Thursday, August 29, 2013

happy little Village

happy little Village

Guess what?  Our bee blocks for Love circle of do. Good Stitches this month are supposed to be "happy houses" using whatever house templates we like.  Well, it just so happens that this week Penny Sampler students are making the little Village block for our sampler.  I fairly snatched at the chance to make along with them, to follow my own directions for once!

morning light

The Little Village block is one of the first I made for the Penny Sampler way back in early spring.  My first version was very soft and "urban" feeling.  What fun to pull out my brightest scraps and blue sky a la bee instructions!

sketch stitch applique

Plus, I got to make my rooftops with freezer paper applique and attach them with sketch stitch - both different and better techniques than I used when I made my original block.  I learned a lot (as always) designing that class!

in Aria's room...

So this happy little Village will be winging its way to Natalie soon.  But first, I think some trees are on order?

p.s. my block is keeping company with a large painting by Gale Kaseguma called Jellybean Tree.  It's due to come down so Aria can hang up her flag quilt instead.  In fact, its just plain due to come down because I plan to give Aria's room a revamp soon, with her growing up and all.  I'll be sad to see it go to eBay!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

my "colour" story

If I had a color muse, it would be miss Emma Lamb!  I so enjoy the color stories and inspirational mosaics she's often sharing in her bloggy space.  In fact, do you remember it was her Jade + Peach post that inspired the colors for my Jade Princess quilt

Emma and I have worked together before and definitely share color-love.  But, ironically, she and I seem to often fall back on opposite color instincts.  Emma specializes in subtle, dreamy color schemes while mine tend towards saturated, packed with contrasting high-energy color.  That might be why I so love following her blog, though.  Seeing color through a different lens is energizing!  And I do enjoy experimenting with all color modes in my own work.

Today I am super-honored to be guest posting on Emma's blog.  I'm sharing my personal story as part of her monthly colour stories series.  So, if you'd like to step inside my brain a bit, come along for a little chat.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

a Knotted Thread {giveaway}

Morning peeps!  Mmm... I can tell today is going to be a lovely day!  Let's start it with a giveaway, a giveaway with options.  My friend Jennifer, whom I first met in blogland and got to know through do. Good Stitches, now runs a modern fabric shop called Knotted Thread on Etsy.

This is Jennifer's first year with Knotted Thread, so she's excitedly building up stock and getting her feel for those crucial buying decisions.  Can you imagine buying for a shop with all the awesome designer fabrics available these days?  Well, I guess it's a little teeny bit like buying for a stash.  Only more pressure! 

Here's where you and the giveaway come in.  Jennifer and I have picked out 3 fabric bundles that we particularly like.  How about you take a look and let us know which one you would most want to add to your stash and why?

Lush Uptown re-released from Moda, fat quarter bundle

Florence by Denyse Schmidt, fat quarter bundle

 Hand Drawn Garden by Anna Maria Horner, half yard bundle

To enter the giveaway tell us which stack you'd purchase and why.  If Mr. Random picks your comment, it'll be yours!  (Be sure you're not a "no reply blogger" so that I can be in contact with you if you win, or just provide your email in the comments if you like.)

But wait!  What if none of these bundles are a good fit for your stash?  Well then, tell us which other bundle from Knotted Thread you prefer.  If you win you'll take home that preferred bundle in cuts no smaller than fat quarters with a value of $55 or less. 

To thank you all for the helpful feedback, Jennifer is extending a 10% off coupon through midnight this Friday, the 30th.  Get 10% off your total fabric purchase using coupon STITCHEDINCOLOR10.  Cool.

Giveaway closes at noon (eastern time) on Friday the 30th.  Open to everyone, everywhere.  Good luck!

********Giveaway Closed**********  Our winner is #83 - Debbie Rogowski who's favorite bundle is Life in the Jungle!  I'll be in touch, Debbie.  Congrats!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

{MINI} wide open pouch

Have you seen Anna Graham's handy Wide Open Pouch tutorial?  Here's the original tutorial and another post for making larger sizes.  I've had it on my "someday" list, planning to adjust the pattern for my needs. 

See, at one point I got a set of colorful zippers from Zipit, an Etsy zipper super store.  A bunch of those zips are 5", which turns out to be a cute, but rarely-used size.  I figured Anna's wide-open pouch style, with the exterior zipper, could make my 5" zips wide enough for a useful mini pouch.  So, with Anna's permission, I got busy.

{mini} Wide Open Pouch

It worked!  I made three, one with a tiny pieced front as a part of the Penny Sampler class, and the other two for Aria and Liam.  It's not too early to start squirrling away Christmas gifts, right?

mini pouches for Aria & Liam

Liam has a soft spot for those Ann Kelle owls, because they're part of his Alphabet Soup quilt.  And, I combined Heather Ross mice (look what's in her bike basket!) with Aria's favorite Briar Rose fabric...

3" x 2" base

the pink strawberries.  I'll put something fun inside and tuck these into their stockings!  Kids can always appreciate little pouches for their treasures.

Anne Kelle owls

If you'd like to make a MINI wide open pouch, follow Anna's tutorial with these simple changes:
  • Cut 2 exterior, 2 lining:  6" wide, 4.75" tall
  • Zipper size:  5-6"
  • Box corner:  2"
  • Finished size:  pouch base is 2" x 3" and height is 3" tall.
Heather Ross berries & mice

The 5" zipper is just barely long enough, so a 6" zipper will also do nicely.  Have fun!  And thanks, Anna, for the wide open pouch!

Countrymice in cream by Heather Ross (here in pink)
Strawberries in pink by Heather Ross
Chicopee Simple Plaid by Denyse Schmidt
Bermuda Owls by Ann Kelle
Metro Circles in chartreuse from Robert Kaufman
Heath in Chocolate from Alexander Henry

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fix this?

{UPDATE: Same day, 2 hours later} Tested Anchor pearl cotton and purple fabric backing in hot water.  Discovered the solid purple fabric was bleeding, not the pearl.  Anchor is innocent!  Ironically, I had prewashed the purple backing because it was purchased in my prewashing days (it's a non-designer fabric from local big box store, not a Kona cotton), so it could have been so much worse!  The bleeding happened mainly at the quilting because that's where the quilt top has the most contact with the backing.  Aargh!

I should have addressed this earlier, but well, I've been procrastinating.... When I washed my Penny Sampler quilt, the Anchor pearl cotton backing fabric bled onto my white sashing.  Can you believe it!?!  So not fair.

bleeding ;(

It's visible even from a distance.  See the pink flush in the lower left hand corner by the chunky pearl cotton hand quilting?


I'm sure it's coming from the pearl cotton, which is Anchor brand, color 339 - a medium gray.  It's bleeding pinky red.  I washed the quilt in the machine on cold and hung dry.  Nope, I did not use a color catcher...

from Anchor pearl cotton

Mostly it's just on the sashing, but in some places the bleeding traveled to near bye blocks.

I've never had pearl cotton bleed before.  It's definitely supposed to be colorfast.  I think this is probably a fluke, since Anchor is a good brand, but it's awful when it happens after all that work.  On the other hand, if this is the worst I have to worry about, then life is pretty good!

So, any tips on how to get it out?  I'm afraid it'll bleed more if I try to fix it.  I'll definitely use a color catcher in that load.  Spot treat with what?

p.s. for those who are wondering, I do not prewash fabrics anymore because I generally don't have any problems.  That's a decision I haven't regretted, but to each her own!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

go go Cerise

Inspired by Sunday Morning Quilts

Gumdrops quilt from Sunday Morning Quilts

and my overflowing neutral scrap drawer,

overflowing neutral scraps!

today I've pulled out some glorious Kona Cerise yardage and a pile of scraps - neutrals spiced with peachy pink.

initial colors

After cutting some "gumdrops" I decided to eliminate the brown fabrics.  Little brown lumps are a wee bit too suspicious in this not-so-candy color scheme.  I'm really loving the peachy pink with this saturated magenta.  Yeeow!  So girly girl.  The blacks, whites and grays take it more modern. 

do you like it?

It's worrying me a bit that this doesn't look anything like "gumdrops" in these colors.  I think it still works.   Maybe it's a candy of unidentified origins?

gumdrop factory

Happily this pattern uses really small scraps - even some fabric crumbs!  Liam and I cut a bowl full of double-sided fusible now standing at the ready.  Looks like my scissors and I best get busy!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

::Sewing:: through the year

All the best ideas come in the midnight hour.  One restless night a light bulb switched on - I have friends, like local flesh-and-blood friends, that can sew!   It's happened gradually, gaining a friend here, a friend there, but now I'm close friends with ladies who sew a little of this and a little of that, a couple times a year.  Why aren't we enjoying sewing together?

ICP the friends take over
friends that sew (last summer at the craft show)

Naturally, I hatched an elaborate plan - a year-long book club, quasi sewing club meeting monthly with a specific one-night sewing project planned by yours truly to coincide with a chapter in our book.  Because that's not too complicated.  Haha.

Little Dresses for Africa
proof that books and sewing go well together - little Dresses for Africa sewn last year

My husband was very skeptical.  "Do you really need more things to do?"  So I whipped out that trump card, "But I can share it on the blooooooog...."  Works every time.  I'm super excited that our very first meeting is on the calendar for September.  Lo and behold every one of my sewing friends actually wanted to join! 

Ok, so I figured I'd share my master plan with you all in case you'd like to stir up a little sewing club of your own.  You could totally leave the book part out.  Heck, you could change all the projects too, but at least here's a chance for that light bulb to flash on in your mind.  If you have sewing friends, enjoy them!  Plus, it's an opportunity for everyone to learn new skills.

::Disclaimer::  the book we're reading through the year is Christian and controversial.  That's a double whammy.  If you're not a Christian you may not like it, since it's pretty much about the Bible.  If you are a Christian you may not like it, since it's pretty much about applying the Bible, and that's something lots of Christians don't agree about.  So, I'm not telling you all to run out and buy this book.  But, I did tell my friends too!  I believe that in our small group we can talk about these issues while respectfully and lovingly disagreeing.  I figure the point is not to figure everything out, but rather to learn from and with each other.  I repeat, this book is not for everyone!  End disclaimer.

I recently finished reading Rachel Held Evan's  A Year of Biblical Womanhood.  In a 12-month journey, Rachel seeks to live out "Biblical Womanhood" based on a literal reading of the Scriptures. The book was an amusing, easy read, and rather eye-opening. It challenged my assumptions about how to interpret the Bible and made me a little uncomfortable, as I realized there are parts of the Bible that my spiritual tradition either ignores or escapes. The author, who might be considered a "liberal" Christian, is happily married and has recently become a hugely popular blogger. I also read her blog.

For our year-long sewing adventure, we'll meet monthly at my house to sew. While we sew, we can discuss one month of Rachel Held Evan's journey. I'll prepare a project that corresponds with the month's virtue, usually providing fabrics and doing some prep work to ensure we complete projects that night. Aria and I will be testing projects in advance, to search out sticky spots. 

Here's what I have in mind. Each month corresponds to a chapter in the book, in order:

September {Gentleness}
developing that Gentle & Quiet spirit, taking care with our words, refraining from gossip
sewing Fabric Dish Covers  to help us keep a lid on it

October {Domesticity}
getting serious about Cooking and Cleaning
sewing Embellished Dish Towels  because pretty details are fun

November {Obedience}
are women called to a special obedience?, texts of terror, selective literalism
sewing Pincushion for a thorny issue

December {Valor}
the Proverbs 31 woman (from a Jewish perspective!) and works of charity
sewing Wonky Cross Quilt Blocks (which I will finish as a quilt) to be gifted to an orphan through Threading Hope

January {Beauty}
female sexuality in the Christian tradition
sewing Pillowcases to dress up the bed

February {Modesty}
exploring modesty from different perspectives (including the Amish and Quakers)
sewing Simple Girl's Skirt because that's just fun

March {Purity}
female purity (from a Jewish perspective), especially as relates to menstruation
sewing Cloth Menstrual Pads yes, people use these

April {Fertility}
on motherhood
sewing Quick Change Trousers  for our babies or for gifts

May {Submission}
the roles of husband and wife
sewing Patchwork Potholders  it's kind of a hot topic

June {Justice}
women and girls of the world need our help
sewing Dresses for Africa to send to orphaned girls

July {Silence}
a woman's role in the church, silence in the spiritual life
embroidering a verse or saying of your choice creating space to listen

August {Grace}
community celebrations, reflecting on the journey
sewing gifts for each other we'll turn our embroidery into a bookmark or tote bag

dish covers, tutorial and photo by Allyson Hill

First up - dish covers!  As we go, I'll be sure to share projects with you and let you know how much fun we're having sewing together!  If you choose to start a little sewing group, I'd love to hear how things work out for you, and especially what projects you find work well for a one-night stand. 

Happy sewing everyone!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

part deux

Now that yesterday's dress is out of the way, let's talk about two little geraniums that just came to be.

Geranium dresses

The Geranium dress is a pdf pattern Made by Rae and available for instant download at Pink Chalk Fabrics where you can also find Briar Rose fabrics!  It comes in two size ranges:  0-5t and 6-12 (or try out the newborn size free at Rae's blog!).   I think pdf garment patterns are nice, as compared to tissue paper patterns.  It's a relief to print and cut out the desired size without need to protect the pattern for future use.  Aria and I both enjoyed dreaming of a would-be baby girl over size 6-12 month pattern print outs and scotch tape...


I made one dress is my favorite Briar Rose print, Cricket Clover in Lilac.  The olive, gold and lilac combo reads as fresh and delicate as a sweet baby.  Happily, I had this little gingham print that matches perfectly for the lining!


The pink strawberries are Aria's favorite print.  I sewed that cuteness as the sleeveless version with ric rac trim, following Rae's tutorial

Strawberry geranium dress

So here's what I need to tell you - Geranium dress is the ideal beginner's pattern.  It goes together so quickly that even the first time, with Aria's dress, I was truly taken by surprise.  With these next two little geraniums, I only checked the pattern once to make sure I was remembering all the steps because I could hardly believe that it was so straightforward.  It is.

I've only made one other child's dress, so I'm not super experienced.  If you're thinking of trying your first garment, this would be a very rewarding sew!  I definitely recommend a PDF pattern or other high-quality pattern as opposed to big box patterns from your local sewing warehouse.  Those are liable to send you back to bed...

  Cricket Clover geranium dress

Anyways, I absolutely adore how they both came out!  This one's my favorite.  I think the ruffle sleeves are perfect with this dreamy print.  Love. 

button, button

I found these pretty pearl buttons in with the buttons I inherited from my mother (who probably got them from her mother) and was pleased as punch to install them in both baby dresses.

Ok, now just add baby.

Monday, August 19, 2013

first Geranium

So, I may have created the ugliest Geranium ever...

Briar Rose clovers

Briar Rose arrived on the very day I quilted and bound Tilt-a-whirl.  Perfect motivation!  This new collection by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics is definitely a winner.  Personally, I love that many of the prints have subtle story features, like the crickets hidden in these clovers.  They're not so "novelty" that it's limiting. 

Briar Rose nanny bee & strawberries

I also picked up some strawberries and Nanny Bee in the coral, which I chose for Aria's Geranium dress.  I was thinking that its saturated color won't show stains and that Aria loves to wear bright, warm colors.  But, well, I wasn't expecting it to read so orange in person.  Sooooo orange.  I decided to line it in Kona pomegranate in hopes of bringing out the "red" in my imagination.

Geranium dress in Nanny Bee

Unfortunately, that only works in my imagination.  In real life it really is orange, not exactly the best color on Aria (she and I have similar coloring, so I guess I'm also projecting that I wouldn't wear that color).  That, and I feel the print is maybe "young" for her?  Not sure how to put my finger on it.  I think it's a beautiful fabric - don't get me wrong - but that this is not the best application. 

Geranium dress for Aria

Ok, so maybe I have a thing or two (or ten) to learn about making clothes.  Like, when working with a somewhat classic/traditional dress pattern and even including ruffle sleeves, choose a modern or simple fabric if your child is almost 9 years old.  Yep, the ruffle sleeves really push it over-the-top.  I did love the ruffle look in the solid gray version that Rae made.  I'm convinced it's all about my particular situation here.

Geranium in Nanny Bee

But, hey, my buttonholes all came out perfect.  At least there's that.

Aria's pear tree

Fortunately, Aria loves this dress.  For all of the "I'll choose better next time" I'm feeling, she loves it, wore it Sunday and will be wearing it to her first day of co-op homeschool tomorrow.  She's been wearing only dresses all summer, unless absolutely necessary, so she can definitely use something new. (Watch out - if your child re-reads the Laura Ingalls Wilder series like 5 times through you may be headed towards a dress obsession.)


And so, freshly picked pear in hand, off she runs! 

I'm going to insist, adding to Friday's post, that it's also OK if you don't like everything you make.  In daring to be honest with yourself, you create space to learn from and move ahead.  I'm not happy with this one, but my next two (or three!) geranium dresses are going to leave me smiling.  You'll see!

P.S. you can find Briar Rose at these shops:  Intrepid Thread, Sew ModernFresh Modern Fabric, Lark Cottons, Fabricworm, Pink Chalk, FabricBubb and Fat Quarter Shop.  And, in Canada at Mad About Patchwork and Fabric Spot.  

P.S.S.  This post represents my honest opinions.  But, for full disclosure you should know that Briar Rose fabrics were given to me by Windham Fabrics at my request.  Alrighty then, carry on, carry on.

Friday, August 16, 2013


You know how sometimes we turn the internet into a yardstick by which we measure our worth?  This wonderful sewing community that gives and teaches and encourages so freely, if poorly digested, can become a burden instead of a delight.  And this is entirely within our control.  We get to decide not only what we consume, but also what we do with that information.

Sparklers bits and pieces

A poem I read yesterday began "Dare to be Different."  And it brought to mind some things that I hope you always know...

*you don't have to keep a fabric stash

*you don't have to buy designer fabrics

*you don't have to hand sew bindings

*you don't have to press seams open or even to the side

*you don't have to care when your points don't match

*you don't have to have a tidy or pretty sewing space

*you don't have to make anything "original"

*you don't have to blog, Tweet or Instagram

*you don't have to sew clothes or bags or quilt your own quilts

*and you definitely don't have to have a fancy sewing machine to turn out really great quilts

Sparklers quilt

Instead, when it comes to this hobby that's meant to be FUN, dare to be different whenever different suits you.  The poem continued, "Dare to live by your own convictions, not somebody else's." To which I will add:  Dare to sew your own path to joy

Dare to be different.
Dare to live by your own convictions, not somebody else's.
Dare to believe that you can and should make a difference in the world, that you have a precious contribution to make which on one else can offer.
Dare to face your fears and live in the strength of the spirit, unfettered by human respect, a free spirit before the face of your God.
Dare to believe that you may really be right, and that even if you're not it is better to have erred in sincerity than never to have dared to live.     - Mary Johnson, An Unquenchable Thirst

At Stitched in Color I don't share much of my faith, in the interests of keeping this space as inclusive and welcoming as possible.  But there's something else I ought to dare.  I ought to dare to invite you more often to get involved in helping others, in making a difference in the world.  If I have a platform I want to use it to do some good.  And, I want to be able to share the part of myself that is passionate about it.  Because helping the hurting, the poor, the disadvantaged is something written on my soul.   And I don't doubt it is written on yours as well.

Gift quilts <3

here's how you can {Help Today}

*Take part in the Action Kivu fundraiser to help women who are victims of the conflict in Eastern Congo.
*Fight sexual slavery by donating to Exodus Road (to crackdown on brothels), (to offer shelter, escape and education to prostitutes) or Love146 (to provide survivor-care and preventative education)
*Read Half the Sky or The Road of Lost Innocence to become aware of the problems facing the most vulnerable in our world
*Join do. Good Stitches to use your quilting hobby to love children
*Donate your own finished quilts to an organization like Wrap Them in Love, Threading Hope, Piecing Hope, or My Very Own Blanket

Wherever you are in your sewing journey, I'm glad that you're here and I welcome you!  Wherever you are in your life's journey, I invite you to do a little thing with great love.  Because little things do change the world.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rainbow Tilt-a-whirl

Rainbow Tilt-a-whirl baby quilt

It's finished!  And given that my Briar Rose fabrics are here and calling my name, that's a good thing!

binding from FabricBubb

Do you like the zigzag quilting?  Fun and soooo forgiving!

Today I attached this classic stripe binding (from FabricBubb) while Liam chatted enthusiastically about the new Lego book I picked up from the library.  (Major mom points there, btw.) 

Rainbow Tilt-a-whirl baby quilt

Later on, the cutie was a good sport at helping me photograph Rainbow Tilt-a-whirl, a baby quilt made mostly from scraps, including the solids.  I've been sewing with Kona cotton solids for years now, so even my scrap drawers have a nice selection.  If you're new to sewing, definitely buy solids!  I usually get a full yard of any color I order, if I can.  They always, always turn out to be useful and make the most versatile scraps.

triangle bits

Ok, now I'm not so pleased with how the back turned out.  I really wanted white on the back, but didn't think I should piece minky with the quilting cottons and didn't have the right low-volume white-ish yardage for the back.  I ended up using a yellow Timeless Treasures sketch print that's been in my stash for awhile.  It's OK, but a little too primary-feeling for my taste.  Oh well.  Someone else will like it.

thanks, Liam!

I love the front, that's for certain.  And at 36" square, it's an easy baby size for lugging about.  That's another finish for my gift/craft show pile.  I think next September I'm going to have enough for another craft show.... if I dare!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

for Emma

This afternoon the kids and I had an impromptu sew-in, making gifts for an upcoming birthday party.  In a couple hours we each finished a project (though to be fair, I had a jump start!).

my project

I'd already pieced this strip of 2" patchwork, created along the same lines as trip around the world blocks, but purposely mixed up.  (Scrappy Trip Around the World became a quilting phenomena earlier this year because the patchwork goes together so. incredibly. fast.)  Only problem is that the strip had come out too narrow for my journal cover tutorial.  So mama put on her thinking cap...

Aria's project

Meanwhile Aria gleefully cut into this 1/2 yard of Brrr by Laurie Wisbrun from Sew Love Fabrics.  She's entranced with the newly-released Sewing School 2, and has already made several projects, including this drawstring bag.  The other day I suggested the bag would be a nice birthday gift for her friend, with a little something inside.  Then Aria insisted a journal cover would be the best addition.  Well then!


After Aria and I had been sewing for a bit, Liam wanted in.  And you know, sometimes it really doesn't work out.  Sometimes one table, two sewing machines and one iron combined with THREE sewists gets a little crazy.  I like my space.  But today the kids were so sweet. Aria coached Liam through his project with patience and enthusiasm, while I embroidered.  I was so proud of each of them.  Kids are really capable of so much if we'll teach them!

Liam's project!

This is Liam's little project, a drawstring pouch from Sewing School (the original book).

happy accidents

And here's what I was embroidering.  In case a journal is not on miss Emma's wish-list, I figured we'd put her name on it.  Kids can't resist that!  Now, if the patchwork hadn't been too small, I wouldn't have thought to add this bit.  I've had that writing paper-ish fabric forever.  So glad to put it to use!  Happy accidents!

Aria's bag from Sewing School 2

Check out Aria's drawstring bag.

ready to party

We're ready for the party!

for Emma

Ok, so now back to that Tilt-a-whirl quilt.  My Briar Rose fabrics could arrive any day and then I'll be hopelessly distracted.  Must finish!  Pinky promise.

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