More from The Makerie: Embroidery from the Expert Jenny Hart

jenny hartI spent last weekend at The Makerie retreat in Boulder, Colorado, learning from some of my crafting idols. I’m sharing what I learned in series of blog posts. Check out Monday’s post on Heather Jones & quilting, or the post on learning to draft your own patterns. Or, how about Amy Butler for a teacher! Yup. Well, out of all the superstars, here’s the woman I most wanted to meet: Sublime Stitching’s Jenny Hart.

sublime stitching kitEveryone in the class got this embroidery kit filled with the basics: floss, hoop, needles, little snip scissors, and a scroll to embroider on.

be the changeEmbroidery was my first crafty love, and I learned from Jenny’s book Embroidered Effects. Embroidery isn’t rocket science. It isn’t hard to learn, but I think a lot of people are intimidated because old-school embroidery, like cross-stitch, is sometimes strict with lots of rules. Jenny and her book showed me that this isn’t the case anymore. Embroidery is modern, fun, and so relaxed.

Now I teach embroidery at Fabric Bliss in Denver, and Jenny is my inspiration! I acted like a silly fangirl with her — but how could I not? She is so so awesome. And to embroider with her was a privilege and a dream!

~ Kristina

Yet More of What I Learned from the Makerie: Amy Butler’s Color Story

I spent the last several days at The Makerie retreat in Boulder, Colorado, learning from some of my crafting idols. I’m sharing what I learned in series of blog posts. Check out Monday’s post on Heather Jones & quilting, or yesterday’s on learning to draft your own patterns. Or, just read on!

amy butler & your color storyAmy Butler, as you might imagine, knows color. The woman and her company have influenced American design, particularly with Midwest Modern and all the resulting fabric collections. It was an honor to learn from her at the Makerie.

amy butler your color storyHer class, “Your Color Story,” started with a stunning slideshow from Amy’s travels in India, Egypt and her own backyard, explaining her inspiration. Her Indian trip influenced the recent Soul Blossoms, and the Egyptian trip inspired the upcoming Hapi collection.

Amy takes thousands of photos on her travels, and when she gets home, she organizes them by color. This piece of wisdom has changed how I look at travel photography. In the age of digital photography, I usually take lots of photos and come home to delete the ones that aren’t pretty and organize the others chronologically, documenting the trip event by event. Amy looks at it a different way. She might see blues in photos from one town and more blues pictures from a fish market days later. One after another, she gathers these by color and lets it inspire her.

After learning from Amy’s color story, we turned to our own.

panorama shot2Here’s a panoramic photo of the light-filled room we worked in at Chautauqua. Amy supplied us with poster board, glue, paint chips and lots of magazines to find inspiration. Here were the color boards that she brought as an example:

amy's color boards holly and heatherMy sister Holly and I worked at a table with Heather Jones, the incredible quilter. It was soothing to spend several hours thinking about color, combining them on a palette of sorts, and doing some deep breathing.

color classme and holly tooHere are photos of our entire class’ color boards (courtesy of Amy’s Facebook page) and Holly and my two color boards.

Here’s how I composed mine: I grabbed one photo from Outside magazine, which reminded me of a Colorado mountain vista. I pulled colors from the depth of greens, blues and even purple. I can’t wait to combine this palette in a sewing project!

~ Kristina

More of What I Learned from the Makerie: How to Draft Your Own Patterns


I spent the last several days at this gorgeous place, Chautauqua in Boulder, Colorado. I was at the Makerie, a sewing retreat, learning from some of my crafting idols. I’m sharing what I learned in series of blog posts. Check out yesterday’s and/or read on!

Today: Designing Your Own Clothes with Cal Patch.

drafted dress pattern

I went into this amazing class on drafting your own patterns with a high degree of skepticism about actually being able to really, truly draft patterns. As it turns out, though it does involve a lot of math, it isn’t impossible! In fact, this project gave me a sense of serious accomplishment.

The class was taught by Cal Patch of Hodge Podge Farm and author of “Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified.”  In just four hours, we learned how to draft an A-line skirt pattern and a simple shift dress pattern from our own measurements. Cal is just about the cutest, most wry instructor I’ve ever had; if you get a chance to take a class with her, DO IT. I promise you won’t regret it.

cal patch, courtest of the makerie

The process behind designing your own clothes, again, involves a lot of simple math (addition, subtraction and division). It also reminded me a lot of high school geometry class (remember writing out proofs? this is just like one giant proof for a garment that fits you). And you have to be completely fearless when it comes to taking your measurements — no fudging it! — because you want to make sure the garment fits. Though those were challenges for me, it ended up being so exciting to overcome it and make patterns. There also is something so raw and delightfully essential about drawing a design on paper. It was a satisfying experience.

That said, I have yet to actually sew one of my own patterns. Be assured, I will report back when I do. I already bought the fabric for the skirt – I can’t wait to dive in!

~ Kristina


What I Learned from The Makerie



My sister Holly and I were lucky enough to attend the first Makerie Sewing retreat this weekend. It was a lovely experience, both a privilege to meet and work with some of my crafting idols (Heather Jones, Cal Patch, Amy Butler and Jenny Hart) and to spend many days on vacation with my sister.

holly at chautauqua

We caught Chautauqua at a gorgeous time – it had just received a spring snow but was lovely and sunny. We stayed in a cottage on the property, which was a cozy space for a getaway.

I learned a lot from the weekend, and I would like to share those thoughts with you through a series of blog posts!

Modern quilter Heather Jones was the #1 reason why I wanted to attend the Makerie. Her clean designs and color sense have inspired my own view of fabric, quilting and other crafts. She taught an improv piecing class at the Makerie, where I learned how to free my mind around the lines and form of quilt blocks:

Heather Jones at the makerieWe worked on a mini quilt project with small scraps – smaller than I ever really imagined using in a project (let’s just say, it’s going to be hard to throw away scraps ever again).

The process of improv piecing helped loosen my strict sense of line and pattern in quilting. Freeing the mind like this provides greater creative breadth. I’m excited to play with my scraps much more to create new forms and combinations of color and pattern.

Moreso, Heather is a warm and kind person, and I truly enjoyed learning from her and then also working with her in Amy Butler’s color class (more on that in a later post). It was just so much fun to be a part of her community, even just for a weekend! Here are some fun photos us:

buffalo attacks

me and Heather

~ Kristina