Saturday, September 30, 2006


Thank you so much for the enthusiastic comments on the ladybug outfit! We’ve (meaning: I’ve) been really into ladybugs ever since Halloween ’03.

I showed this picture last year but I thought it was worth repeating since it’s costume time again. This is my all time favorite costume. The ladybug hat is from a Zoe Mellor book, Animal Knits. The wings were from Old Navy, but they would be easy to make. Add black turtleneck and tights or leggings. Volia, cute ladybug.

She wore it two years in a row. And now I’m eyeing little sister as a prime candidate for ladybugness this year.

Ok, now to the subject at hand:

I’ve mentioned that I’m having a shop update next week. I still don’t know which day it will be, but I will announce it here as well as send the reminder e-mail to all my past customers. E-mail me: Emily at emilyquilts dot com if you want to be put on the reminder list.

I wanted to do something nice for my customers (I have a lot of repeat customers—I love you guys!) so I’m having a sale. All of October I’ll be offering free U.S. shipping on 2 or more skeins. If you have wanted to try this yarn but haven’t yet, here is a great chance to avoid those pesky shipping charges!

I’ve also been experimenting with new techniques, and I want to show you something that I’m really thrilled with.

Ok, it's still wet and hasn't been properly skeined. Did I mention I was enthusiastic, excited and over-eager? I suppose you can't really see what I'm talking about in this jumble of wet yarn, but trust me. Gorgeous.

I love to knit with the bright, variegated fun stuff. But I don’t often wear bright purple or pink socks. I just a neutral girl when it comes to my feet. So I’ve been doing a dye method where I dye it the usual way, lots of colors and color variation painted on, and then dye it a second time (that’s called overdyeing) by immersion method into a solid color. This mutes all the shades and gives it a much more subtle, solid overall appearance, but the first dye job, the varigation, gives it beautiful nuances. It makes it way more interesting than would result by just dyeing it once, a solid color.


I find these to be very special, so I’d like to give them a particular name, to set them apart from the others. I was cracking myself up thinking “They’re dark and handsome, but you can’t really make a sock yarn tall.” “The Yarn, Dark, and Handsome Collection” “The Sock, Dark, and Handsome Collection” “The Solid, Dark, and Handsome Collection.”

Please help me with a name! I don’t want to be a dork (see Brigadoon comment from previous post). What name do you like, or do you have any other suggestions? You guys came through for me last time I asked for help with names so I’m counting on you again.

Also, since I’m on the subject of asking for help, I’m going to ask one more thing. Almost all my yarn customers last month were repeat customers. (Again—LOVE YOU GUYS!) It is obvious to me that people who buy the yarn really like it. But I would like to get the word out more and get new customers, so if you could tell a friend, I would be very grateful!
Thank you!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Cute as a Bug

Our ladybug outfit turned out great!

The tee-shirt we did with a freezer paper stencil method I originally saw on angry chicken.

You cut a stencil out of freezer paper and just iron it waxy side down to the shirt. Use another sheet of freezer paper, ironed to the wrong side to make it stiff and to separate the front of the shirt from the back, so the paint doesn't bleed through.

This is such a fun project for mom and kids: you cut the stencil, and they can just blob the paint right on with no fear of messing up. Then you can "clean it up" a little, getting rid of excess paint and making sure it is opaque all the way to the edges.

We did one last spring and it was quite a hit, and the shirt wore well all summer. The red is Jacquard fabric paint and I added the black details with a fabric marker.

Here is a close up of the ribbon I used for the pants. I got this at a booth called "Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods" at Chicago Quilt Festival. It was a huge booth filled with vintage and new trims and buttons. Incredible. I was so blown away by the entire booth, and I had never seen them before at any quilt or sewing show, so I asked about their store. She said there is no store and no website, and they just do a few shows a year, Houston and Chicago Quilt Festival and an Ann Arbor flea market.

I joked "Oh, you're like Brigadoon!" (Thinking that they just showed up with a gorgeous booth a few times a year and then disappeared back into the mists.) (If you are too young, or musical-theater deprived, you might not get the reference.) Perhaps I was just too giddy with quilt-show-overload, or maybe she didn't get it, but she didn't crack even the tiniest smile. Oh well, you can't please everyone.

I just slapped that onto the bottom of the jeans and sewed it down.

This is how much I had left over after the pants:

So I used most of it for a little square patch on the bottom of the tee-shirt.

And here's the whole outfit:

I love it so much; I want one!

Is that so wrong?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I was going to write a long post about the feelings I had five years ago today. A mushy ode to this sweet one. But I sometimes worry about boring you with all the personal stuff on the blog.

I will condense it down to this: five years ago today, holding this little baby girl, I knew for the first time what it was to be the mother of a daughter. I felt like a whole other world had opened up to me and it was freakin magical.

I think she likes it.

Birthday princess dress:

Butterick pattern BP187, and all the fabric and trim came from Joann's.

I love this sweet trim!

In other birthday news, we did a craft today involving thrift store jeans and this awesome ladybug ribbon I got at the Chicago Quilt Festival.

Also and Old Navy tee-shirt and new birthday paint on a freezer paper stencil.

Sorry for the lack of links, I'm tired, I'll follow up with more on this project when the paint dries.

For those of you who might be bored with the kid theme, here’s a sneak peek at a knitting FO I’ll show you later this week.

Honk if you recognize it!

And here is an overview of the current stuff I’m trying to finish because I’m dying to get started on new projects:

Dino quilt

Belle sweater

Violets cardi

So basically, the past few days I’ve been caught up in the birthday whirlwind, trying to finish up some loose ends, and dyeing yarn for a shop update (hopefully late next week).

Tonight we did the big birthday celebration which will be repeated on Saturday with grandparents, aunts, and uncles. (Geez-why can't eveyone's birthday be on a weekend?!)

Also, today, somebody announced that they were ready to potty train.

And another's loose tooth that had been dangling for weeks finally came out.

AND(!) I let my 200th post go by without the big fanfare and CONTEST that I promised. It’s because I wanted to do it all up with a preview of upcoming projects, and I haven’t finished the current projects above to let myself start the new stuff. But it is coming.


What was I just saying about being able to relax a little now that the kids were in school?!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Birthday Insanity

Someone's about to turn five, and I am doing my last-minute crazy projects:

How about a knitted crown? (Crepe paper crown, from Alterknits.)

If you have never knitted with crepe-paper before, I am here to tell you you aren't missing anything.

I got this far in one tedious evening, and I've abandoned it. It hurts, it breaks, and really, what is the point. I'm diving into the stash and starting over......

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Have a Brain!

I was just talking to a lady on the phone the other day; to protect her anonymity, let's just call her "mom". And she was relating a conversation she had with, let's call her, "Aunt Donna". And "Aunt Donna" was complaining a bit about how her recently retired husband was now attached to her hip. And my sweet "mom" (divorced and without a partner for nearly 20 years now), was listening sympathetically, all the while thinking that she might like to have someone attached to her hip now and then.

She was funny about it, and we laughed and agreed: too much or not enough is hard. Balance is a wonderful thing.

The reason I’ve been thinking of this so much, is: with preschool in session as of last week, I have five hours a week of alone time (for the first time in nearly seven years). I feel much more balanced. I can complete a thought. And what a discovery: I do still have a brain!

All kids all the time can make a person crazy. And my empty nester friends look at me and sigh and I know that no-kids-any-of-the-time is wrong too, in its own way. I fully realize that I have now reached the wonderful window of: crazy chaos most of the time but with a tiny breather of alone time. And I savor it.

I am using the quiet portion of the week to get back into quilting. Last week I actually did 3 quilt related activities!

I sent this quilt and another for the In Full Bloom exhibit at Houston's Quilt Festival.

I worked more on the Dino Quilt (freeing up my design wall space).

And I photographed the Pink Tulip quilt that I finished last December (see here and here for more on this one) and took slides so I could send in my $35 charitable contribution (I mean, "entry") to this show.

I've shown my quilt photography set up before, but I thought it would bear repeating, this time with a little more detail.

I always photograph my work outside. Most of my work is very large and it is hard to get even lighting in my studio. This is my driveway, on the north side of the house, where the house throws shade over the garage door. I like to photograph work on a sunny day, but in the shade, for the best color.

The big black backdrop is a door, the cheapest and most lightweight I could find at Home Depot, which I covered with a layer of cork (glued it on) and then black felt (stapled that around the edges). The cork adds a layer for the pins to stick into.

Here is the back.

I have three separate doors treated this way, so for smaller quilts I only need to haul out one, for larger; two or three. I butt them up aganst each other and you don't notice the in-between spaces in the slides.

My dad invented this hanging mechanism for me. It's some kind of metal trim with a lip that we found on an end cap, while cruising Home Depot. The doors have the same metal strip, upside down, so they fit into each other. I always wonder if the next homeowners, someday, will be puzzled about this metal strip attached to our garage.

The doors are light enough that I can drag them out, one at a time, and hang them up.

I have used this set-up for nine years now, and the bottom of the doors are getting linty, dusty, leafy, and yuck-spidery. I should re-cover them sometime soon.

But this system has worked well for me.

I'll end with some more details of the quilt:

It's Picture Day at Preschool, Break Out the Handknits!

When the teachers informed me on Friday that "picture day" would be Monday, I was a little disgruntled. Two days is not a lot of notice to get together that most perfect outfit that will make her look angelic and live forever in school-picture infamy.

Luckily for us, we have handknits that turn out too big and go to the dresser in the hallway to be forgotten and marinate for a year or two and come out looking just right.

Here is my Molly in sweater "Molly", from Junior Knits by Debbie Bliss. Cotton Ease in Strawberries and Cream. From my notes, I believe it took three skeins.

Going through the blog archives to find the finished picture of this sweater from way back when, I discovered some bad blog-keeping. There was no finished picture! Sacre Bleu!

Flipping through the pages, I also realized something else: my deep and longlasting love for the yarn that is Cotton Ease.

I am proud to present you, dear readers, with:

"Cotton Ease, a Year in Review"

March 2005: "A Good Bias" (click the link for more details)

May 2005: Sitcom Chic

May 2005: Miss Dashwood

August 2005: Miss Bea

Miss Bea WIP--a better shot of the sweater

October 2005: Sam

January 2006: Sugar Plum

May 2006: Remembering Honey

June 2006: Raglan Aran

And do you want to hear something scary? All these sweaters have just made a small dent in my C-E stash. I find myself reaching for the C-E sweaters in my closet again and again. You will be seeing more of this yarn on the blog in upcoming months.

And speaking of what's upcoming, I am making a determined effort to get back in the saddle of regular blogging this week. There'll be FOs! There'll be quilting! There'll be a CONTEST!

I'm nearing my 200th post folks, and I intend to celebrate on the blog. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

When in Doubt, Just Show Them the Projects

Thank you--thank you--thank you for all your love and encouragment the past 10 days. It means more to me than I could ever say.

I'm sorry I let it go for so long without a post. I tried to think of a funny story, but it was a funeral, for crying out loud. I guess I could tell you about our 3 nights in the camper in my MIL's driveway, five people including one in a pack-n-play (that took up most of the camper), and a terrible thunderstorm at 3am, but I guess its going to take a little more time for that to seem funny to me.

Anyway, I spent a few days when I got home feeling kind of lost and flitting from project to project, and finally got a hold of myself and buckled down to concentrate on three of them.

Here's the progress on the Dino Quilt:

That's the final design, fused and ready to start stitching. It probably doesn't look much different from the last photo, but I did a lot of stressing over some last little details: mainly the words and the name at the bottom. Thank you for the interest in this quilt--there will be a tutorial coming.

I took it off the design wall and started stitching around each piece with a tiny satin stitch:

Here you might be able to see the stitching better, it's about 1/8 inch wide:

The deadline for Sew? I Knit! (theme: quilting) is next weekend, so I'll be working on this dino every night this week.

On the knitting front, I panicked when I realized I'd need a completely brain-dead project to work on while sitting around with relatives for four days. I wanted to use my Sophie's Toes Sock Yarn, but I was a little socked-out. So I cast on a knit-in-the-round cardigan for my girl, in a color called violets.

It's a kind of "on the fly" design, with a seedstitch border at the bottom, knit in the round, steeked into a cardigan, probably raglan decreases at the armholes, etc.

It was a little too on the fly at first (gauge, who needs it?!) because I knit about five inches when I realized it was way too wide. Four inches too wide, to be exact, and I had to start over. Well, I had a lot of knitting time on my hands so it didn't really matter.

I love the yarn and love to be doing something other than socks with it.

In the brief interludes of "thinking knitting" time that I've had, I've been chugging along on the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. It might not look very big here, but believe it or not I'm almost to the sixth out of six repeats. Getting close! I'm using Fleece Artist sock yarn, and it only takes one skein.

I would start crowing about how I'm almost done and it seems like I still have half a skein left, but I now know how much those last few repeats really eat up that yarn. So I'll try not to speak too soon. (But it really does seem like I have a lot of yarn left.)

I love the edging, its so pretty!

And the last news: I've been dyeing yarn like crazy to update the shop. There's a little more there today, and I'll have a big update at the end of the month. Thanks for your support!