Slow Stitching

I am halfway into a month off of work and ironically as I rush around trying to fit the rest of life in I find myself more stressed then relaxed?  That soooo is not what vacation is about right?

Inspired by the book “Slow Stitch” by Claire Wellesley-Smith, I decided to slow things down a bit with handwork.  I have always found peace in knitting and excitement in sewing (excitement in sewing??  Haha! I’m sure that sounds so funny if you are not a maker.)  It turns out at least for me that sewing can be relaxing if you do handwork in little bites.


I started the process by cutting up some ill fitting jeans and doing reverse shibori with bleach on the pieces in various folding patterns.  Holy Cow, what a fun easy, quick process that was.  All my future jeans are destined for bleach jobs.



Every night as I have been sitting and watching movies with my husband (such a rarity during the rest of the year), I have been devising and stitching up new little patterns with bits of felted wool, recycled leather and silk floss.  The shibori Os called for some Xs so a theme took hold.

I wasn’t quite sure what was to become of this concoction but finally settled on a bag I have been dreaming up.  It called for a leather border with mitered corners and to add more interest (and help attach it to my extra firm pellon interfacing) I machine embroidered with invisible thread even more Xs and Os.  I used the back of a vintage feedback for the inner part of the bag.





This thing is VERY impractical with silly little pockets on the inside that don’t hold much but I am in love with it as an art piece.  And as with most of the makes I love, it is destined for someone else worthy.  I think they will get the wonkyness of it.  I hope so.


Two Friends – Two Bags

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated 1000 followers on Instagram by giving away a custom made bag of their liking to a follower and a friend they tagged.  I picked by random two delightful and talented sewists Valerie (Between Quilts) and Nicole (Mama Love Quilts).  Go check them out they are lovely!

In any case, I wanted to make something extra special for them that reflected their friendship with some connection using designs of my own.  By lucky coincidence, a pack of beautiful Marimekko fabric I bought on sale and some new leather I picked up were available and sent me easily into creative mode.


Nicole had highlighted a previous bag I made out of recycled orange and white leather so I ran with that idea, this time using new white and blue leather with a bit of the Marimekko Pink Unikko print.  I hadn’t written down the dimensions of my previous bag so I winged it (wung it?) as I tend to do.  The leather this go around, probably because it was new, was a little stiffer then my previous attempt but I am pretty pleased with the results.


For the second design, I chose the same Unikko print but this time on the outside of the bag along with some dark blue suede in what I call my Mini Museum pattern.





I made inset zippers for both bags and had fun fancying both up with metal feet and pull tabs for the zippers.

I think these gals who I now consider friends genuinely liked their bags and honestly I LOVED making them.  This whole virtual world can feel like a weird online dating game sometimes and I hate that some people know me more by what I make and my tagline rather then by face and up close interaction but I guess this is the new world and no question I have made some amazing friends here.  If you are interested in seeing even MORE of my pictures and are not already tired of me, you can find me on Instagram here: Hillary (@entropyalwayswinsblog) • Instagram photos and videos

My May Bee Sewcial Block came together last week as well.  When Marci gave us our assignment (Bee Sewcial | Flickr – Photo Sharing!) for the month to work on a village block, I kept thinking of San Francisco from Marin County looking across the Bay.  That image informed my weird shaped block.  It is fairly literal though totally improv.  I hope it works for her quilt.




Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge

Well friends, I finished up my Umbrella Prints Trimming Competition Entry.  I had at least 10 different ideas in mind (and with another trimmings packet left, I may use another idea still) but ended up going with themes that I am familiar with-linen, repurposed materials, a big bag and the red cross symbol.  I still have quite a bit of my husband’s old climbing rope left and I really enjoyed the Man-Purse I had previously made so I decided to make up a similar bag design.

A Man-Purse for Kris | Entropy Always Wins.

I used the Umbrella Prints scraps to outline the cross symbol in a quilted fashion.  I used some black and turquoise linen I had on hand and upcycled some black cordura for the bottom and top of the bag.

Umbrella Prints: Golden Ticket.





I used some left over scraps to put a top edging on an inner pocket.



This was such a fun challenge!  So tell me, what do you think?  Anyone out there also finished on their Umbrella Prints creation?  If so I would love to see it.

Happy Easter everyone!


Sew Together Bag

I know, I know.  I said I was going to sew something other then bags (at least I said that in my head).  But this isn’t really a bag is it?  It’s more like a clutch or a sewing aid. 😉  Of course I’m talking about this rocking bag design by Sew Demented called the Sew Together Bag.  Pattern here:

Sew Together Bag by SewDemented | Sewing Pattern.

I’ve been inspired by all the different versions of this bag on Flickr and I’ve got to say this pattern is a keeper. The green around us and the birds building their nests inspired me to put together this fabric combination. I grabbed some scraps of Pippijoe Nests (I don’t think she makes it anymore so I am treasuring every last scrap!), some Alexander Henry Home Dec Dots and Ghastly Brambles fabric and the amazing Dots in Olive from True Colors by Heather Bailey (I can’t wait to make more with this line!!!)





I see more of these bags in my future!

An Addition to My Inheritance

Many moons ago, my grandmother and mother taught me how to knit and sew. Every Christmas and birthday as a child, Grandma LiLa would make my brother and I handmade toys and clothes. When my knitting skills progressed she made me my own knitting needle roll which I use to this day. When she died I inherited her own knitting needle rolls, needles and all. To say I have an impressive collection is an understatement.



I love these old rolls as they remind me of her and cause me to reflect and appreciate the skills and interest in making things with my hands that she passed on. Even with all this storage, my cirucular needles have been hanging out in a large, beat up freezer bag. After perusing Jeni Baker’s blog (In Color Order: Recent Sewing Projects) I found a pattern (Circular Knitting Needle Wallet PDF Pattern by TheCraftJunky) that was perfect for what I had in mind. This is a great project for fat quarters so I pulled together several complimentary Kaffe blue fabrics and sewed it up. Such a fun and easy project.  Happy Friday everyone.





Handmade Treasures

My creative efforts have been a little frustrating lately. I ran out of fabric in the middle of making another geometric baby quilt top and a shawl I am knitting is turning out more washcloth size then shawl size. I did however finish up a Mala requested by my husband for his woodworking shop. Not only is his shop full of huge power tools, it is his man cave of sorts. On the walls, he has hanging his long surfboard, climbing gear and memorabilia from the kids and I. He wanted one of the necklaces I make before I had used up all my favorite Turkish Tassels. (Tutorial here: I thought it was appropriate in turn to show it off with one of the wood boxes he made me in that man cave a few years ago to store my rings. Isn’t it beautiful? He is quite a woodworking artist.


Pull Gaspard Baby Sweater

I am slowly making progress on baby gifts for friends. Today I finished a 2 year old sized boy sweater using Malabrigo Arroyo in Glitter.(pattern here:  This pattern is well engineered and knit up quickly (though it took some concentrating especially around the neck line to get it right).  The big pocket will be perfect for storing toddler treasures.




Since it is Valentine’s Day, I tried adding one of my handmade linen boutonnieres. (Linen Flower tutorial here: )



Only 6 more babies and mommas to knit and sew for.   :-/

A Place to Store Ideas

I whipped up an Idea Pouch from Michelle Patterns (pattern here:  It fits a standard composition book nicely and holds lots of pens in the inner pocket.  I can imagine making up a similar pouch for my guy out of Corudura or leather.  Pretty pleased with myself that the apples on the front pocket and flap match up.  In my case, it’s always better to be lucky then good. 🙂



Michelle Patterns Pocket Clutch

Continuing to foster the “soft” side of my personality, I sewed up a Pocket Clutch from Michelle Patterns (pattern here:  This was such a nice departure from my other recent projects.  It is so tiny and delicate with two inner pockets.  I used one of my favorite vintage buttons and the pattern is simple and straightforward.  I give it a strong recommend.  Alas, I think the Yang part of my creative personality is going to be hard to control.  I spent the rest of the morning drawing up plans for another geometric baby quilt, this time in black and white. 🙂


A Man-Purse for Kris

The other day I was laying in Savasana at the end of yoga class (you know, the time when your mind is supposed to be blank, ha!) when I started pondering projects for my new Juki.  For some reason my husband’s old climbing ropes taking up space in our garage came to mind.


When my husband and I finished Med School in Seattle we moved to Cleveland to start his ER and my Pediatric Residency. This was a rather traumatic move for my guy who had become quite the rock climber, climbing El Capitan when we were in school and spending every free moment in the mountains. In Cleveland there was not a lot of outdoor Rock climbing to find and he needed a partner to accompany him. With minimal climbing experience under my belt, my husband would drag me to every local rock wall and granite quarry. On one such adventure, we ran into a young college kid who was equally as thrilled with climbing. Kris had quite the style. He knew how to make polyester from Value Village look good and was “popping tags” way before Macklemore made it cool. Some people are just gifted that way I guess. 😉 Kris was also the first guy I knew who had a man-purse. I was so thankful to him at the time for getting me out of rock climbing duty and of course introducing us to great music and style.


Kris has since moved to Colorado to be closer to the mountains he loves. He is now a High School teacher with a wife and daughter and reportedly has the same awesome style. He’s told me he still wears the fleece jacket I made him, reinforced with duct tape, from that time when we all had no money. A couple of his students dressed up as their favorite teacher for Halloween this year.


I’ve been putting together a gift package for Kris and his family to include a hat for his daughter, a toddler harness my kids have grown out of and I decided to use the climbing rope to make a new man-purse for our friend.  I used some Cordura and my favorite organic cotton canvas as well as Pellon heavy duty one sided fusible interfacing and a favorite print from Ikea for the lining.



My Juki handled herself quite well and I was pleased how easily she sewed through so many layers including the climbing rope.  I’m looking forward to trying out some other new designs.