September fish

Step by step. These photos are from my phone- sorry about the bad focus on some.

17 fish- all the pieces cut out and piled.

Step 2- 10 are sewed up and ready to be turned. 7 are bagged and put into the fish bin for later.

Step 3- turned right-side out.

9:15:fish 3


Step 4- stuffed and finished!

9:15:fish 4

And there will be more fish tomorrow!

teaching in San Francisco?

tiny worldsI will be in San Francisco again this summer for the Renegade Craft Market on July 27 and 28. I am thinking about teaching a Tiny World class while I’m there. It would be either before (Thurs 7/25 or Fri 7/26) or after the show (Tues 7/30). Is anyone interested?

Details- it is a 6 hour workshop, 8 people max, cost will be approx. $75. I am trying to gauge interest before I buy my plane tickets.

And, don’t forget I will be at the Art Retreat just a few weeks later. I’m filling up my teaching schedule!

a terrible week in Boston

Oh man, what a week. After teaching last week-end, I had plans to get things finished up this week. That hasn’t happened.

We are having Spring and here is the proof- my always blooming on Patriots’ Day daffodils.

4:19:springOnce the news of the bombing in Boston was everywhere, I found it almost impossible to pry myself away from the computer. Finally by Tuesday evening I was able to settle down enough to spend some time in the studio. But all week has been about obsessively checking Twitter and all the news streams. Today has been very strange. The town where I live is not “locked down”, but most of the surrounding towns are. The streets, the sidewalks and the sky are all eerily quiet unless a really loud helicopter flies overhead. Public transportation is cancelled so no bus noise on Mass Ave. And so so much crazy news and no real news at all. I tore myself away from the computer at midday and went out to the garden and turned the compost pile- phew! It was a relief to be out in the sun and doing something physical.

So, here is the studio today.

4:19:wipYou know I got about 90% done on 3 lumberjacks (last post) and then I got distracted by the idea of making more of this model of lumberjack. I’d cut out and dyed fabric for 3 more “Big Men” tattooed lumberjacks last fall, but never cut out the rest of their necessary pieces. I did that. And sewed them up and stuffed them. And then thought I’d like to make the thinner guy as a tattooed lumberjack. I’ve got 5 mostly cut out now, 2 sewed, 1 stuffed. And one more thing- I want to cut out some big men lumberjacks, no tattoos. Yes, I have been distracted.

4:19:messPiles and piles of wool, stuffing, pattern pieces, misc. other fabric piled up over every surface. The studio is not exactly in the state that would lead my brain to calm relaxation. Oh well, that really isn’t my way.

In other news, I am going to be off for a little vacation, leaving mid next week and gone for a week. I’ll be deactivating most of my Etsy shop on Tuesday but thankfully I can still sell my patterns because Etsy has just rolled out instant downloads for pdf patterns- Hurray! If I get any of the fellows finished, I’ll post them before I leave. Otherwise it might be quiet around here for a while.

Fingers crossed that everything will be feeling back to normal soon.

another week

This was my last week in Instagram.

4:15:fishFish are being sewed and stockpiled.

4:15:faceI’m working on Lumberjacks but haven’t managed to finish up any. I keep cutting out new ideas.

4:15:3menAnd over the weekend, I taught a Tiny World Class at Gather Here. Here is setting up-

4:15:class14:15:class2Midway through the class shown above. And we finished up with 5 adorable tiny houses!

4:15:class3I’m not very good at getting in-focus photos with my phone, but much better at getting any photos at all!

making patterns

I am working away at pattern-making and it is using up all my words. So, no blogging and no tweeting and no facebook.

This is the “basic baby”. I’m working on some embellished versions.

And the dog.

So many steps to think about. And lastly the fox but no pictures yet. Pattern making is very difficult- I used to think just for me but after being on twitter with other people who do this, I know it is hard for everyone. I am stressed out by the technical end of putting it all together because everything I’ve used before (old photoshop and indesign) will not work on my new computer. If I upgrade (expensive for something I rarely use) there will be the re-learning how to use it. All that is swirling in my head as I work on the directions, the photos and the diagrams. I will get it all worked out but in the mean time I will make myself crazy. Now, back to work!

coming next-

I pulled out my partially finished dolls and have them spread out on every surface of my studio right now. Dolls ahead!

Ladies on the desk-

Foxes and more ladies on the table-

Men on the ironing board-

and not quite sure what behind the sewing machine.

And, I have to confess, this isn’t even everything. I have other bins with partially started projects including dogs, kitties, lumberjacks, fish… time to get to work and find out who some of these characters are!

what’s up

I am in a weird twilight zone between Brooklyn Renegade and San Francisco Renegade. I will be in San Francisco in 2 weeks!

When I got back from Brooklyn, I had a very long to-do list. I’ve been working through computer jobs, travel planning and home sewing. I made new shades for the kitchen-

a nightgown, and a baby gift-

I’ve got a number of projects going on in the studio so I’ll have some dolls to show soon.

I am going to have to start haunting the thrift shops again- I need more fox-colored wools.

I’ve got lots on my mind. The SF show has a lot of little logistical problems that I have to figure out but it is all coming together. I’m excited!

I ought to be spending some time in the garden but it seems to be doing just fine without me-

I know that other parts of the country have been having a difficult summer, but the Boston area seems to be having the perfect Daylily weather. I have never seen them look so healthy and have so many flowers. Everything else is looking good too.

Two of my garden favs- crocosmia “Lucifer”

and poppies-


On my desk today

this morning-

and later in the afternoon-

Good thing I have a LOT of pins! This took me basically all day. I now have to sew everything down plus fancy them up with embroidery. I want to have them all done by the end of the week. We shall see.

Over the weekend my neighbor was clearing out some stuff. I grabbed (begged for) this box-

There is silk bias tape- I have never seen that before!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to join the Give-Away!

so much going on


Now, to business- I continue to be in the mood for cutting out so I am piling up the zip-lock bags.

This basket holds 12 bags of fox. I pulled out my bin of orange wool and basically cut up anything that was big enough. Then, when I was done and had moved on the the next thing, I found one more sweater. It’s in the fox basket, waiting for me to get back to these.

And dogs. I never got to fully play with the pattern when I first drew it up. Now I’ve done some modifications (different varieties) and am in the midst of cutting out a bunch. That meant pulling out all the stripes-

And all the wool that seemed like “dog”.

I also cut out some more Lumberjacks and also some new design wool men- I will keep it a surprise. You know, in case it turns out to be a big flop. I am having a great time, pulling out all the bins and enjoying all the fabrics. Of course my studio looks like a bomb went off but I will get it all back in place soon enough.

I got my box of samples back from that book project I contributed to. I’d sent these off a year ago! I’m happy to have them home again.

Let me see. What else do I have to report? I will be in Brooklyn for the Renegade Craft Fair on June 23 and 24. It is in a new venue- Williamsburg Waterfront. I am so excited to be participating again this year!

I applied to be in the San Francisco Renegade show in July. I’ve got my fingers crossed. Flying across country to do a show is a bit scary but I’d love to try!

I’ve been kept away from my studio for more time than I’d like by too much computer-based business but it always needs to be done. The Land of Nod work was keeping me busy last week and is moving forward. So much going on!

Last thing- I have decided that I’d like to try hiring someone to help with my sewing. I’m thinking that I’d start with just 1/2 day per week and see how it goes. If you are local to me and are interested, shoot me an email- I’ll be putting signs up at some local fabric stores. Not sure how else to find the right person. The latest Craftypod interview with Lorna’s Laces gave me the last little push that I needed (I’d been thinking about it all week!) to explore hiring someone.

more work in progress

There are the times that I am finishing up a lot of dolls and the times I am starting them. I find it amusing when people comment at how quickly I finish and post dolls when I am in finishing mode. They don’t realize all the pre-work that goes into each one. I have been working on these tattooed men since last Wednesday (3/28). I work every day, even weekends, although not all in the studio unfortunately. On some of the days I could only spend a few hours on them.

As I said in my last post, I started out with some tests of my new cutting and dyeing system. I spent all of last Thursday cutting out the fabric to be dyed (ie only the “skin” pieces). I cut out enough for 20 dolls. Friday was for dyeing, washing and drying. Then everything needed to be ironed, the other pieces needed to be cut out- shoes, boots, pants/tights, the sewing lines marked, then the sewing began. I divided the pile in half and started in on the first 10.

I sew them by starting with a flesh-ish colored thread. I sew the hands to the arms, the head to the body, etc, through all 10 dolls. Then I thread the machine with black thread and do the shoes/boots, etc. You get the idea. As they get sewed up, there is trimming to do and lots of clipping of curves.

Lastly comes turning them right-side-out. It is always a magical moment!

And this is where I was at lunch time today, 8 1/2 days later. I had 7 completely sewed and turned, 2 waiting for final clipping and turning, one where I forgot to sew one of the boots so it will wait until the next round of dolls gets to black thread.

This afternoon I started in on the next 10.

And this is just the beginning. Next comes the stuffing and finally, the giving them life part, the face and personality. And by the time I get to that, this part will all be forgotten!