PDX Adult Soap Box Derby, ADX Portland, and The Arrow

In early August, we got a shout-out on Twitter from Matt Preston, asking if we’d be interested in helping with the finishing  of his Soap Box Derby car. Matt is part the ADX Portland community, and we will talk more about the derby, but first we want to tell you about ADX. ADX brings together thinkers, makers, students and experts in a shared 14,000 square foot fabrication facility where dreams are made. Once you read about it, you will want to be part of it.

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Now, back to the derby. Each year since 1997, Portland has been home to the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby. According to their website, “Now in its 18th year, the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby continues a beloved summertime tradition at Mt. Tabor Parkl—a community event that draws crowds of 7,000 – 10,000 people to watch a colorful and sidesplitting spectacle of 40+ coaster cars powered only by gravity, whimsy, and attitude.”

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Matt’s entry was framed but not finished.

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Would we be willing to furnish some of our wool to cover it? Oh you bet.

Matt made a trip to our Woolen Mill Store in Milwaukie, Oregon. With the help of our manager, Mary, he picked his favorite. You might remember this Serape pattern from our second collaboration with Doc Martens.

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It wasn’t quite “off to the races” yet. First, Matt went back to ADX for final construction.

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We were delighted to see that Matt was inspired by “The Point,” the Harry Nisson 70s classic.

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Arrow was a great best friend. Here’s a little clip for those of you who weren’t around back then.

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The derby was held on August 15th. We don’t have any images of Matt’s car in action. It was sidelined in a crash! Here’s what Matt had to say about it: The race was a great time and we got a lot of comments on our craft and on the wool covering. Unfortunately, our tire wrecked during the race and so the craft only got one good run in her, but we will be reusing the wool and structure for next year’s race and it will be even better!

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So, let’s all think good thoughts for next year. You can read about the festivities here. And if you want to watch “The Point,” you can do that right here.

You won’t regret how you spent this particular hour of your life.

Enjoy Summer Picnics with Hand-Stitched Home by Susan Beal

Summer won’t last forever, no matter how much you wish it would.

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copyright 2014 by Burcu Avsar

If you’re the crafty type, you might like to take Pendleton along on one of your summer adventures. We suggest you check out this Picnic Blanket, a project designed by the super-talented Stacy Brisbee. It’s one of the projects curated by Susan Beal in her book, Hand-Stitched Home, published by The Taunton Press.

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Susan is part of Portland’s extensive crafting community, and a frequent visitor to our Woolen Mill Store. She blogs at West Coast Crafty.

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As a crafter, Susan appreciates the properties of wool that make it so wonderful to work with. Her book is full of ideas, patterns and advice, with projects geared to all levels of crafting skill. We love everything she’s done with our wool-by-the-yard.

You can find all kinds of beautiful wools for this blanket at  our website. If you’re local, take a trip to our Woolen Mill Store. You can follow Susan Beal here:

blog: westcoastcrafty.com

Instagram: @westcoastcrafty

Buy the book: Hand-Stitched Home

Luke Haynes, Fine Arts Quilter, Will Reveal New Work at the Woolen Mill Store

We are excited to invite you to the unveiling of a new quilt created just for us by Luke Haynes. Luke is an artist, and his medium is fabric.

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To quote his bio:

­I am an architect turned Quilter. I come from a strong art and design background that informs my quilt work in a different way than is generally associated with quilting. I make quilts to discuss utility in aesthetics and because I like the tactile craft of constructing works out of fabric.

 

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I am interested in the choices we make to express ourselves to our world. We create an environment around ourselves to inform others how we desire to be perceived. By quilting I am initiating a dialogue between the immediate environments we create for ourselves, and the environments we inhabit.

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Where cloth, what we know to respond to as clothes, linens, drapes and all kinds of covers becomes the language of my work. The cloth becomes the medium that I use to create images and scenes rather than conceal and contain.

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Luke’s works hang in galleries around the world, and he’s been commissioned by private collectors the world over. He’s created something magnificent and astonishing for us. How did this happen, you might ask? Mary and Tawnya, manager and assistant manager of the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, told us the story in e-mail.

Luke Haynes was introduced to us by Michelle Freedman from Modern Domestic Quilt Shop and Susan Beal. Luke visited our store in the spring and asked if we would be interested in a quilt collaboration. We viewed Luke’s website and spoke with Michelle Freedman. We were amazed by his work and agreed. Luke picked out jacquards with a special project in mind. He was also very interested in our plaid fabric which has been made into an amazing suit he will wear during his quilt reveal!

We can’t show you the quilt, but here’s a view of the suit:

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We are hosting a special event for this, where everyone can learn about quilting with wool, meet Luke in person (he’s delightful) and share the thrill of the reveal. Our quilt is dizzying and beautiful in photos, and we will be thrilled to have it hanging on permanent display in our store.

Yes, we are just a little excited, can you tell? So please join us!

What: Quilt Reveal with Luke Haynes

When: Thursday, October 30th from 1 PM to 7 PM, with reveal at approximately 1:30 PM

Where: The Woolen Mill Store

 

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West Coast Crafty’s Susan Beal is coming to the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store!

This Saturday, October 11th, we will be welcoming Portland author Susan Beal to the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Milwaukie, Oregon for a book signing. We are celebrating the release of her Pendleton wool crafts project book, Hand-Stitched Home.

 

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Susan is the author of seven books, including Hand-Stitched Home, Modern Log Cabin Quilting, Sewing for all Seasons, Bead Simple, and Button It Up. She teaches sewing and quilting for Creativebug, CreativeLIVE, and (surprise!) the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. She’s also the historian for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, a contributing editor at Stitch magazine, and the mother of two little children, Pearl and Everett. See more of Susan’s work, sewing and quilts on her blog, westcoastcrafty.com. Order a signed copy of the book through Powell’s, or visit or call our Woolen Mill Store to order a copy over the phone.

 

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Hi Susan! When did you start crafting, and what were your first projects?

I loved making yarn dolls when I was little, using lots of fabric scraps and lace to hand-sew clothes for them. I started making jewelry in high school, then learned silversmithing and casting after college. But when I was 25 my best friend from high school came to visit me here in Portland and taught me how to sew on a 1960s thrift-store Singer and it was like I suddenly had a new superpower.

I could alter a vintage dress, sew a skirt, or make pillows and curtains for my apartment ten times faster than hand-sewing… it was just thrilling. I made my first patchwork project, a super-simple log cabin block I turned into a pillow cover, eight years ago, and quilting has become a huge part of my life. I find it endlessly inspiring to put fabrics together and see what they become.

 

What was your first exposure to Pendleton wool? What was the first project you made with Pendleton wool?

I’ve always loved vintage Pendleton coats and womenswear, and dreamed about buying a blanket one day. My husband surprised me with the Oregon sesquicentennial blanket for my birthday in 2009 – the beautiful design with Mt. Hood reflected in the lake. I was writing Modern Log Cabin Quilting and thought, wow, I would love to make a quilt for the book in Pendleton wool. I went to the Woolen Mill Store and bought a big piece of sage green Harding and a couple of yards of a beautiful 49er plaid and mixed them into six simple oversized log cabin blocks, then sashed the whole thing with a graphic, understated striped jacquard.

I loved working with the wools, the different fabric colors, patterns, weights, and weaves blended together beautifully, and I realized how much magic and polish top-stitching adds to wool patchwork. Six more wool quilts (including the two I made for Hand-Stitched Home) and a whole Christmas list’s worth of blankets later, my most recent Pendleton sewing project was making myself my favorite version yet of Amy Butler’s Barcelona skirt, in the Beach Boys Surf plaid, just in time to wear it to my Powell’s event last week.

 

And you wore it down to meet with us at Pendleton last week! We loved the skirt, your Star Wars slip-ons, and getting a peek at your crafting journal.

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How long have you been involved in the Portland craft scene? How has it changed?

I moved to Portland in 1997 to go to jewelry-making school and just loved it here, it felt like coming home. I met so many creative people doing cool things, but it was such a small, tight-knit community – there were only a few shops carrying handmade work, and collaborating or teaming up with friends to organize fashion shows or sublet studio space was a way of life. You saw the same people at the fabric store in the afternoon and then out at night, so new ideas just came to life after a couple of good conversations! My friends Kate Towers and Holly Stalder opened their shop, Seaplane, on Belmont and I brought in some of my skirts, handbags and jewelry on consignment. I got home a few hours later to the best message from Holly that someone had tried on one of my skirts and loved it so she bought it, and wore it out of the store! That was the best feeling ever.

I started selling my work at little neighborhood craft fairs with friends like Cathy Zwicker and Torie Nguyen, who now own the beautiful Crafty Wonderland  flagship store downtown – and put on a huge event with hundreds of vendors and thousands of shoppers twice a year. It’s just kind of amazing to see how much the whole community has grown, and how much support there is from other craft artists, shops, and customers, whether you are just getting started or have been doing this for years.

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Who are some crafters you love, and why?

-Rebecca Pearcy’s Queen Bee bags and hand-designed textile line – her work is beautiful.

Cathy Zwicker  and Torie Nguyen ,who co-own Crafty Wonderland, both make gorgeous jewelry and accessories.

-My Portland Modern Quilt Guild  friends like Michelle Freedman, Petra Anderson, and Monica Solorio-Snow  are so inspiring – their quilts, fabric design, and visual work are all lovely.

-Heather Davidson of PMQG and her husband Chris own a fantastic vintage furniture business, Remnant, and she does stellar upholstery using Pendleton fabric, too. I’m lucky to own a beautiful mid-century chair she redid in Rancho Arroyo in black!

 

What’s next for Susan Beal?

After the Woolen Mill Store party, I’m going to Quilt Market and very excited to do a couple of events there with my publisher for Hand-Stitched Home! Then I’m teaching both log cabin and wool quilting at the Menucha Retreat Center in the Columbia River Gorge, and speaking at Quiltcon in Austin, Texas, early next year, and I’m working on projects for a new craft book for 2016.

On a personal note, I also have some serious Halloween sewing to do – my daughter Pearl requested a cowgirl costume and my son, Everett, really wants to be Emmet (from the LEGO Movie), so I need to get on that before my daughter changes her mind for the third time! This is her sixth Halloween and I’ve learned that the trick is catching her in between costume ideas #2 and #3.

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 Susan is so much fun in person. We hope you’ll enjoy meeting her this Saturday, October 11th, and the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. She’ll be hanging out there from 1 to 5 PM, and she’d love to chat and sign your books. You can see the crafts projects like those above, plus more, in person!

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