Thursday, December 31, 2009

Traveling Shoes are On! New Years in Verona

I'm still using up those miles! And so, I wanted to see Verona in the winter. So, here I am again. I had a wonderful welcome from my 'Italian family'.

Verona is decorated with a festival of lights, and I am about to go walk around to see it for the first time in the dark. It is New Year's Eve, and tonight I am going to a Russian Dance presentation, and then at midnight, I shall head over to the Roman arena you see here to watch the fireworks.

I've already strolled the fashion windows on one of the major fashion streets here, and so I shall be reporting back on that once I've had a chance to take a few photos.

I will also fill you in on my various other reasons for being here (beyond the culture, food, fashion, and photo opportunities... I should need more reason?).

More to come!!

Note: somehow ice skating and Roman arenas seem to be a mix I had not thought of.


Susanna (while in Italy)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Southern California

So, not to rub it in to all of you stuck in snow storms, but we had a beautiful day here in Southern California. Although it is not always possible, we did manage to eat our Xmas dinner outside on the patio.

I prepared the turkey on the rotisserie, and prepped all the other typical fixings.

You can see, by the status of Cassie the dog, the meal was very successful.

Oh dear... greater action was needed. So after dinner, my sons and I took the dogs out for a walk.

Here is Cassie... my baby, wearing her Xmas bandanna.

Here you can see the views in the area.

Happy Holidays: Meet my Holiday Tree/Bush

Happy holidays to all.

It is Christmas today, and a time for family, food, and festivity. It is also a time to reflect and honor the meaning of the day.

Here you see my holiday tree/bush. Now, for those who know me, you know there is a story. You see, I am in Year 5 of the non-traditional Christmas tree. Yes, I have yet to have a 'standard' tree in the past five years. I've had an upside down tree, a fan-bush tree, a tree full of wire 'boinnnngggs', etc. You get the idea.

So, each year, it has been a bit of a challenge to come up with something new. This year, I was aided by a strong wind storm.

My original idea was to go up to the mountains and find a dead branch of interest. Then, I would paint it, and let it be the base of my tree. Somehow, I never made it up to the mountains, but the wind storm we had a couple of weeks ago provided 'just the branch'.

I was driving to the college early one morning, and started noticing all the branches on the side of the road. Then, I saw one that just called to me. It had lots of long slender leaves, some red berries, and even some fuzzy little red flowers. I have no idea what kind of tree it was.

So... on with the brakes. I had to eye it up for size, and then look at Eros my SUV, to see if it would fit. Hmm.. most likely not.. but I decided to give it a try. Let's just say, that the car was full of leaves, branches, etc., and it sounded like a wind storm, all the way to the college and back.

Once home, I positioned my branch in an old Victorian-looking metal stand I have, and then placed actual green cuttings around the base of the stand (as I love the smell of greenery).

On with the lights and decorations.

This has been my most unique tree thus far... and sets a new bar of craziness.

A couple more views.. one with friends and the cat.

Monday, December 21, 2009

One-of-a-Kind Show: Chicago, IL

My girlfriend Carol suggested I come to visit the first weekend of January, and take in the One-of-a-Kind show. Since I needed one more trip with United to achieve a certain status that will give me double miles next year, I decided it was a worthy cause, and booked a ticket.

I thought the show was strictly clothing, and I was prepared to leave credit card and check book at home. Well, it was much more than that. There were many, many different arts, crafts, and related items. The general rule is that the person in the booth has made or produced the goods.

Of course, Chicago itself is interesting, and a great city to visit. If it weren't for the wind!

Below look at a shot of the Esty booth, and some views of Chicago. I will be sharing some of the artists work (with their permission).

So far behind...

I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted. I guess that gives one the sense of what life is like the last month of the semester at Mesa College. It was a whirlwind of projects, grading and various.

I am now on break for a few weeks, and happy to have some time to prep for the holidays, sew, knit, and of course, travel.

In the next several entries, I shall catch up on some of the fun times of December, including a trip to the One-of-a-Kind show in Chicago (Wow! is all I can say), the adventures of my holiday Xmas tree this year, student projects at the end of the semester, etc. etc.

So, hopefully I can redeem my writing self.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Victoria Done!

Last weekend I had a couple of girlfriends over for dinner. Victoria brought a project that was almost 'done', and together we threw it in the washer and dryer to perform the last step, which was 'shrinking' the poncho. We measured it first, then placed it in a mesh bag and threw it into a hot wash, cold rinse, and then the dryer. It was a little scarey!

Here you can see Victoria wearing the finished item. It is made from Touch Me yarn by Meunch Yarns. Check it out!

Victoria says:
This is the most luxurious garment I have ever knitted. OMG. I'm going to do one in black next. 650 grams of Touch Me on size 7 needles. It's a Muench pattern: "Poncho with Cowl Neck". I made the Small/Medium.

I'm going to wash the purple one in cold water then put it in a hot dryer and see what happens.

We'll ask her for photos, yes?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mood Fabrics and Project Runway

How many of you are watching Project Runway? I must admit that this is the first season where I have watched every show. Thank you to my cable box, for allowing me to record things.

We San Diegans, are fortunate to have Gordana Gehlhausen in our back yard. She has opened a boutique in downtown San Diego, and here you can see her (with me) at an event in her store.
Here is the link to her site

Last weekend, when I was visiting my past students in New York, Genevieve and I made a stop at Mood Fabrics. How fun! Below you can see some shots of Mood. ...
And yes, I did purchase a few pieces of fabric.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New York! The Big Apple

This past weekend, I went to New York (city) to visit two past graduates, Genevieve and June. They moved to New York over a year ago and have been asking me to come visit. So.. use up more United miles, and go to New York? But, of course. It had been many years since my last visit, and it was time to catch up on the museums and theatre.

I'll be filling you in on a few of the fashion things that I did..but first, some images of New York City itself.

The skycrapers of NYC!

Little is more exciting than Times Square at night.

Of course, you can watch people skating at Rockefeller Center.

Here is Bryant Park... the location of the fashion week shows.

Ginger Done!

My friend Ginger sent me an email and some photos, and I am sharing these here. Here is what Ginger had to say.

OK, a "done"! This scarf is a variation on a Japanese stitch pattern that I
learned when I was in Gayle Roehm's Challenging Japanese Stitch Patterns
class at Stitches East this year. The yarn is Noro's Silk Garden Lite. It
was fun to knit and actually went fairly quickly after a few pattern

I'm famous (infamous?) for not finishing projects. I get so many ideas while
I'm working on one thing and as soon as I know that the current project will
work out all right, my mind is off and ready to begin the next new
exploration. You've inspired me to finish some of these abandoned projects
and I'm now going to alternate "dones" with new projects.


Here is a detail...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Done #4: Sweater Jacket

This is a sweater jacket that I machine-knit a few years ago. The pattern is from a book I wrote, called Easy Seven Jackets. The purpose of the book is to teach people how to think outside of the box, using Garment Designer. Each jacket in the book teaches them a new way to think when using the software.

Apparently my gauge was ‘off’, or I simply goofed, but in the end the jacket was much larger than it should have been, and for that reason, it has sat shelved. I finally decided I needed t figure it out.

So… here is how the fixes evolved.
For the sleeves that were six inches too long? I made a fold-back cuff.
For the neckline that stretched? I used a chain crochet stitch to tighten it back up.
For the upper bodice that was too big? I simpy criss-crossed or overlapped the jacket top more.
For the jacket skirt (knit sideways) that was too narrow? Well, I decided to add contrasting wedges along the center front of the garment.

For the two center fronts that were different lengths, because the cast-on was different than the cast-off? Well, I stretch one side like crazy when I added the wedges, so that all would look “intentional”.

In the end? A fun and creative jacket, which I can now wear.
Thanks to Lexi, one of my students, for modeling.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


A few days ago, I heard a quote on the radio. It resonated with me, so here it is.

“There is no growth without change. There is no change without risk”.

Both design and life can become challenging, so know that taking risks is good.

All things for a reason.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Done #3: The Finished/Unfinished Top

This is a project that had been in the works for quite some time. Several years ago, I wrote an article for Knit N' Style magazine, detailing how to create the garment you see below. Thanks to my student Stephanie for modeling.

Since the article only showed the front of the garment, I never actually knit the back piece. So... in my current "getting things done" mode, I decided to finish this project.

The design consists of a T-shirt type top, sewn out of illusion knit. Onto this base, I stitched a knit sweater piece that was knit too small (on purpose). I joke around, that this is what you do if you don't knit a proper gauge... you find a creative way to use the piece.

Garment Designer software was used to create both the sewn and knit patterns. If you want to see the entire process, including the inspiration garment from Denmark, go to my website and check it out.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Courteney Fox: Done!

Courteney Fox is a student of mine at Mesa College. Many of my students are aware of the "Done" projects I am working on, and some of them have jumped on the band wagon to finish up projects of their own. Below you can see one of Courteney's projects. This is called the Miss Royalty Coat.

Courteney is a blogger here as well, so go check out her site.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Project: Alter-Ego Figure

In February, I am going to be teaching a workshop in New Zealand. I decided I wanted to involve sublimation printing in the project, and so I had to come up with something that fiber artists would enjoy. Put on the thinking cap.. and voila.. a project, building what I call an alter-ego figure (doll).

What is an alter-ego figure? Well, she is the other side of you. If you are tired.. she is full of energy. If you are a bit shy, she is not. If you are stuck in a rut, she moves forward. She is everything you need her to be, and more. She is your guardian angel.

Here are the steps...

I began by rounding up the usual cast of characters.. two girlfriends who I do creative projects with...Victoria and Lisa

Then.. the prep work
I asked each of them to send me digital image which had a good 'face'. I then used Photoshop to select the portions I wanted,and then, dropped the face into a 'body' I had drawn. Once I had the basic body/face ready, I printed the image on sublimation paper using a printer at the college.

Next, a little sewing..
I took the printouts and sublimated them onto fabric. In case you are wondering, sublimation is the process of going from solid (ink on paper) to gas, (transfer of ink), to solid (ink on fabric).
I then cut out the figures, and stitched the two layers together on my Brother sewing machine, leaving the bottom open for stuffing.

The girls arrived.. and away we went. We stuffed our figures, all the while bestowing good thoughts and magical charms on our alter ego dolls.
Using fabrics, beads, and anything you want... we dressed our girls.. and made them 'pretty'.

Here you can see the results of a few hours of fun..

Avast... Ye Mateys! The Celebrities Commune

Hallowe'en... How fun. I am pleased to say, I have never grown up, completely. I love to entertain, and most years I host a Hallowe'en party, always with a theme. This year, the theme was.. Come Dressed as a Favorite Celebrity. The good news is, my friends generally get into the groove with me, and that is what makes such a good mix; friends getting together, good food, good drink, and lots of laughs.

Here I am in pirate garb, but I want you to know that it was all fashion/designer wear, from my Anna Sui silk vest and Italian pant/skirt, to the leather boots, and Bisou Bisou blouse.
Oh yes, check out Twiggy below. She is wearing my dress from highschool years.. I tell my students.. you think you own short! I think not... this dress even had matching underwear.

I would like you to meet various folks who attended the soirée last evening.

Dolly Parton, and Darlene (from the Micky Mouse Club)

Sonny and Cher, Harrison Ford, and Zorro

Twiggy and the Sixties Dude of unidentified personna.

Elvira and Elphaba

Betty Davis, Vampy Vixen, Wench Piratess

arhhhhh... yet more pirates... we were overrun... avast..

Johnny Depp and his sidekick, the dog from Pirates of the Carribean... note the keys on the ring

Mary Poppins and her western 'friend' (didn't know she had one, did you!)

The Witches of Reflection (my street)

The entire pirate crew...

One is never too old to be a kid. Dress-up time it was.