In other news: I started a quilt from Cotton & Flax scraps this weekend, hope to share my progress with you soon. If it’s like my other quilt projects, I’ll be working on this one for a while.
I was delighted to be featured on Handful of Salt this week! The interview for this profile was a little intimidating – a 45 min phone interview talking all about my process and how I approach my business. Afterwards, I was surprised by how easy it had been to talk about my work, I could have gone on chatting with Meghan (an editor for Handful of Salt) for much longer.
Check out the profile on Cotton & Flax here.
Every so often, I find some time to experiment and make projects that I know won’t be for sale in the Cotton & Flax shop (at least, not for quite a while). A few weeks ago, I spent that experimental time making a pair of botanical ink drawings. Last weekend, I spent some time experimenting with indigo and learning about traditional Shibori techniques with Niki Livingston.
This week, I spent some time digging through scraps of unused Cotton & Flax fabric to look for pieces large enough to make a new pillow (first photo above). I’m not perfect – I sometimes create misprints or pieces that are too irregular to be made into pillows for the shop, but I save all the scraps – I hate throwing fabric away. After sorting through the scraps on Saturday, I found a few pieces that were large enough to create a patchwork lumbar pillow, which now lives on my sofa! I love the look of all the different patterns together, don’t you? I also created a small storage bin from a scrap of fabric left over from some printing experiments I did back in 2011. The bin is the perfect size to hold the printed tags I use for Cotton & Flax tea towels.
I was surprised to find that there are still a few of my limited edition tea towels left in the Pennyweight Goods shop! Go snatch one up, once they’re gone, I won’t be reprinting them!
(admittedly dorky photo of me from 2008 in the print studio)
I realized that I haven’t been great about sharing when I’ve been interviewed. Want to know more about me and my process behind designing for Cotton & Flax? Read one (or all) of these interviews:
- My interview for Pennyweight Goods, where we talked about my work process, and daily life in LA.
- My interview for The Things We Would Blog, where I talk about potentially expanding my stationery offerings
- My interview for Standard Magazine, where we get into the details of whether my work is art, design, or craft.
- My interview for Being Elliott, where we talked about inspiration and the one item I think every home should have.
I’ll be sure to post here next time I’m interviewed, sorry for holding out on you for so long!
I am thrilled to announce yet another wonderful stockist, Firefly in Venice, CA. I stopped by earlier this week to drop off a small selection of pillows and tea towels, and I was so impressed with the selection of gifts, home goods, and clothing available – they even carry jewelry from one of my favorite local designers – Kyyote.
They have an incredible amount of stationery (and washi tape!) for all your snail mail needs.
Found a little basket of Baggu totes! You’d be hard pressed to comb through Firefly without finding something you love. If you live near Venice, stop by and grab something for your Mom before Mother’s Day!
Beautiful indigo curtains by Niki Livingston
I participated in an awesome workshop over the weekend, led by Bari Ziperstein and Niki Livingston, which taught the basics of Indigo dying and traditional Shibori techniques. I learned so much in just a few hours, and left the class with a simple tea towel that I dyed using a simple resist (using just chopsticks and rubber bands!)
Prepping the fabrics for dyeing using traditional Shibori folding techniques.
Dipping the fabric into the vat of indigo dye.
Letting the indigo oxidize (it goes from brilliant green to blue as the dye touches the air).
Our finished tea towels. Zac’s turned out so much more complex than mine, I was a little jealous!
I hope to do classes like this more often – there are so many different traditional textile methods that I want to learn. If you live in LA, I would highly recommend taking an indigo class with Niki, she was a great teacher!
So excited to announce that Leif is now carrying some special Cotton & Flax items in their online shop! To celebrate this new stockist, I’ve collected my favorite items from Leif to share with you all. If you haven’t shopped at Leif yet, they carry some of the most unique homegoods, jewelry, and gift items I’ve ever seen. I want to buy it all for myself!
- Indigo dipped mug
- Gold leather loop keychain
- ‘Dash’ ceramic salt spoons
- Baggu moon bag
- Nola spike studs
- Cotton & Flax confetti coasters (of course!)
Leif is currently carrying our limited edition colored tea towels in my plus pattern design, as well as our charcoal confetti coasters. The tea towels were created just for Leif, so you won’t find them for sale anywhere else. Even though they’ve only been for sale for a few days, the tea towels have already gotten some attention – they were featured on Design*Sponge yesterday! I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I mentioned in a previous post how lucky I am that my mom taught me how to sew, and in my cranky teenage years, no less. She taught me the basics on a machine that is quite similar to the one I use as my primary sewing machine now! Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time poring over sewing books in bookshops and libraries, and investing in the ones I found most helpful. Today I’d like to share four of my favorite sewing books for beginners, although I think many of these are great resources even for more experienced sewers.
Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts is a great resource. I don’t even really need to say that, do I? It’s Martha, of course she’s the go to resource for anything crafty. In case you need convincing: the book goes over the basics of identifying fabric and thread, walks you through the most essential hand stitching techniques, and then introduces you to all the parts of your sewing machine and how to use it without accidentally sewing through a finger. Between the straightforward tutorials and the 150 projects to try, I’d say this book is a useful one to keep around.
Wendy Mullin’s Sew U was actually the first sewing book I ever bought, back in 2006 when I had the urge to start sewing all my own clothes. Since then, she’s published a range of other books about sewing clothing, but I find this first one to be most helpful for a beginner. Similar to Martha’s giant handbook, Sew U really does a great job teaching you the foundations of sewing clothing – how to choose fabric for a project, what tools you’ll need, how to shape a pattern for your individual body type, and so on. While, admittedly, I never did live up to my goal of sewing my entire wardrobe, this book is a great starting point for anyone who has that ambition.
I greatly admire Lotta Jansdotter; you could probably guess that she’s a big influence just by looking at my work. Her book, Simple Sewing, is perfect for beginners, and the the sewing projects that she outlines in her book are anything but boring. Lotta has a way of highlighting simple projects that let the fabric and pattern shine.
Zakka Style is the only niche sewing book I’ll include on this list, simply because it’s one of my favorites. The projects are simple enough for beginners to tackle, and beautiful enough to be worth holding onto. The problem with many beginners’ sewing books is that the projects are so simple, they are almost like throwaway projects. Zakka Style has a way of transforming simple projects into lovely keepsakes with simple style. My favorite simple project from this book is the sewing kit, such a great way to get started!
Looking for more sewing inspiration? Check out my post on my favorite sewing projects from Purl Bee.
After a long hiatus, it’s another edition of Snail Mail Saturday!
Do you have any international pen pals? I have a few friends abroad that I like to write to from time to time, and I love receiving mail from them in return. Receiving stamps from other countries is a special pleasure, but I was surprised to see that USPS has stepped up it’s game a little bit for 2013 in the international stamp department.
USPS has just released a new international rate stamp for first class mail… and it’s round. I love that the imagery, a photorealistic depiction of Earth, isn’t centered around North America. For a stamp that is meant to travel around the world, it’s nice to see a non-US centered perspective. While I question whether a round stamp is the most eco-friendly option USPS could produce (lots of wasted space on the sheet of stamps), I hope that this beautiful new addition will encourage more people to write letters to their friends and family abroad. There’s really nothing like receiving a letter from some far-off place.