A “Maker’s Curiosity”

Do you ever wonder if you have too many creative hobbies?  Although knitting and sewing have been mainstays for me, I have ventured into embroidery, cross stitch, clothes making, jewelry making . . . well you get the point.  I believe the skill and practice of making causes one to look at the world differently.  We makers start to examine more closely how things are constructed and what materials they are made with.  That study often propels us to the next question of whether we can make it ourselves which at least in my case, leads me into new creative hobbies. (I treasure this “maker’s curiosity” by the way as it seems a rarer and rarer characteristic in our buy everything from Target, disposable culture.)  All these words to say I have ventured into some new creative fronts this month while continuing work on my mainstays of quilting, knitting and bag making.

Dying Fabric requires a ton of rinsing muscle power and a ridiculous amount of water.  Who knew? The results however are hard to compete with.  Following directions from Malka Dubrawsky’s “Color Your Cloth” and Kim Eichler-Messmer’s Book “Modern Color” I dyed some organic fleece in various shades of blue using both dry and wet dying techniques.



Using this pretty substrate I decided to try sewing knits for the first time with my new serger.  It’s a tad ridiculous how easy my machine makes its all for me.  I decided to make the very popular Linden Sweatshirt (Linden Sweatshirt – Grainline Studio) and had to adapt it a bit by making the neck opening a little wider, lengthening it an inch and making a wide split cuff at the bottom.  I look Kind of silly in the pic but man this sweatshirt is comfortable and I already have plans for others.



I decided for the first time as well to combine fabric and knit together in the Shawl Collar Baby Coat by sweet k m. (Direct Download PDF Knitting Pattern Shawl Collar by sweetKM)

What better fabric to use then some hand dyed by Kim Eichler-Messmer from a previous order and I topped it off with a vintage button.  The pattern recommended using a felt heart on the inside to better secure the button.  I will definitely use this technique in future sweaters.  What a cute detail!




I ended this week by making up and testing a new bag pattern.  Oh this is a good one!  Look for more examples and maybe even a pattern or tutorial in the future.




Merry Making.


Creative Distractions






This Monkey Mind of mine has kept me distracted on several fronts.  Needing a little Spring in the middle of dreary winter, I came up with the idea of painting heavily starched white linen and making up linen flowers to embellish everything I own.  I experimented spraying starch, tinted with watercolor paints, on the linen and  also tried painting the linen with acrylic paints in all shades of pink before cutting out petals and hand sewing them together.  This has been a popular project among my friends and daughter hence more coming up.






I’ve also been working the sticks and made up a cowl for a girlfriend and a baby girl dress for another.  Both are made out of malabrigo yarn.  I increasingly love well engineered knitting patterns and this simple baby dress qualifies with it’s “knit in one piece” construction, knit in pockets in a complimentary gray yarn and spots to use two of my blue vintage buttons. (patterns here: Ravelry: Bulle pattern by Karen Borrel and Ravelry: Vite Cowl pattern by Kristi Johnson)

I was fortunate to take my kids to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit at Alcatraz in San Francisco this weekend.  The exhibit is a combination of visual and audio art meant to honor and bring attention to imprisoned artists around the world.  It was a treat to see but I think I fell most in love with the whole Alcatraz experience: San Francisco on sunny winter day, the quiet beauty, the history, the smell of Eucalyptus on the island and the color scheme . . .  SWOON!  A project in Alcatraz Palette is in my future for certain.













Circles and Squares






Recent Creative Work includes a quilt top of my own design: pieced concentric circles cut into 10×10 inch blocks and reworked.  Once again I found inspiration in Modern Art.  You can see the poster that inspired me here: AnuiColor | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.  This quilt top is still in search of a name.  Do you have any good ideas?

The cowl is made from 2 skeins of Malabrigo Rasta yarn.  The free pattern is here: Ravelry: Blue Brambles pattern by Alyssa Heath.

Did you notice the new picture in my blog header?  The pic is a herd of curious Chamois we ran into hiking around Zermatt, Switzerland.  It was such a treat to see them and how lovely are they in the fog?



The Hills Are Alive . . .

Guten Abend , Ich habe dich vermsst.  Just off the plane from Switzerland and I still feel in sensory overload.  Truth be told, I never knew I wanted to go there.  After being gobsmacked with such stunning natural beauty, I can’t imagine that I didn’t always dream of a visit”

Our family loves to travel.  My daughter once told her teacher that traveling was our hobby. 🙂  I think we inherited this wanderlusting from my sister and brother in law who have explored the world at length, lived in London and Europe and now have permanent residency status in Australia.  Once we started exploring at home and abroad, we put money away every month for our travels (while making ourselves comfortable with our old cars and home.)

My husband gets a few weeks off a year.  When his week off came up for September, we decided to do a little hiking in the Alps while my parents generously volunteered to watch our kids.  One of my favorite things about traveling Europe is the amazing rail system.  We took advantage of the Swissrail during our recent trip and toured the country without a car.  Those train trips gave me plenty of time to complete a baby sweater for a friend whose daughter just got out of the NICU.  I was able to use some of my vintage buttons and knit it with Cascade 220 yarn in gray.  The pattern is Little Buds and can be found on Ravelry here: Ravelry: Little Buds in English pattern by Karen Borrel.  It was such a fun knit, I am sure to make it again.




On our recent trip, we spent time in Zurich, Wengen, Zermatt and Lucerne.  It was a thrill to hike so close to the Eiger and the Matterhorn.  We heard (via the bells around their necks) and saw sheep and cows all over the hills.  We hiked among Chamois and saw Edelweiss up close and personal.  We channeled James Bond and hiked to Schiltorn in the Jungfrau region and we hiked to the Matterhorn base camp to see climbers heading up the mountain and rescue teams plucking folks off the mountainside.  Honestly, it was one of our best trips ever and it has inspired many creative ideas that I am anxious to share soon.

















imageAuf Wiedersehen,


Let’s Break the Rules. Shall We?

Let’s break the rules.  Let’s deviate from the pattern or not even use a pattern at all.  Let’s create with nonconventional/non-flavor of the week fabric. Let’s repurpose when we can.  Let’s think outside the box.  Anyone with me?


Ha!  I sound like such a rebel don’t I?  Obviously I’m being a bit dramatic but must say I’ve been pondering a lot recently on the substrates I use for creating. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way but I am often left overwhelmed by all the newest fabric lines that seem to appear every hour.  And don’t get me wrong, I cherish my designer fabrics and special threads, etc.  Sometimes though, I feel like bucking the system and deviating from the norm.  This theme helped in the making of my latest baby quilt pictured above.  Not surprisingly, I named it “Break the Rules” baby quilt.  It garnered this name as I used nontraditional fabrics (ikea canvas and denim and cotton from the remnant pile off my local fabric shop), made up my own design that is pretty modern and nontraditional for a baby quilt.  I also mixed techniques making this using both traditional piecing and needle turn appliqué.


I followed the same theme with a cowl I made yesterday.  Once again though the beautiful green yarn was lovely, my rebel streak made me add a postage stamp splash of orange.


For some real rebels check out Luke Haynes who often makes his quilts with repurposed clothing.  His fiber art is off the hook cool.

LUKE! – Luke Haynes.

Also check out my friend Bianca who sews almost exclusively with vintage patterns and fabric. She is amazing.

Thanks! I made them!.

Now I need to play with some of my plentiful designer fabric and work on a sweet toddler girl sweater because we modern girls are allowed to be girly and traditional too.



A Palate Cleanse

Bold, Graphic, Black, White – These themes have been calling me this week, perhaps in reaction to the color overload of our recent vacation.  I’ve ditched the small needles and delicate lace weight yarn for some lovely worsted weight hand dyed yarn in dark gray by Neighborhood Fiber Company.   I also finished up a quilt top this morning in black and white linen/cotton by Rober Kaufman that is all bold and graphic.  These have provided quite the palate cleanse.


My quilt top was heavily inspired by the work of Mark Grotjahn.  You can find some of his paintings here:

PHILLIPS : Art Auctions | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions | Private Sales | Private Collections.

I’m calling it “Queuing Theory” which per the Wikipedia definition means “the mathematical study of waiting lines, or queues”.




I’m not quite sure how to quilt this bold beauty up.  A big package of Aurifil thread came into by possesion recently.   Here’s hoping it lives up to  it’s amazing reputation.

in other news, the challenge of working with lace weight yarn paid off and a picture of my Windspiel shawl was picked up by Flickr Explore.  My husband is happy to remind me that it is actually HIS picture.  🙂

Windspiel Lace Shawl- Explore | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.


I have about 4 more quilt designs and several bag designs percolating but the next few weeks are full of work and family.




Monday Musings – Creative Inspiration and a New Shawl

Hi my blogger friends!  I have missed you.  I feel like the last few months have been all about work and travel with limited time for creating in between.  Although I’ve had less time to create I’ve certainly had a lot of time to ponder future projects.  My family and I just returned from a trip to the Southern Caribbean island of Bonaire.  It may be an island you have never heard of as it is less developed then the more popular islands and the land itself is pretty arid and desert-like.  Those of us who go there however, go for the water and sea life.  Bonaire never disappoints.  My mind is spinning from all the variations of blue we came across in the sky and sea contrasted with the bright colors over the rest of the island.  No sewing machine meant no quilt or bag making but I did find time to do some hand stitching and I finished a lace shawl that has been in the works for awhile.

Ravelry: Windspiel pattern by Nicole Eitzinger.






The importance of blocking a knit garment is never as obvious as when making lace.  The pre-blocked version is shown below.  Considering the conditions I was knitting in (on the beach surrounded by sea and sand) this knit benefitted from the washing that took place with my blocking as well.



Before signing off I have to share some of the pictures from our trip.  Expect to see a lot of blues, oranges and mustards in my future makings.








Lastly I have to share some amazing local paintings I discovered by the artist Alejandra Riquelme.  Although I don’t think I would make these into quilts (though they are begging to be imagined that way) I would love to interpret some of my own pictures onto quilts in this fashion.  Inspiring!!


9L4A0608Blessings and I hope you have a wonderful week.



Forward Motion

Catching up on family and work needs after my weekend retreat but also making slow, steady progress on knitting and sewing projects. I’ve been adding to my hexie quilt a few hexies at a time and loving how it is evolving. Also making SLOW progress on my first lace weight shawl. Oh my goodness, this knitting takes so much attention. I have to constantly check the pattern which is not what I am used to with knitting projects. It doesn’t yet much look like the finished product on Ravelry. I am hoping for miracles when finished and blocked. Pattern here:

Ravelry: Windspiel pattern by Nicole Eitzinger.

Lastly, I did finish my Carolyn Friedlander Needleturn applique on vacation and liked it so much I am working on another with more fun Maze and Vale fabric. I’m hoping they will come together as complimentary pillows that are not too matchy-matchy.

Hope your crafting is moving forward as well.


This and That

Spring is showing herself in big ways.  We are loving walks (when it is not pouring-Yay rain!) along our country road watching our neighbor’s newborn calves and soaking up all the flowers in bloom.  It is SO green here which is a nice thing to see for this Seattle transplant as we will soon enter the dry, very warm part of the year in northern California.




Spring has inspired me to start some new projects. I have several in the works, some just completed and other fun plans in store. 🙂

First I must share this little beauty my crafty aunt sent to me. It was in exchange for a bag I made her several months ago. My picture is not the best but the lovely lady says “Beautiful Transparent Wings”. She will fit nicely in my sewing space.


I finished lining my recent Noodlhead Duffles and sent them off to my nieces with some other handmade goodies. I really like how the lining adds more heft to the bags and it was fun to find complimentary fabrics.




I also recently finished a sweater for a friend’s child. I made the five year old version in FrogTree Periboo Worsted in Grey and Pink. This yarn is dreamy and I will certainly knit with it again in the future. The pattern can be found here:

Ravelry: Colorblock pattern by Karen Borrel.




In the embroidery arena, I’ve been doodling a little with french knots again. Loving this handwork and I need to make time to do more!


I’ve also indulged in several new fabric purchases in the last few weeks. (I am such a bad girl as I am bursting at the seams in fabrics but fabric hoarding is a disease I suffer from).  I especially treasure the handprinted fabrics from Leslie Keating and Umbrella Fabrics.  Australia must have magic in the water that helps folks produce such lovely handprinted fabrics.  I am hooked!







The last two pictures are of Umbrella prints trimmings.  Every year the fabric company has a competition challenging people to use their trimmings in different ways.  I have several ideas in mind but not sure they will make it to fruition.  We shall see.  Contest details here:

Umbrella Prints: 2014 Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition.

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.