Category Archive: Work In Progress

The Making of a Tea Towel in Pictures

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On the weekend I went to a lovely housewarming party for my friends and new homeowners.

I wanted to make a little gift, and decided to whip together a little tea towel out of the awesome Nani Iro Painting Muji fabric from The Workroom – a great project to showcase the design by Naomi Ito.

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Leather iPhone Sleeve

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This year I got a new phone. And it’s pretty rad. Instagram is completely addictive and overall it’s great to be able to access whatever information you need without turning on the computer. Not to mention as of yesterday my mom is all about FaceTime. Which really shouldn’t surprise me. Though it does.

As soon as the phone arrived, people were telling me how delicate the screen is and how theirs shattered and how crucial a case is for it’s protection. In fear of having just bought an expensive paperweight, I started to cruise sites for cool cases. I thought about a basic Pantone, or maybe one from the designers at Society 6. But are these protective? Or just decorative outfits? I think the phone itself looks good, and doesn’t need any visual excess. Then I got an email from Makr, showcasing their leather phone cases (my favorite being the matte navy). What a great idea. A leather sleeve will protect the screen from key scratches and because of the texture, the phone won’t readily slip out of it’s case at inopportune times.

Because I had some leather sitting around, one night I drew up a pattern and stitched together the case. It’s just 2 pieces of leather cut into the shape of the phone, stitched around 3 sides. Really quick and simple.

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Friendship Bracelet Party

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With friendship bracelets making a comeback, I decided to revisit my youth and jump on the bandwagon at a Friendship Bracelet Party held at The Workroom during Lizzie House’s visit.

The colourway I decided upon was inspired by the shirt I was wearing at the time – an unexpected combination of pink, red, orange and purple.

To make it more challenging, of course, I decided to use a Japanese pattern book, because if you’re going to make a friendship bracelet, you might as well make a difficult one. It took about four starts to actually figure out how to accurately interpret the grid system, but in all honesty, it is not a particularly difficult pattern once you get going.

And if you’re in the market for an inexpensive, compact project that travels well, I would definitely recommend starting a friendship bracelet.

Logo + Banner for Carolanne

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Carolanne’s banner is up! This summer I designed a logo and a banner for her quiltmaking business. It was a great project and experience, as we were both on the same page from the beginning with respect to the concept and design. We decided on an abstract acorn motif for a number of reasons like, not wanting to be too literal, and creating an image that is versatile and maintains a flexibility in terms of usage.

Carolanne is a lovely and talented quiltmaker. Impressively she does everything the old-fashioned way, by hand. I learned to piece and quilt by hand from her and her enthusiasm for the craft is infectious! She teaches quilting at the workroom, and if you’d like to see some of her work, you can check out her blog here.

Whole Cloth Quilting

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Ever since this whole mug rug trend came along in the crafting community, I’ve wanted to make some of my own. They are bigger than coasters, yet smaller than a placemat: the perfect size for a mug (an iced hot chocolate perhaps?) and a treat. I first saw this mug rug concept on Karyn’s blog, then on Katherine’s blog, and even my mom beat me to the project, only she calls them rug rats. From what I understand, the project originated here, where you can purchase a pattern, though using their approximate dimensions of 9.5”h x 6.5”w is probably enough to get you started.

When I signed up for Carolanne’s Whole Cloth Quilt class at The Workroom, it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with lots of hand quilting on a small, manageable scale. Which is a bit contrary to my normal approach to classes, which is usually to make something 3 times the size of everyone else’s, or make 2 instead of 1, or if everyone is making a square, make a circle. You get the idea.

The pattern I quilted was interlocking circles, and I’ve come away from the class with great interest in quilting more geometric patterns. I must admit that whole cloth quilting is a bit more calculated than it seems. The choice of fabric, thread, and pattern are crucial. The three fabrics I chose for the mug rugs (top, binding, bottom) look great together and would have worked well in a traditional pieced quilt. Whereas with the mug rugs, the quilting, which is supposed to be focus, is almost completely lost in the print, even though the print isn’t particularly busy with respect to colour. In general, I would recommend using a solid fabric for a quilting project like this, or at least one that has a muted and loosely space print. Learning from this first try, I am already gearing up for my next whole cloth quilt, which will potentially be the size of a quilt. For this next project, in consultation with Carolanne, I have selected a fabric, thread, and new geometric pattern to quilt that all complement each other, and am excited to move forward more whole cloth quilting adventures.

Letter Writing and Coffee

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I needed to finish writing a letter. So I went for coffee.

Wool Felting

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(1) felt balls, (2) roving before felting, (3) flat felted sheets

On Friday I learned how to felt wool roving from Julie Sinden at the workroom and it was so much fun. It really only involves soap, hot water, wool roving, and hands for agitating (or dancing feet, if your project is large!)

One of the most gratifying and addictive objects to make would have to be mini felt balls. There are so many things you can make with these things! Zipper-pulls, trivets, and a personal favorite: necklaces like these made by Jenny Gordy.

So excited to have learned these new techniques! Felting is totally good, clean fun.

To follow Julie’s textile experiments, check out her new blog.

Pinteresting

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While helping out with visual merchandising in a shop the other night, I stopped by a rack holding a white cotton shirt with cream stripes and little black dots, and said to the girl steaming it, “I really like that shirt!” She responded, “That’s so funny, because when I was pulling this look, I totally thought that Ayalah would like this.”

Am I so clearly defined that others could pick out what I would wear? Or are the people I surround myself with simply very acute visually in the fashion realm? Or, am I just like everybody else?

Recently I joined Pinterest, after a friend was raving about it, and so far so good. It’s a great space in which to post (or “pin”) images you find online in a bit of a categorized collage format of boards, where you link directly to the source without having to remember where you found it. I am constantly pulling pictures from magazines and storing inspiring images and interesting interview and videos in a number of formats, but Pinterest is a nice and easy way to quickly have a overview of your finds.

The site is new, so its relatively few participants are having a large say as to how the site will shape and develop. One interesting thing I noticed at a quick glance, was that the people who have joined thus far appear to be quite similar. Or, visually they seem to share quite a specific aesthetic, not only in regards to the images they select to “pin” in terms of content, but also in the style of photograph, and even the categories which they create in which to post said pins. That said, there are a few generic categories that the site has set up as default boards for posting, however, even the category titles people edit and create are very similar. On this site you will find a lot of girls who like pretty things, textiles, pattern, crafting, home dec, interiors, baking, a particular fashion of dress – there is a definite type. So, are we all the same girl?

Have a look. I am curious to see if more diversity is introduced as the site grows and evolves. In the meantime, I’ll marvel at how I could have posted any number of images that are pinned to the boards of others, and just enjoy all the pretty pictures that we collectively love.

My T-shirt Illustrations for Mercy

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This week I picked up some sample t-shirts from Mercy (one of my favorite Toronto labels!)

Jennifer Halchuk and Richard Lyle, the label’s designers, produce a t-shirt line exclusively for a shop in Japan, and I created these pen and ink illustrations for their current collection. After providing them with the illustrations, they added pieces of Liberty in fun shapes and along the neckline of the shirts, and then had the illustrations silkscreened on top. (You can click each image to view it larger)

I have to say it was really a dream project for me. Working with people whose work you completely admire, and working by hand, is all so gratifying.

The t-shirts are available at Usagi Pour Toi in Japan.

Hand Quilting

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I had to hold off on posting this until I finally picked up a pillow form this weekend.
(If you’re curious, the back looks like this)

Not to be extreme or anything, but since the pillow was hand-pieced and hand-quilted, I decided the entire operation should be free of any machine work, so I hand-stitched the zipper in place, and backstitched the whole thing together, by hand.

A second pillow is almost finished too, but it might be a gift, so I haven’t decided whether or not to post it yet…we’ll see!