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I've created a line of wooden peg looms to make potholders and projects of other sizes. Read the story behind the looms and check out my etsy shop.

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CraftSanity Podcast 139: Jennifer talks block printing with Colouricious creator and UK artist Jamie Malden

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This was one of the best discoveries of my recent trip to the AQS Quilt Show in Grand Rapids, Michigan – imported block printing stamps from India.

IMG_5439While printing with pre-carved stamps seems a bit like cheating for this printmaker, I absolutely LOVE being able to jump into a project right away without having to carve my own block.

I met Jamie Malden at the quilt show and fell hook, line and sinker for block printing and the lovely blocks she sells on her Colouricious website. My daughters and I shopped for our favorite blocks to start our collection and had a great time trying them out at home.

Tune in to the podcast to learn more about how you can create beautiful handprinted fabrics of your own and then start making plans to travel to India to see how these beautiful blocks are carved. : )


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Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about this fun company and sharing some videos demonstrating some of the things I’m making with their products. In the meantime, go check out their website and thank them for supporting the CraftSanity Podcast.

Want to suggest an artist or crafter for an upcoming podcast? Just email me, I’d love to hear from you.

Recommended reading for knitters, spinners, vintage fashion lovers, sewists, stitchers and other exuberant crafters

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As the temperatures start to dip here in the Midwest, it’s a fine time to grab a new stack of craft books and plot out some projects to work this fall and winter. This past weekend I featured the seven titles above in my weekly craft column for The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com. Here are some of the titles in my fall line-up.

“The Spinners Book of Fleece,” (256 pages, $29.95) by Beth Smith

“Knitting Reimagined: An Innovative Approach to Structure and Shape with 25 Breathtaking Projects” (176 pages, $29.99) by Nicky Epstein

“Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s” (224 pages, $35) by Gretchen Hirsch

“The Magic Pattern Book: Sew 6 Patterns Into 36 Different Styles!” (310 pages, $22.95) by Amy Barickman, founder of Indygo Junction

“Felt-o-ween: 40 Scary-cute Projects to Celebrate Halloween,” (132 pages, $14.95) by Kathy Sheldon and Amanda Carestio

“Drink the Harvest: Making Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders” (232 pages, $18.95) by Nan K. Chase and DeNeice C. Guest

* “Let’s Sew Together: Simple Projects the Whole Family Can Make” (176 pages, $19.99) by Rubyellen Bratcher

Read my review of these books here.

Send your book suggestions for future review to me.

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CraftSanity Podcast Episode 138: The story of how a non-quilter oversaw the creation of the 120-foot ‘Quilt of Belonging’

Esther Bryan is the artist who collaborated with hundreds of people to create the 120 foot "Quilt of Belonging." CraftSanity Magazine Episode 138 was recorded last month at the AQS quilt show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Esther Bryan is the artist who collaborated with hundreds of people to create the 120 foot “Quilt of Belonging.” CraftSanity Episode 138 was recorded last month at the AQS quilt show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

It was the largest quilt on display at last month’s American Quilter’s Society show and probably the most important.

Measuring 120 feet long by 10 1/2 feet high, the “Quilt of Belonging” is an impressive quilt comprised of 263 blocks containing handwork created by 70 Aboriginal groups and 193 immigrant nationalities represented in Canada as of Jan. 1, 2000.

It was awe inspiring to stand before this quilt displayed along a convention center wall in Grand Rapids, Michigan and imagine the hundreds of groups and individuals who had a hand in creating such a bold symbol of cultural pride, international collaboration and peace.

I was one of the thousands who walked past this quilt the first day of the show and I returned hours before it was taken down to record the story behind it.

The quilt was created under the direction of Esther Bryan, an artist and pianist born in France as the daughter of missionaries. In 1963, her parents moved the family to Canada. Bryan, who eventually settled with her husband and three children in Williamstown, Ontario, grew up knowing little about her family heritage until her father – a Slovak refugee, asked her to “take me home” in 1994.

If it weren’t for that trip, the “Quilt of Belonging” may never have been created. Tune in to hear Esther tell the story of how learning about her family history inspired her to collaborate with people from every nation in the world to make a vibrant and inspirational piece of art.

You can read the rest of the newspaper column I wrote about Esther here. Visit quiltofbelonging.ca for more information about the quilt, books, educational materials and the documentary.

Sponsor Appreciation!

acshomeandwork-300x124A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!) In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about this fun company and sharing some videos demonstrating some of the things I’m making with their products. In the meantime, go check out their website and thank them for supporting the CraftSanity Podcast.

Enjoy!

 I hope you enjoy this episode of the podcast. Have a listen and leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 137 (part 2): The continuation of my interview Eric Hoffman, owner and creator of Spofford Press

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Alright folks, the waiting is over and it’s time to release the second part of my interview with Eric Hoffman, owner of Spofford Press in Warwick, Rhode Island.

IMG_2954If you missed the first part of this interview, you’re invited to go check it out and then bop back over here for part 2. Eric is a fun storyteller and an awesome printmaker and letterpress artist. I met him on Instagram while attempting to soak up all I can about printmaking.

Get inspired by his story and then check out his designs. Eric is a serious artist with a fun sense of humor. He’s willing to spend hours carving the likeness of the jazz greats he frequently jams to in his studio and has no shame about embossing eyebrow-raising phrases onto notecards for the masses.

Enjoy the podcast and leave your comments below.

Subscribe to podcast via iTunes, use this RSS feed or just search for CraftSanity in many of the popular podcast apps.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 137 (part 1): The story of Eric Hoffman, owner and creator of Spofford Press

BIG Miles Davis

This podcast is about Eric Hoffman, a kind printmaker I met on Instagram while attempting to soak up all I can from more experienced printmakers creating inspiring work. A 35-year-old artist, family man and gifted storyteller with a jovial laugh.

When he’s not answering questions about his technique and equipment on Instagram, Eric is making a go of it pulling impressive prints in his home studio in Warwick, Rhode Island. The level of detail in his “Miles Davis” print for a relief engraving is something you really have to see in person to fully appreciate.

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Tune in to the podcast to find out what happened after Eric decided to follow his heart and change his college major, and learn what he did during the time that passed before he took a leap of faith and launched his handmade dream armed with ink, carving tools and a belief that he could make it work.

On part one of this two-part story, you’ll get to meet Eric and learn more about the darling, little guy pictured above. Part two will be posted in the coming days. Leave your comments below and be sure to go visit Eric on the web.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 136: A story about how jewelry-making helped a young West Michigan woman heal

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Caitlin Myler was turning left out of the parking lot of the Ottawa County bank call center where she worked when she spotted another motorist traveling fast over the hill.

Their cars collided and the impact of the November 2011 crash changed the course of Caitlin’s life.

Her pelvis was broken in several places and her injuries landed her in the hospital for weeks. Once discharged, she remained in a wheelchair for three months, waiting for her body to heal enough to walk again.

Unable to work or attend her community college classes, Caitlin decided to pass the time making jewelry.

“It totally gave me something to do and something to look forward to and get excited about,” she said.

As she recovered, she continued to make jewelry.

“I’m totally self taught,” said the 24-year-old Holland mom, recalling how the accident led her down a creative path and afforded her time to learn. “It was just … trial and error.”

Caitlin Myler, creator of The Lucky Lark jewelry line, and her husband Stephen, sell her designs every Sunday at the Fulton Street Artisans Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Caitlin Myler, creator of The Lucky Lark jewelry line, and her husband Stephen, sell her designs every Sunday at the Fulton Street Artisans Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Buoyed by a positive attitude, Caitlin made a full recovery and continued making jewelry.

“I love it so much I have to spend time doing it everyday,” she said. “It calms me down and it takes my mind off everyday stress.”

She started selling her jewelry designs online at theluckylark.etsy.com soon after the birth of her son, Carson, now 10-months-old.

She said her online sales didn’t really take off until she and started a Facebook page for her business and became a seasonal vendor at the Fulton Street Artisans Market at the beginning of the summer. When she first started vending at the market, she said she would only sell a few pieces. Since then, she has watched sales increase to more than 20 in a single day.

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“I’m so excited everyday that people are responding to it and love it as much as I do,” she said. “I am beyond thrilled.”

Read the rest of Caitlin’s story in my weekly mlive.com column and visit her Facebook page to learn more about her business and upcoming shows. Listen to her tell the story on this week’s CraftSanity Podcast.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 135: A Conversation with SAORI weaving instructor, Chiaki O’Brien

Photo courtesy of the artist Chiaki O’Brien is a certified SAORI weaving instructor who will be teaching at the Michigan Fiber Festival this week. You can shop the festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Allegan County Fairgrounds. 

When Chiaki O’Brien rolls into Allegan County and sets up her SAORI weaving looms at the Michigan Fiber Festival this week, her students will learn right away that they are part of one of the happiest growing fiber art movements.

I have not studied SAORI in any official capacity, but I ran to my loom after interviewing Chiaki about this con- temporary Japanese hand weaving approach designed for everyone regardless of age, gender, disability or intellectual aptitude. The method, which I covered in this week’s newspaper column for The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com, instructs people to “weave with a happy heart.” It was created by Misao Jo about 45 years ago when she missed a warp thread while weaving a traditional kimono sash and had her finished product turned away by a Japanese shop owner.

“She thought the skip made it more beautiful,” said O’Brien, 46, of Chaska, Minnesota, recalling the story she learned during her SAORI certification process. “So she went home and skipped a lot of warp.”

And the rest is fiber art history because Jo’s so-called mistake paved the way for a movement to introduce children and adults from all walks of life to create whimsical fabrics using a basic plain weave (over, under) method in which there are no rules, just fun.

Official SAORI weaving is done on two-harness Japanese looms that are easily adaptable for weavers of all ages and those with special needs, however this weaving method can be done on any loom set up for a basic plain weave.

“There’s no right or wrong as long as the weaver is happy,” Chiaki said.

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While it may seem that this sort of waving would lead to wild and unusable fabric, Chiaki has made lovely wall hangings and garments from her SAORI fabric.

As I noted in this week’s newspaper column, I thought it was impossible for me to love weaving any more than I already do, but then I talked to Chiaki and got really inspired. When taking a SAORI approach to weaving there are no mistakes and the weaver is free to create without worrying about how the end product will look. It’s the process more than anything that is celebrated. It’s like yoga on the loom.

After recording my chat Chiaki, I hauled my Michigan-made, Kessenich table loom out of the basement and placed in on its stand by the front window. Immediately my 8- and 10-year-old daughters gravitated to it. I got things started by weaving some natural cotton and then sent them out to retrieve a stick from the front porch. A couple rows past the stick I turned the weaving over to Amelia while Abby worked the levers on top of the loom to lift the warp threads for the shuttle to pass through. As the girls worked together, I stuffed random bits and bobs of fiber and paper into the weft.

This is the collaborative SAORI weaving I've been working on with my daughters.

This is the collaborative SAORI weaving I’ve been working on with my daughters. Many of the items woven into this piece are tiny scraps from my sewing table that would otherwise be thrown out. We have also thrown in a stick, a piece of jewelry and bits of paper. It’s fun to see how beautiful all the little bits look when woven together.

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My daughter, Amelia, has been weaving in the mornings while her big sister is away at her summer science class.

And this freestyle weaving has continued for several days and it has been wonderful to steal away a few moments, weaving in the glow of the natural morning light that spills into the dining room.

You can read my full column about Chiaki O’Brien and listen to our conversation below.

And I can’t end this post with out a special thanks to the CraftSanity supports who have kicked in funding to keep CraftSanity up and running. When I decided to start using Patreon last week and asked listeners who are willing and able to kick in a dollar a month to keep the show going, I wasn’t sure what would happen, but right away CraftSanity listeners have started to board my craft adventure bus and fund my dream to make this podcast better. As of this time of this post I have nine supporters contributing $18 total per month. This may seem piddly to some, but I’m quite thrilled and humbled by the kindness of the people who have jumped in right away. Thank you to you all! I really appreciate your support.

If you like the CraftSanity podcast and want to contribute, you can create an account at Patreon.com and then visit CraftSanity’s Patreon page and pledge a $1 a month (or more, but we are only asking for $1).

Thanks for listening! I’ll be back next week with another show.  :  ) In the meantime, please send me your podcast guest suggestions and tell me what you’re working on. I’m always looking for fun ideas.

Subscribe to podcast via iTunes, use this RSS feed or just search for CraftSanity in many of the popular podcast apps.

Let’s try something new to keep the CraftSanity Podcast going

Hello CraftSanity Friends!

I’m taking a page from the playbook of the tech podcasters that my husband, Jeff, listens to and I’ve decided to begin using a service called Patreon to secure funding for my podcast.

I’ll turn it over to him to explain how it works:

***

It’s simple. Do you get value in the CraftSanity podcast? Would you be willing to pay $1 a month to support it? Then here’s an easy way to do it.

Create an account at Patreon.com and then visit CraftSanity’s Patreon page and pledge a $1 a month (or more, but we are only asking for $1). That money is automatically paid monthly to support the CraftSanity podcast’s equipment and service fees, such as Skype and Soundcloud.

Here’s a 1 minute video explaining how it works. Note we aren’t asking a fee per podcast, just $1 a month.

Now back to Jennifer…

***

I love the fact that I produce a free podcast and have done so since 2006. I want to continue that model because I believe in giving everyone access to the shows I record. Through the years the CraftSanity podcast has entertained commuters and connected people working independently in their studios and kitchen tables with kindred spirits around the globe. The show has done this while simultaneously introducing the art and craft world to artists and crafters launching new businesses, promoting books and telling the handmade stories that make life so fantastic.
Read more »

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 134: A conversation with East Lansing Tapestry Weaver Nancy McRay

Tapestry by Nancy McRay

Tapestry by East Lansing artist Nancy McRay

A surprising gift led Nancy McRay in an unexpected direction shortly after she graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in advertising.

Nancy M“When I graduated from college… my parents gave me a floor loom as a present,” she said, recalling how the unusual gift left her feeling “dumbfounded and intrigued.”

Although she was puzzled by the gift at first, it actually made a lot of sense.

“What my parents did not know is that I used to stand in the doorway of the weaving program at MSU and just look,” she said, explaining that she tried but could never get into the popular fiber art class.

The loom from her parents came with some lessons, so McRay finally got her chance to learn to weave. When she asked her mom – who was a potter and painter – why they gave her a loom, her mother explained that she wanted to give her a gift that would be just for her.

“In all her wisdom, she knew that as an adult woman a lot of my life would be taken up by other people and other responsibilities and she wanted me to have something that was all mine,” said McRay, 58, of East Lansing. “I don’t think she had any idea how much she would change my life with that gift.”

From fiber artist to yarn shop owner and back again, read the rest of Nancy’s story in the Homes section of today’s print edition of The Grand Rapids Press or online at at Mlive.com.

Listen to my podcast interview with McRay below.

*** Weave With Nancy McRay ***

Nancy McRay will be teaching a three-day foundations of tapestry course for beginners and experienced weavers at the Michigan League of Handweavers Conference Aug. 8-10 at Hope College in Holland. The conference will include workshops taught by McRay and seven other artists ranging from dyeing and beading to felting and weaving. Visit mlhguild.org for registration information.

She will also be participating in the Interlochen Fibers Arts Weekend that will highlight Michigan’s growing “fleece to fabric” movement Sept. 26 – 28 at the Mallory-Towsley Center for Arts Leadership in Interlochen. McRay, who is an instructor of visual arts at Interlochen College of Creative Arts, will be teaching classes on how to read weaving drafts and design for weaving at the event that will also include classes on indigo dyeing, wet felting and drop spindle. Registration information is available at college.interlochen.org/fiber-arts-weekend.

Now I’m feeling pretty inspired to weave. How about you?

Nancy McRay's "Great Felt Lakes" 20-by-15-foot entry will be on display at Grapids Irrigation, 1170 Plainfield Ave. NE, in Grand Rapids during this year’s ArtPrize competition. The installation is the shape of the Great Lakes cut out of industrial felt. The piece will be displayed on the floor and visitors will be invited to mark locations of personal significance with push pins and and notes.

Nancy McRay’s “Great Felt Lakes” 20-by-15-foot entry will be on display at Grapids Irrigation, 1170 Plainfield Ave. NE, in Grand Rapids during this year’s ArtPrize competition. The installation is the shape of the Great Lakes cut out of industrial felt. The piece will be displayed on the floor and visitors will be invited to mark locations of personal significance with push pins and and notes.

CraftSanity Episode 133: A conversation with Runaway Press artist, Michelle Terry

Michelle Terry prepares ink to print at Not Design Studio in Grand Rapids where she and fellow letterpress artists offer occasional workshops.

For some, the best professional move begins with a giant leap of faith. 

Messy inks and a collection of wood and lead type eventually lured Michelle Terry, 30, of Wyoming, away from spending her professional life in front of a computer screen. Michelle got her creative parachute ready in November 2013 when she decided to leave her graphic design job and give up the steady paycheck that came with it. 

“I decided I was going to take on a little adventure in letterpress,” she said.

Her design job was fun and the her coworkers were nice but something was missing.

“I wasn’t making things with my hands,” she said. “I was just working on the computer.”

Tune in to this episode of CraftSanity to find out how Michelle’s love of letterpress inspired her to make a fun and exciting career change and launch Runaway Press in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Letterpress artist, Michelle Terry, uses her Showcard Sign Press to create cards and art prints. She bought the 300-pound press from a printer in Philadelphia and made the 13-hour drive with her dad to pick it up. The press was manufactured in the 1960s and is still fully operational. On the wall is one of Terry’s signature pieces. She printed the shape of the state of Michigan using more than 250 individual blocks.

You can read the rest of the newspaper column I wrote about Michelle on MLive and shop her letterpress goods on Etsy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram. And watch her make a print in the video clip below.

* I don’t know about you, but I’m currently obsessed with large fonts and plotting to carve my own to block print on paper and fabric. Get in touch if you have a story to share involving letterpress, printmaking, text or fonts. Print is not dead, so let’s keep talking about it. 

CraftSanity Podcast Episode 132: Conversations with ‘Little One-Yard Wonders’ authors Rebecca Yaker and Trish Hoskins

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This episode of CraftSanity features mini-interviews with Twin Cities authors of “Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids.”

We start the show with a chat with Patricia “Trish” Hoskins, co-owner of Crafty Planet in Minneapolis, and then continue with another chat with Rebecca Yaker, a crafty lady with a background in apparel and bedding design and machine knitting. (You may recall that Rebecca was the star of CraftSanity Episode 112. You can listen that episode over here.)

LittleOneYardWondersCo-authors and friends, Hoskins and Yaker are celebrating the publication of this their third 101-project sewing book. With help from their talented contributors, this successful publishing duo have once again compiled a sewing book packed with fun inspiration for using up stash fabric one yard at a time. This 360-page edition includes six full-sized pattern pages and fun patterns for moms like me to sew for our kids. Even though my daughters are 8 and 10 now, I have marked about a dozen projects for future sewing. Some of the garment patterns go up to size 10 and 12 and many of the patterns for plushies, totes and accessories have all-ages appeal which is great.

photo 1So far I’ve made my daughters the girlie undies and tank tops on p. 145. Because I can’t seem to ever follow a pattern exactly as written, I added lining to the undies and rounded out the back of the tank neck. Both projects were a hit with my daughters who still think it’s cool that their mom can sew underwear. (Who knew that was going to be one of my craft super powers.) The book includes a pattern for “mister briefs,” and a matching tank, too, so no one is left out of the custom underpants game. And, yes, I agree that it’s amusing that I would hone in on the underpants when there are 100 other patterns to choose from. The project was fast and easy, so it fit my deadline criteria perfectly. Now, that I’m sewn the basic essentials, I’m moving on to the outerwear and accessories. :  )

With my kids just about to grow out of the garment patterns it contains, I’m kind of blown away by how much I dig this book. Seriously, it’s really cool and contains some super cute patterns that I want to make for my kids and their cousins. There’s even a summer hat pattern with clever ponytail access. I love little deals like that.

Ok, so go listen to the podcast and read my MLive.com column in the July 29, 2014 edition of The Grand Rapids Press. Then leave a comment about what you like to sew OR what you want to learn to sew to enter the random drawing to win a copy to “Little One-Yard Wonders.” (Thanks to Storey Publishing for donating a copy of the book to the giveaway!) The deadline to enter is July 6, 2014. Good luck!

UPDATE!!! We have a winner! Jacqueline was randomly selected as the giveaway winner by CraftSanity’s Co-V.P of Fun, Amelia Claire. Congrats, Jacqueline! Send your mailing address along and we’ll get you your book ASAP. :  ) 

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CraftSanity Podcast Episode #131 – A conversation with Ambrose founder Adam Weiler

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A summer camp romance and a $5,000 grant have given arts education a boost on the lakeshore where a small business is providing opportunities for kids to express themselves creatively.

This is what happens when cupid and a creative guy named Adam Weiler cross paths with a lovely lady on a basketball court. But more about that later. 

IMG_2127As the founder and director of Ambrose, the Holland, Michigan based screen printing and design business with a commitment to educating kids about the arts, Adam, 32, and his team of collaborators and volunteers are doing what they can to build community and inspire young people in West Michigan to achieve their artistic potential through events like cardboard regattas, weekly after school programs and summer art camps.

But Ambrose might never have started had it not been for a lakeshore love connection. 

Check out my column in Home section of the June 22 edition of The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com to read the rest of the story. Or, better yet, listen to Adam tell the story himself on CraftSanity episode #131.

 


Read more about Ambrose screen printing and design services, workshops, after school programs and summer camps at ambrose.is and find out about upcoming Print Together Time events on Facebook. Follow @ambrosemakery on Twitter and Instagram.

Leave a comment about this episode below and feel free to send me your CraftSanity Podcast guest suggestions.

CraftSanity Podcast Episode #130: A conversation with ‘A Garden to Dye For’ author, Chris McLaughlin

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ZZ3AF9404AHello, hello! After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back recording podcast interviews with artists and crafters. On episode #130, I’ll introduce you to California garden writer and fiber enthusiast Chris McLaughlin.

A long-time gardener, Chris loves to extract color from her plants and recently wrote a book about it so others can swan dive into the wonderful world of natural dying, too.

ZZ36A2E95AIn her new book, “A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics and Fibers,” ($17.95, 142 pages) Chris profiles 50 plants to grow and harvest to dye fabric, yarn and Easter eggs and create a palette of natural watercolor paints. The book also includes directions for making eco-print scarves, too. 

I just got serious about natural dyes last summer. So far, I’ve tried pokeberries, sumac, avocado, walnut, onion skins, rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) and goldenrod. Once I get around to planting some Japanese indigo in my yard, I’ll finally be be able to dye my fiber and fabrics blue. That will be fun!

So, pour yourself some tea, grab your latest project and settle in to listen to a fun chat with Chris. Then leave a comment below about your natural dyeing adventures. I’d love to hear about your experiments. You can find out more about the book here. And you can read the column I wrote about Chris on MLive.com.

Charity bear pattern pdf

IMG_1350If you’re looking for a charity sewing project, be sure to check out my column in today’s edition of The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com. Hospice of Michigan is looking for volunteers to sew bears and pillows out of the clothing of former hospice patients that serve as tangible memories for their loved ones.

I’ll add the link when my column is posted. Click below for the simple, bear pattern template I mentioned in my column.

Download bear pattern PDF

‘Knit the Alphabet’ Blog Tour Stop: Today Is Sponsored by The Letter H


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Hello, friends! Today I woke up at 6 a.m. to knit a giant letter “H.” Why? Well, I got inspired by a new craft book and really got into it. As a journalist, printmaker and lover of all things involving text, I have often thought it would be fun to knit letters. However, I’ve never had time to map out the patterns to do so. Turns out I don’t have to.

Now, thanks to Claire Garland and her new book “Knit the Alphabet: Quick and easy alphabet knitting patterns, knitters get to skip to the fun part and cast on. My schedule is nuts as usual, but I committed to writing about this book today because I’m a big fan of Claire’s work. In an effort to make good on that, I pledge to make knitting absolutely mandatory today. (I wish it was every day!) So, between advising my students, reading student work, conducting interviews and driving my kids around town, I will be working on my letter throughout the day. So check back for an update on how it turns out and more of my thoughts about the book.

I’ve only knitted the left leg of the “H” and I’ve already noticed that the pattern is much easier than I imagined. (Thank you, Claire!)

Okay, so check out my Instagram feed for progress updates and then head back here soon for my full review.

I’m so happy that today’s to-do list involves knitting text. Yes! I hope you get to do something fun today, too! : )

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