This is all about my textile work and textile fun... Custom Cycling Caps and more -- much much more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good Morning Everybody!
Vintage times here at Mary's Blog.  Yup you can finally see some of my estate sale sewing finds on site.  No pictures just a teaser -- How can you tell if a tomato measures up?  You pull its strawberry of course! :)
My Best,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Etsy fun fun fun!

Hi Everyone,
Well it is time I told you about my new venture. I am working on an Etsy partnership with my housemate Ruth. Yup, she is the one that went to the White Elephant Sale with me (and her Mom). It is called Central Ave. and you can find it at www.

Stop by sometime and see our cool new stuff. I make earrings out of Victorian and Vintage buttons. I gave a pair to my sister Suzan today -- (she is going to model them for me). They look great on her. I am very lucky to have such a beautiful sister. Here is a picture of the earrings:

All this week I will add new earrings to centralave.etsy . I can make them faster than I can get the photos up on the web!

Out & Over,
Mary E.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mimi's Blanket all done.

Hi Everyone,

I just had the best day at work.  We had a wonderful group of stitchers (The Vintage Stitchers) in the shop today.  They are such nice ladies and great stitchers too.   And, they brought super yummy BAKED goods!   All in all it was a busy day, and fun filled!

On Monday 2/16/09 I finished repairing Mimi's blanket.  It was one of the best days I have had doing restoration work.  Mimi said "I feel like you made my Mom safe."  I can't even tell you how much that meant to me.  Right then I knew that I was doing the work I need and want to do.  

Here is a picture of the blanket in progress:

All finished in the best room in the house:

While working on this blanket I felt like I was getting to know Mimi's mom.  The knitting was so perfect.  Each triangle has the same tension and size.  Having consistent tension in any kind of needle work is essential for a quality piece.  Her work is amazing.  The only part of the blanket I had to work on was where the triangles were joined.  It seems like the cotton had stretched and given way in places due to age the weight of the lace.

When presenting the finished blanket to Mimi she told me a bit more about her mom.  She was a criminal court lawyer and passed the bar in the 1930s.  That she actually defended people in court that were on trial for murder!  Natalie was quite a firecracker and only her husband ever called her Bitsy.   

Also her mom was not very domestically inclined.   She was not one to do crafts all of the time.  However, she did knit and some crochet.  The blanket was a big project and took many years to complete.  It is truly a masterpiece.

Here is a photo of Mimi with the beautiful blanket:

Mimi is very happy with the blanket.  Her plans are to "keep it in a guest room where she can see it -- and people won't touch it." 

More soon,
Mary Elizabeth

Friday, February 13, 2009

Oakland White Elephant Sale

Happy Weekend Everyone,

True to my word we (Ruth, me in the middle, and Dolores) all went to the Oakland White Elephant Sale. It is this great indoor flea market that benefits the Oakland Museum and its many programs. Here is a picture of all three of us in the sewing section. Yep, we really were having that much fun.

I went to the sale with a specific need in mind. I wanted to get a head. Really, I need a good hat form for my cap business. Not only to take photos for my etsy website but also for blocking wool caps and the like. My chances were pretty slim that I would find my elusive quarry. Then I saw it -- With a big N. F. S. (Not For Sale) written on the bottom of it. My heart sank. I asked the nice lady if they ever make exceptions. She kindly said no. She even asked her coworker about it. Even she said no, and that she had been volunteering for years and everyone asks and the answer is no. Heart in hand I asked to talk to the manager.

I came back when the manager was in. That is when I met Pam. I told her about my caps and how I need to have a model to photograph caps for my web site. She was nice enough to offer a mannequin head. Then I told her of my plans to use this hat form to block wool hats and caps. Pam told me about her Mom who used to be the manager of the accessories section at the Elephant Sale. And how her Mom wrote N. F. S. on the bottom of this head. I asked once more if I could give it a good home. And Pam said Yes! I just could not believe it. Her Mom is named Lucile and therefor the cap form is now called Lu. It is the perfect mascot for my shop.

Pam was just so kind to listen to my story. I will never forget her, her kindness, nor her nice Mom named Lucile.

Now take a good look at this photo of the three of us. The sign behind Pam's shoulder says "if it is not priced than it is not for sale." She made an exception for me, and I really appreciate it. Thank you PAM!

More to come,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Needlepoint finishing

Today I worked on the needlepoint case and still have more work to do tomorrow.  It is always surprising how long some tasks take.  I did not get to the christmas ornaments.  However, I am hopeful that they will be done soon.

Tomorrow I am off to the White Elephant Sale.  I have heard about it for years and can't wait.  With a little luck I will have lots of photos of beautiful buttons for you in the afternoon.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy Monday,
The needlepoint blocking worked out perfectly. I set my studio up to sew it together tomorrow. I am also planning on finishing a couple of christmas ornaments as well. I'll post photos tomorrow!

Today it is all about Mimi's blanket. I have my copy of Pride and Prejudice all queued up and ready to go.  I like to watch the multi-episode PPS with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.  I like to have a movie playing while I stitch. P & P is one of my favorites and have seen it many times. I almost have it memorized. Really, and that is saying a lot. It is very difficult for me to remember anything. Pretty soon I will know it better than Rocky Horror (yup went to R.H. as a teen).

I am off to the Market Place for yummy food. I just love walking around Alameda. It is such a pretty town. The rain last night made the air fresh and the quality of light is amazing.

See you on the flip side,

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Good Morning Everyone,

Here is a photo of Me!  Just thought you would like to see who I am.  

I blocked this great needlepoint after work last night.  It is an original design by a local artist.  It is so cool I want to show you a picture of it. First I want to ask her if that is kosher.   It will soon be made into a pencil case.  

While I was working on it I was listening to Portishead, Sour Times.  I get kinda stuck on a song and listen to it over and over.  I never thought of myself as an Electronica fan, but I guess that I am.  Portishead is kinda spy music/Blade Runner/Jazz Bar all rolled in to one.  It went with the image on the needlepoint.  I mean it was Far Out man.

Here is a photo of Luna, my dogglet.  You can see how excited she is about my late night blogging on saturday a.m.

Have a great Sunday,

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This news just in:
I am so excited. I was just startled awake with the possible  answer to my cap problem.  Two cap patterns! 

I can have a prêt-à-porter ("ready to wear" less fitted more versatile sized cap) and haute couture (custom made one by one) cycle caps.  Both caps with the flat lock seams and great graphic design.  However, the prêt-à-porter will be less fitted with hat elastic around the crown of the cap.  This should solve the sizing problem and make the cap more secure at high speeds.  The Haute couture cap will be fitted to the wearer and incorporate their design elements.

It seems so simple now.  Now I can make performance caps for my Etsy and at my local bike shop clients, and make fitted caps for my clients here in town.  

Wow so cool.    
The cap issue aside,  I just had to share my moment of inspiration.  In the morning (when I am awake) I will explain the caps and the issues I have been working on.  But, just right now I wanted to give you my feeling of creativity and joy.   The creative process is so interesting to me.  It is so amazing what the brain does.  I seem so uninvolved.  Matisse said something about this in his Jazz book.  I'll look it up and get it to you in the am.
Thank you for being here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mimi's Lace Knit Cotton Blanket

Good Morning,
Today I am working on a knit lace afghan made by my clients Mom.  It is expertly knit triangles hand sewn into squares. The entire blanket has a fab scalloped edging. The color is this amazing creamy ecru color that cotton acquires as it ages. It has been around for a while now. Mimi (the daughter and my client) has taken great care of the textile, however over the years the triangles have begun to separate.

Like I said the knit lace is fab but sewing all of the bits together to make a large bed sized coverlet must have been daunting indeed. Especially when Natalie was not a crafter at heart. This is her one grand opus into the textile arts. Her daughter wants to save it — and that is where I come into the story. That is what I do (at least what I am happiest doing) sewing, crafting, creating, repairing, conserving, inspecting, just working with textiles.
It is time I starting working on it and not typing. I would like to call her today with the good news of its completion. I hope to post before and after photos. As this is my maiden blogging voyage I am not counting on anything yet.

I'm downloading some stitching music today's selection is a Röyscopp album called Melody A. M. I found it from that Insurance commercial with the guy on the people mover in the airport. The song in the back ground is Remind Me. Just a haunting tune in a great record. It got stuck in my head after seeing in on t.v. Silly way to find some fab music. Still I am glad to have it.
Mary Elizabeth

Post Script: Well the photos are here but not where I want them. The large one is a square that is made up of the knit triangles. The other two show how it is coming apart at the seams. Please stick with me -- I promise to get better at this blogging business. :) m.e.