Monday, November 28, 2016


I know that some of you look forward to seeing what my niece, Lauren, does for her holiday table, always something different, so here is this year's.

She always has fresh flowers that she arranges herself and always a beautiful tablecloth and napkins.
The food was equally delicious, as were her Pumpkin Martinis (sinful, but oh, so good!).

Here is her SO's bulldog, Tank, dressed for the occasion. I must confess that I bought it for him and he kept it on all day. It didn't seem to bother him at all, but he is used to wearing a collar and an occasional scarf. He is a very mellow dog, as are most of that breed.

I have many things for which to be grateful, but especially that this year my sister has moved into a house two doors down from me. We are the best of friends and this is so much better than her being on Long Island, over a two hour drive away, depending on weather and traffic. She moved in about a month ago and is settling in very nicely. She is already friends with most of my friends, since we travel together, and we are having a grand old time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Garment Sewing

I recently got a fantastic deal on some beautiful silk reversible decorator fabric. I immediate thought of using it for garments, but wasn't sure what. When I got home I remembered a fleece wrap that I had bought a couple of years ago and always loved to wear.

If you are a garment sewer, you might be able to tell that this is made from one big circle with two armholes. It has to be made from a fabric that looks good on both sides, as this fleece does, or my magnificent new silk. I cut one out and when I realized it would work, I went back to the sale the next day and bought more fabric. I wore my first one to a big holiday luncheon to rave reviews. So many people, including strangers, came up and told me how much they liked it. With that confidence under my belt, I made a few more and they will be for sale at the Brookfield Craft Center Holiday sale.

Since the fabric is reversible, it looks good on both sides and is slightly different on each. You need a pin, sparkly or not, to hold it in place.

On this one I folded the edges of the top under to give it more of a collar affect. Wouldn't this be pretty for a holiday party?

I originally thought that I could just use a satin stitch on the edges, but that did not work at all, due to the fact that the silk wants to ravel. So I made French binding and used that on all the edges. I got pretty good at it as I went along. I cut my bias strips 2 inches wide and folded it in half. I sewed it on with a quarter inch seam, then turned it over, using lots of steam and covered the stitching on the other side. Then I stitched in the ditch on the front, catching the edge on the other side.



I wish I had taken a picture of the other one at the shop, but I didn't. It is the same fabric in shades of dark brown and tan, very elegant. (PS when I went to deliver these two garments I found out that the dark brown and tan one had sold.)

I'm wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I will be going to my niece's as usual and will share pictures of her gourmet feast and decor later this week. 

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Shibori Napkins

This summer I went to a Surface Design Association meeting at Anita Balkun's home.  On the refreshment table she had a large sampling of the scrumptious ice dyed napkins that she had made for her son's wedding, 145, I think. They were not ironed and so had this lovely soft hand to them. She had done them in many shades of dye and each one was different than the rest.   

I was so enamored of them and inspired that I decided to make some myself, but I wanted to make them all shibori in the traditional dark blue and white. I went online and ordered several sets of vintage linen napkins on eBay. No two sets were the same size; some were luncheon size and some a generous dinner size. Most sets did not have an even number, they were 5 or 7 or 9 to a set. I also had five large damask napkins from a table cloth I had years ago. It was a large cloth, 120 inches, and I know there were twelve napkins, but I only could find five. Heaven only knows what happened to the rest.

So here is what I did:
This first set was done in the fold and clamp method, using wooden shapes that I had on hand. This was a smaller luncheon size. I steam ironed all the napkins and while they are not stiff as they would be if I had ironed them damp, they had a wonderful soft feel to them, as all of the other napkins do, too. These are all folded.

This is just one of this set opened, so you can see the repeat.

For this next set, I accordion pleated them, using an iron and then held the pleats in place with clothespins. As I was running low on clothes pins, I used fewer on each one and when I ran out of clothespins for the last two I used rubber bands.

One of this set opened up to show the repeat pattern. Even though these took a sharp crease,  they are still very soft to the touch.

The next two sets are larger napkins and I was able to sew each one into a tube to fit onto a PVC pipe. Then they were scrunched down as tightly as I could. Because the fabric was heavier than the usual sewing cotton that I would use in my fiber art, the stripes were much farther apart, but I still like them. There are 8 to this set, the only even set I had. Again, these are folded.

This set is from the heavy damask dinner size napkins that I only had 5 of. These stripes were even wider and some came out much darker than the others. Who knows why......part of the fun of dyeing.

This last set was of very large dinner napkins in a soft damask in an allover pattern, which is hard to see. This set was ice-dyed. I was just about out of the Navy dye that that I had used for all the others and I had to add Midnight Blue, which is a blue with a slight periwinkle hue, thus the lavender and reddish tones coming through. Of course as with all ice-dying , each napkin is unique.

I must say that this was a lot of fun and I would like to do some more, but perhaps in assorted colors. I use cloth napkins every day, but it's just me living here and how many napkins can one person use? My home is predominately blue and white, so any of these would be perfect here but I am thinking that they would also make great gifts.

A little late, I know, but I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016