Monday, January 8, 2024

 Update on this Blog

January, 2023

I have not had much time to keep this blog actively growing, yet it has a lot of great content from times when I did have more time.

So, enjoy what is here.

Please check out my other blogs (which are related to my business or reading).

Creative on Cochenille - a blog related to creative endeavors at Cochenille Design Studio

Favorite Reads - I'm an avid reader and I share mostly fiction books related to Art, Design, Sewing, Craft

Cochenille Users of Interest - this is a new Blog where we share what our software users are doing with our programs.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Non-Traditional Christmas Tree #19, 2023

A Literary Tree - 2023 -
# 19 in the Non-Traditional Christmas Tree

This year, my non-traditional Christmas tree was made from old Italian books. I started this project while in Italy, and continued it in California as well.

I had seen the idea in a home decorating magazine, and thus set out to find books that could easily be used for the project. This meant that I needed to find older books that had what are called signatures. Signatures are small booklets (of sorts) that are joined together to create a bigger book.

So, I spent time looking through Used Book stores for the right kind of books and easily found some.

The first batch I brought home were beautiful books unto themselves and my friends told me I could NOT destroy these. (never mind the fact that I couldn't really read them, as they were in Italian).

Basically, the process is simple:
  1. Separate the inside of the book from its cover
  2. Separate the signatures from the inside (which involves an X-acto knife)
  3. Start folding... each page the same.
Folding Process

                                                                        Work Station

I had grand plans of creating a tree that stacked one tree above that other, but that didn't happen, so here you can see my 'forest' of trees, which I set up with a few lights.

Merry Christmas 2023

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Non-Traditional Christmas Tree #18, 2022

Non-Traditional Christmas Tree #18
December 2022

Once again, inspiration came from a magazine photo that suggested using a tree branch as a base. This was the tree we put on the wall of my apartment . Since the walls are cement, and I'm scared to hang things at this point, we used an existing hook.


  • One Tree branch, as dry as possible
  • Mini balls
  • Mini pine cones
  • String of lights


                                                            The tree lit up at night

Friday, December 24, 2021

Non-Traditional Christmas Tree #17 - 2021

Non-Traditional Tree #17
Christmas 2021

This was the year of 'round things' for the tree. It had to be a quick and easy one this year, as I was heading to Denver to be with family, yet I couldn't not have a tree.

So, I gathered all things I could find that were round.

The list included
  • Shower Scrubbies (form the 99 cent store)
  • Felt ball garland (Trader Joe's)
  • Garland ball covers for lights (found in Vietnam years ago)
  • Holiday ball ornaments
Below you can see the tree (about 3 feet high) in daylight and lit up.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Non-Traditional Christmas Tree #16: A Celebration of Yarn

Celebrating Christmas at the End of a Pandemic Year

Christmas Tree 2020

What a strange year this has been. I think I have spent more hours in my home since March of 2020 than in many years combined prior to that. A lot of the ‘at home’ activity revolved around creative projects, so it would make sense that my 2020 non-traditional Christmas tree this year reflect that.

Since fibers are a bit part of my life and I have ample in my possession, I decided to create this year’s tree from all things related to yarn.  You can see some of the ingredients below.

balls, skeins and cones of yarn

cord, tassels and pompoms

The core of the tree was set around some decorative display items that Starbucks used in their stores a few years ago. I had asked my local store if they were going to toss the displays at the end of the season, if they would toss it my way. Lucky for me, they did, and I’ve been using these yarn and glass ball displays in my home holiday décor for many years.
Decorative core, thanks to Starbucks

Around the tree I placed my cones of yarn around the core. Some of these were from my weaving years, and others from my current machine-knitting years. I attached tassels around the edge of the tabletop. These I made these as demo items in my Textiles class. When we began to study yarns, I showed my students how to create cord, and then how to build a tassel. 
tassels placed around the edge of the table top

Next, I draped the hanks/skeins of hand-painted yarns around the base, and then, I positioned pompoms (also a demo item for my students in Textile Design) and balls of yarn to fill in the gaps.
fill-in items

The last item for the decoration was the stringing of lights. There you have it… a yarn holiday tree,  #16 for me.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

NewDo: Machine Knit T-Shirt Top by Theresa Avila

Machine Knit T-Shirt Challenge: Complete!

Theresa Avila

Garment Designer user, Theres Avila from Albuquerque recently shared a project with us. Her machine knitting club decided to have a summer T-Shirt challenge. Teresa got involved and used Garment Designer to create her pattern. She knit the garment on a Brother 940 knitting machine using one strand of Yeoman Panama cotton yarn at tension 6.2. This was her first Garment Designer project. Great work Theresa!

Theresa Avila Sweater
Machine-Knit T-Shirt top by Theresa Avila

A Little about Theresa

Teresa says she is a good old-fashioned homemaker. Her love for sewing and knitting started when, at age 13, her mother told her, that due to her over-flowing closet, they were not going shopping for clothes anymore. Thus began her love of sewing and anything one could do to create clothes. She developed a passion to create new things and has continued this ever since.

Monday, April 20, 2020

ToDo/NewDo: Original Textile Prints and One-Yard Fabric Designs with Garment Designer by Carrie Schneider

African Culture Transformed: One-Yard Print Challenge 

Carrie Schneider

Recently, San Diego Mesa College Fashion Program was involved with a collaboration with the African Art collection at the college and Visions Art Museum in Liberty Station, San Diego. 
Students designed fabrics using imagery from the online African Art archives. Approximately 20 fabrics were printed in one-yard pieces. These fabrics were placed in an exhibit at the museum called African Art Transformed.

In early March, the museum hosted a fashion show of African-inspired garments from Mesa Fashion students (also part of the collaborative effort). Carrie was challenged to create a garment from a one-yard piece of fabric. And this she did, not once, but twice, with two fabrics she had designed.

Here are Carrie's prints.

And now... look at what Carrie managed to do with a single yard of each! She used Garment Designer to create the pattern and her ingenuity to manage garments with a yard of fabric.

Straight skirt

Square neck, cap-sleeved top

A little about Carrie
Carrie Schneider is a biologist who never fails to be entertained by the unique and fascinating qualities of San Diego's natural habitats. She grew up in the verdant countryside of the Hoosier state then moved to the east coast, where she earned a Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is now a consultant in biotechnology company. She led the Environmental Systems subcommittee for the City Wide Canyons Sewer Maintenance Task Force, whose proposed improvements to City procedures for accessing sewer infrastructure in open space parks were adopted by the City Council in 2002. She is a co-founder of San Diego Canyonlands, started the Friends of Switzer Canyon in North Park, and continues to lead volunteers to restore upland and stream-side habitat. She enjoys contributing to the Herbarium collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum as a trained parabotanist for the Plant Atlas project and was president of the San Diego chapter of the California Native Plant Society from 2002-2004.