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Quilt: Reflections on a Koi Pond

I've been working on this one for a long time; the camera roll shows that the date for the picture taken most recently since today was dated May 2016. The time spent on finishing this quilt hasn't been taken up by the actual piecing, but in trying to decide if this quilt is done as is, or if there is more to be done. The actual piecing is deceptively complicated looking, when in actuality, it couldn't be simpler than sewing a log cabin block and then cutting the resulting block into strips.

This has been an exercise in improvisation, which is always so much more difficult than following a set path, beginning with the middle section bordered by the white bands. Originally the impetus for a quilt of blue was that I wanted to use up my strips of blue fabric collected over many years of quilting; for the most part, they are all leftover pieces from other projects. There is a lot of fabric. Collectively, yards and yards, and so even with all of this piecing, there is still so …
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Kaffe Fassett Persian Carpet Garden Quilt (inspired by Peter Halley)

I had been wanting to make a dear friend a quilt for a few years, but could not come up with the right design that seemed to reflect her personality, interests, colors, etc. But in April 2018 when looking through a monograph of Peter Halley's earliest works, I came across a gouache he had done that to me looked like a loose interpretation of a Persian carpet ingeniously making use of the simple, but extremely versatile, square.

The piece lent itself readily to a translation onto graph paper, which was an interesting exercise in of itself. No wonder so many artists learn simply by copying others. Simply from the act of transcribing each square on the page onto graph paper, I learned a lot about the artist's use of color, patterns, and scale and how those elements worked together.

To my mind, Persian carpets tend to be floral in design, so a coordinating fat quarter bundle using some of Kaffe Fassett's designs seemed perfect for the quilt with its variations of color and sc…

Japanese crossover aprons with some help from Simplicity 8816

A few steam-burned fingers and 4 hours later, two linen Japanese-style crossover aprons for Christmas gifts. I had made View A from the apron pattern Simplicity 8816 for my mom; the overall fit was good so I used that as the template for drafting a freehand crossover apron in terms of apron length and width and strap length. An internet search on crossover apron pattern brought up some images that I eyed while sketching a pattern.


Instead of using bias tape to finish the edges, I made a narrow hem. The key to getting everything to lay flat and have a relatively even width was lots of steam ironing after every step. The steam made the linen behave at the cost of a few tender fingers. The strap width as drawn is 5 inches, but with the narrow hem, the finished strap width was a perfect fit and didn't extend over my shoulders.

Where the back portion meets the front, I finished with a French seam for a cleaner finish and to reduce the chances of linen fraying and topstitched the resul…

Market Totes

The demise of the plastic bag has led to an increased need for durable and washable cloth bags. With a lot of extra fabric lying around from a defunct home decorating project, I engaged in some assembly-line sewing over the weekend to make some market bags.
 The finished bags have boxed corners, french seams for a durable and clean interior finish, and reinforced handles to make sure the bag can withstand the heaviest loads.
The final measurements are approximately 16" wide by 15" tall. To cut down on some time, I used plastic webbing for the handles, cut to 21" lengths, instead of making the handles from fabric. This is the perfect length for me so that the bags don't drag on the floor. (The best part about sewing is making things custom to the person and intended use. No one size fits all.)
The reinforced handles took up the majority of the sewing time, about 20 minutes to reinforce all four stress points. The rest of the bag itself is a quick make. All told, …

Labor Day Weekend and Making

Celebrating Labor Day weekend by engaging in some fun labor: starting a new bag.


Dressmaking at Home - Pattern C

I tried to sew Pattern C (White Blouse) in the book Dressmaking at Home by Machiko Kayaki. It's a simple blouse that has just 4 pieces (front, back, collar, and bias binding) and seemed doable enough for an introduction into clothesmaking.

The tips found on this site on interpreting Japanese patterns was very helpful in figuring how much seam allowance to add when cutting out the pieces.

Using some fabric found in the remnant pile at a fabric stall in Kyoto, I made my version in what feels like polyester, although the fabric does tend to hold a crease, so maybe not 100% polyester.

If you don't look too closely, the stitching is good enough. Although if you do look closely, the wonky stitching lines are readily apparent. The shirt fits well and didn't require any pattern modifications.


This pattern would be great in a cotton gauze or other lightweight fabric for warm summers because the shirt is loose, but still has some shaping, and the collar keeps it from being too basi…

SerendipitiJoy on Etsy

Now available at the store are handmade zippered bags that can be used for travel, running errands, shopping, or, my favorite, travel.

 They can be rolled up for easy storage.

 But are very roomy for bringing home souvenirs. Mine came in handy when stocking up on all the goodies in Tokyo a while back.