Posted on December 4, 2017
It’s back! The Murder Mystery Quilt is now open for registration for next year. I am so, so excited–will you come play with us?
For the past two years, I have had the honor and the pleasure of sewing alongside over 1500 quilters who love to read, and who have made new friends while sewing a mystery quilt. These are smart, funny folks who enjoy a good story and a good puzzle, and who are having a ball putting the two together in a sewing project that lasts all year! Registration is open NOW for an all-new quilt and an all-new story. Come play with us next year and sew the quilt to solve the crime!
The Murder Mystery Quilt is a monthly subscription club that reads along together and stitches up a quilt to find clues and solve the murder mystery contained in the story.
Members receive a chapter from a mystery story each month, and a pattern for a quilt block. The quilt block relates directly to the chapter you’ve read, and contains an additional clue (or clues!) to help unravel the plot. There are 12 blocks, one for each month of the year, and every quilter gets one guess as to who the killer is. All the correct guesses are put in a bucket, and a winner is drawn for a giant prize basket of quilting goodies and fabric! There’s also a second prize for those who complete the quilt top, regardless of whether they made a correct guess, so that everyone has a chance to win–even if you feel more like a Watson than a Holmes. (After all, Holmes was a little bit of an egomaniac who didn’t like to share credit, but it was always Watson who supplied the necessary connections to get to the solution, right?)
Posted on November 28, 2017
I’m getting ready to do a huge de-stash. When we finished our basement this summer and I moved out of my office space and into the new basement studio, I packed up box after box, and even though I was sure that I had eliminated every item I could POSSIBLY bear to live without, when I unpacked the boxes again in the new space–which combined the office with my home sewing space in our dining room–I found, really, appalling levels of fabric that I didn’t have room for and didn’t really need.
Posted on September 14, 2017
This is the first knitting project I’ve done where I finished and said, Huh. I don’t really like this. And that’s a little sad.
Let’s start by saying that this post is NOT about: this post is not about my out-of-focus cell phone photos, or my frowny face (mostly cropped) from the sun being in my eyes, or my lack of ironing on my tunic. Stay focused, my friends. This post is about the fit of this sweater. Last summer, in anticipation of our Big Trip to Scotland, which I learned during my pre-trip research was going to be 30 degrees cooler than Atlanta, I knitted two sweaters: the Georgia sweater and the Top-Down Turtleneck Cardigan. Both are made in the same Purl Soho Mulberry Merino yarn. One is yellow and I lurve it. The other is…this one.
Posted on August 31, 2017
For our children’s Junior Ranger backpacks, I worked hard to plan the design to enable the maximum number of patches to be added over the years. Every Junior Ranger receives a pin when they are sworn in, and I’ve seen some children at various national parks with dozens of these on vests and jackets.
Some of the parks, however, also award patches to their Junior Rangers. They do these in different ways: some parks give the patch as a matter of course. A few have levels of patch, based on the age level of the Junior Ranger in question, and kids can earn more than one patch at that particular park by completing more Junior Ranger activities on subsequent visits (this is usually only the very largest and most popular parks, like Yellowstone). Other parks have it in the gift shop where it can be purchased–but only after showing the pin badge as evidence of Junior Ranger-ness. Some, like Grand Canyon, also have them in the gift shop, but behind the counter where Junior Rangers must ask for them and then purchase. A few (like when we visited Mojave National Preserve this spring) award the patch only if the Junior Ranger activity booklet is completed on-site, versus being mailed in after the visit.* And others have no patches at all, or at least not any specific to the Junior Ranger program (although we have encountered a very, very small number that didn’t have SOME kind of embroidered patch available).
Posted on August 29, 2017
I make a lot of things for my children. I don’t often make things for them that I want to get out and play with when they’re not home. This time? Yes, I totally do.
These are one of my very favorite projects I have made for my children: their Junior Ranger backpacks.
Posted on August 24, 2017
Over the years as I have grown Whipstitch and altered focus or direction, I have developed an ad hoc system for keeping organized through both short-range and long-range projects. This isn’t a “system” so much as the means I use each day to keep myself on-task, to keep ideas in order so that they don’t get lost or misplaced, and to enable me to meet as many deadlines and goals as possible.
I have two big needs each day: I have to both keep track of HOW I spend my time, meaning the hourly obligations and expectations for each day as the clock ticks by; and I have to keep track of WHERE I spend my time, meaning which tasks I have prioritized above others and which ones I have gotten going but want to keep on track. I have learned over the years that no planner really has space for both of these goals–my daily planner, which I’ll share below, does a great job with day-to-day and hourly, but doesn’t give room for note taking or brainstorming or long-range detailed planning (which includes taking a sewing project from “idea” to “on the hanger”).
Posted on August 18, 2017
I taught tenth grade for a long time. Part of the curriculum for that level in the state of Georgia is to cover the Holocaust, a tough topic no matter where you live. Here in the South, discussion of any type of racial or cultural discrimination inevitably leads to discussion of the legacy human slavery has left in our backyards. As Oprah pointed out in an interview with Elie Wiesel, survivor of Auschwitz and author of Night, we don’t compare our pain, and the heartbreak of the concentration camps can’t be held against the heartbreak of African slavery in the 19th century, but they both beg the question, according to Wiesel, “What is there in evil that becomes so seductive to some people?”
Heavy stuff for a sewing blog, I know, but I promise that I’ll bring it all back around.
When I was teaching this topic, I used materials provided for free by the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose mission is to combat hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation. They not only include primary documents related to the Holocaust and to the Civil Rights movement in the American South, but also the Japanese internment camps in the United States during the second World War.
Posted on August 16, 2017
When I started knitting, I realized I needed to think about storing my textiles differently. For one good reason: MOTHS.
Moths are the enemy of long-term textile storage, which we learned the hard way at our house from one vintage jacket purchased at a second-hand store that worked its way through three prized sweaters before we discovered what was going on. Textile moths LOVE wool, which is why closets have been made of cedar and old ladies have smelled of naphthalene for decades.
With my fabrics for sewing, I admit that I didn’t think too much about storage, certainly not specialty storage. I mean, cotton, right? Fold it up, stick it on the shelf, done! I have had a number of wools rolled up in a basket for years and never gave them a second thought, probably (and I’m ashamed to admit this, but it’s true) because I got them cheap at a closeout sale, so I didn’t ascribe any particular value to them. Insert conversation about cost vs value here. Sigh.
Posted on August 14, 2017
Hand-knitted? Hand knit? Whichever. I thought at one point I would never, ever, ever knit socks. The stitches are just soooooo tiny, you guys.
But my friend Alexia assured me that once I got going they were really fast, and the appeal of knitting something that was so eminently practical was pretty strong. Like when I started thinking about Sewing All The Things, the idea that another entire sector of my wardrobe had the potential to be Made By Me was hypnotic.
Posted on April 20, 2017
I first met Dana through a benefit auction online. I offered up one of the dresses I used to design, and she was the second bidder–outbid by a dollar. And we bonded over how, in a benefit/charity situation, maybe our goal shouldn’t be winning the auction by the least amount possible, because maybe the goal isn’t winning the auction, but rather making an impact and the “winning” is icing on top. We became fast friends.