Thursday, January 05, 2017

New Year Contest!



Celebrating 20 Years with a Quilt!



To enter the contest:

Design an 8" block using up to four French General or solid fabrics - you can piece, applique or embroider - it's up to you!

Post a picture of your block on instagram using the hashtags #12contestsfrenchgeneral #celebrationsampler #frenchgeneral

Or, you can send a picture of your block to: notions@frenchgeneral.com

Enter as many times as you would like!

We will choose 30 blocks to be featured in our Celebration Sampler.

All block winners will receive a French General Charm Pack, a pattern of the Celebration Sampler, and credit in the pattern.

Blocks will be re-made using our upcoming Atelier de France collection from Moda to design the Celebration Sampler.

Contest runs from January 5th through February 1st, 2017 and winners will be announced February 5th, 2017.

Bonne Chance!

 
Well, if you have been following us on Instagram or Facebook, you know we have a NEW EMBROIDERY HOOP which we are so excited about!  Based on an old French Hoop, we designed an embroidery hoop with a brass ring and a steel coil wire which holds your fabric tightly in place.  It's light-weight so it doesn't put any stress on your hands and works best with a cotton or lighter linen fabric.  We are totally crazy about the new hoop and think you will be too!
To celebrate the New Year  - use discount code newhoopnewyear and receive $10 off the hoop!

Order your French Embroidery Hoop here

If you would like to order the French Hoop wholesale for your shop, please write to us at notions@frenchgeneral.com for wholesale information.




We are cleaning out our archives and selling off our pre-cuts!  Have you been looking for a French General Fat Quarter from Rue Indienne or Rural Jardin or Chateau Rouge?  If so, we've got you covered! For a limited time, we are offering our VINTAGE Fat Quarter collections.  These bundles are going fast so don't wait!

Order your Pre-Cut Specials Here
 


We're taking our show on the road and will be exhibiting at QuiltCon February 23rd-26th in Savannah, Georgia!
We will have lots of new pre-cuts, samplers, and fun French General kits to show off.  Be sure to visit our booth daily for our $5 special kits! Hope to see you there!

More information and details about QuiltCon can be found here

It just wouldn't be summer without our yearly trip to the South of France!  We are sold out of our 2017 France Getaway but would love to have you join us in 2018.  If interested, please send us a note to notions@frenchgeneral.com and we will put your name on the early-bird list!

To see our week in France, flip through our France Getaway Book here






Coming Soon!  Our latest quilting collection with Moda, Pondicherry, is due in any day now.  Filled with old block prints in French blues, antique reds and seaside greys - Pondicherry is the perfect Indienne inspired collection for a new quilt project!

See a sneak preview of Pondicherry and the quilt patterns here


Our love of fabric has been lovingly translated into our second collection of home interior fabric and trim for Fabricut.  Due out in February, this collection of linens, cottons, embroideries and wovens features the soft subtle colors of old France, as well as the deep charcoals and stark whites of contemporary France.

Available at frenchgeneral.com soon
 
Please note, we are now only open on Saturdays from 11-4pm

More fun workshops coming soon -
including Mimi Kirchner in April!
Happy New Year and thank you for following along on our adventures!


Merci-

French General


www.frenchgeneral.com

2009 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90039






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French General · 2009 Riverside Dr · Los Angeles, Ca 90039 · USA

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

All the news....


Fall Ledger

Time to start thinking about our France Getaway for Summer 2017!  We've just opened up our sign ups and have already sold out of the first two weeks. Week Three June 24th - July 1st  has been added and we still have a few spaces left.  Join us for a week to explore the flea markets, the farmer's markets, visit small villages, craft in the afternoon and of course, enjoy amazing French food prepared by our friend, Chef Charlotte.
Feel free to write to us at notions@frenchgeneral.com for more details and available rooms

To see more of what we do, where we stay, and to sign up, please visit us here

Can't make it to France - but still want a souvenir?  Be sure to check out our Found in France treasures we brought home from the brocantes and vide greniers this summer.
Don't forget to use our free shipping code: bonjour
U P C O M I N G   W O R K S H O P S   A N D   I D E A S
A Weekend with French General in Fargo
September 22nd-24th

We've planned a three-day event in Fargo with the Quilter's Guild of North Dakota!  We will be teaching some of our favorite workshops - including indigo dyeing, jewelry making and embroidery stitching.  We also will be bringing along a French General Pop-Up Shop filled with kits and inspiration.  Join us for a day in Fargo!
Sign ups and more information here
The Blue Thread Workshop in NYC
Sunday, October 2nd

Just to keep the ball rolling...we head down to NYC from Vermont to host our yearly Shibori and Indigo Workshop at the South Street Seaport Museum on Sunday, October 2nd.  Come learn to build an indigo vat, create resist patterns on fabric and dye to your hearts content!  This workshop is suitable for all levels and all ages.
Sign ups and more information here
Stitching Salon at French General
Thursday, October 13th 6-9pm

Join us for our Thursday evening Stitching Salon at French General in Los Angeles.  We will learn English Paper Piecing and make Hettie's Patchwork Bag with French General material.  This is a great stitching technique that allows you to take your stitching on the road!  Snacks and champagne served!
To sign up visit us here
French General Visits McKinney, Texas
Saturday, October 22nd and Sunday October 23rd


Join me in McKinney for a series of classes offered at the Art house and at the Davis-Hill Historical House.

Tresor Beads
Using antique African, Italian and Czecho glass beads learn how to make simple bracelets that can be worn all together or given away as treasured gifts.

Deconstructed Jewelry
Dig out your old rosaries, beads and pieces of broken jewelry and we will create a wearable necklace. Class includes instruction on color and design, rosary bead looping, correct way to open and close jump rings, and charm making.

Patchwork Boro Tote Bag
Join me for for a full day Stitch Workshop at the Davis-Hill Historical House!  We begin the day with coffee and a conversation about the design process, sewing with antique fabric and how to choose fabrics. You will choose your own fabric from French General's collection of 19th century antique scraps and stitch a patchwork sewing bag - complete with boro patching and sashiko stitching.   This is a day of slowing down, putting needle to cloth, and storytelling.

You can sign up for one class or spend the entire weekend crafting with us!
Sign ups and more information here
Houston Quilt Market Workshops
Monday, October 31st


I'll be teaching two classes at Quilt Market this year - all materials are supplied and students will get the first chance to try out out our new, long awaited French Embroidery Hoop!

The Art Of Embroidery
Experience the process of choosing a color palette, prepping your project, and learning the correct way to stitch over a dozen embroidery stitches, including running stitch, whipped running stitch, stem stitch, couching, French knots, and the spider web stitch. Relax and get hooked on needle arts!
Deconstructed Jewelry
Using old bits of rosaries, beads and pieces of broken jewelry we will create a wearable necklace. Class includes instruction on color and design, rosary bead looping, correct way to open and close jump rings, and charm making.  
See a full list of Quilt Market classes and sign up here
 
Madame Rouge
Our upcoming collection of quilting fabric, Madame Rouge,  is in the house and available online!  Stop by the shop on a Saturday or check our website for our collection, including precuts and patterns.

Order fabric, pre-cuts, quilt patterns and embroidery sampler here.
French Embroidery Hoop
This beautiful hoop is ideal for embroiderers, quilters and sewers.  Made out of rolled brass and a steel coil wire this light-weight hoop is easy on your hands and will hold your fabric taught without putting stress on your fabric.  Works best on a light-weight fabric such as linen, cotton or silk.
All orders will be shipped in September.
A French General exclusive!
Order your French Embroidery Hoop here.
Our Fall hours continue for the months of
September and October
Saturdays 11-4pm

Hope you have a wonderful Fall and that we see you soon!


Merci-

Kaari

www.frenchgeneral.com

2009 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Meet Me in Fargo!



I am so excited to be traveling to Fargo this fall to teach three workshops for the Quilters' Guild of North Dakota!  A Weekend with French General will feature an evening lecture on Thursday, September 22nd.  I will present the history of our 20 (yes 20!) year old company, how I find my inspiration in the South of France (not difficult!) and how we created a company that has become a staple in rural French design.
On Friday, September 23rd, I will teach two workshops - a jewelry class in the morning - featuring one of our vintage kits along with some special antique beaded friendship bracelets.  

 
After lunch, I will teach an embroidery workshop using one of our new floral patterns and our collection of floss.  All materials are supplied for both workshops.
 On Saturday, September 24th, I will be teaching the magic of shibori and indigo.  This all day workshop will teach you how to make an indigo vat, prepare your fabric using different shibori techniques to create patterns, and how to turn your textiles a brilliant shade of indigo blue.
It's sure to be a weekend of inspiration, craft and friendship - I hope you can join us if you're visiting or live in the area!
As an added treat, Mogull will be coming along to run the French General Pop-Up Shop...filled with our quilting fabric from Moda, our exclusive jewelry and embroidery kits - as well as the first opportunity to try out and purchase our new French Hoop!
Feel free to write me at notions@frenchgeneral.com with any questions or to sign up, visit the Quilter's Guild of North Dakota.
See you in Fargo!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Molly, The Magic Coat and an Ikat

This post was originally published on January 24th, 2012

A couple of summer's ago in France, we were digging at a flea market in Caylus, and I came upon an old quilted coat. I wasn't sure if I liked the idea of a quilted coat, but I loved the idea that there were two different fabrics, the liner and the outer fabric. Both fabrics, I thought, I could use for our Moda fabric collection. I took the coat back home to the chateau and showed it off during our show and tell time before dinner. Molly immediately gravitated towards it (or did I make her put it on?) and modelled it for everyone to see the beautiful details and masterful stitchery. We laughed and laughed and then, somehow I put the coat away and almost forgot about it.
Until a week ago, when I was sorting through a pile of old fabric from France, looking for inspiration for our new line, and found the coat. The first thing I did, was put it on and was instantly reminded how much we laughed that summer in France when Molly would wear the coat - just to stay warm at night! We made up fanciful stories about the old, grand chateau owner, who had no heat and resorted to having one of his 18th century quilts made into a robe or smoking jacket...just to stay warm.
Pulling the magic coat out, I realized I had forgotten that inside the lining of the two fabrics, was yet another fabric - one that had been covered up by a 19th century floral. I spent a weekend (yes, a whole weekend!) completing the task of pulling out each and every stitch so I could remove the outer layer of fabric and get to what had been hiding underneath. I had no idea what I would find, but after seeing a small corner - I knew I liked what I saw.

What I found was an 18th century French linen ikat - in perfect shape, not a hole to be found. I think it had probably been covered simply because someone was tired of the design and wanted to update the quilt.
An ikat fabric is woven using a very complicated dyeing technique. The dyes are applied to the yarns prior to weaving which will create designs on the finished fabric. Depending on the pattern, specific areas of the warp and/or weft threads are are protected from dye to prevent them from absorbing color. When the threads are dyed, each thread will have different color pattern along its length. When the threads are ready for weaving, each thread has to be lined up perfectly on the loom. The warp thread is first to be set on to the loom, and then one must keep all threads in position very carefully to achieve the desired pattern in the final weaving of the textile. There is natural movement in these threads, which give an slightly feathered, or blurred look to the final textile.
To say I was blown away - is to put it mildly! Funny how one little textile can create so much excitement and then spur me on to search for as much information as I can get my hands on. The funniest part of the magic coat story is that I would have never known the little gem that was hiding inside had I not been curious...and taken the coat apart. So, I guess the moral of this story is....always look deeper, there may be something beautiful hiding inside!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Woad Day

This post was originally published on July 8th, 2009



My favorite day so far! We spent our day learning about woad - an ancient blue pigment. Medieval Toulouse was built on woad, regarded then as a magical substance because it begins as green leaves and initially imparts a yellow dye which turns blue only when oxidised by the air. Denise Lambert, the Woad Master, mixed up the woad bath dye in the garden early in the morning. By 11:00 we were all dipping our linen nightshirts, bundles of lace and hanks of yarn. I threw in a hand full of sheep's wool for needle felting as well. As one woman in the group said, it was as if we were transported back to ancient times - quietly spending the day doing woman's work. Everyone worked together either dipping the fabric, pushing it down into the vat, wringing it out, hanging it on the lines to dry and then repeating the process for a second dip. Everyone was mesmerized by the simple process and the beautiful results. “It is a complex and difficult pigment, but it produces one of the most beautiful blues in the world,” Denise said.
We broke for a lovely lunch on the patio and then went back to work. No one could get enough of their pieces colored! By the end of the day - everyone had their arms full of the color of France - it was a beautiful day filled with imagination, creativity, and camaraderie - who could ask for anything more?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Day Two in France

This post was originally published on July 5th, 2009

The breakfast bell was rung at 7 and we awoke to a wonderful meal of fresh baked croissants, home made jam and coffee. Everyone piled into the coach and we sped away to St. Antonin for the early Sunday morning farmer's market. About 30 farmers come into to town every week to offer up their finest fois gras, bread, vegetables and fruit. We had a great time tasting some of the local flavor - as well as buying the melons, fruit mustard and fresh honey. With baskets full, we headed back to the chateau to drop off our market finds in the kitchen.
The flea market in Toulouse happens on the first full weekend of every month - Friday through Sunday. The vendors are local folks who have been selling their wares at this particular market for years - so there is a great air of friendship and familiarity throughout the loop. (The market is set up in a loop - like a track field with a sausage and frites "kitchen" at either end). Everyone went to work immediately - hunting for old textiles and digging for small treasures. Lizzie helped out with the French bargaining and I did my best with a pad of paper and a a bit of "Bon prix s'il vous plait" I think the vendors were happy to see us all and everyone in our group walked away with some great treasures.



Thursday, June 09, 2016

Convent Nighties

This post was originally published on October 28th, 2009

One of my favorite things to find in France are the old linen and hemp convent night shirts. Sewn throughout the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, these fine linen nighties are sewn with an impeccable hand. All of the stitches are tiny and all of the details are precise - the scalloped edge along the necklines, the elegant monogram either in the center or over the heart, the simple cotton tie that gathers the sleeves - nothing was left untouched by the needle and thread. Usually I find these gowns at a flea market, in a heap on the ground, covered with years of age and neglect. I usually scoop them all up, because I know underneath the grime is a simple dress waiting to shine again. Many times the dresses will have a small repair where the fabric has been hand-stitched back together, over and over again - I am sure that once you were given a gown, you were expected to take care of it forever - not just for a year or two until it wore out. These gowns, usually sewn by and for the nuns in a convent, are cool to the touch and feel like silk - the result of years of well worn linen.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Old Hat Factory

This post was originally published on November 6th, 2010

There is an old hat factory in Septfond - a small town near the chateau we rent for our Chateau Getaway. I try to explain this hat factory to people and I can never get it quite right. I want to tell them how it's an abandoned factory - how one day, the workday bell rang and everyone put down exactly what they were working on and walked out. A cigarette, a half finished crown, the iron - everything is left - exactly where it was left 50 years ago. There are rooms and rooms filled with old horsehair braid, crinolin, buckram, unfinished straw hat blanks and yards and yards of old silk labels for berets. The owner, Guy, doesn't really think too much of his old warehouse - although pick up the wrong hat to buy and he will quickly replace it with another - regailing you with the time Maurice Chevalier came in and was personally fitted with that particular hat. Lately I find myself crossing my fingers and hoping that the old hat factory remains untouched until we return next summer. Not that I am worried about the stock being depleted - but more so about the character of the rooms being disturbed - I don't want anything to be cleaned up or tidied - I want time to stand still at this small secret stash in France.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Crafting in France

This post was originally published on July 20th, 2012


A big part of what we do on our French General Getaway is craft.  We craft in the morning, we craft in the afternoon, and those of us that have good eyes (myself not included!) even craft after dinner!  It's funny, when we originally planned these getaway weeks, we didn't leave as much time for crafting - thinking everyone would rather run around the countryside seeing the neighboring villages and markets.  But, we have found that when you have 18-24 women gathered in an 18th century chateau, crafting is actually a luxury - something that everyone wants to spend more and more time doing.  This summer we were honored to have a handful of friends and artists join us for a week each - including: Shea Fragoso and Debbie Murray from A Gilded Life, Charlotte Lyons, Jenn Texiera from EK Success, Susan Fuquay from American Quilt Retailer, Monica Medieros, Wendy Addison and Marcia Ceppos from Tinsel Trading.  Each brought their own unique craft and a bunch of wonderful kits so we could create to our hearts desire! Here's a look at some of the projects we worked on this summer, students in the studio, and a few of our friends that came to teach....