Handmade Redux


It must be the onset of winter. My hands, heart and mind have been craving the needle and thread. I have been collecting patterns from Sublime Stitching for a while now and the only thing they've been collecting is dust. I don't know why the bug bit me this week, but I finally got out my patterns, threaded the eye of the needle with some brilliant cerulean thread and began to stitch. "Not your gramma's embroidery," as Sublime Stitching's founder and diva Jenny Hart likes to say. She's an amazing new wave embroidery artist. She's got a website, a blog and a very cool on-line shop where you can buy an amazing number of hip patterns and supplies. 

It's easy and remarkably calming. I stitched up the design from Handmade Nation and decided to make it into a patch that I'm going to put on a tote bag. I made a little drawing in my journal, lest I forget my where I was going with this. 


The directions are simple and you only need a pattern, your fabric, a simple embroidery hoop to keep your fabric taught while you stitch, some embroidery thread and a needle. Simple. I like just looking at the bins of embroidery thread at the fabric store…the colors….yeow! And with Jenny's mod patterns, you can have a little project finished in no time. And it's not too late to have a handmade holiday!


I think THIS (a view out my studio window) had a lot to do with my return to needle work and cups of tea. We got our first real snowfall of the season yesterday. It was lovely in that first-snow-of-the-season kind of way. I won't be singing the lovely song in March, trust me, but for a December afternoon with everyone safely tucked away at school and the office, it was lovely.


Lovely also comes in the form of this great Lotta Jansdotter book that gave me the inspiration and directions for the tote I'm going to make with the Handmade Nation patch. Lotta Jansdotter is a swedish artist and designer who made her way to San Francisco in the '90s, discovered screen printing and has never looked back. She makes her own screen printed fabric – mostly linen – and has over the years turned her designs into stationery, clothing, tote bags and other products for the home. She's moved to the other coast now and has taken up residence in Brooklyn. Known for her clean and deceptively simple (you try making a few line drawings look as amazing as she does – she's a line genius) design aesthetic, she has a few really great books that will inspire even the clumsiest of sewers – like me! I can't believe I'm going to attempt to follow directions for the tote. But they seemed very straight forward, lots of pictures. I am the opposite of genius when it comes to following written instructions. Something like a directions moron. Anyway, a few simple lines of stitching and …..we'll see. Check out her website here. For my fellow journalers out there, she journals all the time. Her inspiration books. Boy would I like to take a gander at those!


I think she's like the Martha Stewart of Japan. They have gone Lotta crazy. This book I got from her website – no free shipping on Amazon, sorry – but it was worth it. She's a walking billboard for her own design aesthetic. Clean and simple with a sophisticated whimsy. This little book is like being the kind of voyeur we are when we go to another artist's studio and just gape in amazement at all their creativity and goodness. The chapter headings and introductions are in English, but you are on your own for figuring out the other captions. But it's mostly pictures, so it doesn't matter. A great escape book. 

Back to the December madness today. Carpool. Check. Getting the tree. Check. Finding the menorah. Check. We celebrate Chrismukkah here. Check. Cookies for the holdiay program. Check. Last minute shopping. Check. Family drama. Check.  Yup, it's December. Now where's my needle and thread?

2 Responses to Handmade Redux

  1. stephanie says:

    WOW! what a wealth of inspiration. speaking of needle work, I visited a few of the open studios in Prospect and discovered a delightful hooked rug artist.

    Maybe we can swing by tomorrow if we have time!

  2. Chris says:

    Is jealousy really bad for a person?

    just wondering.

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