Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby Quilt and Give Away Winner

Today feels like a vacation day. Why? Well, the baby is currently sleeping peacefully in her bassinet and Olivia is at pre-school. Yesterday was my first day alone with both the girls at home all day and my goodness did they run me ragged! We went to the park, cleaned, prepped dinner, played games, changed diapers, nursed, changed clothes about 10 times... Exhausting but wonderful. But I'd by lying if I wasn't grateful for this quiet time, which I'm going to put to good crafty use!

A few months ago, I talked in a podcast episode about whole cloth quilting. While this may not totally qualify as the definition of the technique, I am hand quilting straight lines on Isabelle's baby quilt.

To prep, I sandwiched the quilt as I would to machine quilt it. Then I drew straight lines lightly in pencil across the top fabric. Using a square quilting hoop, no. 8 perle cotton, and an embroidery needles, I am going to town quilting little sections at a time.

The effect on the back is quite subtle since the fabric is dark. That doesn't bother me, though, because the front is a busy print. Fabric is Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi.

Making sure my crafting is distributed equally between the girls, I am knitting Olivia a hat called Upside Down Daisy from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitt Hats book. This pattern has been on my mind to make her since I first took up knitting over three years ago but wasn't confident I had the skills until now. I'm worried it may be too baby-ish for her but am moving forward anyway. 

The yarn is Mirasol T'ika, which is 8 ply 100% cotton. Unlike some cottons, this one has a buttery hand to it and doesn't feel dry or stiff. The pattern is perfect for middle-of-the-night feedings as I have to knit 7" in the round. Perfect mindless work while watching episodes of House Hunters International. :-)

And now for the winner of the Sweetwater Hometown fat quarter bundle selected by Random Number Generator...Congratulations Gretchen who said:
I was born in McKeesport, Pa, but moved away from there when I was eight. I spent the rest of my growing up years in Belleville, MI which really feels more like my hometown to me. Instill live in that general vicinity.
Gretchen, I'll be in touch to arrange shipment of your prize!

Reading your comments was such fun! Thank you for the enthusiasm and personal stories you shared. I wasn't expecting that but was reminded what a wonderful sharing and supportive community of sewers we have. :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


After reading this post by Amy at Lots of Pink Here, I was inspired to make Olivia a travel pouch for her overnight visits at her grandparents' houses. But first I had to conquer the zipper!

On Amy's good recommendation, I purchased an assortment of zippers from Zipit and was super pleased with the quick shipping and friendly customer service. Her shop is like a virtual candy store of zippers!

Then, I used this tutorial by Vanessa Hewell of LBG Studio make the patchwork pouch. Using scraps of Heather Bailey Nicey Jane, I actually cut out for two pouches. Proving that bad stitches still happen to good (sleep deprived) people, one bit the dust when I accidentally snipped through the exterior in the very last step of the project. UGH!

The second patchwork was in a blue and green color way... And was intended for Olivia's ballet instructor as an end-of-summer gift. So, instead, I whipped up a solid exterior version using Echino fabric. Without messing with piecing, this came together in under 10 minutes. We added a gift card to a coffee shop and - voila! - teacher gift done.

I can see making a bunch of these for holiday teacher gifts. Maybe I'll add a little more jazz to them when I'm not under pressure to finish it in between feedings and diaper changes!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's Your Hometown? Giveaway

While I've always dreamed of big-city life, perhaps Mellencamp had it right when he sang, "I cannot forget where it is that I come from, I cannot forget the people who love me, I can be myself here in this small town, People let me be just who I want to be."

I suppose that is the beauty of a hometown - small town or big town - that it is the place where your loved ones are, where you put down some roots, and where you can fall into the person you're most comfortable being. Maybe it isn't true for everyone, but I have found over the years that it is true for me.

Sweetwater's new fabric line, Hometown, captures the essence of small town America. With fabric names like Marketplace, Barbershop, Town News, and Flower Shop, the designs are a subtle blend of comfort and sophistication. You can almost feel like you're on Main Street USA smelling the local bakery's donuts as you walk down the cobble stone sidewalk to the farmers market to pick up this week's produce.

From a large-scale polkadot to a trendy typeface print in shades of blue, gray, red, and cream, this line of fabric is my new favorite! And I cannot wait to make something from it.

We have a solid line-up of Hometown at Swell Cloth - 18 bolts in the range of colors and prints. Cuts are available from Fat Quarters up to multiple yardage. Feel free to convo me if you need a custom amount, and I'll set up a reserved listing for you.

We also have a nice stock of Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs, and Layer Cakes to support all those fun new patterns coming out for pre-cuts. I don't know about you, but I can't seem to get enough of them - they make piecing so easy!

I can see this line translating easily from quilts to bags to aprons and more. In fact, here are some great project ideas over at the Moda Bakeshop.

The Road to Tennessee quilt takes four charm packs plus background, binding, and backing fabric, but it yields a nice-sized quilt. With these colors, I can see it easily transitioning from a cozy fall quilt right into winter in my living room.

In case you're in the mood for a smaller project, here are some great pillow patterns, also from Moda's Bakeshop, in a collection called Pillows Gone Wild. Fun, right?

I'm also bringing in a couple other patterns to the shop that should arrive in a few weeks - Lighthouse quilt and Down Home Tote. You can see more of this collection over at Sweetwater's blog. They also have a Flickr group dedicated to projects made out of their fabrics and patterns. Feeling inspired yet? :-)

Want to get your hands on a fat quarter bundle of Sweetwater? Leave a comment on this post telling us your hometown (it can be whatever hometown is to you - where you're from, where you've settled, someplace you visited that you felt like home.. whatever it means to you). 

Enter your comment by midnight EST Sunday, August 28 for a chance to win the Hometown Red and Cream Collection of Fat Quarters. A winner will be chosen at random and announced next week. Good luck!



Sunday, August 21, 2011


Isabelle Sandra

Wednesday, August 17
3:18 p.m.
7 pounds 15 ounces

Proud big sister Olivia.

Me & my girls.

Thank you for all of your well wishes. I appreciate all of your comments and positive thoughts more than I can say. Once I'm back on my feet, I promise more frequent blog posts. Thanks for hanging in there in the meantime!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pregnant Pause

And still pregnant... Let's not go there right now. Instead, let's move on to happier, more comfortable topics, like sewing!

Last night, I finished the last of the 12 blocks in the Fat Quarter Shop 2010 block of the month club. Not a bad finish, right? Most of the blocks are pretty close to the same dimensions, and, looking back over the year I realize I learned a lot by participating in this club. By the last block, my accuracy was drastically improved.

 Taking advantage of the Big-MO - a.k.a. momentum - I broke into the finishing kit and started cutting for the sashing and corner stone blocks. I must say I'm ter-i-fied of messing up the pieced borders (stars!?). But, here's to trying new things!

Speaking of holidays, I recently purchased the Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine. This is not something I would normally buy but was having a particularly rough day and needed a pick-me-up. I must have picked it up and put it back on the shelf three times before I snatched it up and walked/waddled quickly to the checkout before I could change my mind again.

Turns out it was a fantastic buy. There are many patterns I have dog-earred to attempt, most of them small enough to be day or two day projects that Olivia could help with. Pick it up if you need to get into the holiday spirit!

In other news, Amy at Lots of Pink Here recently blogged about Strawberry Fields from a purchase she made from my Etsy shop. If you don't already follow Amy's blog, check it out. She has some great tutorials! And she also has a lovely Etsy shop where I might have recently picked up a few fat quarters (shhhh... don't tell anyone!). 

Also, listener Denise of the My Life in Quilts blog sent me a picture of the cute project she's making from Kumari Garden fat quarters she won in the give away. The pattern is Dot Party by Jaybird Quilts. Be sure to check out Denise's other quilting adventures on her blog too!

For those of you who listen to the Stash Resolution podcast, you may have noticed I'm taking a little hiatus. Let's just call it a pregnant pause, shall we? I didn't intent to take this long of a break before delivering. It just sort of happened this way. Sorry that I left you hanging!

Not that I want to remember myself in this whale-ish state, but here is Exhibit A for why I haven't been doing much sewing, and, therefore, haven't had much to talk about on a podcast.

Hope you all are doing well and are enjoying your summers. I'm off to finish cutting some orders and then to settle down on the couch with a Blizzard (chased by three Tums for heartburn) and Friday Night Lights. Take care!