Lyn shared this adorable picture from one of her last days at the Tam Ky orphanage. Can you pick out the boy hidden in a dress?
I only have my guess, but I know his name is Khang and no one batted an eye about putting him in one of the dresses we made. This delights me and is just one of the things I love about Vietnam. It’s definitely a patriarchy, don’t get me wrong, but some of the ideas that are so deeply entrenched in American culture (Boys don’t wear dresses, ever!) simply don’t exist there.
Before I get lost on a tangent, I wanted to publicly thank Lyn for her help in Tam Ky. Honestly, it couldn’t have happened this go-round without her. She was the one that let me know boxes had gone missing. She took photos for me and paid for the import tax on the last two boxes. While the tax was less than $30, it was more than Mrs. Hanh could have possibly paid (that’s about half of her monthly income!). Lyn re-connected me with kids we’d worked with in Tam Ky who are now at orphanages in Hoi An and Phu Ninh. She reignited my passion to do more there and get back to Vietnam as soon as I can.
A new volunteer is coming in June, staying and helping like the Quiltys did, without a volunteer organization to back her. Like many of us who have volunteered in Tam Ky, she is driven to do more. She’ll be my contact for at least one shipment there.
Up in Hanoi, I’ve made contact with Blue Dragon, an NGO that has been around for years helping street kids get an education and training. They’ll be getting more school bags and pencil pouches, along with some clothes. I am not quite sure how all of it will work, but I am sure we can figure it out. Together.
Have I told you how much I enjoy teaching people how to sew? It’s a surprise even to me! I mean, I knew I liked teaching after leading the EFL classes in Vietnam and it’s blatantly obvious that I love sewing, but putting the two together has been a slow merger. Silly, I know.
This was most of my class from last Sunday when we made the Wiksten tank. It’s an easy top with some interesting construction. I added a few things to make the finished product a bit better, in my opinion, including stay-stitching, basting the hemline and doing the bias neckline totally different. And I must say, it all worked pretty well. We ran short of time and with another class behind us, we had to clean up before anyone had gotten to the point of top-stitching. A bit of a disappointment, for sure.
But Modern Domestic has added the class back to the schedule, tacking on another half-hour so we can make sure it gets done this time. Join me June 8th, will you?
P.S. Less than three weeks until Quilt Market!!!!!!!
Who doesn’t get a little thrill when there’s a package with your name on it at the front door? It’s one of my favorite ways to come home.
On Tuesday, I got two packages–an order and a surprise.
Abby Glassenberg‘s newest book, Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction, came across my desk at work late last week and I instantly knew I had to have my own copy. It is awesome. She has a bunch of adorable projects in the book (lion, crab, camel, kangaroo, etc.) plus gives a boatload of advice on customizing and making your own stuffed animals. Love-love it. I promise to share more once I pick an animal to make. I’m debating between the ram and the elephant right now.
Then I got a surprise box from Quiltmaker Magazine and tucked inside, among layers of batting (of course!) was my very own Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks mug as thanks for helping out with the pattern testing. I made a dozen or so of the blocks over several months. My favorite? Professor Mousestache from Sonja at Artisania. You can win your own mug (and plenty of other goodies) in their blog tour starting next week.
Thanks to each and every person who helped out with my sewing drive last fall. I think we may have lost one box along the way, but I realized with this last shipment that if I forked over the extra for Express Mail, it really does get there faster. I mailed two boxes last Friday (28 lbs of clothes!) and they arrived six days later.
There were some issues with import taxes and such, but nothing to prevent the kids from getting what they needed. Lucky for us, Lyn Quilty is there and was able to get the stuff to the kids. And the best part are the picture because seriously, could she look any prouder to have a new bag?
And this one is thrilled to show off her pencil case. So freakin’ cute, I just want to scoop her up and dance around with her.
Then there’s this young girl, happy in her lovely Popover dress. Adorable, eh?
I’ve been talking with Lyn a bit and looking into getting back over there myself sooner rather than later. I don’t know exactly how, though it will likely involve selling a good deal of my belongings again, but I’m sure I will make it happen. One way or another. I miss their sweet faces and with several orphanages to help out, I might as well go myself to hand out what is needed and where. Right? :)
If you are interested in helping make items for more orphaned kids or sponsoring a shipment, read this.
I first heard of Thomas Knauer back in 2011 when he was releasing his first line with Andover. It was a lovely collection called “Pear Tree” and I remember seeing him in Houston at Quilt Market carrying a bag he had made out of this lovely large-scale partridge-in-a-pear-tree print. I was too shy to say anything, but seeing the fabric in-person sealed the deal.
I was sold on his designs.
The colors are what really get me and I wish I had the art background to explain what it is that makes them so appealing to me. The yellows aren’t bright yellow, the oranges are just slightly different than one would expect and the greens make me swoon. I adore his use of simplicity and repetition while not making the fabrics basic and boring. I bought bits of Pear Tree and Savanna Bop, and Thesaurus has been on my t0-buy list since he posted that he was doing a word-themed fabric.
Not only is Thomas a wonderful fabric designer, he also does quilt patterns and does an astounding job at it. And not only that, he is one of the most honest people you’ll meet. So when he promised he’d send me fabric to make clothes for the Tam Ky orphans, I knew he would.
And on Monday, he did.
Stacked on my couch it measured 39 inches high, more fabric than I could have imagined he would send. I was, and am still, awed.
So now I am planning a sewing day at Modern Domestic and hopefully one or two more. There’s no way I can do this alone, I need my sewing and quilting friends more than ever. [Portland peeps--I'm looking at you!] But I cannot wait. I am already planning which fabric for shorts, which for dresses and pulling others to make coverlets for the beds.
Thank you, Thomas, for your support and generosity. I owe you one.