Monday, March 28, 2011

Tutorial Roundup: In the Kitchen - Misc.

There are so many possibilities for kitchen-themes, I had to do a catch-all week to end our series on tutorial on sewn items for this most important room - the heart of the home, no?

While I had intended on making a little item each week to go with the theme to spruce up my home, alas it did not happen. At all. *sigh* I'll get around to it. Eventually.

What about you? Did you make your kitchen spiffier in March?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


After months and months of talk, I finally, FINALLY, finished Olivia's Helena Sweater.

 A free Knitty pattern, this was a very fun knit. A faster, more dedicated knitter could whip this up in no time, especially in a smaller size.

I used the recommended needle sizes in the pattern - US Sizes 6 and 2. The yarn was O-Wool in a delicious icy blue colorway. The wool is as soft as cotton, making it wearable for my sensitive toddler.

As you can see, I messed up on the lace. It was totally operator's error and nothing to do with the pattern, which was easy-peasy to read and follow. The only tricky part was doing the picot edges - I used You Tube tutorials to help me through the technique. All in all - a fun knit with fantastic yarn!

In other news, I postponed the podcast for 1 week for personal reasons. However, this puts me on a better recording schedule with upcoming quilt shows. SO, watch for a new episode next weekend. Thanks for your understanding!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Grandma's Flower Garden Pillow & Giveaway

I saw this Grandma's Flower Garden pillow tutorial by Heather on Sew, Mama, Sew! and had to make it. (Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, but I become obsessed with projects lately.)

In the mood for some spring colors, I chose Kumari Garden by Dena Designs in beautiful greens, blues, grays, and yellows and Bella Solids in Robin's Egg and Kelly Green. Using 2-1/4" hexagon English paper piecing templates, I made the main focal point of the piece - a flower with solid center and print outer.

I machine-stitched the completed flower to the background fabric. Then added an extra special touch with hand embroidery in the center and around the exterior of the flower.

This was the first pillow I added binding too and must say the effect is crisp and finished. I wish I would have chosen a different pattern for the binding rather than picking up the paper pieced fabric. But, it will do...

And here is the end result!

With an envelope back...

This fabric is so beautiful and the soft hand of the cotton makes it even better. I'd like to make a zig zag pillow out of it to coordinate on our family-room couch - inspired by this post by Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson.

Okay - now giveaway time! Kumari Garden is one of the latest lines I've added to my shop, Swell Cloth. It has a lovely range of spring-like colors that would make gorgeous pillows, quilts, table runners, placemats, napkins, pin cushions, mug rugs, bags, ruffle skirts, peasant tops, baby bloomers - you name it! 

For your chance to get a sampling of Kumari Garden - this 6 Fat Quarter bundle - leave a comment on this post with the name your favorite print in the line. You can view the list of available prints here.

The giveaway will end on Friday, April 1 (no fooling!) at midnight EST, and the winner announced next weekend. Good luck, and happy sewing!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tutorial Roundup: In the Kitchen - Table Toppers

If you're a nerd like me, you may have pondered (even for just a second) about the difference between Table Toppers and Table Runners. Really - why split hairs? They both go on top of a table and run between people sitting around it. Right? Maybe it's just me.

In my mind, Table Toppers are more square in nature, while Table Runners are longer than they are wide. This is by no means an official definition - but just my observation over the last two years of quilting.

In any case, the roundup this week focuses on the more square variety of table fare. I'm itching to make a new one for spring with my Easter decorations now up. What about you?

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I'm happy to report I finished the Bullseye Block Quilt! Well - okay - I finished the top. But that counts as a finish, right?

Using Tanya Whelan's lovely fabric line Delilah, this quilt only took 9 fat quarters, and I have plenty left to spare for a cute pieced back or another project.

The blocks came together fairly easily (once I cut the correct number of pieces!). I decided to try opening my seems to press and have decided I'm not a 100% fan of it. It certainly has it's place but found it made my seams weak. Perhaps I should have back stitched?

In any case, this pattern is fun and quick. The blocks give an overall dimensional effect with a lot to look at for such a simple pattern. I plan to baste this weekend and want to try this quilting technique.

Last weekend, I "splurged" on a new quilting supply - starch! Who knew this could be so much fun to use? I love how crisp the fabric is under its spell. Maybe it's my imagination, but I think it is making me a more accurate cutter?

Do you use starch? If so, what brand do you recommend? I bought this one for no particular reason except that I hoped the name "Faultless" would rub off on my quilting. Ha!

In more serious news, like you my heart and prayers go out to those in Japan who are affected by the terrible disasters that have occurred over the last week in their country. I read on Heather's blog today that a sewing charity is being assembled to benefit Japan. Be sure to check out her Flickr group - Modern Relief - to learn all the details on how you get involved.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

episode 26: small plates

What I'm Working On
Finished Olivia's Helena Baby Sweater!!!
Working on a baby sweater from Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson
Pincushion from Scandinavian Stitches

Bad Stitches Happen to Good People
How not to add ribbon embellishments to projects and how fussy-cutting plans can go awry.

Podcasts to Try

Blogs I'm Loving

Shop update - Swell Cloth: Enjoy 10% off bundles this week (through March 18) using discount code MARCH10. Feel free to use the discount on pre-assorted bundles or customize your own fabric ensemble. 

Coming soon: Kumari Garden by Dena Designs. I'm so excited to receive this line - it's full of gorgeous prints and delicious colors.  

Thank you to Erica for sharing this beautiful project with us. Check out her new blog full of beautiful projects and stories of her quilting and sewing adventures.


Download episodes of Stash Resolution for free on iTunes. Feel free to email comments or questions to

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Pincushion and Winner of Schnibbles Pattern Giveaway

I was obsessed with getting the book Scandinavian Stitches after seeing this blog post by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts. That pincushion haunted my crafting dreams and just HAD to be made. You know the feeling, right?

I poured over the book after it arrived and promptly pulled out my scrap bin to select the perfect fabrics. Liking the look of the book project, I tried to simulate the fabrics somewhat closely, choosing a polka-dot for the center, a stripe for the top, and a feature fabric for the bottom. Unfortunately, my feature fabric got chopped a little at the bottom by the time I added seams. :-(

Using a darning foot, stitching the copy was amazingly simple. 

The extra touch of adding a ribbon is an adorable kitchy idea (in the original pattern), but I wish my ribbon collection was more extensive and cuter. Solid grosgrain ribbon is the extent of my stash. Will need to work on that. 

The backing was fussy cut to show of a little birdie. All in all, fantastic pattern and a quick project. Run - don't walk! - out and get a copy of the book right away - this project only scratches the surface the darling ideas in it. 

Now for the winner of the Schnibbles pattern giveaway, celebrating the 25th episode of the Stash Resolution podcast. And the winner is ... 
Lucky number 14 is Sunnybec who said: Thanks for the giveaway. I think Domino for me please. Linda

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cat's out of the Bag

Well, the super-secret project I was working on in January is now officially public - my pattern, the Reversible Spring Table Runner, is in the latest issue of CraftSanity magazine! I'm incredibly excited and thankful that crafting extraordinaire Jennifer Akerman-Haywood gave me this amazing opportunity - my first published piece.

Jennifer was also kind enough to spare a few minutes of her busy schedule to answer some questions about this latest issue (isn't the cover gorgeous!?).

1. After the success of CraftSanity Magazine Issue 1, how does it feel to have Issue 2 in hand? Is it just as exciting this time around?
Ignorance was bliss when I was putting together issue 1. I had no idea how challenging it was going to be to start a magazine, so I just plowed ahead and did it. Going into issue 2 I was well aware of the challenges, so at certain points it was more daunting. But, yes, it is exciting to have completed issue 2. The most exciting thing is to have such supportive readers. 

2. What can readers expect to find in this latest issue?
We cover a lot in issue 2. From rug hooking, basket weaving and hairpin lace to knitting, crocheting, quilting and sewing  -- there's something in this issue for every crafter. There's also an excellent pita bread recipe written by an skilled baker and a tooth fairy pouch project to do with the kids. We have another super cute paper doll in this issue and a darling wool felt bunny pattern, too. 
3. Is there a theme running through the patterns and articles?
We have a basic Spring theme running through this issue. From a woven bike tote to tie to the front of your bike to a recycled fabric cap to sew and wear under your helmet, there are projects for those who like to spend time outside. The crochet basket and egg cozy projects are designed to get readers ready for Easter. And the hairpin lace "Picnic Mitts" pattern is a great entry level project for those who like to slip on fingerless gloves on cool spring evenings. 
4. You interviewed crafting legend Carol Duvall for this issue. What was that experience like? 
I had previously met and interviewed Carol for my CraftSanity podcast, so it was fun to catch up with her and see what she's been up to. She's a wonderful storyteller with has an interesting perspective on the craft world. During my visit I got to see her craft room for the first time. It's fantastic with a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, proving that Carol Duvall truly knows how to craft in style. :  ) 
5. If someone is interested in submitting a project idea, what is the best way to go about it?

The best way to submit a project idea is to e-mail me ( I plan to publish a variety of projects in every issue, so I'm looking for cute embroidery, crochet, knitting and sewing patterns as well as tutorials in other craft mediums. The sky is really the limit, so if you have an idea, by all means get in touch! 
6. You are one busy lady! What's next for you - besides working on CraftSanity Magazine Issue 3? 
Besides work on upcoming CraftSanity Magazine issues and podcasts, I'd like to start writing my first book soon. :  )

I adored Issue 1 and am sure Issue 2 will be even better! CraftSanity Magazine Issue 2 can be purchased as either a PDF download or print copy in Jennifer's successful Etsy shopPre-order your copy today and save $1 off the cover price. Orders will begin to ship next week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Portable Knitting Project Bag

This weekend, I whipped up a new portable knitting project bag. Tired of hauling my huge knitting bag full of - ahem- a lot of UFOs, I decided a solo pattern tote was in order.

Using this tutorial from Purl Bee, one of my favorite blogs (they have a TON of tutorial ideas for sewing and knitting), I started with 1/2 yard of Amy Butler LOVE fabric. Yummy!

Following the clearly written instructions, I seamed and serged (not called for but I did it successfully).

Playing with my new toy, serging added a nice clean finish to the seams. No worrying the fabric will unravel and tangle with yarn.

Gussets were added to give the bag a flat bottom. They were fairly easy to figure out once I worked through the brainteaser of which direction they are supposed to go.

Feeding the ribbon through the casing was easy-peasy using a safety pin. I used 3/8" red grossgrain ribbon - love the aqua and red together.

About 1/2 hour of work - voila!

There are so many possibilities for modifications of this base pattern. You could add hexagon motif to one side. Or you could appliqué an embroidery to it - I'm loving these patterns by Aneela Hoey of Comfort Stitching. (She is also the designer behind the highly anticipated fabric line Sherbet Pips.)

I'm looking forward to giving this portable knitting project bag a spin this week, and I can see making more of these in the future for gift bags and additional project bags.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tutorial Roundup: In the Kitchen - Hot Pads & Pot Holders

Something about the changing seasons puts me in the mood to get into the kitchen. I mean, let's not exaggerate here - I'm still not making dinners. That task is far better off in my husband's more capable hands. But I do like to play with baking breads, making jams, and the like - giftable concoctions.

So, for the month of March as we look forward to Spring, let's focus on sprucing up our kitchens with a few new sewn items. Today's theme is hot pads and pot holders, which I realized yesterday are sorely missing from our kitchen supplies as I pulled the banana bread out of the oven. Please feel free to send me your tutorial links to include in future kitchen-themed postings - think aprons, tea towels, table runners, etc!