Category Archives: sewing

Some More

When I was in Cairns, Australia last summer, I bought these pants…

 

Actually, they’re not quite pants. They’re sort of a harem pants/skirt hybrid. Sometimes wearing them makes me feel like a genie, other times I feel like a total dork and can’t help but be reminded of Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed and her gaucho pants…but they’re not really gaucho pants either.

All that really matters in the end is that they are incredibly comfortable. They’re soft, swishy, and allow all the free leg movement of a skirt, but all the ‘coverage’ of pants (meaning I can bike in them, sit cross-legged, pop a headstand if I’m so inclined). I love them.

So this Saturday, while it thunderstormed outside my window, I decided to make some more of them.

I made a pair out of my Jay McCarroll Germania knit:

 

And another out of this fun, paint-swiped fabric that I bought at Mecca for approximately $2:

 

And then… I made three more.

 

It probably goes without saying that these are incredibly easy to reproduce. And I now have a lifetime’s (or close to a week’s) supply of genie pants. How marvelous.

Speaking of some more of a good thing, when I was put in charge of dessert for our Mother’s Day dinner, only one thing came to mind. Summertime meals in the Eccles family are all about outdoor grilling and this often followed by roasting marshmallows over the remaining coals. However, I decided to step it up a notch this time and make the s’more ingredients myself.

First, I whipped up a batch of graham crackers from this recipe. Quite easy and loaded with cinnamon:

 

Then I tackled the slightly more daunting task of homemade marshmallows.

Whenever I’m going to make a recipe that intimidates me, I read through it several times—often over the course of a few days—so I know exactly what to expect. This is helpful, but can also exaggerate the difficulty of the task. Making marshmallows did require some attentiveness—I diligently watched my thermometer for about 8 minutes until the sugar-water mixture was exactly 240 degrees—but it wasn’t rocket science.

And the result, if I do say so myself, was pretty divine:

 

Fluffy, sweet, soft…delicious. And even better when roasted.

 

In case you were wondering, you can also roast a marshmallow over a regular old candle. I may have experimented with this on Saturday afternoon—you know, just to be sure these babies were really truly marshmallows.

And while I bought Hershey’s Dark chocolate for the s’mores (I figured making 2 out of 3 of the ingredients was good enough), I did make some other chocolatey treats this weekend.

Friday was a crazy busy day at work, so by the time I got home I was craving some comfort food, nothing complicated or fancy. In fact, I really just wanted one flavor. The solution could only be chocolate pudding:

 

No words. Really, there are no words. All I can say is that whatever comes in those individual Jell-O cups is not even remotely the same dessert. Fresh, warm chocolate pudding is like eating a bowlful of the gooey middle of a piece of warm chocolate cake—which is the best part anyway (and we all know how I feel about warm chocolate cake). Oh, and if you’re thinking that warm chocolate pudding topped with roasted marshmallow would be as close as your taste buds can get to heaven, you’d be right…

My only two alterations to the recipe would be this: I found that I didn’t need to use a sift, and the only way this would amount to 5-6 servings was if you have the willpower of the gods.

I also made dark chocolate-covered espresso beans for my Dad’s birthday (which is today):

 

Basically, there’s always room for some more chocolate.

Progress on my latest quilting project has been a bit more modest. Those of you familiar with traditional patterns probably recognized my sketch of a Double Wedding Ring Quilt. Yes, I decided that in light of my recent engagement, I had to make one of these quilts—I’m an art historian at heart, after all, and I love the quilting tradition as much as I love its contemporary counterpart. I figured that using my own multi-colored dyed fabrics would allow me to put my personal stamp on it.

So far, I’ve managed to cut nearly all the necessary pieces:

 

But have only gotten through this much actual piecing:

 

Turns out, I’ve taken on a very ambitious project—methinks that this pattern was invented at a time when young brides-to-be had nothing to do but sew (hey, no judgment; I often wish I had nothing to do but sew). So far, the process is slow-going and finicky, but hopefully it will start to come a little more naturally. Either way, I’ve committed to this project and I’m determined to succeed. It will be hard work, but worth the effort—not unlike a successful marriage.

And if Kyle this quilt ever really starts to stress me out, at least I’ve got lots of leftover marshmallows and a bowlful of chocolate pudding in the fridge.

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Engagemoon

When I discovered that the latest meeting of the New England Modern Quilt Guild was going to be held at this marvelous place:

 

I decided that this would be the perfect excuse for a little getaway. Portsmouth is only an hour (or 45 minutes when Kyle is driving) away, but it’s one of the most charming, classically New England towns ever so once you’re there, you inevitably want to spend the night. Conveniently, Kyle proposed a week before the guild meeting, so we had yet another excuse to go: our Engagemoon.

What does an Engagemoon involve? Well, after ogling some gorgeous quilts at the guild meeting’s show-and-tell, I managed to escape Portsmouth Fabric, which is a literally overflowing with temptation, having only purchased this:

 

Really, the last thing I need is more fabric, but who can resist such a lovely fat quarter pack of Kaffe Fassett polka dots?

 

 Sigh, I didn’t even try to fight it.

Afterwards, Kyle and I met up for an evening on the town, starting off with a bit of bar hopping. In honor of the Kentucky Derby, one bar was offering $5 Mint Julips. This may sound like a light, refreshing summer drink—and don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely tasty—but as far as I can tell, it’s basically just sweet whisky and this made the rest of the night rather entertaining.

We dined at Black Trumpet, a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall restaurant where we enjoyed lots of delicious food, the highlights being duck confit and a cheese sampler:

 

Hours later, we ended the night with Izzy’s ice cream where I got the best possible combination—warm, gooey, chocolate brownie buried beneath coffee heath bar ice cream. I didn’t take a picture; I was eating.

The lovely thing about made-up holidays, is you can use them as an excuse to do whatever you like, and to declare every little mundane aspect of the day(s) special. Our Engagemoon, therefore, included much more than just the trip to Portsmouth. It extended all weekend long and included homemade berry muffins (from Jessica’s recipe—thank you, they were delicious!):

 

And turning my fat quarter pack into a swingy, polka dot skirt:

 

Not to boast or anything, but this was quite the success given that I used no pattern, and really wasn’t sure how well it would turn out. It fits beautifully, and isn’t it just so joyful? Wearing it puts me in the mood to twirl.

Part of our Engagemoon also involved grungy clothes, the new red bucket that my mother gave me…

 

And a whole lot of fabric dyeing.

I know have a massive pile of hand-dyed fabric, ready and waiting.

 

Again, I stuck with solids; I’m drawn to them these days. I also enjoy the low-water immersion method since I get that mottled, imperfect look which gives the fabrics more character. Wait until you see what I have planned for these fabrics—it’s a little different than my usual quilting, but it’s sort of a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity.

What we didn’t expect was that our Engagemoon would involve a massive water contamination problem in the Boston area, and having to boil all of our water before drinking it—not incredibly convenient. But if there’s one thing the Eccles family does well, it’s turn lemons into lemonade (made with bottled water, of course). So we (my parents, sisters, Kyle and I) used this unpleasant problem as an excuse to get dinner together at the Summer Shack in Cambridge, one of the few non-contaminated towns. What a lovely way to end the weekend—with people I love and a dinner that’s just as classically New England as Portsmouth: a big old steamed lobster.

 

 Delicious.

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Upside Down

Is this not the happiest looking bag you’ve ever seen?

 

But of course it is. Clearly, I decided to add the buttons. I think it was a wise decision.

Do you know what else makes me very happy these days? Besides, of course, the fact that I’m engaged (sorry, I had to throw that in there—it hasn’t gotten old yet)! Cake.

Here’s the weird thing—I really don’t think of myself as a cake person. I’m always preaching about how ice cream is my number one dessert of choice. But take a look at the lovelies that I’ve consumed at various restaurants in the past week or so:

 

And that doesn’t even include the chocolate cake that Kyle and I fed each other on Saturday night.

Clearly, I have a particular fondness for any cake whose description includes the words ‘warm’ and ‘chocolate,’ thus the first two cakes from Bistro du Midi and Rialto. That misfit is sticky toffee pudding from Hamersley’s Bistro, one of few alternatives that can tear me away from chocolate (and no, I don’t normally eat out this much!)

Upon further reflection, I think the issue isn’t so much the cake itself, but the way that most cakes come: as big old honking rounds that you have to slice into and eat as much as possible of lest they go bad. 

(OK, this was a particularly horrendous example that I came across a couple of weeks ago at a super divey diner in New Jersey, but still…)

But give me an individually-sized cake, warm and fresh from the oven—and accompanied by a side of something cool and creamy—and I’m a happy gal.

Another one of my non-chocolate favorites has always been pineapple upside down cake. Baking a cake upside down makes it different in a good way—and since my life has recently been turned upside down, also in a good way, I declared this past week Upside Down Cake Week. The best part is, I used my beloved 2 cup Mario Batali pan to make individually sized cakes which we could eat in one go—therefore enabling me to make a whole new kind of cake the next night, guilt-free!

 

 In order: the classic pineapple upside down cake, banana chocolate chip upside down cake, and strawberry peanut butter upside down cake. The accompaniments, in order: pineapple fool (yes, fool is back!), my homemade banana chocolate ice cream, and Edy’s strawberry ice cream—I may have come to terms with my love of cake, but I still can’t forgo the creamy accompaniment.

The best part of upside down cakes is, of course, the layer of fruit, butter, and brown sugar that caramelizes beautifully while the cake cooks, and ultimately ends up on top once you’ve flipped the cake out of the pan. I used the same basic recipe for all three of these cakes, but tweaked it a tiny bit each time. And, naturally, I used whole wheat flour because you know more theory about whole grains negating caloric content…

Individual Upside Down Cakes

For the topping:

  • 1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons melted butter
  • Fruit of your choice:
    • 2 slices of pineapple
    • ½ banana, sliced
    • About 4 strawberries, sliced

For the cake

  • 3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • ½  small egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • Additions:
    • Pineapple: 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice
    • Banana: 1 heaping tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • Strawberries: 1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter (I melted the peanut butter in the milk before adding it to the flour mixture, and I left out the regular butter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the topping, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until it has dissolved slightly. Cover the bottom of a small dish with the butter/sugar mixture (my pans are about 4¾” in diameter), and lay the fruit on top.

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the egg, butter, and whole milk, and any ‘additions’ (pineapple juice, chocolate chips, etc.) and beat until just incorporated. Poor the cake batter over the fruit topping. Cook at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the cake springs back slightly when touched.

Allow the cake to cool for about 3 minutes before flipping it right-side up.

Tomorrow my fiancé (sorry—last time!) and I are off to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, so we’ve decided to lay low tonight. He has some preliminary business school paperwork to get through, so I will gladly give him the couch and park myself in my new favorite spot. I’m calling it my stitching station:

 

For some reason, I’m spending lots of time on the floor these days—it’s good for spreading out all of my stuff and having a fellow carpet buddy makes Shuffle a very happy bunny. His new favorite pastime is removing the pins from my pincushion, one by one:

 

While Kyle is working, I’m planning on a marathon crochet session (yes, I just confessed to a Friday night of ‘marathon crocheting’)…

 

 …and methinks individual apple and almond upside down cakes are in order.

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Even Better than Buttons

I woke up on Saturday morning to this:

 

Kyle told me they’d had an antique show near his work where he’d bought me buttons. I love antique buttons so I was pretty thrilled—what a wonderful way to start the day! I slowly sorted through them for about 5 minutes, all the while thinking to myself, ‘it’s the little things like this that make me want to spend the rest of my life with him.’

Then I saw the box.

 

And, of course, I said yes.

 

It’s really hard to write a blog post that manages to capture the feeling you have on the day you decide to spend the rest of your life with the man you love. Kyle and I have been together for nearly eight years, but nothing could prepare me for the moment when he kneeled down before me and I knew without a single doubt that this was exactly what I wanted for the rest of my life. I can’t even begin to describe the countless ways in which he makes me so incredibly happy–but from the mundane to the extraordinary, every moment we spend together feels special. I have just as much fun traveling to exotic places and eating fancy food with him as I do watching TV in our pajamas and chowing down on sandwiches.    

Speaking of which, we celebrated with a picnic lunch:

 

And a dinner at Bistro du Midi which, of course, was full of copious amounts of incredibly good champagne, food, and wine—but none of that matters as much as the incredibly good people who met up with us afterwards to celebrate the night away.

Sisters (real and spiritual), and good friends…

 

And our honorary best (and biggest) man Brecher, who along with my beloved sister Z, organized this night of utter shenanigans and merriment.

 

Let’s just say, we didn’t go home until the city started to shut down around us.

 

Waking up on Sunday morning was a slow and gradual process. Kyle and I said farewell to those who had spent the night on our sofa, then had a recovery breakfast of pancake truffles (adapted from Caitlin’s brilliant recipe—thank you!), served with maple syrup from a white elephant teapot that my mom recently gave me.

The rest of our Sunday was gloriously slow-paced and low key. After the whirlwind of excitement, it felt really good to engage in my usual, calming activities. I baked some bread (simple honey wheat hamburger buns):

And, of course, did some sewing—turns out, this is even more fun when you have a gorgeous diamond ring to admire while cutting and stitching (I always thought I wasn’t really into diamonds, but it turns out I’m more traditional than I thought—for the past 48 hours, I’ve been that girl who can’t stop holding out her hand to look at her engagement ring. I absolutely love it.)

Anyway, remember my idea of making a kickass patchwork bag out of my hand-dyed fabrics? I decided to model it off of one of my favorite totes which has a nice big slouchy shape and round base.

 

It went together surprisingly quickly:

 

I decided a brown base on the outside would be a nice contrast with the colorful patchwork, so I threw in a fun base on the inside instead:

 

I’m incredibly pleased with how it’s turned out but I don’t think it’s entirely done just yet. I went back and forth with the idea of adding buttons and I think I’m going to give it a go. In fact, some of those antique buttons match the fabrics beautifully—if that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

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My Sewcial Saturday

Look what I made on Saturday:

 

Look what else I made:

 

In case you’re a little slow on the uptake, these are one and the same thing. Yes, I made a quillow. It was  rainy, dreary day and all I wanted to do was stay inside and sew. So, I whipped out a packet of sample squares from Deb Strain’s Saltbox Harvest line by Moda (as I’ve mentioned before, free fabric is another one of the many perks of working at a quilting magazine) and…I sewed. All day long. It was exactly what I needed.

I actually had no idea what a quillow was until Friday morning when I stumbled upon the term in an evening course catalogue that I was flipping through. I signed up for the upholstery class instead, since a quillow sounded like something I could figure out on my own; it is, quite simply, a quilt that folds up into a pillow. Furthermore, when unfolded, the pillow pocket can function as a foot warmer. Brilliant. I kept this super simple–straightforward patchwork, a pillowcase binding technique, and ties instead of quilting stitches, because my main goal was to figure out how to make this marvelous hybrid fabric creation.

But that’s not all, folks. I also squeezed in some hand stitching, and completed four of my Kandinsky quilt squares:

 

And began two more:

 

I warned you: Saturday was a very anti-social, but sewcial, kind of day.

Actually, my little hibernation began the night before. Kyle, who is working for Charlie Baker’s gubernatorial campaign, had a work-related even to attend to, but I just wanted in a going out mood. Instead, I came home and got all decked out in my Friday night best:

 

I made myself one of my favorite dinners, one that has gone through much trial and error but which I finally have down: sweet potato gnocchi with creamy tomato sauce.

 

I realize they look like dog kibble but, trust me, they’re delicious. It took me some time to find the perfect potato-to-flour (whole wheat, naturally) ratio and to become truly adept at rolling and cutting the individual gnocchi, but I now have a system that works quite well and doesn’t take absurd amounts of time. I’ll get the recipe up here some day soon.

I also couldn’t resist trying out another soufflé. This time, I went with chocolate.

 

It was exquisite, if I do say so myself. Moist, warm, fluffy… It even rivaled my beloved warm chocolate truffle cake from EVOO! This is good news for my bank account but for my waistline? Not so much.

Thank goodness I enjoy working out, and started off my Saturday with a run in the rain. This is surprisingly pleasant and kind of invigorating—and definitely better than the treadmill—but it does call for a nice warm recovery breakfast. So, inspired by last weekend’s brunch, I made my own homemade granola:

 

The best thing about making your own granola, aside from getting to choose exactly what goes in it (in my case: oats, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, raisins, and dates), but eating it fresh out of the oven and still warm. Heavenly.

By mid-morning, I was sufficiently warmed up so decided to take my first stab at homemade ice cream in my cuisinart ice cream maker. My flavor of choice: chocolate banana. As I’ve said, I’ll eat ice cream in any weather, but I don’t normally have it at 11 in the morning. Well, I decided to treat myself to a pre-lunch mini cone since homemade ice cream calls for some rule breaking:

 

But this is where my successes in the kitchen ended. Remember that teff flour that  had been fermenting in preparation for injera? Epic fail. I’m not sure why—though I suspect it may have been that our apartment has been unusually cold these days and may have killed the yeast—but my Ethiopian bread-making attempt quite simply did not work. It fell apart, tasted sour, and looked more like concrete than bread. Let’s just say I was rather  disappointed. I’ll give it another go at some point, but at the time I wasn’t in the mood to troubleshoot so Z and I came up with a quick plan b and went to Sagra where I had…more gnocchi (this one in a lovely duck ragu).

 

Z also gave me a batch of her delicious mini chocolate chip banana muffins. Naturally, this paired quite perfectly with the chocolate banana ice cream.

 

Clearly, my Saturday night quickly recovered. Hey, you can’t win them all—and the failed bread was probably a sign that I needed to get out of the apartment at this point anyway.

Speaking of not winning them all, my Sunday morning yoga class was randomly brutal. I’m not a yogic master by any means, but I’ve been going to Baptiste for a while now and have many classes where I’m happily shooting up into crow or headstand (even the occasional handstand), effortlessly flowing through my sun salutations, feeling strong and balanced—this was not one of those classes. It was quite possibly the longest 90 minutes of my life. Even tree pose felt like an enormous amount of effort. Thankfully, yoga is usually a lot more pleasant, but I have to admit it’s good to have the occasional, humbling class. I slept and ate well the night before, I hydrated, and I did everything ‘right.’ But there’s only so much you can control: your body is going to tell you what it is and is not up for, and you really need to listen to it.

Nothing that a nice big omelet at the Cheesecake Factory, where I went with my Welton for brunch, couldn’t fix:

Is it just me, or is this post dragging on? I’ll end it here, and leave you with one last colorful picture that will hopefully brighten up your Monday:

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All Good Things

I just realized that the post I wrote on Friday never got published, so you might want to check out the previous post before this one. On that note…

Here are just a few of the reasons I had yet another joy-filled weekend:

1. I got a bike. And it’s a hybrid—like me! This means it can function as both a speedy road bike and a casual commuting bike. One side of the pedals are for clip-in shoes and longer, more hardcore rides (such as the one Kyle and I took Saturday afternoon) while the other side is ‘normal’ and allows me to bike to yoga in flip flops and to brunch in moccasins, both of which I did on Sunday. It doesn’t get much better than commuting in the sunshine and not having to get in a car all weekend long. I’m completely hooked.

 

2. I remembered how much I love Boston. I’ve lived here all my life, but I still have those moments when I discover something new or simply remember what I’ve always loved in the first place. Saturday afternoon, I went downtown and walked along Boston Common in the lovely, cool sunshine. My destination: Windsor Button, which I was visiting for the first time. I can’t believe I’d never been before! It’s a miraculous, adorable little store full of yarn, embroidery thread, and buttons that you can scoop up and buy in bulk:

 

I bought some more embroidery floss, needles, and small thread scissors. I decided that I needed a proper portable sewing kit to facilitate my current addiction to hand sewing (I even sewed on the T ride back!):

 

I also but buttons and…

3. I finished my Easter egg yarn project. I decided to make a small turtleneck scarf, which I thought might turn out really weird, but, actually, it’s adorable and comfy—not to mention perfect for cutting the slight chill of a windy bike ride:

 

4. Then, I dyed more yarn. Yes, I’m addicted.

 

5. I met a friend for brunch. Alicia was back in beantown for the weekend and we had a delicious brunch at Grafton St. Since I’m officially broke, I got the cheapest thing on the menu which happened to be outstandingly good. Creamy yogurt topped with warm, homemade granola. This is definitely going on my always-expanding list of foods to make on my own.

 

6. I finally tried Ethiopian food. A couple friends and I decided to go to Addis Red Sea for dinner, which I’ve been eager to do for the longest time. My conclusion? It’s absolutely fabulous. I mean, what’s not to love about lots mushy, flavorful food that’s eaten with mounds of spongy bread and no utensils? And what goes better with excessive amounts of carbs than a bottle of honey wine?

 

This must have put me in the mood for finger good because the next night.

7. I made tilapia tacos. Sometimes I’m really in the mood for those somewhat tedious kitchen tasks that require lots of chopping. Fortunately, this was one of those times since I decided to make avocado mango salsa:

 

I also tried my hand at homemade wheat tortillas. These actually weren’t difficult at all and, though they’re obviously more time consuming than heating up store bought tortillas, they were worth it—there’s nothing like tortillas straight off the griddle, even if they are a tad asymmetrical.

 

I bought a tub of sour cream, grilled some tilapia fish in hoisin sauce, and voila—the perfect finale to another perfect weekend.

 

I hope your weekend was full of all good things, too!

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A Lucky Lady

I arrived back in Boston last night at around 6:30 pm utterly exhausted. Kyle and I grabbed a quick dinner, and climbed in bed while the hour was still a single digit. But, for some odd reason, I couldn’t fall asleep. I tossed and turned until single digits this morning, then finally dozed off. Needless to say, I’m currently enjoying injecting a large ice coffee with two turbo shots from Dunkin Donuts. It’s just one of those mornings.

I think I couldn’t sleep because I was still buzzed from having such a completely wonderful weekend. Once again, I had (more than) 48 hours that were full of so much goodness. All that joy and contentment was still swarming around in my head last night and made it hard to hit the hay. But I can’t really complain.

This weekend, my family (parents, sisters, grandma, and Kyle) went to Princeton, NJ to visit this handsome guy (my brother) and watch his crew race on Saturday morning (he won!):

 

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit (which I imagine is most), Princeton is one of the most charming and beautiful little towns ever. Definitely worth the trip. Everything about it, from the small boutiques to the funky restaurants, elegant architecture, and blossoming trees, has suchcharacter and appeal. The gorgeous weather helped as well. I started out my days with long runs in the cool morning sunshine (with my Dad and sister–much more fun than solo!). We shopped (I got, among other things, a wonderful new kitchen accessory that you will certainly be seeing soon), we wandered, we talked, we laughed, and we ate absurdly delicious food. Some highlights:

 

Peanut butter chocolate lava cake from Witherspoon Grill.

 

 A short ribs appetizer and some selections from the charcuterie plate at Elements (an outstanding restaurant all around).

 

A pre-dessert dessert of homemade bacon and an eggshell stuffed with French toast and some kind of frothy eggy topping. This was pretty glorious.

The eating extravaganza ended with a Easter brunch at a funky little restaurant called Rats, followed by a walk through the sculpture park.

 

Let’s just say the Eccles family knows how to celebrate in style. As we all get older and as life continues to be busy, weekends like this become increasingly special and essential. I’m in withdrawal already.

I was out and about almost all weekend long, but I did get some crafting done in the 5-hour plus car ride there and back. I worked a bit with my Easter egg-dyed yarn, but I spent most of time sewing. Yes, I decided to mix things up a bit—I always forget that a needle and thread can be portable, too. And I’m not going to lie; I’m pretty psyched about this latest project.

I mentioned earlier that my sewing muse had flown the coop, and that I needed a more bite-sized approach to my quilt making. I prefer making larger finished pieces, but these days something about tackling full-sized quilts has felt monotonous and daunting. Fortunately, I’ve found a solution that has me re-invigorated and suits my current working style. I’m making individual 12″ blocks which can be worked one at a time, and which I will satin stitch together to form a large, finished piece.

It took me a while to figure out the pattern/shapes, etc. that I wanted to go with and I didn’t push it. I just let the pile of bright cottons that I bought at Sewfisticated sit in my sewing room for a couple of weeks until the right aesthetic came to me, and I’m glad I was patient because I’m very pleased so far:

 

These blocks are a combination of appliqué and reverse appliqué, and now that I think about it, they reveal my fondness for the artist Kandinsky. I’m still in hand stitching mode these days, so I’m going to embellish each block with embroidery floss:

 

So far, I’ve been using chain stitch, buttonhole circles, and good old back stitch. Some of my zigzaging lines aren’t perfectly straight, but hey, I was stitching in a moving vehicle, and I never do mind a bit of wonkiness.

This project has instantly clicked with me. I’m excited to work on it, and I’m  liberated by the one-block-at-a-time approach. Good times with loved ones and inspired sewing—I feel like one lucky lady.

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