shop update

two posts in one day! I know, it is nuts around here.  the good news is that I updated the (nearly neglected) etsy shop with both the quilt and tote bag patterns and even some bags.

lucky day

 as a fabric lover and sewing teacher there is always a small part of me that is oh-so-tempted to design my own fabric. to get it just right, ya know?

so when I saw this book from the people behind one of my favorite textile blogs True Up, I knew I wanted it.  but, I played it a little too cool and it wasn’t in my stocking on Christmas morning…darn that Santa! so, you can only imagine how excited I was to find out that I won it from Christina at A Few Scraps.  and, it is just as fabulous as I imagined it was going to be. it includes great coverage on different fabric types in general and thorough, thorough discussion on the different ways to make your own fabric from stamp-making to screen printing to digital printing.  it’s very inspiring.

 

and, because Christina is just plain awesome she even threw in a fat quarter of the first fabric she designed.  it’s called ‘selvedge on steroids’, she made it on spoonflower, which is one of the digital fabric printing studios.  (one warning: it is incredible and if you click on the link and head over the spoonflower, I cannot be responsible for the many lost, happy hours that may result.)  isn’t the fabric perfect!! especially given how much time I spend discussing selvedge! now…the find the perfect thing to make with it!

the past arrived in the post

last week over 50 pounds of fabric arrived at my house.  and, not just any fabric but amazing lightweight wool that my grandmother had saved for decades.  she is leaving her house and moving into a smaller apartment and in going through the house full of things one accumulates over the course of 90 years she decided that I should acquire her fabric.  some of it was hers and some of it was even from my great-grandmother(!);  all of it was in perfect condition.  my grandmother and great-grandmother were both prolific sewers in a time when sewing was more wide-spread.  they made jackets, button down shirts, dresses and quilts because their family needed them to but also because they loved it. I have always carried them in my mind as I’ve sewn but I literally have them with me now, in the form of fabric.  it feels like a great responsibility as well as a great opportunity.

there were some cottons, too.  but, look at this stack of wool!  all of it beautiful and lightweight and begging to be sewn.  and, what to make? my head is spinning with ideas about iPad holders, throws, quilts, couch pillows, skirts and more.  maybe even a jacket for myself?!

so dear readers, have you got any good ideas? what is your favorite wool item?

oh yes, there were also around 5 pounds of lace, rick rac and bias tape. so, I am stocked.

happy spring

happy first day of spring!  it’s sunny and 70 degrees here making it difficult to contain any springtime enthusiasm. and why? who would want to do that! it’s amazing outside.  our house is literally abuzz with news that today is the first day of spring.  one of the many advantages of their montessori school is a focus on seasons.  our oldest, C, is especially informed…witness his spring bud, rain and sunflower!

 

for the first time, we are getting serious about growing vegetables and have pulled together a raised bed for planting.  C is ridiculously excited about the project…he’s never more at ease with himself than when he is outside. so we’ve been spending as much time as possible outside.  he and I are working on some seedlings that need indoor time before heading outside (though with the crazy weather we might be a bit behind?)

our youngest, who lately has a guitar in hand more often than not, strummed to the seeds.  and not just a little bit.  for nearly an hour, he walked around the yard singing and strumming.

the seedlings are growing quite well so perhaps both music and adoration are necessary to the process.  who is to say?

and, to my great delight I recently bought a stackful of linens from a friend who is moving and look what was hidden in the midst of lots of napkins and beautiful table runners.   stunning ‘seed packet’ fabric! so, happy spring indeed!

hope you are enjoying the start of the season, too!

inspiration :: central railroad of new jersey

because neither my husband nor I grew up in this area we are both as fascinated as tourists by everything the northeast has to offer.  so, a few months ago on an unusually sunny day, we rounded the boys up for a trip to the Statue of Liberty.  to get there we needed to take a ferry from Liberty State Park and thankfully, we just missed the ferry.  waiting for the next ferry gave us a chance to explore and chase the sun in the central railroad of new jersey.  the central railroad used to be a heavily active train station but the tracks have been left to nurture little more than weeds while the majestic train station building has been beautifully maintained as a way station for the ferry.  it makes for a great contrast of past and present.  the boys ran around like mad and I was a picture-taking fool.  I love the feeling of history and mysterious storytelling that envelops a derelict building.  and, in an effort to regularly share more of what I find inspiring I thought I would post some pictures.

 

 

we did eventually make it to the statue, as well.  and, she was majestic, of course.   

summer sewing project :: the halter top

          

I finished the halter top, another item off my list for my summer sewing project (a make-not-buy summer wardrobe).  this pattern is really straightforward, clear, and easy.  the top easily came together.  I used anna maria hornet’s voile, which is beautiful and soft and  lightweight.  it drapes well and feels scrumptious….but it also makes the top look a bit like a nighty.  harumph.  you had better believe that I will still be wearing this to cover up at the beach (I made it myself, after all) but I don’t know if I would actually wear anywhere else.  we will see.  here is a shot of the voile used for the halter tie…it’s so pretty.

I did make a muslin for this (in ikea, child-themed cotton) and I must admit I like the stiffness of standard cotton. I do not like the hint of a grouchy face in this photo? sheesh! but the shirt looks good with a little more body, no?  I might have to make this again in a stiffer fabric.

I was really hoping to lengthen the top to make it an easy, breezy summer dress but I might have to keep hunting for the right summer dress.  the elastic in the back kind of pulls a bit make it unsuitable for anything much longer.  I’m considering something like this one.

in other news, I’ve joined a handmade wardrobe group run by the super stylish grainline studio.  so, if you are feeling a handmade clothing bug, click on the button below and you can scan all the amazing creations pulled together on flickr!

BWS tips button

two very special quilts for two very special girls

for a while, I’ve been wanting to begin making specialty quilts out of the super-special baby clothes that otherwise stay stowed away somewhere…too special to get rid off but without any real plan for what to do with them.  this last month,  I was blessed with an amazing opportunity to do just that for dear friends.  they came over with three sacks of clothing….one filled with the precious clothing worn by their oldest daughter from her baby/toddler days; one bag of the same worn by their youngest daughter; and one worn by both.  these were the items they couldn’t part with.  the ones that it was impossible to put into the ‘give away’ or ‘donate’ pile.  the clothes that instantly conjure up a sharp memory, smell, or moment from those fleeting baby days.  and, rather than sit in a bag in her closet, she brought them to me so I could turn them into two quilts.  one for each girl.

I love these two girls. I mean I LOVE THEM.  I’ve known them since their days in the womb and I remember some of these clothes myself.  making these quilts was emotional for mom and dad but also for me.  it was not lost on me that I was trusted with something really precious.  as I sat sewing away, the quilts in my lap,  slowly transforming them into something so much more than just fabric scraps I could get a bit, ahem, emotional.

to make them, I started by cutting squares (and in some cases rectangles) out of the clothing and then using interfacing to stabilize anything that needed it, like the jersey knits.  there were also some special requests like incorporating socks in some way, sewing on some special buttons and adding in a tassle from the top of a hooded jacket.

 it took a long time to decide on layout and design, which happens to be the part I enjoy the most.  for the older sister’s quilt I clustered some of the rectangular squares in the middle and discovered that the wording taken from her special clothes provided a sort of definition: ‘big sister’; ‘inspired’; ‘sweet, smart, and sassy’; and a characteristic apple from one of her sweatshirts.  all together, the quilt started to look like her.  I took a little moment for some happy tears when I realized this (told you…emotional).  the other quilt came together in a similarly weepy manner.

after that, it was just piecing it all together and quilting it (stitching in the ditch). and, there you have it…time capsules in quilt form:

    

complete with tiny socks, beach wrap snippet, a scrap of a special dress from a first birthday, an important sweater, teeny-tiny jean pockets even bits from tights.

   

the funny thing is, while these quilts capture pieces from the fleeting baby days, I saw more of the future when I watched the girls react to seeing them for the first time.  as they giggled, pretended to fall asleep, and jumped up to point at things they recognized in the quilt, they suddenly looked so big.   and the days of onesies and swaddling blankets seemed so far behind.  and, SO MANY amazing and incredible moments seem just up ahead.

are you interesting in having one of these made for your little but getting big people?  if you are, get in touch and check out the specialty quilts page for information.

 

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