Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Need some opinions

Alright, those of you that have known me for a while and/or read this blog for a while know that I occasionally digress from sewing posts.  Here's one - either read on or go to your next blog!

In the last post, you heard my saga about my van - in the shop, taken in while on my way to a studio tour, yada yada yada....

I had a call from the mechanic today.  I began writing down his dictation of the list of repairs that need done, then finally gave up - the list was just too long.  We have a 1999 Dodge Caravan with 151,000 miles.  It's ready to be put down.  We knew this was coming someday.....just not TWO WEEKS after my husband's 1991 Toyota truck died and we purchased an economical used car for him.  Karma?  Fate?  Unlucky coincidence?  And irony on top of irony - as I rode my bicycle into the parking lot of Hip Stitch today, my BIKE started making a clackity-clack BIKE. (easy repair, I'm sure)

So here's my marital debate:  I came home today and proposed to my husband that we see if we can get by with one car.  His response: NO.  I came back with:  reducing our carbon footprint, saving on insurance and gas and car bills and getting into better physical shape with walking and bike riding, and planning our shopping trips more carefully, and.....and.....and.....  His response:  We need 2 cars!  Let me explain us a bit.  I know, I've always been the one with rose-colored glasses.  I come to him with grandiose ideas - let's move across the world for a year!  Let's take the kids out of school and travel the country for a year!.  Let's add on to our house and have my mom move in with us and we'll all save money!  Dan is, well, realistic.  And that's a good balance, I think.  I love him dearly and he's the best guy around.  I'm NOT complaining about him - let me make that clear!  Those daisies that have been on the counter at Hip Stitch since Easter?  from Dan.  An occasional bowl of chocolate on the store counter?  usually from Dan.  He's the guy who will bring over things to the store that I've forgotten from home - an iron, an extra sewing machine, a spool of thread.

So what are your opinions?  Do I need to take the rose-colored glasses off?  Yes, there are times where we need to be in 2 separate places that both aren't within walking distance.  But aren't there ways of working around it?  Give it to me - the cold, hard truth.

And the next studio tour?  Well, I'm working on doing a virtual one....stay tuned.

Monday, April 26, 2010


So I was on my way to my Studio Tour #2 this morning - had arranged it with the very talented gal, had my camera and questions and anticipation, and as I'm driving, I feel clunks and shudders and noises coming from my van that, in my gut, didn't sound instead of my outing, I drove to the mechanic, called my mom to pick me up and take me to the store, and said goodbye to my van for a few days.  We knew this was coming - car repair, that is.  Crossing my fingers it's not a transmission issue.

In the meantime, I'll be bicycling and walking around my little part of town - though I just heard on the news that more wind is on it's way - ugh.

And the studio tour?  Will wait for a few more days - a patient lady - a beautiful space awaits my camera!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Studio Tour debut

Week 1 - I visited Kathy Albright in her home.  What a wonderful afternoon I spent with her.....and getting such inspiration from her!
My 1st memory of meeting Kathy, at Hip Stitch, was when she brought in some things she had made from the Softies Kit.   I remember being awed at the detail of her hand stitching - it was just simply perfect. 
As she shopped at our store more often, she'd share quilts she'd made with our fabrics, and our friendship just evolved into her teaching quilting classes - every quilt you see hanging at the store is made by Kathy!
As I toured her sewing space, I found myself seeing her 20+ years ago - an owner of a store here in town called "The Dancing Needle", which sold fabrics, notions, patterns, wool felt and more, and offered classes, too (sounds familiar, huh?)  She was featured regularly in magazines such as Crafts 'n Things, and Country Handcrafts.  Her handwork was exquisite (still is) and I got to pour through things she made then, and still has - small purses, sewing kits, shadow applique.
Her sewing room - separate from where her machine is - was filled with treasures.  Here are just a few:

an antique thread holder, which I found just fascinating

a treasured little dollhouse, with all the teddy bears, and furniture, handcrafted from kits that were sold at her store:
Her fabric, all stored neatly in pull out drawers in the closet....

or bundled together as scraps leftover from quilts, organized by color/coordinates:

The ribbon and the thread - oh just look at them!

And her machine - a Singer featherweight.   So dainty, so quiet, so lovely:

I asked her what she likes to listen to while she sews.  She says either movies on the Turner Classic Movie station, or music from the 50s and 60s.  Favorite sewing tool?  The Chalkoner. (we're trying to see if we can carry it at the store)  

Here's a sneak preview of what she's working on for fat quarter classes she'll be teaching this summer at Hip Stitch:

I realize tonight that I didn't take one picture of Kathy herself!  Well, if you don't already know her, you will if you shop at the store - especially on Saturdays, when she's likely to be found teaching a class.
I must admit, I feel a special connection to Kathy - she has 2 daughters, I have 2 daughters.  She was a teacher, I was a teacher.  Her passion is sewing, my passion is sewing.  (We also share a political party affiliation, but I won't go into that here....!)  She's made sewing a timeless craft, and I appreciate that.  Styles come and go, so will colors and themes, but the art of handstitching, of making something that will last a lifetime, never will.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A new idea....

I'll start with what's new in the store, which is always exciting!  These are just a few of the bolts that arrived.....all well-loved, but sadly, have been discontinued, until - a RE-PRINT came along - woo hoo!

And, the Oliver+S new patterns have arrived!
Aren't they so sweet?!

Now, to my idea.....I feel that I'm in a bit of a blog rut.  Not as consistent as I want to be.....I feel a bit un-creative in relaying Hip Stitch happenings.  I feel a wee bit like Julie Powell in Julie & Julia - remember her?  She wanted to write, but it took forcing herself to take such extreme measures as cooking a Julia Child recipe every single day for one year.  Well, I'm not going to those extremes, though I did just take out of the oven 3 loaves of bread from by beloved bread book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day." (you haven't run out and bought this book yet?! shame!)  But I digress. 

I'm going to get a bit drastic in my quest to liven up the blog.  I'm going to venture out weekly and visit a crafter's studio space.  And take pictures.  And interview her a bit (there may be a 'him' along the way - who knows?!)  And maybe some weeks will be more full than others with life, and it'll be more challenging to do my job - but I'm going to give it my all.  Won't you join me in this journey?!  I may be calling or emailing YOU to request a visit to your space - I hope you'll accommodate me.

(Now, keep in mind, when I say studio space, I don't mean necessarily an entire room devoted to sewing.  It could be like mine right now - a $5 yard sale desk in the corner of my dining room.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Late Night party-ing

Last week, I had a private party/lounge pants class in the store (literally, the store - in the lounge was the ruffled scarf class being taught by Portia)  Lori, Nara, Carnie & Liz gathered with me at 5 p.m. and, well, at 11:30, 2 of them, along with yours truly, stumbled out the door to go home.  Not drunkenly stumbled; rather, exhausted, fried from sewing, light-headed from no dinner, but gosh darn-it, they each had a completed pair of lounge pants that looked awesome on them! (see the added pockets that was their idea!)  I thought for sure they'd discuss me grumpily the next day and how I never told them they'd be finishing their pants 6 1/2 hrs. after they started, but Lori, who's just about like a sister to me, called me that weekend to tell me that no, they weren't turned off from sewing forever - WHEW!  I, for one, enjoyed our evening together - they were so much fun, and by the end of the night, we were laughing at things I can't even remember now.  So thanks, ladies, for the great evening!
See in the pictures - they were too tired to even TRY on their pants (except Nara, who amazingly put hers on right over the pants she was wearing)