Sunday, Nov. 4, from Noon to 4 p.m. in Arlington Heights, IL (email greensheepjo [at] gmail [ dot] com for the address)
Participating Vendors include:
Bob’s Wine Bottle Lights
Mini Massage by Back In Balance
The Green Sheep
Willow House Jewelry by Sara Blaine
Willow House Style For Home
My friend Kathy, who I met over a Green Sheep blanket, is hosting this wonderful open house in her own home. I’m honored to be a part of it! If you live in the area, please come. Email me at greensheepjo [at] gmail [dot] com to get the street address. There’ll be refreshments and raffles in addition to a wide assortment of gifts. You’ll find great ideas for family, friends, teachers, hostesses, and even you. We’re all working hard to put on a great day for you!
I have a new blanket ready for a fall show in November! These sweaters sat stacked together for months, awaiting some time on my calendar to put them together. This is “Night Garden.”
While I was sewing it, when our temps were a bit warmer, it evoked for me the feeling I have when my hubby and I sit out on our little street-facing balcony on a quiet evening, enjoy a glass of wine together and watch our neighbors walk with their spouses, their dogs, their babies.
Now that the weather is cooler, though, I just see “fall” all over this blanket. Funny how my feelings change through the seasons. We use our wool blankets all year long.
I was lucky enough to have my daughter and two of her wonderful college roommates agree to model, and even luckier that the rain stopped long enough for some photos. That their T-shirts serendipitously complemented the colors in the blanket — that was a bonus :)
I know, I know, this is the Midwest. Weather is hardly predictable. There are likely many warm days ahead before summer is officially over. But right now there’s some fall in the air. I’ve heard the earliest of the Canadian geese honking overhead. I tie a sweater around my hips when I leave the house.
If you ask me, it’s almost time to put on a poncho.
— PURPLE —
–TAN / CREAM / GREY —
— BROWN —
–GREY / GREEN —
The ponchos are designed to come just past the elbow and are comfortable worn both indoors and out. Interested? See “Contact me” in the Pages section of this blog’s right-hand column.
I’m feeling a bit forlorn about no Green Sheep open house this year! The past two falls I had the thrill of preparing, anticipating, and showing new things. The best part is letting others see and feel this wool in person — it’s simply impossible to represent its softness, drape and presence in a photo.
Why no show this year you ask?
1st — we were a little preoccupied with a wedding in the early months :)
2nd — after the wedding, so many of you placed special orders with The Green Sheep that not much other sewing got done!
3rd — my dear mom is staying with us for several weeks and our time has been full of wonderful things (but, ahem, not sewing).
Not that I’m complaining about any of these great reasons that I’ve become a slacker.
However, I have been playing a bit, thanks to a friend who recently asked about fingerless gloves for a birthday gift. In response, I pulled out a pattern I used last Christmas to make some wristwarmers (a.k.a. fingerless gloves) for my two daughters and a few others. I reworked them with improvements, and wah-lah! (Please excuse the photo composition and focus; I had a tough time being my own model!)
The gray pair
The tan pair
The red pair
The green pair
All of these fingerless gloves are very soft, made of either cashmere or lambswool.
I have a little obsession with design from the Arts and Crafts era of the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s the mix of wood, fabric and pottery, the nature themes, the importance of hearth, home, and handmade-ness that all appeal to me.
So, in making this fall blanket, I decided to use ginkgo leaves. It was the influence of Asia that brought the leaf into a little prominence during the Arts and Crafts period.
The ginkgo biloba tree (“biloba” = bi-lobed: the two halves of the leaf) has a reputation in Chinese and Japanese culture as a symbol of resilience, longevity, and hope.
My bit of internet research says that it’s one of the oldest living trees still on the earth. Apparently there are ginkgo leaf fossils over 270 million years old. Plus the sap has fire-retardant qualities that allow ginkgos to survive fires which destroy other trees.
And there it is: the resilience that leads to longevity that leads to hope.
These are great qualities! But mostly I just like how graceful the leaf is.
And the fact that I got my daughter to model it :)
Ginkgo Leaves, 60″ wide x 84″ long
[This blanket has gone to a Craftsman home in California and is no longer available.]
Last week, Lauren, one of my daughter’s college friends, asked if she could come see my stash of blankets. She was looking for a birthday present for herself with money from her 18th birthday and had her heart set on taking a blanket back to school. I pulled out my inventory, and she found this graduated-color experiment I did over a year ago.
It was plain when Lauren saw it, no flowers. “I like this one, Mrs. O–.” (I believe all of our kids’ friends still charmingly call us Mr. and Mrs. It warms my heart, even as I use my first name with them so they might feel comfortable making the switch.) “Can you put some flowers on it, like the one with the marigolds?” And then she pointed out what color she’d like the flowers to be (actually more green than these photos show).
When I originally made this blanket, I named it “Getting Warmer,” for obvious reasons, I think. Not only do the colors go from cool to warm, but also the phrase reminds me of that childhood hide-n-seek game (“You’re getting warmer…warmer…now you’re BURNING UP!”). I seem to recall playing that game a lot as a kid. So there was that.
But as I sewed the flowers this week — by open windows with cool breezes, listening to honking geese, and watching college kids leave home again — I realized “getting warmer” was no longer appropriate. And so it became “It’s Getting Cooler” — a fall theme that still respects the graduated color pattern. And Lauren’s flowers are like autumn’s chrysanthemums, just with reversed colors.
Lauren: I had fun working on this for you ♥. May it bring you lots of joy at school and beyond, and may it also remind you of the people at home who love you. (And, of course, you can call it whatever you want!)