Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

For realz, now!



‘Tis a gift to be simple

For those of you who were getting worried, I’m still a knitter. But if you notice sewn goods sneaking in with increasing regularity, it may be because they make such great gifts! Here are a few of the little projects I’ve made in the past little bit.

First up, for the newborn of one of DH’s friends, these cute little baby shoes. I used this cloth baby shoe pattern and think they turned out to be a sweet little present for a little Lily. The only thing I would do different next time is to double my sole material, since I didn’t find the bonded fleece the pattern recommends.

These napkins were for one of my dear friends from college. We lived together, what, three different times? so when she bought a house this January it seemed only right to send her a little housewarming gift. Unfortunately this project was much much cooler in my mind. I envisioned knitting napkin rings out of beads and wire, but I think I bought the wrong kind of wire so I ended up improvising. It’s still cute, although not with the wow factor I intended! I used this napkin tutorial from Purl’s blog, just changing the edge stitch to make it a bit more subtle. Next time I’d make the napkins bigger than recommended. Maybe someday I’ll even be invited to Julie’s house to use these!! 😉

One of the best things about a best friend is when you find yourself totally in sync with something even though you have never really spoken about it. Somehow my two oldest friends are both interested in sewing–you’ve already heard about the one who kicks my butt (quite happily on my part, if that is possible) in quilting, and the other well, she made her twin sister’s wedding dress. From scratch. With no pattern. Yeah…

Anyway, we’re meeting up tomorrow to celebrate our birthdays. She’s 362 (or 363, depending on the year) days older than me, so we always have to make a big deal about the three days a year when we’re the same age. She got a dressform for her birthday so I thought it only appropriate that she have a little wristlet pin cushion, based off of this pin cushion tutorial. Yes, that fabric did serve me well! The pattern calls for velcro, but around here “making” usually means “making do,” so I used a snap leftover from my Rancolidoscope.

Six months worth of socks

It comes as no surprise when I admit that I have been remiss in blogging. So in one fell swoop, here are most of the socks I’ve made in the past six months (there were a couple of pairs that got away from me before I could snap a shot–sneaky socks! Particularly sad is the absence of a shot of the elf socks I knit for Grandpa for Christmas out of alternating red and green stripes. They were my favorite).


L to R: Panda cotton (for me), Lion Brand Magic Stripes (for SIL), Trekking Natura (for bro), Bernat Denim Style (for Grandpa), and a little peek at another Lion Brand Magic Stripes pair for Grandpa that did eventually get finished and mailed. But refused to be photographed.



I hated knitting these socks–cotton, eh?–but I’ve found that I do enjoy wearing them. The pattern is just bands of knit and purl, and the bind off is a picot BO that I just let curl instead of sewing to the inside. One could choose to see that as lazy, or one could call it inspired.



Grandpa’s February socks, just your plain ol’ acrylic/wool blends


Lorna’s Laces for DH. For some reason I really like these!


for my brother’s birthday. I think I told you all about his apparent love for Lorna and Lorna only when it comes to socks. I actually love it that someone told me exactly what they want in a pair of socks!


Grandpa and Grandma’s January socks–I think these are Bernat Satin or whatever that yarn is called. Slippery, but good for thick socks that will see heavy wash rotation.

Ah, my conscience feels so much better now! I may even be ready to come clean and tell you that today I took the first stitch–knitting or sewing–that I’ve taken in a month!

Bags under my eyes

But the good kind of bags, of course! I may have failed girl school (as DH is wont to lament when he has to pick out my shoes before we leave the house), but I shall never be put to shame when it comes to bags. I thought it might be fun to show you some of the ones I’ve made or my mom has made for me recently.

First up, a bag I made for my youngest SIL’s birthday. She loves pink and cute things and I love her. This is the small version of Amy Butler Frenchy Bag pattern, and some fabric from JoAnn’s. That’s about all I remember. I don’t really know if the SIL liked it or not because her discovery of the puppy chow I put inside greatly inhibited further conversation.

From sewing
From sewing
My mom made the next bag. I just happened to be the lucky recipient of her sewing process. It is loud and crazy and I love it. It is also one of those projects that I enjoy because I know where the pieces came from–the body is leftover Amy Butler fabric from a pair of lounge pants, the top is a fat quarter I got for free at a quilt shop, the green piping is from the quilt Mom made for my brother’s wedding. This bag is a perfect size for me, and she put a zipper in the top so I use it often.

From sewing
From sewing
From sewing
And this is my Weekender Bag. The fabric is from JoAnn’s (this bag takes a lot of fabric!). If it looks a little less than crisp in this picture, it’s because I use it often and the interfacing has broken down a bit. It probably would have held up better had I not insisted on stuffing it to the brim nearly every time I pack! I’m glad to see this pattern is still popular, since it is a great bag.
From sewing
From sewing
Last one–my Christmas present from Mom this year. It is Amy Butler’s Betty Shopper, with some modifications. Mom was taken with the pattern from the first, while I found it to be extremely (surprisingly) un-functional. So what did she do? Make it functional for me! She narrowed the wide base a little bit, but the coolest part is that instead of sewing up the top edges to leave just that tiny hole for an opening, she left them open and put a snap on each side. That way the bag’s opening is actually wide enough to see what’s in there. Terribly clever, wouldn’t you say?

From sewing
From sewing
From sewing


It’s not too late to blog about 2008’s Third Annual Mother-Daughter Sewing Extravanganza, is it? Good! I hope you enjoy it.

A brief history of the MDSE, because if you know my mother and me, it’s not like either of us has an ounce of sentiment in us (to necessitate a cheesy excuse to spend time together) or an unwillingness to dally in fine crafting (to necessitate an excuse to make something). Well, here it is. The never-before-revealed, true confession as to why the MDSE exists: I invented this occasion so my super-sewer mom would help me make a Weekender Bag. There, my crime is exposed for all the world to see. I convinced my mother that she wanted to make one so she would help me make one (I let the fact that it really took extremely little effort to accomplish that task assuage my guilt-ridden soul a small bit, thank you). The 2007 project was the Kimono wrap and pajama pants set from Amy Bulter’s book In Stitches.

This year we went more for my mom’s flavor: quilts. We went to her favorite fabric shop, Miller’s Dry Goods in Charm, Ohio, with one of my best friends (Charm is totally worth the effort if you have ever wanted to a) see some real Amish country, and b) buy some good fabric or good boots. A strange combination? Perhaps! But Miller’s is a great fabric store–last weekend at the annual clearance sale I bought $50 worth of heavy cotton fabric for $7, and they always have a good and modern selection–and there is a boot shop there that has really high quality merchandise. One of the (Amish) employees was wearing ostrich skin boots the last time I was there! And I think there is a little restaurant or something in Charm, but I’ve never eaten there. I’d recommend heading back to 39 to find Walnut Creek Cheese for lunch and ice cream. Diversion complete.)

Mom already had her fabric, so she was looking for fabric to make a bag and I was shopping for my quilt fabric. My friend Jess said she was just coming along for fun, but she ended up buying fabric for her first quilt and for a bag. Note to this point she had been a fine sewer but never really had an interest in quilting. We are such a disease! We ended up not working on piecing the quilts together, but I did get to use my mom’s quilting machine set-up for the quilting part. Very cool. Note that Jess and my mom both had their quilts pieced before me, and mine was the simplest of them all. I need to hound Jess for some pictures of her quilt to make this story complete! I’ll get on that.

Here’s Mom’s, although as always the colors are a bit off:

And here’s mine:

Obviously she is much more talented, dedicated, driven, and did I say talented than me.  I was not so much into the whole piecing thing. 😉 Mine is just 9 7-inch strips of c.45 inch fabric, bound with a patterned brown. This quilt was intended for my office (i.e., “the orange room”), and we had so much fun picking out the fabrics together. Orange is always a challenge!

close-up of the stitching. I call this particular stitch pattern “the only thing I could figure out how to make the thing do without cursing.” Elegant, yes?

and speaking of elegant…