Monday, February 23, 2009


I was just reading over on Unraveled that Kristen is looking to swap fat quarters for scraps. She seems to have plenty of offers of scraps, but it got me thinking. I have lots of scraps, some biggish, like 8 inches or so, some smaller. All in very unusual shapes. I have quite a few novelty prints that I don't care for at all.(Tennis anyone? EMTs? Corks?) Also just things that aren't really my style. heavy wine colored prints, abstracts etc. So my question is - does anyone want to swap scraps? I would do my best to send you something you would like, and I in return would like nothing more than to get rid of some of my gazillion scraps and get a surprise in the mail.

Now I bet you want to know where I get my scraps. I have a friend who sews ties, and she has generously donated many, many scraps to my cause. And I'm not picky when it's all free. So I take what I like and - okay, the truth? I fold what I don't like neatly and store it on my shelves wondering what to do with it.

Oh, and I know for a fact that she does not prewash, and I don't tend to wash scraps either. Just FYI.

Friday, February 20, 2009


After only a couple hours wrestling with the 'automatic buttonholer', I finally figured it out. I admit I was daunted by the idea of making buttonholes, but my sewing options were going to be limited until I learned how to do it. Thankfully I found a video on YouTube (what isn't on YouTube?) that gave me a modicum of confidence. More confidence than my cryptic instruction manual, that's for sure.

And then suddenly, what seemed so difficult, so unfinishable, was finished.

I'm going to ignore the ragged inside for the time being. Perhaps I'll wrap it in bias tape later, but this weekend we are going to visit relatives and Blue will be wearing it. You can see where I kept trying to get the piping the right width. I wasn't quite careful enough when pinning, I guess, although I took my time.

Did you notice the button? I was going to make little Totoros on the buttons, but suddenly Blue and I realized that Soot Sprites would be just the thing. We made them out of Polymer clay, and after I had finished those, Blue made a bunch more. And then a pig, and then a family of ducks. Polymer clay is her new favorite medium.

And the girl loves her dress. It's like a minor miracle around here. It is rare to see her in anything but stretch pants. Ugh, the stretch pants.

It has been a long time since I have made something just because. Because I was inspired, because it made me happy. I make a lot of things, but it is usually because I want to make someone else happy. That's who I am. I love to make other people happy, give generously, bestow surprises. But it is nice to do something just for me, too. And really, this was for me, not Blue. But I'm glad she likes it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I have always wanted to make Elephante, but he has always been bogged down in a long queue. When Ivy was born, I started making her a soaker, but decided the stitch was too loose to be a good soaker and set it aside.

But since I had cut everything as I went along, I was at a loss as to what to do with all those short pieces 0f yarn. And suddenly today it hit me. Even with some help from my minions....

I managed to get it unraveled and balled up. I won't bother to try to straighten them. That would take me another couple years.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Baby Knits

I love to knit hats for new babies. Hats and booties. They're fast and fun, relatively useful, and once you have it down, you can get really creative. I have a huge stash of 7 Setembre and Baby Ull that I use because it is so soft and washable, and I don't have to knit a swatch. I loved the colors of the 7 Setembre, but I'm not sure they make it anymore.

This hat is from Knits from the Heart by Kristin Spurklund. I think the flower was from a Nicky Epstein book. The booties are from Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas, again, embelished with a Nicky Epstein Flower. The boy booties underneath are the same pattern but with a sawtooth trim from Domino Knitting by Vivian Høxbro. I made a coordinating hat to go with the boy booties, too. For twins Finn and Charlotte.

This beanie is from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms by Louisa Harding. I was a little disappointed with this one. The nature of the beanie, I guess, is that it doesn't sit far down on the head. It never really stayed on my daughter's head. The booties are from Knits from the heart, again, and they didn't stay on either. But the entire set was awfully cute as part of my daughter's going home outfit.

My husband picked out the outfit, as he did for our first daughter. Check out the skulls Happy Heiny.

And here is little Ivy dwarfed by her ensemble.

These are my favorites. This is the boy version of the hat from Knits from the heart, and the same booties, unadorned. I always think it would be cute to make these booties in a neutral color with interchangeable bright laces to match any outfit. Or with laces in pink and blue for those old fashioned folks who don't know the sex ahead of time. (I was one of those old fashioned people, so I can say that.) But I never feel like making up all that I-cord. Imagine.

And here are hats for more twins. These were a first birthday present for Drew and Ella knit with Artyarns Supermerino, which was lovely. The pattern is the Baby/Kids' Earflap Hat by Hey Julie. I added the tassles and trim. The trim is based on Zoe Mellor's cabled earflap hat with garter stitch trim in Adorable Knits for Tots. Unfortunately, I forgot to go down a needle size when I put the trim on, so it sticks out a little. And that bit of pooling makes me cringe, but the kids didn't seem to mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

oliver and s and... totoro?

I've been working on an oliver and s tea party sundress for Blue. I'm not an experienced sewer, but I can usually follow a Simplicity pattern, and I am pretty good at winging it (but let's not think too hard on the Baby Jaguar pants I tried to wing for Blue).

In any case, it is not often that I am inclined to follow a pattern, but oliver and s designs are just so delicious I just had to try them. I wanted to try the Puppet Show Tunic as a dress, but when I started reading the instructions, I realized I was in over my head. So I began with the bedtime story pajamas, which turned out beautifully. Here are Ivy, Blue and Mia, my niece.

Cute as the dickens. And can you believe they sat still long enough to snap the picture? And not one moment longer.

But before I committed to making three pairs with fancy fabric, I cut my teeth on a trial pair. And that's what I'm doing now, too. This dress is a trial for the three coordinating (but not matching) dresses I am going to make for the girls and Mia to wear to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for my brother's wedding in Newport this summer.

So far, following the pattern was the easy part. Here's the dress, which is made from corduroy I found at Goodwill. Sadly, it was not until I was ironing it that I realized it was part polyester. The lining is made from a much lighter corduroy shirt I cut up. Overall, not bad for a $2 dress. Besides using corduroy, I also made the skirt two inches longer. It is wintertime after all. And I had to practice anyway because Mia will need extra length on hers.

Now, this dress is size 5 for Blue, and she has real clothing issues. Everything she wears has to be jersey knit. I hate that kind of stuff, but she has sensory issues that cannot be denied away, so for the most part I humor her. Therefore, I am always thinking of little sneaky ways to get her to wear real clothing. And a surefire way to get her to at least try to wear something is with a Totoro.

See? See how she tries it on? Amazing. And a darn good thing, too, because those Totoro (Totoros?) were not all that easy to make. They took as long as the dress to make. But I think it is going well.

Or at least it was going well until I tried to applique. I know it's hard to see, but I'm having difficulty with the tension.

And then this happened.

I can sew with the kiddos crawling up my legs and feeding me broccoli, but I can't sew with that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Three months in coming.

It has been three months since I managed to get the header up. And now shall I get around to my first post?

It seems sometimes that everyone manages so easily and well. I don't. I follow many blogs of creative people that bowl me over. Not only do they manage to do creative stuff, but they manage to take pictures, get the pictures off their cameras, and say something coherent about their projects. And they have kids, too. And they have old houses, too.

Don't expect anything like that from me. You might get a couple pictures of something it took me 8 months to finish, you might not. We'll see. And who knows, maybe I'll surprise myself with how much I actually manage to get done.