An open invitation to daydream.

PicMonkey CollageI have been mesmerized by the beauty of Kantha quilts for quite a while now. Aren’t they just breathtaking, in their simplicity? I also love the reflective slowness of hand stitching. It gives you time. It gives you enough repetitiveness, to let your thoughts wander. It is the perfect task to accomplish, while daydreaming. Daydreaming is so conducive to creativity! We all should do it more! I am inviting you, to daydream with me!

I spent hours on Pintrest, losing myself in the images of Kantha quilts. These quilts are traditionally made by layering old, worn Saris together and stitching through all layers in running stitch, to make the fabric more durable.This way the old clothing will get just a bit more use out of it. Blankets like this are still handmade in rural India. The result can be as thick as you like, or a light summer blanket.

Finally, I decided, it is time, I made a “Kantha-quilt-inspired” blanket for myself. I am opting for a light summer cover. Just a little “cuddle blanket” for on the couch, or out on the terrace. For those not quite so burning-up-hot Pacific Northwest summer evenings ;)

I started by diving through my fabric stash and my closet (which I re-organized at the same time. How convenient!).

I emerged with an old Sari (light blue and gold, yes, I own saris) and a few sarongs (the other two pieces of fabric, also in blue tones). PERFECT!

2015-02-27 12.17.11

Saris are amazing. HUUUGE pieces of fabric. I am going to cut mine in half and will have enough material to make two blankets out of it. I will pair each sari half with one of my sarongs. The first one has a very pretty floral pattern on it and I think I will use the print to guide my stitching. The second one is more of a motive sarong. It has lettering and a tree looking print. I am not sure yet, if I just do running stitches, or maybe also incorporate the print into the stitching design. I guess this one will be my second blanket. This will give me some more time to make up my mind. I will take pictures along the way for you. <3

I would be thrilled, if you decided to work along with me on this. This project has no deadline. I plan for this to be  great, mindless, in-between stitching. Off and on.
Starting date for me is not until March 15th, this gives you time to grab some fabric, in case you decide to work along. Sarongs come up quite frequently in thrift stores, but a nice duvet cover will work just as well, or, if you rather go with new fabrics, by all means, buy some yardage. Make this blanket a mug rug, lap robe, or a California King cover. It is completely up to you! Mine will be as big as my sarongs are.

Kantha quilting is fairly simple, as it consist mainly of running stitches (also called straight stitch. Here is a link to a stitch glossary). How awesome is that? Anybody can do a running stitch! Lets have some fun with this!!!

Pictures in the collage were found on pintrest, but here are links to the specific places on the web.

Review — The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop — four out of five stars

18796087Beginner, or intermediate crocheters will get a lot of use out of this book.

I specially like books, that help people to make their own project dreams come true. This book definitely qualifies for this category. It will help you build your skills and add new and fun techniques to your repertoire page after page.

Starting out with fibre choice all the way to finishing techniques.
On today’s market, there are tons of yarns and it can be hard to pick the perfect one, if one is still new to all of this. The book begins with help on choosing yarn and explaining a bit about how it is manufactured. It gives an overview of yarn weight and what the finished fabric will look like in the different fibre qualities.

It doesn’t only explain how to put one crochet stitch on top of the next, but it has an entire chapter on crochet with different colours. How to add a new colour to your project and how to do tapestry crochet.
Another chapter deals with crocheting in the round and one with shaping. So in case you want to make a sweater, or cardigan as your first project, don’t despair! With this book you will be able to in no time!

Almost everything is explained in writing and with pictures. The writing is easily to understand and if there is a tricky technique to be mastered, the pictures are right there to clear up any questions that might come up.

I gave this book to my daughter to look over and see what she had to say. She does crochet, but not a lot. She appreciated the idea of the stitch along swatches and we both were thinking of making them, just so we could sew them together for a finished blanket in the end. (It is on our to do list, but at the moment pushed aside, since we are working like mad on putting the studio together) .

This book will be a staple in the “further reading” list I provide to my students, and it will sit on a shelf in my studio, for anyone to read and get inspired.

This book has instructions to the crocodile stitch as well. A lot of people came in the shop and were asking for instructions to this stitch. It has been out for a while now, but it usually does not appear in any of the older crochet help books. So it was very nice to see that added to the content.

Another really wonderful addition is a section about hand health. I find it important to keep your tools in perfect working order and your body is certainly on top of that list!

I recommend it very much to beginning crocheters everywhere.

Just a few things.

cats cradle stuff

I have been working. A lot. Outside in the garden and in the shed, to get it all done to open the studio. I have also been working inside the house. Tons of sewing and spinning going on every day. I am working like a mad squirrel to get some stock in the online shop. These are just a few pictures of what will be waiting for you in our little online Boutique, if you will. (it is open already, if you would like to have an early look!)

Handmade bags, little pincushions, my handmade jewelery line (called Treibholz), handmade Malas (my husband makes these!), and lots of handspun and handknitted items!

Hope to see you there! <3

New bag — SOLD

bagMy daughter and I made another bag today. :)

We love this one a lot. Leather bottom, burlap sides, cotton lining, pretty details… *sigh* I wish I could keep it.

If you like it, it is available. $50, free shipping. Please Dm me, or leave a comment on the FB page post for the bag!


Calling all my fibre friends!

2015-02-04 10.35.59 2015-02-04 10.36.09
I am getting ready to start working seriously on my studio and on the first few pieces I will work on IN the new studio. So I was wondering, if there is interest in a community art piece?

What I was looking for:
The pieces should not be bigger than a credit card (3 inches by 5 inches. They can be smaller, but no bigger!), they have to be backed with lining. Any kind of thin lining (see mine in the picture), and can be whatever strikes you fancy and whatever technique you prefer. Knit, crochet, weave, felt, needle lace.. Anything. The pieces will have to have a blanket stitch around the edge, as you see in the picture, that way I can attach them to each other. You can make one, or eight. It all depends on how you feel and how inspired you are. Also: Please do attach a little tag to your piece with your name on it (and maybe an online  link, if you like and have one).
As to the materials used: I would like to keep them natural materials and recycled, if possible (cotton, linen, wool, blends, silk, etc). My little square there, used to be the pocket in wool pants, for example and the embroidery was made with a tiny leftover bit of sock yarn. You don’t have to make the whole thing out of recycled material, if you have a leftover scrap of fabric from a previous project, feel free to use it. I just wanted to see how creative we can get without spending a ton while keeping things out of our landfills. Make art, not trash! ;)

I would like this very first studio piece to be a community piece, because this is what my studio is all about. Growing community, working together on preserving the wonderful fibre arts, passing along what we know, celebrating each others talents and inspiring each other.

What will happen to the piece, once it is done:
Once the piece is done, it will be displayed in my studio for a while. For everybody to see it and marvel at our fibre community’s diversity and be inspired. After that, I was thinking of auctioning it off. I would like the proceeds to go to a charity. (I was thinking of picking three, or so and then hosting a vote on my blog, or on FB as to which one we give the money to.)

That reminds me: Our new FB page is up! If you feel like it, go clicklike! :)

How much time will you have to complete a little patch?

Really as long as you need. This will be a long term project. If you could get your patch done this year (2015) that would be awesome, but if you need a little longer, that’s probably fine too. I have no end date set for this, and I have no specific size I want it to be. So what ever comes in whenever that is, it will be fine. I think I will set a soft deadline for this at mid next year (I think a year and a half for a credit card sized swatch is enough time), but will re-evaluate the time frame when I see how big it is by then. :)

The pieces would have to be sent to me, if you are interested, please comment here and then email me.

Thanks for considering to participate! <3

If you are interested in participating, please email to catscradlenw (at) gmail (dot) com