Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I've been making necklaces a lot. I use plant dyed or natural merino wool and strung them on embroidery thread so that the length is adjustable. I needle felted these.
They would be perfect for either children or adults and I hope to be selling them soon. Scarlet has loved wearing these since I first made her one when she was little baby.
I also have this one in the shop right now and a few like that one in stock if you want one right away and it's on sale.

I forgot to mention my lovely new banner which I am completely smitten with and was created for me by Rebekka Seale who I have been blog friends with for a long time. I've followed her through several blogs and she is a very talented and sweet girl. Thanks again Rebekka!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1977 dress in progress

This dress is from a vintage Simplicity pattern I had published in 1977 hence the name.
I don't feel quite done with it something with the sleeves. I mean they are supposed to be like that but they look uneven and i'm not sure I like them quite this big. They are really big!

I might do an elastic at the hem and just make them puffy sleeves. The pattern calls for ric-rac at the hem and collar but wasn't sure I wanted to load on more but, I might add it at the hem. This was really straightforward to sew as most vintage simplicity patterns are in my opinion. I have a handful of vintage patterns in her size and want to make sure I try them out before it's too late. It really helps to be able to see it on a child. I actually tried this on my five year old boy too just to see the difference but ssshh don't tell.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts

I just got home from a trip into NYC to see Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts at the Park Avenue Armory which was an absolutely stunning exhibit of 650 red and white quilts loaned to the museum by Joanna S. Rose. The quilts hang in several circular pattern from the ceiling down appearing weightless and frozen in air. It is breathtaking to walk in and see this many quilts and the way in which they are displayed.

I've always loved red and white quilts (red being my favorite color) and redwork embroidery so this was especially exciting for me.

After the exhibit I really enjoyed reading about the origins of the popularity of this color combination and it's relation to the colorfastness of Turkey red dye derived from madder root. This has only furthered my interest in learning more about natural dyeing.

Geometric pieced patterns take up most of the quilts on exhibit though there is also a nice representation of applique designs. I also learned about the "snowflake method" from the brochure and think that would be really fun to try someday. This snowflake method is derived in the same way a paper snowflake is cut by using folded pieces of fabric.

I can not express how much I really loved seeing the variety of designs in one place. There were many that stole my heart. Being able to get so close up and see all the hand quilting work in so many unique and interesting ways was really special.

The exhibit is a birthday present to the owner of the quilts who wanted to give a gift to NYC and see something she has not seen before. She had no idea how many quilts she possessed and had not gone about acquiring them as a collector. She calls herself a treasure hunter. In the brochure it says that they were purchased at flea markets in the 1950's where they sold for five or ten dollars. Can you believe that?

I had only my phone to take pictures with as I forgot my camera when rushing out the door to catch the train but hopefully they will be able to show images of them online for those who could not attend. I really do hope so. And, if you can make it the exhibit is up for a few more days.

I think I have to add a red and white quilt to my ever growing list of quilts to make. Wouldn't you know I just picked up some red and white fabric yesterday at Joann's...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

for japan

I think all of us have been affected by the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. When I read about this group called Crafting for Courage I decided that I would donate a few items for the cause. The proceeds of any sales of these two items will go towards Save the Children.
I have decided on my knit kerchiefs because they are perfect for early Spring and early Autumn so wherever you are located this would certainly be a nice accessory. To me wool is a nice representation of warmth and comfort.
I recently had my first sale to Japan and a kerchief was the item purchased so I was also reminded of Japan when choosing what to donate.
The items are already listed in my Etsy shop and you can also find a lot of other items through the Crafting for Courage website.

lace leg warmers

I can kid myself all I want that Spring is here but, really it's still cold outside and there is snow on the ground. Snow on the snow drops and daffodils. It's a bid sad really.

Once the snow melts I think these are a perfect in between solution when it's warm enough to go without tights but, you still want to wear your ballet flats barefoot.
Mirry Dancers were quite a bit of work to make but, the result is worth it and I really love the lace pattern. Oh, and the good!
As Gudrun suggests....I think a wee dance is in order!

Mirry Dancers by The Shetland Trader

Size: Small
Needles: Size US 3 and US 5 Circulars
Wool: Quince & Co. Chickadee. Color: Honey

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

far far away dress #2 - frog prince

This piece of fabric made it to the top of the pile recently and since I loved the first sundress so much I decided to make another. This is a nice quick project that one could easily get carried away making several of them and why not, it's so easy and comfortable to wear especially in this cotton gauze fabric. The directions can be found in Heather Ross's book Weekend Sewing. She also recently demonstrated making this dress on the Martha Stewart show so you might find directions on her website. The fabric is from her Far Far Away line which is really a beautifully colorful and creative collection.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

bow tie pins

I love a bow.
So, I had to make some Clara Bow Tie pins.
Thanks Colette Patterns for the tutorial.
I changed it a little bit with the middle piece.
The stripe one is cut on the bias and is made out of quilting cotton. The other two are made with shot cotton. I love shot cotton and after having not used it in a while now want to get my hands on some more. It's so soft to touch.
A sneak peek at a new dress in the background there.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. I planted some organic vegetable seeds this weekend- gourmet lettuce, astro arugula, pink beauty radish and sugar ann sweet pea. A lot more to do with the garden now that it is is Spring. The rhubarb and chives are coming back nicely. Also, picked up some delicious dark chocolate sea salt caramels from the Brooklyn Flea Market this weekend. Yum!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

red skirt

This red skirt was made a while back to wear with the blouse pictured which I made first. It is pleated. She likes to wear skirts the best. Perhaps she takes after her me who wears skirts the most too and dresses. I love shorts but have still yet to become a pants person.

Lately she has been calling me Mom and I don't know but, it just sounds too grown up for her to be calling me that. I like Mama or even Mommy but, Mom...I'm not ready for that yet.

I am constantly distracted by making little girl clothes for her. In fact, instead of working on my quilts or going to my pilates class or even resting after hurting my back gardening yesterday I started and almost finished another dress for her from a vintage pattern this morning. You do what makes you happy I suppose.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

sun hats for the boy and girl

Two sun hats from Little Things to Sew. They are reversible but I like these sides better.
Ms. S has a Liberty of London floral with a reverse to pale peach and Little M is wearing a thin stripe in shades of blue yellow brown and white with a reverse to yellow.
I like the structure that sewing circles around the brim gives the hat she is wearing and I may go back and do that to M's.

I keep doing lots of small projects to give me the satisfaction that I am completing something as I work on several bigger projects.

Monday, March 14, 2011

happy to see you

Happy To See You Doll. Handmade in France.
We still need to name her.
Isn't she beautiful?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

bead stitch lace

I'm really enjoying this piece I am working on both in color and pattern.
It's called Bead Stitch Lace. I am knitting Mirry Dancers by Gudrun Johnston

I have another knit piece (a shawl) which I am working in sock and lace yarn.

Signs of Spring are starting to show.
We have a fresh coat of white paint on our picket fence in the backyard and will start to plant soon. I see the rhubarb wants to make an appearance.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Last week I set aside a night to make a tutu.
I had four layers of tulle - pale pink, white, lavender, and light blue which is how I layered them when I sewed them together.
I used the directions from this lovely book. In the book it calls for five layers and 108" wide tulle. Mine was about 60" wide.
I had a wide satin ribbon which I left long for a big bow. This was worn the very next day to ballet class and she chose to wear it on the blue side. It is reversible. The blue side looks periwinkle and the pink side lilac because of the layers. It's really beautiful and so much fun. She loves it!

This would be a wonderful gift to make because tutus especially for little ones are pretty much the bees knees.

Monday, March 7, 2011

sweet peasy in plum

This little cardigan is the latest finished piece and I really love this design. It gets me thinking about making the adult version someday
The pattern is Sweet Peasy and the design is written perfectly. It's unique in design and has a pretty perfect result.
The yarn is Madelinetosh Pashmina in Duchess and I sort of didn't want it to know that sort of bittersweet that comes at the end of knitting something you loved knitting so much. It doesn't always happen but, when it does it's extra special.

I shortened the sleeves and the length a little bit. I think this will be a great transitional piece and nice to layer over a top or dress.
The lace section is so pretty and those glass buttons are the ones I picked up a few weeks ago when I had first cast on during that train ride to New York City. They look exactly the way I wanted them too with the color.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

stacking the odds, + one

Two quilts I am pretty excited about. No, I haven't finished the cathedral windows or any of those others I started (not that I've even shown you those ones) but, I think I see these two getting completed by the end of Spring and since it hasn't really started yet I would say that's doable.

One I got started cutting and piecing. I am not using a pattern here and I'm just basing it on a photo but it seems to be working pretty okay. Quilting with all it's precision and all these corners is hard for me but at the same time fun and the colors are just amazing. I'm using City Weekend.

And, the other one up at top is waiting to be cut. All the shapes are traced so that's truly a start and there is a pile of fabric. It's going to be Stacking the Odds by Denyse Schmidt

You see I also have clothing on the brain but, even more so that a new season is almost upon us and knitting...well there is always knitting to be done. I can't not knit.

I need more hours in the day.

Edited to add: I have ripped out most of the City Weekend quilt and pieced most of it back in a whole new way. Thanks to Himoko for letting me know a much easier and efficient way to piece it. I just wish I knew this in the first place. Oh well!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

the lonely doll dress

Playing Edith and The Bears is ever so fun especially wearing your Mama's lipstick and writing on the mirror.

This morning S and I played The Lonely Doll based on the wonderful story by Dare Wright. She wore a new dress I made for 'being Edith.'
Do you know this book?

Edith is the lonely doll who wishes ever so much for friends to play with and keep her company. And one day her wish comes true- two bears arrive. They are Mr. Bear and Little Bear. They go on all kinds of adventures together and have a lot of fun. They go to the park and to the beach. Little Bear and Edith sometimes go too far away alone even crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. One day while Mr. Bear is out Edith and Little Bear decide to play dress up. Edith puts on a hat and lipstick and Little Bear scrawls on the mirror, Mr. Bear is just a silly old thing. Mr. Bear catches them and is not at all amused. But, in the end Little Bear and Edith apologize to Mr. Bear, clean up and all is well again.

Whenever we read this at bedtime S and I put on our straw hats.

I loved making this dress which is an Oliver + S pattern called the Jump Rope Dress. It's an adorable style and a bit old fashioned looking I think. I made it in size 3 and it looks like it has some growing room.

-There was a little sewing problem at the end with the buttonholes which made me awfully sad for about an hour. I wiped away my frown and figured out a solution.
When I made the buttonholes it was a bit late in the night and silly me thought it was a good time to do them (not) after all I've done them quite well dozens of times. What I didn't realize was that the needle was a bit loose and that I placed the placket under it too close to the edge so they came out untidy. To try to ammend the situation I decided to do this:
I made a band aid piece ( cut a small square) to sew over and disguise the bad buttonhole on top and am leaving the top button open. The middle one is the only one that is in use (still too close to the edge but hopefully holds up) and the third one is sewn shut. Instead of worrying endlessly about the dress not being perfect I've decided to just let it go and make the best of it. These imperfections sometimes happen. You learn from your mistakes just like Edith and Little Bear though I don't think it was all that bad what Edith and Little Bear did. I can think of a lot worse. So now I am taking lessons from a doll and a little bear.