Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Fever

Am I the only one with Spring Fever?

Ok so it doesn't snow here, but still.  We could use some warmth!

I 'borrowed' these flowering twigs.  


They were on my side of the fence.

What was I supposed to do?!  

The vase made me do it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Liberty Love

It's been a very 'Liberty of London' sewing day for me.

I decided since I have recently discovered how much fun it is to work with cotton jersey fabric that I would make some napkins out of Liberty fabric, and put a jersey binding around the edge.

Wow, what a horrible idea!

The Liberty fabric is so delicate and thin.  The jersey is so fat and stretchy.  I ended up with a very 'interesting' little creation, and promptly returned to my previous method of just rolling the edges in.  That seems to make some pretty cute little napkins.  

Save yourself!  Do Not combine Liberty and jersey.  What (!!!) was I thinking.  My love affair with jersey has gone too far.

Ok, that said, I recently got a copy of Alexia Marcelle Abegg's book called Liberty Love: 25 projects to Quilt & Sew Featuring Liberty of London Fabrics.

Most of the quilt projects in there are not as complicated as I usually go for.  I do like them, but I'm not sure I'll make them all.  The bags were really cute and there is a little girl dress pattern that I really liked.

There is a sweet little log cabin pin cushion as well.

All in all, an interesting book, although a bit on the simple side for my personal quilting taste.  But you know, my taste is really a bit freaky.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Little Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos

Alana Dakos is a talented knitting designer that I have met at Stitches West a couple of times.

This year I got her Little Oak pattern in an effort to teach myself to knit a real cardigan.

Not much risk, given the version I am making is for a 4 year old person.  

Even if he never wears it, I'm looking forward to learning a lot and getting ready to maybe make a cardi in an adult size.  That would be a lot of yarn!

Alana has an incredible knitting podcast called Never Not Knitting.  The theme song itself will hook you.  Click here for the song.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Making Natalie Chanin Turn Her Head

Natalie Chanin runs an awesome clothing company Alabama Chanin.

Her clothes and household goods include a lot of hand applique.

I decided to try my luck with a project in her style so I broke out the air brush and my DH got me some protective masks for lungs, eyes, etc.

My first attempt was a bit wild, but I think will get better at it with practice.  I may try to to something fun with this.  Not sure if it will be a t-shirt, or what, but maybe just a practice swatch or a place-mat or something. 

I can say that doing this sort of painting would be more fun with less wind.

That said, I will need some more practice.  Stay tuned!

Oh, and she has new jersey available that has been dyed using natural plant-based dyes.  If that isn't the coolest ever, I don't know what is. 

From the Chanin site I watched a video on the photography of Leslie Williamson.  She wrote a book called Handcrafted Modern which looks quite amazing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Every Flavor Socks

Similar to the famous Harry Potter "Every Flavor Bean" where you're not sure if you will get honey or toe nail flavor, I am still knitting what I call the 'Every Flavor Socks."

Have I gone too far?  Of course you may not want to wear these into the board room, but if you're a 4 year old boy, you might be able to pull it off.

How much color is 'too much' anyhow?  

There is much debate on this topic.  It really depends on what school of thought you are from.  The Kaffe Fassett school may think that even these socks are quite tame!

Yarn by British dyer Trailing Clouds in colorway Mind the Gap.  

The best part about knitting for feet this small is that it takes hardly any cycles to whip up a teenie pair of socks.

Of course you have probably seen this viral knitting hip hop video already, but it you haven't, it's pretty silly/cute.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Log Cabin: it's not just for quilts anymore

A little quilting humor here - introducing the "log cabin" PBJ ("peanut butter and jelly). 

In truth, it's a Sunbutter and Jelly, but close enough.

I'm not sure why the kids liked this more than the usual version, but it was sort of a hit.  I cut one in half square triangles too, but my DH had to eat it.  Kids wanted the tall version.  

Good clean fun.

I'm not the only one cutting these in funky shapes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mochimochi Land: Knitting a Piano

For a while I was wondering if I would ever actually finish making this knit toy.  

With a smile on my face, and a couple octaves of piano keys smiling as well, the piano is finally done.  

My 7 yr old loves it and was even willing to help me stuff it.  

Now the 4 yr old wants me to knit him a drum set.  Um...well...not sure Anna of Mochimochi Land has a pattern for that one yet.  

Perhaps that's good.

Oh, and my friend was kind enough to knit the keys for me.  I may have never finished it otherwise.  Thanks So Sue!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It Itches!

I finally finished the first of the Every Flavor Socks for my 4 yr old.

When he tried it on he immediately said, "It ITCHES!"


Do I make the next one just so he'll pose for a photo?  Or wash it and hope it gets softer maybe?

Oh dear.  The calamity.

Maybe I should restrict my knitting 'gifts' to the feet of my DH instead!  Not sure he could get away with these colors

Or perhaps just time to get a copy of Franklin Habit's book for story book time.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Quilting with Sue Nickels: CreativeBug

CreativeBug is an online class service where you can subscribe or pay by the class, but it is a pretty awesome way to learn in your PJ's.

I recently watched all the classes they have with Sue Nickles and really enjoyed them.  They are well done and really informative.

In the corner of my eye, I spied some incredible wood pin cushions she was using.  After a brief email exchange and a very affordable purchase, Sue had a couple of these handmade creations on the way to me in the mail.

When I got them I was over the moon.  I do love a good pin cushion, but one with a cute little cover?  How awesomely portable!  Perfect for quilters on the run.  Super slick looking. 

Sue Nickels is perfectionist and the kind of quilter who knows how to get the blue ribbon.  I highly recommend her classes. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Brain Teaser: What are these cool tools?

OK, just a quick post for you today.

Can you guess what these awesome and beautiful tools are for?  It's a brain teaser after all, so it's not supposed to be an easy answer.  

Got any guesses out there brainiacs? 

If you get it right, my hat is off to's a toughie!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Amish Quilts and Weekend Wanderings

They say that a certain road is paved with good intentions.

When it comes to keeping my desk tidy, I am usually traveling along on that road.

This weekend I was actually trying to do something about the desk again, and I ran across a mock up quilt that I made several years ago in a class. 

It was a study of Amish Quilts and the colors used in different regions.  Roberta Horton doesn't teach the class anymore, but I'm glad that I took it when she was still offering it.

Hard to say goodbye to items on my desk, but since my 3,000 square foot quilt studio complex is likely not in the immediate horizon, I probably need to take some photos and bid a couple of items adieu.  

We had a great time cutting out tiny pieces of fabric and using glue to stick them on paper,  It was a fun memory to come across.

In other weekend wanderings, things that came to mind:

Modern Architectural Love:  Simpsons episode The Day the Earth Stood Cool 
I hear this is a pretty cool episode that includes modern architecture.  I think I'll end up buying the episode as a download so I can see the whole thing.

Lemongrass herbal tea:  by Teatulia - mmmmmmmm treat!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Twisted Limone: Like Totally Tubular Dude

The 80's are back, right?  

Do you see neon colors here and there around town?  Have you bumped into girls who might make Cyndi Lauper proud?

If you loved the 80's (like I did, sorry...but I did!!) or if you hated them....they are back in a small way in my house this week.

I just finished knitting a pair of socks out of yarn by Twisted Limone.  It has thick stripes that create themselves from a single ball which is quite handy.  Or footy in this particular case. 

The last time I made my older kid a pair of socks from this yarn, he ended up wearing them basically every night to bed.  They have held up really well, but in the last year his feet have grown a bunch.  The are almost as big as mine now.  Scary!

So here's to a tiny taste of the 80's on the toes, and a pair of socks that may blind you with their neon beauty.

In quilty wanderings - have you seen all the photos from QuiltCon in Austin?  I did not attend, but it looks like it was pretty fun.

I am also enjoying photos of a 9 patch quilt over at s.o.t.a.k. handmade - very pretty!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Merchant & Mills Scissors

When I was at the Verb booth at Stitches West, I picked up a pair of Wide Bow Scissors by British company, Merchant & Mills.

You know I'm a bit of a sucker for a good pair of scissors, so I had to give them a go.

For $22 USD, it was the kind of cheap thrill that floats my boat.

Their points are extremely sharp and pointy.  Excellent for applique.  I found the cutting action to be slightly stiff, so I put a single drop of oil on the inside of them.  This helped them out and they are easier to open and close now.  

The holes for your fingers are really giant.  Easy and fast to pick up.  The black color makes them feel like something out of an antique shop, but they are brand new, and cut like a dream.

I think the blade is too short to really cut a lot of fabrics that you intend to hand piece.  They are great for cutting out applique shapes though, and trimming away fabric during the applique process.

Merchant & Mills makes a variety of different types of scissors.  I have not found them to be super easy to find here in the states, but at times you can find them at Purl Soho.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nothing Rhymes with Oranges

When runny noses and sniffles roll around, we stock up our fruit bowl with our own favorite ammunition: tangerines!

I don't have a tree, but maybe we should get one.  I could afford an orchard after all the fruit we go through on a weekly basis.  It's a sweet treat that you can feel less guilt over, since of course, it's keeping you healthy (or this is what I'm telling myself at least).

I've taken photos of the oranges for you before, but this batch was really sweet.

Hope your weekend was relaxing.  I ended up doing some hand quilting with a few friends...and also:

 - Enjoyed TV mini-series called Lost In Austen - very cute for those addicted to Austen, it should go on the short list.

- Fell in love with some quilting friendly art: framed decorative scissors

- Discovered the music of Kishi Bashi - who knew I'd be getting into violin music?

I did not yet take over the giant dining room table with my sewing machine, but one never knows what will happen this week.  Thanks to all of you for the encouragement!