Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hopscotch – In Progress

Now that spring has officially sprung, us New Yorkers have headed outside.  I’ve been spending a lot of time walking around my Brooklyn neighborhood taking in the warmer weather and the general happy moods of all my neighbors.  It’s been wonderful and a great time to be in New York.

As I’ve been walking the streets of Brooklyn, I’ve seen a lot of sidewalk chalk in use.  My neighborhood is packed with kids and they have been filling the sidewalks with lots of colorful drawings and a lot of hopscotch games.  Oh how I loved playing hopscotch when I was a kid!  I’m so glad kids still do this.

I was walking down my own street a couple of weeks ago when I came across this lovely hopscotch drawing and inspiration hit!

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Most people see hopscotch – I see a quilt pattern.  I immediately headed home and started sketching out a rough pattern.

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Sometimes I draw out elaborate patterns and carefully figure all of the dimensions, sometimes I draw rough patterns and edit them as I go, and sometimes I just start cutting and see what happens.  This was a case where I had a rough drawing to go by but by no means was committed to it.  Once I started cutting and laying everything out, this was one of those times where I made some changes as I went.  This is what I’ve come up with.

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I have to be honest, I’m not as happy with it as I thought I would be.  I feel like something is missing but I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Although, now that I’m looking at the images I like it better than I did when I finished it up over the weekend.

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I usually find that once I have the back on, the quilting done, and the binding finished, I tend to like the end result so maybe I should just go with it?  I am going to think on it for a week or so before I completely commit to anything.  Or if you have any suggestions, feel free to offer them up!  I have been toying with the idea of adding a border of some kind but I’m not sure.

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In the meantime, I already have the fabric picked out for my next project so I’ll probably get started on that while I ponder this quilt.

Meeting Lotta

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This weekend, deisgner Lotta Jansdotter’s Brooklyn studio is open for a special exhibition.  It opened Friday evening and you can view some of her friends’ work and take a tour of her creative space.  When I saw the invitation on her blog I knew I had to go.  I stopped by Friday evening to take a peek.

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Lotta’s studio is only about a 15 minute walk from my apartment located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn.  When I walked in I immediately fell in love.  Her studio is exactly what I picture my dream quilting studio to look like: A white, open space with high ceilings and lots of room to work.

I got to meet Lotta, who is so delightful, and grabbed some pictures of her space to share.  Get ready to be very envious!

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Obviously my favorite part of the studio.  Her fabric is so gorgeous.photo 6

I love her dinnerware line, but then you know how much I love pretty dishes.photo 5

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Okay.  Who else is super jealous of her studio?  I’m ready to move in any day!

How To Catch A Frog

Artist, fabric designer, and author Heather Ross was on-hand last night at PowerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn to give a reading of her new book How To Catch A Frog and other stories of family, love, dysfunction, survival, and DIY.  I’m a huge Heather Ross fan and was so excited to attend the reading and get my hands on a copy of her new book.

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We’ve all heard you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but isn’t this one of the most charming covers you’ve ever seen?  Of course it’s one of Heather’s own designs and there are sweet little drawings throughout the book that I love.  I cannot wait to dive into it and start reading.

The book, as the title suggests, is about her life and childhood, which wasn’t so typical, or what most of us think of as typical.  During her reading last night we got a hint as to what that life was like for her and I’m fascinated to read more.

With our book purchase, we also all received a print Heather designed especially for her book tour.  I love it!  This print is so me and I can’t wait to hang it in my apartment.

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As an added bonus, we all left with Meyer lemon & thyme preserves Heather’s friend Maggie Brown made to celebrate the book launch.  You can read about the significance of choosing Meyer lemons on Maggie’s blog, but as quick background, Maggie mentions that Meyer lemons grew by the boxful in Heather’s godfather’s California home, and writes about how ‘many subjects could represent Heather’s life in a jar.’  Life in a jar…I so get that.

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When I think of my childhood, especially summer –the smells, the flavors, the activities – I always think of rhubarb.  Yes, there were lots of other things going on like riding bikes, playing with friends, barbequing on the grill, etc., but for me, summer and rhubarb go hand-in-hand.  I remember it growing along the side of our house, cutting the stalks when it was ready, and then finally getting to eat it.  Sometimes my brother and I would eat it raw with a little sugar on it, but usually there was an array of rhubarb sweets all summer long.  Rhubarb crisp, pie, bars, you name it, and my grandma would make rhubarb preserves that we would eat all yearlong on our toast in the morning.  To this day, whenever I’m home visiting my parents during the summer, I always request my mom make some kind of rhubarb dessert.

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The gift of Meyer lemon preserves was so thoughtful and such a nice personal touch; I can’t wait to try it.  I would like to say that I’m going to make a lovely Meyer lemon vinaigrette for a salad, but let’s be real.  I think a Meyer lemon martini is in my future!

Piles O’Fabric

Living in a small New York City apartment leaves me little room for storage, which is probably a good thing for those of us with fabric hoarding tendencies, but over the years I’ve made do and come up with a way to buy as much fabric as possible without it completely taking over my apartment.

My fabric stash is not beautifully displayed – I dream of the day that happens – but it works for me right now.  The problem is that when I’m planning my next quilt it has to all come out and then all be put back in its place.  There’s really no other way around it.  So this is what my living room floor looks like when I’m in the middle of my planning my next quilt.

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I start by making piles of fabrics I think would work well together, move them around, mix and match different fabrics, and then edit them down until I come up with the right combination.  And then I often make changes after I’ve started cutting and laying it all out and decide I need more of this color or less of another color.  I’m really a visual person and this is the process that works for me.

I think I’ve come up with a color and fabric combination I like for my next project.  Here’s a little look at what I’m working on now.

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I’m really excited about this one and can’t wait to share more.  Happy Sunday!

Mom’s Quilt – Finished

I’m adding another quilt to the finished pile this week with my mom’s embroidered quilt.

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My mom, who retired last year, recently decided to take up embroidery.  Yes, it was a shock to everyone.  Mom has never exactly been a sewer, knitter, embroiderer, etc.  I would say she’s more of a gardener, but she seems to really enjoy embroidering, especially during the winter when gardening isn’t really possible in the Midwest where she lives.

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It started because she had to finish some embroidery blocks for my grandma and that somehow triggered her inner embroiderer self.  I say good for her!  So she went to her local craft store and picked up quilt blocks to embroider, like my grandma likes to do.   Once she started, she got on a roll and finished them in pretty good time.  That’s when I came in and put them together to make a quilt.

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When my mom visited last month, we went to The City Quilter so she could pick out the fabric for the back and the binding.  It is Clothworks Everything Blue collection by Marsha McCloskey.  She wanted something blue and floral to complement the blue in the quilt blocks and the Everything Blue collection fit the bill.  The solid blue border between the blocks is Kona Cotton in Windsor.

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For the quilting on this one, I went with navy blue rather than white thread, which I tend to gravitate towards on much of my quilting.  I really thought the blue would add something to the blocks and mom agreed.  I’m so glad I went with the blue quilting.  It really does make the blocks look better.

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Now that this is done I have to pack it up and send it to my mom so she can admire her embroidery work.

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By the way, word on the street is that she’s working on some new quilt blocks.  We’ll see what she comes up with next.