Friday, February 25, 2011

A spring sweater

There's a pattern I've been drooling over for a long time on ravelry, a spring sweater called the Liesl by Ysola Teague. I finally started it this month with leftover yarn from my stash for Savannah.

It was such a quick knit, I can't believe how long I put it off thinking it would be more difficult or time consuming. I'm very happy with the yarn as well, which is Moda Dea bamboo wool, a discontinued yarn with excellent drape, stitch definition, and color. Even though it's impossible to see from these pictures, the blue velvet yarn actually has two thin strands of purple woven through it, giving it a beautiful sheen close up.

I've ordered a special clasp button for the top of the sweater. I like the idea of something you can just throw over your shoulders when a spring breeze picks up or to dress up a summer outfit.

Apparently, so does my little model, who is eager to wear this at the beach. I have banned her from climbing trees with this sweater on though, because of the lacework, which shows best in the photo below.

Next on my list, is a Liesl for me in much nicer yarn of course, but in a color not quite as pretty as my daughter's.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart Potholders

For Valentine's Day this year we had a "crafternoon", where we got together with some friends and made Valentine's. For the moms, who never get enough appreciation for the hard work they do, I made a batch of heart potholders in pinks and reds. Here is the one I made for my kitchen, in my signature blue colors.

I have found that if I use double or triple batting quilted together, my potholders last for a long time and don't result in burnt hands. When we get sick of them, our kids can use them in their play kitchens.

This is a great project to use up leftover fabric scraps as each potholder requires less than a fat quarter of fabric to make. I made a heart template that I liked out of newspaper, and cut it out of my fabric on the fold (the same way you'd cut a heart from folded paper). I liked this heart shape for its wide design. (I didn't want a pointy heart for a potholder.)

Then I layered two or three layers of warm and natural cotton batting behind it, pinned the layers and quilted them together. After quilting, I trimmed the batting neatly to match the edges of my fabric heart, then pinned the backing to it and sewed on my trim. Voilà! A little love and country charm for my kitchen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's old is new

Two years ago, someone sent Savannah this cute dress that has been well loved.

She's outgrown it but instead of passing it on, we decided to recreate the dress as a skirt so she can enjoy it even longer. I've been meaning to spend more time creating clothes for the kids from things that I have outgrown, stained, or worn through, so why not recreate from her own wardrobe?

By cutting off the straps and the top seam, and adding a 3/4" non-roll elastic waist band, voila, the dress is now a skirt. Something new from something old and all we had to do was sew in a few straight lines. With all the snow we have on the ground right now, it probably seems silly to be sewing a cotton skirt like this but soon we'll take our winter escape vacation to Florida where she can prance around the sandy beaches with her new skirt.

I can hardly wait!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


To mend (verb used with object): to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing

Even though I'm often sewing new things out of new fabric, which can be fun and exciting, I think it's important to spend time mending the things we already own. It may not feel glamorous to have a pile of clothing in want of a button or needing a seam restitched or a pocket hole repaired, but it saves so much. It saves the item of clothing from the trash heap, it saves money, not having to replace something that has use left, and it saves us the time we spend shopping for the right thing to replace what we lose. I also find it humbling to repair the old instead of running out to grab the next new thing off the shelf without much thought to the life cycle of these items and how their life cycles affect future generations.

Today I mended clothing, most of them needing small repairs, one by hand, four on my machine. It took little time really. One was my husband's favorite pair of sweatpants from college (they've seen repairs in prior years!). Another was a good work shirt that cost a surprising amount of money. Then there were the leather gloves, sweater, buttons and a patch for my daughter's clothes. Each one a simple fix that I was glad to do, even though I'd put it off for a few weeks.

I hope you use your sewing talents for mending too when the occasion presents. What a worthy use of time to take something broken and make it whole and usable again.