Archive for November, 2011

The Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors
November 16th, 2011 | Link

Since I mentioned some volunteer projects recently, I thought I’d talk about the one that launched last month.

I work for Salesforce. It’s a fairly large software company; as I write this it’s growing and for the last several years has been in Forbes magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. One of the things that earns the company that ranking is Salesforce’s 1:1:1 model, which is this: 1% of Salesforce’s product is free to non-profits in the form of donated or discounted licenses; 1% of the founding stock was placed in a foundation to be used in grants; and 1% of each employee’s time is made available to volunteer with non-profits of their choice.

That last part means that each Salesforce employee receives 6 paid days off per year to volunteer. But during my first couple years at Salesforce I found it hard to make time for volunteering outside of the 2-3 corporate team-building events my team participated in. So this year I made it a goal to use all my hours.

Enter the Bay Area Association for Disabled Sailors (BAADS), a local non-profit that offers sailing programs to people with disabilities, fostering independence, confidence and a whole lot of fun.

Ironically, BAADS’ website wasn’t accessible to members with certain disabilities: the screen reader software used by blind and visually impaired users to read web pages couldn’t access some of the content. Additionally, the site was full of broken links, and the content was outdated: any time BAADS wanted to make a change they had to pay the consultant that had developed the site to do it, so they’d save up several changes and then there would be some delay before the changes were actually done.

Old BAADS Website

One of the things I do at Salesforce is participate in a workgroup that works to make our web-based software accessible to users with disabilities. I’m also a bit of a WordPress geek (the content management software I use for this blog). And one of BAADS’ board members happens to be my neighbor. So I devoted my volunteer hours to setting BAADS up on WordPress so they could update their own content, and creating a WordPress theme (the wrapper that handles layout and style for a website) that would be accessible to all of BAADS members.

Last month, after many hours of work, the new BAADS site went live. (Yay!) The visual design was provided by one of Salesforce’s visual designers, Grant Anderson. There are many things that I could explain about why the new design is more accessible than the old one, but I’m saving those for a post on my other blog, where I usually geek out over such things.

New BAADS Website

I’m pleased with the way everything turned out. Between this and another volunteer project this year, I turned in more than 100 volunteer hours — well over the paid 1%, but totally worth what I learned through the process and the satisfaction of helping a great group of people. And BAADS is thrilled. Everybody wins.

Baby Skirts
November 12th, 2011 | Link

Speaking of things that go well with onesies and stress-induced ADD requiring mindless handwork, more baby items were in order for this particular friend. It seems like it’s easier to find somewhat hip baby stuff these days — beyond the pink and blue and media-branded items — but who wants to pay $20 for something that baby is going to outgrow in a few months? So I used this übersimple gathered skirt pattern to throw together a couple of skirts to pull on over the onesies.

The bicycle skirt is a nod to the daddy-to-be:

A gathered skirt featuring yellow and white bicycles on a gray background

The leaves are something that the mommy-to-be would probably wear herself:

Gathered skirt with repeating leaf pattern in autumnal colors

The fabrics are Michael Miller Citron Gray Bicycles and Nature Walk Organic Leaves Crimson, both purchased from I ordered half a yard of each fabric and made the 12-18 month size. For the smallest size, you could get two skirts out of a half-yard — I had plenty of fabric left over. For the bicycle skirt I used the full width of the fabric (44″, less selvedges), but I felt it was a little too full, so for the leaf skirt I cut about 6 inches off the width.

(I also grooved on this tiered gathered skirt for babies, but lacked an infant for measuring and didn’t have enough coordinating fabrics around to pull it off.)

Baby Kimono
November 10th, 2011 | Link

Kimono jacket with jungle animal print

A coworker told me that when she had her baby boy last year, that in spite of all the baby clothes they had been given, the only thing she ever put him in for the first few months was a kimono-style wrapped jacket and a onesie, because they were the easiest things to get on and off. This was exactly what I wanted to hear, as I had already planned to make this kimono jacket for a friend’s expected baby. The pattern is the free simple kimono wrap from Habitual; I made the 6-12 month size. I wanted a print that was fun and suitable for a girl or boy, and I think this one fit the bill.

I was a bit confused when I added the ties, and had to rip out the one that’s supposed to tie on the inside and insert it so it went–you know–on the inside. I also tried to use a technique I learned from one of my Japanese sewing books to serge each side seam in one go, but I had to snip the stitches in the corners a little and resew them with the sewing machine. I need more practice on that one. The end result was still pretty darn cute though.

Getting a Head Start on Christmas
November 8th, 2011 | Link

A pile of green, red and white stocking ornaments

Recycling content a little here, but I finally gave away all the stocking ornaments I made a couple of years ago, so it’s time to make some more.

You can make some too, with my downloadable PDF pattern and photo tutorial.

Woven Chain Albums
November 6th, 2011 | Link

Spine detail showing woven chain stitch

This has to be one of the most elegant exposed stitch bindings around: it’s the Woven Chain sewing from the second volume of Keith Smith’s non-adhesive binding series, 1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings. I used it some time back for Jane and Patrick’s wedding guest book, of which the baby-themed album above is pretty much an exact copy, aside from the paper.

Spine detail of second album which has only one chain

The baby album and Jane and Patrick’s guest book both have three sections of Rives BFK cover-weight paper totaling 24 pages. The black album above has only two sections, so there’s only one line of chain to link the sections together. I think this album, with the elegant paper and slubbed, silky bookcloth, suits the elaborate nature of the stitching better than the matte bookcloth and bunnies in the baby album. But both are nice.



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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