JACK-O-LANTERN FARM + COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE

JOLF-02

As most of you know, Alabama Chanin strives to support local farmers whenever possible—especially now that we’ve opened The Factory Café and are sourcing local and organic ingredients for all of our dishes. Our kitchen manager, Arron, has built a strong relationship with our friends Steve and Connie Carpenter, who operate nearby Jack-O-Lantern Farm. Each week, Steve delivers the freshest local produce to our kitchen, which Arron incorporates into our seasonal menus. Steve also picks up bags our Factory Blend Coffee and house made granola that he then sells at his farm, just across the river. Watching Arron and Steve collaborate these past few months has been a wonderful (and educational) experience.

Jack-O-Lantern Farm is getting ready to launch their 2014 Community-Supported Agriculture box program—and The Factory will be a pick-up location beginning Friday, May 16.

JOLF-06

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

THE HISTORY OF WEAVING (AND RAG RUGS)

LOOM-01

Our team experiments with all types of fabric manipulation here at Alabama Chanin. We have used ruffles to create texture in our textiles and jewelry; have featured crochet work in our collections and projects, and love how something so simple as a knot can add complexity and depth to a piece. In Alabama Stitch Book, we showed how fabric might be used to repair and repurpose farm chairs – an idea that we explored further in our MAKESHIFT 2013 Chair Workshop. Lately, the team has been experimenting with a large floor loom in The Factory. I have long wanted to incorporate rugs into our lifestyle collections, which would also be a wonderful way for us to utilize scraps and decrease waste. I remember my grandmother saving fabric to make rag rugs and there was always a rag rug in front of her sink.

In its most basic definition, weaving is a way to produce fabric using two sets of thread, yarn, or fabric, that are interlaced to form cloth. The longitudinal threads are called the “warp” and the lateral threads are the “weft.” Though hand and finger weaving is suitable for small projects, larger fabrics are usually woven on a loom.

LOOM-02

Weavers have been valued craftspeople almost since the beginning of humankind. Very rudimentary woven cloth has been found in prehistoric graves and settlements. Tens of thousands of years ago, man began to develop string by twisting together plant fibers. Weaving together this primitive string by hand was the next logical step. The first, crude weaving looms were likely developed in the Neolithic Era. Weaving looms were developed from this basic form in China, where silk from silkworm cocoons was utilized and the weaving of this silk was a well-defined craft.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

THE BEST FOR MOM

MOTHERS-DAY-2014

This year, we’ve taken the best of our new collection and Studio Style DIY and put them together for our 2014 Mother’s Day Gift Guide. We have a little bit of everything for everyone, whether you want to make something special or prefer to give something already handmade. Either way, your gift will be one-of-a-kind.

Our collection features contemporary and flattering styles for moms of all ages, and our guide features a selection of garments, discounted for a limited-time: the Panel Tunic, Magdalena Betsy Blazer, and Daisy Long Skirt. The Alabama Vest is a simple accessory and compliments any woman’s wardrobe.

Other gift items include Dust-to-Digital’s book and CD collection, Never a Pal Like Mother and But Mama Always Put Vodka in her Sangria by Julia Reed. These would be perfect when paired with Rosanne Cash’s newest (amazing) album, The River & The Thread.

For those who enjoy making, our newest DIY Kits feature our Stencil of the Year pattern, the Check. Our DIY Check Tied Wrap features Alabama Eyelet beading and casually covers the shoulders. The DIY Check Skirt is the only DIY Kit pattern we currently feature using our Short Fitted Skirt pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

For the mom-to-be, make a DIY Baby Blanket + Onesie from our kit.

BLUE FABRIC BUNDLE

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

COLOR + JOSEF ALBERS

INTERACTION-OF-COLOR-1

“In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is – as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.” –Josef Albers

Color, as we see it, results from our eyes and brains working together to make sense of the light around us. Since as early as the 15th century, artists and philosophers alike have tried to understand how this works and create a unified approach to color – a color theory – to understand how colors complement or contrast with each other and why they rouse our emotions and influence our decisions.

Essentially, color theory, like the interaction between our eyes and brains, helps us make sense of what we “see.” Perhaps one of the most influential color theorists was artist and educator Josef Albers, who published Interaction of Color in 1963. A tome of a book on color theory, it was made for interaction, to be pored over and actively, even emotionally, involve students as they learned Albers’ philosophy of color.

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 4.7.2014 – 4.11.2014

THE-FACTORY-THIS-WEEK-4314

“A few weeks into spring we wake every morning more eager than the one before to rush out to the garden…”
–Sam Beall, The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm

Last week, we launched our Chef Series (with Chef Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farm). For the month of April, you can enjoy fresh, seasonal Blackberry Farm recipes featured on our café menu, or purchase an array of jams, mixes, and preserves to experiment with in your own kitchen.

Hoping that you have a great week and that we see you soon,
xoNatalie

Here is what we have going on at The Factory Store + Café this week, Monday, April 7 – Friday, April 11:

STORE
Visit our flagship store this week to shop our latest collection, Basics, A. Chanin, accessories, and more.

And don’t forget, tomorrow is First Monday at The Factory. Join us from 8:30am – 11:30am for a morning of sewing and socializing.

Call Carson at +1.256.760.1090 for more information.

Store Hours Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

TOURS
Stop by any weekday at 2:00pm for a guided tour of our space, including The Factory, the Alabama Chanin production and design studio, and Building 14.

CAFÉ
Our menu this week features our adaptations of two dishes from Chef Lenn and Blackberry Farm: Green Tomato Pie and Zucchini Caesar Salad. Both are equally delicious (and we will be sharing recipes soon on the Journal).

Café Hours Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

NEWSLETTER #15

Newsletter #15

This month, for Newsletter #15, we are excited to announce new events, features, and products to The Factory and to our website.

At The Factory, we’ve begun a Chef Series (we kicked it off with Chef Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farm). Stop by for a freshly brewed cup of our coffee, or order The Factory Blend Coffee (whole bean or ground) online.

You can also find our Basics collection available in new colors and a new addition to Studio Style DIY: the Starter Sewing Kit.

As always, we thank you for reading along and we invite you to join our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter and keep up with the latest products, news, and stories featured on our Journal.

Update your mailing subscription to include the newsletter (and Daily Journal) here.

xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin

 

 

SWATCH OF THE MONTH: APRIL 2014

ANNAS-GARDEN-WHIPSTITCH-APPLIQUE-EDIT

The Swatch of the Month for April allows you the opportunity to experiment with a basic, traditional appliqué technique in our Anna’s Garden stencil design. Appliqué is a way of “applying” one fabric on top of another. We use appliqué for many reasons – to add color, texture, dimension, and more elaborate design work to a piece. You can use any number of stitches to appliqué your top design to the bottom fabric. Here, we demonstrate the most common way that we add an appliquéd element to a base fabric: a simple parallel whipstitch.

Detailed instructions on appliqué techniques can be found in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Match up each appliqué shape with its correct position as you cut it to avoid creating a complicated puzzle for yourself. Take care to position your appliqué pieces precisely by pinning each cut shape of the stenciled design into place. Then, stitch each appliqué shape to your fabric using a parallel whipstitch, which will attach your appliqué pieces securely.

The hi-resolution photograph of our appliqué swatch, for use as your computer desktop background, is available for download from our Resources page.

ANNAS-GARDEN-WHIPSTITCH-APPLIQUE-DETAIL-EDIT

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

INTRODUCING THE FACTORY CAFÉ CHEF SERIES: JOSEPH LENN + BLACKBERRY FARM

BandT_20090519_9165-WEB

Beginning today, Alabama Chanin is launching a Chef Series for The Factory Café. Each month, we will feature seasonal dishes on our menu from chefs (or restaurants) that share our values of celebrating place, artisanal craftsmanship of all kinds, and, simply said, good food.

Our focus through these collaborations will be on regional chefs and regionally-inspired cuisine—dishes that we can recreate in our café by locally sourcing ingredients. In the upcoming year, The Factory will host brunches, dinners, book signings, and even cooking and cocktail workshops with an array of chefs.

A few years ago, I made an extraordinary trip to Blackberry Farm, located in beautiful Walland, Tennessee, on the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ever since that first journey (thanks to friends at the Southern Foodways Alliance), I’ve had a deep appreciation and respect for the artisans and chefs working at the Farm—and have loved using their cookbooks in my own kitchen.

From making biscuits to hosting an upcoming Weekend Away Workshop, my relationship with Blackberry Farm has grown over the years. So, I was thrilled when Chef Joseph Lenn and Blackberry Farm agreed to launch our Chef Series in the month of April.

BandT_20110510_5884-WEB

Continue reading

Bookmark and Share

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 3.31.2014 – 4.4.2014

THE-FACTORY-THIS-WEEK-327-2

“The earth laughs in flowers.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here in Alabama, the buttercups are blooming—a sure sign that spring is here. Join us at The Factory this week, as we celebrate the changing seasons with a new menu in the café and new specials in the store.
Hoping that you have a great week and that we see you soon,
xoNatalie

Here is what we have going on at The Factory Store + Café this week, Monday, March 31 – Friday, April 4:

STORE
Visit us at The Factory and save 10% on our selection of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day*—Earth-friendly, cruelty-free household cleaning products that are made in the USA. Plus, when you purchase any Mrs. Meyer’s product, we will include a slightly stained napkin or two, to use during your spring cleaning rituals.

*In-store purchases only, March 31 – April 4.
Continue reading

Bookmark and Share