Reworking a t-shirt

So I guess like a lot of people, the standard neck line on modern t-shirts (you know, the unisex or male sizes, not the ones cut cute for girls that they charge extra for), those neck lines aren't always how I want fabric on my skin during the day. So I got this red t-shirt at the thrift store a few weeks back and it had a cut neckline and I thought, I don't know if I can wear that... I mean it seems a little bit risque. But it has become a wonderful sleeping shirt and I thought with some adjustments, I could turn it into something, a way to alter some of my current wardrobe to make it more "me".
And here is my process: First, lay out the shirt you are copying from and take some measurements. 
Although this thrifted shirt did not have a tag in it, compared to my other t-shirts, I'm guessing it was once a size medium. The shirts I'm choosing to alter in this tutorial are both unisex-adult large. So I measured and put pins where I want the cut neckline to start. I…

Making, Publicly

Earlier this year I made the decision to start quilting on my 15-minute breaks at work.  The building has a beautiful lobby with tons of natural light and the 10:30 a.m. sunshine -- it's unlike anything.   To just sit there and sew for 15 minutes.  Since February, everyday I've been quilting in public in my super posh office building and I have made so much progress!  Travel quilt #4 (which was originally started for my 2013 book Quilting on the Go) was going to be the big quilt project in the book but when we were going through what to include, the art team didn't like the colors -- they didn't think it fit in with everything else in the book and so the idea was scrapped.  Of course I had already started making the quilt...

I wrote on the stars as I had been doing with Travel Quilt #3.  I would write the date and the place- city and state, and if there was an event-- My cousin Janel's wedding, George's 3rd birthday, etc.  It sat and waited for 5ish years and th…

Radiating Squares

So far, 2018 has been a lot about unpacking baggage.  Some that I was ready to look at (this quilt, for one) and others that feel more like someone ripped open and dumped all my hard memories out into the present.  Old ideas, old beliefs, that were well hidden and nearly forgotten about.  But the social/political climate in America right now has many people uncomfortable as we look long and hard at choices we have made, action we took or didn't take, and secrets we have kept.  I'm struggling a lot with this.  I think it's fair to say I'm overwhelmed but functioning.

For as strong as I've gotten in these last 3 years, it seems the next level of adulting is always more challenging than the last.  This past weekend Rich and I finally got to take some pics of my finished Radiating Squares quilt.  Running through the yard was a much needed release from the stress of my reality-- dad had a stroke Friday night and once again I feel so very far away, both in distance and …

Tie Dye! (or Chicago for me)

The kids and I tried tie dye for the first time earlier this month and it turned out great.   I wanted to give it another go so I ordered supplies and had them sent directly to my dad's place.  Last weekend we all got to dye t-shirts and dish cloths.  It was definitely worth the mess (and blue fingernails).
George and Jack had a bit of experience so they knew what designs they wanted to try.  Jack calls his grey shirt "Lumberjack" because of the suspender-like stripes.  George's heart impressed all of us.   I could do this over and over.  I want to experiment more with single colors and maybe mixing my own colors?  I don't think I'm ready to try anything but the standard tulip dyes, but they do fade after a few washings so I need to figure out how to stop that from happening.  There are so many experiments I want to try.  Pretty soon we won't have anything to wear but tie dye..

These are the first attempts done in NY on 4th of July.  We applied dye right …

Chicago for the kids

I took the kids to Chicago for a short trip.  We don't go often and I really wanted them to get some quality time with my side of the family.  I also wanted them to experience being in the places and spaces that created my world as a kid.  My grandmothers' houses.  Their backyards.  Sitting at the same tables and seeing the same views as I did.  We also had a few outing/adventures, including a trip on public transportation.  I still chuckle that I feel totally comfortable taking public transportation alone in any major Japanese city, but trying to figure out how to get from my dad's house in the suburbs to downtown (a distance of 17 miles) was such a challenge.  Anyway, we made it.  We even attended a reunion for my high school singing group and they got to play with the kids of the people I hung out with 20+ years ago.  Memories made. Pictures taken.  Love shared.  I'm glad we went.

Blogging-- or can it just be my online journal?

If you've had a blog for over 8 years, then you may remember that wonderful time around 2010 of quilt blogging.. when there was such a positive energy floating around, just as the modern quilt guild movement got started (notice I didn't capitalize the guild, back then it was just a really good idea).  Many bloggers who experienced that time have lamented over the years that blogging has changed, the community is gone, it's just not the same... and it's true.  I'm sure blog posts have been written on it, this doesn't need to be another one.  I do miss that era.  But I also miss my own early days of blogging, back in 2006, when I was reading a whole bunch of really awesome craft and home blogs and I wanted to write!  I wanted to say something and see if anybody out there would read it.  And they did...
But in the beginning, it was mostly for me.  To track my projects.  To sort out my thoughts on trends and process.  To record my journey.  That's what I want t…

Travel Quilt #4

So what is Travel Quilt #4?  How did it happen?  Why did it stall?
Seeing as I've chosen this to be my bring along project for the foreseeable future, I thought I'd give a little backstory.  Also, I got a new laptop and finally have wi-fi in the new house, so woohoo, time to blog.

I had about 2 stars left to piece on Travel Quilt #3 when I had a phone call with my London publishers setting the basis and rough synopsis for what would become Quilting on the Go.  They wanted 10 projects but none that had been shown publicly before.  10 projects, English paper pieced, by hand.. in under 12 months. (timeline changed during, I think it was more like 15 months in the end).  I knew I wanted a big star quilt in there and with their original guidelines, I couldn't use Travel Quilt #3.  I had tons of ideas, so I decided to make a Trip Around the World variation with 2" diamonds.  The color scheme came from my favorite scarf at the time (which sits in front of me now in a partial…