Thimbles thimbles thimbles! And more thimbles.

As an avowed thimble-hater in my youth, I never expected to carry so many in my shop that I would actually use.
metal_palm_thimbleYou may have heard me evangelize the merits of a sashiko palm thimble, either leather or metal, and seen me wearing both at a quilt show or teaching event. I do use these regularly and find they take the stress out of sashiko and allow me to sew for longer than I would without a thimble. They may seem awkward to start with if you are unaccustomed to them, but once you find the right balance and rhythm to using them they will become your go-to thimble for sashiko.

olympus_leather_thimbleWhich to choose, leather or metal? It really depends on the base of your middle finger on your dominant hand. If the base of your finger is very narrow and rings tend to spin around when you wear them, try the leather thimble with its adjustable elastic. If you have a medium-sized finger base, either will do. If your fingers are thicker or you have arthritic joints, you may prefer the leather and either adjust the elastic or replace it with ribbon to make it larger. I tend to use the metal one most as it is easiest to find in my sewing tool box.

Are they absolutely necessary? No, but if you plan to be sewing long lines, I wouldn’t do it without one. Short curves where you’ll only be picking up one or two stitches at a time will be fine without a thimble.

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This leather fingertip thimble from Cotton Boll feels like wearing a glove. It is soft, pliable, and has a slit for your fingernail to poke through and comes in small, medium, or large. Cotton Boll is a Japanese company, but the thimble is made in the USA. Having grown up near a cattle pasture in California, this does not surprise me. Plenty of leather around here.

littlehouse_thimble1The tortoise thimble is armor for your finger, but with access for your fingernail to be free. I’m one of those people who fumble with metal fingertip thimbles, so I haven’t used this one. They do seem popular at quilt shows! They come in two sizes, medium and large. If you’re not sure which you might need, just ask. I’ll do my best to get you fitted.

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This little ring thimble is what I use for sewing quilt bindings. Adjustable and comfortable, this thimble prevents me from stabbing my fingertips and bleeding all over my quilts. The one shown is from Little House. I currently stock these from Clover as the exposed brass turned my finger green and Clover plates theirs so that doesn’t happen. You can see a video of me using it to sew a binding here.

Yubinuki are beautiful handmade thimbles. I’ve picked up a few books on how to make them, but it may be a while before I have the chance to sit down and learn the finer points. Check out the selection of books at Pomadour’s Craft Cafe if you’d like to give it a shot! I also like this clever handmade thimble from May Sheung on Etsy.

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New in the shop: Sashiko Southwest

"Protecting Beauty" from Sashiko Southwest

“Protecting Beauty” from Sashiko Southwest

Joyce Perz of Sashiko Southwest is an artist with a vision. She enjoys the classic style of Japanese sashiko, but living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she is exposed to Southwest Native American tribal art in all its beautiful geometry. In combining the two she has created a collection of beautiful hybrid designs.

I had the pleasure of meeting Joyce while I was working at AQS Quilt Week Albuquerque in January of this year. Her personality and energy were inspiring, and I was excited to see her kits fly off the display in my booth during show.

Printed on Kona cotton with a wash-out ink, these kits are similar to the widely available Olympus kits many of us are already familiar with, but with a playful flair and unique take on both Native American art and traditional Japanese design.

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“Fish in the River” from Sashiko Southwest

While these look great with white thread on dark blue cotton, you could spice one up with a change of thread color, or use it as a centerpiece in a larger project.

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These little kits make inexpensive, easy weekend projects, or bring one along to do while you’re waiting for an appointment (that’s how I get a lot of my sashiko done!). No hoop needed, just fabric, needle, thread, and maybe a sashiko thimble.

I have several designs available in the Kimonomomo Etsy shop right now and available at quilt shows (check the schedule to the right), or you can order directly from Joyce at SashikoSouthwest.com.

 

Schedule for March 2015

Busy busy! Local local! No airplanes for me this month. Here’s where you can find Kimonomomo this March:

Looking for classes? I’m working with Jennifer Serr of the Sewing Room in Alameda, CA to put a schedule together and will post here when we’ve got that ready for you.

Event News for February, 2015

February 1 – Starting the month with a bang, I’ll be in the Campbell/San Jose, CA area for the monthly Bay Area Sashiko Workshop meetup. Sit and stitch with like-minded crafters ranging from absolute beginners to incredibly talented and experienced. All skill levels are welcome and light refreshments will be served. Fabrics, notions, thread, and assortment of other sewing goods will be available for purchase.

February 3 – I’ll be teaching sashiko and hand sewing in Alameda, CA with Upcycle Alameda at the fabulous Recrafting Co. shop for 6 Tuesday night sessions. Contact Joan at 510-913-2732 for more information.

February 19-21 – Come visit the Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Festival in San Mateo, CA. This is a fun, FREE show where you can try out new craft tools and find inspiration to actually finish projects you may have already started. Check out all the booths (including mine!) featuring beautiful materials and pick up supplies for your crafty ideas.

Learn Sashiko with Upcycle Alameda!

I’ll be teaching a six-week course with sashiko and other hand sewing skills using upcycled fabrics at the Recrafting Co. in beautiful Alameda, CA. You can join in on Upcycle Alameda’s Meetup event page and/or contact Joan at 510-913-2732 for more information and to sign up. There are a limited number of seats available and we would love to have you in one of them.

Here are the details: 

Join an experienced Alameda sewing coach and seven fellow Islanders to make upcycle couture! Develop your signature style. Rethink how you clothe yourself and your family. Have creative, collaborative, skill-building fun.

Each session begins with a group sewing lesson followed by time to work on individual projects, both machine and hand-sewn. For this series, all six of our group lessons will teach hand-sewing techniques.

No sewing experience? No worries. Our coach, experienced sewist and sashiko hand-sewing expert Carol Ziogas will guide us. Reviving your sewing skills? This is a fun way to get back in the swing. The group will help each other choose projects that suit each one’s style and skill level. For the first session, dig in your closet. Bring some things you love to wear as well as possible upcycle project pieces. It’s fun!

CLASS INFO:
Six Tuesdays, February 3 thru March 10, 6:30-9:30 pm.
at Recrafting Co., 2449 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda.
$180 for 18 hours of sewing sessions + $15 for Japanese hand-sewing kit.
Small class size! Eight students.

Q: What is upcycle sewing?
A: Select one or more old garments or discarded fabrics. Snip and sew them into something new, something more you! Find Upcycle Alameda here and meetup.com
Call or text Joan, 510.913.2732 for more info. Hand-Sewing Lessons
Feb 3 Needle, Thimble and Thread: Hand-Sewing Theory and Method (Hands-on)
Feb 10 Design Transfer Methods: Tracing, Stencil
Feb 17 Sashiko: Japanese Hand Stitching Technique (Middle Ages)
Feb 24 Reverse Applique: Ancient Egyptian and Indian Hand Stitching Technique
Mar 3 Fabric Patching: Japanese Hand Stitching Technique
Mar 10 Stretch Stitches for Clothing Construction and Finishing: Slip, Herringbone, Cross-Stitch, Zigzag Daisy

Updates for Late December 2014

I really left you hanging there, didn’t I? Sorry about that. After all the buzz of shopping Houston Quilt Market followed by teaching and selling at Quilt Festival I’m always in desperate need of a month or two to crawl back into my shell and not talk to humans very much. This tends to upset people who are JUST FINE working all year round, and they can never quite understand why I don’t reply to emails, return calls, or answer texts for a few weeks.

Winter is my sanity-rebuilding time. That’s all I can say.

Moving on and getting back to actual work, here are some upcoming events where you can find me in early 2015:

I’ll post new events as they are confirmed.

Houston International Quilt Market #1!

Ok, a few pics from my first two days. More to come.

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The big red and white display is in celebration of the Festival’s 40 year Ruby Jubilee, and it is amazing. The other photos are from my shopping spree at Birch Fabrics, and the most excellent Tyson who helped me out.

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Dee Dee at Seven Islands talked me into way more fabric than I can handle right now… Good thing Thomas and I are working on our new shop space so we can fit it all!

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Two gorgeous photo-realistic, hand painted quilts I love.

More to come! So much to see.

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