This quilt is for Hannah, my cousin-to-be down in Georgia. Hannah will be the first baby born amongst the eight cousins on my mom’s side. Can’t wait to meet the little one!
Made from men’s dress shirts, this is probably the most amount of colors I’ve ever used in a quilt. The back is two yards of Liberty of London, which seems to be my fabric of choice for making baby quilts.
A huge thanks to my dear friend Ayça for being the model behind this quilt. She has the strongest fingers and most quilt holding endurance of anyone I know. We photographed the quilt together around our Brooklyn neighborhood last weekend, cheering up the slushy snow from recent storm Nemo.
Let me introduce you to my bicycle. She’s a 1972 Schwinn Breeze, manufactured in our very own Chicago, Illinois. The Schwinn catalog will tell you her color is Burgundy, although I like to describer her as Raspberry, pronounced razzz-berry (sounds so breezy, right?). She was a gift from a long-ago boyfriend, and while he didn’t stick around, she found a place on display in my apartment. I was initially attracted to her glitter handlebars, and the two-tone seat sealed the deal.
I have a love/hate relationship with this two-wheeled beauty – she’s a bit slow, very heavy, and loves to run out of air. Maybe a few of those things could be fixed, and she’d certainly look heavenly with a wicker basket and streamers at the end of those magnificent handles, but while she’s on winter hiatus, let’s just leave her be. She’s resting up for summer, where she will make her way to various Brooklyn beaches, fending off catcalls from hipsters whizzing by on their fixed gears.
Winter hiatus. Or you could call it winter hibernation. It’s the few weeks each year I take vacation from work to stay in the city to explore, rejuvenate, get inspired, and make things. The quilt in the background is my most labor-intensive yet, totaling exactly 2,808 pieces, 13 men’s dress shirts, and almost a hundred hours (so far!). It will be a few months until I finish putting all the layers together, and make important decisions such as, “What should the back look like? What color should the quilting thread be? And the binding…?” After finishing the patchwork last night at 3am, I’m looking forward to taking on some smaller endeavors in the meantime.
On her latest visit to Brooklyn, my friend Stephanie suggested a quilt block exchange amongst our trio of textile lovers, including Tara. We formed our rules: each person must make six squares sized 24″x24″ using shades of white and creams. Each person keeps two of their own squares, and sends two squares to each of the others. The deadline was December 19, but of course, none of us hit the deadline (poorly timed with holiday gift-making season!). This week, after somewhat mastering the skill of quilting circles, I delivered my pieces to Stephanie and Tara.
My fabrics are a mixture of men’s dress shirts and purchased yardage. I wanted an excuse to start using the 3,287 (maybe a slight exaggeration) decorative stitches that my sewing machine can produce, so I added texture with rows of embroidery. I’m going to create a throw-sized sampler quilt with all six of our combined blocks, so stay tuned.
Each Christmas, my mom coordinates a gift exchange between me and my three brothers. I drew one of my younger brothers from the hat this year, and I wanted to make him something that will both warm his new home and appeal to his love for wildlife.
The photo shoot took place on my mom’s farm in Michigan, where I grew up and spent my early days riding horses and playing in cornfields. The antique stool that holds the pillow was my mom’s from childhood. Look closely and you’ll notice a missing rung. The slightest breeze would throw the stool off-balance, and within seconds of the photo shoot, I was picking the pillow off the soggy ground. Photoshop did a good job cleaning off the mud spots!
The deer silhouette is hand embroidered with a dark gray floss on a cotton quilting fabric. A plaid trim finishes off the pillow. Many thanks to my very talented older brother for being the photographer behind many of these shots – let’s hope he can keep this a secret until the gift is opened tomorrow!
Last year I made my friend Evan a tiny bookshelf ornament for his annual tree trimming party (also the subject of my first blog post). This year, after an exhausting week of work travel, I had just an afternoon to put something together. I wandered the aisles of my local art supply store looking for inspiration, going back and forth between the styrofoam balls, metal tubing, and decorative ribbon. Nothing was coming to mind. So I picked up a sheet of thin balsa wood, thinking I’d carry on last year’s theme, and went home to ideate.
A few hours later the string art ornaments emerged. You might be impressed by my perfect circle cutting skills. Here’s a secret: they’re punched from my 2″ circle cutter, the most random tool that every serious ornament maker should own. The project was a great way to use up old spools of thread in my sewing stash.