Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tree Trimming

Another beautiful photo by Kelly McKaig, this of my Trees ribbon trimming a straw hat and a velvet throw.

The Tree ribbon was inspired by a William Morris tapestry entitled Woodpecker. I added the blue spruce to bring in that beautiful blue green acanthus leaves Morris used.

book markings re-visited

This is the photo, by Kelly McKaig, that inspired Anna to do the drawing in the last post. The ribbons shown here are How to Knit (similar to my more recent Knit Wit ribbon) and Manikin. I sewed the ribbons into cloth bookcovers, made much the same way I used to cover books in folded brown paper (re-cycled grocery bags!) when I was a school girl.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

ribbon marks

Some time ago I asked Anna Brewer, one of the most talented illustrators I know, to do a series of drawings of things to do with the ribbons I design. I will begin posting these charming drawings to share the ideas with you. Mark Your Books -- from using a ribbon as a bookmark to binding it into handmade books. It features several ribbons: Seven-Circuit Labyrinth, Labyrinth, Oranges, and Manikin.

Be sure to look at Anna's own blog, Frogblog -- she is unsurpassed as an observer of nature!

ribbon sewing tips from my sister

My sister Cathy has been an avid supporter of my ribbon endeavors to the point where she began using it a couple of years ago on items of her own creation which she sells at craft shows in Virginia and thereabouts. Cathy has always been a much more careful seamstress than myself (all 4 of us Foster girls were brought up sewing and she & I continue the tradition!). Not to mention a better writer! So when she placed this comment a few posts ago about sewing with my ribbon, I thought it would be a good thing to have on the front page for general tips & ideas. thank you, Cathy!

"I love this ribbon! Thanks for your prompt service, Laura! I am using it as embellishment on hand towels for gifts to all the myriad of people who are not family: some colleagues, family friends, clients, service providers, etc.

"The towels I prefer are thick, burgundy hand towels I found at Marshall's. (Marshall's and T J Maxx are my favorite source of very high quality but inexpensive linens for the home.)

I've been using your ribbons for several years for my business, Camellia Cove Creations. If any of your customers are inclined to sew their own guest towels, I have several tips:
1. Prewash and dry the towels, cold setting for the wash and hot for the dryer. Use Shout color trappers if you are washing more than one color, or deep colors. If you don't prewash and dry, you run the risk of the towels shrinking and puckering your ribbon.
2. I use an old-fashioned sewing machine, with straight stitch and zig-zag stitch functions. You don't need anything fancy to achieve fantastic results.
3. Don't pre-cut a bunch of ribbon if you are embellishing more than one towel. Each towel has a unique width, even if it's from the same manufacturer. Cut one ribbon per towel.
4. Lay the ribbon along the horizontal width of the towel. Ribbons work best if they are just slightly narrower than the nap-less strip of the towel.
5. Your first seam should be straight stitch along the horizontal width with the majority of the towel crowding between the needle and the arm of the sewing machine. The beauty of lfntextiles ribbon is that there is a barely perceptible border on the edge of the ribbon. I use this border as my stitch guide.
6. At the end of the first straight stitch seam, leave the needle in the ribbon and towel; lift the presser foot and pivot; change the stitch width to zigzag and the length to very narrow; put the presser foot down; and zigzag along the edge until you reach the next corner. Leaving the needle in the ribbon/towel, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric, put the presser foot down, and change the width back to straight stitch and the length to 10-12 stitches per inch. Sew in straight stitch to the edge of the towel, and repeat changes to zigzag width and length. Zigzag stitch to final corner; tack back, and you're done.

I get rave reviews from customers and friends about these towels.

Cathy Walsh
Camellia Cove Creations"

ribbons for spring

I spent the afternoon yesterday updating my website to include 7 new ribbons for spring. It is always somewhat arduous to do and I feel like shouting from the rooftops when I finally mange to pull off a new look or add new items. For those of you who don't know me, I have a sort of crazy determination to do everything -- except change the oil, mow the grass, and vacuum the house -- for myself. Not knowing any HTML, keeping a website is a tough proposition! It means stretching the tiny confines of the stiff little templates that come with the website admin package. I wish it were as easy as blogging!

So here are the new ribbons I added. I hope to add projects with them soon. Please comment if you enjoy them!