Tuesday, August 16, 2011

change of address

Hi and thanks for stopping by.

I am over at my new blog now.

Drop me a line if you'd like the new address. I'd love to see you over there.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I finally got around to finishing this. It was an experiment in all possible ways, from the piecing to the quilting and binding.

My first attempt at free motion quilting. The stitching in the back is not very tight and no matter how much I fooled around with the tension on my machine I could not get it right.

As for the binding, I just left some extra backing all around and used that, folding it over and stitching everything up nice and tight.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

better late than never

The Naked Bed Challenge quilt top is done! It was supposed to be finished by June 2nd, but a series of unexpected events, plus a trip to the beach with my boys on my one big free day, meant I had to keep putting it off.

Oh well. Here it is and it is exactly what I had in mind: sweet and soothing. Only it is really, really big.

I guess that's what a queen size quilt is, but WOW. It is tempting to tie it because I don't know how I am going to quilt the thing on my dinky Singer. But I would like to do straight lines all the way across in white and gray and blue, so I guess I'll give it a try. Maybe.

Now I'm off to prepare the backing for it...

Monday, May 30, 2011

serendipity baby quilt

This quilt has been almost finished for months, and I finally finished up the binding and labeled it this past weekend.

Little Agata has not been born yet but we are leaving for the US soon and I was afraid I wouldn't have time to get her name on the quilt before we left. If my friend ends up giving her a different name, the label can be removed and replaced easily enough.

It measures 83 x 108 cm (33 x 43 in), just the right size for the baby carriage, and I made it so that when she is using the quilt and the top is folded down, you can see her name. I thought that would look so sweet in a baby carriage, and one thing I love about Italy is that everyone here uses baby carriages!

Glad this is done, but it means I am behind on the quilt top for the massive queen size quilt I have been working on. It needs to be finished by June 2nd for the Naked Bed Challenge and I might not make it.

But not for lack of trying! I am just very, very slow...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

birthday quilt

After mulling it over at Legoland Deutschland for the long Easter weekend and changing my mind at least half a dozen times, for the Naked Bed Challenge, I am sticking with the Bless You pattern, but in a Scandinavian color scheme, my inspiration being a beautifully delicate duvet cover made using vintage fabric featured in this book.

I don't have any vintage fabric to use for this, but I think some Essex linen/cotton with some Kona blues and one itty bitty half-yard of the City Weekend grid will do nicely.

Ideally, I would love for it to be reversible, and on the back I would love to do mostly white with one large square of blue scraps off center. If I have time, that's what I'll do.

For the challenge, the top must be done by June 2nd, and my birthday is a few days after, so I would love love love to have the whole thing done by then, and make it my birthday present to myself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

call me crazy

I signed up to do the Naked Bed Challenge.

I barely have enough time to get my work done for my actual job and now I have committed to making a full size quilt. Oh well. I am excited!

I am using Sarah Fielke's easy peasy Bless You pattern (but mostly solids) and will probably tie it rather than try to quilt something that big on my dinky little Singer.... although now that I've begun free motion quilting that wall hanging I can see how it can get to be addicting...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

creative quilt top

I lost my sewing room this weekend to our new au pair. Although I am so glad to have reinforcement on the way, it was a little sad to put my fabric and notions away in boxes. Not having space to leave my machine and the iron out will mean a lot less sewing. I was able to get a lot done in twenty-minute increments of stolen time, here and there.

Luckily, I managed to finish this one last thing before packing it all up.

It is the top to what will hopefully soon be a quilted wall hanging. I followed this tutorial and it was the most fun I've had piecing since I made the improvisational blocks for my sons' quilt.

I didn't follow the guidance exactly. She recommends using four fabrics; I used three. She doesn't break up the strips as much as I did either. But I started out the way she suggested and relied heavily on her tips and the examples she provided for inspiration.

This concept of a non-pattern is incredibly appealing to me. It was the first time I felt like I was making art.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

summer colors

Not a lot of time for sewing lately, there is so much going on, but every so often I shirk my responsibilities and sneak into my sewing room. Today my little helper and I managed to finish this little summer bag in canvas.

I lined it with some more of the canvas at the top and some plain old white cotton at the bottom. And added a little tag with my name.

Monday, March 14, 2011


My youngest son recently received his first invitation to a birthday party.

What better gift than a soft, handmade mouse for a little girl who's turning three?

Oh yes, it was the perfect excuse to make another of these. The pattern is from "Hand-Stitched Felt" by Kata Golda and is very easy to follow. I've probably made dozens of these by now.

I don't follow her instructions exactly. I do not cut out the head and body separately, because sewing the whole thing up as one piece is much faster. It also looks much neater and I don't have to put a collar on the clothes to hide the unsightly seam in the poor gal's neck.

I also cheat a little and stitch up the clothes using my machine. Lila got a little button in back, too.

I made a little gift bag for the birthday girl as well. I started doing these when I gave away the Take Me to the Park quilt and needed a nice way to protect it during shipping, but didn't want to just stick it in some plastic (I hate plastic). And now of course, I can't stop making little bags out of muslin and free motion stitching people's names on them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

old-fashioned charm

This is the first quilt I ever started. I put it aside for awhile to work on other, more exciting projects. And when I came back to it I was struck by what my idea of a quilt was before I started reading modern quilting blogs.

I started sometime in November and finished yesterday. I had machine quilted it all in a cross-hatch, but then ripped out all the stitches and hand quilted it all over again using Perle cotton in five or six different colors. Each nine-patch block is quilted differently.

The sashing and backing are just a plain natural muslin and the binding is pieced together from scraps because I had so many and knew I'd never use them.

I had no idea how to calculate how much fabric I'd need when I bought it and ended up with way too much. Which also explains why the quilt turned out so much bigger than I'd planned. At 130 x 215 cm (51 x 85 inches), it's a good twin size - pretty ambitious for a first quilt!

Until the binding was on, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I never would have finished if not for my husband. He said he liked how it looks so vintage, and now that it's done, I see what he means. It does have an old-fashioned charm to it. And boy is it warm! Polyester batting is not the softest stuff, or the easiest to work with, but it will keep your toes toasty.

Although, if you look close enough, it looks a lot like a clumsy Home Ec project. I'd probably get a C+ though, for effort.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This is an old picture. The top is actually done, but I haven't taken any pictures, although it is all laid out on top of a leftover bit of batting I had on hand, which miraculously turned out to be a perfect fit without any planning.

I started this on a whim, using scraps. The pink was left over from my last quilt and the little coins of color are bits from another work in progress that I am gradually losing interest in. I saw this coin quilt and decided I needed to make one too.

It was the fastest quilt top to put together. I usually only have twenty to thirty minutes about once or twice from Mon-Fri to spend in my sewing room, and on weekends I can maybe get a few hours in if the conditions are right, but this came together in almost no time at all. And when I pressed the seams and flipped it over it just kept looking sweeter and sweeter.

But then I but couldn't decide how to do the back. I had a bunch of ideas but they were all awful and I kept changing my mind. I even cut and started sewing a couple before coming to my senses.

Then today, as I sat working right around lunchtime, the mailman rang the bell and told me I had customs duties to pay. Two packages of fabric from the States! Inside were a bunch of yards I'd nearly forgotten I'd ordered and lo and behold, there was a yard of a perfect pale yellow (Kona maize) that looked so sweet. I lay it on top and immediately saw that it was a perfect fit, color, size and all. No piecing! I had also, though I don't know why, ordered a yard of pretty green cotton with tiny aqua dots. That will probably end up getting cut up into strips for binding.

So unless I can think of a better name, this will be a Serendipity quilt. It's going to a friend who is elatedly expecting her third child and has been put on bed rest. The baby's fine, but she is bored to tears. Bet you can't guess, based solely on my quilt, if it's a boy or a girl.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

for the iPad

I made this for my husband's iPad awhile ago, but never got a chance to take any pictures because he always keeps it in his briefcase and takes it to work with him.

When I showed him what I had, he picked out this fat quarter of Riley Blake fabric, and I lined it with some red felt left over from Christmas crafts, then slapped on some velcro and it was done in no time at all. I'm getting much faster, but I still can't stitch a perfectly straight line!

I've been putting customized tags on everything lately after reading this book. She has you stitch little felt tags for each of the projects and I really like the way a tag finishes off a handmade item. I gave my husband a little star, which he said was too "cicciotto" (chubby). I told him to live with it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

bag for our beloved babysitter

I made this oversize tote for our babysitter. The EU is trying to ban those ubiquitous plastic shopping bags (which I can't stand), so this is a step in that direction.

Months ago I saw the fabric at IKEA and thought of her. It's a canvassy cotton and there is so much you can do with the colors, but her favorite color is pink, so I went with that for the contrast thread and soft, extra-wide handles (for heavy loads). I hope it's not too long. It turned out longer than I'd planned. Ooops!

The inside is lined in white cotton with a roomy pocket in the same black canvas and, of course, a monogrammed tag.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This was the first quilt I started planning. Only the fabric didn't get here right away, and then when it did, I changed my mind about everything and ordered more of some fabrics while putting away others, and so it got put on hold. Then I started started cutting and sewing, and changed my mind again.

The scraps though are fun to fool around with. A friend of mine is having a baby girl in July and I ordered some City Weekend to make a little baby quilt or changing pad, or maybe both, but it is taking forever to get here. So in the meantime I might end up throwing a little scrap coin quilt together for her.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

take me to the park

And my second one done.

I used a Sherbet Pips charm park and a bunch of polka dots (mostly Bliss), plus some Kona red and aqua and embroidery on white. It's 104 cm x 149 cm (approximately 41 x 59 inches).

I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. There was about a week there where I wasn't sure if I liked the quilt top or not, but once it was finished with the red and aqua border and the back started coming together, I decided the whole thing worked. And I love all the sweet, sweet details. They are the best part of this quilt.

I quilted it in diagonal lines through the charm squares and then a squiggly line through the red border. It was my first attempt at free motion quilting and I found it a little stressful! It didn't turn out perfectly, but it's not too bad.

The binding. Gah! I have so much trouble with the binding. I spend more time picking out stitches than I do putting them in. This is the method I use and her quilts look sooooo much better. Oh well. Hopefully with time.

Except for the snails, I used embroidery patterns by Aneela Hooey, the designer of the fabric, which I bought at her Etsy shop. I don't know how my amateur stitches will hold up over time (and in the wash) but they were fun to do and I think they add a little special something to a simple charm square quilt.

If you're wondering what's with all the pictures (sorry) it's because I won't be keeping this one and I wanted something to remember it by.

Ooops! Almost forgot! The back is the pink polka dots with a few of the gray/white polka dot squares and another pink snail.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I put a red and aqua frame on it and that has helped tame the busyness immeasurably. I like it much better now and never get tired of looking at all the little scenes. There are dogs and snails and little boys and girls in the squares, and tiny little hedgehogs. The fabric is so charming and there is always something new to notice.

The colors, though, are a lot for me, and I don't think I will take on so much red! and pink! and aqua! and gray in one single project again. It is too much for me. Not my style, I guess.

I don't know if you can see it in the picture above, but this quilt is called "Take me to the park" which I've embroidered in red on one little white square.

I can't wait to see this all finished. The back is even sweeter.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

something beautiful

Finishing the quilt for the boys gave me more confidence in my abilities. As I worked on it, there was always, at the back of my mind, a tugging doubt that I might not finish. That I might come to some part of it that proved too difficult and I would abandon it altogether.

But that didn't happen. And as soon as it was done - or even before then - I was already thinking of what I could make next.

I managed to get my hands on some early release Sherbet Pips and I have been putting together a charm square quilt. It is smaller and there is some embroidery.

Much to my astonishment, I enjoy embroidery. (A lot!)

But I'm not so sure about the quilt. I love pieces of it, but when I look at it as a whole, there is just so much going on.

I could give up and put it away, or I could draw on the confidence gained with the Cars and Rockets and persevere, which I think is what I'll do. I will just play around with it a little until I come up with something I can live with.

Although I am enjoying it, it's a little discouraging because part of what I love so much about my newly discovered hobby is the way something beautiful comes out of it. There is this long, slow process, first the idea begins to take shape, then it grows and grows, taking on a life of its own, until it wants out of my head, and then I begin to make it. And little unexpected things come out of it, like this:

And hopefully, when it is finished, it has turned into something beautiful.

(But I guess not everything can turn out as well as one had hoped.)

In the meantime, my husband mentioned he needed a cover for his iPad and I was delighted. I put down my book immediately and ran for some fabric I thought he might like.

I suppose something useful will have to do for now.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

cars and rockets

And the stars aligned so it could be finished.

Size: 135 cm square (slightly over 53 inches)
Time it took: about a month
Number of times I had to read the instructions for continuous bias binding: 100
Number of times I scratched my head and wondered if it would actually work: 99
Number of times I inspected the binding I'd attached, realized it looked like crap, but decided to leave it anyway: 1

The cars and rockets and the citron and blue dots are all Birch organic cotton. I ended up throwing in some orange from my small (but rapidly growing) stash to add a little warmth.

The batting is cotton too, and I will never go back to synthetic batting after discovering the joy that is cotton.

The back is a yard of Kona tangerine, pieced with some white, a few squares of robots and rockets, plus few small scraps.

The binding is blue Truck Stop dots.

Except for the shoddy binding, it's not too bad.

At the start, it was meant to be a quilt for my five-year-old, but about halfway through he decided he wanted to share with his little brother and so I made it out to them both. Hopefully they won't notice the mistakes.