Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall Sewing- Big Plans I Say!


Have you guys ever read this book?


It's a BIG favorite in our house- among the young and old alike. 

That's how I feel about all my ambitious plans for what I am going to sew this fall. AND I WILL SHOUT THEM AT YOU FROM ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN! Or just from right here.

First of all, I want to make a lot of my kids' fall wardrobe. Namely, both their coats, some Hendrix pants and some Elsie jumpers. Here's just a little of my inspiration:

1. Puppet Show Dress Modified, 2. red and teal jumper , 3. Big Uptown Girl Jacket, 4. Toggles, 5. Stripey top 1, 6. IMG_3740.jpg, 7. sailboat pants, 8. Kimono PJ top, 9. backpack

I want a lot of stripes, plaid, buttons, and fun trims. A lot of Oliver & S patterns. A lot of adorable details. Oh, and definitely a lot of the Robert K fine-whale corduroy we just got into the shop.

And of course, we are making the penguin backpack this month in the sew-along. How cute is that thing?

I was going to try to tackle sewing something for myself to wear this fall, like something actually tailored and requiring a pattern... but if I'm honest with myself, that sounds even more painful than shopping for something to wear. I'll stick with sewing for the kids while they are still young and wear whatever I want them too.

Moving on to my quilt inspiration. I pretty much want to make every quilt I see. This is a bit of a pocket book/ time/ obsession problem...

1. Linen Love with Lotta Jansdotter fabric, 2. Fresh Modern Bee - July block for Mandy, 3. Cross Your Fingers Quilt, 4. miscellany quilt, 5. Lightning zigzag tutorial is up, 6. finished Swoon quilt top, 7. For the Love of Solids Mini Quilt, 8. Grey and Yellow Quilt, 9. the blocks, 10. Big Zig Zag Quilt - Finished Frontwtmk, 11. Bicycles, Birds & Lime Sherbet 2011, 12. DQS9 from lizzy house, 13. Improv II for Rangsiwan, 14. Curved improv piecing cushion, 15. Kona challenge quilt, 16. baby Ingrid in progress

Do you see my problem here? I obviously love all these improv and geometrical looking modern designs. But I'm also a sucker for those traditional blocks in fabrics I love. Like that Swoon pattern that's so trendy now? Irresistible. And those summer sampler blocks are crawling under my skin slowly too. I've actually started a couple for work, but I might end up tackling the whole thing for a couch throw or something.

Speaking of the living room, I have also started hating everything in there for no reason at all and need to change everything that's not furniture.

I'm REALLY inspired by these curtains...

which were inspired by these curtains.

Why have I always had it in my mind that curtain panels had to actually be solid panels? I don't know,  piece them! Then of course, I will need all new pillow covers and something pretty on the walls. It never ends. 

So just to recap, the major staples of 2 kids' fall wardrobes, somewhere between 3 and 33 quilts, and a whole new look for the living room. Oh, and a penguin backpack and some Christmas gifts, whatever those will be. Totally reasonable. 

(Are you guys checking this out? Could I be any more of a Rachel groupie?)
Celebrate Color

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

LTTSA: Bucket Hat Link Up, and a Pretty Fun Announcement

I really thought this kid would never want to wear his hat. But he LOVES this thing. He wants it whenever we are outside. He puts it on and says, "Let's go fishing now!" He's never been fishing before, but apparently he knows that's what bucket hats are for. That kid.

Just this week, I saw that Liesl Gibson released the hat pattern for free download. So if you've been watching from the sidelines because you don't have the book, you can now get the pattern here. Bucket hats for the world.

So now is the time to show off your awesome skills and cap off (pah! get it? I'm soooooo funny) our first month of the LTTSA. I think I have seen most of your hats already and I'm seriously impressed. I know I have seen some of you commenting on each other's hats too, which is very cool. But if you haven't taken a look around, but sure to visit everyone's post after you link up yours. Who knew you could get so creative with one simple hat pattern? 

AAAAAAAND, because you all have been so great and participatory and really exceeded my expectations already for how the sew-along would go, I've decided to make this month even more fun with a giveaway. You guys know I never do those, so I must really love my sew-alongers :)

For the September backpack project, everyone who participates and links up their pack at the end of the month will be entered to win an Oliver & S clothing pattern of your choice! Whoa, awesome, I know.

First backpack post next week, so if you are jumping in now, just leave me a comment and I'll add you to the list. See more info and grab the button on the sew-along page up there. 

Ok, let's party! On an imaginary fishing boat....

(I'll keep the party open for a week, in case there are any laggers.)

Monday, August 29, 2011


So I told you about joining Rachel's do.Good Stitches quilting bee. August was our circle's first month and these are my first ever bee blocks.

The quilt is inspired by this one, except our background will be gray instead of blue. I actually finished these about a month ago. My edges are a bit wavy, but I was really happy with them at first. But as the month goes on I get less and less pleased with them. I think mine are a bit more wonky than everyone else's and my gray is also darker. I like it when bee quilts have really varied blocks on the same theme, but hopefully this month's designer Leigh does as well. Either way, I just need to get them in the mail!
Any bee veterans have tips for packing blocks? Do you just stick them in an envelope or what?

Here's a little sneak peek of another patchwork-y project I'm working on. I have way too many of those going on at once right now. I also have a full-sized quilt top about halfway done that I can't show you at all because it is a gift for someone special. I'm excited about it though :)

And then there's this...

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

PR Episode 5: Klumzilla and the Crackheads

This episode was so full of BS it was ridiculous.

First of all Ms. Klum, didn't we just have this challenge last season? (I think, if not last season, it was a very recent one. Designers had to make looks for her sportswear line, and I believe they even did it in teams like this.) Apparently this show just has to bow to building your brand name empire now. It's a bit obnoxious.

Also, the judging in general, seemingly led by the Klumzilla, was just so wildly all over the place and mostly wrong about everything.

The Top 2 or 3:

Viktor: This was the only thing they got right. Viktor's look won and was clearly the best. Let's all just admit that jacket is badass. And the fact that he made it look so good with a drapey jersey dress like that and it still looked perfect with the sneakers is impressive. I'd wear that dress, although if I attempted to wear a jacket like that my friends would probably do laughing spit takes. I need a neck tattoo, obviously.

Anya: This is the other winning look that will be sold on amazon. It's a great dress, I like the sporty stripes and racerback and love that print. It is just another dress that is completely designed for Anya herself, but that seems to be working for her. We'll see if that carries her to the end, as it does seem that she is the only one that the judges like consistently. But this is where the episode turns into Dumbo's drunken circus dream and you have no idea what is happening... Why was there a second winning look at all? I don't know. Pointless. And why didn't the designer of that winning look actually win for it? I don't know. Pointless. Klumzilla on a rampage.

Joshua: Instead, this guy won for Anya's look. I guess the judges were very taken with his team leadership. What? In the beginning, his team was one of the two called out for having getting-along issues within the team. In this case, that was purely his fault. Even if it was his plan to just use Becky for her skills and not let her actually design, you don't come out and tell her that. A good leader would have found a way to get her on their side and do what they wanted, all while making her think it was at least somewhat her idea. He was really dickish to her, but at least he did apologize. If he had realized that she needed a little coddling, he could have saved a lot of strife and time. And anyway, I don't know where he gets his idea that she's dowdy. Her dress from last week was very young looking and actually looked a bit like his style. 

As for his look, the detail on the side of the shorts was cool, but that vest was ridiculous. I can't believe that Nina of all people liked it. 

Some mediocre stuff:

Josh C: I was actually pretty happy to see him come back. Hopefully he's gotten a little tougher and we don't have to watch him wet his pants on stage the next time he gets cut. I really liked this look a lot. Those pants look perfect with the sneakers and I love the black suede pockets. Even the holster business looks good here. I wish he had made the t-shirt a bit more fitted, especially in the sleeves, but that's my only quibble. 

Becky: Hello nips. This look is pretty boring and the shirt is unfortunate. But mostly I just want to talk about Becky. She had a bit of a pity-party, but really you can't blame the designers for that sort of thing with the kind of pressure and schedule they maintain. (Plus, who of us girls haven't done that?) Besides, Joshua was really unnecessarily mean to her. BUT, what impressed me about her this week was that she was genuinely happy and rejoicing for his win, even after all that. The girl's got character and integrity. Unlike someone else...

Bert: It's almost becoming laughable. He finds new ways each week to make you hate him just a little more. He acts above the whole reality show competition thing, but maybe he is really the one milking it for all it's worth and making himself this season's most memorable character. I mean, how did Anthony Ryan not just turn and punch him on the stage? He was literally jumping for joy and laughing when the judges criticized his teammates. How can you be that old and still be that immature and generally crappy as a person? 

AND WHY WON'T THE JUDGES SEE IT? Really, you can't remember the last time a team had this much trouble getting along? Well, It was two weeks ago, and the one common factor was Bert. His look didn't go with the sneakers at all, he was obviously a huge troublemaker in the team, and yet he got a pass. He should have been in the bottom with the other two. 

Olivier: Should have listened to his teammates about farmgirl here, but mostly I just wanted to remind you of this:

        "I wanted to be a team leader, but instead I had to fall like a bitch."

That line alone may have been worth all the crazytown in this episode. HILarious.

The Bottom 2:

Danielle: Oh Danielle. She lost this week, but at least now she is free to continue her torrid love affair with chiffon and maybe elope with it to Jamaica or something. This is not sporty at all. Why didn't she use jersey and make something similar to her first week's look? That type of top would have been perfect in this challenge.

Anthony Ryan: To be fair, he should have lost this week. This was one of the saddest things to ever go down the runway. Just another example of the judges following arbitrary whims and ideas about how much past challenges can carry a designer. But I am glad he didn't lose, because I still like him, and besides that he had to deal with the Abominable Bertman. He did seem like he was trying his best, but I don't think Bert would let himself be under the leadership of anyone. I wish he would get back to some of that pattern mixing he does so well.

Really, this week was much more about the personalities than about the looks. Oh, and about Heidi. And about inconsistent judging and agism.

And what the hell was Cecilia's problem? Why did she even go on the show? Some people have integrity, some people don't. A lot of people's true colors came out this week.

What did you guys think? The Bert thing is getting a bit puzzling. Do you think he's playing a part, or is he really just that crappy of a person? Do you think the producers are keeping him out of the judges' line of fire for entertainment value? I guess we'll see what variety of crazy the judges choose to reward next week...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I think we went to Boston... like two months ago. Seems like forever, but I suddenly had the urge to post these pictures.

It's been a quiet week around here because we had some family in town, and while I did finish that hellacious project, there hasn't been nearly enough sewing around here. And sorry if you were looking for last week's PR post. I've found that once a day or two has passed after the episode, I have nothing to say about it. Or maybe I just have a very short memory.

On to pretty pictures of pretty cities...

 Someone really loves their Papa.

Closest to a family picture we got.


I guess it was an exhausting vacation...


And I don't know what this place is, I just liked this picture Nick took in the North End. We did get to go out one night for some good Boston beer with cousins while my parents kept the kids in their hotel room. That is a rare and appreciated happening these days. 

I realize I didn't really take a wide variety of pictures, but honestly, we didn't do much but eat some good food, tour Fenway, and visit the aquarium. It was great fun, but probably not the ideal destination for toting two under three. The kids were great, but I really want to go back just the two of us and experience the city in a different way. 

I should say, the kids were great, besides the traveling home day. After two planes, a layover, and an hour car ride at the end of it, Nick and I thought we might take to sticking pencils deep into our ears. It was stressful to say the least. I wish I could remember enough details now to tell you a really funny story, but just know that many types of bodily fluids were involved. It's amazing how quickly you get used to lots of bodily fluid contact as a parent.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

LTTSA: Bucket Hats, Part 3- Look, No Hand Stitching!

Ok, sorry if anyone has been waiting to see this method, I finally got myself together and here it is! It really went together even more swimmingly than I expected. I will always make this hat like this in the future. And I will preach the good news to all...

First, put together your two caps just like in the book. Then sew together the two sides of each brim, but don't sew the two brims together.

Instead, sew each brim to it's respective cap so that you end up with two separate hats like this. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance still, finger press it down toward the brim, then topstitch the seam to the brim. You can see the topstitch well on my orange side.

Now turn one side wrong side out and fit it on top of the other side. Basically, just put them right sides together. Make sure you line up those side seams and notches on the outer brims.

Here is what the other side looks like.

Sew around the brim with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, but leave a three inch space for turning. When you leave a turning space in anything, it helps to sew off the edges like pictured here. This will make your excess tuck in very nicely once it's turned right side out. After you sew around, trim the seam allowance down to about 1/8 inch, except in this area.

Turn the whole thing through the opening. Finger press all the way around the edge of the brim so that the edge is turned all the way out and it's nice and flat. Use an iron to get your opening part tucked in and shaped right.

Top stitch the brim starting very close to the edge. This way, you don't even have to hand stitch your opening. (yay!) Keep topstitching every 1/4 inch or so up the brim. If you skip this part, the two layers will be too independent of each other. Plus it looks pretty.

Fully reversible, fully machine stitched. It's a little more wrinkly from the turning, but that will work itself out. 

I know a lot of you have made yours already, which is awesome! Isn't it great to look on the side bar over there and see them popping up every few days? Sewing along is even more fun than I thought. But if you haven't even started yet, don't worry. You have all the way until the end of the month before I'll do the final show-off post and everyone can link up their hats. In the meantime, maybe you can even whip up a few more this way. Hope it was helpful!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When Stuck in Sewing Hell

You know that thing of when people find out you can sew and then ask you to do some crazy project that sounds like no fun at all? And you say yes for reasons inexplicable?

So the owners of Nick's restaurant asked him if I could make three huge long black fabric panels that would hang up on the ceiling of the restaurant to absorb sound. It's pretty loud in the dining area. They wanted it to be thick, so at first I was going to quilt some black fabric together with batting. But to make it easier, we decided to just buy thick fleece. Well, the only thing stupid Joann's had enough of (12.5 yards) was the ultra-cuddle fleece.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the details, but I've started this project now, there is yardage and lint all over my living room and it's not very close to being finished. And I hate it. With the fire of a thousand suns. They are going to pay me of course, but I'm thinking I might have to ask extra to get my machine serviced after this. The stuff is so thick that I have to sew standing up while pulling it through the machine because it does not feed at all. I know this can't be good for my machine, but I've already committed and started. It's sewing hell. What can I do?

Well, I can procrastinate finishing and instead buy a bunch of fabric online. I don't do this too often now, since working in a LQS. While we do have a great selection, we are a fairly small shop and there will always be some things out there that we don't carry that I need.

Here's what is coming to my mailbox next week. It's all from Fresh Modern Fabric. I really want everything there. It's like the selections are all tailored to my tastes right now.

I'm beginning to think in terms of collecting fabrics for a quilt for me. I doubt that will get started until after Christmas, but I'm excited about it. 

And while perusing Hawthorne Threads, I saw two collections coming out in fall that I am lusting big time-


November seems so far away!! (dramatic sigh.)

Other things I'm loving today:

DQS11 before quilting

This amaaaaaaazing mini-quilt. (12 inches!)

The newest Decemberists album