Archive for the ‘ASG’ Category

ASG Conference: Zipper Necklace

August 17, 2009

Another class I took at conference was Lyla Messinger’s “unzipped” necklace.  It’s made from a RiRi zipper, beads and jewelry findings.

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Nifty, huh?  The zipper teeth really make it…

ASG Conference: Bias Skirts and Irreverent Heirloom

August 14, 2009

One of my favorite workshops at conference was Julianne Bramson’s Out of the Envelope Bias Skirt class.  Using a simple, on-grain rectangle, we sewed a custom fit straight skirt with that lovely bias drape and some nifty seam detailing.  I was able to finish mine to a wearable state in class:

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When I got home, I found the skirt had developed a gash along the seam (a scissor-packing error, I think).  I stuck it down with Steam-A-Seam and handstitching, but it looked it nasty.  So, still under the influence of another class I enjoyed, Suzy Seed’s Irreverent Heirloom class:

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where we learned about decorative stitching with double and wing needles, I added a couple of rows of wavy stitching.  The stitching does a good job holding the gash together, and the wavy lines distract the eye:

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I’m not sure how it will hold up to multiple washings, but the fabric isn’t the best, so I expect the fix will last long enough.

ASG Conference in Albuquerque

August 2, 2009

How I spent my summer vacation…at the American Sewing Guild‘s national conference in Albuquerque!  This isn’t like most conferences — all boring meetings and speeches.  There is a day of boring meetings and speeches, but only chapter presidents have to go, so I didn’t have to.  Then there’s the good stuff — five days of sewing classes, workshops, demonstrations, trunk shows, shopping and laughing and eating and … not much sleep.

The conference was held this year at the Albuquerque Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque.

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There were two hotels nearby — I stayed at the Hyatt.

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Since I waited so long to get a room, I was afraid I’d be in trouble, but it actually worked out well…there was a really nice hotel sale going on and I got the room for less than the conference rate.  It’s a great hotel, except that they don’t have free wifi.  The other nearby hotel does, as does the conference center (which, oddly, wasn’t publicized).

A warning about Albuquerque — the downtown area seems to close up about 3pm…we had some trouble finding non-hotel food within a comfortable it’s-90-degrees-outside walking distance.  Fortunately, the breakfasts and lunches that were provided were substantial enough that we hardly needed dinner!

One night the conference organizers set up shuttles to Old Town, which is a historic/touristy area about 2 miles from downtown.  MUCH better on the food front!  We ate a place called Church Street Cafe, which claims to be the oldest Mexican restaurant in New Mexico.  Long wait, good food, nifty interior.

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As we were leaving, a storm rolled in.  Great skies over the church in Old Town!

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A (Non)Sewing Day

March 31, 2009

Used my first day driving to go to an ASG sewing day. Still can’t lift my machines, so I stuck to knitting.  And trying on a polonaise Theresa is making for Cowtown.

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I don’t think this is going to be my look…

A Pillowcase Experiment

January 28, 2009

This year’s ASG community service project is to make pillowcases for kids at Ronald McDonald Houses.  A few of us thought it might be nice to add a drawstring to the trim to allow the pillowcase to be used as a carrying bag as well.  As I thought about how to sew this, I was worried about adding knots or bows that would be uncomfortable to sleep on. As I was rethreading a drawstring through the waistband of a pair of workout pants(again), I was also thinking about how to keep the drawstring in the pillowcase through washing. So…I came up with this.

I turned the selvedge edges under on a 2-inch strip, cut it in half, and laid it out with a gap at the halfway point on the case:

pillowcase01webI made a drawstring out of another 2-inch strip by turning in the edges:

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I threaded the drawstring through the trim, pinned everything at the edges, and sewed the drawstring into the sideseam.

The drawstring doesn’t really show:

pillowcase_04-webUntil you pull it out:

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Ok, so here’s my problem.  I solved the comfort and loss-ability problems, but now I’m sort of worried about choking risks.  What do y’all think?

Sewing a Stegosaurus!

November 29, 2008

For our December meeting, our ASG members are supposed to sew a doll, doll clothes or a stuffed animal for charity.  After hearing the other members make plans for frilly doll clothes, I decided to look for a something a bit more unisex…and what could be more fun than a dinosaur?

stegosaurus_03webHe’s made from polar fleece scraps and is entirely machine sewn except for the spot where I stitched him closed after stuffing.  The pattern is from a book I picked up years ago, probably off a bargain table, called Step by Step Art of Making Soft Toys, by Alan Dart.

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ASG Regional Meeting in St. Charles

May 10, 2008

The day after the Tacony tour and shopping, we got down to business. About 30 of us, from guilds from Denver to Minneapolis to Omaha, meet all day to discuss topics such as recruiting new members, better serving members through Neighborhood Groups, and dealing with difficult people (purely hypothetically for everyone, I’m sure!).

I think the most interesting discussion was probably the Neighborhood Groups talk — in Wichita, we have four groups that are pretty much defined by location, although a few people attend more than one. (ASG defines Neighborhood Groups as subgroups of a chapter — they are especially useful for the really big chapters where whole-membership meetings are so big that people don’t really have a chance to get to know each other.) Several people at the meeting encouraged starting groups that would better be described as Special Interest than Neighborhood groups. Our Regional Rep also pointed out that nothing says that a group has to be permanent — a group could meet for several months to explore something in particular, then disband, which could make it easier to recruit leaders! One of my favorite ideas from our brainstorming actually came from a typo on the flip chart — how about a Tour (instead couture) Group which would research textile arts from different regions of the world, then make items inspired by those traditions? I wonder if anyone here in town would be interested…

And, of course, the St. Louis Chapter and Susi, the Regional Rep did a marvelous job — great food, lots of chocolate, and goodies!

Tacony Puts on Quite a Show!

May 2, 2008

As part of the entertainment portion of the ASG regionals in St. Charles, the St. Louis ASG chapter arranged for a tour of the Tacony headquarters. Tacony, as we learned, distributes Baby Lock sewing machines and sergers, and manufactures Simplicity vacuums and Regency ceiling fans, as well as distributing several other things. Oh, and owning Nancy’s Notions.  I was astonished at the resources the Tacony people put into the tour — the CEO, Ken Tacony, greeted us, then, when the group was split into 4 tour groups, the CEO and the president each conducted a group. After the tour, half a dozen Baby Lock folks showed us what they were up to, and then the CEO drew names for a truly amazing door prize drawing. In all, I figure that they had a dozen people spend three hours on a Friday afternoon with us, and that doesn’t include the time spent getting ready for us.

And did they every get ready! They pulled out all their samples and hung them on the cubicle walls all through the facility! Everywhere we walked, there were gorgeous examples of sewing, quilting, and embroidery. We heard that even the employees were kinda excited about the decor.

And then, as we were leaving, they handed each of us a major bag of goodies:

Several of us were saying on the bus afterward that the tour was great and the goodies were awesome, but what was the most surprising thing about the tour was learning about the vacuum cleaner division. Simplicity is apparently a high end line, and the CEO told us that they got a bunch of their machines on Consumer Report’s best buy lists. And the bonus? They’re manufactured in the US! I spoke to at least one person who was going to find a local source and check them out.

I hope the total good will and eventual sales turn out to make this effort worth their while — we sure appreciated all the work they did for us!

St. Louis, Here We Come!

April 21, 2008

The regional meeting for our ASG region was this weekend in St. Charles, Missouri (just across the river from St. Louis.) I’ll blog more about the actual meeting on our ASG site, but I thought I would talk here about the also (more?) important topic — the associated shopping!

First, the yarn. St. Charles has a darling little historic district right on the river, which is the home of Knit and Caboodle. Here, I snagged some Plymouth Happy Feet

and some Mountain Colors Bearfoot

In St. Louis, I found the Kirkwood Knittery, and made the entire tour bus wait (sorry guys!) while the owner wound some Pagewood Farms Glacier Bay sock yarn into a yarn cake:

Next up — the fabric!

Potholders to Trade!

December 8, 2007

This year our ASG decided to exchange homemade potholders at our Christmas party. I made two, one for the afternoon meeting and one for the evening. In October, someone had handed out directions to make simple potholders that didn’t require binding, so I gave them a try.

For the fronts, I scanned a Christmas postcard from my grandmother’s album. It’s in Swedish and dates from the early twenties. I printed the graphic on photo fabric, then log cabined some scraps to get up to the desired size.

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The back is made from folded squares of fabric — they are actually sewn on top of the front, then wrapped around to the back to hide the seam allowances. You can arrange the squares in either a four patch or triangles, so I tried both. The squares were much easier to handle — the triangles look cool, but you have to wrangle a lot of bias edges.

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In exchange, I got two very cute potholders — one has birds and one has Lorelei sewing ladies

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Both were made by people braver than I — the edges are bound!