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Handmade Holiday 2016

So here it is...my handmade holiday round up for 2015, and it's long. 

How is this year different than years past? This year I took requests (always a dangerous thing to do). Here's how it went down:

For the littlest girl I made pajamas. She picked the fabric for the pants from my stash, and I sewed them up using the basic pant pattern from Dana Made It. Then we headed to H&M for some coordinating organic shirts. Now these pj's are her pick for sleep, afternoon tea with her animal "friends", and everything in between. 

Next up, the 5 year old. He proudly wears handmade hand-me-downs almost every day to kindergarten, and melts my heart into puddles on a daily basis. For these reasons he received both a knit and sewn gift. 

Hat is a Dreiecke adult knit in leftover Madelinetosh Vintage yarn from my Camilla pullover. The kid loves it. 

Pants are sewn from one of my all time favorite pant patterns, the 2 in 1 reversible pants by DMKeasywear. I can't say enough for this simple, easy to follow, hard wearing pattern. The boys and I both love that when one side of the pants get a hole or a stubborn stain, they can be pulled inside out to the other side. 

Fabric is organic and adorable, from the Picnic Whimsy line for Birch Fabrics. Boy's clothes are generally so predictable, so choosing bold, fun prints like these are what it's all about when it comes to handmade in my opinion!

Third, is an unfinished knit for my second oldest. He requested a simple knit pullover in blue cotton yarn for the holidays. We searched some options on Ravelry, and he settled on this Sunday Morning sweater in Cascade Yarns cotton. Easy peasy right? Nope. Not for me! I just can't seem to finish this sweater, and it's nobody's fault buy my own. I can't say why, but it just not holding my interest. Sorry buddy - I'm doing my best to finish this thing by year end (or Valentine's Day :)). 

Last but not least, the big kid. She's ten now and can't wait until she can wear everything I own, so it was only natural that she requested a different color of the hat I was knitting for myself one night. Pattern is the Dottie hat and cowl. I'm a huge Hannah Fettig fan, and these hats and cowl were a simple, fast knit, perfect for gifting. Yarn is an acrylic mix picked up from a bargain bin by the five year old to match the mint winter jacket she loves so much. 

 Phew... if you are still reading, THANKS, and a very Happy Handmade Holiday to you and yours!! 

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Jessi Peasant Dress for the Holidays

So it's been a while. I know. But here I am sharing again, and that can only be a good thing, right? Right. It's a quick share really, just a peasant dress made for the two year old for the holiday season. She picked the gifty animal print fabric by Creative Thursday from my stash with a big smile. I paired it with some Birch Fabrics organic mod basics in orange cream dots to make a not-too-hoilday combination. 

Pattern is the simple Jessi Dress by Sew Sweet Patterns. It's available as an instant download on Etsy, so you can make this dress in one afternoon if you have time, and materials on hand. Perfect for handmade holidays! 

And speaking of handmade holidays, I've been busy sewing and knitting up a storm. Hopefully I will have more to show for my flurry of handwork as the weeks wear on... Until then, happy making everyone!

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Poolside Sweater Hand Knit Done


So here it is. My (finally) finished Poolside Sweater. This is my first attempt at lace knitting and, like so many virgin experiences, I mostly enjoyed it. I may have cast on the neckline a few times before I got it right, and I may have lost count of my stitches a few dozen times while knitting in the car, but (ahem) I may do that on every sweater, every time, so I can't really blame the pattern. Truly, this pattern is a great first lace project. It's well written with a simple lace repeat that is quickly memorized, and it includes a schematic for the visual learners among us (I'm raising my hand here). Also included is a list of stitch abbreviations with clear instructions on how to make stitches, hand how to wrap and turn for short rows. 

Yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Dafodil colorway. I chose this yarn based on the Poolside projects I spied on Ravelry, and I'm so glad I did.  Other than being smooshy and soft against the skin, it's subtly irregular texture and color variegation camouflaged my rookie lace knitting mistakes. So thanks Madelinetosh, I owe you one! 

Photo credit goes to my husband, who always makes me laugh. 


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Hancrafted Improv Quilt Top 

So I finished this quilt top with my Handcrafted fabric right around the time that Alison Glass released her new Handcrafted 2 line. I was sewing along happily, when I took a break to check social media, and WHAM there it was: a collection of 16 more Handcrafted fabrics. I know I should have been thrilled to have more beautiful fabric out in the world just waiting for me to sew it up, but instead I felt forlorn. I felt like a kid who finds out that the sequel to their favorite movie in the whole entire world has just been released, but they're not ready to see the sequel yet because they're still so darn busy loving the first movie. So please Ms. Alison Glass, stop releasing so many new stunning fabric lines at such a breakneck pace! I'm still way too busy loving your first Handcrafted fabrics to see Handcrafted 2 just yet. Sheesh. 
None! I simply cut and pieced improvisationally until I was happy with a block, and then trimed it down to a 9 1/2" square. 

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Handcrafted Improv Quilt Started

So you know those people who buy something and then go home and tuck it in their closet or fold it into a drawer for a while, sometimes never actually wearing or using that item because it's just "too special"? Well, that's not me.  I'm the lady who wears her new shoes home from the store because well, they're special, and special things should be used, like, immediately. That's why I surprised myself by saving my fat quarter set of Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric. I received my stack of Handcrafted fabrics in the mail, put them on a shelf in my sewing room, and found myself looking at them, or petting them the way other women may pet a Chanel bag, with awe and reverence at their utter loveliness. Then I read, Quilting With A Modern Slant: People Patterns and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community, by Rachel May. It was in that book that I was reminded by one of my favorite quilters, Malka Dubrawsky, that "It's just fabric!" Yep. Just fabric. So I made the first cut last weekend and the results are pictured above. I think I will end up with a lap sized quilt but I'm not sure yet. It's all improvisational right now, and that's just fine with me. Baby steps. Baby steps. 

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Finished Lulu Sweater

So when I lived in New York City I took the subway to work each day with literally millions of other people. Of those millions, a few made lasting impressions. One was a boy that rode the train with me nearly every morning for about the length of one school year. He was in high school and he knit. He knit sitting. He knit standing. He knit soaked with rain pressed up against strangers while discussing gossip with friends. His friends never seemed to notice that he was knitting, and this astonished and inspired me.

I carried his image in my mind for years, and each time I was pregnant I would whisper to myself, "this is my boy who will knit." Did the whispering work? I think probably not on our 7 year old boy. But this one... this 4 year old sweetie... I think just perhaps he's the one.  

As you can tell from the photo above this kid loves his new Lulu sweater. In fact, he adores all things handmade, and has been asking since he could talk for me to teach him how to make, make, make. So naturally, he was involved in every step of the making of this cardigan. He picked the Quince and Co Opsrey colors himself, and was very clear that the darker blue (Fjord), was to be "surrounded" by the lighter blue (Belize). Alos, the buttons had to be a golden color that could also maybe be wood. I'm a night knitter, and knowing this he checked on my progress every single morning. Every. Single. Morning. For weeks, "how many rows did you knit last night?" was one of the very first thing I heard upon waking. So yeah, I think he needs to learn to knit, and soon. A knitting boy indeed.  


*Knitting notes can be found on my Ravelry page

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Banyan T-Shirt and Yoga Shorts

So today is the last day of Kids Clothes Week, and I've finished a couple of more items that I'd love to share. Unfortunately, my little model was in no mood to cooperate with me today. Each time I approached with a camera she yelled, "NoNoNoNo" and ran away. Ah well, these photos will have to do.  

Top is  Figgy's Banyan Tee and Tunic. I made the tunic in size 2 and it fits perfectly. With all of the patterns out there I find myself returning to Figgy's because of their clarity and killer style. I simply love the designs. If I had the patience I would scale this pattern way up and make this shirt for myself!

Shorts are the yoga shorts from the book Sewing Mod Kid Style. They took about 20 minutes to sew with my serger, especially since I chose not to finish the hems. The beauty of sewing with knits in my opinion is that I don't have to finish hems! But really, how cute is that fold over waistband? 
So that's it for the sewing for this week, in this house. Thanks to Kids Clothes Week for motivating me to sew our girl a little handmade wardrobe. I've had a great time participating along with the amazingly talented people posting on the KCW community site!! 

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A Sally Dress

So take a look at these photos and you'll see something very authentic. No photo shoot here. Just a handmade dress taped unevenly to a fence, and then that same dress in action. Two year old style. If your not sure what I mean by two year old style, just check out the stickers, mask, and necklaces, all accented by blue marker that was used as "lipstick" just moments before we headed outside to play. This is what being 2 looks like in our house.

Dress pattern is the Sally Dress from Very Shannon. This dress is described as being suitable for advanced beginner and intermediate sewers, and I think that's something to highlight. Unlike the three simple raglan dresses that I just finished, this dress required hours in a quiet room alone with my sewing machine and lots of caffiene. A serger also helps. That said, I think the extra work and time were worth it! Just look at the gently pointed shoulders seams, and the lined pockets. So special!
The only change I will make next time I sew a Sally Dress will be to size up. It was a little bit of a struggle to get the dress over my girl's head and arms comfortably, though the dress fits well once it's on. Sizing up one size in the bodice should solve that problem!
Now I'm heading over to the Kids Clothes Week site to see what everyone else is sewing this Friday. Want to come?

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KCW Spring 2015 - Bear Dress

So here we are on day 4 of Kids Clothes Week and so far all I've sewn are different versions of the same simple dress.  I could say that I'm getting bored sewing this way this week, but that would be a lie. I'm actually loving the simplicity of it all. Getting to know a sewing pattern and playing with it is fun!! It's also nice to sew something that I know will fit and be loved. So far this girl loves each and every one of her animal dresses --and she's a fickle pickle when it comes to getting dressed, so that's saying something!  

So what's different about this dress? The front is a patchwork of different fabrics, that's what! To construct it I used a largish scrap of the bear print, and flanked it with a yellow crosshatch print (leftover from the backing of our boy's Scout Quilt). Now I want to make more patchwork dresses using wonky log cabin quilt squares. There are just so many ways to make this same simple dress... Somebody stop me!!


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KCW Spring 2015 - Unicorn Dress

So you know when you finish an item and before it's even pressed and worn you have ideas about how to make it well...not better, but different? Well that happened while I was sewing my girl's elephant dress big time. So though I had other plans for KCW this week, I ended up making two more simple raglan shift dresses, each slightly different from the other.  

This dress is two sizes larger than the elephant version, and I added two rows of shirring at the empire waist with elastic thread in my bobbin. Sewing with elastic thread is magic for children's clothing. If you've never tried it, and want to, then check out this tutorial.  Pure genius. 

Pattern: Whole Grain Baby Raglan Shift Dress in size 4 (see my notes on this pattern in yesterday's post)

Fabric: Heather Ross Far Far Away 2 Unicorns in blue for body, and Snails in orange for sleeves

And stay tuned - the third raglan dress will be here on the blog tomorrow!

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KCW Spring 2015 - Elephant Dress

So when the first really warm day of Spring arrived last week my littlest girl had nothing to wear. Apparently she grew so much this winter that none of the warm weather clothing in her closet could fit over her head. She ended up playing outside all week in an undershirt and her brother's shorts. It was adorable and sweet for a few hours, until it wasn't. It was then that I signed up to participate for Kids Clothes Week, or KCW.  If you haven't heard of KCW, it's basicly a sew along where you pledge to sew clothing for kids for at least an hour a day for a week. If you want you can post photos of your sewn items on the KCW community site, and/or tag it on Instagram. This week, KCW is serving as my own personal kick in the (handmade) pants by forcing me to sew this wee one a spring/summer wardrobe.

The theme for Spring 2015 KCW is Wild Things. If you knew this girl, then you would know that I could sew a simple white sack for her, and "wild things" would still be the theme - she's that, well, wild. (See above photos taken in the rain this morning for a glimpse of this girl's devilish nature!)  She does love elephants, and elephants are wild things, so I chose this black and white elephant print to kick off the week.

Pattern is an old standby by Whole Grain Baby.

I'm not even sure that Whole Grain Baby still sells patterns after a quick internet search, but if you like what you see here, I suggest looking up the terms "peasant dress" on Google or Pinterest. There are loads of similar dress patterns floating around. 

Fabric is a Japanese imported elephant print for the front, and multicolor herringbone for sleeves and back by Timeless Treasures. 

Shoes are Converse self styled by the little miss many sizes too large and on the wrong feet. 


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Camilla Pullover Finished

So I was determined to finish this sweater before the end of winter, but ended up binding off yesterday, which was technically the second day of Spring - Boo!! Lucky for my sweater, it snowed and we woke up to freezing temperatures, so it was worn with pride and smiles all day long anyway. 

Pattern is Carrie Bostick Hoge's Camilla Pullover. It's an ingenious seamless knit that is knit in the round.  The body is knit in one piece from the bottom up, so you can try it on as you go and see how long you want your body length (think hip to armpit) to be. Sleeves are knit in the round on double pointed kneedles separately, and then joined to the body. Once joined, you continue in the round to shape a raglan style yoke all the way to the neck. I knit a size small, on size US 10 needles, adding some length to both the body and sleeves . 

Yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in the Optic colorway, and it's heavenly. This is the first time I've ever forked over so much money for yarn in my life, but it was worth it. I can't explain how squishy and soft this wool is, and how striking and unique the Madelinetosh colorways are. I now understand why Madelinetosh has such a cult following!!

For a few more knitting details, check out my Ravelry page. I'm actually a little sad that this sweater is off the needles, but that hasn't stopped me from picking my next knitting project. It's another Carrie Bostick Hoge pattern for my boy - the Lulu, in blues. New goal: to have a blue Lulu done by fall. I think I can handle that!

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Selfish Sewing Week Roundup

So last week I participated in Selfish Sewing Week for the very first time. In every single free moment I had I sewed for myself, and ended up producing four new tops! I posted some pics on Instagram as I went, but thought a quick roundup here would be fun too.

First up, I made another Lane Raglan in a double sided black and white knit. Neck and cuffs are made from scraps leftover from this Stellar tunic. The photo below is not my best, but take it from me when I say that this top is comfy, cute, and simple to sew. 

Next up were a pair of Briar tops made using Megan Nielsen's awesome pattern. I love Megan Nielsen patterns for the multitude of variations within the pattern, and the many many tips she provides for personalization and ease of sewing both on her blog, and in her free tutorials. I first sewed up this full length, long sleeved version with a traditional neckband and double needle hems in a lightweight knit.

Then I tried a full length short sleeved version with a fold over neck, and raw edge/no hem sleeves and bottom. 

Same pattern, but two different looks, right? Though I only planned to sew two Briar tops this week, I'm not done with this pattern yet. I'd love to try a modified Briar dress for the summer, and perhaps a center front seam cardigan like ones discussed here.

In the meantime, I've fallen hard for the the Julia Cardigan. Have you seen the Julia Cardigans that are posted all over the sewing blogs lately? My bloglovin' feed is full of 'em, so of course, I had to try one for myself. So glad I did. The Julia was a perfect end to my selfish sewing week. I would have finished this cardigan in under 2 hours if my serger hadn't needed re-threading. It's that quick to make. The result is a surprisingly fitted, on trend piece that will look good on everyone. One word of caution is to follow the measurements closely when deciding which size to sew, and to follow the instructions for cutting with or against the grain of the fabric. If you are looking for a less structured, looser garment, I would choose a jersey knit or other knit with loads of stretch. There isn't a lot of give in the version I made with this tight double knit metallic stripes, but man-oh-man do I love it.  

So there we have it, more photos of me than I generally like to share with the world, and four new tops. If you made it this far in the post, thanks, and happy selfish sewing ;)

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Imke Shirt for Boys from Sewing Clothes Kids Love

So it seems that I am working on a one-for-one model in my house right now when it comes to sewing. For every item I make for myself, I make at least one for someone else. Last weekend I made myself my first Lane Raglan, and this weekend I made this hooded Imke shirt for our four year old son. A shirt for a shirt seems fair after all.

I'm trying to use only fabric and patterns I already have, which is proving to be really fun. The kids and I take out sewing books and patterns, pore over them together, and pick what we like. They even helped me cut the patterns this weekend, and are beginning to see how many steps are involved in creating a garment.

This shirt is the Imke top from the lovely book, Sewing Clothes Kids Love. I especially like this book because it has patterns for every level sewist, many variations offered for each pattern, and a whole chapter offering suggestions for embellishment. Though most of the book is geared towards girls, the Imke top has bodice options for both boys and girls. For this particular version we chose to use the boys bodice, the straight sleeve, and the curved hood, which I lined with the turquoise knit. I didn't feel like hemming the sleeves and waist, so instead I added cuffs, allowing me to use my serger for the whole garment. Adding cuffs also gives the top more of a sweatshirt look, which my oldest daughter said would be cool.

So does the book live up to its name? Did my kid LOVE his Imke top? You betcha. Here is hamming it up with his little sister who is just out of the camera frame...  

Fabric: Organic Knit Charlie Harper for Birch Fabrics in Bank Swallow Blue, purchased from FabricWorm, and turquiose jersey knit from my stash.


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Lane Raglan T-Shirt for Me!!

So I just made this raglan t-shirt yesterday and it's already the absolute best thing I've ever sewn for myself. I made it in one afternoon, cutting the pattern and fabric while the kids were busy playing with a friend, then sewing while dinner cooked away on the stove. I stopped midway to watch my husband sled with our fearless littles in the backyard, and finished in time to snap some photos before all of the winter light was gone.
I think this shirt requires a little sass to wear it, what with all those slashes in the fabric and the tough red sleeves, so I crossed my arms and tried to look a bit cool in these photos.
How'd I do?
Fabric: Slashed knit from my stash for main front and back body. Upcycled red t-shirt and waffle men's shirt donated by my sister long ago. 
  • Pros: Quick sew. Minimal experience with knit fabric required. I sewed it completely on my serger, which was wonderful (check out my seams above), but you can use a ballpoint needle on your sewing machine as well. PDF printable pattern so no waiting if you want to start right away. Clear instructions, including the best tips on how to put in knit neckbands that I've ever come across. 
  • Cons: None really. The only note I would make is on sizing, which I think is generous. I chose to sew the size small, which is my regular size when buying a t-shirt like this, but if you want a tight, body skimming fit, I think I would sew a size down one from your regular size. I like the ease though, and the longer length - so comfortable!

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Hand-me-down Handmades are Inspiring

So these pants are exhausted. This is how they lay this morning, trying to get some rest after an action packed day yesterday. I should hide them before our little girl wakes up, because if she sees them, then she will wear them again today despite any and all protests I can muster. It should bother me perhaps...that my girl wears the same dirty, boyish pants over and over again, but it doesn't. Instead it inspires me. It makes me want to sew kids clothes again after I'd kind of given up doing so. I've been "off" sewing for my kids this past year or so, but seeing this yesterday made a switch inside of me flip back to "on".

You see, this girl playing in these silly pants yesterday reminded me of the boys at this age. So much so that when I woke up way too early this morning I went through old photos for an hour until, sure enough, I found these candids of our boys, each between 2 and 3 years of age wearing these very same pants. 

These photos made me realize that even though my fourth grader would never ever wear a handmade item to school now, I still have time for this girl, and her pre-K brother. Time to sew. Time to play. Time I shouldn't waste. That's inspiring.



Cropped In Threes Baby Cardigan 

So this is a cropped version of the well loved In Threes Baby Cardigan. I knit this little sweater about two years ago while waiting outside of my older daughter's weekly music class, very pregnant, on a folding chair. At the same time each week a ballet class down the hall would end, spilling little girls in pink leotards everywhere around me. One little girl was escpecially fascinated by my knitting. Every week she would stand and watch me while her mother apologized, embarrassed by her interest.  One afternoon, after a few minutes of silent observation, she said something very much like: "You're really just making lots of knots with that string you know, but it looks so nice and you are are doing it all by yourself. It's amazing that one day the baby in your belly will wear it."  It was one of those wise things that young children say, and I recall writing it down on a scrap of paper afterwards. The scrap of paper was lost of course, but yesterday when I looked at the baby wearing the sweater I recalled that little girl in her pink leotard and thought how right she was... it is amazing. 


Pattern: In Three Cardigan (cropped)

Yarn: Sugar and Cream, just one ball of Ecru for the body

Changes/Additions: I simply stopped knitting when I ran out of yarn, and crocheted one row of single chain all around the edges of the cardigan in a variegated colorway of Sugar and Cream just for fun. 


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Improv Supernova Quilt Finished

So this quilt is special. They are all special, yes they are, but this quilt is special because it's my first real themed quilt. Usually themed quilts (like sports or princess quilts) are absolutrely NOT my thing. Here I made an exception though, and created a whole space themed bed for my just-turned-7 year old son. This guy wants be an interplanatary geologist when he grows up. Not a spaceman or a miner, an interplanatary geologist. To achieve this goal of his, he spends most of his evenings in bed reading reference books abour rocks and minerals, and actively pondering the content of the cosmos. He NEEDS a space quilt under which to do these things, right? Right. 
The quilt top is similar in design to this mini Supernova quilt. In fact, the supernova center is another version of the Supernova pattern from Quiting Modern, made with 6" squares. The fragments and smaller stars were improvised using techniques from Quilting Modern as well. Above you can see what the top looked like before it was quilted. I was very tempted to send this quilt out for long arm quilting, but instead decided to quilt it myself in overlapping concentric curves to mimic the expanding shock waves that occur in space when a supernova explodes. I figure that if I'm going to go for a space theme, I may as well go all the way. 
To round out the bed I made a couple of pillowcases out of leftover fabric. I also turned the Supernova Mini Quilt into a quilted throw pillow with a lapped back. I purposely made the back of the lapped pillow deep enough to stow some of the big books constantly littering this kid's bed. 
Upon seeing his newly made bed my man hugged me and said, "Mom, I can see how hard you worked on this quilt. It's so amazing that I'm going to sleep with it until I'm married and even until I'm dead."
I'm not even used to to seven yet.
Constellations and Pearl Bracelets in assorted colors by Lizzy House
Kona Cotton in Tomato
Architextures in Lake by Carolyn Friedlander
Thread: Aurifil grey

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Madelinetosh Honey Cowl and Hat

So this summer the only thing I seemed to be interested in knitting was cowls. I would start one, see another on Pinterest that I just had to try, and start another. By August I had three cowls on the needles at the same time. Sadly, once they were finished, I found that I really, truly, only love one, and that's my narrow version of the Honey Cowl. The pattern is free on the Madelinetosh website, and it's so easy to follow. Why did I make mine so narrow? Well, because my yarn told me to. I used Katia Belice yarn (in colorway 301), allowing the variegation in the color of the yarn dictate the pattern. Put simply, I changed the pattern to end when the variegation pattern ended, achieving a look akin to intentional stripes. 

Matching Honey Hat was an obvious add-on project. The hat is super loose, especially knit as I have with a cotton/acrylic blend. If I were to knit it again I would choose a yarn with more elasticity, but it's so lovely as is that I really can't complain. 

What about you? Are you knitting anything new?

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Etsy Site Updated...Finally!

Hi there everyone! It's been a while, right?

What can I say...life, man...it happens. It's been busy the last couple of months as we've settled in to the rhythm of school/sports/life in our new town. Each moment spent sewing has somehow felt stolen, even illicit. There is just so very much to do with four small children under my care, and every moment that I am not doing one of those things is something delicate, something to be weighed and savored. So when I undertook to sew a new batch of baby items for sale I really wanted to enjoy it. That's why I departed from my usual pattern and took to patchwork. Each of the new blankets consists of a unique patchwork top, reversing to a solid minky dot back. I chose a wide variety of color palettes, and just had some fun. 

For now they are all available at The Craft Lounge and my Etsy shop. So if you've been dying to buy your baby gifts from me (and I just know you have!!), but have been disappointed to find very few choices online, the wait is over. I've just added a dozen blankets to Etsy. If you have a free moment head on over, check them out and let me know what you think.

Here's a sneak peak at two of my current favorites:

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