My Last Day!

Well, I have come to the end of my time here in Big Bear. Tomorrow I will be heading north to the Bay Area, where my family is anxiously awaiting my return! I have been fortunate to meet a lot of really great people while I have been here, and I won’t forget that. It was a great adventure for me, getting to see the lake, the mountains, and the desert area around here. This is a beautiful part of the world!

My last project was making a valance to hang in the shop. I drew up a sketch, made a pattern, and put it into action. I miscalculated a bit somewhere along the top and it came out a little wonky, but overall, it wasn’t too bad for my first shot at making window coverings from scratch.

My sewing machine couldn’t handle the fringe trim, so I hand sewed it.

I also got a couple shots of the project I did with the Accuquilt Go machine. Gena brought in a pair of drapes, which I made tab tops for, and then used the Accuquilt to cut out shapes of contrasting fabrics and ironed them on.

Thanks so much everyone! I had a great time, and I hope to return to Big Bear sometime soon. 🙂

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Los Angeles Garment District

I spent yesterday with Gena and Diane in the Garment District of LA. It spans several city blocks and is pretty much packed with shops, merchandise, and things to look at. I didn’t know quite what to expect going there, but now I know that we saw just a small fraction of what was offered – we definitely could have spent another few days checking everything out! We stayed mostly in the textiles area, but there are all kinds of beads and notions, as well as shoes and clothing and almost anything else you can imagine…all at pretty decent prices.

Gena also researched some other shops for us to visit outside of the Garment District. We headed downtown to Mood Fabrics on W. Pico Blvd. Mood provides very high-end textiles – silks, wools, and leathers, many of them from Europe. They also had a selection of designer fabrics. I saw prints from Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, and Ralph Lauren. While most of it exceeded my price range, it was still nice to see some of the fabrics that make up the garments you see on the runways, and to feel the quality of the fabrics with your own hands. I found a remnant for $5 and also purchased patternmaking paper. (I used to get it for free at school, but now I have to provide my own!)

Next we found F&S Fabrics further down W. Pico Blvd. They had a lot of cute cotton print choices, and are currently offering 50% off on their silk prints. Their remnant bins were decent, and I found a good fabric on clearance in the back room.

We headed back to the Garment District once more before starting back home. After two more purchases, I had to stop myself! I ended up coming home with seven different fabrics and that will keep my busy for a long time.

I won’t get the chance to visit Los Angeles again before I return home to the Bay Area, but I definitely will have to make a shopping trip down here sometime. It’s a world of beautiful items and a million crafty ideas!

So many choices! 🙂

Japanese Delights

Since I have been working at the Yarn Designers Boutique, I have learned a lot about different styles of knitting and crocheting, as well as the many different projects that our customers enjoy doing. Looking through the shop’s binders of free patterns has gotten me interested in searching for patterns and ideas online, too. I’ve got a couple of fun little things that I want to try to make, and about a billion things I hope I can get good enough to make someday.

One thing I have learned more about, and have come to adore, is Amigurumi (ah-mee-goo-roo-mee). It comes from the Japanese words ami (meaning knitted or crocheted) and nuigurumi (meaning stuffed doll or toy). These little creatures exude cuteness and I have seen them in all forms – animals, insects, fish, fruits, vegetables, robots – anything!

One of the shop’s customers, Katie, has taken to amigurumi and has done exceptionally well (you may see her there on Tuesday nights).  She began crocheting in earnest just a couple of months ago, and I am amazed at the projects she has turned out.

The middle bear was her first, and the other two were made to order for a set of twin boys. Katie’s got a few other things that she’s just putting the finishing touches on, and then I will be able to post more photos.

Gena will be getting some amigurumi books in the shop soon, and there’s the possibility of having some classes on the subject. If you are interested, please let Gena know!

I love the passion that Katie has for her projects! It is inspiring to me to see a person discover something they have a talent for and then throw themselves into it, reading books, practicing, and pushing themselves to be better each time.

More project photos are coming soon! Domo arigato, Katie. 🙂

*Just Added! Additional photos!*

 

 

Top: A mobile/stroller toy with fishies swimming through seaweed. Bottom: Three peas in a pod, a gift Katie made for her mom representing herself and her two brothers.

A New Skill

In the last week or so I have been working with something completely new to me. I don’t have much quilting experience (none, really), so I was a bit confused by the concept of the Accuquilt Go fabric cutter. Once I had it in front of me, though, I saw it is a pretty cool thing and now my mind is wandering thinking of all the projects I could make with it!

At first it is folded up like a tall skinny briefcase, but then unfolds to reveal a flat surface on either side, with a set of rollers and a crank in the middle on the hinge.

The machine uses sets of dies that have shapes embedded into them. You place your fabric over the shape you want, cover it with a cutting mat, and crank it through the set of rollers. The rollers push the fabric into the die and cut out the shape. I may be a little behind the times with this one since I’m not a quilter, but I was impressed!

I’m working on a side project, making a set of drapes embellished with shapes cut out with the Accuquilt Go. Before cutting out my shapes, I applied an iron-on adhesive to the fabric, so then the shapes can be directly adhered to the drapes.

There are a variety of dies available for the Accuquilt, and a multitude of things you could do with them, so it’s definitely not limited to just quilters. Maybe if I’m good Santa will be me one for Christmas. 🙂

My First Project!

My first week in Big Bear is coming to a close and it has been nothing short of beautiful, educational, and just what I needed to dive into after graduation. I have gotten to help out in the shop by learning the cash register system and stocking freight that has come in. In addition, a customer came in wanting a new set of slipcovers for her rocking chair cushions. The refurbished chair was to be a gift for her granddaughter’s new baby girl, so we helped her choose some upholstery fabric in the shop, and I set to work on my first freelance project.

After measuring the chair pads, I began to draft my patterns, just as I had learned to do in school. I used the vellum patternmaking paper we have in the shop, and soon I had my pieces ready to cut out.  For extra strength, I threaded my sewing machine with a heavy-duty upholstery thread that we also have in the shop.  The thread did not break once in the course of sewing, but I did have to guide the fabric under the presser foot with a little more force to prevent the thread from catching and tangling.

I made a tab/flap at the back of each cushion that can be tucked in a tacked down so there’s no need to mess with a zipper, but the slipcovers can be removed for washing. And now we have a pattern ready to go for the next set.

It has been great to meet so many new people this week who are so passionate about the things that they create. I have seen customers who are new to knitting and crocheting and are ready to dive in and learn, excited by what they might accomplish. And then I have seen customers who have been knitting and crocheting for years, but they still have that excitement, always ready and planning to tackle that next project and make something beautiful and fun. I love it!

Until next time,

Erin

Hello all!

Well it’s the end of my first full day here in Big Bear, and my first day working in the shop. I’m not going to lie – I’m tired! However, as far as first days go, I think we got a lot accomplished.

The first thing I got to do was check out the local farmer’s market. I can’t wait to go back next week! I’m already reworking my budget in my head so I can get a taste of the fresh fruits and veggies I saw today.

Working in the store today, I was able to learn a bit about what a small business owner has to take care of. There were balances to reconcile, displays to rearrange, and new items to check in and stock. Should I ever be so fortunate to have my own business in the future, I believe these are all good things for me to experience!

I think the biggest obstacle is making time for all the project ideas everyone is coming up with. I’d love to accomplish as much as I can while I am here. The next six weeks look like they are going to be busy!

Until tomorrow –

Erin