September 27, 2006

And now, for a sewing interlude

Right after law school, I moved to Arizona and started work at a small firm with three wonderful women. We were all crafters - Jack, Jessica and I were knitters and Ellen was a quilter. When I got engaged in the early fall of that year, Ellen decided that as a wedding gift, she, Jack and Jessica would spring for fabric at The Quilted Apple, and she would teach all three of us to make a quilt for my wedding. In between margaritas, episodes of the Gilmore Girls, and some rather intense floor refinishing at Ellen's, we got a fair amount done on the quilt before I left Arizona to join Moxie in LA. Then the quilt languished as our lives went on and we married, bought houses, and changed jobs, but eventually, three and a half years after we started it, the quilt somehow got completed and made its way to me:

CIMG5787.JPG The Wedding Quilt

Many hands helped to build this beautiful and cozy blanket. Ellen's mother tied and bound it (and reported that it had to be tied rather than quilted due to the margarita episode). It is one of my most prized possessions, and I will treasure it forever. But here's the real kicker: Moxie, who eschews all things with color, and many things handmade, affirmatively likes it. Shocking, no? But so very, very nice.

I really enjoyed sewing, and made several floor pillows and the occasional curtain. I would even borrow a sewing machine to do some finishing on my knits, but I never had a machine of my own, until Marnie decided to move to Portand and didn't have room to take her machine, or her grandmother's sewing table, along:

SewingMachineCIMG5945.JPG The sewing machine and other wonderful goodies.

So now I have two more really special possessions. Marnie is definitely my LA Ellen, and to me, it is much more special to have a sewing machine that was hers than it could ever be to go out and purchase one for myself. And, I have accessories made by friends, too. Notice the wonderful little pin cushion above? It was made by Mary Heather. (As were the cute little shrinky dink pins.) Armed with such great equipment and knowledge from friends, I think I'm ready to go forth into the world of sewing.

And since friends have made this possible, I've decided to pay it forward, and make one of my first projects for an auction that one of our virtual friends is helping to pull together to benefit a really neat Portland project, called Cafe au Play. Who knows, maybe someday I'll end up there and have a chance to take advantage of this wonderful cooperative venture. I clearly have plenty of reasons to visit.

If you haven't yet, please go visit Larissa's site. She is collecting aprons to auction, and I just know that many of you guys can whip out an apron in no time flat. While you're there, grab a button:


Finally, I have some wonderfully fashionable fabric to show you:

CowboysCIMG5953.JPG KitsNKoiCIMG5954.JPG
Cowboys and Kittens and Koi, Oh My!

Marnie was so impressed with my impeccable taste when I chose the kitten fabric at the Santa Monica Fiber Fest, that I felt she deserved something equally special for her Christmas present. She has gone so far as to coin the phrase "It's so kittens and koi" to refer to instances when people that she otherwise considers tasteful deviate so far in their choices that she just isn't quite as sure about them anymore. I believe the cowboys suit her recent bent toward the manly men. I'm thinking a Brokeback pillowcase may be in order.

P.S. Fear not, Larissa. I promise not to make you a cowboy apron. I understand that Cafe au Play is a family establishment.

Posted by Julia at September 27, 2006 04:33 AM
In cafe au play apron | good causes | main | quilting | sewing | talented friends


I love the quilt! ... OK and the cowboy fabric too. I think we're talking apron here, that is unless you want to make some throw-pillows for the bed. [howling to myself here]

Having a sewing table is super-great. It makes your sewing machine so much more accessible. My machine is still packed in its box from the move even though I have a few projects to attend to. Just thinking of pulling it out and clearing off the table to get ready for a project zaps my energy. We did just recently purchase a new table for my "me-room" to resolve this issue. Ahem, it is in the garage still waiting to be built. Procrasti-nasty-me!!!

Posted by: Tiffany at September 29, 2006 02:01 PM

Hey little Mellon-head - nice research! If you can't find the pattern using that, you can't find it. Please say hi to ma Peters for me. I really am going to send her a thank you note, but I have to get the photos developed. We send special thank you notes here at chez MOW. Miss you! J

Posted by: Julia at September 29, 2006 08:58 AM

If I weren't so lazy, I'd dig out a style manual and figure out how to put this bibliographical information into the proper format. But since I am, in fact, so lazy:

The book is:"Our Best Seasonal Quilts" from Fons and Porter's 'For the Love of Quilting' magazine. It is a Leisure Arts Book. First published in 2000, Third Printing 2001. ISBN: 0-8487-2362-7. Contact
information...additional: Oxmoor House, Editor - Our Best Seasonal Quilts, 2100 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209 ...or...order by phone call 1-800-633-4910.

Posted by: Ellen at September 29, 2006 08:42 AM

Yes, the pattern name is "Spiderweb." My mom is searching for the publication information for those who are interested. I will add a comment in the next few days with the info.

Posted by: Ellen at September 29, 2006 08:16 AM

And I found a quilt very similar to yours in Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Road, after looking through all my books twice. Hooray!

Posted by: Kat at September 28, 2006 02:44 PM

Here's a wonderful Spider Web Quilt pattern I found on line. It isn't exactly the same as ours, but I really like it.

Posted by: Julia at September 28, 2006 11:36 AM

Kat (the second) - I just put in a call to Ellen to see if she remembers any of the stats on the quilt. From what I remember it took 32 different fabrics (a yard of each of 31, and then more for the stars pattern in the interstices - maybe 3 yards?) and then, of course, the backing - so 33 fabrics total - it was a lot. Mine is queen-sized.

I also think it's a traditional pattern called a spider web quilt. Ellen will comment later to confirm this (or to tell me we were drinking sangria rather than margaritas) and give other details if she finds or remembers them. But this is what I can reconstruct in my own little head.
xox, J

Posted by: Julia at September 28, 2006 11:23 AM

I've been up all night thinking about making a quilt with this pattern. Do you remember where the quilt instructions came from, if there were any? I know the how, I just don't know the how much... as in fabrics.

Posted by: Kat at September 28, 2006 11:12 AM

Oh that quilt is lovely and special with all the memories. Before I became a spinner I was a quilting fanatic. I still love quilts and you've inspired me to dig a few quilt tops from out of my closet and finish them.

That cowboy is also quite stunning. What is the other cowboy in the lower right hand corner doing? ;-)

Posted by: janel at September 28, 2006 10:18 AM

Marnie-kins, I think you may have unwittingly given me an even better idea for your prezzie - one side cowboys, the other, kittens and koi! How delightful! The fabric was from our friendly LA supplier, Michael Levine. I think I bought 2 yards, but since you and Larissa have expressed so much interest, I may need more.

I wish you were here. The LA county fair has a hyerbolic crochet exhibit by the institute for figuring (there's a link to fig in my big list) that I have to see. They crocheted a reef and a cactus garden, which actually look like a reef and a cactus garden. Too cool. M. refuses to go, but I'm hoping to rope someone - MJ? Andrea? MH? Kat? into it. It's just too cool. Plus the fair has pig races. Who can resist pig races?

Posted by: Julia at September 28, 2006 07:56 AM

Ok, I have to tell you a story. When I was in 7th grade, Chrissy and I got along really well with all the Art, HomeEc and Shop teachers. They kind of saw us as quirky and willing to really throw ourselves into something creative. So one art project was to cut two similar yet different images into strips. Then we were to fold a piece of cardstock into an acordian and past all the strips of one image on the right side of every fold and the other image on the left side. This made an piece that showed one image from one angle and the other image from the alternate angel.

My two images....

Men's underwear ads.
All the teachers thought that was just about the funniest thing I could have done.

That cowboy looks a LOT like one of those ads. I think you found my kittens and koy.

And OMG, where did you find that fabric?

Posted by: Marnie at September 28, 2006 02:16 AM

The quilt is stunning. What a touching gift.

The cowboy fabric is a riot.


Posted by: Amy at September 27, 2006 03:34 PM

I love to see quilts on other people's knitting blogs - So I don't feel all alone with my love for both. I go back and forth between knitting and quilting - totally different, but still FIBER! The Wedding quilt is beautiful!

Posted by: Pat at September 27, 2006 02:20 PM

I would TOTALLY make a cowboy apron. ;-)

Posted by: Sachi at September 27, 2006 02:05 PM

What a quilt! It's just perfect, and the memories of it, more so. But most importantly, what a hunk of a cowboy... Whoot! Whoot! And the apron drive looks like a good cause; I'll see what I can do. (In fact, I was just talking about sewing today. My skills are certainly not great, but an apron will help me practice up.)

Posted by: kodachrome at September 27, 2006 01:38 PM

The quilt is even more beautiful up close and in person. Wow. That makes me want to take up yet another hobby!

Love the fabric--make sure Marnie's pillow has the cowboy in chaps on the front. ;-)

Posted by: MJ at September 27, 2006 10:04 AM

Oh I don't know...there are a few women and at least one man who are volunteering who would love those guys on their apron! I love the kittens & koi, BTW.

Posted by: larissa at September 27, 2006 09:52 AM

what would happen if the kittens and koi were mashed up with the manly men? now that would be some kind of quilt.

Posted by: kat at September 27, 2006 09:26 AM

If we're talking remarkably drunk, then you are thinking of sidecars and the ya-ya sisterhood! I am pretty sure you're right that I made sangria several times in AZ, but I think I made margaritas as well. AZ is the only place I've had margs from a fountain. I think that may be a cultural statement of some kind. I am plotting a return trip, just have to figure out when. I miss you, and that wonderful flooring. xox,

Posted by: Julia at September 27, 2006 08:58 AM

I was remarkably drunk, but I'm 99% sure it was sangria, not margaritas.

I can't wait for our next quilting debacle!

Posted by: Ellen at September 27, 2006 08:49 AM

I see you went for a closeup of the sultry lad for the picture... nice, very nice!

I can't *wait* to see what you start to create with your sewing machine... that quilt is so beautiful, and I know the rest of your projects will be, too!

Posted by: Mary-Heather at September 27, 2006 08:16 AM

I love those fabrics. I made all of my clothes during high school and afterwards, and it used to be as therapeutic for me as knitting is now. It's been years, though, since I've sewn, and I know I've got a sewing machine somewhere. Perhaps it's covered up under bags of yarn. Let's see, which closet would it be in?

Posted by: Leslie at September 27, 2006 08:03 AM

Oh yay for sewing! I was sewing long before I was knitting. It's so gratifying - you'll love it!

Posted by: Nonnahs at September 27, 2006 07:31 AM

Aah, the Weekender Travel Bag. AB is surely getting a kickback from the Timtex folks. Don't fall for it - you can go lighter on the interfacing and still have it turn out fab. Your hands will thank you.

Posted by: rock chick at September 27, 2006 06:58 AM