flag making progress

zakim citgo sign photo

I’ve started making a few To Boston With Love flags. The deadline has been bumped up to May 21 so that flags can be displayed at a {not yet announced} prestigious Boston institution for Memorial Day.

The flag pictured on top is a copy of a design of the Zakim Bridge originally created by the very talented South End Textiles.  {Don’t blame me if you click on that link and end up shopping! They have great stuff.} The bottom flag is my paper-pieced rendition of our city’s beloved Citgo sign. These are such quick, instant-gratification projects.  I’m excited to see the whole lot of them–from all over the world– once they are displayed.

housewarming gift


My youngest sister purchased a beautiful home on Cape Cod that is practically a stone’s throw from the beach.  I made her this grocery bag holder as a housewarming gift.  {I included a bottle of wine as well.} I didn’t use a tutorial because I’ve gotten to the point where I can figure these things out on my own.  That said, I know that Jeni at In Color Order has one that looks great.

I used the Paris map fabric as my point of focus and chose prints that coordinated and, in some cases, had meaning.  My sister’s middle name is Green, she loves all things nautical, and one of those clothespin girls is beaching it {i.e. wearing a bikini}.  I love this sort of project.  It’s pretty quick to make and its something that my sister will actually use.  Very satisfying.

Here’s to lots of fun vacation-time on Cape Cod with a free place to stay!

totally doing this


I just love this idea.  Details here.  Check out what people are making in the flickr group here. Or search #tobostonwithlove @ Instagram.

In addition, the Boston Modern Quilt Guild has embarked on a quilt-making project.  Another excellent way to use your talent and help. You can find that information on their website.

snake trail beginnings

I’ve begun a new, long-term quilt project. I am using the snake trail pattern from Denyse Schmidt’s newest book–but I won’t use the layout of the quilt that is pictured in the book. {I like the version that is more curvy and winds around.} It will be a full sized quilt for our guest room. My motivation was to have an always-available hand-stitching project at the ready, but I’m reserving the right to use my machine to stitch as well. I’m going to use all of my favorite bits of fabric — it’s going to be fussy-cut heaven. My initial fabric pull could only have been influenced by Jolene {Blue Elephant Stitches} and her amazing single girl quilt. I’m going to try to blog my way through the process of making this one and share my thoughts as I work.

In other news, I’ve finally joined up on twitter and instagram. I am always hesitant to add another social networking venue to my repertoire {which is why I am several years late to the game on this!}, but I’ve finally made the plunge. Honestly, I haven’t posted anything particularly interesting at either spot, aside from my ridiculous obsession over Friday Night Lights {again, several years late to the game}.  I’m feeling kind of shy about it all. I’m @applecydermill at both places.

a question for you

On a recent ski trip at Cannon Mountain, my husband {pictured}, my sister-in-law and I were riding up the chairlift when I proclaimed that I couldn’t think of anything more fun than skiing or snowboarding. {I do both, but I am a better skier than rider.} I ruminated that surfing is probably just as fun, if not more fun, but I’ve never tried.  My sister-in-law asked me:  “What about sewing?” and I answered pretty emphatically:  “NO WAY!”  I’d rather hit the slopes than jam on my Janome any day.  Ha! That sounds so ridiculous.

The conversation got me to thinking about the interests of my fellow makers, outside of their craft. Here is my question for you:  Is there an activity that you like more than sewing/knitting/making?

Side note:  THANK YOU for all the great feedback on my last post about organizing a quilting workshop at my local library.  It has given me tons of food for thought and will help me to put together a great event. I will be sure to let you know how it all plays out.

wondering about workshops

My local library asked me if I would organize a hands-on quilting workshop that would be open to the public.  I accepted the invitation immediately because I love the idea of getting more people excited about sewing .  I did a good amount of public speaking when I worked abroad, so I’m not nervous about getting up in front of a group of people I don’t know.  But it did occur to me just now that there is one big gap in my credentials.  I have never led a quilting workshop before, nor  have I ever participated in one. Hrmmm.  To loosely quote a new knitting friend: I believe in the endless powers of google and coffee to figure most things out.  Beyond the basic foundations of sewing that my mom provided when I was young, I am largely self-taught.  {Or shall I say internet-taught?}

I wondered if anyone who has either led or participated in such an event would be willing to offer any advice?  Format, length, logistics etc? Things you like/dislike about workshops? The event will take place on a weekday evening.  We will have a good number of sewing machines available for use.  I don’t want to do a ton of talking because I’d rather dive right into the making.   I imagine I would do a brief introduction with visuals {Pecha Kucha style?} then get people started on sewing a few very basic blocks, like rail fence or maybe log cabin.  I thought it might be both fun and convenient to skip the rotary cutting.  We could simply use scissors or tear fabric.  {The added bonus would be that I wouldn’t have to worry about finding the time and space to use rotary mats and cutters.} By the end of the class, everyone will have had the chance to create a little bit of patchwork.  If the workshop goes well and there is demand for a follow-up session, I could potentially organize another one to cover other important aspects of the craft.

Any advice? I’m all ears!  Thanks in advance.

thoughts on motivation

This post by Chawne spurred some thinking about the types of quilts I most enjoy creating–the ones that give me that “rush to finish” feeling.  I’ve come to realize that I am happiest making quilts that are my own design.  Inspiration hits and I just go for it.  There is no pattern to follow.  Its just me, my ideas, and a desire to work with fabric until I make whatever it is I am hoping to make.  I love the feeling of not knowing exactly how the finished product will turn out, but trusting my design sense and technical skills enough to know that I will make something beautiful, or practical, or comforting {or whatever it is I hope to accomplish.} I also like making heartfelt gifts that are motivated by the prospect of giving a little bit of handmade beauty to someone who is important to me.  My goal is to make something that the recipient will love.  I try to figure out their style, their tastes, their favorite colors, etc.  This type of project can feel a lot more like work because its more about the end game than the creative process.  I still find great satisfaction in it, nonetheless.

As I was trying to coming up with ideas for the quilt that is pictured above, I endeavored to combine these two types of quilts:  heartfelt gift and original design.  I wanted to make a gift for a friend that she would love, but I also wanted to throughly enjoy the process of creating it.   I am pretty sure I didn’t even include her favorite color {purple?}, but I know that it is well-constructed, one-of-a-kind,  and will keep her warm. Its an added bonus if she thinks its beautiful, right?

Enough of the introspective naval gazing. Here are some details.  I was originally inspired by this piece of artwork by Mia Christopher, but I went in a totally different direction color-wise and skipped the rounded corners. I didn’t use a rotary cutter while I made this quilt; I tore the fabric strips instead.  The “organic” grid quilting was inspired by this awesome quilt.   I backed it in flannel and bound it {with the same flannel} using Sherri Lynn Wood’s fantastic invisible binding tutorial. I machine-stitched the binding to the back of the quilt for.the.first.time.ever because I knew that the stitching would blend with the quilting on the front. It went really quickly and makes the finish product a lot sturdier than if you hand-stitch.  I always forget to measure my quilts but my guess is that it is about 60″ x 75″ in size. I like to make sure that my friends will be able to cover their bodies entirely and wrap their quilts around their feet when they are snuggled up on the couch.

Now, I am curious.  What motivates your making?  What types of projects do you love to create the most and why?  Let me know if you have a minute.