I'm joining Leslie this month, taking photos of the things around me, looking for light and inspiration in my every day.
And knitting. I am knitting.
Jane is 15.
What is it about those milestone birthdays that come every five years, the ones ending in 0 and 5, that make them seem so big? I can't wrap my head around fifteen, but it is here and she is wearing it well. Fatty said that the theme of his day was everyone saying "one more year!" in reference to that coveted drivers license that comes at 16. Me? I'm screaming, "Don't rush things!" This girl needs to be 15 with all that it entails, not almost 16. Although, admittedly, that drivers license will be nice for both of us.
Jane is smart and beautiful, inside and out. She is a wonderful friend, with a great sense of humor and a positive outlook. She is sensitive and caring, extremely creative and theatrically inclined. I love watching her perform and am extremely proud of the young woman she is growing into. It is a true privilege to witness her journey and call her our daughter.
I got a little teary about another milestone today. This will be the last month of posting at habit.
In the last six years, I have had the privilege of participating in this wonderful marriage of a photo and thirty or less words many times. It is always a treat to be part of the community that Emily, Molly and Tara have built there. There are so many voices that fill up that space and I am honored to join the final party this month. I will miss habit as a daily read and I will miss being part of such a beautiful space, but I am excited for this final chance to post my daily photo and words that I probably won't miss a day. I'd love to have you follow along.
With the holiday weekend coming up in the U.S., I thought I would share my most recent reads just in case someone was looking for a good book to take while traveling or enjoy post-turkey. In no particular order, this is what I have read since my last book list. Other lists can be found here (keep scrolling down!)
Yes Please by Amy Poehler - I loved this! Of course, I admit that I am biased because Amy and I were friends in college. Fangirl since 1989!
The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri - Reading this book, Treasure Hunt and Angelica's Smile all by the same author, was like rediscovering my old friend Inspector Montalbano. I tore through all three of these books quickly. These mysteries are set in Sicily and are best read in chronological order. I read the other books in the series in the summer of 2012.
City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley - Set in 1940 San Francisco with femal private investigator as the protagonist, this was a little slow to start for me, but I enjoyed the story.
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue - I know that many people enjoyed this book, but it was not one of my favorites. Not sure why.
The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene - I did not know where this book was going until the end and I loved that.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin - Such a touching book. I really did not want it to end.
Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton - This is a mystery/thriller that is a little graphic and psychologically intense. I really liked the story, the characters are fantastic, but I had to read it during daylight hours instead of in bed at night. Once I finished that one, I moved on to Dead Scared which has the same main character and was equally as thrilling, but not as graphic as the first. I think these will be a series.
Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore - I adored this one. It's long and the story has many layers with an interesting cast of characters, most of which are multi-generational members of the same family.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - My book club read this earlier in the fall and I thought it was a very enjoyable, fun read.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty - The main character in this book had temporary amnesia and thinks that she is living 10 years earlier than she really is. It's a fun read, but had me thinking. My book group is reading this now and I am anxious to discuss this with them. I also read Big Little Lies and Three Wishes by the same author and they are fun and funny reads.
We Only Know So Much by Elizabeth Crane - This story about a multi-generational family with its fair share of problems is told from all their points of view. I liked it.
The Secret Place by Tana French - I adore this author's novels. This one is no exception. It's a mystery, surrounding a private girls' school in Dublin.
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell - This is one I can't tell you much about or I might give something away. Just read it.
Cartwheel by Jennifer DuBois - This is the story of an American student living abroad who is charged with the murder of her roommate. The idea is based on a true story that was newsworthy a few years ago, but this book is not about that. Instead the author takes inspiration from real life and makes a story of her own.
And finally, I re-read Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I liked it just as much, if not more, than the first time.
Have you read anything lately that you would recommend? Let me know!
. . . . .
This post contains affiliate links, but I purchased all these books on my own. Of course, the opinions are all mine.
I sent a text to Jane the other night when she was late coming out of play rehearsal that just said, "Bueller?"
I imagine you all saying the same thing to me, wondering where I've been. I don't think I have ever gone a whole month without posting since I started this blog 8+ years ago.
Life is busy. And good. And sometimes a little messy. I'm in the thick of it.
Kate turned 13! And does not want her picture on the internet. Duly noted. We gave her an electric guitar and she was surprised. I do not think she expected it at all and I love that. She is coming into her own in a beautiful way. I am so impressed with the strong, smart, funny, confident, thoughtful person she is growing into. And I am now the mother of two teenagers. Talk about feeling old and young all at the same time. Fatty's birthday was yesterday (I won't mention his age. ;) ) and Jane's follows right after Thanksgiving. It's birthday season around here and I love it.
I'm also working on things that I cannot show you. That is not fun - for me or for you. It's some good stuff! I am trying to balance the work with some selfish sewing, but I'm coming to the point where that will no longer be possible. Still, there are two quilts and two quilt tops to photograph this weekend. And a whole post to write on Liberty feathers. You read that right - LIBERTY FEATHERS. Hang tight.
I am posting on instagram, mostly showing pictures of my food or my knitting. It's the first time I have picked up needles and yarn for over a year. Wouldn't you know it is just like riding a bike? The start was a little rough, but I am in such a groove at the moment and I remember why I love it. The cape grows row by row as I sneak a little knitting in while I wait in the carpool line, at night in front of the TV, while my sauce simmers on the stove. I'm nearing the end, having wound the second to last skein yesterday. I'm looking for some cute, teenage approved, easy hats to tackle next. Suggestions welcomed!
I'm reading. I've got a list to share. (It's coming, Teri, I promise!)
Last Friday, I took a plane East to New York where I spent a craft weekend with Denyse Schmidt and Heather Ross in the Catskills. There was a small group of us (12? 13?) staying in a large house, laughing, making, eating, drinking, stitching, talking, making jam until Sunday afternoon. Everyone could work on whatever they wanted to explore. It took me awhile to decide what to take along, but in the end I decided on Denyse's Proverbial Quilt pattern.
I decided that I wanted a very scrappy looking quilt. I chose a bunch of low volume prints from my stash and decided that if there was ever a time to use all the Flea Market Fancy and Katie Jump Rope hanging around, it was for this. When I mentioned my plan to Denyse, she immediately said, "You can improv that pattern, you know."
And when Denyse tells me to improv, I do it.
Using the pattern as a guide, I sliced and diced my fabrics into strips. I rustled up some paper bags to pull the fabrics from so I wouldn't over think color and pattern and then I just sewed. The first few letters took some time to piece as some were a little short and others had to be cut down. But once I got the hang of it, it was liberating and fun.
Often when I am working in my studio, all by myself, with my head down and eyes focused on what is right in front of me, I get a little tunnel vision. Improv sewing opens me up creatively and making the beginnings of this quilt was enjoyable. It is so important for me to remember to play and have fun. This is what it is all about. And making letters improv style was challenging in the best way. I love wrapping my brain around these kinds of puzzles. Let me tell you, I was pretty damn proud of my "M".
I left the Catskills on Sunday afternoon with new friends, renewed enthusiasm and the beginnings of a VERY large quilt. It's going to take some time to get this one completed, especially with other projects that have firm deadlines on the horizon. Maybe I can a letter or two when I have time? Or a word a weekend? Regardless of when I finish, I am so excited about this quilt and all its possibilities.
Thanks you Heather and Denyse for a wonderful weekend. It was just what I needed.
I'm excited to be participating in the blog tour for Betz White's newest book, Present Perfect! It's a great sewing book filled with a variety of projects perfect for gift giving. As we enter autumn and get closer to the holidays, this book will come in handy for all of your gift giving needs. It contains a wide variety of projects for everyone on your list - men, women, the home, babies and children!
When it came time to choose which project I wanted to make, there really wasn't a choice for me. I mean, how could I not choose the Hot Mitt House & Tea Towel set?!? I love how cute it is and how practical, too. Making and giving potholders as gifts is something I do often. They are great scrap projects and are fast to put together.
The hot mitt was a quick sew. It took me about an hour from start to finish - awesome! The tea towel took about the same amount of time. I probably could have been faster had I made quicker decisions as to what fabrics to use! Regardless of my indecision, both projects don't take a lot of fabric so there isn't a big commitment material-wise which is great when you want to make a small gift. I also loved that I was able to use some scraps and treasured bits from my stash. You could get super creative with small variations to cover almost any conceivable holiday. How about a gingerbread house for Christmas or a spooky haunted house with a fussy cut ghost or witch in the window and door for Halloween. So fun!
To learn more about Present Perfect, check out Betz's fun trailer. You can also purchase your own copy through the Interweave store or on Amazon (affiliate link). For a look at other wonderful projects from the book, follow along on the blog tour.
1. Sew Mama Sew – Make & Bake Apron excerpt – Mon, 10/6
2. Stacy Sews – Falling Leaves Appliquéd Placemats – Tue, 10/7
3. House on Hill Road – Hot Mitt House & Tea Towel Set – Wed, 10/8
4. A Happy Stitch – Sweet Life Pillow – Thu, 10/9
5. Sew Sweetness – Wool Courier Bag – Fri, 10/10
6. Raspberry Sunshine – Gentlemen’s Travel Case – Mon, 10/13
7. Pink Chalk Fabrics – Pasha Pleated Clutch – Tue, 10/14
8. The Long Thread – Eye Candy Glasses Case – Wed, 10/15
9. Made with Moxie – Cargo Tablet Sleeve – Send finished book – Thu, 10/16
10. Bijou Lovely – Coffee Cash Coin Pouch – Fri, 10/17
New and Little
11. Flax and Twine – Forest Friends Finger Puppets – Mon, 10/20
12. Imagine Gnats – Bib, Rattle & Burp Baby Set – Tue, 10/21
10 to 15 fabrics in a cohesive palette all from my stash.
Collection and Designer, clockwise from top left:
Hatbox by Alexia Abegg, Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt, Unknown navy dot, DS Fabrics for JoAnn's (three prints in a row), Katie Jump Rope by Denise Schmidt, Geo Style by Kei Fabrics, Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt, Hatbox by Alexia Abegg, Unkown navy gingham, Pezzy Print by American Jane Fabrics.
There is still time to enter the giveaway for Malka Dubrawsky's Creative Live class! I'll be drawing a winner on Sunday night. Have a great weekend!
My friend, Malka Dubrawsky, is getting ready to film a class on Creative Live called "Ten Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting." Are you familiar with Creative Live? It's a great platform to learn so many new creative things. You can watch classes for free while they are streaming the live filming - this allows you to participate from the comfort of your own home. You can post questions that the instructors answer and, because the classes also have a live in studio audience, you get the benefit of listening in on some discussion, too. And if you can't make the class while it is streaming, you can purchase it to watch when you have the time to devote to it. Cool, huh?
Malka's class is next week (October 8 and 9) and I am so excited to watch it. I have been a long-time admirer of her work and find it to be incredibly inspiring. I know that this class will be a treasure trove of good tips and a great jumping off point for my own work. Malka has an amazing eye for color and pattern and her approach to quilting is fresh and modern. And I'm doubly excited because I love improvisational quilting. There are so many ways to approach this fun technique and I'm looking forward to how Malka approaches it in her own work and how I can take what I learn and apply it to my work.
As a little warm up yesterday, I decided I would do an hour of improvisational piecing. Looking around the studio for some raw materials, I found a small pile of narrow (1") Liberty scraps. I sewed strips in sets of three and then chopped them apart. I pulled a fat quarter of pink crossweave cotton from my stash and cut some random strips and started adding them. The first block got two strips of pink on adjacent sides. I really liked the way that looked, so I kept doing the same thing. When the hour was up, I stopped. I'm not sure where this is going (mini quilt, maybe?), or even if I will continue to do anything with it, but I walked away very pleased with what I had done. I especially like the idea of taking small, almost unusable pieces and combining them to make something with greater substance.
There is nothing that recharges my creative batteries like improvisational quilting. The freedom, the spontaneity, the quick decisions, the play - all those things that happen when I am sewing fabric together without over-planning and over-thinking - are so freeing. I am continuously looking at quilting in a new light when I improv. It's inspiring when it's good AND when it's bad so regardless of the actual, tangible results, I always walk away with something good - a possibility, an idea, or, heck, even a quilt. Win-win.
I hope you take the opportunity to learn from Malka. Creative Live is generously offering a copy of Malka's class to one of my readers. To enter, please comment on this post before Sunday, October 5 at 5pm EST. I'd love to hear if you improv quilt and, if so, why. You can also follow along on the rest of the blog tour to hear more about how other quilters are inspired by improvisational piecing and quilting. Good luck!
9/30 Modern Sewciety
10/2 Fresh Modern Quilts
10/6 Cheryl Arkison
10/7 Wise Craft Handmade
I made myself a new t-shirt over the weekend using this Liberty jersey that I picked up at Duckadilly Fabrics and some Riley Blake striped knit for the sleeves. The pattern is the Metro T-shirt by Liesl & Co. I've been on a knit sewing tear recently and I knew that this would come together quickly. I originally made it with long sleeves, but decided that they should be 3/4 length once I tried it on.
This is where the problems started.
I cut off the right sleeve approximately 7 inches from the cuff and check with all members of the family that this is indeed a good length. Confirmation given, I went upstairs and cut off the other sleeve the same way. I hemmed them both us using a double needle, hemmed the bottom of the shirt and topstitched around the neckline. Excited, I try on the t-shirt. Are you ready? The shirt had one short sleeve and one long sleeve.
I CUT OFF THE WRONG F-ING SLEEVE.
Oy. (Cue the tears and the disbelief at my incredibly stupid mistake.)
In the end, it all worked out ok. I had extra fabric for the second sleeve. I tore out all the serging stitches and did my best at reinserting the second sleeve correctly, although it was not nearly as neat as the first had been. In the end, it is good. And I've got a cute new tee, so there's that.
Nitty gritty: I made a size L, the same size I would buy off the rack. I think it fits well. I did not lengthen it like I normally do and it is plenty long. I used my sewing machine with a ball point needle and polyester thread. I serged the seams after sewing them instead of just using the serger. I did the hems and topstitching with a double needle because I just love how that looks.
10 to 15 fabrics in a cohesive palette all from my stash.
Left to right, Collection and Designer:
Pretty Potent by Anna Maria Horner, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt, Backyard Garden by Cloud 9 for JoAnn's, True Colors by Anna Maria Horner (2 prints in a row), Juliana Horner for JoAnn's (collection name missing from the selvedge), Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner, Dowry by Anna Maria Horner, Sun Print Text by Alison Glass, Catnap by Lizzy House, Pearl Bracelet by Lizzy House, Color Me Happy by Vanessa Christenson, Quilts 1700- 2010 by Liberty for the V&A Museum, Geo Style by Kei Fabrics
(Please note: Because all of these fabrics are from my stash, some of them may be out of print.)
What I like about this group: Green! Blue! Those are my colors and I will never get tired of them. Also, there is a lot of movement in these fabrics. And shape repetition - circles, vines, leaves/petal shapes. That part happened organically - I was more concentrated on finding the right mix of colors and scale to round it out. But I do love the happy accidents when they happen.
Happy Friday. Enjoy the weekend.
Because I keep putting my scissors down and not being able to find them, I made a scissors lanyard. Simple fix, really. Now I can just wear them around my neck. I used a strip of Liberty that was laying around, cut to 1.5" wide. I pressed it in half, opened it up, pressed the raw edges into the center crease, folded it closed and sewed it shut. Easy peasy and long overdue. Now I will not drop them between the seat of my car and the console while I'm stitching in the carpool line because they will be on my person. Look at me...I am brilliant!
And then, as these things happen, I decided that I need something in which to carry the threads and fabrics required for car sewing. Pouch, of course! I picked out the fabric based on the zipper colors I had on hand. A little hand sewing and some machine sewing and I am in applique-on-the-go business. Cooking with gas, I tell you! Said pouch is about 10" x 8", the exterior fabric is Hatbox by Alexia Abegg, the interior fabric is a coral dot I had in the stash, I used perle cotton to embroider a running stitch around Kentucky 3 times and a 12 inch zipper was cut to fit. Did I miss anything?
In all seriousness, it is killing me that I can't show you what I am working on (book!!!) so I am contriving small, satisfying sews to share here when time allows. And sometimes when time does not allow and I really should be doing something else, but I only have 40 minutes and that is not enough time to conquer the next logical book step. So, ta da! Lanyard and pouch! Which I will be putting to use in just ten minutes time as I head out the door to pick up my high schooler. (Yes, it's still weird when I stop and think about that.)
Happy making to you!
It's no secret that I love to play with fabric. Pulling different prints from my stash and mixing them together is very relaxing for me, but I don't do it often enough. And sometimes I do get caught up because I have too many choices. (Addicted to fabric, I admit!) At the moment, I am also working very steadily on my new book and you know what they say about all work and no play! For a change of pace and a little fun, I decided to challenge myself to pull 10 to 15 fabrics in a cohesive color palette in five minutes. Five minutes! This is what I came up with....
Left to right, collection names and designers:
Hatbox by Alexia Abegg, Catnap by Lizzy House, Meadow by Leah Duncan, Cotton and Steel Basics, Meadow by Leah Duncan, Moonlit by Rashida Coleman Hale, Cotton and Steel Basics, Catnap by Lizzy House, Meadow by Leah Duncan (3 prints in a row), Moonlit by Rashida Coleman Hale, Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander
I find this interesting. Orange, yellow and green are not necesarily colors that I would think of putting together immediately. I just love my greens and blues too much! That said, I really like this group and I can completely see making it into some kind of quilt.
I started with the Meadow print that is fourth from the right. It was easy to pull from my Cotton and Steel fabrics because they are still sitting in one pile. I think that is why I stayed in a few collections - they were all right at my fingertips. I did try a couple of yellow Denyse Schmidt prints, but the color was off. Still, for five minutes, I'm pretty pleased. So pleased that I plan on doing it again next week.
Unrelated, but still important:
-You still have time to enter to win a full fat quarter bundle of Tidal Lace by Kim Andersson. The giveaway goes until Sunday night.
-My book, Quilt Essential, is on deep discount over in the C&T store. If you have been wanting to buy it, now is a great time to get it at a great price. They have lots of other great titles on sale, too.
Have a great weekend!
Kim Andersson of I Adore Pattern has her first line of quilting cotton, Tidal Lace, debuting with Windham Fabrics this fall. I met Kim a few years back on a sewing weekend and our paths crossed again last fall at Quilt Market. I was incredibly flattered that she asked me to make something from her fabrics - what a treat!
The Tidal Lace collection is inspired by Kim's childhood experience in her grandmother's ballet shop, among trims and lace, along side her memories of tidal pools and the interesting bits of life they hold. The prints are whimisical and fresh, with soft color story that includes blues, greens, corals and soft golds. They vary in size from small scale to a larger border print - one which is printed in an ombre green on white. Gorgeous! There are a handful of solids that compliment the prints, as well, making them even more versatile to sew with.
When I saw the Tidal Lace collection, I knew that I wanted to make a quilt. I immediately thought of the traditional ocean wave block and could not get past it. Instead of making the quilt in the traditional manner, I decided to take my inspiration from that pattern and make something of my own. I played with smaller triangle on a larger wave, without the rigid structure of the traditional block. The result is the Tidal Wave quilt.
Made of all the prints and solids from Tidal Lace, the Tidal Wave quilt is made from half square triangles floating on a large, navy ground. Quilted with straight lines, it's very simple and straightforward. It's easy to put together and will be released as a free pattern by me in January. I used my Accuquilt Go! for a lot of the cutting and the instructions will include how to use it as well as traditional cutting instructions.
Be sure to check out all of the other goodies made from Tidal Lace in the collection's lookbook and on the rest of the stops of the blog hop:
Mon 15th Sept:
Kim Andersson : I Adore Pattern
Tues 16th Sept:
Erin Harris : House on Hill Road
Amy Gunson : Badskirt
Cath Mosley on Instagram
Wed 17th Sept:
Anne Sullivan : Play Crafts
Stacey Day : Stacey In Stitches
Thurs 18th Sept:
Adrianne Ove : Little Bluebell
Terri Carpenter : The Quilted Fox
Friday 19th Sept:
See How We Sew
Amanda Hohnstreiter : My Sewcial Hour
Sat 20th Sept:
Ann Haley : Sew Messy
Madeleine Roberg : Domestic Strata
Sunday 21st Sept:
Cal Patch : Hodge Podge Farm
Rebecca Ringquist : Drop Cloth
Monday 22nd Sept:
Alicia Wietholter : Swoon Patterns
Stacey Sharman : Peppermint Pinwheels
Tuesday 23rd Sept:
Jen Carlton Bailly : Bettycrockerass
Miriam Blaich : The Berlin Quilter
AND....lucky you! Windham is generously offering a fat quarter bundle of Tidal Lace to one of my readers. This is open to US and International readers. Woot! To throw your name in the hat, please comment on this post and tell me what you would make with Tidal Lace. I'll close the comments on Sunday, September 21st at 5:00 p.m. EST. Good luck!
Still feeling quiet over here.
I haven't picked up my camera much in the last few weeks. Using the iphone is just too easy. When the golden, autumn light was streaming through the kitchen window last week, I started chasing it. There is nothing extraordinary about these photos, but they are my every day which, I guess, makes them special in an ordinary way. I am putting them up here to remind myself to notice the little things.
Also, I miss the old flickr.
I'm here. Feeling very quiet. School has started. 7th grade for Kate and high school for Jane. Different schools, different schedules. Taking my time to figure out what is what and how I am going to be in two places at one time. Or rather, how to make it work best for all of us without anyone losing their mind. Wish me luck.
I'm sewing. And reading. And trying to learn Illustrator a bit. I'm also teaching - my string quilt this weekend at Q First in Quilting in Lexington and basic sewing to 8th graders as part of our school's art electives. Both should be fun.
I'd like to start meditating. Does anyone have any good starting tips, apps, etc., that you would be willing to share?
Monday, it's back to work for me. Book #2 is my biggest work in progress. Coming at you Fall 2015.
I'm sure you have seen a good half dozen or more versions of these Purl Soho shorts by now. Here's another! They are a fast sew from a free dowloadable pattern so, really, you should make some. The come in kid and adult sizes so even if you don't wear shorts, maybe there is a little girl in your life who would like some. I lengthened my pair by 1.5" because this 43 year old does not rock the short shorts. Just saying.
I sewed the bias binding to the wrong side of the shorts and then folded it around to the front before topstitching them in place as a little extra insurance to make sure the raw edges got enclosed. I used some Robert Kaufman chambray left over from this skirt and the floral print is a Kokka design that I got from Frances at Miss Matatabi. This particular chambray is a little loosely woven. If I were to use it again, I would increase the back seam allowance to 1/2" and maybe even break out the serger because it's really embarrassing to be walking around with a hole in the back of your shorts where the seam didn't hold. Just saying.
Last week, I decided to copy Melissa and make myself a t-shirt.
People! This was fun to sew.
I had the navy Laguna knit in my stash. It was purchased as part of a kit for a dress that I never made. Use it or lose it, right? Right! I paired it with a fat quarter of an Anna Maria Horner voile from the stash. I'm tall with a long torso so I had to turn the fat quarter 90 degrees to get the length I needed, but this print works well in either direction. Plus it looks great with the solid navy.
I followed Melissa's directions, including using the Metro T-shirt pattern by Liesl & Co. I love the process of adjusting patterns. All the measuring, drawing, tracing - I always end up learning so much. This time I altered the pattern to bring the seams forward and create a hi-low hem as Liesl shows in her tutorial. Once I sewed it up and tried it on, I felt that it was way too long in the back, so I drew the hem a second time, taking 3 inches off the back of the tee and leaving the front where it was. In the end, my shirt ended up a little more than 2 inches longer in the back than the front center. (If you do not have a long torso, I think you would need to shorten the front piece as Liesl suggests.)
I've worn this tee a couple of times and I love it. Jane asked me yesterday whether I had made it - the girls were still away at camp when it was sewn up. After I answered yes, she asked where I bought the blue shirt to alter. When I explained that I had sewn the entire thing, she was a little surprised. But for me, that is the icing on the cake. I made a t-shirt that looks store bought! Even up close!
Win, win, win.
I spent a couple of hours yesterday sewing the improv blocks I made in 2008 at Denyse Schmidt's studio into a quilt top. It's mostly finished, just waiting for some "white" borders to make it a usable size.
Only after I took some photos and looked at them on my phone did I see the best bit of improv. Do you see it?
I seriously couldn't have made that happen any better if I had tried.
With both girls away at camp for a couple of weeks, I spent some time thinking about what to send in their care packages other than food. I bought a couple of Lizzy House Catnap fabrics awhile back specifically for p.j. shorts and decided to sew them up to send to camp. Cat faces for my cat lover Jane and mice on bikes for Kate, because why not? They are so dang cute!
I used the same pattern from Stitch magazine (Summer 2012) that I did for their last batch of sleep shorts. The pattern is in women's sizes and downloadable from the site, but does not include any directions. The directions can be found in the magazine, which I do have somewhere on my shelves. But because I am disorganized and too lazy to search for it, I went ahead and sewed without the directions because I'm crazy like that. No, really, I have made so many pairs of p.j. pants and shorts and they all go together pretty much the same way so I just went for it.
Because the girls are away and I can't get a good waist measurement, I decided to make these with drawstrings instead of elastic/faux-bow waistbands. I figure that I can always add elastic later if they want it. Before I sewed the waist casing, I made a buttonhole on each side of the center seam for the threading the drawstring and tying the bow. The drawstrings were made by sewing two 2" widths of fabric together and then pressing the long piece of fabric so that the raw edges are encased in the center and topstitching the tie closed, giving me a very long 1/2" wide piece of fabric. (Does that even make sense? I think you know what I mean. Well, I hope you do!) Once I threaded the tie through the buttonholes, I pulled the ends even, gathered the waist to what I thought looked like a reasonable fit (a.k.a., I winged it!) and then tied the bow. Once the bow was in place, I knotted its tails and cut the excess drawstring off on an angle. Easy, peasy and very much flying by the seat of my pants. I did leave the drawstrings on the long side figuring that we can cut them shorter if needed. Look at me thinking!
Each pair (one women's size S, the other women's size M) was cut out of a yard of fabric so these really are a easy and good stash-busting sew. Fast, too - each pair took about an hour and a half and I do know that assembly line sewing a bunch goes much faster than that.
So yeah, you guessed it. I've got some more fabric ready to be cut.
Just a little over a week ago, we dropped Jane off for a three week summer camp at a college in North Carolina. Back in the early spring, I thought that maybe I should make her a quilt to take because she sleeps in a full size bed here and because the only twin bedding we have belongs on the beds in Kate's room. And because she was going in July and I wasn't sure if the dorm would have air conditioning, I decided that a lovely, summer weight Liberty quilt would be just the ticket.
I ordered a bunch of fat eighths from Dee at Pick Click Sew on Etsy. I have ordered Liberty fabrics from her before and she is extremely attentive and so nice to work with. She also cuts her fat eighths at 10", which makes for a wonderful value. I wanted bright, cheery prints in pinks, reds, blues, greens and yellows and that is what I got. Finding myself a few prints short of what I needed, I took a few pieces from my stash and from my first Liberty of London club installment from Westwood Acres Fabrics. They also cut their fat eighths at 10". Nice, right?
I started cutting for this quilt a couple of months ago, fitting in one or two pieces when I had a small block of time. The fat eighths were each subcut into two 10" squares (for this quilt) and two 5" squares (for another project) and a 1 x 10"-ish strip (that I put aside in my scraps). Jane and I laid the squares out on the studio floor in a 9 x 7 grid and then I sewed them together. Easy, straightforward and fast, the sewing took much less time than the cutting.
I enlisted some help for the basting. Mind you, they each put about eight pins in before moving on. But, it's a start!
The back is a pink Free Spirit voile that was in my stash, most likely purchased for clothing or lining, combined with a larger piece of Liberty to make it big enough. I'm am trying very hard to use it or lose it and this goes for everything in the stash including the precious Liberty, not just the quilting cottons. But I digress... The batting is Quilter's Dream Cotton Request, a very lightweight, 100% cotton batting. The entire combination - Liberty, the batting, the voile back - is the same I used on our Liberty bed quilt and is one I will repeat again. It makes for the most beautiful, soft, drapey, lightweight summer quilt.
The quilting is loops, per Jane's request. I used a hera marker to make a grid on the front of the quilt sandwich and it worked very well as a guide for the free motion stitching. Each loop is about 3 inches tall. The large pattern made for relatively quick machine quilting - it took a couple of hours tops. For the binding, I used another Liberty print from my stash that we didn't choose for the top. It seemed like the right finishing touch.
The quilt, before washing, measured 66.5" x 85.5". We gave it a good run through the washer and the dryer (cold water and then ultra low heat) before packing it up and taking it to camp. All reports are that it is doing its job quite well - keeping her cozy at night and providing a virtual hug from mom, when and if it's needed.
The house is so quiet now. I put Kate on a plane to her camp yesterday.
Boy, do I miss those girls.