Summer Stitches

As the mercury rises, it’s time to pull out my summer clothes.  Looking in my closet, I realize, “I don’t have anything to wear.”  I use to spend more time at the shopping mall, but now I’m embracing “slow fashion for the home sewist.”  For a definition and interesting article about slow fashion, read this article by Kate Fletcher.

Well, time to set up my sewing machine and re-discover the many hidden gems in my stash of fabric.  I do recall purchasing a few yards of cotton canvas fabric designed by Yoko Saito a couple of years ago at, A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA. After purchasing the fabric, I discovered Ms. Saito is an internationally known quilt artist, and I also own one of her books.  What a coincidence!

Across the store,  a bolt of fabric caught my eye.  I noticed the fabric because of the color, but most of all the modern look with a vintage appeal of vases on fabric and the simple intersection of lines drawn on the vases. The sales person mentioned, “perhaps the fabric would suit kitchen curtains.”  I had another idea…

Summer Sewing 2017_1
McCall’s Pattern M6739


Now I have something to wear with my green purse.





Block Printing

As the temperature rises, I’m reminded it’s Summer.  A linen blouse, crop pants, sandals and a ponytail pretty much describe my look for the season.  Comfortable clothes combined with the heat, and last but not least, barbecue ignite an intense creative curiosity leading me down an unknown path.  Perhaps I’m nostalgic for Summer days gone by when, as a young girl, the end of the school year meant staying up late and sleeping in, swimming all summer, making lanyards at my local Parks and Recreation Department or hanging out in the mystery section at the library.  Along the way, I loved biking through fields of flowers, racing with dragonflies, and collecting rocks.  A time and place I created for myself, the freedom to explore without any encumbrances.

My current Summer journey leads to an intense study of block printing.  Recently, I attended a block printing class at A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA with Rebecca of Rekh & Datta. Rebecca shared a video of India, describing a brief history of  block printing along with the individual family that translates her designs to fabric.

Block Printing #1
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Here is my first carved block .

Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall
Block Printing #2
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

I decided to separate the block into individual segments to experiment with pattern and design.

Block Printing #3
Photo credit:  Mary Lou Fall

Much to my surprise, some interesting patterns emerged.  I feel fortunate to have the “time” to let my curiosity soar to new heights and discover amazing possibilities.

I used to think reminiscing about the past was not healthy, but I now believe my past is my present.  Looking back is not past history, and according to Sadie Stein, “As the deep vaults of history are made accessible to everyone via technology, the past has become an alternative present.”  Ms. Stein’s article appeared in The New York Times Style Magazine, entitled, We’re Living in a Copycat Culture, dated January 31, 2017.

“The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”    William Faulkner







Mapping Color

This past weekend, I spent an afternoon Eco Dyeing with a group of interesting women led by Kristine Vejar, owner of A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA


Three silk scarves scoured and mordant Mapping Colorwere artistically placed and personalized around a table creating an inviting space. We were welcomed into Kristine’s garden and invited to sample cuttings from her plants.  Of course, we were educated about which plants produce pleasant results, such as:  Eucalyptus leaves, Yarrow, Pomegranate rind, Marigold, Black Walnut and root of Rhubarb to name a few.

Color Mapping #4

After the chosen vegetation was placed, the dampened scarf was folded and rolled around a tree branch or tubing and tied before being processed in the dye pot.  The scarf was processed for 45 minutes in 180 degree water.


Color Mapping #5

Color Mapping #6Here are my attempts at Mapping Color from Kristine’s garden.  I am anxious to Map Color from my own landscape. Color Mapping #7