My Apron in Haiti

Apron in Haiti

You may remember back in May of this year I made a couple of aprons for Craft Hope to send to Haiti through the organization Haiti by Hand. Here’s my blog post about that apron and both organizations. Well, earlier this week, Craft Hope posted a photo of some of the aprons being worn by their recipients—and my apron is in the photo! There it is being worn by the woman in the white and red striped shirt.

When I make projects for charity, I send the item on its way, trusting it will a home with someone who will enjoy it. It was pretty cool, then, to actually see the person who will be wearing the apron I made. And looking pretty happy about it, too!

New York, New York: Fabric Shopping

My husband and I had a great time in New York the week of Thanksgiving. Such a great time, in fact, that I’m going to break the trip into two blog posts. This first one will be dedicated to my day fabric shopping in the big city. The next part will be about some of the visual inspiration we came upon in our travels.

Our first stop on shopping day was to The City Quilter. The store wasn’t even on my initial list of places to go because I thought it was too far from our hotel. But after talking to my mom before we left, I knew I had to see it. We walked the 20 short blocks from the hotel, since the weather was so nice, and it really wasn’t a bad trek. At least on the way there.

The shop was much larger than I would have guessed for Manhattan. And it was filled with wonderfulness (see photo above). I loved the little cubbies they had for the fat quarters between the shelves of bolts.

At the store I saw the Liberty of London fabrics for the first time in real life. Lovely, although I ended up buying one only after I had the idea of pairing it with some graphic shark fabric for a skirt for my sweet niece, Stella, the shark-lover. Here’s the selection of fabric I ended up buying.

I also liked that the store had a nice selection of New York-centric fabrics. I am a nerd, and I like to pick up fabrics unique to the areas to which I travel. And they carried the Cat Studio tea towels that I collect, too. My goal is to someday make a quilt of towels from all the places I’ve visited.

The employees at the shop were all very helpful and friendly. It was really a fun place to shop (although they could probably use another  husband/boyfriend chair).

The next stop for the day was Mood, the fabric store featured on Project Runway. I have never actually seen the show, but my sister and her nine-year-old son are fans, so we decided to go. Of all the places in New York that we went, this was the most New York. It had a crazy elevator with an attendant, the employees were fashiony and brusque (although some were very friendly), and it was bustling.

I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated and overwhelmed. My plan was to go there to find a wool with which to make a winter purse. And I did end up with a nice piece. But I think I selected it a bit too hastily. It doesn’t match any of my winter coats. Not that that should really matter, but it kind of does. Anyway.

The selection of trims was amazing, too. I loved looking at all the varieties, but I don’t use a lot in my sewing, so I ended up not getting any. This shop did have a table for husbands/boyfriends with a copy of the New York Post, so Greg was very entertained as I wandered.

Our final stop was the Tinsel Trading Company, a trim store that has a beautiful book titled French General: Treasured Notions. I didn’t take any photos at the store, but it was beautiful, glittery, vintage.

As we walked back to our hotel through the Garment District, we peered in the windows of many, many more fabric, trim and bead shops. And, I’m happy to report, I did see a few people wheeling carts loaded with bolts of fabric down the sidewalk. New Yorky!

Next time, I’ll share some photos of the things that inspired me visually as we walked around the city.

Meet Kitty

My husband and I are preparing for our first vacation together to New York City. I’ve only been once before, back in 2007 for work. It being my first trip to the city was memorable enough, but it was made even more so when I spotted someone very special.

It was garbage day in the city. A couple co-workers and I were walking back to our hotels from the Javits Center after a day at Book Expo America. And there she was, on the sidewalk, leaning against a building. Kitty.

Kitty as little worse for wear. Dusty. Possibly flea-infested. But she was simply too good to pass up. So we took turns carrying her the several blocks back to the hotel.

Once there, the question that needed to be asked was, “Now what?” We scavenged some cardboard from the convention center the next day, bought some packing tape at a Walgreens, and fashioned a box that would keep Kitty at least somewhat safe as she was shipped home.

Home, at first, was my boyfriend’s basement. Surrounded by concrete. There she was given some time to air out and lose any friends who may have been hitching a ride on her. I found out only later that my boyfriend (now husband) gave her a good spraying down, too.

Now Kitty hangs on the second floor of our house, above the stairs. From there she keeps a watchful eye. Some say those eyes will even follow you.

I, of course, love Kitty’s colors. And I love the effect of the two heights of looped yarn.

Will my next trip to New York City result in something as amazingly cool as Kitty? I’ll let you know. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed for garbage day.

Mug Rug Mania

I was a girl in need of mug rugs. I blame my husband and the fact he’s a light sleeper. Or it could be that I’m not very careful about setting things down in the middle of the night (water glasses tend to clunk on the table, eye drop bottles tip over, stuff like that). Either way, mug rugs were needed.

So I finished up a couple of projects this weekend and made them into mug rugs! The first one I finished was an experiment in string quilts. Here’s my original blog post about this string quilt project. And here’s how it looks done.

I decided to go with this layout of the blocks because I really like the large Xs that result. And I like that the triangle and binding fabric is only at the edges of the piece. As you can see a little better at the top of this post, the quilting I did is all just straight lines, randomly placed in each strip. Quick and easy.

The second mug rug I finished was my new pal, the flying geese. Here’s my original blog post on this paper pieced project. And here’s the finished* mug rug.

I had to add an asterisk on finished because I just spotted a line of quilting that I missed (can you see it?). I kept the quilting very minimal on this one, as I know the mug rug won’t get a lot of wear and tear. Softening the blow of an occasional eye drop bottle shouldn’t require too much quilting.

Ah, the wonderful feeling that comes with a project complete. Now, on to the next ones that need finishing!

Circle of Geese, Second Attempt

This weekend, I had the opportunity to sew. Sew a lot. Hours and hours of sewing. And, man, did that feel good.

I had some projects in mind to work on, but I also let the sewing spirits move me in different directions, too. One of those directions was toward paper piecing. As you may recall from this early blog post, I tried my hand at paper piecing by making a circle of flying geese. Each “goose” had its own paper piecing template. That resulted in 12 separate paper pieced sections to make. You could say I was highly challenged by the project.

After that, I was happy to never try paper piecing again. But this weekend, I had the opportunity to not only try a paper piecing project but to make the same project: a circle of geese. This template, however, had only four separate sections. A huge improvement. And I was in a sewing mood, open to experimenting, looking for new challenges.

So I gave it a go.

I think I had to unsew four times, tops. Compared to my previous attempt, that was a huge improvement, too. I don’t know—the concept of paper piecing just made sense this time. Maybe I wasn’t over-thinking it. Or maybe the atmosphere made all the difference. Either way, I think I can “un”swear off paper piecing. It’s really not that bad.

The template that I used to make this circle of geese came from Piece by Number; click here for the link. Give it a try!