Dear Kids, part one

Dear Children of Mine,

I fail you daily, in ways big and small. And I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry that you have to grow up in this cruel and broken world.  And I’m sorry that even in our cozy little nest, ugliness can creep in. But I hope that despite my shortcomings, I’m teaching you to love. 

Love, kids. Love the ones who love you, who treat you with kindness, those who accept you and welcome you. It’s so easy to reflect love when it’s being showered on you.

But even more importantly, love those who are different from you. Forgive those who are unkind and those who exclude you. Be kind to the kids who are a different kind of weird than your weird. Include the outcasts. Stick up for the bullied. Because it’s so easy to reflect love, and you might be a source for someone. 

I have seen so much hate in the world. And you will too, I’m afraid. It doesn’t seem to diminish with time. It might frustrate you, like it does me. You might feel helpless, like I do sometimes. I kind of think Yoda got it right, that hate really starts with fear and ends with suffering. But here is the truth:

There is no fear in love.

-1 John 4:18

I pray you find your strength in Love.

-Mom

Overcast (not the stitch, the weather) 

Cloudy weather is usually depressing, but this fluffy pair seems to lift my spirits!  So I thought I would share a little tutorial for these ruched rain clouds.  I made them for a display at the best quilt shop in the world (A Stitch In Time... I am, admittedly, a little biased, as I work there).  As I was making them I thought they could be really cute in a nursery or kids’ room.

Supplies:

  • 1 1/2 yards of ombre stripe fabric (you will cut this in half on the fold, so you will be able to get two clouds from this yardage. Additional details below.)
  • 2/3 yard for back (again, this yardage will be enough for two)
  • high loft batting, 24″ x 22″,  (I used Soft Soft High Loft, we carry it at the shop)
  • thread
  • Frixion pen (or something to draw on your fabric)
  • KK 2000 (or your favorite temporary basting spray)
  • gathering foot (optional, but awesome)
  • walking foot (optional)

More on my fabric choice: I used this color blocked ombre stripe from V & Co.:

As you can see, it comes in a variety of colors.  I used gray because that’s what worked best for me, but it could be cute in any of the colors!  (The line, Color Me Happy from Moda, is a few years old, so if you can’t find it, you could recreate the look by sewing together four 5.5″ strips.  But we still have a few bolts at the shop. It isn’t on the website, but give us a call and we will ship it to you!) Let’s get started!

First, cut your backing fabric in half on the fold, so you have two pieces, 24″ x about 22″, depending on the width of fabric you used.  Draw your cloud shapes on your fabric.  I like to use a Frixion Pen because they iron off, so I’m not afraid to make a mistake.  Freedom!  Set that piece aside for a moment.

Next, you’ll cut your striped fabric along the fold (giving you two pieces, 1 1/2 yards by about 22″) and add gathers.  A gathering foot is perfect for doing this.  After adjusting your settings according to the directions, stitch along the line between colors.  If you don’t have a gathering foot, your best option is to buy one 😉 It really is an awesome tool, but since I’ve already written about it, I won’t elaborate.  If you can’t get your hands on one, you can gather using the traditional method of sewing two lines of basting stitches (at the longest stitch length), one on either side of each line, then pull on one of the threads to create gathers. You’ll end up with a piece like this.

Then, you will adjust the gathers so that your fabric fits neatly on your batting. I sprayed a little bit of Sulky KK 2000 on the batting before I placed my fabric on. It’s a temporary basting spray, so you can reposition if you need to, but it keeps everything together nicely when you’re at the sewing machine.

Next you will layer your backing fabric, drawn side up, on top of your gathered fabric.  Make sure your cloud fits on the ruched fabric with at least 1/4″ all the way around.  Pin around your drawn shape.

Sew on your drawn line, removing pins as necessary.  Be sure to leave a few inches open at the bottom to turn it right side out.  I used a walking foot for this step and the next step. A walking foot helps feed multiple layers through your sewing machine evenly. Trim about 1/4″ away from your stitches, leaving extra fabric (about 1/2″) where your opening is.  Clip corners. (Note: I didn’t stay exactly on my drawn line in a few places. I just used it as a guide.)

Turn it right side out through the opening.  Make sure you push out all of the little nooks and corners of your cloud.
Next you will stitch along your gathering line (with normal settings), securing it to the batting and backing, and locking your gathers in place.  I did pin the gathers down before sewing, and straightened out the line a little, where needed.  Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of each row of stitches. Pick out your gathering stitches.  Hand stitch your opening closed and you’re done!

I made little rainbow floofs to hang from my clouds.  I also downloaded this pattern from Craftsy.  I increased it by 200% before paper piecing it together.  I love that lady and her boots!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions! Where would you hang these clouds?

Thanks for visiting!

 

“Thanks, I made it.”

I love when I get compliments on the garments I’ve sewn, especially when the complimenter doesn’t know that it’s handmade. Whether it’s something I’m wearing or something I’ve wrangled one of my kids into, I relish every opportunity to say “Thanks, I made it.”  And apparently this is my favorite print currently.


I love the color! It’s from Art Gallery Fabrics so it’s so Pima cotton that washes beautifully and is so soft. And it’s from Bonnie Christine‘s Cultivate line, so it’s gorgeous. I made this outfit for Lily from the knit:


And I have another yard of the knit ready to be turned into leggings for Cora. I’m thinking about some kind of tunic to go with them. Any pattern suggestions? She wears a kids’ 7.

I saw a post on Instagram (from Miss Make) of an Anna Maria Horner’s Painted Portrait Dress made in linen. And I thought “I want that.” We carry Robert Kaufman’s Essex Linen in the shop at which I work. (It’s important not to end sentences with prepositions, kids. It is just something with which I will not put up.) But I wanted to do something pretty and summery. So of course I thought of this print! For this dress I used the woven cotton instead of the knit. Here it is:


I kind of love it.  It’s so very wearable, and super comfy! I have plans for a few more, including a linen one with sleeves, so I can wear it in the fall with boots! And we are expecting some fabric from Anna Maria Horner’s Loominous line that I basically want to live in, so I imagine I will make a dress out of that, too.

Action shots:


Me and Lil: matchy models. Bonus: Puck, wondering when the posing will end so we can actually take our walk.

meande

I know, you can barely see the dress but look how cute that boy is! (And it compliments my Tula baby carrier, always a bonus!)

I’m thinking of teaching a class on this dress because it could be flattering on so many different body types. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

How and why I quilt…

I kind of love math. Scratch that. I absolutely love it! Numbers (even the imaginary and irrational), patterns, equations, angles, I adore all of it. It’s how my brain works and makes sense of the world. I also love creating. I feel most like myself when I’m making something, whether it’s sewing, knitting, cooking or even writing. When these two things collide I promise I can feel God smiling at me.

I’m a seasoned sewist, but a fairly new quilter, and I have fallen in love. It’s so very mathy! (Mathy: adj. having mathematical influences and/or aspects e.g. I love the geometric print on this shirt because it’s so mathy.)

So this is how I like to quilt, with rulers and pencils and freezer paper and ideas. Well, and fabric too.


Just to clarify two things: first, you don’t have to love math to quilt, with the right rulers and patterns all that fun stuff is done for you and second, this math isn’t even hard or complex.

For me, being creative feeds my soul. It is a necessary part of my existence. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a husband who understands that and doesn’t mind giving me a corner of the house and the time I need to be creative.  So today, I encourage you to make time for the things that make you feel like YOU!

Thanks for visiting!