Friday, February 21, 2014
There was a very windy, sweeping storm last night. We woke up to sunshine, warmth, birds chirping and the tricky business of believing it could be Spring. Jeff said there was something a little sad about the sunshine today but he couldn't say what exactly. Something sort of sad about Spring. While he sat on the side of the bed with his coffee, (hoping the aroma would coax me to upright) me still buried in blankets, I offered that maybe it's sort of like the sadness of waking up. After sleeping deep in the dark, cold winter. The beauty of the morning however can only be explained one way for me today. Today is my Mama's birthday. She would have been 69. When I think of her and birthdays, I think of all she did for us and her grandchildren. I think of cakes. Presents. The utter joy she had of finding just the right thing for one or the other of us (and on sale too!). But for so many years now birthdays have been about knitting for the grandchildren. She divided the 12 of them (13 now) into two groups of receiving a handknitted gift from her. One year she made something for each of my six children, then the next year she made something for the other 6 (my brother's 4, and my sister's 2). So everyone got a handmade every other year. A pretty sweet deal. We would periodically expect an email from mom asking us to measure one child or another so that she could plan the size, yarn, needles, gauge, and other details. I always, in my limited understanding of knitting from patterns, would overlook those details in our conversations and just wanted to see the color of the yarn and the pattern she had planned. This was typical for mom and I as a pair. I got excited about everything that I could see and dream of, she concentrated on the details of getting it right. She saved the excitement part for seeing her gorgeous grandchildren in the sweaters. She did not love doing color work. She loved intricate stitches. She was a beautiful knitter. She has made amazingly lovely pieces. She said a prayer for the recipient with every single stitch. In the rear view mirror, I think that my slow uptake on knitting over the years has been because I just always wanted her to do that. I wanted it to be hers. I wanted, in very recent years, to not be the one knitting in the family. We needed her for that. I want to call her right now and tell her to check my blog for the pictures of Grace's sweater. I think in the winter of of 2012, I began focusing on finally getting this knitting thing figured out because I felt that she would be handing this work to me at some point soon. And at her hospital bedside last April (knowing that she had two knitting bags back at her hotel), I asked her permission to "help" with her knitting projects for a while. My sister asked to work on the Christmas pajamas. She smiled and blessed us each with a nod. She gave us permission. And so very much more.
I will never knit like her. I can hear her saying in my mind, as she is looking at this, that she would never dream up working the colors this way, but they are so beautiful. It will be perfect for her, she would say. My sweet niece, Grace, is 6 years old today. Yes, she shares a birthday with mom. It is so very appropriate that the first handknit, or as we call them "Nani Knits" that I created, is given on the day that we celebrate them both. It followed a pattern from Mom & Me Knits. But it's not pale solid pink. It is striped and then some. In Grace's favorite colors. It's doesn't have big grosgrain poufy bows on the shoulders, because my niece is not a poufy girl. It is bright and cool and gutsy like her. Like both of us. I made it with as much love & capability as I could muster, and trying to be all that my mama loves in me. It is not perfect. Only perfect in that it is a gift. Still given from Nani. Like the gift Nani continues to be for us.
Happiest of Birthdays, Sweet Grace. A good day to be born. (I hope it fits!)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I got about 12 stitches into this before I needed to put about 6 ounces into her, and now I am stitching again for (hopefully) a few hours next to a snoozing baby. But one never knows. Oh my life is full of grand and adventurous surprises. What would I do without the suspense of it all?
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I have so enjoyed your encouragement on my last post. Seriously. It is an immense joy for me to be able to have this knitting thing that is entirely creative and fun but where there are no expectations to perform in anyway and so far is not attached to what I do for work. It will most likely (snort) stay that way, though one never knows of course. Sometimes really beautiful things can happen when you aren't trying, I suppose. Anyway, I love when you play along. Thank you for the fun.
I wanted to let you know a couple other things.
*I have a post over at Janome today that walks through my feelings and inspirations when using solid fabrics in my quilts. I hope you find it inspiring and informative. I'll be posting there every month this year, and will be sure to let you know when I do! Here's the link directly to the article: Quilting Decibels
*We have solidified the Monthly Gathering Stacks as a subscription option in addition to just offering them for sale. Here is a link to a downloadable PDF that explains the process if you're interested. We will be posting the February stack next Wednesday (2/5), so I wanted to let you know how it will work in plenty of time.
*It's weird how much I have been using FB lately. Are you liking me over there? If nothing else, it is really the perfect place to share images of what other folks are using my fabrics for. I am really so inspired by that. Lucky me. But for reals, the simplicity of FB makes quickly sharing this or that from all over the place pretty ideal for a certain category of notes and happenings. You know this already don't you? I am slow. Oh for instance, did you see this amazing quilt by Kathy Doughty? Gahh.
*We have had 3 birthdays here over the last week. Juliana is now 22 (gasp). Nicolas is now 16 (what?). Eleni is now 10 (wahhhh). I am now old (true).
*We are also freezing.
*Pierrette and I have been working on a summer long series of one-day workshops, kids workshops, weekend workshops, and a pop-up shop (and other things that rhyme with op). Four months in a row! It's crazy. We are nuts. It's gonna be awesome. I seriously am losing sleep over the excitement and I can't wait to share the schedule with you. Right now it looks like beginning of March is when we'll begin taking signups. I will keep you posted.
Okay. The baby is squawking. Bye! xoxoAM
(above is an improv block that I call Mod Corsage.... I am teaching this block/process at SewDown Nashville (which is full) but hope to also teach this little beauty at one of my summer workshops too!)
Monday, January 20, 2014
I owe my Juliana a debt of design on this sweater because she almost punched me in the face when I told her I needed to buy some yarn to make something for myself. Exercising some restraint however she walked over to the six drawer chest in the living room, yanked open a drawer, held her hand in display position and said MOM. You. Have. YARN. (Only 3 drawers full though.)
And I did. And still do. Less than I did have though, thanks to some giant size 17 circular needles, knitting with 3 yarns at once and..... knitting guts. I shied away from knitting for so many years because I felt as though I could not make it up as I went along. That and lots of other now seemingly invalid reasons. I have followed and completed over a dozen patterns over the past year with mostly good success. I am only now starting to see where I would like to amend something here or there, or maybe do something differently than how the pattern is written if I were to do it again. In other words, my designer brain is starting to walk hand in hand with my following the instructions and learning something brain. I am developing a point of view as I barely scratch the surface of learning technique and variations on basic things about knitting.
But this sweater. Well this thing. I had some reckless fun. This sweater is my version of getting knocked up by knitting. It is the product of just going for it. And just like that dumb kid in your freshman studio painting class who thinks he can be an abstract painter simply because nothing recognizable is actually portrayed so how hard can it be, I just knit this thing very awkwardly and loud. Like I feel like you could have (like) seen me (like) knitting it from (like) wherever you are because my motions of making it were large and happy and dumb. And I was so excited the whole time and couldn't stop showing it to people mostly the same group of them that live and work here in a steady rotation once I thought maybe they were ready to hear about it again.
And it's huge. So huge. I wanted it big, but here was how the cast on went which was piled up with my decision making process on how many stitches to cast on which we will call, for the sake of this description, designing the sweater. Yes. That's what it was. I was designing a sweater. Aherm. SO when I was designing the sweater I was like oooo colors, oooo, threeeeee colors at once, what does that look like?, ooooo what do THESE 3 look like together, oooo let me cast these on together, oooh look! (shows Juliana (who is rolling her eyes)), this is gorgeous, oooo when one color runs out I will just tie on another, yes!!, oooo, cast on 12, oooo but I will keep gray and white and black some what constant, cast on another 30, oh I think I made a hat once that was about 50 stitches, oooo but the colors will be like all landscapey- and HOT there has to be some HOT colors, my torso is definitely bigger than my head so maybe 100 stitches, MAGENTA! (gasp) Ooooh I have this magenta color scrap, that will have to happen right before black oooo dang every yarn I have is going in this thing oooo crap am I stealing all of my granny square scrap colors now?, oh well, oooo I think 120 stitches will do it. Now I have a tube. A huge tube. Like the whole family can get in here tube. But it is too pretty to undo. I started at the bottom. Oh. Crap. I meant to start at the top. Dang. (Looks up raglan sleeve construction bottomsup style on the interwebuals) Makes sleeves. Attaches sleeves, makes up things about attaching sleeves that I am sure I've seen somewhere but didn't bother to confirm because I was 60 seconds away from the baby squawking something about needing breast milk.
Then I had a sweater. I think it is beautiful. I am proud of myself. And I like it so much that I am going to take it apart and do it over only this time with like 90 stitches. It will be worth it. I learned stuff and I want to use the that stuff I learned right here on this sweater. Not the next one.
I am sorry, Knitting. I know that you did not see me coming. But you should have thought of that before you sent me the invitation.
Raise your hand if you'd buy my knitting book........cricket.
Friday, January 17, 2014
I am ridiculously happy with myself. I decided to stay color inspired this year by pulling together a group of 12 fabrics every month to reflect what I'm calling the mood of the month. Keep in mind it is entirely arbitrary, really, but I do think there is so much to the language of color and a common feeling that we all share when it comes to the calender changing. I am offering them as bundles for sale, but really am most excited about looking at my own prints in a new way. Pulling from various collections, new or not. I am hoping it'll inspire you in a positive way too, whether its just the enjoyment of looking at the image or a new direction in your own color stories. The only rule I am setting on myself is to not create them ahead of time. I have to be in the month to be feelin' right? Right.
So for January, my words of inspiration are: wood piles, snowflakes, crocheted blankets, full moon, icicle, mittens and new perspectives.
Happy Friday! xoxoxAnna
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Over the past few months anything that I sew or quilt that includes my True Colors fabrics jumps right up to the top of my personal favorites list. Like of all time personal favorites. True Colors has proven to be my little dream come true fabric haul. I can barely plan anything that doesn't include a bit or a lot of it. Which is just exactly what I hoped for when designing it. Anyhoo. Here is the quilt that I have been asked about a whole lot. Color Dive. The Color Dive Quilt was inspired by my True Colors collection and is my newest video class on CreativeBug. I am also working on a PDF version of the pattern that we should have listed in the shop for sale soon, and I'll be sure to letchya know about that. When it's published, we'll have some kits ready for you too. We're like that.
Here's the preview for the Color Dive class:
The quilt uses every print in my Dowry collection + every print in my True Colors collection + a handful of solids. In case you'd like a chance to land an extra little pile of fabrics on your sewing table, you should follow along with the True Colors blog tour that is starting Monday at Sew4Home. There will be plenty of chances to win fabric + thread prizes and get loads of sewing inspiration along the way. Here's a scheduled list of the talented folks that are sharing their True Colors projects using my group (highlighted in pink) as well as Heather's, Joel's and Jenean's. Enjoy! xoxoAnnaMaria
1/21 Stitchery Dickory Dock
1/22 I'm A Ginger Monkey
1/23 The Sewing Loft
1/24 Ellison Lane
1/27 Diary of a Quilter
1/28 Material Obsession
1/30 Stitched in Color
1/31 Craft Buds
2/1 Jay Bird Quilts
And here's a little video of us color people talking about such:
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Well it was all too clear just moments ago as I stretched this little handknit over her tummy and stressed out a few buttonholes. It is likely getting close to that last day of this girl wearing the first sweater I made for her. Do you see how upset she got when I told her? Then we both cried. Not really. I think this would be an easy one to upsize now that I'm all cocky with my knitting skills, so that's on the (long) list. I got the pattern over here from those smartypants at Purl. As I've said before I suck at saving yarn details. I also suck at resolutions to improve upon saving yarn details. But. Well. There was red and blue and it was hand dyed and just thicker than sock yarn and washable. Smileyface.
This place has been busy. It took 3 tries and 5 days at the weathered-over airport to get Juliana back to Brooklyn for her final semester of college last week. What? Wait. Final semester. Had to retype that. Got it. I just turned in my fall fabric collections rather late, but I will beg the mills to forgive me and all should be well with that. Pierrette and I sat down to make our schedule for 2014. The whole year. I've never really done that, but last year we did it about half way through the summer when things were feeling out of control and I was amazed at how much it helped me to put things down on paper. Duh. I know. So very much of my work comes in regular intervals and with recurring tasks that should not jump up at my face and shake me by the shoulders every time they are due. They should just happen. Because I know they are going to happen and I should do things to make them happen in plenty of time. I think you call it a schedule. My name is Anna Maria Horner. I am 41 years old. I just made a schedule.
And there are very exciting things on my schedule!!! Two new quilting cotton collections, my first collection of jersey knits, reprints of some VERY favorites if my IG stream from yesterday is telling the truth, new sewing patterns, new needleworks patterns, new supply categories for my online shop, teaching at Sew Down Nashville and hosting SewDowners at my house (all of them), a Mother-Daughter workshop in Vermont with my very good friend Heather (I think there might still be some spots available)..... I'll stop here before I start totally freaking out.
How did I start this? Sweater stripes. Yes. I imagine I can put Mary Anna growing out of more of her sweaters on the schedule, but I think I'll just watch that happen moment by moment instead. Lucky me.
Wednesday, January 01, 2014
I haven't a clue how this will work out. Writing about 2013. I've dreaded it. And somehow longed for it too. Incapsulating the year in order to frame it up and make sense of what it turned out to be. I really feel and have felt so utterly speechless. I sit in the same spot on my bed as I did last year. Though last year, still a few months pregnant, a few months bewildered, I sat atop a freshly made bed in the morning light. Looking back on that day, I recognize that I was holding my breath. Knowing how this year might turn out. This moment I sit in the same place. But in the dark of my room, buried under the rumbled quilts. Not above them. It is cold. So many voices through my house. The year was such a bigger part of my life than I can effectively write here. But if for nothing else it is so necessary to fulfill what has become my own custom. I cannot make a summary. But I can share a vignette and do my best to describe the most memorable moment of my year. It is an image that when I look at it in my mind still, I see it as illustrating every day, every thought, every prayer, every dream, and every hope that I have.
It is this.
Once my mother was at home in hospice I was able, to spend many days with her. Her bed was set up in the round, windowed sitting room off of her bedroom and each morning, we would watch the sunrise. She only opened her eyes every now and then. Sometimes to see me and smile. Sometimes to rub my belly. Mostly she would just look out at the water. Her face watching the sunrise was like a child. It was as though she was in disbelief at the beauty. She would frequently make the sign of the cross over herself. She had a hard time breathing. She had a hard time getting comfortable. I would rearrange her pillows dozens of times a day. I read prayers to her. I told her what the baby was doing in my belly. I brought in visitors now and then. My sister was there some days too. Juliana and Nicolas each a day too. But most of her 13 days at home in hospice care it was Dad and I. Day and night. I didn't want to ever leave her side or let go of her hand. I never wanted her to wake and not see anyone there. Even at night in the dark. Dad would beg me to go sleep. I kept trying to convince him that even 36 weeks pregnant I was fine to sit up in a chair at night next to her.
One night I finally made him feel a little better by curling up in the small sofa near her bed. I positioned myself and left a small light on so that she could see me. This room that she was in, it was where she had always read and prayed. It is filled with icons on the walls. Though most of it is windowed, with views out to the river. So at night you feel afloat almost. In a vessel. Very late when she sat up needing a drink, my father rushed to get it so that I wouldn't. I forced myself to lay there. Watching him help her to drink. She settled back into sleep, but sitting up in bed, as that was easier on her breathing. My father sat in the chair next to her bed. There was beautiful moonlight on the water all around in the dark. I could see the profile of their silhouettes. We all fell asleep. I awoke again. In the glowing room, from my place on the couch their heads bowing in sleep towards each other made a perfect archway against the moonlight outside and the walls aglow in low light from a single lamp. I looked around to the icons, all the saints, and Christ and the Holy Mother, and their gestures all seemed set in motion and alive, golden. I felt afloat. It all moved but not in a dizzying sort of way just in a very alive sort of way. I felt little Mary kicking within me. I was grateful to be present, I cried tears of thanks to be an adornment in this architecture of my family. Under their archway. Within this womb where my mother had invested prayer and love and thought for each of us every day. I will not forget that peace amidst the turmoil of losing one so dear. I will not forget the ever moving light that guided her and all of us through those days. Yes in sorrow. Yes in anguish. Still to this day it is sadness. But it is filled with hope and light and an example of how to live and I am thankful for all of it.
I nursed my precious girl in the dark of her room a few nights ago before finding my way to gently lay her in bed. I realized something about darkness and about myself. If you're patient and you trust everything that you know, your eyes will eventually adjust to all that needs to be seen. The rest falls away. You will able to see just enough to keep from stumbling in the dark. But it takes a little time. Remembering where you are.
I think my eyes are just now adjusting a bit to the dark.... this new life without my mom. There is so much to see. Much to do. Much to give thanks for. I am glad for the turn to a new year and the marked reason to see things a little fresher. I have been given sunrise after sunrise and I suppose another will come tomorrow.
I wish you love and light in 2014!!!
(On the needles above for my niece Grace, who shares a birthday with my mother in February...more on my knitting journey soon!)
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Between dashing and dancing I've eeeked out family stockings. Oh has this been a long time coming! And settling on machine embroidery meant that they all happened pretty snappy like!
This is also my newest free project with my pals at Janome! Free embroidery too! We have all of the links loaded onto my Janome + Me page for you. I talk a lot more about the process over here on the Janome projects page. Here is a link to watch our video tutorial too!
I love them so, so much! I'd love to see your versions (even if it's not til next year of course!)
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
How did you get here? Our days have been so very full. With Mary Anna's Baptism planned for Saturday after Thanksgiving it wasn't until midday Monday before that I remembered something about a big meal on Thursday involving poultry and extra people in my house. Oh yes. That's right. Additionally for a few weeks Jeff and I have been working little by little on our hall bathroom which has sorta been ignored in all of our years here. I somehow can only see fit to make changes if I am allowed to gut and start over. All or nothing. But really this bath didn't require a gutting, just some thinking. And scrubbing, scouring, scraping, plastering, sanding, painting, papering and prettying. And I love it. That paper snippet up there is a detail of this utterly too gorgeous to pass up wallpaper. It was worth it since it covers such a small space but carries all the impact. Anyway. I would love to show you the whole room here soon. With that done I was ready to tackle the housecleaning for two days. The baby was strapped to the front of me while I picked up or watching the washing machine from her bouncy seat while I folded clothes or asleep in her swing while I did the nittygritty. We got it done her and I. Once the kids were home for break I of course had to verbalize their share of cleaning to them repeatedly until it was done or until I verbalized it so much that I could have done it twelve times myself. But that's how it works. Anyway. Our house was spiffy. Which always makes me feel so ready to enjoy myself and enjoy our company.
Juliana flew in Tuesday night, and was attacked at the door by, well, all of us. For a few hours each of the kids had to show her something they have been waiting to show her whether it was a new suchnsuch that she hadn't seen yet or a youtube video that hadn't been laughed at together yet. I bought new sheets for the bed she uses in the nursery now when she's home. They were freshly washed and tucked in place ready for her to plop down on that bed and sleep off the big city. I think that was my favorite preparation. I loved watching Mary soak her in slowly then the recognition warmed her to her biggest sister. Sister cuddles. So very wonderful.
Thursday brought my Dad, Jeff's brother, Dad and stepmom all for dinner with us. Naturally it was all about food that day, but I didn't go too crazy. I made my standard scalloped potatoes, turkey, ham, salad, and tiropita while my girls made two pumpkin pies, two pecan pies and a sausage apple stuffing. In between cooking steps I joined the kids in front of the Wii a few times to dance my rear-end off while they laughed and beat me at the dancing game thingy that I can't remember the name of. Mary Anna watched everyone all day. She even threw her limbs around a little from her bouncy seat while we danced. Certainly that was on purpose. She's smart. She watched and studied the less familiar faces. She didn't miss anything. Dinner was followed by what Nicolas likes to call a hootenanny. Jeff, and his dad and brother joined forces on their guitars to play some bluegrass favorites. Jeff sang more than normal as he has some DrivebyTruckers in his repertoire now. Grandpa Jack serenaded MA and she couldn't take her eyes off of him.
Friday brought my sister from South Carolina who quickly got to the store with me to buy flowers for the reception tables. If my sister Eleni is anywhere within 500miles and you need to do anything with flowers, either keep them alive, or talk about them or arrange them, she is your girl. We had such a nice time picking them out. I had such a nice time not arranging them. She enjoyed every minute of me not helping her with that. My brother was also in town by then from New York with his two oldest girls. He and I made baklava. I only wanted George to do the baklava with me so that mine would be better. Which it was. Then we all went to the movies including my dad who has not been to the movies in a million years. Most of us were a little disappointed with the 2nd Hunger Games movie, some of us were just glad Papou paid for all of it, and others of us only went for the popcorn. I imagine it might be another million years before he goes back.
The morning of the Baptism started with me putting ice in 120 glasses, placing my sister's bouquets on 15 tables then letting the caterers take over from there. The Baptism was so beautiful. Her Godmother Kiki is such a tender and loving woman and we are so fortunate that she joins our family. Mary Anna practically sprang from the font after being submerged three times without a tear or a wimper, only to begin talking to the 100 or so in attendance with giggles and joy. It was remarkable. Everyone noticed. How blessed and sweet and unusual her response to the Sacrament was. It was as though she wanted to know what was next because that was all just really fun and extraordinary.
Remnants of goodness are all around. Extra beds with flannel sheets still set up that cousins slept on. Couches shoved this way and that to make room for dancing. Handwashed knits drying flat and waiting for the next cold day. Savory smells of past dinners being warmed and enjoyed again (and again). Sweet bundles of jordan almonds from the Baptism. A gleaming ivory embroidered baby gown hanging from the shelf that holds a picture of her Nani and me.
Everything in and out of place and we are winding up the last of this year's strand. So much more to go still.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Dowry is my newest feature collection of 24 quilting cottons. (And only quilting cottons actually for this line.) Here is my collection description: So often beauty comes to us in the form of tangible gifts, passed on by loved ones who have come before us. Even more lovely is when these goods were actually intended for and handmade with us in mind. This to me is the very heart of the handmade world, and I wanted to honor it with a collection that is very personal and built from the handiwork from my own family. Dowry is a compilation of literal translations of some of my own family heirlooms, some imagery is only from memory, and some prints are simply imagined companions that reference the handmade, hand stitched, and the well-loved. Dowry is at once nostalgic and energetic… a new love with a past life.
Each of the colorways is named for a piece of jewelry I've been given.
Rubies & Pearls (a ring from my great, great aunt)
Charm Bracelet (from my parents for my high school graduation)
Brass Locket (from my grandmother Anna Ruth, holding pictures of my grandfather, mom, and aunt)
Being very literal about the translations of artwork from heirloom to fabric was incredibly satisfying. The process inspired me beyond the actual recreated artworks, but also completely reinvigorated my "mark" making. How I stroked the surface for each print. They are all a little different, and in the end sort of reference and pay tribute to several styles of print processes over centuries of making textiles. For instance, the Twill Bouquet was born out of my first needlepoint project as a child, but the texture inspired a twill motif rather than a needlepoint one. Those twill lines running through the bouquet saw fit to take a few turns in the negative space for some contemporary interest (not unlike my juvenile stitches that went in all directions). (Mom and I made that pillow together several years ago with my Bohemian fabrics after recovering the needlepoint from missing.)
And the Lineage print. This dear deer of Yiayia's. Dear deer of mine (the story is here). It was important to me to invoke the print with the horizontal runnings of a loom, so all the art is created in line and purposefully a little imperfect in it's printing, slightly thinner here, overprinted there. It feels so special to me that way. Already belonging wherever it is. I love it. I cannot tire of it.
Every print and title in this collection is special to me. Close to me and very personal. I could not have anticipated just how personal when I designed it, barely and secretly pregnant exactly a year ago, and still the daughter of a visible mother. I could not have. Yes, it's only fabric. Only things. But so are all of pieces and gifts that inspired the work. When Pierrette and I were shooting the above photo, the mannequin needed just a little something. I was able to pull out one of my mom's crocheted shawls still tucked in a box full of things I had just retrieved from her closet a few days earlier. Perfect. Only a shawl.
But so very good to hold it, and see it. Like everything we give and receive out of love.
While we do sell it, and it is my living, I also offer this with love. I hope you enjoy it!
yours, Anna Maria
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Hulllloo. Happy November. November is great. Particularly this one. It's wonderful enough watching the weather change, the colors intensify through your window, the house feeling like a cozier place to be, and going outdoors feeling more like an adventure than a chore....but this November, two lovely happenings in the form of fabric are happening. The first is TRUE COLORS. People. This was so fun for me. Setting these parameters on my designing was a rewarding challenge and I love the results. I hope you do too!
Here's the schpeil from the website regarding the collection (all true, wrote it myself, so I know): I am thrilled to introduce you to my first collection of not-so-basic basics! True Colors is the latest collection program from Free Spirit designed by a select group that I am so proud to be part of. These prints and colorways are specifically designed to work beautifully along side all of my fabric collections. My twenty True Colors fabrics fill in any color gaps one might have in their stash to complete a full palette of inspiration. A gorgeous spectrum that is always good to have around no matter the style or the project!
And if you haven't noticed yet that you are floating amongst the most heavenly, chubby, sweet little cherub along with a divine assortment of colorful mini pants, I would like to point out the fabulous little knickers that are my latest free pattern for you. Cause I wanted knickers and so did the baby. She said so.
Visit my MAKE page to download the knick-knack Knickers sewing pattern by me. Knick-knack Paddywhack was my mom's favorite song to rock little ones too. So I sing it, and sew these (just twenty of 'em) in her honor of her silly, fun "Nani" self.
True Colors is loaded into our shop, as well as favorite shops all over the globe, so have fun! I'll get a Flickr group for it going soon and I can't wait to see all the sewing going down!
I'll be back tomorrow to scoop on Dowry after I can figure out a way to talk about it without crying sentimental tears. ;-P (fabric is happy, fabiric is happy, fabric is happy.)
xo, hugs, AM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
These last weeks have been so good. Everything feels all painted together in bold, broad strokes that look just right. The weather has been something that I dream about on days when it's otherwise. Being at my dad's house to begin going through my mother's belongings was very much what I thought it would be like. I think my sister and I spent more time giggling over things than we did crying. We felt her right there with us, laughing. And we teased her memory over some of the fashion choices she made that hung in her closet. Of course there were tears. Over shawls we remember braiding the fringe of to stay occupied during Liturgy. But thankfully there was one for each of us. That was the good part. Choosing things for people. Thinking about who might like a piece of jewelry or a handknit sweater. It was like continuing her work to spread some love and gifts around. That was so nice. Saving things for grand-daughters, looking forward to a special time to give them each something. We also set aside things for dad to take to Greece this winter. For his sisters and his sisters-in-law. They miss her so much. Dad has a whole huge crate of furniture and such that he is shipping to his house in Greece. He mentioned plans of putting a quilt in there a few weeks ago that mom made. I asked him which and his answer made me realize that it was one Mom and I had chosen the fabrics for in NYC on a trip together. So I asked if he could leave that one here and I would bring him one even bigger and better suited for the bed it was to go on. I knew full well as I offered that, that I likely didn't have one that size. So in the midst of lots of other time sensitive work, for three days I stopped to make a new patchwork quilt for him to take to Greece. And now the other is safe at home with me. Folded at the end of my bed. For extra warmth. Worth the scurry.
My Aunt Beth from Indiana was here for a visit and to meet Miss Mary Anna Louisa. This woman is an utter joy. She exudes such an air of peace and joyfulness that it is impossible to not feel peace and joy in her presence. So much like Mom. But of course completely unique and wonderful in other ways. We played with Mary. I gave her many of Mom's things. As we went through items she had stories for so much of mom's jewelry that I had never heard. It was wonderful. I showed her my fabrics and everything in my studio. Described what the process of making fabric it is like. I tested her to see if she could pick out the print discrepancies in my latest strike offs. We talked so much. Talked about all the kids. We shopped. We bought little gold leather shoes with bows on the toes for Mary. Her first pair of shoes. I'm so glad I did that with Aunt Beth. We bought new buttons for a knitted romper that I made for the baby. She had the perfect suggestion of using two sizes of buttons since there weren't enough of one size at the store. It was so simple. But I wouldn't have thought of it. We bought new soup bowls for me. We ate. We filled the bowls with chili that night and sat with my Uncle Linden and Jeff and all the children around our long dining table and enjoyed conversation that went in all directions. Baby Mary gave her a million smiles in just two days. Fell asleep for an hour or two on her lap. Passed out cold, all limbs splayed out. She never does that.
And we are doing so much else in the studio. We have shipped a painted backdrop and lots of other goodies to Houston for my Quilt Market booth. I am going over Dowry ribbon samples for a late fall delivery- they are so beautiful- oh how I love them. I've just finished making corrections to the first round strike offs for the Spring'14 fabrics. I am making plans with Heather to help her teach in Palm Springs in January. I am making plans to teach at MQG Sew Down Nashville in April. We are shipping out the first batch of pre-sold prints today, the rest should ship out middle of next week. Then we should be on track to ship as they sell. This was so fun to do. Out of the norm here, and just cool to do something entirely independently. We are planning the next series of Janome free projects and videos. I will also be guest posting regularly at their FB page and blog starting next month.
I am in disbelief that our baby girl is more than four months. She babbles entire symphonies, smiles at everyone, absolutely everyone and is the most kissable, huggable, strong and lovely little bitty human. She just is. She is so fun to love. So easy to love. And buttoning a sweater up to her fat little chin to meet the cool air on the other side of our front door is really all I need.
Even so, there is a whole lot more.
kisses from here, xoxoAnna
Friday, October 04, 2013
We've been all over sorta. Babes and I went to my sister's in Columbia SC last week. It was splendid. A wholotta sitting on her porch with embroidery and baby and sister and coffee and just chatting then finding ourselves in our pajamas still at 1pm then getting dressed only so we don't look like total losers when everyone else comes home. That was great. She said her roses were in bloom for me. She said her Christmas cactus eeked out a bloom for me too. My sister is like that. She knows that blooms happen for people. She and flowers. There's something there. Like she speaks to them and they speak back I think. She was born on the Spring Equinox.
Now we are off again. Headed to my Dad's today in East Tennessee. Meeting my sis again there, this time to begin going through Mom's things. I am actually looking forward to it. From here it feels like lots of good memories and tender, personal love to go through. Might not feel just like that once I am there, but I am hopeful. As my Aunt Beth (Mom's only sister) instructed me in her handwritten card this week, mingle laughter with tears. And we will. And likely wine too. (That's what she meant by that right?)
I want to thank everyone for the print orders! Wow, thank you, so so so much. You are just awesome and supportive and I don't know how to thank you. It's been a great success which makes me feel so good. You can't even sew anything with this art and you still want it! Wow. Thank you. I wasn't sure how many to have printed of each and just settled on 100 editions per print. It appears to have been about the right number as we still have a bit left of each. So there is still some early gift buying potential for the holidays if you wish!
Have a great weekend. Lots of love! xoxoAnna
Monday, September 23, 2013
I took so much sparkley, fun, giddy pleasure in putting this gathering of framed works together on Mary Anna's nursery wall. I have been looking at the blank wall, as in, a wall with absolutely nothing on it, not a thing, don't even think about it, nothing, since about June 9th. That was when I started parking my fanny in the rocker and nursing a two day old... facing that wall. A million and ten times a day. I have had a lot of time to think about that wall and what should go on it. In fact I perhaps have done that very thing more than I have done anything since June 9th with exception to possibly nursing. Let's call it a tie. Because Miss Mary Anna Louisa (Bouisa)'s room was built into the studio I have dubbed her room to be quite art-y and have filled it with lots of handwork, and the like. I will take more pictures of the whole room soon. But The Wall. Sure, I have embroideries. Sure, I have quilts. Yeh, got needlepoints. I wanted to have something framed too. My sister and I went through a huge pile of vintage handkerchiefs that belonged to my Great Grandmother earlier in the Spring. Holy Smokes, they are beautiful. Most are about 100 years old. Perfect in frames. In smaller frames, some are folded down to show just a small corner. A few are shown fully. Above is my favorite. Oh it's beautiful! But finally I created the first edition of my own prints. Which mix in so very well. I just adore the wall now, so very much.
So that is a long winded way to let you know that my first limited edition print collection is now for sale in the online shop! This is a *pre-sale and we'll begin shipping them out in about 3 weeks. So sit tight. And dream beautiful wall dreams while you wait.