Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Class! Working with Knits: The Perfect T-Shirt

"Without the proper equipment, sewing with knits can be frustrating to say the least. Our newly expanded department is excited to offer a class completely devoted to knits and stretch! During the class students will become familiar with our new sergers and coverstitch machine by making their own custom fit jersey t-shirt. Instruction will also cover sewing with a range of other knit materials, designing for knits and troubleshooting issues as they relate to projects. Sample material provided; students will provide material for their own projects. Prerequisite: First-Time Sewing or basic sewing experience. This class authorizes students to use advanced equipment for open studio use."

10weeks, Saturdays 10am- 1pm, Starts April 6th. Sign up here!

I'm not sure I've done the best job promoting this class... It's going to be awesome! A lot of people think of "knits" as big, chunky sweaters with cables, etc., which, while being accurate, does not fully encompass the nuanced world of "knits." Knit fabrics include:

Jersey (t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, dresses, skirts, jumpers, underwear)
Sweatshirt fabric (sweatshirts, cozy skirts)
Stretch poly (dance wear, leggings, athletic wear)
Fleece (slankets, snuggies)
Terry Cloth (rompers. ROMPERS.)

The class will start with a t-shirt but we should have plenty of time for students to work on a second project of their choosing. (DID I MENTION ROMPERS?)

Another great thing about sewing with knit is that the fabric is forgiving: it's drapey and a little stretchy (which is what makes it a little bit more difficult to work with) but it also has the tendency to hide mistakes. Hence: it's super rewarding! 

And here's the other thing. I love making real stuff. I know that's maybe a weird thing to say- or maybe just a weird way of saying it... but I love making something that looks professional; like I could have bought it at a store, like something that already exists in the world. The new machines we've got in the studio are magic for making professional stuff. I just want to share that feeling with as many people as possible.

So come take  my class!!! And sign up quickly! If we don't get a few more students enrolled in the next few days we might not have enough to run the class! 


Friday, March 22, 2013


There were so many colors in the sky tonight that taking any one swatch felt like lying. Even two. Even three. There were purples and greens, teals and tourmalines that defied capture. With no clouds to distract/mar/abrupt/disrupt/contrast/contradict the sky, the colors were just indescribably  deep.  There were sideways and diagonal ombres that shifted so subtly I didn't even realize they were gone until I looked away and then back again. And it lasted forever. It followed me all the way home.

I cannot believe I was driving during that sunset. I swatched, I got in the car and I hit the road. This project is turning out to also be about patience: wait for it, work through it, try different colors, angles- how long can it really take in the grand scheme of my day? 

Tonight's sunset deserved to be watched like a movie, sat through like a concert, read like a book. And I gave it as much attention as I give anything these days. Half. Max. 

To which the only thing I can seem to think to say is:

Check yerself, girlfriend.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

February Field Notebook


If I fretted about light in January, it was nothing to the problems I faved trying to swatch at night during February. To swatch in darkness, you need to find a source of light. Streetlights were helpful, although most of the lamps in the city have bulbs that are very yellow/orange which adversely effected the camera's ability to see colors accurately. Gas stations and box-store parking lots were great. I tried to take a bunch from inside, too, with some success.

It wasn't as much the process that frustrated me, but the outcomes. The matches I achieved in the photos, although pleasing and seemingly accurate, produced a somewhat compromised palette when viewed away from the original situation. Because of this, I've started questioning atmosphere. What conditions (in addition to light, which might be the reason I chose the night swatch challenge in the first place,) were causing the divergence between what you see when looking at the swatch on-location and the color of the swatch when viewed independently? What would you have to do - in something like a gallery setting, for example - to be able to "read" in person what camera saw in situ? This is, perhaps, an avenue to explore in subsequent works.

The two factors that effected the color of the night sky most dramatically were weather and proximity to light, most obviously the light of a city. I spent a week of February traveling around the East Coast visiting friends and family. When I told a friend I had to swatch the night sky he said, "Isn't is just black?" Honestly, I was shocked. Even before this project I was pretty aware that the night sky is anything but. City lights, when trapped by cloud cover, are surprisingly, even alarmingly, bright. We're all so used to the strange mauve/purple that it doesn't even seem bizarre any more. But I remember being shocked by it when I first moved to Baltimore for college. The light was ever present and the color just seemed wrong. Out in the country, in Western Mass and the mountains of Vermont, the darkness was glorious. Not black, not quite, not ever... but darn near impossible to photograph. After my trip, the light of the city startled me all over again. It only took 4 nights to forget.

* * * * * 

Looking ahead:

March's challenge is Transition Times: Dusk & Dawn. 

(All of the swatch photos taken to date can be viewed on my flickr.)