Holiday Gift Guide...

I was so excited this week to see (I'm probably the last to know) that Deb Perelman has organized all her recipes onto boards, including an entire board of food gifts. If you are on my Christmas list, please don't click this LINK!

This year, Katy and I have been working on a few little Christmas projects together (which may or may not include Smitten Kitchen's recipes...)that will be revealed post holiday, but for those of you still working on what to stuff into stockings this year, I thought I'd come around and offer some suggestions...

These wrap bracelets are easy and fun to make following my friend and editor Melanie's instructions on Creativebug.  

A cozy and a cuppow!   My friend Cal makes these awesome granny square cozies for the Cuppow/Ball Jar combo.  I've got a cuppow that I mostly use in the summer for iced tea since the jars are too hot to hold onto with tea, but this solves that problem, with beautiful wool yarns in your choice of colors.  Of course, you could probably figure out how to make your own by taking Cal's class over here.

Maira Kalman's new book, My Favorite Things.  This book is at the top of my Christmas wish list.  I love Maira's paintings and poetic takes on life so much, and can't wait to get my hands on this newest tome.

Lastly, a pre-ordered copy of a certain someone's Embroidery Book  (with printed sampler included!) would make a lovely gift that keeps on giving- especially when it hits your friends mailbox in April and they remember what a great Christmas they had with you....

Christmas Ornaments...

Last weekend I set up a little Christmas tree in our kitchen, and started to unwrap some ornaments.  I only a put a few on the tree this year, mostly swedish straw ornaments and my little painted Santa Lucia.  Most favorite this year are the Raggedy Ann and Andy that used to hang on my Grandma's tree.  I remember searching for them every year as I helped decorate her tree, and finding them again on Christmas morning.  When we sorted through her things, I was excited to get them, even though one of them needed a bit of repair.  I fixed it up last week.   It's bittersweet to have them with me here in Brooklyn.  

I have such great memories of my Grandma, and especially great memories of being with her  around the holidays.  I helped her get her house ready every year, and helped right before the big day to bake breads and make huge bowls full of chex mix.  A few years ago I designed this ornament project for a Creativebug class, and used her house as the example.

I've gone on to make a few other house ornaments for friends and relatives over the years.  The last one I made was for my brothers' in law, and since I didn't have a picture of their house, I used google street view, which worked out really well!   Unless your recipient lives in a very small town, it's a great way to get a full frontal view of the house you're trying to replicate without ruining the surprise by asking them for a photo.

I am happy to announce that in the spirit of giving, one lucky commenter from today's post will receive a one-month subscription to Creativebug.  With it, you can take this class in addition to hundreds of others.   I promise that it's not too late to start this one.  It uses simple materials that you probably have already (save for a 4" hoop).   Simply leave a comment sometime between now and next Tuesday, December 16th, bonus points if you share your other favorite handmade gifts.  I'll choose one lucky winner then and put you in touch with Creativebug to get you started.  

* Bonus! You can up your chances of winning by entering a second time with a pinterest pin! Just leave a link to your pin in the comments section.  Thanks!

Meet me in Maine.....

In the chaos of trying to get my life in order post honeymoon (I know, queue the tiny violins), I have been remiss in telling you about a very exciting prospect for next summer.   I am very happy to announce that I'll be getting in a car (a rarity for this city girl) and driving north to one of my favorite places- Maine- to teach at a new retreat.  I hope you'll join me.  Slow Stitching, hosted by Portland's A Gathering of Stitches,  makes its debut next summer in Washington Maine.  Come spend a long weekend with Carolyn Friedlander, Chawne Kimber, and me.  Each day you'll spend time with one instructor, and by the end you will have taken all of our workshops.   Bonfires, stitching, and star gazing in the evenings.  Lobster rolls on the way there and on the way back (or maybe that's just me).  All the information (including how to register) is here.  

November Embroidery Pattern Subscriptions...

I can hardly believe it's November.  I was restless the night we got back from our honeymoon last week, and I walked to the grocery to get a few things, noticing the pumpkins on my neighbor's doorsteps.  It seemed so early for jack o'lanterns, I thought, wondering what said neighbors would do when their pumpkins were rotten when Halloween rolled around.  I told Katy when I got home, and she kindly informed me that, in fact, Halloween was over.  I missed it! I Rip Van Winkled it!  There was no Halloween celebration or even candy at the little beach-y resort in Costa Rica where we were holed up.

WNYC just reported that there might be snow tonight.  I'm cooking a big pot of soup for friends tomorrow night, and today, as I walked to and from my studio I was bundled up in last year's down vest and my mittens.  Life is good.  I love this time of year.  Late fall, sweater weather, it's my jam.

Today and tomorrow, in between stirring a big pot of bean soup, I'm packaging up this month's subscriptions.  This month, Colorburst Subscribers get Blocks, featured here:

I stitched mine with a motley assortment of DMC and Valdani perle cottons and a ball of unidentified metallic laced perle cotton that I got at last year's quilt market in Houston.  I think it's from Turkey, wish I had more info to offer you.

Stitch of the month subscribers will receive weaving stitches this month- make sure your dull tapestry needles are ready!  Some of you will get both- thanks for being *supersubscribers*

Please note that for the first time ever, by popular demand, I am now offering back copies of select Colorburst samplers on a limited basis, but starting with this month's Blocks sampler.   They are available here.  Should you wish to dip your toe into the Colorburst world without jumping head first into a subscription, there are five or so designs available now.   Thanks to all of you who asked...

As always, please keep on hashtagging on Instagram with #dropclothsamplers  I check everyday to see the latest and greatest, and when new ones pop up it makes me smile.  Thank you!

The Book...It's Coming Soon!

I was surprised to come back from my honeymoon and find an e-mail from a friend letting me know that my book is now available for pre-order on Amazon, with a picture and description and everything.   Wow.   What a feeling! After pouring so much of my self, and my time, and all my energy into this project, it's exciting to see its publication date getting so much closer.   Here's a link should you wish to check it out.

I got married!

I'm back from what was the best party I've ever been to- our wedding!  Here are a few little pictures from the evening.  Our wedding was also (suprsingly) featured on the Huffington Post here.

If you've taken one of my workshops, you may have met (or heard me talking about) my good friend Angela Morano who I'm lucky to have as my TA sometimes when I teach.  She's one of the most talented people I know- a milliner based in Chicago.  I hired her to make my veil and sash, and she used my Grandma's dress as the material to create the flowers.      It was my favorite part of my outfit (dress from BHLDN).  *You can hire her too- more info here* Katy's dress was a surprise- we didn't know what the other was wearing until a big reveal on the big day.  I love how it turned out with one of us in black and the other (me!) in white.  More instagram pics here if you're interested.   
What fun. . . . . . .       

Colorful Stitchery Winner...

Thanks so much to everyone who entered last week's giveaway.  We have a winner!  Laura R, I am e-mailing you now, and I'll be mailing your book soon...

Meanwhile, I am heading out to the studio soon to pack up the very last orders before the shop closes.  I'm getting married on Saturday!  

October Subscriptions....

I'm rushing to get this month's orders out while my mom is here in town helping me pack them all up.  I wish she could be here every month!  This month, Colorburst Subscribers get the Mermaid in their mailboxes. 

Stitch of the month subscribers get Raised Stitches.  Some of you get both- big thanks to you all for being supersubscribers.    

Colorful Stitchery: Review and Giveaway

For me, one of the most fun parts of being part of Creativebug is getting to watch all the teacher trailers.  I feel like I've gotten to know many of the teachers this way, and in the cases in which I've actually met some of these women in real life, it has felt easy- as if I already knew them.  Somehow the team of interviewers and cameramen really know how to capture stories and scenes that are true.   I loved filming mine.

I had a moment of longing and admiration when I watched  the Kristin Nicholas trailer.  Her cold, dark, New England Sheep farm gives way to a bright beautiful home, reminiscent of Charleston.  I love the layers and layers of color and pattern that seem to be on every wall, and seem to penetrate all her design projects in knit and embroidery.  Recently, Kristin reached out to me to ask if I'd like to review her newly re-published book Colorful Stitchery, and of course I said yes.  

The book, no less colorful than Kristin's house, is full of fun, bright projects.  Maybe it's because it is suddenly sweater weather here in New York, but my favorite is this one, that makes use of the grooves of corduroy, which I can't get enough of these days, and thanks to Kristin I can't wait to start stitching on!   Perhaps that new dress that I got yesterday will get a little stripe treatment.

Thanks to the nice people at Roost, I've got a copy for one of you, too!  Tell me what embroidery projects you've got on tap for the fall, and I'll pick one winner to receive a copy.  Entries will close next Wednesday, October 15th  Friday, October 17th, and I'll pick a winner shortly after that. Good luck!

Arrowmont Workshop Recap

I got back from teaching at Arrowmont a little over a week ago now.  It was my second time teaching there, and I had so much fun.  A few students that took my class at Penland last fall came back for more.  It's always fun to have familiar faces in the room- and to get to know everyone even more.  We had a great group- everyone (even people who had not embroidered before) dove right in with a spirit of experimentation.     

Thanks to everyone who came!  I'm so happy to have met you all, and to have gotten to see my old friends Vicki and Annabel again.   AND- I wanted to especially thank my students (and esp. Annabel for organizing it) for secretively making me a veil (shown below on the Gatlinburg strip) for my moonshine bachelorette night.  It made my day.  Ya'll are the sweetest.    

PS- I'm getting married! Soon!  On October 25th.  The store will close (for the first time ever!) on Monday, October 20th and will reopen on November 5th.  

Tidal Lace Winner!

Hello! I'm back from teaching at Arrowmont, with lots to share about that soon.  I'm just popping in today to share the winner of the Tidal Lace giveaway.   The randomly selected winner is #34, Arianna.  I'll be emailing you next, and your fabric will ship out just as soon as you send me your mailing address.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

Tidal Lace...

One of the best parts of my life is meeting interesting artists as I travel around teaching workshops.   Last year (or the year before?) I met Kim Andersson, when she took one of my workshops at A Verb for Keeping Warm.  This year, at the Makerie, there she was again.  We had so much fun sharing meals and catching up, and talking about our shared love of California.  

I was so happy for her when she told me she was nearing the finishing point of her first line of fabrics, and eagerly said yes when she asked me to design a project for the look book.  

Fast forward to July, when a stack of fabrics came in the mail for me to work with.   Her debut collection, Tidal Lace, is beautiful.  

It's partly inspired by the beautiful California coast that Kim lives on.  My favorite prints are the sea gems and tide pools, both of which are waiting, just waiting, to be embroidered.  Those sea gems seem to be loudly asking for wheels of blanket stitch, and the star fish seem obviously in need of french knot embellishments, which is just what I did.  

I wonder, what would you do?  Leave a comment telling me which is your favorite, and Windham Fabrics will choose one winner to receive an entire pack of fat quarters.   Lucky you!   The comments will stay open until next Monday, September 29th.

A little Tennessee SALE!

Welp, I'm off on the road again today.  I'm flying down to Tennessee to teach a week long workshop at Arrowmont.  

Can't wait to meet my students and spend a week making thick layered embroidered drawings.   I love teaching so much, and it's been awhile....

I'll be gone for a week, and since this sampler business sadly doesn't run itself while I'm gone, I thought I'd pass a little discount on to everyone while I'm gone in appreciation of your patience.  The shop will stay OPEN but the orders will be a little delayed.  Please take 20% off from September 21-29 with the code TENNESSEE.   This includes everything.  If you've been thinking of subscribing or gifting subscriptions for the holidays, this sure would be an excellent time to do it.

*Please be sure to enter the coupon code while you're checking out.  I cannot offer retroactive discounts.  Thanks. :)

Newest Colorburst Embroidery: September...

A few months ago, Weeks Dye Works sent some threads to me to experiment with*   After much admiring, I finally got to work with them this month for the latest Colorburst Sampler:  **Rows of Rainbows**.  

I first used their hand dyed quilting thread in my BERNINA to cover some of the thin lines (see above pictures) and then used their size 8 hand dyed perle cotton for the rest of the stitches (running stitch, couching, and a little back stitch).  The pink yarn couched down around the border is a rogue knitting wool from my editor, Melanie.   

I'm so curious to see if any of you will use your machines on this sampler or others. The straight stitch makes such a beautiful line! My machine also does a sort of double straight stitch which (surprise!) is twice as thick and twice as nice.   You may want to slow your machine's speed down a bit (easy peasy on the BERNINA) when sewing on something so specific.  It helped me quite a bit.  I also recommend a stiff embroidery stabilizer on the backside to keep your fabric from bunching up.  I get mine here.   Try a little sample fabric first to get your speed and stitch length adjusted to your liking.  

These shipped out yesterday (so did the Stitch of the Month *Cross Stitch* Samplers), complete with Circus and Harvey Milk stamps.  The USPS stamp designers are really making me happy these days.  Can't wait to see what else is in store!

*this is all in an effort to select threads to send to YOU, dear subscribers.  Soon, soon.  

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