| May 2006 »
Many of you have seen Amy's name on your packing slips or talked with her on the phone, but few people know how creative she is. We're lucky enough to have Amy work here part-time; her wonderful, artistic eye makes her the go-to person when we need to know if two fabrics really match or if something is a blue-red or an orange-red. Coincidentally, Amy's older sister went to high school with Winnie; they didn't realize the connection until Amy applied for the job. New Mexico really calls to people, and it's always surprising to see who answers.
Anyway, Amy's latest challenge was to make a rag doll using scraps of our fabrics. This is what she made. You may recognize some of the fabrics as ones which sold out long ago, and others from our current offerings. Her arms and legs are braided strips of fabric; her head, body, and feet are stuffed with our organic cotton stuffing. Her face is embroidered, and her mouth is a piece of red herringbone.
Amy plans to give this to a friend who is a fan of traditional folk arts, but I could easily see a similar doll given to a lucky little kid -- especially one who's been reading the Little House books or anything similar. Older children can help, or even make the doll themselves; the handmade look is part of its charm. (As an aside, a local ten-year-old has just learned how to make Waldorf-style bunting dolls, and she's having so much fun! There's a downloadable, free pattern that's suitable for kids here.) Doll-making is great for kids, because the final projects are so rewarding; adults love the many opportunities to express their creativity and individuality within what at first seems like a fairly rigid structure.
Amor Owens, one of our customers, has just officially opened her webstore, and you might want to check it out. She has a beautiful paisley jumper (scroll down to see it) made from our organic corded chenille that almost makes me wish I'd had a daughter just for the clothes. :) Amor plans to make more clothes out of organic material, so you might want to check her site frequently.
Do you make things from our materials, either for sale or for yourself? Let us know, and maybe we'll feature your work too.
We just spent all day adding new fabrics to the site -- almost twenty of them! I'm not going to point them all out (what fun would that be?) but I just have to mention a few of my favorites.
We just got the most amazing colored Hemp Silk Charmeuses. Seriously, they're absolutely incredible. There's Autumn, Black, and Sand. They'll make wonderful small projects -- I think lots of people will be getting eye pillows for presents this year. I've been wanting a natural silk to use for the cover forever.
And this silk/hemp is special; the hemp is of course grown in China without pesticides or fertilizers, as a companion crop to all the other plants in the field, and the silk is almost entirely cruelty-free. So I'll feel extra-good using the material. But it's not just good for small things -- think about flowing skirts, fancy dinner dresses, a beautiful Draped Wrap and Cape,... I have so many fun plans for these fabrics!
My other current favorites of the new fabrics are these stunning hemp herringbones. They feel so wonderful, especially after they're washed (but make sure to tape, serge, or otherwise secure the edges before putting them in the machine): soft, substantial, heavy enough that you feel like you're holding a real piece of fabric. Such a wonderful feel to them; I'm planning on making, at the very least, a jacket for the conference and trade show I'm attending next month. Working from home means I can dress informally most of the time, but if I did have to clothe myself professionally these herringbones would definitely figure prominently in my wardrobe!
I keep thinking "oh, and there's this fabric, and this fabric, and this one, and and and and ... that I want to talk about," but I wouldn't want to take away all your fun discovering the new fabrics for yourself. I'm always reminded of other fabrics when I go browsing through our site, and I have SO many project ideas in mind!
They're trying to take away states' rights to have more stringent food labelling laws than what the federal government requires. This attempt would also take away the rights of local municipalities to pass laws preventing GMOs and RGBH. You can read more here. The National Uniformity for Food Act has already passed the house; we need to keep it from passing the Senate.
According to the Organic Consumers Association: "The "National Uniformity for Food Act," lowers the bar on food safety by overturning state food safety laws that are not "identical" to federal law. Hundreds of state laws and regulations are at risk, including those governing the safety of milk, fish, and shellfish. The bill is being pushed by large supermarket chains and food manufacturers, spearheaded by the powerful Grocery Manufacturers of America."
The OCA page linked to above has suggestions about things you can do to try to prevent the act's passage. Chief among them? Call your senator, or send an email. There's a pre-written email for the lazy ones among us on that OTA page. If you're up to calling your senator, which is much easier and less intimidating than it sounds, you can find your state's senators here. Their phone numbers are listed, and really you just call, wait for an answer, and then tell the lucky person on the other end that you're calling to strongly encourage your senator to oppose the National Uniformity for Food Act. Tell them why, if you feel like elaborating. If you are a voting constituent, be sure to mention that fact and that there are many, many people who agree with you who aren't calling but who are out there talking about it.
Really, it's EASY to call your senators. It's easier to send an email, but calling takes about two minutes, three max, and phone calls are given much more weight when the senators and their staffs are trying to figure out how we all feel about upcoming votes. If you care about food labeling and local municipalities and states being able to do things like vote to ban GMOs, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to make your opinion known. It's worth it.
With spring bursting out all over, and so many reasons for gift-giving, I was thrilled to find this pattern for stuffed rabbits. They're quick and so much fun to make!
I made several, using Eyes of the World, Sweet Jane, and Whispering Grass Wide-Width Sateens with Natural Soft Flannel as the "plain" side. I stuffed the bunnies with our Cotton Stuffing, and used a little wad of cotton stuffing for the tail, stitched into and around a bit until it seemed fairly stable. (I used our organic thread, as I usually do, of course!) Some buttons from my grandmother's button box (one of my treasures!) make the eyes. I didn't do any more of the faces than just eyes, because I liked them featureless. (And, truthfully, because my kids claimed the rabbits as soon as they came off the sewing machine, so I didn't have a chance to make faces even had I wanted to. I was lucky to get a few pictures in before they started being loved to death (or, as in The Velveteen Rabbit, to life!). Next time I think I'll try either modifying the ears to stuff them a bit or putting a layer or two of a stiffer fabric inside to help them stand up a bit straighter.
I highly recommend this pattern. As I said, it's quick and fun. The results are almost guaranteed to be appreciated, and it's a great way to use up little scraps of fabric that might otherwise go ignored. And the Harmony Art prints make absolutely gorgeous stuffed rabbits, too. Now if only I could get the real rabbits to leave my lettuce alone, we'd be just fine!
So glad you asked! We decided that we needed a less-formal forum for sharing with you, our customers and friends. Sharing what? Oh, so very much! We see this space as an opportunity to display pictures of some of the many amazing projects people are making with our yarn, to profile people of interest, to discuss news and ideas pertaining to sustainable fabric, and, sometimes, just to babble. We'll try not to do the latter all that often, though! :)
How can you participate in our blog? Read on to find out more.
The most obvious way to participate is by commenting. Because of comment-stuffing, we've set the software to require approval before comments are posted. That's not to stifle your self-expression (though we do, of course, reserve the right to not post anything that is obscene, nasty, incoherent, etc), but simply to keep people (and web-bots) from being obnoxious in the comments. We'll try to approve comments as quickly as possible.
The second way is by sharing with us pictures of what you've made with NearSea fabrics, yarns, etc, ideas you've had of things to make, thoughts about the materials and how they are to work with, etc. Send your pictures, comments, and ideas to us and we'll try to post as many as we can. It always helps people to learn, for instance, what gauge and needle size certain yarns work best at, or if a particular fabric works wonderful as a nightie but not as pants. Stuff like that, that you wish somebody had told you!
The third way is to share with us sewing tips, news stories, and anything else you think that might be relevant to our company, our customers, our blog, or the world in general. (This is defined veeeery loosely -- if you hear something about something political affecting the world of sustainable fabrics or foods, if you read about climate change, whatever you think people might not know about but they should, send us an email and we'll consider adding it to the blog.)
There's probably a fourth way, but we haven't come up with it yet. If you have suggestions, though, send them to us too. Please! (Oooh, suggestions! That would be a fourth area, wouldn't it?)
Oh, and where should you be sending these pictures, thoughts, ideas, and everything else? Right here to email@example.com, of course!
Talk to you soon...