Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I haven't done this in a few years but I'm feeling ambitious, so here goes:

In 2010 I want to:
  • get out of the house more days than not (i.e., four days a week) even if it's just to garden or take a walk.  Between the babies, bed rest, a boiling hot summer and crippling morning sickness, 2009 was not a great year for leaving the house.  It was, however, a wonderful year for cultivating my nascent agoraphobia, which I really need to nip in the bud.
  • keep up the garden, at least to the extent that most of the stuff growing in it is not weeds
  • make a real article of clothing for myself (meaning something with a zipper or buttonholes).
  • continue avoiding unnecessary purchases.  Aside from about $350 on yarn and fabric and $100 on books and magazines, I don't think I spent much money on non-necessities in 2009--with the understanding that nice soap and new underwear are sometimes necessities.  Now I just need to get my husband on board.
  • make curtains. The blinds we have now are ugly, hard-to-clean strangulation hazards.  They need to go.
And I think that's enough.  Note that most of these items are thing that I enjoy doing (like gardening and sewing) but which I need to carve out time for.  I'm not even going to kid myself by resolving to do anything I don't enjoy.  But just for the record here's a partial list of things I really ought to do in 2010 but probably won't:  go to the dentist, exercise, finish all the craft projects I start, speak French with Joseph, do something about the 401K from my old job, write more thank you notes, eat ethically, blah blah blah. 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

can you stand it?

It's a picture frame ornament intended for newlyweds. Much better with babies. Got the idea from somebody posting in the multiples forum at

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the tree

 While Joseph may be the mellowest, sweetest two year old ever, the child does not understand limits, boundaries, or the concept of "don't touch that."  "No" means nothing to him unless it's coming out of his own mouth ("No pants, mama!  No pants, no pants, no pants!"). Therefore, our Christmas/holiday/solstice/yule/winter tree is 1) tethered to the wall, and 2) only decorated with ornaments he can play with.  I love when other parents tell me that their kids don't mess with their tree because they were told not to.  It makes me feel like I'm raising a jungle beast or a sociopath.  These are the same people who manage to have table lamps, which is something I can't even imagine at this point.  Fortunately, bed rest this fall gave me plenty of time to knit up some ornaments that can be played with, chewed on, "shared" with the babies and thrown at the windows.

I've already written about these lights. 

The popcorn and cranberry garland is also from the same knitpicks ornament kit, and it makes me happy whenever I walk past the tree.

You can see that there's an infestation of tiny elves.  The pattern calls them "korknisse" which I suppose means cork people, but Joseph calls them elf men so that's what they are.  This is possibly the best stash busting project ever; it uses hardly any yarn in any weight you want.  Some of the elves have face tattoos, which I think means they've killed someone, but I feel awkward asking. 

And some stuff I made last year.

I made the tree skirt (wool felt; the leaves are machine appliqued) when Joseph was a newborn, a fact that blows my mind and makes me think that having one baby must have been like a vacation compared to how thing's are now, even though I keep telling people that having twin babies isn't all that different from having one.  I must be delirious with fatigue.

Happy holidays, people!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

gingerbread men

I used this recipe. Something's wrong with it--maybe too much flour relative to the amount of fat. I usually feel like a fraud when I blame a recipe for tasting off because it's not like I can ever be sure that my execution isn't to blame, but I made this recipe twice and both times it was disappointing. Time to find another recipe.

We did have fun making them, though. Joseph has his own rolling pin and he really enjoys pressing down the cookie cutter and watching the shape emerge. We didn't decorate them because that's a bit much for a two year old. The first batch came out chalky looking, so we put a milk wash on the second batch (pictured above) to make them shiny. When we cook together Joseph is in charge of applying egg and milk washes and greasing the pan--he uses a silicone pastry brush and paints away. Greasing a pan can take half an hour that way. Hooray for that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

recipe card folders

My usual style of gift giving is to put it off until the last minute and then have to pay last minute express shipping on something really boring from Harry & David.  Sometimes I forget to buy anything at all, which at least keeps everybody's expectations pretty low in the future. This fortunate because this year nobody's going to be exactly wowed by what they get from me--we're only giving presents to immediate family (parents & siblings) and we're only giving little trinkety types of things--a couple of books and these recipe card holders.

I followed this tutorial for making the recipe card folders and it was super easy and didn't take up much fabric.  I enjoyed mixing and matching some of the of the random fat quarters that I had bought this summer without any project in mind. I especially love that brown floral print on the outside of the top folder--it's a print I'd probably never use in my own home or clothing, but I think it's so pretty so I enjoyed working with it.

The project instructions called for lightweight fusible interfacing, which I still find gross and hard to work with, but it does give the folder some body.  I actually wound up using two layers of interfacing (except on the pockets) because it was still too floppy with one layer.

I cut out the interfacing to the size of the fabric minus the seam allowances so that way there would be less bulk at the edges of the folder.  This is a tip I picked up somewhere on the interwebs and need to file away for all future interfacing-related adventures.

And inside the folder are recipe cards (except for one person, whose recipe collection has progressed far beyond the confines of any folder, and who will instead receive these neat post its in her folder).

Monday, December 14, 2009

carrot cookies

Not much eating seems to happen at mealtime these days.  Joseph seemingly goes for days without eating anything other than a few spoonfuls of yogurt and half an almond. My husband is a grazer, so he snacks all day and then spends dinner avoiding vegetables. And while I've for the most part been able to eat dinner since Scott is always around to hold a baby, for the rest of the day I only eat things that can be grabbed with one hand and eaten standing up.

Since Scott and I have both been subsisting on snacks (and Joseph on magical toddler fairy dust) I figure I should just accept the fact and make some healthy goodies instead of eating a $5 box of Fig Newmans every day and then hating myself.  And while I try not to cater to Joseph's gastronomical whims, it can only be a good thing if there's something palatable and healthy at hand when the spirit moves him to eat.

These carrot cookies fit the bill:  they're yummy, but not so irresistible that they're going to disappear in an hour, and they include vegetables, whole grains, and protein while totally avoiding refined sugar and animal products.  I used this recipe, except that 1) I didn't have enough maple syrup so I made up the difference with some fruit-sweetened jam, and 2) I used canola oil instead of coconut oil.  And I threw in some raisins because why not?  Next time I need to grind the nuts super fine because my husband won't eat anything with visible nuts and will instead buy overpriced candy bars from the vending machine at work; also I should make the carrots tinier because Joseph systematically dissected each cookie to get "carrot out of there, mama". 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

six weeks

The babies are six weeks old today.  Crazy.  Harry's about nine and a half pounds, the little piglet.  Violet's a little over eight.  Harry is fiercely hungry; if his eyes are open, he's hungry; if his eyes are closed, he's still probably hungry--he roots around in his sleep. He's perfectly happy as long as he's eating; Violet meanwhile is perfectly happy as long as she's being held.  Those two conditions pretty much tell you everything you need to know about the last six weeks of life here.  I'm worn out but it's not as harrowing as I thought it would be.  Sometimes entire minutes pass without either of them needing me, and then I can fold six loads of laundry and take a shower.  

Here Violet's modeling a mama-made outfit.  The diapers are working out well but I can't say we're getting much use yet out of anything else I made.  During my prenatal crafting frenzy, I seem to have forgotten the crucial fact that babies wear pajamas.  Or swaddling blankets.  Anything else is too much effort to put on and keep in place.  Once she starts sitting up a bit then maybe the dresses and sweaters will make more sense.
And here's the big brother, pretending to be a baby.  This isn't regression so much as it is hamming it up for the camera.  What you can't see in the picture is that he's chewing on the pacifier like it's a cigar and pretending to cry ("wah wah wah").  The more Scott and I laughed, the more he amped it up.  I love this new phase of toddlerhood.  He cracks me up.  Sometimes when he does something he finds especially amusing he says "funny! ha ha!"  I love that.  What idiot came up with the idea of the terrible twos?  So wrong. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

holiday pictures

This afternoon we had a Christmas miracle:  we managed to get everybody clean, awake, and reasonably content in the same room for about 90 seconds while we took a picture for the holiday card.
Sigh.  But consider the runner up, in which Joseph is sticking his behind in the camera and Violet is screaming. 

That makes the first one look like Annie Liebowitz took it.

Later on, Joseph drew wheels on the bottom of the Christmas tree:

He explained that the Christmas tree is now a crane.  Good for it.

If I haven't sung the praises of blackboard paint yet, let me do so right now:  it is the shit.  Go buy some.  We used it on a little corner of the living room and it keeps the child busy for longer than you'd think. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

another sweater (and blogger hates me)

This is the second Liesl I've made for myself.  This time I used thinner yarn than what's recommended in the pattern, but I like the effect--it's a bit lacier.  I'm so happy with the Liesl pattern.

I love the yarn I used.  It's a soft and gorgeous alpaca-silk blend.  Even though it sheds like mad I'll definitely use it again the next time I knit myself (or another adult) a winter weight sweater.  I love the color too--it's not a true brown, but rather a reddish cinnamon.  In the context of my 90% brown winter wardrobe, this counts as some real pizazz. 

I made the sleeves fairly long.  I feel like every fall I have to re-answer the question:  can I wear a long sleeved t-shirt with a 3/4 length sleeved sweater?  And every year I answer "sure!" and then wonder whether I look like some kind of weird scarecrow or a crazy hobbit or something.  So now I have a sweater that goes a little beyond my wrist and I can feel proportionate.

(I made this before the babies were born, when I was bored stupid on bedrest.  I feel like I need to mention that.  But I sewed the button on last week!  Hooray for me!)

Edited to add:  blogger hates me and originally published this two weeks in the past, instead of yesterday.  That, or I time travelled.   Now I've reposted it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

gratitude, but no pictures

Why no pictures? Because I can't find the cord that connects the camera to the computer. It probably has been pressed into service as a leash or a lasso by a certain junior member of this household. Or possibly I misplaced it while tidying up in a sleep deprived fugue state. Either way, I'm sure it will turn up eventually, and then I can feel properly guilty about not having any decent pictures of the babies and Joseph together. What I'm going to use as this year's Christmas picture is anybody's guess. (For that matter, what I'm going to do about Christmas presents is also anybody's guess, but let's start small.)

Anyway, gratitude:

I'm grateful, really really grateful for help from family and friends. I get sort of dizzy and almost black out when I start to imagine what the past few months would have been like without my parents being around to take care of Joseph. And as for all the people who were there with kind words and generous offers of help ...I'm always amazed when it turns out that people give a damn about me (because i'm awesome like that).

Of course I'm grateful for having the world's most charming two year old, who now spontaneously tells me that he loves me and that he's mama's little bunny (!). I'm grateful for two healthy babies, and that all the bad things I wouldn't let myself think about didn't happen. And I'm beyond grateful for my husband.

Wouldn't this post have been so much better if there were a picture of a bunch of smiling babies? Oh well. Happy thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

major success

We've had some major successes this week, starting with a trip to the grocery store during which the worst thing that happened was a four year old sneezing on Violet.  We can all thank Zoloft for the fact that the four year old (and her mother) did not find her life cut short right in the middle of the Whole Foods dairy aisle.

Another big deal is that I've spent much more time with Joseph and the babies at home, without my parents or Scott taking Joseph for part of the day.  This has not been fabulous (life with two babies and a toddler makes the previous 31 years of my life feel like an extended vacation) but neither has it been the nightmare I anticipated. Joseph is easily amused, Violet sleeps like she's drugged, and even Harry spends the greater part of the day unconscious as long as I nurse and bounce him every twenty minutes or so.  I'm pretty much able to meet everybody's food/laundry/hygiene needs, and even do a little bit of knitting and sewing (in two minute intervals, but still).  I feel super accomplished as long as I hold myself to this new, realistic standard and don't try to do anything insane like clean the bathtubs.  I want to cry when I look at my neglected garden, but maybe this spring I'll do something about it.  Maybe.

Monday, November 16, 2009

pictures of children who do not sleep

After what looked like a promising start it turns out the babies are just as crap sleepers as the rest of their family.  Harry can't seem to sleep for more than 20 minutes at stretch, and when he wakes up Violet joins him (whether out of sympathy or perversion is not clear).  

Yes, they're holding hands.  They do that.  I need to focus on moments like these so I feel less tempted to break the law at 4:30 am when I've gotten a grand total of 45 minutes of sleep.  I think I must have grown as a person since Joseph was a newborn because I feel much more sane and accepting about the sleep situation.  Or perhaps two years of Joseph-induced sleeplessness has just crushed my spirit.

This picture was taken at 5:00 in the morning, which is Joseph's new time to rise and shine.  My wonderful and patient husband, who has taken over mornings with Joseph while I attempt to scrape together a few nonconsecutive hours of sleep, killed some time by taking the winter accessories out of the closet and letting Joseph make himself all fancy.  I like this picture because it looks like he and Indiana are waiting for the bus:  no eye contact, bodies pointed away from one another, plenty of space between them.  This is unusual because in all the other pictures from that morning they appear to be trying to lick one another's teeth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

bath time

The other day I decided it was high time for the babies to have a proper bath.  Harry had developed a habit of peeing in his own face and spitting up in Violet's, and I really did not feel that a damp washcloth was equal to the situation. 

Here's what I learned:

In order to successfully bathe two babies at once, at least one of the following elements must be present:
  • a second adult
  • sufficient head control on the part of the babies
  • ninja reflexes
Otherwise it's a bit harrowing.

The babies enjoyed it thoroughly.  I would have taken a picture if I hadn't been too busy clinging onto their slippery little selves for dear life.  Instead, we have a picture (taken by my mother, who arrived at my house at just the right moment) of them wrapped up in a towel after their bath.

That's Violet on the left, wearing her trademark expression of disdain, and Harry, looking like a tired alien.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Harry, at less than two weeks old and just under six pounds, has achieved total thumb-sucking mastery.

Violet and I are thrilled because this probably means our various parts will not be used for 24/7 comfort sucking.  The poor girl was being devoured by her brother.  Not ok.  Although I kind of wish I had taken a picture of him sucking her elbow, and her expression of distaste.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a bullet pointed list

Oh, how I used to rail against bullet pointed lists when I was teaching English composition.  I had a whole mini-lecture in which I explained that 90% of the time bullet points are embarrassingly illiterate ("here are some interesting things you might not know about bee keeping / my grandmother / gender inequity in the Indian subcontinent") or are transparent efforts to avoid transforming scattered ideas into a coherent thought ("here's some stuff I have in my notes, but I've already reached the page minimum so I won't bother trying to shape this into a paragraph").    

I have no idea why that popped into my brain today.  I actually really like lists, especially on the interwebs, where a bullet pointed list is like a freaking petrarchan sonnet compared to most everything else.


  • The boob situation, OMG.  You can see them from outer space.  They could be in an Aerosmith video (the rest of me, not so much).  After 31 years of unremarkability, my bosom has found its calling.  Everything in my house in covered in leaked breast milk.  You'd think that nursing two babies would mean less leakage, less oversupply.  Not so.  All that supply & demand stuff the breastfeeding experts talk about must be true (i.e., the babies demand more, I supply more, etc etc etc until there are puddles of the stuff everywhere you look). 

  • The diapers I made are working brilliantly.  However, if my husband does not start folding back the laundry tabs I am going to do something drastic.  A semi-related anecdote: last month Scott and my dad were changing Joseph's diaper (because this is a job for two strong men), and I overheard Scott telling my dad "you've got to fold the tabs back or you'll get us both killed!"  Yes, ruining my diapers is more than your life is worth.  TAKE HEED.
  • Joseph remains pretty mellow in the face of the baby invasion.  I'd like to believe that this has something to do with my excellent parenting skills, but probably it's just because 1) he's an awesome kid, and 2) my parents and Scott are taking him on daily adventures.  Or maybe, 3) he's saving it all up for his future therapists.  Here's a somewhat gratuitous photo of him stalking a turtle on one of his outings with Scott:

  • I gained sixty five pounds during the pregnancy.  Now somebody tell me why yesterday, nine days after giving birth, I put myself through the hell of trying on several pieces of non-maternity clothing in my closet.  Do I hate myself that much?  We need a rule that when you have a baby, somebody comes into your house and takes away all your pre-pregnancy clothing until you're about ten weeks postpartum.  Or possibly forever. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

an update

Yes, that's actually how they sleep, all cuddled together.  Even at night when I'm in bed with them, they tend to face one another rather than me.  Very sweet.

Things are going well.  Very well, in fact.  By some miracle I'm getting almost 7 hours of sleep daily, despite the fact that I spend close to 16 hours a day breastfeeding.  The babies are very sleepy so it takes them a long time to nurse, and I haven't quite mastered feeding them both at once; also they need to eat every two hours because it's so important that they keep gaining weight.  That all adds up to breastfeeding around the clock, which is fine by me since I'm just thrilled that I haven't had to use any formula or do any pumping and I can keep it simple:  babies, mama, cuddles.

Joseph is taking this all wonderfully.  I am so relieved.  He's spending a lot more time with his grandparents and father so I can take care of the babies, and when he does see me the babies are always on me, but that doesn't seem to make him jealous.  He likes to help change their diapers and rock them to sleep; he has spent so much time watching them nurse that he's now a fully qualified lactation consultant.  He cheers us on ("Good job Violet, good job Mama!" "Babies growing!"). The most fascinating thing he has ever seen is when I hand express some milk into Violet's mouth to keep her awake.  He desperately wants to help accomplish this feat, which should make for a few interesting therapy sessions twenty years from now. 

I really need to get a picture of him holding one of the babies.  He looks so proud.  And huge.  How is it that toddlers triple in size when they have a newborn sibling?

Monday, November 2, 2009

voila! kitchen laundry bag

I make a lot of stuff, but most of it doesn't wind up making much of a quality of life difference for me or anybody else. For example, the bath mat? Nobody cares. Everybody was perfectly happy using a wadded up towel. My adorable coasters? The coaster-phobes in my life continue to use kitchen rags.

But this, this thing of wonder, this laundry bag: it has changed our lives. We finally, finally, finally have a place to put our used napkins, rags, dish cloths, handkerchiefs, tea towels, etc. A pile of dirty laundry sitting on the counter is not conducive to anybody's happiness (except the ants). It's enough to make me want to go back to using paper towels and all the other disposable stuff.  Also, having a clearly designated place for dirty kitchen laundry makes it easier for other people to actually help out with meals and cleaning, which is especially nice if you happen to spend all day nursing newborns.  For example.

Also, everything in my damn house is gray-brown and/or white, with odd patches of dusty moss green. I'm kind of thrilled by the idea of having something colorful in the kitchen. Yellow is really doing it for me lately. I've found that adding lots of linen makes bright colors a lot more palatable to me (and sort of coordinates with the greigeness of the rest of the house).

PS I finished the inside seams of the bag with bias tape, just for the added thrill.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


The strangest part about being pregnant with twins is that when it's all over

you get two newborns.  Crazy.

Meet Harry

and Violet

They were born Wednesday night, weighing in at over five pounds each.  They both were born hungry and alert, and we all came home yesterday with clean bills of health. 

Three things:
1.  I can't quite tell who's who in the top picture either.
2.  I wrote Thursday's post on Wednesday and posted it in the future, without knowing I was going to be in the hospital having babies. 
3.  I'm going to write up the birth story as soon as I have two free hands.

Friday, October 30, 2009

coasters & craft books

I'm sort of in love with these coasters. I love things that are house-shaped, but it's how you can tuck your spoon into the little door pocket that kills me. I also appreciate being able to use up random scraps of fabric.

The pattern is from this book:

I made a few minor changes: the original doesn't call for any topstitching, but it's my experience that things launder a lot better when they're topstitched. Also, the pattern has you hand sew the window appliques (actually, reverse appliques) but there's no way that's going to stand up to the laundry. Washability is a key factor in this house. As I think I've written before, it's either washable or it's garbage.

The gray felt squirrel-shaped tea cozy on the cover of the book has me wishing I could come up with a vaguely plausible need for a tea cozy, but we are sadly a boil-the-water-in-the-microwave type of household.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

table runner

I decided we needed some kind of table runner because
1) the table looks naked
2) I'm getting a little nervous about pitchers and that sort of thing scratching or otherwise ruining the table
3) I forgot that I had meant to make a bunch of trivets, which are what we really need.

Anyway. It's the ubiquitous linen paired with squares of my favorite color combination: gray-brown, aqua, and lime-ish green. I picked out these fabrics during my nesting visit to the fabric store without having any idea what I was going to do with them. I just picked one pile that seemed to coordinate, and that became this table runner, and another pile that worked together, which became a bunch of stuff for the kitchen. And I still have a lot left over from both piles, because fat quarters are always bigger than I think.

After piecing the top, I top stitched the seams, then backed it with some upholstery weight fabric (turned and top stitched). I considered doing more quilting or adding batting (to make it more heat & spill resistant) but I didn't want it to look like an odd-shaped quilt plopped down in the middle of the table.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

house pocket and some efforts at organization

I made this little house months ago (it's patchwork, applique, and embroidery living together in harmony), but only got around to figuring out what to do with it. Now it's a little wall pocket type thing that lives on our refrigerator to hold all the crap that would ordinarily be spread out all over the surface of the fridge: contact numbers, coupons I'll never use, the dogs' vaccination schedule, etc.

Scott and I are not naturally organized. He belongs to the "spread all your crap over any available surface" school of thought, and I belong to the "pile it up in baskets until you have a panic attack when you can't find your social security card" school of thought. This blackboard and the little house pocket are part of an effort for us to keep track of some stuff--grocery lists, reminders, that sort of thing.

While I'm on the subject, let me say how much I love the chalkboard paint. It was so easy to put up--I think it was two light coats. I also know that it's easy to paint over because I dripped a lot and got a chance to do some serious damage control. We also painted some on the living room wall for Joseph, which has been predictably fun and messy. I really hope chalk isn't carcinogenic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

bath mat

Why did it take me so long to realize the beauty of square patchwork? It's so damn easy and it looks much fresher than I would have thought. I think that it might be boring to work a huge project entirely in square patches, but it's very satisfying for tiny projects like this bath mat and the laundry bags I've been making.

This mat is destined for the yellow-walled "guest" bathroom, which is in fact used by everybody except me, because I have taken over the master bathroom in perpetuity (thank you, husband, for allowing this).

Of course, my cheerful new bathmat is making the rest of the bathroom look like a prison cell. I want to do something to brighten up the rest of the room. Colored towels are usually not allowed in my home because I find them incredibly depressing (don't ask) but now I wonder whether colored towels could be worse than dingy "white" towels. I also want a fancy shower curtain, although I'm not sure how to make that happen without it being too mold-friendly (although.... hmmm)

The how: the top is just three inch squares. I laid it face down on an old towel, stitched around the perimeter, turned & topstitched. Then I quilted in the ditch horizontally. It was easy, but the towel shifted weirdly while I was quilting it, almost like it was stretching. So there are some lumps at the edges. It's not a big deal, but next time I'll probably assemble it a little differently to avoid this problem.

Monday, October 26, 2009

smock of questionable aesthetic

I've made this smock at least twice before as presents, but this is the first time I've made one for Joseph. Of course truck fabric was requested. I'm really not quite sure that this is what Amy Karol had in mind when she designed the pattern.
This is also the first time I've used store-bought bias tape in a long long time. I forgot how much easier it is to work with than handmade tape. This is a crushing blow. The packaged stuff is just more uniform and the folds are crisper. Perhaps if I got that snazzy bias tape machine my own humble product could compare??
After I finished making the smock (with Joseph helping every step of the way) he demanded to wear it. So he spent the morning wearing nothing but a diaper and a smock. The only way I could convince him to get dressed was to swear a blood oath that he could put the smock on over his clothes. So this is how we spent the rest of the day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

not useless after all

Last week we (finally) brought all the baby things out of the garage. Joseph was fascinated by the co-sleeper. The same co-sleeper that he found intolerably insulting and oppressive as an infant. I think he has slept in it for a total of two hours in his entire life.
Anyway, upon seeing it now, he promptly climbed into the bottom (storage) compartment, which has become his little office. He gets in and starts demanding that we zip it up, which is a little disturbing for me, but he loves it. He brings in his toys and tells them to sleep. It's very sweet. I think he's going to be disappointed when he discovers that the boring old babies sleep in the top.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

a vest (or, knitting is magic)

I made this vest as part of Joseph's holiday finery. I'm really amazed when I follow a pattern that seems entirely composed of reasonable, easy-enough steps, but at the end I get a result that blows my mind. The pattern was easy to follow, and cables turn out to be no big deal, yet I feel like such a hot shot for having made a real live cable knit vest. This is why people knit--all you have to learn is a few basic movements and all of a sudden you can transform a tangle of sheep hair into something complex.

The color is totally off in these pictures. It's more of an olive green.

As soon as the temperature goes back below 70, he's wearing this at least three times a week.

Friday, October 23, 2009

laundry bag

In a craft-related moment of clarity, I realized that what this household needs is not another bed-sized quilt, but rather a few smaller and more utilitarian items, namely:
  • a laundry bag for Joseph's room, so he can put away his own dirty clothes and feel that toddler-specific sense of accomplishment in doing things the rest of us consider chores
  • a laundry bag for the kitchen, in which to toss used handkerchiefs, rags, towels, and all the other non-disposable items I feel so smug about using, except when they constitute a pile of filth on my counter
  • a few bath mats, floor mats, door mats, etc.
  • a table runner, coasters, place mats, etc.
With that in mind, I've begun cutting into the pile of fabric I had been hording for various (imaginary) Big Projects.

 The first result is this laundry bag for Joseph's room.

I had intended to use most of this fabric to make Joseph his own roads quilt, but I seriously lack the ambition.  There are bikes, jump ropes, boats, and (of course) trucks.  The trucks come courtesy of some Japanese fabric I bought from Purl, and which is definitely Kokka or Trefle or something, but which I can't find anymore on their website or anywhere else on the internet.  In case you're wondering, scouring the internet for fabric that doesn't seem to exist is a great way to kill 45 minutes and lose your mind at the same time.

The construction:  after I assembled the patchwork top (4 inch squares, arranged 5 up and 16 across), I backed it with white cotton canvas and then quilted the crap out of it with horizontal lines 1/4" apart. The canvas and the dense quilting help it keep its shape, which is good because a floppy bag hanging from a door knob is 1) ugly and 2) hard for little hands to reach into.

I'm very pleased with how this turned out.  I like the blue and red fabrics paired with linen and the solid gray-blue.  I really like the horizontal quilting.  This is one of those rare instances where I was able to actually execute my vision.  I'm definitely making one for the kitchen, colors TBD.