Posts Tagged ‘quilting’

log cabin potholder

log cabin potholder

The idea (and pattern and color scheme) for this potholder came from Martha Stewart. This whole potholer thing started because I needed to respect the work I do in my home. Martha Stewart seems to have abandoned that cause.

log cabin potholder

When I pick up her magazine these days, there is not a lot of substance in it. My back copies of Living have survived many basement clean ups–and subsequent trips to the dump. When I get one out to read I always discover some in depth article about cleaning cloths, or glue, or the mudroom. That is only a sampling from February back issues.  The magazine didn’t used to cater to hipster whims, but rather to a wide swath of people who would like their daily chores recast as an art they can refine. Granted Martha Stewart can get a little crazy, but all in all she has taken homemaking to a higher level of sophistication.

quilted log cabin potholder back

She may have failed me as a homemaking superstar, but she makes nice potholders. It is just a simple log cabin block, quilted. I eyeballed the measurement and it came out pretty nice.

I’d love to know your opinions about Martha and her empire, because I know you’ve got some.

arkansas traveler potholder

arkansas traveler potholder

That last potholder grew out of a need for mindfulness in my life. This one, on the other hand, was sewn out of jealously. If you follow the lovely Kayanna on instagram (@junecraft) you already know about the amazing quilt she’s making. Every other day or so another quilt square sewn in bold colors and milky pastels would pop up on my feed and I would freak out. I mean look at this!

instagram quilting

Quilting is not my strong suit, but the block was too pretty to pass up. Freshly Pieced has a fantastic tutorial on how to put this block together. She also has a template to print out that you sew directly onto so everything comes out perfectly. I did not print it out (as you probably can tell). The finished quilt square was much too big for a potholder, so I cut the pieces much smaller. Why I didn’t just shrink the template too is beyond me. The lazy man works twice as hard–and stays up sewing late into the night.

arkansas traveler potholder

This kind of quilt square is incredibly fiddly, but also immensely satisfying when it comes together. In the future I might even have the urge–and possibly the patience–to make a whole quilt. My scrap pile would like that time to come sooner rather than later. Or maybe I could go into the potholder business, because–just so you know–it’s pretty much potholders from here on out.

arkansas traveler potholder

wonky star potholder

wonky star potholder

I made a bunch of potholders recently. I thought this little project would help me get my sewing mojo back and also make the kitchen a more welcoming place.

My intention was not so much “buy a cute and funny little scrubbie so washing dishes is SUPER FUN!!”  I’m trying to respect the job it is I do. Motherhood, housekeeping, much of anyone’s time really is errands and tasks and doing the damn laundry again. We’re told, especially as young mothers, that scheduling “me time” is supposed to erase the stress and monotony of our daily chores, but forced relaxation isn’t going to change the fact that there is laundry to be done.

wonky star potholder close up

It’s not that I’m horribly uptight and unable to relax–most evening you will find me on the couch–it’s that all of these things are a huge part of my life. I can’t put them all in the category ” things that need to be done before I can live my real life.” Some people, as Stephinine said, “border […] on poetry when they write about doing laundry or mending clothing.” I will never truly feel enlightening scraping oatmeal out of the bottom of the pan, but I can respect my roll as a caregiver and bring some joy to the tasks that come with being a mother.  My gnarly ass potholders told me my job as a mother was secondary; this silly star potholder says otherwise.


On a completely different note, elsie marley now has its own Facebook page. I know lots of you use Facebook to keep up with blogs, so now you can follow me there too!



nearly lone star quiltr

The social aspect of having a blog is odd. There are people you talk to often, keep up with their kids and daily goings on and sometimes you haven’t the faintest idea of what they look like. I’m still uncomfortable getting to know people online, having existed before the internet made that normal, but I’m getting better at it. Slowly, there are many people that I call my friends, not my “friends.”

pinwheel quiltr

Dorie is one of those people. She is a ridiculously talented knitter and a damn fine quilter too. With her quilting knowledge and a background in coding, Dorie has made something new and fantastic: Quiltr. Quiltr is a tool for quilters to play with colors and patterns before they start a quilt, but it is also a super fun, crafty video game. In it, you choose a quilt pattern (zig zag, lone star, etc) then you can plug in not only colors, but photos from you flickr stream.

double irish chain quiltr

If you a crazy person (like me) who takes pictures of your fabric, well then your next quilt is practically made already. But I have found playing with pictures I’ve taken to be the most fun. It’s got me running off to Spoonflower to design fabrics–something I’ve wanted to do on and off for years. It’s also got me sewing actual quilt squares! Ok, so I really could go on (and on) about Quiltr, but you probably want to go play with it yourselves. So do! and stop on by tumbling blocks while you are at it and tell Dorie what a superstar she is!

edited to add: there is a quiltr flickr group now too!


whip up mini quilts

I have to take a break from the kids clothes week programming to show you these quilts. I made these a loooong time back when Kathreen from whip up asked me if I’d contribute to an art quilt book she was putting together.  Of course I said yes, even though the last quilt I made was almost 3 years go. Well, now the book is out and April has been quilt month over at whip up to celebrate.  I haven’t actually seen the real book yet, but I’ve seen all the projects inside and not only are they beautiful, they are made by some of my favorite people too.

I think I heard “art” more than “quilt” when she first asked me and so I made a quilt specifically to hang on the wall (I was thinking more in a frame than with tape at the time, but whatever). I wanted a modern landscape and thought powerlines crisscrossing the sky would make a nice patchwork. I could have made (and you can, if you make it!) the fabrics look like the actual horizon, but I went all arty and actually really like how it came out. The piecing of the little quilt does take some time and I didn’t want people to be put off by that, so I made another quilt with the same design only without any patchwork–a whole cloth quilt.

My favorite part of these quilts is the piped binding. I like how it frames the quilt and is just barely there. I know it’s a little hokey, but I also like how the binding is a little like a wire. These quilts have been gone for a long time and it’s nice to have them home again.  I was just sitting back that whole time while Kathreen was working her patootie off.  She did an amazing amount of work to put this beautiful book together and now I should get my butt to a book store to see it for real.