Destashing / Studio Clean Out Sale!

I'm moving into a new studio in a few weeks.  It happens to be right next to where I am now, and I've been spending some time in what is now my neighbor Ted's space with my measuring tapes and quizzical looks, trying to visualize how my stuff will look and where everything will go.   I've also been staring down my own stash of art supplies, and yesterday in a mad fit of organization, I sorted a bunch out and set about figuring out how to get rid of it.

I can't just throw it to the curb, this is stuff I've collected over many years.  At the same time, I have A LOT of stuff, and I am wishing for more space than stuff these days.  So- I've listed some of my collections in the shop.  Here's a sneak peek.  

More to come soon!

Colorbursts and Satin Stitches- Packed and Ready!

Your subscriptions (almost two hundred!)  packed up and ready to go!  
Colorburst Seeds in Progress
My version, stitched with Dyed Fiber threads
My Mom's version, stitched with DMC floss.   

Flower thread for everyone!

Hello there!  Long time no talk! If you are following me on instagram, you know that I was in California for a week or two at the end of July, teaching at A Verb for Keeping Warm, and kicking around the bay area with my good friends.   I paid a visit to Creativebug, ate at my favorite restaurant, and shivered because I failed to pack properly and once again did not anticipate the coldness that is San Francisco in August.  Whoops.

Since I got back I've been slowly chipping away at packing up this month's orders.  It's a great month!  Both Colorburst and Stitch of the Month subscribers get a free skein of Flower Thread, as well as a color chart and a free cross stitch pattern from the same company.  Have you stitched with this stuff before?  It is an un-mercerized cotton that makes a beautiful thin line on your fabric.  I think you're really going to like it.  

Believe it or not I am headed back to California tomorrow for a wedding, so orders are shipping out TODAY! A little earlier than usual.  Enjoy!     

Chain Chain Chain!

Through somewhat of a coincidence, both of this month's subscriptions focus on chain stitches.  The Stitch of the Month sampler explores a few variations on this simple stitch, and the Colorburst subscription has circles of chain around the border.  Of course, with that one, you could choose NOT to do that part as chain stitch.  They could be filled-in ovals of satin stitch, or tiny little bunches of french knots, or tiny back stitches, or, or, or.....

You can see my mom's version up top (along with a few other upcoming colorbursts out on her clothesline in Michigan), and my (yet to be finished version) in my messy studio in Brooklyn.

This version (below) of the Chain Stitch Sampler is from Sherie on Instagram.   I am amazed (AMAZED!) at how many of you have stitched the text onto these samplers.  It looks so good!

Finally- Thank you to everyone who ordered samplers and subscriptions during our annual summer sale.  There are lots of new subscribers in the mix now (welcome!)  

Stitch of the Month Subscriptions shipped out this morning.  Colorburst Subscriptions will mail out tomorrow (I had to print more after that summer sale added a ton of new stitchers!).

Get your needles ready- and send me your pictures!  #dropclothsamplers

The Annual Sale!

Last year, I went to Michigan for a week over the Fourth of July, and had a big sale in the shop while I was gone.  This year, I'm doing it again!  Please use code MICHIGANSUMMER (no spaces) to take 20% off your order, including subscriptions (!) from now until July 9th, 2014.  Please note that while the shop is open, the shipping and handling department (aka: yours truly) is closed, so your order will ship out on or around July 10th.  Here's a link to the shop.   

Wishing you all a great vacation- see you next week!  

Instagram Tagging Giveaway!

Hello!  If you are a subscriber, you probably already know about this little contest.  If not, now's your chance! Through the end of June 2014, tag your samplers on instagram with #dropclothsamplers.  I'll pick one winner to receive four beautiful skeins of Cottage Garden Threads, pictured here.  You can tag as many photos as you like.

I've been busy embroidering some of the upcoming Colorburst Subscription samplers- I can't wait to share more of them with you all! Here's a finished one and a little sneak peek of what's to come:

PS- What do you think I should name that finished sampler?  Leave your ideas in the comments, and if I use yours I'll send along a little token of my appreciation.....

Three Things New York....

The Cloisters.  I am sure that there's an ode to this place somewhere in the history of this blog, but it really is one of my favorite places in NYC.  A long subway ride from Brooklyn, but a world away from anything that feels like NYC, getting off the subway and walking into Fort Tyron park is more like stepping into Tuscany.  On weekdays especially, this is one of the quietest, most peaceful places in Manhattan.   

Lately the weather here in New York City has been reminding me of the cool breezy summers I spent growing up in Western Michigan.   Normally it is hot and muggy and utterly disgusting by now, but this year has been something of a gift, with cool breezes at night, and sweet smelling air in the park.  I've been trying to get up and go for a walk in the morning in Prospect Park, and everytime I do it gives me a new lease on life in this crazy city.  Finding quiet, and nature, and  short little escapes is key to my sanity.  

A few weekends ago, Katy and I went hiking at Gertrude's Nose with these guys.  It was so much fun! Hiking with experts that offer advice, delicious lunch made right on the trail, and transportation? Amazing.  Not having to look at a map or plan anything at all? Priceless.  Can't wait to take another hike with them.    

Finally, sewing meets sidewalk!  On Sunday, my friend Nancy came over for a beer, and shortly after she left she called to tell me that she had found this gem on the sidewalk down the street.  Stiff and dusty and in major need of an overhaul, this machine was, nonetheless, really beautiful.  If I didn't already have three machines (two of which are also in need of MAJOR work), I would have hauled this one home.  I hope someone found it who will give it a good life.    

What about you? Are you sewing with an old beautiful relic like this one, or do you prefer a new model?  I was a diehard fan of old machines until I got my new BERNINA.    

Sampler of the Month: Embroidered Filling Stitches

This month, Sampler of the Month Subscribers are working on Filling Stitches.   Check out Jorie Slodki's version from last year here:

I think Jorie is the fastest stitcher I know.  It seems like last year I  barely dropped these in the post office box when I'd see her finished versions of the samplers on Flickr.

Just like the Colorburst Subscribers, every Sampler of the Month envelope comes with Cottage Garden Threads this month.  Post of picture on instagram of what you're working on tagged wit h#dropclothsamplers for a chance to win three full skeins.   Can't wait to see what you all are up to!

Colorburst Plaid!

This month's Colorburst sampler is an embroidered plaid.   I stitched mine entirely by hand, with a combination of backstitch and couching.   The drawing for this one was inspired by the plaid sections in one of my all time favorite books.  That book and its hundreds of pages of design inspiration have been the seeds of so many things in the studio over the years.  Lately though, I have been really in to the plaids, and to laying down color after color in perpendicular lines.  It's such an easy way to build up a lot of great texture.   I'd like to work this one again in machine stitches, hoping one of you does the same so I can see the results!  
 This month I stitched my version of the Colorburst sampler onto a bit of linen and turned it into a little zippered case with the help of my new BERNINA.   I'm curious to hear what you all are doing with your samplers.  Are you making quilts, adding them to garments, using them as patches on a bag?  Leave a comment below to let us know, or better yet post a photo on instagram, and tag it with #dropclothsamplers.  Thanks!
By the way, check out all this beautiful thread!  This month subscribers to both Colorburst and Sampler of the Month got a few strands of this beautiful hand dyed cotton floss from Cottage Garden Threads in Australia.  The etsy shop Braidwood Heritage Crafts carries it, but you could win three full skeins of your own just by tagging the samplers you're working on with #dropclothsamplers on instagram.  I can't WAIT to see what you're up  to.  Thanks!

PS- More plaids are available if you'd like to start your subscription before the end of this month- threads included!

Three things New York (Brooklyn!)....

1.) Yesterday, I finally made a date with myself to go to the Brooklyn Art Library. I spent the afternoon looking at sketchbooks and poking around Williamsburg.  At the library, you can search by artist, title, type, style, etc.  I first searched for my friend Courtney Cerruti's book.  Each time you request a book off the shelves, they bring you the book you asked for and a random book.  It was so much fun to sit inside on a dreary day and look through book after book. Besides Courntey's, my favorite ended up being a book that was a random selection, this one by Marya DeBlasi from Columbus, Oh.  Have you been to this special collection?  Would you submit a sketchbook?

2.) While I was in Williamsburg, I was excited to remember while walking along, that it is the home of Mast Brothers Chocolates.  I stopped in to their beautiful store and tried a few.  I can't wait to go back for the factory tour.     I'm not sure if it's still true, but their chocolate used to arrive by wind powered sailing ships.

3.) Honeysuckle!  It is out everywhere right now.  Katy and I had dinner the other night at Brookvin, surrounded by Honeysuckle in the back garden. The food was ok, but the garden?  Amazing!  I love this time of year before it gets too hot.  The air in New York smells so good these days.

Finishing something...

In case you're not on instagram, I thought I'd post some progress photos of the quilt I've been finishing lately.  I started it last year when my Grandma died, and I've been working on it every since, with a big (huge) break to write a book.   It's pieced out of her housecoasts and nightgowns, and quilted with size 8 perle cotton (my favorite thread).  I'm almost done.  I'll show a finished photo very soon.  

Bag winner!

Number twenty five!  Jessica Hadden you are the winner of the Dropcloth Bag and Creativebug Subscription.
Thanks to everyone who pinned, commented, and entered!   More giveaways coming up- and still time to win a subscription over at Mr.X Stitch....

Three Things New York...

This month I'm taking some time to refuel and gather inspiration from the city of New York.  I'm making some new artwork on my new BERNINA, and to do so, I've been out gathering ideas and images around town. 

Yesterday, I took a tram ride out to Roosevelt Island.  What a treat! It was approximately 15 degrees cooler there, and practically desolate, but not in the creepy way exepcted, since it is home to an abandoned smallpox hospital.  It's beautiful!  I sat and ate my trail mix and looked out at barges and tug boats going by and really enjoyed myself.  And the trams that take you there? They feel like a fun amusement park ride, and you can use your metro card!  Loved it.

I can't believe it could possibly be true that I haven't mentioned Zabar's by now.  This place!  I love it so much.  Katy and I go to Zabar's quite often to get picnic food for an afternoon in Central Park, and every New Year's Eve we make a trek up to Zabar's to get our holiday spread of smoked fish and babka.  I wandered in last week when I was up in that neighborhood to see the Bill Cunningham Exhibit at the New York Historical Society.  It was my first time visiting that museum, and while I thought the Bill Cunningham exhibit was ok, their permanent collections are amazing, and I can't wait to go back!  Anyway, the upper west side never seems to disappoint, and as soon as I make it big in New York, I really look forward to buying a brownstone up that way and becoming a regular shopper at Zabar's.   

Finally, Roses! They are in bloom in every shape and color in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Big bright showy bursts of color on every block.  This bright collection was next to the tram station on Roosevelt Island yesterday.  Delightful!

Embroidery BAGS!

You guys!  I have been remiss in telling you about these new canvas bags that I designed for Creativebug.  They are available as an incentive for new subscribers.   Anna Maria Horner, Lisa Congdon, and Kaffe Fassett also designed bags, which are free when you sign up for a new subscription!  I really like the way mine one turned out, and I love that it's lined in black with black handles, which seems like it will make it stay nicer longer.

Creativebug sent me one which I've been using for my groceries for a little while now, and they sent me a second that I've been waiting for the right moment to give to one of you.  Next week I'll pick a winner.

This giveaway includes:

  • a Rebecca Ringquist/Creativebug Totebag
  • the May edition of the Colorburst Samplers (**Starburst**)
  • a Three month subscription to, with unlimited access to a huge variety of classes

Three ways to win (choose one or all three):
  • Visit Creativebug and let me know which class you would take first.
  • Post this picture to Pinterest and leave a link in the comments.
  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite embroidery stitch.
I'll pick a winner next Wednesday, June 4th by the end of the day.  Good luck!  

My new adventure...

I am so happy to be able to share with you that I recently was selected to be a BERNINA ambassador.  I can't tell you how excited I am.  I'm sure my studio mates are sick of hearing my gasps of shock and awe at all that this little (acutally quite big) puppy can do.

I picked out my new machine at City Quilter, and was so lucky to have Chrissie help me out.  I explained to her the kind of work that I do, and she gently guided me to the B750 QE, which I'll admit I was skeptical about.  It's HUGE, and beautiful, and seemed a little too complicated.  But, oh. my. god.  I am in love.    I told Katy that it feels like I have gone from a used 1970's Datsun (er, second hand Viking) to a brand new Maserati.  This machine is making all my sewing dreams come true.

Last week I took my introductory class at City Quilter and learned how to use all its features, including all three of its thread cutters, its automatic needle up/down settings, and automatic thread cutter.  Mind:Blown.  I learned how to use all the feet, but most importantly I learned how to use the BSR foot, which I have not stopped using since it arrived in the studio.  Deadlines? What deadlines?  Important photographs that I was supposed to work on setting up last week?  Why bother?  I have made more artwork in the last two weeks than I did in the last six months.  I'm thrilled, THRILLED!  (Rest assured, said deadlines, I'm coming for you this week)

I'll be sharing more about my experience with this machine throughout the coming year.   In the meantime, I'm curious, do any of you have a BERNINA?  Anyone out there also have the B750 QE?  What are your favorite features?

Three Things New York

Well, it's been awhile since I've uploaded three things.  In that time, New York has blossomed into summer.  It's that time of year that I wish I could bottle and clone.  It's not too hot, and it's not very cold.  It's warm, with a cool breeze.  It's not yet muggy and oppressive.  We're sleeping with the windows open!  The lilacs have come and gone, but, miracle of miracles, there were some at the farmer's market this weekend, having been driven in from the north.  There were Lily of the Valley too, and even though they were ten dollars and lasted only a few days, they were worth it.  I stopped and smelled them every single time I walked past them, sitting in a little mason jar in my bedroom.  They reminded me of Michigan.....

One of the most challenging things about living in New York is of course the lack of space.  It has made me think differently about what I purchase, knowing that anything that comes in is going to take up space and likely mean that something else has to go out.  Getting rid of things is a real pain in the ass sometimes, because you can only take out the trash and recycling on certain days.  Of course, this leads to some beautiful collections, as I've mentioned before.   I passed these sticks last week on my way home from work, all tied up with red strings and they made my heart skip a beat.  How beautiful!  I've seen lots of these stick bundles here, and brooms too, can you imagine?  Bundles of brooms, worn out to the point that there's no bristles left, tied up in collections on the street.
 Finally, on a totally unrelated note; pastries.  One night a few weeks ago I was out on a little solo adventure in the east village.  I got fries and mayonnaise for dinner at  Pommes Frites, and sat on the steps of the Ukrainian Church and ate them.  I went to the movies and saw something so bad it was good, and finally, late at night before I took the train back, I stopped and bought a tiny box full of pastries for Katy at Veniero's.  Have you been there?  I don't even eat most of the stuff in there, but it makes me so happy to look at it, and to take photographs, and to buy a few, which they tie up with bakers twine & white boxes.   Twenty varieties of miniature cream filled pastries to choose from on a Thursday night? That's pretty cool. All right, New York, I get it.

Introducing...Colorburst Starburst!

You guys really know how to make a girl feel good.  I was so happy to send so many of you the brand new Colorburst Subscription last month.  And you! You (ya'll) who subscribed to both subscriptions?  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You're the best.

I myself am obsessed with these little Colorburst samplers, and just today, as I was leaving the studio to walk home, I noticed a stack of as yet unprinted drawings that I cannot wait to get onto fabric so I can stitch up the examples.  

This month's sampler  I'm calling Starburst, but I'm curious, what would you call it?  Perhaps next month I'll host a little naming giveaway.  I'm sure we could crowdsource some amazing ideas together.

A few details, since I'm sure some of you will ask.  I stitched this one almost entirely with backstitch and running stitch.  Yes, yes, I'm a broken record. They are my favorites!  The little orange stars at the end (beginning) of each section are algerian eyes, which really just means that they are made by making one stitch for each spoke that goes from the outside in.  They are easy!  You can see that I added even more running stitch in the outside yellow section than was originally printed.  What can I say? I'm a maximalist!

I can't WAIT to see what you guys do with this one.  Please- show me!  You can post in Instagram with #dropclothsamplers, or post to  the Flickr group here.   As always, thank you so very much for stitching along month after month, I love designing these patterns and sending them out into the world.

PS- These shipped out a little early too- check your mailboxes and get your needles threaded!

Stitches of the Month: Knots!

This month, the Stitch of the Month club is working on knotted stitches, which reminds me of a conversation I once had with my friend, Cal, who also teaches embroidery.   Once, when she was taking a workshop of mine upstate, I was showing everyone how to do the french knot (or the bullion knot?) and I said how much I loved to use it as an all-over filling stitch, creating a mossy, dense background.  She laughed and said how she always recommends that everyone use it only sparingly. So, there you go, two different ways.

I'm a maximalist!  Once you get going with some of these knots, it's hard to stop.  

This example was stitched by one of my favorite Instagramers, Colleen Hornung, whose stitching is always bright and colorful. This entirely french knotted border made my eyes bug out of my head.   Colleen!  Thank you so much for posting your samplers and for tagging them.  I can't tell you, dear readers, how much it brightens my day when a new sampler appears with the #dropclothsamplers tag.  I check everyday (obsessively!) and I would love to feature one of your samplers on the blog.  If you're stitching- are you gramming?

These went out a little early this month (on Monday!) so they should be arriving in some of your east coast mailboxes today!  I've got plenty of extras if you'd like to start a new subscription  (or pick up again!) with this one.

PS- Cal is going to be hosting a Color Burst Subscription giveaway next week over on her blog, HodgePodgeFarm.  Stay tuned for details!  

Winners Winners, Chicken Dinners!

Thank you so much to everyone that commented and pinned last week! I am happy to report that I've picked two winners via, numbers  84 and 16.  I just e-mailed you two- can't wait to mail out your winnings!  And, for the first time ever, I chose those winners without having to painstakingly count by hand!  Hooray for google giving me a little help with html code- and hooray for numbered comments! My life just improved a little!

A few of you asked about the scissors in the photos. Aren't they cool?  They were a gift from a student of mine at Arrowmont a few summers ago- an artist who you'd probably love named Suzanne Andersen.  When I received them they still had the price tag, which was old and tattered and illegible attached, and they were wicked sharp.  I've since used them A LOT, and they aren't quite so sharp, but still my favorite pair.  I'm hoping the knife sharpening truck comes to Gowanus and parks outside the studio (fat chance) so I can get them sharpened.    Anyway, I found a similar pair on etsy.   Here's another on e-bay.  What about you, do you have a fancy pair of vintage scissors?  Share a link or description in the (numbered!) comments.