Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall jacket

I made Isaac a fall jacket from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings book. I love how it turned out! I believe this was the 9 month size, he got some wear out of it this fall and will hopefully still be fitting it in the spring. The sleeves are certainly long enough. I lined it with flannel, which he really likes - this is the only jacket he doesn't fuss about the hood being pulled over his ears!

I'm entering this in November's Celebrate Color contest hosted by Stitched in Color.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Letterpress prints for sale

I've finished printing, trimming, signing and photographing the two prints I've been working on this fall. Both are made using handset wood and lead type from the fabulous collection at MCBA and printed on a Vandercook SP 20 letterpress.

Oh nuts was inspired by Isaac, my peanut. When he was teeny tiny, he would laugh when he heard words with the "sh" sound like pistachio and cashew. We would say one word at a time and he would wait quietly with an expectant grin for an "sh" word, and then he would giggle hysterically.

Oh nuts! 5x7 print.

I have loved Shel Silverstein poems for as long as I can remember. My grandma always had a collection of his books on her coffee table. Alphabalance meshes well with a stack of wood type.

Alphabalance 8x10 broadside.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jay McCarroll Habitat Challenge

I finished the Jay McCarroll Habitat challenge (barely) in time for the October meeting of the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild. We got fat eights of the Habitat jewel colorway and the theme was "wonky". The hexagon quilt in the new Block Party book was my inspiration. Rather than making blocks, though, I used a single piece of fabric for the front. I made and basted the "quilt sandwich", positioned the hexagons, and quilted them in place. I am super, super happy with the finished product. It turned out exactly like I'd envisioned.


This quilt has the most negative space out of any I've made, by far. I love how it turned out and I hope to be making more soon. I have quite a bit of the Habitat fabric left, and some purple Kona fabric, so I'd like to make some placemats, napkins or mugrugs with the leftovers.

This is, I think, the 6th project I've quilted and bound since August. I'm getting much better and much, much quicker at binding - I finished hand-sewing the binding for this project in less than 6 hours. That's a personal record :)

Friday, September 30, 2011


My latest letterpress project was a poem surrounded by a jumble of wood type. Making a jumble of wood type is a lot more work than the word "jumble" implies. First I picked out letters I liked and arranged them around the poem.

Then I started arranging the letters on the press bed. I used a chase (a very helpful suggestion from the studio monitor) which made things a little easier. But there are still approximately eleventy million little pieces of lead in there. And also some bits of modeling clay in areas where I couldn't fit lead. The layout took a long time. A. Long. Time.

I pulled a lot of proofs to get the paper and chase aligned the way I wanted, and to make sure all the letters were printing more or less ok. I had to slide paper under a few letters and also add paper and clay between a couple letters that were wobbly.

The end result. Totally worth the time it took to put eleventy million pieces of lead into place.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Another elephant from the retro mama pattern, this one is for Isaac. It's stuffed with bamboo fiberfill, which I'm not sure I like for large projects. It worked really well for small knitted toys, but I'm afraid it might bunch up in a large, flat toy like this. Time will tell.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

sock monkey quilt

I finished Isaac's baby quilt while he was still a baby. I started it last summer and had everything done except the quilting, which I procrastinated on for a long time. I invested in a walking foot this year, did some practicing and finally got up the nerve to quilt this. It's by far the largest item I've machine quilted. I quilted one block at a time and they're all a little different. Some are much more intricate than others. One even has his name stitched in it. The quilting took a really, really long time but I'm pleased with it.

The fabric is Moda Funky Monkeys, which I've been admiring for years. The pattern is my own design.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The project for Letterpress I was a 10x10 broadside - text with a corresponding illustration. I chose a quote from Kurt Vonnegut, one of my all-time favorite authors. I had the opportunity to see him speak at the University of Iowa many years ago and I feel fortunate to have been there. I remember sitting in the lecture hall listening to his stories and thinking, wow, this is amazing.

I've had a lot of opportunities that I'm really grateful for, I have an amazing happy baby, great family and friends. I often pause what I'm doing, whether it's playing with Isaac, reading a good book, or taking a walk outside in the perfect weather we've been having lately and think "this is nice." I resolve to do that even more often, because I don't do it enough. I'm going to frame this broadside, because I am so proud of it, and hang it up where I'll see it every day as a reminder.

You can see some of the process here - proofing the text, carving a linoleum block, proofing the block, and the final print. There is a whole stack of proofs and goofs that you don't see here. This was a time consuming process, but the nature of setting text and pulling prints is almost meditative and gives you time to think "if this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Type: Stymie 24pt

Paper: Rives BFK

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pressure print

The very first night of Letterpress I class we made pressure prints. Mine is inspired by log cabin quilt blocks. I was immediately hooked on letterpress printing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quick change pants

Way back in March I made some quick change pants from Anna Maria Horner's book Handmade Beginnings. The 3 month size, shown below, still fits Isaac (although barely).

He also has a pair of 6 month quick change pants which have fit him perfectly now. I need to make some more sizes for 9+ months.

The pants are super easy and super quick to make - they took me about 2 hours each. I really like the fact that they're reversible, no exposed seam allowances anywhere (therefore no need to serge!), and you can adjust the cuffs as your kiddo grows. As an added bonus, not much fabric is needed for them so I was able to pull from my stash instead of buying new. I have at least 4 more fabric combos set aside for various sizes of pants. Just have to find time to actually cut + sew.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oh nuts

Proof + layout for what will (hopefully) soon be a 5x7 letterpress print. Yay! I'm thinking brown for the "oh nuts" and an opaque turquoise for the small text. We'll see what I end up with - my skills in color mixing need some improvement.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wheel of Mystery quilt - done!

It's finally finished!

My friend Julie did an amazing job quilting this! I started this thing way back in 2006 and just finished sewing the binding on this month. It's super nice to be able to cross this off my to-do list and hang it up on the wall!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Warm Cool QAL - finished!

I basted my warm / cool quilt earlier this week. This is my first time basting with bent safety pins. It was a lot easier to do than expected - the pins were easy to close, and it was a piece of cake to tape the layers smoothly in place with painters tape. I probably used about 50 more pins than I needed.


But, extra pins or not, the finished product turned out really well.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


We are in the midst of summer in Minnesota. Look what I found in the yard:


Tart cherries, strawberries and currants. Yum!

I made another bucket hat for the little man.

He prefers to chew on his hats rather than wear them.

I appliqued a space invaders onesie for him out of the same fabric line.

And I made a couple banners for the house.

I'd like to say we've been spending a lot of time outside, but we haven't. We've been fighting summer colds and trying to stay cool during the heat wave.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Warm Cool QAL - finished top

I've got my Warm Cool quilt top all stitched together!

Remember when I mentioned that taking a picture of the layout before chain-piecing is tremendously helpful? Well. You know what else is tremendously helpful? Sewing the blocks together along the correct edge. Notice the difference between what the quilt top looks like (above) and what I intended it to look like (below).

Doh! After I realized what I'd done, I just ripped apart 2 of the center blocks, swapped 2 triangles around and called it good. I may have also (accidentally) swapped a couple columns around, but it's hard to tell. I feel silly having spent all that time laying out the top, taking a photo, meticulously pairing up and stacking blocks to sew together, only to make a large mistake and still have the top turn out decent. Perhaps I did not need to spend so much time sweating the layout.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Letterpress proofing

I'm in the midst of a 6-week letterpress printing class at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. It is awesome. I am hooked. We're learning how to use Vandercook presses, set lead type and make lino cuts. Our end product will be a broadside print. Here's the lead type, Stymie medium 24pt, I set for my text:


And here's the proof:


Next week is mistake-fixing and linoleum cutting. Yay!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


We took a little family vacation to San Francisco over the 4th of July. It was fantastic. We made some quick stops at Dynamo Donuts, Daiso, and In-n-Out Burger before we headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to visit family. I highly recommend all three places. We had a really relaxing time north of the city, took lots of walks, played some croquet and visited Muir Woods. I snapped a few pics with my phone.


An old school Land Rover.

Super tall redwoods.

Giant clovers in Muir Woods. Can't really tell the scale in this picture, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Pattern: Dolly by Jess Hutchison (ravelry)

Yarn: Cascade 220

Needles: US6

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I whipped up a couple more potholders. These have been a really good way to practice machine-sewing binding. I only had to re-do a couple inches on these potholders, which is a personal best for me. I intend to make a few more sets as practice before I quilt and bind Isaac's monkey quilt.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Isaac sporting his new rainbow onesie at the Pride parade last weekend.

I think this was the biggest Pride parade in Minneapolis yet, there were 400,000 spectators. Super fun! Isaac, however, was more interested in our food and his feet than the parade.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Warm Cool Quilt Along - sewing the rows

After I settled on a layout I chain-pieced the rows together. Now I have four rows, ready for ironing and then more sewing.

My grandma taught me this method when she helped me make my first quilt from denim squares. I am a huge fan of chain piecing quilts because I am not a very organized person. At some point, every project of mine ends up looking like this:

Having the rows chain-pieced makes it easier for me to start and stop and not lose track of where blocks go. If I'm making a large quilt I label the top of each row. Also tremendously helpful is having a picture of the intended layout.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

For Father's Day

For Father's Day I made Isaac a little tool belt / apron to go along with a toy tool set. The pattern is from One Yard Wonders.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Warm Cool Quilt Along - layout

I got all my half-square triangles cut, sewn, pressed and squared. I *think* this is going to be the final layout of the mini quilt:

It occurred to me while I was laying the pieces out that I included fabrics with all different values - lights, mediums and darks. If I had more (or maybe less?) variety in my stash I could've chosen fabrics from one or two values. This finished product is going to look a little scrappier than I'd envisioned.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Take that, mosquitoes!

I made some beer bottle torches, following this tutorial, for the summer. Thanks to the cool weather and lots of rain, our backyard is so full of mosquitoes this year it's ridiculous. The torches help a little but not enough. It's kind of a bummer since we just got a fancy grill installed and were looking forward to spending a lot of time in the backyard this summer.

But on the plus side, our yard has never looked nicer - also thanks to the cool weather and rain. All the plants are flourishing - hostas are huge, groundcover is spreading, fruits are ripening - and all we've done is weed a few times, scatter some seeds and plant a few annuals.

I was able to find all the parts for this project in only one trip to Home Depot. That is amazing. Usually projects that take a trip to Home Depot require at least 3 trips to Home Depot. I did make one trip to my local Ace store where I bought materials for the torches themselves, but Ace did not carry the hardware to hang the torches.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Warm Cool Quilt Along

A bit late to the game, but last night I started the warm cool quilt along hosted by In Color Order. All of her posts are so inspiring, I felt compelled to join in.

I'm making the mini quilt. Here are my fabric selections:

This is all fabric - mostly scraps - from my stash. I had a surprising number of yellows in my stash. Not surprisingly, I have more blue than all other colors combined. I have almost no reds, and all the pinks are scraps from the big pink quilt I finished last year. I can't wait to put the squares together!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Black, white and grey

I attended my first Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild meeting back in February, where we swapped strips of black, white and grey fabric. The challenge was to make something adding only one solid for the top, plus optional additional solids for the binding and back. The big reveal was in mid-May. My project was a little wall hanging for my sun room.

I quilted this with my walking foot, making parallel lines 1/4 inch on each side of the seams using black, white and grey thread. I'm really happy with the result, it looks great in our sun room :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baby pea coat

I found a pattern for a hooded jacket for Isaac, and I bought yarn to make it last fall. I should've bought one more ball of yarn... I did not have enough to finish the hood. So Isaac got a pea coat instead of a hooded jacket. I also should've started the jacket sooner... I finished it in late May and the little guy wore it once. I'm packing it away for the fall, hopefully it will still fit in September.

Pattern: Lino's coat (ravelry)

Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Bulky

Needles: US10

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fruit trivets

Pattern: Crocheted fruity trivets and pot holders by the Purl Bee (ravelry)

Yarn: Rowan 4-ply cotton

I doubled-up the yarn and used a smaller gauge hook than the pattern called for. I did have a problem with the sides of both the trivet and the potholder curling up, so I sprayed them with spray starch and ironed them on high heat. Problem solved!

It was hard to find a cheap yarn line that had both a light and dark orange. I have quite a bit of the dark orange left over, but none of the light orange. I hope to make a matching set, maybe of lemons or limes, if I can find suitable yarn.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting ready for summer

In preparation for warmer weather, I made Isaac a sun hat using the Betz White reversible bucket hat pattern. I made the smallest size, and it fits him just perfectly. He hates it though. He hates all hats. He spent most of the time he was wearing it trying to get it off. I did get a picture before the fussing started.

I used a cotton quilting print that I got on clearance from a local quilt store, and some denim that I had in my stash. I was a little intimidated by the idea of sewing curved pieces, but the pattern was actually pretty easy. I'll be making a few more for Isaac in different sizes and maybe one for myself as well.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Good bye, winter!

I think we can safely put away our winter hats in Minneapolis. Finally.

There's one hat that I made for Isaac that's getting packed away in the attic. It fit him perfectly this winter, but I'm sure it will be much too small next winter:


Pattern: Penguin Pal Hat (ravelry)

Yarn: Single ply wool

Needles: US6

There are a couple other hats I made that will (hopefully) fit this fall.

Pattern: helix hat, from Peggy Lexau's colorwork class at the Yarnery

Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft DK

Needles: US6

Pattern: Heirloom hat from the Purl Bee

Yarn: sock yarn mill ends

Needles: US3