Spring Color

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Hello! I am alive over here, if not just barely keeping my head above water most days. I am sloooooowly getting back into the groove of sewing. Emmerich has begun to fall into a nap time schedule (knock on wood), which has given me a little bit of time to myself during the day. After I put him down for a nap, I usually come out of his room looking a wild animal, quickly scanning the house for anything that has to be attended to right away. And lately, I’ve decide that the only thing that needs attending to is my sewing machine, because this Mama is not happy if she’s only done laundry and dishes and housework during her short daily breaks.

I LOVED all of the suggestions everyone gave me in the comments on my post about future project ideas. It has helped me to stop thinking of getting an entire project done in one sitting, like I used to, and instead break it into manageable chunks that I can pick up here and there. I feel like it finally took the pressure off, and I have learned to be fine with only sewing in half of a zipper, or maybe cutting out just two pattern pieces before the baby wakes up.

windowpillowsI used a few of his nap times to make a seat cushion and three pillows for a window seat we have at the top of our stairs. Most everything I used I had on had, except for the fabric for the seat cushion. You know how expensive foam is? Ridiculous. Well, my friend told me about camping foam, sold at our local Fred Meyer. It’s made to sleep on top of, but it was only $20 for a piece a little bit smaller than a twin bed. It’s really dense, so I’d say it compares to the $100 foam at Joann Fabrics. Score! I sewed the cover out of a cotton twill and made piping to match, so it was sort of a pain to make. The pillows were easy-peasy though, and used up little bits of mini pom-pom trim I had and three odd colors of invisible zippers that’d been in my stash for years. Now we’ve got a bit of spring color in the house, and it’ll pop even more when we get the trim painted (yeah, don’t look too closely at that awful 70s light peach hue).

There was another project that I really wanted to get to, but it probably took me 2 weeks to finally complete.


For a few years in a row, I have made Rob a birthday shirt out of McCall’s 6044. I always lengthen the sleeves a good 4 inches, and this time instead of doing a two-piece sleeve with a vent along the sleeve seam, I changed the pattern to a one-piece sleeve and used a placket from Vogue 8889 for a nicer finish. The best part of sewing this up? Not having to cut it out! It’s actually been cut out and waiting to be put together for probably a year. Rob cut it out when he was going to learn to sew his own shirts, and lucky for me, he never found the time to finish it up. I told him that from now on, if he cuts out the shirts, I will sew them.


He did a pretty good job of matching up some of his stripes, but it was a bit fiddly to cut out since this reversible railroad denim has stretch to it.


I like this pattern so much better with the placket! It always bothers me when a sleeve vent is created by using the seam on a two-piece sleeve. It feels sloppy, no matter what kind of finishing I do to the seam allowances. This is much cleaner and looks more professional.


Cutting out the back yoke so it went a different direction was a good call on Rob’s part. It looks nice that the stripes follow the bodice fabric on the front, and visually it’s nice to break up the stripes by running them horizontally on the back.

There was one other quick project that was thrown into my machine the other day. Emmerich had outgrown a sunhat we had for him, so I used the free Reversible Oliver+S Bucket Hat pattern to make sure he had something to shield his eyes from our lovely spring sunshine. He’s such a cute little noodle!


Can I say that I cannot believe he is SIX months old already?! Where is the time going?



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I’ve mentioned here before that I don’t have much time for sewing right now. I know that it’s a season in life, and that it will pass, but sometimes I do find myself frustrated at how little I can get done during the day. I had this idea of a baby who would take long naps, or hang out with me in a wrap or play seat while I sewed, worked, cooked or cleaned. I’m sure any experienced mothers who are reading this are having a good laugh at that idea!

I was in quite a funk about it the other day. I put Emmerich down for nap, and I knew I had exactly 30 minutes before he would pop up and call for me. I looked around my studio for something, anything, that I could sew right then and there. I eyed a baby quilt that I had pieced and basted right before we moved. I grabbed it, put a fresh needle in my machine, and used all of his nap times that day to quilt it. It was a tiny project, but my brain felt so relieved to have sewed something!

Em-Lap-QuiltIf only every project were like this. Everything cut and done and I just have to finish a few lines of stitching on it? Why yes, thank you, that’d be lovely. Put that stack of cut out shirts and dresses right over there, please.


I forgot how quick and satisfying straight line quilting can be. On my most recent quilts, I’ve been practicing some different free motion designs, but breaking out the walking foot was necessary to make this go faster and require less thinking. My sleep deprived brain can’t do free motion work right now!

Em-Lap-Quilt-BindingAnd did you think I was going to use my precious free time hand sewing on the binding? NOPE. I cut out single-fold tape and stitched it down with my trusty Bernina #10 Edgestitch foot.

Here’s the funny part about this quilt. It is sooo tiny! Apparently, I can’t do math when I’m pregnant. I had planned for this to be a floor quilt for the baby to play on. Well, my baby is 27.5″ long, so this quilt is not going to work! It’s about 38″ x 26″. What was I thinking?! Thankfully, he can use it as a lap quilt when we go for a chilly stroller ride to the park. I didn’t know what else I was going to do with it!

I’ve been making tiny piles of things I’d like to get started on. Some of them will likely be out of season by the time I’m done with them, but at least I’ll have them for our next cold spell! I have the loveliest chambrays to turn in Grainline Studio Archers, or maybe Sewaholic Granvilles.


But since it’s still cool out, I bet I could whip up a Grainline Linden over the course of a day or two. I have the softest, most luxurious knit I picked up at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. I wish you could feel how squishy this is!


I have the pattern for this Jalie 3248 copied and ready to go. All I need is a little bit of a longer nap time so I can cut it out and have it ready to zip thru my serger. Those pockets will really come in handy for carrying my phone and a pacifier around.

Jalie3248FabricDo you have any ideas to help me fast-track my projects? I’m thinking I’ll spend one day cutting, another day sewing, and another one finishing, but I only have about 3 or 4 short 30 minute spurts to work with. Any ideas or tips that have helped you to sew like the wind?


Pendleton Love and a Giveaway

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UPDATE: Congratulations, Kelly Marie! Your book has been shipped!
Cape2One of my favorite things to do with Emmerich is to go for walks. I wrap him up in a Moby and we go to the park by our house where he can look at all of the trees and slowly be lulled to sleep by the motion of my walking. I get some exercise, he gets a nap, and we both get fresh air. I don’t have to worry about him getting cold either, thanks to one of my favorite things I own, my Pendleton wool cape.

Cape1No, I didn’t make this cape. I was lucky enough to go to a sale at the Pendleton headquarters in town and purchase it for a steal. It is so fun to wear, whether or not you’re concealing a little snug baby inside! Do you ever get cold on an airplane? Get. A. Cape. I love it when I’m flying. It’s a thick wool blanket that keeps me nice and toasty!

There is a lovely pattern for making a cape in the book Hand-Stitched Home by Susan Beal. Not only is there a cape, but there are quilts, pillows, an ottoman, and a project by me- plant hangers!


When Susan asked me about contributing a project to her book, I knew I wanted to make something completely different than what you’d usually find in a home-goods sewing book. I wanted it to be easy too, because I usually only design or make things that are complicated. How did a plant hanger pop into my head? I honestly have no idea, but they turned out to be fun and easy to make, so I was happy.


PendletonPlant2This book has projects like bags, pillows, scarves, quilts, a belt, and of course that great cape I mentioned.

PendletonCapeSusan was kind and gave me an extra copy of the book, which I’d like to give to one of you! You can enter to win it by leaving me a comment with something you would like to sew out of wool, and the winner will be chosen at random. Be sure to add your comment with your correct email address where I can reach you, to let you know if you’ve won!

This giveaway is open to US residents only. Comments are open until March 4th, 2015. The winner will be notified by email.

UPDATE: Comments and entries are now closed. The winner has been notified (Kelly Marie) and the book has been sent!

A Portland Winter Quilt

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Before Emmerich was born, I had a completely different color palette in mind for a baby quilt. It was a combination of pastels with pinks, yellows, grays, and some light greens and blues, reminiscent of a Portland Spring. I got the fabric, set it out, and then never got around to making it. Something never felt right about the colors for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t happy with tones I chose, or if my body was secretly telling my brain, “It’s going to be a boy, so don’t bother with the pink, dear.”

I have been dying to sew though. It would be amazing to have whole days dedicated to sewing like I used to have! Instead, they are dedicated to keeping a tiny human alive. I’m not complaining, really! It’s just hard. Em only naps for 30 minutes at a time, so getting anything done is impossible. In fact, some naps are only 15 minutes long, and trust me, we’re trying every trick under the sun. Until he learns to sleep better during the day, my sewing time does not exist. It doesn’t mean that I don’t bring him into my studio and show him all the fabric though. He seems to really like staring at all of the colors on my shelves, and occasionally tries to eat a piece of quilting cotton if I let him touch it.

I was surprised when I began digging around in my stash during a rare longer nap time to find all of these fabrics in there. I don’t think I’ll buy any more yardage, except for a large piece for the back of the quilt.


I saw a pretty common theme in the prints I grabbed. They really looked like Portland to me, with the bridges (of course that’s a print by Portlander Violet Craft), whales, bikes, gingham, tree rounds and animal faces.

EmQuiltPrintsNow comes the task of trying to think of what kinds of blocks to make. It’s got to be something that can be pieced very quickly! I’m thinking I’d cut a bunch of strips, but then what? A log cabin block? My sleep deprived brain can’t think of anything else. What would you make?

Um… and because I can’t help myself, here’s my favorite little guy, who was practicing sitting up and yelling at Rob when I took this (it was hilarious):


The New Sewing Space

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I haven’t been able to spend much time in my new sewing space, but I took some photos of it so I could share it with you before the baby was born. I didn’t get around to it before Emmerich’s arrival, but it hasn’t changed any from these photos! That happens when a new little person comes into your life. Hopefully someday soon he’ll decide that nap time is awesome, and then I’ll get to sneak in some sewing time. Notice I did not bother to list housework, laundry, or making grocery lists above sewing. I miss creating!


This is what you see when you walk into the room. This was originally supposed to be Rob’s office, buuuuuut, I swiped it! I have more crap than him anyways. This room does not have a closet or a ceiling light. I have a hanging light with a low switch for light (we’ll put in a fixture eventually), and I’ve downsized my fabric stash so that it can all fit in this room. Eventually I want to come up with some sort of thread storage for the wall above my sewing machines. I have an idea in my head that will keep it all organized and also keep it dust-free. We’ll see when that gets done (ha!).


This is how I’m storing all of my fabric and sewing notions. The built in bookcase has been great. I had doubts about being able to fit all of my stuff in this room, but I really wanted to get rid of the big Rubbermaid tubs I had some of my fabric sitting in. Because it was tucked away, I never saw it and I never remembered that I had it, and therefore never used it. The amount of fabric I’ve had sitting in those plastic tubs for the past 5 years was ridiculous.

Studio-6All of my garment fabric yardage is in the white (IKEA) cabinet. I love looking at it all organized and folded up! These green lidded containers hold my quilting fabrics and scrap yardage from past projects. The clear tubs hold patterns and I have one tub of things like elastic, snaps, boning, etc. The top shelf has in-progress projects that need to be completed.


Here’s my favorite, the garment fabric cabinet. I keep quilt batting, fusible interfacing and pressing tools in the cabinet drawers. And there’s my 40 week belly in the mirror! It’s so odd to see this now. How was I ever that huge?!


My little constant companion, Dax, followed me everywhere the last few weeks of my pregnancy. He doesn’t follow me as much right now, but he does love hanging out in this room. I put his bed in the corner since he prefers to sleep in here, and during the day he can often be found hanging out under my desk. I’m glad I chose to put FLOR tiles down in here instead of a large rug. They are bright and cheerful and hide his dog fur quite well! Plus, they are really easy to clean should anything be spilled in here.


My desk corner is quite boring right now. I really need some artwork and curtains in here (that photo is only hung that high because a picture hook was already there)! I’m sure the color will be added with time. Maybe a design wall somewhere, for quilt blocks? I’m not sure yet, but I’m keeping my options open.

Anybody need a good sewing space these days? I’d love to see mine get some use. The only thing you have to do is bring me dinner and hold a baby while I take a nap!