Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cashmere Lap Throw

This project comes from Sewing green by Betz White. I'm not going to include step by step instructions because I don't think it would be fair to publish for free what some one worked so hard to perfect and then put in a book. (Not to mention I don't want to be sued). This book is filled with great projects and well worth the cost. If you want a copy follow the link above and buy one from Amazon. If you don't, check your local library for a copy.

Basically I purchased 3 used cashmere sweaters on ebay.

When I received them I threw them in the washing machine on hot with some laundry balls. I also dried them on hot.

Cashmere doesn't really shrink or felt much but washing them ensures the quilt will be machine washable when it is finished. I then cut the sweaters into the largest rectangles possible.

Once I had all of the pieces cut, I decided on a pattern. I laid out the rectangles to make sure the pattern looked right.

The pieces were then pinned and sewn together. Betz White has a really good method for piecing the quilt - it is easy and the seams look great.

Lil'A loves to hang out under my sewing table while I am working. It used to be a problem when I had a sewing machine with a foot pedal but now that I have a knee lever it works out just fine.

Once I had my quilt top completely assembled I let Lil'A test it out - she loved it so much I had to pry it away from her to attach the backing.

I attached a backing of cotton velour, topstitched the entire quilt and I was done. It is absolutely gorgeous, so soft and warm. I am delighted with it and I think I may have to make one for Lil'A because she loves it so much.

and I weep with happiness...

I have a confession.

I have been wearing the same bra for 9 months.

It is stretched out. It is ratty. It smells faintly of over sweet breast milk.

And worst of all - I made it into a nursing bra. Not very neatly.

It is probably the ugliest thing I have ever had on my body. In a fit of desperation and the desire to wear something cut slightly lower than my collarbone, I gathered a nursing bra that never fit me, some elastic and a bra that I wore before I got pregnant and performed surgery.

If I was an actual surgeon I would have been sued for malpractice and lost my license. As it was, the result was so hideous that someone should have taken my sewing machine away. But I was going to wear it beneath my clothes and no one was going to see it but me, my husband and my baby and none of us cared right? Plus I knew that I was going to suck it up and buy one of the gorgeous, comfortable and affordable nursing bras available at every major mall.

Wait - there are no gorgeous, comfortable and affordable nursing bras available - anywhere. There are nursing bras at the mall but they are only made to fit tiny, barely swelled breasts, not the gigantic G cups that are living on my chest. They are also made of materials that are not meant to touch the always sensitive nipples of a breastfeeding mother.

There are comfortable and appropriately sized nursing bras available online but they are not precisely expensive and as anyone who wears a bra know, you really have to try them on. I could not face the idea of ordering, trying on, returning, ordering, trying on, returning and errrgh.

Then there are the gorgeous, comfortable and appropriately sized nursing bras available in the few high end lingerie stores around town. You can try these on but since they cost the same as your car payment, you are going to have to take the bus for a while and with your new, well supported and exceeding large bosoms, you are probably going to be ogled which will make you realize that all men are pigs and wonder why your husband isn't ogling you more and then you'll have to call him and ask him why he's not ogling you and you won't speak to him for three days and by then you'll be going crazy because you don't have a car and you can't ask for his because you aren't speaking to him (remember) and errrgh.

So this is why I have been wearing this horrible bra for 9 months. Everyday.

I finally hit the breaking point and starting looking into the availability of those expensive nursing bras in my area. I checked on the Bravado website and saw that they have 2 new bras on the market and they both had potential. I checked their store locator, made a few calls and found a store that had them in stock and was close enough to drive to in a day.

We loaded into the car and headed out.

As I walked into the store I saw an entire wall of nursing bras. They were pricey but cute and there was more than one style available in my size. I grabbed the Bravado bra that I had researched and a few others to try on and headed to the change room. I hung the bras on the back of the door, peeled off my shirt and there it was, the terrible bra, looking so much worse compared to these fabulous, glorious, brand new bras. I saved the Bravado bra for last. Each of the bras fit and were pretty but none of them was perfect and boy, were they expensive. I admit that by the time I picked up the Bravado bra I had lost heart. I just knew I was going to have to wear that terrible bra forever ( oh and this is where I begin to imagine my daughter doesn't ween, ever, and I am doomed to spend the rest of my natural life in this bra)

I check out the tag, 36 F/G, $50.00,it is called The Sublime Nursing Bra and I am trying it on in French Vanilla.

Oh, please fit, please please please fit and be comfortable and cute and supportive and easy to unclasp.


I hook the hooks, slide it around, put the straps over my arms, adjust and look in the mirror.

It is perfect. It is wonderful. I am jumping (okay, I am thinking about jumping). I want to run out into the store and tell everyone how great it is. I don't want to take it off.

But I do. I take it off and put on the old bra and walk to the cash and pay for the new bra. I gather my husband and my daughter and we go to the car.

Where I remove my old bra and pull it out from my sleeve. Then I put the new bra on without removing my shirt. I am the bra Houdini.

My husband asks how if I like it and I say

"It's perfect"

and I weep with happiness...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Welcome Autumn

Autumn is hands down my favourite time of year. The cooler weather, turning leaves, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Hallowe'en and the faintest hint of Christmas. The day that marked the September Equinox in Vancouver was warm and wonderful. Although the leaves and berries are turning... was warm enough for bare feet (or one bare and one socked foot if you are Lil'a)

I was inspired by the book I recently read called "The Creative Family" by Amanada Blake Soule (aka Soule Mama) and decided to mark this year's equinox with an autumnal feast.

I made Panko breaded pork loin chops with caramelized onions and roasted Russian Purple potatoes, beets and gem yams. It was yummy.

It felt really wonderful to mark the occasion with a small celebration. We were all happy to have a reason to sit at the table with candles and a special dinner. When I walked up to the grocery store with Lil'a to pick up the pork chops, I meant to stop in to the Dollar store and pick up some Autumn decor but I was up there too early and the store was not yet open. I have to say that I am glad that it was. I was forced to look through the house for things that would make the table a little more special and I easily pulled together the apple fabric, candle and candle plate. It looked simple and pretty and not only did I not spend any money but I also do not have anything that I now have to find a home for (or throw out). Even though I am trying to be as conscious a consumer as possible, it is always the special occasions that trip me up. These are the times that I am most tempted to buy disposable goods for a one time use. I hope I can be mindful of my sense of accomplishment with this small celebration the next time I am tempted by decorations that I don't love but will do for the moment.

Happy Autumn!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Corsage Scarf Tutorial

So the very first Christmas project I have completed is the Corsage Scarf, which was inspired by the Corsage Tee tutorial at Enchantresses3. It turned out so much more pretty than I could ever have hoped and now I am the one with gift envy. After I get through all of my Christmas gifts I just may have to make one of these beauties for myself.

As promised I have taken pictures as I put this gift together, so here is the tutorial for any of you who would like to make one too.


1/2 yard of cotton spandex
1 yard of 6 inch tulle
matching thread
water soluble fabric marking pen
quilters safety pins

Step One - Decide how long and wide you want your scarf to be - I chose 60 inches by 8 inches.

Step Two - Cut out a pattern for your petals - in this case I followed the Enchantresses3 directions and used a heart (see the link above). Trace your pattern onto your fabric and cut it out. I found that I could cut 4 layers at once if I secured the centre of the heart with a quilters safety pin. It isn't an exact science, just try to be as neat and uniform as you can. Don't forget to cut the hearts out of the tulle as well.

Step Three- Do some quick math to figure out how many rows of petals you want. I had 86 white petals and 72 tulle petals so I chose 8 rows, 1 inch apart with 6 petals in each row. I used my water soluble marker to mark one inch increments along the bottom 8 inches of the scarf.

Then I joined the marks to make lines.

I marked off 1 1/4 inch increments along each line as a guide for petal placement.

Step Four - Time to sew. I just lined the petal up with the mark and sewed 3 stitches forward and back. Every second row I alternated 3 stacked tulle petals with a white petal.


A little further along - you can see the finished other side in the background. Oh and my beautiful Elna Supermatic - Cricket. I got her for $15 and after a little tune-up she runs as smooth as silk.

Done - now I clip the threads, front and back (what, cut as I go along, are you crazy?)


The picture does not do the scarf justice. It is so pretty and fluffy and wintery. I would post a picture of me modeling the scarf but I don't want to completely ruin the Christmas surprise in case the recipient reads this posting.

I hope this tutorial makes sense, I strongly encourage you to make one of these for yourself or as a gift for someone else. I can totally see this in a myriad of colours and if you wanted to be really luxurious, make it in a bamboo jersey. Soft and ecological.

Have fun and please send me pictures if you make one, I would love to see your creations.