Time Warp

Traditional publishing can be something of a mind bender. You work on projects for months—sometimes more than a year—in advance of the publication date. Depending on the project and its deadlines, you may be totally immersed in the subject for days, weeks or months on end. Then suddenly, your portion is complete, and the project moves along to the next person. You want to tell the world about what you’d done, but you can’t. Not yet.

Books I illustrated in 2010Months later, you get a package in the mail. Your copies have arrived! Finally, you can say, “Look at this!”

Over the past many months, I played a part in each of these titles. You already know that I provided technical illustrations for Barbara Weiland’s The Quilting Answer Book. Barbara also authored The Sewing Answer Book, and I illustrated that as well. Pick one up if you get a chance. Both books are chock full of fantastic information, and designer Jessica Armstrong did a wonderful job of putting the pages together.

I had a very small part in Candy Construction. I provided a small number of instruction illustrations, but it was great fun, drawing cookies and candies! This book is filled with fabulous photography, and gives a new meaning to the phrase “play with your food!”

I thought One Yard Wonders, by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, turned out especially well. It has a fun, youthful vibe, and is filled with quick-to-stitch projects. It was amazing to see all the different projects that are made from just one yard of fabric!

My name doesn’t appear in Sewing School, but I drew the patterns that are packaged in the back of the book. It’s a fun book that I think kids will enjoy.

Redwork from the WorkBasket by Rebecca Kemp Brent

I was also thrilled to digitally draw 100 designs for Rebecca Kemp Brent’s book, Redwork from The WORKBASKET. The designs originally appeared as iron-on embroidery transfers in The WORKBASKET, a small multi-craft magazine published from 1935-1996. Rebecca has done a marvelous job of re-purposing the vintage designs for embroidery on computerized sewing machines. The book is filled with interesting information, tips and techniques for both hand and machine embroidery, plus great projects! (Check out the Redwork Quilt on page 125–it’s gorgeous!)

And finally, I want to tell you about the huge project that kept me tied up for a large part of last year. It combined sewing and writing and illustration, and I really, really hope you like it. I’d just love to tell you all about it. But I can’t.

Not. Quite. Yet.

Behind the Times

It’s funny how things don’t always work out quite the way you’ve planned. More than a month ago, when I decided to take out an ad in Quilting Arts magazine, I thought I’d have plenty of time to pull a few introductory pdf patterns together. After all, the ideas have been brewing inside my brain for quite some time. I just had to pluck them out and put them on digital paper. Alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. Illustration opportunities, a few family crises and other unplanned activities conspired to keep me away from Missy Stitches. I even lost the first draft of this posting in an unexplained power outage. For a while, it seemed the universe was against this little endeavor.

Still, all the stops and starts and stolen moments have allowed me to think things through. Recent experiences have reinforced my commitment to focus on recycling and re-purposing materials. Not only is going green a great way to save money, finding new ways to use what you already have on hand can be fun, and is essential for the earth. My belief that creating things can be healing is stronger than ever. Whether I’m stitching or painting or planting seeds for the future, I feel better when I’m making things.

So, if you came to this site expecting to find projects, patterns and techniques for repurposed fabric, rest assured that they are in the works and on the way! Let me know if you’d like to be notified when the first batch arrives. I’d love to hear from you.

Summer Camp

Campers signed this map painted on a black sheet

Every year, our small town is taken over. Thousands of under thirty-somethings flock to Three Sisters Park for Summer Camp, a music festival featuring over 60 bands on 5 stages over 3 days. Campers start showing up at the park on Wednesday, then literally pour through the gates on Thursday to set up their tents for the Friday through Sunday festival. The music is very loud, and there are the usual problems you might expect when that many people share a small space. In a lot of ways, it’s a zoo. So I was a little apprehensive when the Folk Art School decided to set up a fundraising tent at the event.

Painting t-shirts at summer campThe festival attracts a modern hippie sort of crowd. Think Woodstock, but without any political agenda. For the most part, the ‘kids’ are simply there to enjoy the music and have a good time. Once you get past the man skirts, nipple rings and dreadlocks, you start to notice how very polite everyone is. It’s quite an eye-opener in a lot of ways.

I worked up signage for the school tent, grunge-painting (more on that technique to come!) cheap sheeting for ‘Make Your Mark’ signups and tent banners. Campers were invited to sign their state or add their art to the sheets, and a drawing was held to give those items away.

Percussion instruments at Summer CampWe also offered recycled t-shirts to paint and re-fashion, fairy wings, tote bags, bandannas (in honor of Willie Nelson, who performed Sunday night), plus Sit ‘N’ Knit kits for creating iPod cases and Sit ‘N’ Sew coin purse kits. Unfortunately, most of those items missed the mark with the crowd, so we didn’t raise as much money as we’d hoped.

The Sound Garden, though, was a big hit. Using cast-off pvc pipes and outdated LP tanks, the guys in the group crafted one-of-a-kind musical instruments. Leftover electrical conduit became a sweet-sounding xylophone. A jingle bell wreath found new life as a tambourine. Got an old wind chime? It’s the perfect percussion piece.

Propane tank drums

Will we do this again next year? Maybe, with a better understanding of what the crowd enjoys, and a lot more sunscreen. And oh, yes. Open eyes.