The moment I saw the pattern for these bitty knitted trees I was smitten. All of the green yarn in my stash, including some handspun, went into a "tiny trees" project basket, and became a part of my own little fiber forest. I had a feeling it would be the perfect setting for some "toyful" adventures at our house...
Our lego men,
meeting in the woods.
And some Pollys,
out for a game of hide-and-seek.
The pattern is called Pint Sized Pines and is available online from simplynotable.com
If "Little Polly Flinders" had this sweet washday outfit, perhaps she would not have gotten into so much trouble for ruining her nice new clothes!
Inspired by the Mother Goose poem, and the many happy hours my daughter and I have spent designing, creating, and caring for her doll's clothes, this sweet dress and pinny, along with a doll-sized washbasket, are a fun playset to add to any doll collection.
For more information about this pattern please visit our Ravelry page:
You may remember Lindy, whose knitting I have shared with you here and here in the past. She has done it again, look at this lovely Phoebe's Sun Romper she made this year! I love the classic colors she chose for her project, and the cotton blend yarn lends itself very well to the pattern. Thanks again, Lindy, for sharing your knitting with us!
Stitch Magazine recently release a "Gifts" issue, which is on the newsstands now. Aren't the cover projects adorable? One of our readers kindly emailed me to let me know that it included a review of our newest book, Phoebe's Birthday:
What a fun surprise for us! This is our first "official" sewing magazine review, how very exciting!
Speaking of sewing... I am doing a book signing and trunk show at a lovely sewing shop in Ft. Collins called "Mama Said Sew". It is their First Friday craft night, too, so it should be a good time of stitching. Now, I do have time to sew something new to wear tonight? Hmm...
This shawl's name comes from the name of the childhood street of one of my all-time favorite fictional characters, Ramona Quimby. I wanted to create a shawl that served nicely in a variety of ways: as a maternity or nursing shawl, a mama and baby snuggling shawl, a baby blanket, a shawl to wear while babywearing, and so forth. But as I developed the shawl design, I saw that it could also be worn as a cape by imaginative children of any age, and was struck with how magical it would be for a child to wear a shawl that their mother wore before they were born, or that was the first blanket they were wrapped in, or brought along on first outings to the park... you get the idea.
As a mom, I know that our three children will always be my babies, no matter how many years circle us. The idea of holding onto our childhood in a shawl, like being Ramona forever, just captivated me. It hope its stitches are just as captivating to you.
For more information on this pattern please visit our Ravelry page:
Usually at this point I would be rather weary of looking at the same fabrics over and over again... but not this time. When you make a scrap quilt out of fabrics that are jam-packed with memories, the project stays interesting all along.
I really wanted to draw out the purples in the quilt, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I had enough of this polka-dotted fabric to create the binding. I like to cut the binding on the bias, in 2 3/4 inch strips.
This is the time when I appreciate my walking foot the most. There is no need to buy a very fancy or expensive sewing machine when you start quilting. I really love my basic "no-computer" Kenmore. My entire machine cost me less than a walking foot does for a fancypants model. (The walking foot for my Kenmore cost me a mere $20.) My walking foot keeps the quilt from shifting under the batting, so I don't even need to pin the binding to the quilt.
I always sew the binding down to the wrong side of the quilt by hand. I know I can do it on the machine, but it never looks as tidy as when I do it this way. It is a long series of simple stitches, the perfect "cool-down" after a very busy month of stitching. Angela Lansbury is keeping me company while I stitch. I have a few hours to finish up, midnight is still far off.
I hope to have photos of a finished quilt for you tomorrow!
Here I sit, with just one more block to go! Could it be? I almost afraid to jinx myself, but I think I will be able to get it done!
At one point I was pretty sure I wasn't going to come close to getting this done by the end of the month, but now I think I can, just like the little blue engine. The day is done, the three children are tucked into bed, and Eric is out in his studio.
And I just have one more block to quilt. One.more.block.
I just realized that I have been stitching madly away, having talked about thread, batting, and thimbles, without ever mentioning frames, hoops, or racks. In keeping with my low-gadget style, I prefer doing my hand quilting with just a large hoop. Perhaps I would enjoy a frame, if I ever had the chance to try using one, but I have always worked with a simple hoop. This one measures about 24 inches in diameter, and is good and sturdy. It is large enough to hold a good amount of quilt to work on, without being too cumbersome. I have had it for 13 or 14 years, and it was worth every penny- they only cost about $20 or so.
I am down to the home stretch now! Six and-a-half of 35 squares left to go. Then trimming, binding, washing, and drying. Cross your fingers for me!
I think these curvy snips came in a goody bag of some sort from a recent TNNA show. Now, I will say, I am not a "gadget girl" when it comes to sewing, clearly, as I am hand quilting with only the aid of good thread, a thimble, and a hoop. But I have to say, these curvy little scissors are perfect for hand quilting, as they allow me to trim the thread very close to the quilt top without risking cutting into the fabric.
Today I am taking a break from quilting... we have had a fabulous holiday week, complete with restful days at home crafting, reading, and playing outside. A lovely family dinner on Thursday, followed by an outing with friends on Friday. Today was all about "Plaid Friday/Small Business Saturday" and we went to our local toy shop, which also has a wonderful book department, along with our favorite neighborhood yarn shop.
A quiet evening is in the works- homemade stew with freshly baked biscuits, starting a new family read-aloud (The Hobbit!) and perhaps some time at the spinning wheel once the children are asleep.
When I first starting quilting by hand, I had no idea what I was doing. I used embroidery needles instead of sharps, and had a hard time finding good quilting thread. I thought I needed to wax my thread, but soon discovered that this is unnecessary when using a good quality hand quilting thread.
I remember going into our local quilt shop (this was in 1999) and asking for turquoise hand quilting thread. The shopkeeper clearly stated that "turquoise is not *in* right now" and led me to a rack with navy, hunter green, ivory, tan, and burgundy thread for handwork. Needless to say I was disappointed!
Shortly thereafter I discovered the Mettler 100% cotton quilting thread, which is very easy to find nowadays. They even stock it at our local big box craft store. It comes in a great variety of colors, and is available in a few different spool sizes. It makes a world of difference. I never need to wax it, and can work with a length of up to 36" without any issues with knots or tangling. I am presently working through my cookie tin of thread, using different colors for each spool and end cap. This keeps me happily occupied while I stitch.
I love thimbles. This is something I discovered *after* I stab-stitched my entire first quilt, queen size, no less. Oh, in our first little apartment, a 500 sf studio. Oh, where my husband was hand lettering banners right next to me. Those were cozy times!
It took me some time to get used to wearing a thimble, but I won't ever go back to shredding my fingers in the name of stitching. This little beauty was a gift from my grandmother's collection and it works for me like no other.
I layered the quilt. First, I taped the backing, wrong side up, to the dining room floor. Next, comes the batting, which needs to be carefully smoothed. Lastly, the quilt top, right side up, which also needs to be carefully arranged to avoid bumps, lumps, and wrinkles.
I used one safety pin per block to keep things in place while I hand quilt this project. I really love this stage- all of the pieces are secured in place, I can put away my iron and cutting tools for a few weeks, and fit the entire project (including sewing hoop, thimble, needles, and thread) in a generous tote.
(I think my family loves this stage, too- we have a table in our dining room again!)
This quilt project (according to my made-up and self-imposed rules) was supposed to be a pure stash project- no shopping allowed. Sigh, I caved- I just didn't have enough cotton batting in my studio to finish the quilt. I considered using the polyester batting I had on hand, but knew I would regret every hand quilted stitch of it. So I went shopping. $11.82 later, I am grateful for 2 yards of lovely 100% cotton batting. I am terribly fond of hand quilting pre-washed fabrics with unwashed cotton batting. The texture of the finished quilt is simply scrumptious. More on this in days to come.