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Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

Busytown Fabric!

Richard Scarry gets a lot of snuggle-up-with-a-book time in our house. Now, what to make with this new yardage due out in October?

Busytown Fabric from Quilting Treasures.

A Rainy Sunday Project: Alien “Uglydoll”


Saturday morning we had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, where I tried the Oatmeal with Stone Fruits and Granola to see if it held a candle to my beloved Harvest Porridge. (It was tasty, but it’s no farro porridge.) After a trip to Hecksher Playground, via the most strange entrance to any public playground ever, we found ourselves at the mecca of all things toys, FAO Schwartz.

We followed an unfortunate employee sporting a giant life-size Uglydoll costume to the cars and trucks department. Apparently Jr was fascinated by the Uglydoll. I reminded him that he has one – it’s “out of rotation” in his closet. When we arrived home he was insistent that we immediately find the little green plushie, who was given a place of honor on his pillow.

Yesterday Mr A and I were informed that the Uglydoll was lonely and needed a friend. Because apparently the stuffed dinosaur, crayfish, dog, manatee, gnome, Totoro and robot plus the three plastic bugs that live on his bed are not enough? Regardless, supplies were gathered. Jr was very specific as to the number of eyes (3) and their location, as well as the number of legs (also 3). Mr Apparently made sketches. I was dispatched to the sewing machine, where an old pair of wool pants was dissected and emerged as the alien’s body.


Meet the newest member of the menagerie, Garblidge. He eats bug sandwiches.

Summer Stash

I once really enjoyed stashing yarn; now I tend to purchase it only by the project. Because seriously, unless you’re exclusively a sock knitter, how could you possibly just intuit how much of a particular yarn you’ll need for some undefined future sweater?

I break this rule regularly for gorgeous single skeins while on vacation.

Also, the one under-the-bed box I allow myself for storing yarn is completely full. Mostly of gorgeous single skeins purchased on vacations.

In the past couple of years, I’ve found much more enjoyment in stashing fabric. I’m still somewhat tame; I tend to make just one or two orders of unpremeditated – that is, not earmarked for a particular project – yardage orders each year. And I really do try to use up stash fabrics before buying new. Again, however, exceptions are easily made while traveling.

I love to knit, but rarely do I take out the box of yarn and gaze at its possibilities. Each of those single skeins will ultimately end up as a lace shawl or lovely scarf. I learned my lesson with the beret. But the fabric…it’s so delightful to dream up a project, or be inspired by a tutorial, and riff through the stash to select which fabrics to use.

Mr Apparently gave me a bias tape maker and Ellen Luckett Baker’s book 1-2-3 Sew for my birthday, and so clearly a little stash renewal was in order. Look at this restraint! Only 7 yards!

summer stash

That’s because I have a gift certificate to Hawthorne Threads pinned up over my desk, waiting patiently.


Summer’s Crafty Goodness

Why is it that I always find myself sewing – which by its nature means, turning on the iron – on the hottest days of the year? Apparently heat inspires me. Here are just a few of several projects I’ve completed lately.

magnolia hat

This sun hat was a commission from a lovely friend. The inside has a little secret – a contrasting fabric with a pretty picture that reminds me of her. I’m not going to show you what it is, but I’ll tell you it’s a Heather Ross fabric.

manly pincushions

A bride-to-be in California commissioned two Very Manly Pincushions for her wedding. I’m not entirely clear on the role they’ll play, but I love that she’s doing something very creative!

nesting hen pincushion

We made a trip to Fish’s Eddy, where we got some new egg cups. This means that the nesting hen egg cups I bought at Anthropologie a few years ago (and which really aren’t very good at holding eggs) – will be repurposed.

I couldn’t resist a piece of this Suzuko Koseki linen fabric printed with vintage sewing images, and so of course it became a potted pincushion.

The FedEx man just rang with a package I’d forgotten about – a fresh stack of fabric! Stay tuned for pix…

When It Rains

That’s proverbial, as in…it pours. Suddenly I’m working on three custom hats and sent off two pincushions in one day. I also delivered a stack of summer hats to our local children’s boutique and am trying to plan three summer trips.

owl hat

swirls hat

Every year I make my son a new sun hat. This year he chose the fabrics himself, and so he’ll spend his summer topped with butterflies. He just got some boyish blue sunglasses and several pairs of plaid shorts, so he’ll be rocking the prints this season.

The lining of this reversible hat is the white butterfly print. He likes to turn it inside-out. I find it so sweet that my four-year old loves butterflies and can’t be bothered with superheroes. Yet.



Love from the Blogosphere

One of my all-time favorite crafty sites is WhipUp.net, where Kathreen Ricketson fosters “a community of artists, crafters and makers who share ideas in a central space.” Her tastes run from old-fashioned to uber-modern, and I’ve learned a great deal about the fabric industry from her insightful posts.

So I was extra-pleased to spy one of my pincushion rings in her latest group of selections from the WhipUp flickr pool!

patchwork on whipup.net

Whipup flickr group: quilty — whip up.

What I Made This Week

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I’ve been making more pincushions. I’ve just listed two and will list two more this weekend. Here’s a sneak peek:

blue vines pincushion

kaffe fassett pincushion
That said, I’m in a bit of a creative rut. I love my pincushions, but branching out into other dishes has been a frustrating exercise in getting all the sizing exactly right. (Not to mention that Mr. Apparently brought home more St. Marcellin and I accidentally dropped the dish on the floor, shattering it.) I’ve knit two hats this week but my yarn stash is not calling out with any brilliant ideas. How do you get over a dip in creativity? Do you set aside the making of things for a while, or do you plow right through and keep making stuff even if you’re not inspired?

What I Made This Week, Part II

I spent December sewing and knitting a frenzy of custom orders and holiday gifts, and so I resolved to spend some time on projects for myself and my family early this year. What I desperately needed was a new cover for my tabletop ironing board. My board is a hand-me-down from a good friend, and then I put two more years of wear on it. Look how sad the poor thing looked, just this morning.


Why couldn’t I just spend $15 on a new one? First, I like this board. It’s the perfect size for where it lives on the sideboard, and it’s sturdy, which according to the reviews can’t be said for most of the tabletop boards available on Amazon. Second, I have a stash of to-be-used-for-me-only fabric just waiting for the right project. No commercially available cover is going to have the same je ne sais quoi as something you make yourself, and as any sewist knows, you spend a lot of time looking at the ironing board.

My original plan was to use Laura Gunn’s darling poppy fabric, but I considered that the board remains visible at all times and a floral pattern, even a painterly one, seemed a bit twee. My creative space is in a corner of my bedroom, and most of the room is blue and brown. So hello, Valorie Wells.


I used the old cover as a pattern and added an inch of seam allowance. A double-folded channel holds a blue mercerized cotton “drawstring” swiped from my yarn stash. I also stapled some cotton batting directly over the old cover to provide just a bit more cushioning and an even surface. (You can see that I store the cutting mat and plexi-ruler underneath.) Why didn’t sew this quick little project up months ago?

What I Made This Week, Part I

Pincushions. I don’t what it is about these little guys, but I love making them.

dragonfly pincushion

These pincushions happened, by the way, because we eat too much cheese. St. Marcellin comes in little terracotta dishes, and we had at least a dozen in the kitchen cabinet. I was musing on some way to re/upcycle, and these little pincushions evolved. I’m rather hoping that people will consider them as Valentine’s Day gifts, or even better, little gifts to oneself for being such a dedicated/risk-taking/curious sewist.

Venetian marbleized pincushion

I particularly like this last one, made from an old teacup that a friend was clearing out of her china cabinet. I’d like to make all sorts of things from vintage teacups, but they’re not easy to find at a reasonable price in NYC. One day antiquing in Minnesota or Vermont would turn up enough teacups to craft for a year!

teacup pincushion

Speaking of which, please let me know if you have a source for the cheese dishes, or something very much like them. At $8 per cheese, this is not a sustainable habit.

What I Made Last Month: Xmas Edition

One iPad sleeve (sewn), photo not taken.

Two Clemence knit cowls, photos not taken.

Four men’s scarves sewn from vintage suiting wools inherited from my late great-aunt’s seamstress shop, photos not taken.


One pair Veyla fingerless gloves, knit in 30% silk 70% wool hand-dyed yarn from RiverPoet, with mother of pearl buttons. A lovely pattern that resulted in a beautiful (if not very warm) pair of gloves. I wish I’d been able to use the lacy shell buttons I originally purchased, but they were too large and I used tiny smoke mother of pearl buttons instead. More photos here.

Lacy Shell Button

One project failed, which was a replacement Greek Coffee Cup Cozy for one that’s been lost. But I felted it too much, and now it will only fit on the smallest of take-out cups.

A final project was delayed until January and will receive its own post soon. One word: anglerfish. Be afraid.