crappy parking, but jam packed with fabrics. I want to buy everything just to make sure the shop stays in business. Carol, the owner, is so lovely and will often special order notions and other supplies. She carries my favorite Quilter’s Dream Cotton batting and has some felting and arty supplies. If I had to commit to patronizing only one shop, I think Calico Cat would be it even if it doesn’t have quite the breadth of fabric as Kaimuki Dry Goods. I like it’s funky, arty side and I like Carol’s taste in fabrics. Batting was in stock today, so I bought enough for a bed quilt. Because of the shop hop, Carol had cookies and chocolate covered kona coffee beans on offer for customers. Win!

Back out in the neighborhood is a Bead It! which, though not my favorite bead shop, had the right location today. I bought simple seed beads for the lorikeet quilt. FYI, Bead Gallery around the corner from Bernina of Hawaii, and Bella Beads tie the for bead shops I’d make special trips to. Back in Kaimuki, there’s a toy shop my kids love (lots of Pokemon) and lots of places to eat. The surrounding area is also home to the Kahala Mall and KCC, a beautiful college which hosts a wonderful farmer’s market every Saturday morning. Not to mention that Oahu landmark Diamond Head is right there. I think I could love Kaimuki.

From Kaimuki, on the far side of Honolulu from my house, I hopped on the freeway to head home. Just west of Pearl Harbor, I stopped at The Quilt Hut, which is tucked away in an unassuming looking industrial complex. I think The Quilt Hut may suffer from being off the beaten track because it has the reputation of not moving stock. This is too bad because while it doesn’t have quite the range of fabrics as Kaimuki Dry Goods, it’s not half bad either.  It’s clean and bright and easy to find things, plus they sell my favorite Roxanne needles, there’s a nice classroom in the back, and they offer Longarm quilting service. It’s a LOT closer to my house, so just that in itself should make it a great shop. I think they could have a blowout sale of the current stock, buy a bunch of fresh looking Free Spirit and Alexander Henry fabrics and use the classroom to court the young sewists on the island and nearby military spouses. This would be the perfect shop to have their own special fabric like Quilt Passions in Kona on the Big Island has. Just saying. (BTW, Lizzy House had a good presentation at one of the Quilt Festivals regarding the next generation of quilt shop customers). Anyway, I did my part and bought four fat quarters to use as examples in my next class at the park. I also received a free fat quarter as my shop hop purchase prize. OK, brownie points for that!

Not playing in the shop hop, but also in the industrial complex on Hekaha Street is Fabric Mart. This is the place to go for Hawaiian print cloth. The novelty hasn’t yet worn off on me, so I have all kinds of fun browsing here. They have pillow forms and trim and a wide variety of dressmaking and upholstery fabrics too. Their non-aloha print cotton fabrics tend to be low quality and boring deigns though, so I skip that area. Customer service is also hit or miss. Fabric Mart is a chain of sorts and also has location in town and on the Windward side. My favorite though, is the location in Kahului on Maui. It’s just cleaner and more organized, which adds immensely to my shopping experience. Back on Oahu, in the same row of shops as Quilt Hut, is Tracy’s Yarn. I went in expecting a knitting store, but it’s all about making sewn, knotted, or crocheted lei. I wish I had a need for everlasting ribbon lei because the possibilities are amazing. I marvel at Tracy’s handiwork on the walls. You gotta love a place where you can buy jumbo ric-rac not by the yard, but by the big-a** spool. It’s not all crafty stuff at the industrial park though. In fact, most of the shops are actually of the car detailing, stereo pimping, asian accessories, wholesale type. Hubby got a dent in his baby fixed there. We bought my daughter a bike for her birthday there. The Goodwill there has potential as well. And, last, but not least, it’s where our Taekwondo/kickboxing school used to be. So it seems to me, if you want it, it’s probably at the end of Hekaha Street, which even offers a nice view of Pearl Harbor.

OK, one more stop to fill my shop hop stamp card. US Sewing and Vac in Pearl City. This is the closest place to my house and has no fabric at all. Bummer. They specialize in machine embroidery. Quilt Guild members tend not to go here at all, but there is always a clatch of ladies every time I go and I get the impression that they hold a fair number of classes on embroidery and that there’s a core group that just likes to come and hang out and work on projects. I tend to buy thread and vacuum cleaner bags there. They are obviously affiliated with the shop in Honolulu of the same name, but I think that Bernina of Hawaii is also under the same umbrella of ownership. Rosie, the manager, can be hard sell, but I do think she means well. When I mentioned off-hand that I would be teaching beginning sewing and patchwork at the local park, she was eager to get a flyer or info that she could pass on to interested customers since she really focuses on the embroidery angle. I bought wash away stabilizer to support the shop hop.

So, if you’re on Oahu next weekend, I encourage you to join in the fun and try teh shop hop out yourself. If you just come to visit or are new to the area, I hope my comments are helpful. And, if there is a shop hop in your area I hope you can get out and support it.

26 Jan

Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly

I think it’s done.

Rooots to growsm

“Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly” 2009 by Kristin La Flamme 22″x40″

I actually finished the stitching in November or December, but it’s taken me this long to get stretcher bars to mount it on and get a feel for the finished piece. I hung it on the wall to let it sink in, and it’s still there — which I take as a good sign since the last thing I hung up I took down the next day.

This one’s been a long time in the making. I first heard the saying “Wenn die Kinder klein sind, gib ihnen Wurzeln, wenn Sie gross sind, gib ihnen Flügel” when my daughter entered German kindergarten. It resonated with me. I later remembered it when I started adding roots to houses in my work. It translates to “When the children are young, give them roots; when they are older give them wings.” Somehow in my brain it tied in with my dream of a home with roots. The house may not exactly represent the children, but for them to have those roots, I think they need to have a home. And, what grown child hasn’t taken some piece of home with them when they’ve flown the coop?

The dishtowel that is the ground for this is one I’ve had for many years, having first bought it at a flea market thinking I’d use it in my kitchen. I later decided it would make a perfect fabric to sew or embroider on. It speaks to the homeyness of what I’m trying to communicate. (I don’t know who ET is, but I’m comfortable with them adding “history” to my art.) Added to that is random fabric, old lace from an ancestor, and a little bit of knitting. Holding it all together and blending the pieces, is quite a bit of stitch, which I seem to be incorporating more and more into my work. You may notice that the dishtowel is hand quilted onto the background fabric. I first sewed it by machine, but the voice was wrong. The piece didn’t speak to me, it YELLED that it needed to be done by hand. I think it’s important to listen to one’s media.

01 Dec

Kunia

I got hit by the Hawaii bug quicker than I thought I would. It’s not a Hawaiian quilt I’ve made though, it’s fabric designs.

Just walking around my neighborhood got the ideas flowing. I started sketching, and then working up more finished designs, just to see what they’d look like. The Twelve by Twelve Passion challenge ended up being just the push I needed to try printing my designs via Spoonflower.

Lilikoi2

With the fabrics in hand, there were, of course, refinements that needed making, though I used what I had for the next projects.

Along with the Twelve by Twelve art quilt, I also made coasters, tissue holders, and pillows — to fill out a proposal to fabric companies. I’ve been quiet about these, thinking that perhaps I could persuade some big fabric company to pick them up.

Pillows1

Half a dozen rejections, and some soul searching about reality, later, I’ve decided to take a different tack. In a perfect world, a fabric company would love these designs as much as I do, and print them as the type of quality cottons I enjoy buying from my local quilt shop. However, I’m a little fish in a big turbulent sea, and tropical prints make the viability even less.

So, I’m going to show them off here. I’m going to make things with them (eventually). Since they are at Spoonflower anyway, I’m making them available for purchase there (just click here). And if, by chance, anyone sees potential in them, I have a bunch more ideas in my head waiting for an excuse to come out.

I’m calling the collection “Kunia,” after the neighborhood where I live and am inspired.

Kunia fabric logo

23 Nov

Craft Eugene

Our visit to Oregon is primarily to spend Thanksgiving with Grama and Grandpa and the step-family, but there’s crafty stuff too. Yesterday my mom, the kids, and I went to the weekend market’s Holiday artisan edition. Lots of good jewelry, ceramics, clothing, glass work and more to admire. The kids came home with sparkly stuffed dragons.

Last night my mom pulled out some old family quilts. I really liked this one. It is all hand sewn and quilted and she guesses it was made in the 1800s. All four quilts are in disrepair due to many many years of love. They are much too delicate for me. But, don’t be surprised if I sew up something obviously inspired by this simple, graphic, design.

Today we divided into boys and girls — the boys went to the running store and the girls hit the fiber shops!

First stop: Mindy’s for Valdani perle cotton and whatever other wonderful goodies I could find. The store is in an old chicken farm/factory converted to a mall and only three blocks from my mom’s house. It’s filled with wool and floss for needlepoint, but there’s enough high quality ribbons, buttons, and trims as well to appeal to a broad range of sewists and crafters.

After Mindy’s we went to Soft Horizons. I had a list, but more importantly, I just wanted to fondle the luscious yarns. What’s not to love about a victorian home stuffed with cotton, silk and wool? They’ve got a ball winder and swift in the back room for customers to use and Katja was more than happy to be my official skein-to-ball winder.

Thanks to Kelly’s comment yesterday, Piece by Piece was the next stop. Piece by Piece is bright and fresh and oozes happy quilting. Kelly is also very nice and friendly, as one would expect from a quilter (and is working on a wonky red and aqua log cabin quilt that I am inspired by). I had no plans to buy fabrics, but I spotted a bolt of my all-time favorite Kaffe Fasset “paperweight” in brown right away. As long as I was going to replenish my paperweight, I might as well pick up some of those nice blue circles too, and hey, those blue bubbles would look nice with some fabric I have at home earmarked for a bag, and that splatty bug fabric is just too cool to pass up…..

Yup, my stash is now up to date.

After a quick lunch stop (oh, how happy I am to find that every eatery has fresh greens on the plates and identifiable ingredients), we closed out our craft supply adventure at Harlequin Beads. All I really needed was ends for some velvet cord purchased at Mindy’s to use as a necklace for my Starborn pendant at home. It doesn’t hurt to look though…

This time, it was the kids who walked out with a bag full. Katja chose a lampwork crocodile and I knew her brother would want one too. At home we made jewelry for their Nintendo DSs. I have to give props to Harlequin — not only do they have a big shop full with every bead and beading supply imaginable, but they gave Katja a little bag and told her that any beads she found on the floor were hers for free. I could browse in peace, and she left happy with a little bag of sparkly goodness.

And did I mention we walked to all these shops?! I absolutely love both the convenience of urban living and the wonderful creative vein running through Eugene.

26 Oct

Some Crafty Stuff

Sometimes the crafty community just blows me away. First it’s just that there’s so much totally cool stuff out there, but then there’s the connections and generosity too. I’m not very demonstrative, so you won’t see me jumping into lots of swaps or give-aways, so that makes random generosity even more amazing.

All I did was comment on Art Spirit’s Flickr photo that I loved her little mushroom pins and look what she sent me! How cool is that?!

In other crafty news, I wanted to try making my own machine embroidery for a patch, so I used a scrap of the fabric I made with my kids’ drawings as a base, and gave it a whirl.

I thought it turned out so well I had to make something out of it. Now it’s a little voodoo daddy pin cushion.