This photo (Rilla, circa 2008) has summed up my mood all week. I’m just…beat. Among other things, I’ve been wrestling with this blog-post-by-email transition and—long story short—you may or may not get this post in your in-box. Who can say, really?
I had a ton of things saved up to talk about here, but instead I think I’ll just post pics of the July accomplishment I’m most excited about: I made this reversible drawstring bag! The pattern (“Modern Japanese Rice Pouch” by the wonderful KZ Stevens) says “Difficulty level: beginner” and yes! This is accurate! If I can pull it off, anyone can.
It only took me 16 months—or 10 hours, depending how you count. I assembled the patchwork pieces of the outer panel in early March, 2020, and then FOR SOME MYSTERIOUS REASON I got distracted and set the project aside. I picked it up again about a year later and embroidered a few embellishments, and then once again I got sidetracked. But about a week ago I felt a powerful need to finish something—preferably something I could hold in my hands. I remembered the drawstring bag and dug it out of my project pile.
To my surprise and delight, I was able to assemble the bag in a few hours’ time—and that included all the time I spent watching Youtube videos to troubleshoot Beanie’s sewing machine. (My own machine, a perfectly wonderful cheap little Brother that I bought in 1995 with my first-ever publishing check, decided a 25-year romance was long enough. Farewell, old friend. It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide.)
So anyway, now I’m obsessed and want to sew ALL THE BAGS. I’m thinking this square-bottomed drawstring pouch would be a perfect way to use some of the eleventy-million pieces of embroidery I’ve amassed these past few years. I might even see if I can add a pocket or two.
But first I think I’ll work through this Seam Finishing 101 class at Creativebug. (That’s an affiliate link because I remain as wildly enthusiastic about Creativebug as ever. I’ve taken soooo many drawing, painting, and stitching classes there. The kids have done a bunch, too. In my opinion it remains the best bang-for-your-buck subscription for a crafting family. They have a deal right now where you can buy an annual pass for $50 and get $50 to spend at Joann’s. Or you can do a free trial and sample a bunch of different classes.) Whenever I sew something that more or less works out, I feel sort of dazed and lucky, as if success were entirely a matter of chance instead of, you know, skill. I could stand to make a little headway in the skill department.
Another sewing class that caught my eye is this one on the Physics of Sewing. Color me intrigued!
Meanwhile, I’m rummaging through the archeological dig I call a garage, unearthing fabric purchased by earlier iterations of myself. Thanks for the stash, Lissa of the 1900s.
Saw this on Twitter and had to share! I love Wendi Gratz’s work—her book is one of Beanie’s go-to resources—and this doll + clothes pattern club such a fun idea I wanted to pass it on.
You’re Invited to the Dress Up Bunch Club! – Shiny Happy World.
Join the club and on the 13th of every month you’ll get a brand new, never-seen before pattern!
The pattern in January will be for a new Dress Up Bunch doll (a human girl).
Every month after that for the rest of the year, the pattern will be for an outfit and some accessory (or accessories) to go with the doll. I don’t know what they’ll be yet (though I have some ideas) but at least some of them will tie in to seasons or holidays.
You’ll receive the pattern by email. You can start sewing that very day!
This isn’t an affiliate link or sponsored post, just a gift idea I thought some of you might enjoy. 🙂
January 25, 2013 @ 4:38 pm | Filed under: Handcrafts
Rilla found a Winky Cherry beginner sewing kit on the shelf—one of those things I’ve had stashed for ages and forgot we owned. I used to feel pangs of guilt over forgotten acquisitions, but they so often seem to turn up at exactly the right moment, such a nice surprise. She’s busily stitching away and I look forward to a menagerie of felt critters in the days ahead. Felt is the nicest thing for a beginner, don’t you think? For both sewing or embroidery. No hemming required, overstitch looks lovely, it’s stiff enough not to need an embroidery hoop (for small pieces, at least), and no matter what you do it always looks cozy and cheerful. I love Felt Wee Folk and Doodle Stitching for ideas.
I had all sorts of little stitchery projects going before Huck was born (a mere four years ago), but I put everything aside when he came along and haven’t returned to it since. (To my chagrin: I still owe a couple of quilt blocks to certain VERY UNDERSTANDING members of my virtual sewing circle, and I never even sent out my own fabric for them to magic into something wonderful. IT’S STILL ON MY LIST OF THINGS TO DO, THOUGH.) (I’m shouting at myself.)
We had planned to go to the zoo today to celebrate Beanie’s 12th (TWELFTH!!!!) birthday, but the rain foiled our plans. Perhaps next week. Among all the other delights of the zoo, I want to give Rilla and Huck a chance to pet a real sheep, feel the lanolin in its wool, for a little sheep-to-yarn rabbit trail I’ve planned for Rilla, who got knitting needles for Christmas. With pink cats on the ends! And how’s this for incentive to pick up my own needles: I was sent a KnitCrate package to review for my subscription-box series at GeekMom—it’s loverly. The two yarns they included are to swoon for. I’ll let you know when that post goes up, probably next week.
November 4, 2012 @ 6:59 am | Filed under: Links
Heads up: Johnny Tremain is today’s Kindle daily deal—only .99!
At Wisteria & Sunshine, Lesley is preparing to lead us through preparations for An Unhurried Christmas…her gentle pace, beautiful images, nourishing words, and refreshing common sense are inspiring, as always. Perhaps you could splurge on an early gift for yourself and try a subscription?
And I just saw that Wendi Gratz of Shiny Happy World is encouraging folks to sign up for her mailing list because she has a sale coming up. I love Wendi’s work. Her mailing list includes free sewing or embroidery lessons.
Other links I’ve shared elsewhere:
Classic Childrens-Literature-Inspired Bedrooms. Including a Great Green Room, of course.
Beatrix Potter’s Picture Letters at the Morgan. Oh I want to go!
Living Walls and Self-Healing Concrete.
Concrete is the most widely used structural material on the planet, but it has a niggling habit of breaking down over time, giving rise to cracks, pits and holes that require expensive repairs or replacement. But what if concrete could mend itself? It turns out such a material already exists — and it could be used in a building near you in as little as 2—3 years.
Street Murals Made from Sugar.
Eight Hacks to Make Google Calendar More Useful.
I never get tired of Curiosity’s Mars photos.
Bonus happy-kid photo:
August 23, 2009 @ 12:39 pm | Filed under: Handcrafts
Technically, this isn’t a quilting project at all because I didn’t do any quilting and didn’t use batting. It’s just a pieced quilt top backed with fleece.
We adore it.
I had some Moda Objects of Desire charm packs and used everything except the prints with shoes on them. Found some green fleece that matches the green prints exactly: joy!
The charm pack pieces are 5″ square. I pieced them into nine-patches (the girls loved helping with that part) and assembled the blocks into a 4 block x 5 block rectangle. No binding, just sewed the quilt top and the fleece together right sides facing, turned it right-side-out, and sewed up the little opening. The whole project took me, let’s see, about four baby naps plus maybe another three hours in small chunks of time.
We wanted a light but snuggly blanket for the living-room couch. I didn’t want it to be as heavy as a real quilt, so that’s why I skipped the batting, and skipping the batting meant I didn’t have to fuss with quilting stitches. I was going to back it with flannel—I’ve done that for a few baby blankets here and there, and it’s a nice weight, but I wasn’t sure how it would work on a larger scale. But then at the fabric store, Rose and I stumbled upon this fleece in a sale rack, and it matched so perfectly we couldn’t resist. And the cotton quilt top plus the fleece backing turns out to be the PERFECT weight and loft to cuddle up under on our cool mornings and nights. The air trapped between the two layers makes it cushiony and cozy and completely irresistible.
Just ask Rilla. If you can find her.