Another year, another round of Halloween costumes. I’m so pleased with how they both came together! Although if you would have seen me during the making of Maggie’s princess costume…well, let’s not go there. It’s done now and everyone is very happy. Just a small note to my future self: never sew with polyester sateen and organza ever again, mkay? Maybe the worst, worst thing about Maggie’s was that the very day I bought all the supplies she said she changed her mind and wanted to be a mermaid. NO YOU ARE NOT BEING A MERMAID. YOU ARE BEING A PRINCESS. Luckily she got over it, and she loves the princess costume.

Jerry’s costume (zombie, if you’re wondering) was $5 worth of goodwill clothes and fabric paint that I had in my box of rarely-used craft paint. And I think he’s got the zombie face down!

happy kids

We are ready for trick or treating tonight, although the temps will be much colder than we’re used to! It’ll be in the fifties! Eep!

In knitting news, I am making good progess on my orange socks.


But I got the itch to knit Maggie a new sweater and swatched and then cast on for a new Tomten. The socks will be a nice break during the big-gauge knitting on the sweater.

Tomten, again

More on this Tomten, my second, next time. Happy Halloween!

Pumpkins All Carved



goodbye football blanket

Gerald and I moved into our first house, a rental, almost ten years ago. At the time, we had no furniture between us. We had to buy a mattress to have something to sleep on and a couch to have something to sit on. Oh, I remember that couch. It came from the goodwill and it was red and green plaid. Man was it ugly. Of course, we couldn’t afford to buy all the other furniture we would need, so my Dad drove down to North Carolina from Buffalo with a truck full of stuff – dressers, tables and chairs. For the drive down, my Dad used an old blanket to keep the furniture from getting scratched. It was my brother’s NFL-themed comforter from when he was little. The Football Blanket.

By the time the Football Blanket reached us, it was already out of commission. Heck, my brother was in college at the time and hadn’t used it for years! But for whatever reason – most likely because it featured the New York Giants, Gerald’s favorite team – we started using it. For the last few years, the Football Blanket has actually been Gerald’s blanket. The one he sleeps under every night (yes, we have separate blankets). It’s sooo old and threadbare. It’s totally faded and pilly and gross. And it’s a child’s NFL-themed blanket from the 80’s!

For a loooong time now I’ve wanted to get rid of that blanket. Call me crazy, but I wanted something more sophisticated. Something that goes with my house. But you can’t just throw away something without having a replacement, right? Yeah, I know I could have gone to the store to buy a blanket. And I can buy sweaters at Old Navy and socks at Walmart. But it’s  in my blood to think “make” before I think “buy”.

And that is how I came to make this latest quilt. Gerald and I have been discussing a replacement for the Football Blanket for years, so the fabric I used has been in my stash for a long time. Recently reorganizing my sewing area and working at decorating the house was the impetus for finally getting this project going.

Gerald doesn’t care much about how things look, but the feel of the blanket is very important to him. Jerry has a quilt I made that is very light and lofty, and Gerald wanted his blanket to be like that. Unfortunately that meant high-loft polyester batting. I considered ignoring this request, but I do, after all, want him to use the blanket. So I used the high-loft poly batting and vowed to make all quilts for the rest of my life with wool or cotton batting.

The batting made the quilting a tedious process, but I do like how it turned out.

It’s fluffy.

I made the polka-dot binding with some pre-made bias cut fabric that I found at the thrift store a while back. I love how it swirls around the edge. When I was going through the stash looking for something for the back of the quilt, I found a sheet (partially used for lining a curtain some time ago) that was almost exactly the right size.

How serendipitous! And guess what? Gerald used the blanket last night! I didn’t badger him with questions about his sleeping experience this morning, but I think he just may like it. Only time will tell.

Two questions remain. 1) Will I really be able to say goodbye to the Football Blanket? Today is trash day, yet I can’t bring myself to take the darn thing out to the trash can. Emotional attachments to things are pointless, and yet.

2) Was there, perhaps, another reason I finally finished sewing this blanket that I’ve been meaning to sew for years? Perhaps a new pile of fabric for a quilt that has actual piecing involved? Perhaps?


Just yesterday I ordered Elizabeth Zimmermann’s new book (edited by her grandson, Cully) Knit One Knit All (reviewed by Clara Parkes in Knitter’s Review this morning). It is a collection of EZ’s garter stitch patterns. As I understand it, many of the patterns have not been published before. I am ridiculously excited to see the book, and I hope it’ll give me the kick in the pants to pick up my knitting again.

That’s right, I have not been knitting. My knitting mojo is all wonky. It’s a very odd feeling, having knit pretty much nonstop for the last eight years. I have patterns that have been knit and photographed that I could write up. I have sketches and swatches. I have ideas floating around in my head. But the urge to actually sit down and do any of the work is not there.

But I have been busy with other stuff. Jerry had a birthday. He’s NINE YEARS OLD.


I took advantage of having my Mom visiting for Jerry’s birthday to 1) pick strawberries and 2) make stuff with them.

strawberry picking

strawberry picking

strawberry picking

I made freezer jam and regular jam. We ate a lot of them with shortcake that my Mom made. I froze some whole for smoothies, and I froze some cut and sugared, as recommended by the strawberry farmer himself. Note to self: next year only pick two buckets – three tops – because four buckets was really too many.

The other way I’ve kept myself busy is with house projects. After finally making The Hallway into a space that is useful and pretty, the goal is to fix everything in the entire house, starting with the small and easy-to-handle projects. First up was kitchen curtains. They turned out great, but have a funny way of enhancing the fugliness of the rest of the kitchen.

kitchen curtainsThis fabric came from the quilting cotton section at Joann’s…one of those “exclusively for Joann’s” prints.

Next up was curtains for what we call the Front Room. It’s really the family room, and we spend a lot of time here. Click here for a sort-of before picture – it’s just a picture that happens to have the old curtains in the background.  And here are my new DRAPERIES. I am totally in love with these bad boys.

draperiesI got this fabric at MaryJo’s in Gastonia, NC. What a great store! It’s Robert Allen Home.

I am not in love with those fake trees…maybe I’ll put them away today.

When I finished the curtains, I started painting two old chairs.


A day of sanding, two coats of primer and three coats of paint on each chair, a brilliant fabric suggestion from my sewing peeps and I’ve got a pair of awesome chairs that I love.

chairs on chairs

This chair fabric is from the Tufted Tweet line by Laurie Wisbrun.
I bought it from Hawthorne Threads.

Then I borrowed my mother-in-law’s sander. I am unstoppable.

new old desk

This desk came from the Salvation Army for $20. I’m thinking I’ll paint it white/cream, but that part is still up in the air. I have primed it and I just need to decide on the paint color. It’s going in Jerry’s room with the green chairs. His room also needs to be painted, and we’re considering taking out a wall, or at least part of a wall, and then, and then, and then.

Sadly, I’m just not that into picking up the knitting. I feel bad about it because I miss my knitting! But it also makes me happy to get my house in shape. We’ve lived here for 7 years now; it’s about time!