Tuesday, May 31, 2016

little emissaries

I'm sitting here staring at my keyboard.  I hardly ever do that.  After all the things I've shared, all the terribly difficult things, it's surprising how hard it is for me to make this transition.  It's something wonderful, something I wanted very much, something that came much easier than expected and holds every promise of success.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

I'm pregnant.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

The fabric arrived on Friday from Fabricworm.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

Three Birch Organics double gauze cuts, light and fluffy, each a soft cloud.  I'll make two rompers, one boy and one girl, little emissaries of optimistic expectation.  The third fabric, the gray birds (Flight Shroom), is for a skirt.  A maternity skirt.  Because I need those.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

I'm using the Oliver & S Lullaby Layette pattern, purchased for instant download from Connecting Threads.  Although the pattern serves birth to 24 months, I chose to make 6-12 month rompers.  It's a size that gets a lot of wear.  The lightweight cotton gauze should serve baby well next summer.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

This was my first time sewing a button placket.  The odd-looking steps made me nervous, but it was a breeze to follow instructions from Oliver & S.  The plackets came out quite neatly, in fact.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

I'd say things got most rocky attaching the twill snap tape because it was difficult to sew straight so close to protruding snaps.  But I'm still glad I opted for twill tape instead of setting snaps.  If you set snaps incorrectly a project is pretty well ruined.  And... I sewed the snap tape to the wrong side of the back bodysuit the first time around, so I'm just thankful it was removable!

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

My little boy romper is made following the Lullaby Layette pattern to the letter, excepting the snap tape.  The fabric is Birch Organics Pebble Stripe multi.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

My little girl romper is made with flutter sleeves, following a tutorial at You & Mie.  I cut my flutter sleeves the same dimensions as demonstrated in the tutorial, even though my romper is the next size up from hers.  My sleeves came out considerably smaller, but I like them.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

Because this fabric, called Flight Coral, is so sparsely printed, this double gauze is even softer than the other.  But, of course, its best feature is the wheeling birds.   Look how they ended up sprinkled on that little bum!   How I'd like to see a little one crawling across the floor in this number, someday.  It's so confusing, those imaginings.  My heart cautions, "Don't hope for so much, " and my head counters, "Don't expect the worse."

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

So, here's what we know.  Come Thanksgiving, we hope to welcome either a new baby girl OR a new baby boy to our family.  Not two, just one.  I've now completed my first trimester, and so far the pregnancy has a clean bill of health.  Since I don't take anything for granted anymore, I have already seen a high risk doctor (my request) and will be taking extra precautions during my pregnancy and birth to eliminate as much risk as possible.  But now I know too well that there is always risk in birth. That is why I hope to have a baby.  That is why I'm struggling with this transition.  Standing at the edge, looking for my heart to move towards celebration, towards joy.

Lullaby Rompers in Birch Organics

And so, I made these rompers to declare my hope with my hands. 

I am grateful to be able to share my good news with this kind community, some who I know will understand the bittersweet expectation of pregnancy after infant loss and others who will try to understand and surely wish us the best.  Thank you for that.  You are each a blessing.  Let's hope together.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day sales!

UPDATE!  This sale good through Saturday:

Lark Cottons is offering 20% off store wide.  Including recent arrivals such as Mod Corsage from Anna Maria Horner, Alpine (Erin Michael), Little Ruby (Bonnie and Camille), Boo! from Cotton and Steel and Mendocino by Heather Ross.

To save, enter discount code may16 on the shopping cart page.  Good through Saturday June 5th.

Here in the States we are celebrating Memorial Day weekend.  Several of my sponsor stores have some excellent deals.  Come take a look!

The Cloth Parcel just introduced 4 new patterns, including some for the winter holidays and a lovely artist portfolio.  They are celebrating with 50% off ALL pdf patterns!  Use code PDF50 through the end of May.

Also, check out Cloth Parcel's fabric destash sale and sample sale on Instagram at @theclothparceldeals


Connecting Threads presents sales on thread (spools and cones), tools and fabrics30% off their already super-affordable thread is as good as it gets!

Save 30-60% off select Quilter's Candy Basics and Patriotic fabrics now through 5/31.


The Intrepid Thread will offer hundreds of fabrics at $4 to $8 per yard from Sunday night (midnight eastern/9 pm pacific) to Monday  night (midnight eastern/9 pm pacific). ** Please do not use any other coupons or discounts with this sale.


Fabricworm is hosting an Inventory Reduction Sale all weekend, through Monday, May 30 at 3 PM PST.  Fabrics are marked down 30-50%!


HoneyBeGood, my newest sponsor, specializes in organic and sustainable fabrics.  Visit them now for a Summer Kick-Off sale!


Happy Shopping, friends!

Friday, May 27, 2016


"Nothing happens until something moves."  ~ Albert Einstein


Movement, change.  It is the natural state of life.  To be still, completely still, not to grow, not to reach - that is dysfunction.

But still, Einstein reminds us that nothing happens until something moves because we find ourselves at the edges, scared.  Sometimes we're holding onto to something we don't even want or don't even have, but still holding.  The transitions between childhood and adulthood, between "not being creative" and trying something new, between life and death and new life and all its risks, we face them most every day.

Transitions - black belt!

I am, like you, wading through many transitions these days.  In the wake of a new chronic health issue, I am transitioning to a gluten free diet.  My husband and I are on the precipice of a home addition contract.  My little girl is suddenly becoming a young lady.  Yesterday she received her black belt!  We're all growing up so fast.


This week I sent off my beloved Juki TL 2010Q sewing machine for warranty service with Sew Vac Direct.  I've been using this machine hard day in and day out since March 2013 (here's that story) and this is just the second time it's been to the doctor.  I'm feeling a little loss without it, struggling with the transition of returning to a less-exacting, more limiting back up machine.  One of my lotus blocks doesn't have very nicely matched curves...

blues from American Made Brand

I'm also between projects.  Which isn't to say I haven't any projects started, just none that are right for the moment.  Do you know the feeling?  Yesterday these gorgeous blue solids from American Made Brand arrived for an ombre quilt I have planned.  But, what I really want to work on is a project that touches yet another transition.  A package should arrive this afternoon, and my weekend will be given over to it.  I'm just waiting on the mailman.

Standing at the edge, looking for my heart to move.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

featuring Shabby Fabrics kits

If you get stumped selecting fabrics for a project or selecting a project for your fabrics, you might be dreaming of short cuts to the sewing machine.  Maybe you need to just sit down and get started already!  That's were kits come in.  They're everything you need, nothing you don't and instructions included.  Easy.

One of my sponsor stores, Shabby Fabrics, stocks the largest selection of kits I've ever seen.  They're most all cut and created custom for their store.  And this weekend you can save 10% off any and all kits with code SFSTITCHED10 now through Midnight (PDT) on Memorial Day!

This Farmhouse quilt is a perfect example of Shabby Fabrics' charming country style.  The store is chock full of shabby chic prints and classic sewing projects.  In fact, such a kit would make an exciting gift for someone who has been wanting to try out quilting and just needs a push to get started (or re-started).

Been wanting to try applique?  Many Shabby Fabrics kits are applique-oriented, like this 56" square Love Birds quilt.  Instructions include details for advanced skills like machine blanket stitch applique, free motion machine quilting and trapunto.

And when you're adding your kit to the cart, take a close look at some of the add-in options.  Shabby Fabrics often presents tools that would be helpful.  For example, the Dresden Plate quilt kit suggests a Prairie Pointer Pressing Tool or Roxanne Glue Baste.  Smart!

My personal favorite kits are probably the birthday-oriented ones (runner and pillow).  When birthdays don't fall on the same day as celebrations, I'd like to be better at making the real day still feel special.  I'm sure I'd win a smile even from my big kids by pulling out something like this to mark their day.  And the applique comes already pre-cut!  Doesn't get easier than that!

Thanks to Shabby Fabrics for sponsoring this space and for offering to share a discount for their kits.  I hope this is just what someone was looking for this weekend.  Enjoy!

Note:  Coupon to be used once per person.  Applies to every kit in the cart, so long as you don't buy multiples of ONE kit.  Not to be combined with other coupons and discounts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

making Lotus

Have you been making Lotus?

Lotus blocks

I pieced three more Lotus blocks in the past week, mostly while streaming episodes of Call the Midwife (I'm catching up after a long break). It's a lovely pair, the two.  Though I am careful to watch Call the Midwife alone to make sure there are no barriers to a good cry.  The show is always touching, but especially so now.... after Eleni.

Lotus blocks

I made these two blocks with some darker colors to add a touch of contrast to my quilt.  The red block is my first experiment with allowing the circle to be lighter than the petal fabric.  I think it didn't ruin the effect, even if it is less literally lotus.

Lotus blocks

But this is my favorite block of the batch, for sure.  I do so love that Wanderer Sacred Seeds print and it pairs beautifully with this peachy solid.  To bad I'm using up the last of it so soon!

Lotus blocks

I've just two more blocks to go!  Do you like my cool melon colors?  Especially with the addition of that dark green block, I see watermelon and cantaloupe coming out nicely.  I daresay, it looks delicious.  Hehe.

How go your lotus blocks?

Monday, May 23, 2016

{how to} Patchwork from Scrap

 Machine Cover for Patchwork from Scrap class

Scraps are patchwork.  Or at least, they are at the root of so much of what I love about the patchwork art - making do, being resourceful, creating something out of what would otherwise be discarded, beauty from trash, whole blankets from trimmings.  When a sewist comes into scrap sewing for herself it's as if her world opens wider.  She sees her fabrics, however limited, in new ways.  She buys new fabrics with a keener eye for second-hand sewing opportunity.  I think this is when she becomes a patchworker.

Machine Cover for Patchwork from Scrap class

I've lately had the sweet pleasure of witnessing this transformation in some of my local friends.  We've talked through all the basics, many of the sewing habits I take for granted, and they've discovered my efficiency systems by simple observation.  Their questions, their "aha" moments and their enthusiasm as they learn have inspired my next online class.

At first I thought it was a class about sewing with scraps.  But, as the class has developed, I've seen it's more broad and far-reaching than that.  It's a class about patchwork, practical and hands on.  It's a class that sets a strong and efficient foundation and then flows into several weeks of actual scrap sewing, on both small and large scales.

Machine Cover for Patchwork from Scrap class

In short, I think this class has become sort of Stitched in Color 101.  It is the perfect sewing-focused compliment to my Color Intensive.  This is how I sew and how I think about sewing - fabric, habits and organization from the ground up.

Machine Cover for Patchwork from Scrap class

And it's almost done!  I'll be offering this 5-week class twice this summer, first in July and then in September.  The first wave of registration will open June 20th.  Until then I'll be showing sneak previews most weeks, like this Machine Cover project.

Machine Cover for Patchwork from Scrap class

Machine Cover appears in week 3, Small Projects.  It's sewn quilt-as-you-go and includes three-dimensional sewing, thus introducing two foundational skills sets for up and coming patchworkers.  I made the cover for my trusty little Kenmore in my current color crush - mint green.  Love.

Machine Cover for Patchwork from Scrap class

I hope you enjoy the project previews, whether or not you'll be joining us for Patchwork from Scrap.  And now, I do believe your trimmings, your scraps await!  Happy sewing.



Friday, May 20, 2016

on my Design Wall

What's a girl to do when gloomy, cloudy weather thwarts decent indoor photographs?

 on my design wall

Take the design wall outside, of course!  Lucky me, my design walls are just batting wrapped and stappled around insulation foam core.  They're each about 60" wide, so I can move them throughout the house to catch better light for photographs... or even take them outside!

While my dog looked on disapprovingly, I was happy to snap these shots just outside my door.   Green trees and just enough sunshine!  On my design wall today are two different projects which I thought you might like to stop by and see.

May bee blocks

These are May bee blocks for a Love Circle quilt designed by Kirianth of Glass Snail.  Take a gander at her beautiful mock up:

May 2016 : LOVE do. Good Stitches

Such gorgeousness!  I feel lucky to get to join in on her smashing good plan.

Lotus quilt in progress

And this, of course, is my Lotus quilt in progress. I've made two of block style A and two of block style B.  These watermelon reds are up next to become Lotus blocks.  Solids are Freespirit solids and prints are Diamond Mine and Wanderer Seeds.  Maybe this weekend?

But speaking of bee blocks, I don't believe I ever showed you April's.  We made monkey wrench blocks (similar to churn dash) with low value backgrounds and bright and/or navy wrenches. 

April bee blocks

April bee blocks

I couldn't pass up the chance to feature that curious rabbit and moons print.  This blocks shows it off so well!  You can find Moon Bunnies Mochi still at Bobbie Lou's Fabric Factory!  Low volume backgrounds are Architextures Ledger in Gray and Nicey Jane Hop Dot. 

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Welcome, Cape Cod Shibori!

Have you heard of Shibori?  It's an ancient Japanese technique for hand dying fabrics in which the cloths are hand stitched or otherwise folded, twisted, compressed or bound before being dyed in order to create unique patterns.

Rachel Switzer is the creative spirit behind the Etsy Shop, Cape Code Shibori.  With needle and thread, she cleverly stitches her base cloths and dyes them in small batches to produce unique, artisan Shibori fabrics.

Cape Cod Shibori fabric collage

After dying, the stitches are removed to reveal amazing patterns.  Many of her creations are in traditional indigo blues, but she also offers gorgeous greens and a whole rainbow of shades.

Cape Cod Shibori colored fabrics

Emerging from such an intricate handwork process, Cape Cod Shibori fabrics are often one of a kind.  Rachel offers coordinating Shibori Bundles, Scrap Packs and Layer Cakes for those who have trouble choosing - they're all so interesting!

Cape Cod Shibori fabrics as pillows by Phileas Handmade

Her base cloths include denim and linen, besides regular quilting cotton.  These substrates would be lovely for home decor or apparel projects.  Plus, she takes custom orders should you need something specific for a special make.

Between the fabrics themselves and these studio shots, I'd love to stop by and see Rachel at work.  It's mind boggling the infinite ways artists find to birth beauty from fiber!  I am honored to partner with Cape Cod Shibori this year and hope to, in time, welcome more handmade fabric artists as sponsors of Stitched in Color.

Shibori Indigo Moon and Sky

You can Shop Cape Cod Shibori on Etsy, or keep current via Facebook or Instagram.

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