Category Archives: Tools

The Space In Between in Vermont


Snow finally in VT

Snow finally in VT

I love my Vermont week in between Christmas and New Year’s. For the past 12 years, we load our tired Christmas bodies, winter gear and all kinds of books and movies into the car and drive for 13 hours to our second home in VT. This happens the day after Christmas. As the kids have gotten older, it comes with lots of grumbling and complaining as to all that they are leaving behind and activities they are missing out on. Especially this year when the snow forecast was non-existent, the grumbling reached epic proportions.

I have to admit I was kind of apprehensive of what would happen without snow. I am the non-skier who stays nice and warm and sews. And sews. I typically bring the biggest bag of sewing projects and lots of books. They ski and I make dinner and sew all day while they ski. And I take long, thinking walks in the woods. It’s a win-win situation. What would they do without skiing? Selfishly, would I be able to sew?

But so far, they sleep in epic proportions and read by the fire. The days are broken up by playing games, reading and eating. No worries without snow. We are all relaxing. And I was able to sew. My sewing space is much simpler here and I really love that.  It has made it very clear I need to purge in my large sewing studio in Michigan!

My simple sewing space

My simple sewing space

After working on 2 exhibits for the past 2 years, I am loving this state of being-relaxed and planning for the next year. I forgot what it felt like.  It is pure bliss. I appreciate the week between the holidays with newfound appreciation. I will plan for next year. But not right now. I need to find my spot by the fire and my people in the week between.

Pressing Matters

Last spring when I was at a workshop, my iron died. It’s a frustration to me but not a surprise when an iron dies.  I ask quite a bit from my irons as they are working for me for me at least a few hours each day.  I am sure your regular household consumer irons only once a week.  Iron replacement seems to be a yearly or six month occurrence lately and I feel as if I am always replacing an iron. So I spend time researching which iron has the most reliable reviews and I choose the best iron for the best price.

But , at a workshop, my only choice was to go to your local big box store across the street from the hotel and choose an iron as soon as possible. I chose this little guy for all practical reasons: he is cute and vintage looking. I threw all my research out the window for cute and vintage looking.




I love this little 25$ iron . It is a bit heavy but the heat is wonderful. I also love the sharp tip which makes for nice smooth ironing and pressing out those pesky stubborn seams. I never use water in the iron (only in my spray bottle) so I can’t vouch for how well it produces steam.  And about 6 months later, it is still working strong for me.




Back to work for me today. I am working on designing a large piece which is always a challenge.

Little Things

     I love little things that make my job easier. And I always learn something at a workshop that I can apply to what I am doing. This little scissors is perfect for ripping out tight seams. It’s actually a suture scissors.  I bought one from Deb Kurasik at my workshop on Wednesday. The stitch length she recommended for paper piecing was 1.5-tiny -so ripping out was not fun. They really helped .


     Also, I remembered some table extensions that we had used in a fabric dyeing class last spring that put the table at just the right heighth for working in a standing position. When I asked Betsy, my friend who is in charge of organizing the programs where they came from she smiled and went and got me a set of four from the closet.

 PVC tubing that had been cut! This thirty dollar table is now the perfect heighth  for cutting and standing. And I thought it was another gadget to be purchased. Why don’t I think of things like that? (yes, it’s ready for binding 🙂

     I must move with my day. I am Mr. mom this weekend-dad and mom rolled into one as Marc is skiing in VT with his friends. I am tempted to begin something with this beautiful blue linen I dyed this summer, velvet and a drawer full of silk scraps I pick up along my way. I have a show I entered and must have a piece for in three weeks. Fun-remind me I feel no pressure!

Happy Sewing ,my friends!

My Favorite Tools

     I seem to be having a hard time getting consistent studio time in this past week. Just took my daughter back to college so maybe I’ll be able to settle in this week yet.

    As I was cleaning up yesterday, I noticed a few things around my studio that I couldn’t part with-not that I couldn’t part with but that I would miss if it was misplaced or lost. They just make me happy to work with. The first is my felted bowl. It is so soft and keeps all my thread and bobbins contained.

      I reach for it in the exact same place on my sewing desk and if it’s not there when I reach for something, I have to re-arrange so it’s right. I know you know what I mean. Don’t you have something like that in your workspace?

     The second is my antique caddy. It’s full of canning jars and everything there has it’s space too-straight pins, safety pins, pin cushion and major catch-all space. Believe me when I say that I am not neat when I sew. Organized, yes but neat, no. Which is why I was cleaning up last night!

    And my last treasures are my thimbles-each beautiful in their own way.

     They are all low tech items. Old and some even antique, I suppose. But treasured. And with all the mess and all the stuff, this is what I needed in the end to get me started today!

Happy Sewing, my friends.