Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

In Great Taste: A Kitchen (Drawer) Tour

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Dear Ann,
Honey, what’s got INTO you? Way to stir it up! My favorite comment (so far) to yesterday’s post is from Becky H, who joins the chorus of people (me included) chanting ‘Show us your shoes! Show us your shoes!’ but adds “you can keep your top on if you want to”.
If you must, remain clothed. But do not deny shoes to this crowd.
And if this reporter person comes after you, you know I’ve got your back. Like a mama bear, I’ll rise to your defense and present your impeccable credentials as a Non Competitive Laissez-Faire Mom. I’ll tell her how free you are with the Pop Tarts, how you’ve wavered on the whole issue of trans fats, and how you INSIST on wearing that old shirt that doesn’t do a thing for you. The Mom jeans? Don’t get me started. She’ll be begging you for a play date.
What about me? I’ve spent some time with the sewing machine, trying to get some skillz. What I love about sewing is that you can make stuff that is actually useful. There is so much I don’t know about sewing that each project, no matter how small, presents a ton of new learning. Look what I made:
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A wee pot holder from Amy Butler’s fab new book. Cristina has said that the instructions in this book are wonderfully detailed and useful, and they are. You can FEEL your sewing skills improving. All is linear and logical. And Amy Butler’s fabric choices and styling of the projects are joyous and inspiring. What’s not to like?
This potholder has lots of Features. One feature is a grommet, which is perhaps the coolest feature of all. As soon as I can get me some grommets, I will definitely be installing one. I even like saying ‘grommet’. Grommet grommet.
Another cool feature:
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Quilted hand protectors on the back. Which, even if you are not the kind of person who protects the back of the hands when pulling a hot dish out of the oven, makes the potholder extra squishy and protective of the working side of your hand.
What I learned:
1. How to do machine-quilted diamonds that look rilly almost PROFESSIONAL. So straight the lines! I heart painter’s tape!
2. How to make bias edging. Double-folded, even! (Question: Is bias edging worth the trouble? Should bias edging have mitered corners or is that just showing off?)
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3. That a new potholder can really make the drawer look happy.
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4. That I really needed new potholders.
Sewing is much quicker, gratification-wise, than knitting. Just saying.
Don’t answer the door for the next couple of days. If you get any calls from grouchy reporters, sorority sisters, or disappointed Kitchen Tourists, send them to me.
Love, Kay

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44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Kay-you’re startin to scare me with all this sewing stuff.

  2. I’ve been popping in, writing a comment, deleting it, and popping out. What I really want to say is that we don’t need a picture of the shoes, because hasn’t Ann told us all we need to know? Wobbling, feeling like Cinderella, isn’t it all clear in our imaginations? That’s coz Ann is a WRITER, I just know it.
    My comments on the sorority… really, best kept to myself…
    But now, let’s move on to the new post!
    How many people have the same jar of cinnamon in their drawer? I do, I do!

  3. What’s up chicky? Good weekend? All the Neil on the list was in homage to you – just so you know. Sew all you want baby! SEW ALL YOU WANT.

  4. And yes, I have the same cinnamon.

  5. “Cracking toast, Gromit.”
    Wait . . . that’s the wrong Gromit, isn’t it?

  6. Mmmmmmm . . . toast. Cinnaomon toast!
    Okay, I’ll shut up now.

  7. I LOVE THAT BOOK!

  8. A trick I found out back in my quilting days is that you really don’t need bias binding unless you are doing scallops or other rounded edges. If you pull a piece of fabric on the long grain, it’s very stable. If you pull it on the cross grain, stretchy! Enough, at least, to bind straight edges. On the other hand, I do love making bias binding…

  9. hey, yesterday Ann gave us boobies ….. and now potholders?? albeit, potholders in fab fabrics ….

  10. The potholders, fantastic and fast. I am in need of some really quick stuff for the family. But…..I thought sure that by today, there would be a picture of the SHOES. Where is it?

  11. Way to find your inner GRRRR Kay! Or should I call you Mama B. for short?
    Gorgeous fabrics- really, truly stupendous patterns and colors!

  12. I’ve got the cinnamon, too. And long live mitered anything. Flash those miters, and be proud of about it!

  13. Oh, and proofreading helps, too. How about “be proud about it!”

  14. KAY! I love your potholder and I am in danger of taking in my old Elna for a tune-up. Why do you always do this to me?!
    I am opinionated about grommets on potholders. They get very hot and can cause a nasty burn. Let other household obects be glorified with grommets, I say, but adorn a ptoholder with a fabric loop.
    xox Aara

  15. I see the dark side is calling you again – it’s a backlash on the bleaching comments, isn’t it? Looks good, though, I have to say. x x

  16. kay, couldja whip me up some pasties on that there machine?? (quilted would be somehow warmer, i imagine. not having so much pasty experience though…)

  17. Does bias binding need mitered corners?
    Do knitted objecks need to be blocked?
    Is the pope Catholic?
    Does a bear…well, you get the picture.
    Plus, bias binding, hand tacked down on the back, is a viscerally satisfying experience. If you don’t know the bias square shortcut method for making your binding, run don’t walk & get a Marsha McCloskey book to find out. Only one seam to create as much binding as you need! Magic!

  18. Thanks for the review. I have been thinking I would like to get this book, but now I know for sure!
    (And, that is a groovy potholder. Are you sure you’re going to be able to use it if burned corners are in its future?)

  19. Grommets are so much FUN! I made a felted, entrelac backpack that needed about 8 grommets. I used the kind that you have to pound with a hammer. Yarn and hammers in the same project! Life doesn’t get any better than that. The husband even became interested when I went diving in the tool box.

  20. Hey I’m not a-scared of yer sewing…sewing rules as well as knitting – your creative adventures no matter the medium are all intriguing and envy producing. Your potholder is a full of great fabrics – and, of course, I’ve now put that book on my wish list at amazon (hint hint to hubby). Time to unearth the sewing machine to get some quick gratification.

  21. Love the new potholder, you mitred corner show off. :)

  22. I started to comment, then I had to go back and look at the cinnamon..yep, we have the same kind at my house. I lurv the potholder..of course you have to use it, if you’re going to say “must use the handknits” you hafta say “must use the machine-sewns” too..That book sounds pretty good, may hafta check it out now..

  23. Have y’all seen this ingenious use of a warsh rag? Very eco-friendly and stylish. I bet it picks up a lot more dirt than the actual brand-name, too!
    http://www.craftzine.com/blog/archive/2006/10/knit_swiffer_cover.html

  24. Your potholders remind me of the ones my great-grandmother had. I have few things of hers (she practically raised me)–a quilt, some jewelry, and her potholders. Thanks for making me remember her with yours.

  25. If you’re going to go through the trouble of making a bias edging, then it must have mitered corners. Just because.
    Love the fabrics, too!

  26. Seriously awesome potholders! (And oh my God did I actually just write and mean that? Why yes, yes I did. I am officially 85.)

  27. And I want some quilted (or knitted for that matter) pasties too. Good Lord. Can you imagine?

  28. Spot ON once again with the fabric choices. You have to come down and save me from my GaranimalsTM tendencies.

  29. Hello? Is NOBODY GOING TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE OF WOMEN’S RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER TODAY?
    I’d tell you how beautiful that potholder is except that I’m too busy wearing my new shoes.
    I like all those patterns together. Not too much wabi in the sabi, but not too matchy either. Just right.
    And yes, I saw Amy Butler’s book at the store and think it’s really beautiful even I severely lack a sewing machine.

  30. quadruple the size of those spiffy pot holders,….and you have a baby quilt…..nothing goes to waste in the “scrappie” department….and every pattern is complimentary. hurrah….homegrown sewing!

  31. Love those fabrics – just ordered the book! Game 4 tonight!!!!! Can’t handle the excitement!

  32. Bias binding – so not worth the effort unless you have to do curves. Harriet Hargrave says straight grain binding is ok so that’s enough validation for me. Mitred corners on the other hand are worth the effort.
    Your yardage may vary.

  33. Beautiful! Love the fabrics you chose.
    P.S. – Grommet is SUCH a fun word.

  34. Wow, I love those potholders, but I cannot sew and don’t have a machine (or the time for that matter), but they are beautiful. I have those spices too, but on a boring old shelf…..

  35. I can’t believe it. I was looking at that book this afternoon, and thinking I needed some new potholders (mine are old and grungy looking). Now you have inspired me! I was up in your neck of the woods over the weekend to visit my daughter. We took Amtrak up to Rhinebeck on Saturday and what a beautiful train ride, gorgeous day, and lots of fun at NY Sheep and Wool.
    Regards,
    Jane J

  36. I’ve been wanting to take up sewing again. I used to sew, but we moved and I no longer have room for sewing. So, just when I get going on a project, I have to stop and get everything off the kitchen table so I can cook and serve breakfast/lunch/dinner. Knitting can be done anywhere, anytime. Either one is a craft requiring creativity and learnable skills, and the end results can be soul satisfying.

  37. Hmmmmm, everyobody sees cinnamon and I saw a bag of weed… am I being revisited by the ’60’s? Is this one of those fabled flashbacks? Guess I won’t be invited to mother’s group. Maybe the girls in the photo were using that herb de Provence before they flashed their “smiley faces.”

  38. You can yank the girl off the prairie, but you can’t deny her the right to make quilted stuff.
    Way to make that sewing machine sing! Oh, and I am obsessed with sewing perfect mitered corners on everything I can. Then I pet them, they’re so perfect.
    Millions of quilters know the Zen of the perfect mitered corner.

  39. Have that book and love just about every project in it. Am glad to see a good review on the actual instructions, etc, as I’ve not done a single thing from it — yet.

  40. These colors are so bright and cheery! One day when I am reunited with my sewing machine, I will have to try some of these quilting projects!

  41. Re: Rag balls…I make my own from old cotton sheets, lovely as anything and recycling, good for the planet.
    Re: Betsy Ross-breathed-on Rag balls. Hey! There’s money in this! At $22 to $40+ a ball, someone should open a rag ball shop.
    Ang

  42. i got the cinnamon, the citarella bay leaves, that number fabric, and i’m sitting here with the wrong gromit, some cracking toast and wensleydale.
    word Up, 80s style, on the instant gratification of sewing — even when you suck like me. i’ve been knitting a hat for a month now. but still, it’s knitting. but i’m loving sewing. but…
    that potholder is more gorgeous than a potholder should be. lovely, lovely, lovely.
    i stand my love of the bleach.

  43. You are hilarious and reading this blog is a brightspot in the day.

  44. I’m not the commenty type but seeing your quilted potholders brought back such wonderful memories I couldn’t resist. My grandmother(who was the mother of 9 girls)made similar potholders from the scraps of fabric she used to make everything from aprons, wedding dresses and my very own Irish dancing dresses. My grandmother passed away more than 30 years ago and I’ve kept the potholders in a linen chest as they’re so precious to me. But now I’m thinking they need to be displayed. And I need to break out the sewing machine and make some of my own. Thanks for the inspiration!
    PS – Sewing is much quicker than knitting but so much more difficult to frog :)