Sunday, February 18, 2018

Winter Play--Again

Goof up alert!!!...I don't know what happened but this post went out all on it's own last night!  I wrote part of it before dinner, woke up this morning to a comment and realized it must have posted.  So sorry.  For those who have read it, just scroll down to the photo of Diane and Helen and continue.  For those who have not, I hope you enjoy the whole post!

Here goes....

I'd call this post refrigerator round up if I was in the kitchen.  There are so many things I'm piling into this post it's like the fried rice Joe is making us for dinner...some of everything we've eaten in the last few days!

I'll start with a lovely quilting retreat I went to on the coast of Oregon.  I'm lucky to be included in this incredible group of women.  A long time friend, Victoria, invited me to join them a few years back and I never say no to Victoria.  Loved the whole trip.  First to Eugene, on her horse ranch/farm (I'm a city girl, I don't know what to call it!).

I traveled with another lovely lady, Gracie, and the three of us moved on to Seal Rock to join the others for a few days of sewing.  I'm not a quilter but my god daughter is having her first baby and I wanted to make her a baby blanket.

Well, I didn't know what I was doing so thank goodness for Victoria and another friend, Kathy, who gave me so much help.  Basically, I made mistakes and they fixed them!  (See below).

I know that my god daughter likes neutral tones, no pinks and blues for her.  I chose grey and I'm glad I didn't, when she opened the present she exclaimed, "My whole house is grey and so is the baby's room!"  Whew.

Here is the baby blanket put together but not finished...oops, it turned out a bit large...but they can use it for watching tv!

I actually like modern quilts.  I might just make others...someday.  Thank you to everyone at the retreat who helped me make this.  Lord knows I needed it.

Oh, and while I was up there I bought a new Baby Lock Triumph serger!  I have an Evolve that I've loved and wanted one with a large space for piecing cashmere.  I bought it from Paramount Sewing and Vacuum.  Very nice people.  Love this thing.  I've been using it all weekend and it's a dream.

This vest is made from a ready to wear piece that a friend bought.  Jenny made a pattern and I gave it a try with fabric Sharon gave me.  It's a heavy stretch woven novelty that I couldn't figure out how to use.  This seems to be a good result.  I wore it in Ashland recently and it feels good.  I'll make more of these for sure.

The pockets are tucked into the side seam.  Hidden but useful.

Kinda like a sidesaddle kangaroo!

During January I went through an insane period of working with down-filled objects.  First I worked with two men's extra large puffer jackets I bought in Ashland.  They were on sale for a pittance and I couldn't resist.  
I've been asking Marcy Tilton to find puffer jacket fabric for years now and I know why there is none available.  It's completely bonkers to work with.  I had to take the jackets apart, place my pattern pieces on the fabric, trace around each piece, sew on either side of my tracing, cut in the middle of the stitching and STILL had feathers in my nose.

I ended up using all four of the pockets from both jackets so there's no shortage of pockets here.

I used the stretch binding I ripped out of the original jackets to bind the hem.  Oh, I forgot to say, all of the seams were BOUNDS so I had to tear out the binding first.  I did use it all to bind the new seams.

A little tail never hurt anybody....

And then, as if that wasn't aversion therapy enough, I decided to cut our duvet in half and make two comforters so Joe doesn't tear the covers off me every night (it's worked, by the way).  I'm sleeping better and so is he!

I just got home from DOL in Ashland.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  Diane Ericson was spot on, as usual.  So inspiring and invigorating.  She invited Helen Carter from Secret Lentil to co-teach. What a hoot she is.  Her approach to designing clothing is totally intuitive and very fun.  I've loved her clothing for years, own two pieces, and wanted to see how she works.

I needed to draft a tunic top for woven fabric so I used an existing vest pattern.  Forgot my pattern weights so the tangerines that Honna brought worked perfectly.

I began auditioning the fabrics I brought.

I was really inspired by Tracy's version of Helen's spiral concept.  A big part of DOL is the incredible women you meet.

And here is my version.  I made a little Diane Ericson French-Fold Shrug to go over the top.  It's a very cool pattern!

And another version in a tissue weight knit that Judy, another participant, graciously gave me at the retreat.
I made another spiral shape for the turtleneck.

And finally, I finished a ripstop lined in polartec raincoat I've been working on since the last DOL!  This fabric was a nightmare to work with.  I'm finished but I don't love the detailing results.  I'll never work on this type of fabric again.
I guess my winter of 2018 was all about what NOT to sew with!

Stay tuned for another whacky project I started yesterday.  It entailed a LOT of ripping out as yo can see below.

Happy almost spring everyone!


  1. Love your vest, Gayle, and the orange puffer coat is so fun. I can't even think about sewing with down so congrats on a very successful garment! Karen

  2. The vest is very cool but reconstructed down coat impressed the bejeebers out of me, and yes, those bits of down escape and go everywhere - such a mess! But so worth the effort with that coat!

  3. Had a great time at DOL. You are very 8nspiring. Hope to see you at another one soon.

  4. Wow, Gayle, you've been on the move and as productive as ever! That baby quilt is amazing! Another art form you've mastered. :) Helen's spiral technique is fascinating. I was there when you bought those two down jacket - OMG, I had no idea you were going to deconstruct them that way. You are more fearless than I!!! Thanks for sharing your recent creative pursuits!

    1. Thanks Shams. Fearless or just're guess is as good as mine. But thank you. It was a once in a lifetime thing!

  5. I love that baby blanket. If it is well cared for, maybe it will accompany the owner to college. Sometimes well-loved baby blankets end up in shreds, though.

    1. Thank you Carol. I'm really loving the modern quilt pictures I see on Pinterest. It's growing on me!

  6. Wow! What an amazing amount of fantastic sewing. I love the vest copied from RTW and the quilt. I also love the shape, simplicity and colour of your raincoat.

  7. Love it all. You are so courageous!!!! Is the vest pattern available for sale?

    1. Thank you, Muriel. I'm sorry but it is not available.

  8. The quilt has such a striking design. Lucky God-daughter. I hope it lasts through to college a someone suggested.
    Where would the challenge be if you made a puffer coat with polyester batting??? It looks great and cozy. Brava for taking on such a project.
    Love your vest with the striped fabrics. Where ever did you get the fabric with the bright-coloured stripes. I'd love some if it's still available somewhere.
    I think your coat looks great. Thanks for the heads up about difficult-to-sew fabric.
    Great post – thanks.

    1. Thank you Barbara! The stripped fabric is a Japanese cotton I bought at Fabrix in San Francisco. It's the kind of fabric store that gets in fabrics one day and they are gone the next. You have to go often to find the goodies!

  9. Your work is beautiful and that green coat is awesome!

  10. It looks like a fun and 'dizzy' time was had at the Ashland DOL. I'm a bit sad that I will miss spring in Ashland this year...I just love Lithia Park with all the Dogwood in bloom. But I am excited to work with Carol again in Taos this June. Seeing your pictures makes me anxious to be part of it again. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, becky

    1. I thought of you several times during this DOL. Could picture you at your seat working away. Have fun in Taos, wish I was going!

  11. I am always out of breath after I read your posts but in a good way. Miss you.

    1. I think that's because I wait so long to write a post I have to squeeze a lot into it. If I wrote them things HAPPEN it wouldn't seem so breakneck! Thanks MG, I truly miss you too.

  12. Gayle what a great blog, wow- fun!!! ! It was a total pleasure to travel with you and I would do it again in a minute.


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