Category Archives: Quilts

It’s official!

Ryan loves the quilt, I mean woobie!!!

How sweet is this picture???  His mommy sent it to me right away when they received the woobie.  He fell asleep immediately on it.  It must be fate!

I waited to post the picture until I had permission, but boy, is this a money shot or what?

Ryan + woobie = sleepy time love!

Ryan + woobie = sleepy time love!


Sew much to write, sew little time…

Ahhhh, staycations.  They’re not all they’re cracked up to be.  I gotta tell you, my hat is off to anyone who can be a full time SAHM.  I don’t think I could do it.  I knew being a single parent would be hard, but being an old single parent is harder.  I just don’t have the energy for a toddler.  Wow!  Of course it would help if I went to bed at a decent hour.  Jack is going 240 from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed.  I know this is a cliche, but I wish I could have that energy bottled for myself.  Sheesh!  I was looking forward to going back to work today just to rest up.  😉

Anyway, I have so much to tell you and so many posts planned.  But first the exciting stuff (not that all of it isn’t exciting), I met up with Trena and Cidell (pic of all three of us on Trena’s blog) while they were in NYC last last Friday and met up with Karen last Wednesday.  It was so much fun to meet these women, whose blogs I have been reading for over a year now.  It was so cool to talk shop with them and ask them questions, get their opinions on fabric choices.  I have to admit that while shopping with them all, I went overboard with my purchases from the sheer excitement.  And then, Carolyn wrote about the Vera Wang fabric sale at and my stash has just doubled in the last two weeks.  Crazy!!! 

With Trena and Cidell, we met up for lunch first at an ok chinese place, Ginger, in the garment district.  Then we headed over to Kashi’s at Metro Textile.  I was pretty restrained there that day, but promised him I would come back the next Wednesday with Karen.  Funnily, I saw the sweater knit that I bought from Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics there.  And even more funny and unbeknownst to me at the time, I bought the same navy stretch cotton from Kashi that I bought from Ann.  Originally, I had bought yardage from Ann to make capris and shorts from my new sloper pattern (thanks to my moulage class with Kenneth King), and while I was shopping with T & C, I got the urge to make a navy skirt.  I didn’t realize they were one and the same fabrics until I went home and saw them together.  Very funny!  From Kashi’s we went to Spandex House; I’ve never shopped there previously.  I wasn’t in the market for their stuff right now, but at least now I know where they are and what they have.  Unfortunately, I had to bid T & C adieu after Spandex House.  I had a lot of errands to do on my day off before vacation.   

On Wednesday, I met Karen at Kashi’s and continued to buy more fabric.  Shocker!  I went a little crazy.  He had more new stuff than the previous Friday.  I promise I will show pics of my hauls altogether as soon as I receive the package.  From Metro Textiles we went to Pacific Trims and I was in ribbon and button heaven.  I had forgotten how much I loved my grandma’s button collection when I was little (where did that collection end up???).  I wanted to take them all home with me.  But instead, I had to settle for the cutest little round buttons made of coconut shell of all things.  I think I’ll use them on my navy capri pants.  Then Karen took me to a store where she had found batiste at a great pricepoint, H&M Fabrics; I bought 5 yds.  But, as Karen said, the best part of the day was seeing the Isabel Toledo exhibit at the FIT museum.  We weren’t allowed to take any pictures, but oh my was it delicious.  I wasn’t really aware of Ms. Toledo before the Obama Inauguration outfit, but all of her work is amazing.  I wouldn’t personally wear all of it, but they were one and all a marvel of sewing techniques and so well made.  Just stunning.  She even called herself a seamstress.  If any of you come to NYC in the next little while, I would definitely put this exhibit on your list of things to do.  It was just mind-blowing.  

While shopping, Trena mentioned she was looking for avocado colored silk jersey.  Well I saw some at a great price when I was H&M Fabrics with Karen.  I emailed Trena later that day asking her if she wanted me to pick some up for her when I was in the hood again.  She wrote back right away saying yes!  So, on Friday Jack and I power subwayed up to the garment district and back in under an hour!!!  I am mailing her fabric off today.

Since my fabric extravaganzas of late, I have been itching to sew clothes.  But first, I had to finish the quilt for Ryan.  And with my Mom’s help (she was in town last week), I did just that!  I am mailing it today too.  I am so excited to have completed this project.  It was way out of my comfort zone, but I learned a lot of new skills:

  • Used a walking foot (that foot is über-cool!)
  • Sampled and used decorative stitches on my new Emerald 183 (love the cute stars stitch!)
  • How to do sashiko embroidery (love it:  very relaxing + quick to do = very satisfying)
  • That I should use a longer stitch  and special quilting thread when machine quilting (who knew?)
  • How to bind a quilt (thank God I didn’t sew it by hand — I would be still stitching that thing while Ryan was in college)
  • how labor intensive and detail oriented quilt making is (and I didn’t even piece the top?!?!?!!!!)
  • I’m sure there’s more that I learned, but I can’t think of anything more right now

Will I do another quilt in the future?  I don’t know.  I won’t rule it out, but I definitely did not get the quilting bug from this project.  It’s a long process and I think I like getting results a lot quicker than that.  However, that being said, I did love doing the sashiko hand embroidery and I loved knowing that a special little baby boy would be lovingly placed in and on this quilt and that it would be used.  I hope they like it.

Wanna see the finished quilt?  Here are several views:

Finished Quilt full view

Binding with Emerald 183 star stitch

Binding with Emerald 183 star stitch

Do you see the baby's initials and birthdate on the rockets?

Do you see the baby's initials and birthdate on the rockets?

Quilt Backing

Quilt Backing

Closeup of shooting star

Closeup of shooting star


I know I still owe you the wrap up on the Kenneth King class.  I’m going to work on it tomorrow.  Tonight I want to finish my first project apres quilt, the 20 minute skirt (which is now on the 3rd hour of work).

Happy sewing!

Quick quilt update

Now try to say that three times fast!  I am struggling with the last Kenneth King class write up, so please be patient with me while I try to figure out how to adequately explain what I learned.  In lieu of said post, I thought I’d show you the progress I’ve made with little Ryan’s quilt.

I’ve finished machine quilting, and a little over half of the hand quilting.  I sewed a diamond pattern with my sewing machine creating four full diamonds and 8 half diamonds around the four full ones.  I hand quilted two ringed planets and two rockets in the full diamonds so far.  Two nights ago, I designed a reasonable facsimile of a shooting star graphic for the outer edges of the quilt.  The shooting part of the star will cover two of the half diamonds in an arcing shape, crossing over one of the machine quilting lines separating the two half diamonds.  I asked my mom if it was never “done” (i.e., not allowed or against the rules) to hand quilt across the machine quilting and she said she had never heard that you couldn’t or shouldn’t.  So I just went with that idea and really like how it turned out.  I have no drawing skills whatsoever, but I think I was successful with creating a feeling of movement and I like how the star isn’t perfect.


shooting star

shooting star detail

I have three more shooting stars left to hand quilt on the other outer three quadrants and then it’s on to the binding.  I decided to go with the stars embroidery stitch that came with my Emerald 183 for the binding and Mom approved the choice.

I do have one question for you all and I’ll ask my Mom too:  I used one long thread to embroider the “shooting” part.  So that means there are long stitches on the back of the quilt.  I am concerned that a baby will get fingers or toes caught in these long stitches.  How should I handle this potential problem?  Should I tack down those long stitches with small ones that aren’t evident on the front of the quilt?  Any advice would be very welcome.

Happy sewing!

Darting around

Day 3 of Kenneth King’s Moulage Class

Apologies, but I have no pictures yet of the muslin sloper; I’ve been crazy busy with the quilt in the evenings.  I promise I will post them this weekend.  PROMISE!  I had been waiting to write about my classes until I had the pictures, but thought you might want to hear about the classes even without the pics.  So here goes…

Last week in the 3rd class with Kenneth King, we sewed up our muslin slopers.  It was another fantastic class.  Kenneth is a wonderful teacher.  He explains things very well and in small digestible pieces.  He’s a natural.  Very patient, no condescension, and he makes everything look so effortless and easy.  Ok, enough of the sunshine already.  😉

I sewed darts for the first time.  Mr. King assumed we all had done this before, but when he found out most of us had not (ok, I’m just talking about me here), he just stopped and showed us.  I didn’t even know how to pin the dart properly to prep for sewing.  The method was very interesting to this humble beginner:  You pin the top of the dart and then the bottom.  Then you manipulate the fabric with your fingers to get the lines of the dart lined up and pin the heck out of it.  Remember, one side of the dart is curved and the other is not.  Then you take it to the sewing machine and voilá.  Another technique he mentioned is that when you approach the end of the dart when sewing it closed, one should get as close to the edge of the fold as possible and switch to a really small stitch length.  I had problems with the accuracy of my darts in terms of how close to the edge I was able to get and how close to the end point I sewed, but for my first darts ever, I’m not complaining!

We sewed the outer seam, then the inseam and then got ready to sew the crotch seam.  Mr. King showed us a neat trick for this part.  We turned both legs right side out and lined them up next to each other.  Then you grab both legs together and pull them through one leg.  Presto, you have your crotch seam ready to sew (well not pinned yet), right sides together.  Very cool.  We pinned the back of the crotch seam to part way up the front (to leave it open for the zipper insertion) and sewed the seam. 

I managed to just finish this part before class ended.  Our homework was to baste in a zipper for our fittings at the next class.   But, as you know, I have been working on the quilt pretty steadily, so I didn’t have a chance to baste in the zipper until this Wednesday.  And of course, forgot the zipper at home, so I had to bust kiester down to the garment district at lunch, buy a zipper and get back to work.  I basted it in at my desk right before class.  Phew!  Just under the wire.  And can I crow just a bit and say that my zipper looked great?  I can?  Thanks!  It looked great!  Sorry I don’t have a pic to show you right now, but be patient, I’ll post it soon.

Interesting tidbit: While we were busily sewing, Mr. King shared some great stories and lessons learned.  We were talking about making our own clothes and he mentioned that you should never make ALL of your clothes.  He said his teacher Simone’s advice was to always have some RTW in your wardrobe, otherwise you run the risk of looking too homemade and granola-y.   Mr. King suggested always purchasing your jeans, for instance.

Originally, I was going to write about both classes in one post, but it was just ginormous in length, so I am cutting them into two posts. 

Quilt update: I am going to borrow Summerset’s parting shot here.  I fiddled around with the decorative stitches on my Viking Emerald 183 to figure out if I want to use one of them to sew on the binding.  Here are some samples:

 stars chevrons and exes

diamonds and indian zigzags

I am partial to the stars and the indian like chevrons.  What do you think? 

Also, I’ve decided to hand embroider the baby’s name and birth info as I do NOT like the built in alphabet on this machine.  You can’t change the size of the letters (at least as far as I can tell) and it’s hard to keep the letters straight, not to mention they’re too small.  

Happy sewing everyone!

Sneak peek!

Apologies for the lack of posting, but Jack and I are having an amazing weekend together.  🙂

We’ve gone on two bike rides,  been to birthday parties, went to the park, had brunch, Uncle Todd make Coque au vin and there’s still the rest of today for adventures! 

But I thought I’d post a quick pic of the quilt in process.  It’s going along well, not fast, but definitely not slow either.  I am enjoying the sashiko embroidery quite a bit.  I was thinking of attaching the binding with a decorative stitch.  What do you think?

Here’s a snap of the rocket in sashiko…

rocket sashiko 2

Hope you’re having a great Memorial Day weekend!

Project Updates

Woobie Quilt

Last night, I ironed both the top and backing fabrics for the woobie and straightened both so they were on grain.  I sprayed adhesive on the backing and adhered the batting and then repeated with the top fabric.  There was a lot of adjusting so that everything was sandwiched just right and on grain.  After that, I hand basted the fabric sandwich together to further stabilize the layers and minimize as much movement/slippage as possible.  Tonight I am going to machine quilt a diamond pattern from the middle out to the sides of the quilt.  Then I will hand quilt the rockets and planets using sashiko thread and needles.  I am hoping that employing the sashiko style of embroidery will speed up the hand quilting process.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  😉  Wow, there are so many steps in this process and I’m not even piecing the top of this quilt.  This is just crazy involved.  I am reserving judgement until it’s all done to see if this is something I like to do and ever repeat again.  Another thing I have discovered is that there are design decisions at every.  step.  of.  the.  process.  for quilting, going way beyond just picking fabrics and choosing the piecing design, like:

  • Do you want the quilting thread to “show” on the top of the quilt or the bottom?  What color thread?  Do you want variegated?
  • Do you hand or machine quilt?  Or both?
  • What kind of binding?
  • How thick of a batting do you want?
  • What design are you going to use for the quilting?
  • Etc.

I have a new-found respect for Mom now and how intricate and finely designed her quilts are.  WOW!  I will definitely treasure them always.


Whisper Cardigan

I am almost done with the first section of the sweater.  Progress is slow as I only knit on my commute to/from work.  The first section consists of the right arm to the top portion of the back to the left arm, with a beautiful vertical stitch effect of gathering at the CB.  It measures about 36 inches across, sleeve to sleeve.  The next section to be worked is the collar and waist part. 

Here’s a couple pics of my shrug thus far…  It was hard to get the whole thing in one picture without sacrificing details.


Bell Sleeve

Bell Sleeve

Vertical gathering at CB

Vertical gathering at CB


I promise the next post will definitely be about my moulage class with Kenneth King, day 3.  I have to take a picture of my sloper muslin for you first.

Happy sewing and knitting!

This quilting thing is complicated!

What is up with how complicated quilting is?  I”m not even piecing the top of this woobie and I am already running into design issues.  How do I quilt this sucker?  My mom suggested using machine stitched straight lines and then adding handstitched rockets inbetween.  I’ve been drawing different layouts, but it either looks to sparse or if it looks good, it will be the next ice age before I finish hand quilting this woobie and the poor kid will be a grandfather.

After work today, I am going to stop by the City Quilter for advice and supplies.  I just found out this woobie will be needed soon — fingers crossed — so I have to get cracking this weekend.  I need matching thread, cotton batting, and something called “Magic Sizing” (according to my mom this is a quilting necessity). 

I know, I know… you’re shaking your head at my too ambitious plans.  But we’ll see.   Never say never.  Here’s a stencil I found for a rocket:

space ship

Wish me luck tonight and this weekend!  Stay tuned for a post about Day 3 of my moulage class w/ Kenneth King.