Category Archives: In Stitches Sew Along

Ladies, Fire Up Your Singers!


Winner of the November/December In Stitches sew-along: Flossieteacakes with that couture apron. Isn’t that shot fantastic? Nice work on the sewing and photography. {Note to self: take more time to set up shots. Look how nice your projects can be displayed if you don’t get impatient!}

New book for 2008: Simple Gifts to Stitch. We took a poll. You may have voted, you may not. Either way — we’re pretty sure you are going to love this book.

New project: The Button Scarf, with a photo due in the new photo pool by February 28. I need to sew a couple birthday gifts for cold weather friends, so this frankly, works out perfectly.

Finny & Donk's Sewing Adventure!

New name for this fabulous sew-along: Finn and Donk’s Sewing Adventure. Grab your backpacks and don’t forget your thimbles, this is going to be another fabulous ride through the wild land of Domesticity. We’ll be sewing projects with random winners selected from the pool — so make your photos stand out and feel free to email us with any questions. Thanks so much for playing along!

~Kelli, aka Donk
and my northern California bff: Jessica, aka Finny

P.S. Did you hear about that fabulous Amy Butler contest that you may already have a project completed you could enter? Check out Finny’s blog for details.

Notes in the Margin

Nico isn’t mine. He is adorable though, isn’t he? I love taking photos of dogs and dream of the day when I have one of my own. My current home (tiny) and schedule (stupidly busy, minus all that sleeping) isn’t keen to good dog ownership at the moment. Fingers crossed these will change in 2008. When I make the great leap into doggielandia, it is more likely to be this variety from this lovely locale. If you want to see a super sweet pooch, I’m in love with Ted from afar.

— In Stitches winners, a new project and more fabulous domestic surprises to be posted Monday! Sorry for the delay. Holidays, travel, etc. Someone was out gallivanting in Italy and needless to say, it wasn’t me. Like how I passed the buck on that one? Hee hee.

Stay tuned. Same batty time. Same batty channel.


Eighth Day of Christmas

In Stitches, December Entry: Eighth Day of Christmas

I wish for another great sew-along. Finny and I have been amigas since our Lumberjack days. But I think our friendship has gotten even stronger this year through the In Stitches project. It has been so fun to see what others create, to watch photos added the the flickr pool from creative folk living all over the world and to have Amy Butler’s nod of approval. Rock on!

{Fully accepting my domestic dorkiness and loving it.}

In Stitches, December Entry: Eighth Day of Christmas

This is my November/December project. I used the basics of the patchwork handbag to make a dopp kit for my friend John. With some manly Ikea fabric, grosgrain ribbon for the zipper tabs and some heavy plastic webbing for the handle, I whipped this baby up.

In Stitches, December Entry: Eighth Day of Christmas

Next time? I will cut the length in half. It is ginormous.

If you haven’t voted for the 2008 sew-along, get on over to Finny’s and let us know what you want to do. I’m dreaming of tunics, skirts and new techniques!


In Stitches 2007: Winners!


Finny and I have split up the booty (hee hee!) and are each announcing one of the winners of our In Stitches 2007 sew-along. Ms. Amy Butler, the sewing maven herself, perused our Flickr pool to select two grand prize winners. She emailed us how difficult it was! There were so many great submissions.


Jan’s patchwork bag blew us away. The sewing is great, the fabric selection is stellar and she just has such a friendly nature. Apparently she wowed Amy too because she is one of our grand prize winners.She is a sweetheart and her son is in the Peace Corps in Moldova — so their entire family has a special place in my heart. Congrats Jan! Amy is sending you loot! You’ll have to let us all know what you received, you lucky dog. (We’ve already sent them your mailing address. I hope you receive some of these awesome clothing patterns. I would truly love to make this. And this. And, yep, this too.)

The other great winner is being announced here — at Casa de Finny — along with the poll for next year’s project. If you want to play along, and we certainly hope you’ll fire up the Singers and join in the Kumbaya chorus around this crafty campfire, the time to vote is now!

As a reminder, we’re still working on our November/December project. Safe to say I’m ripping off this awesome idea. Meg is so darn crafty and the men in my life don’t read this blog. I’m pretty sure my dad still calls this my blob, actually. So, patchwork bags transformed into dopp kits it is. When we announce the winner(s) for this month’s entry, we’ll post our 2008 project too. Thanks again for playing along and man, I can’t wait to see what Amy sends our winners! Thanks to Amy and her awesome staff too for their generosity.


P.S. If you didn’t win, and you are crying yourself to sleep on your big pillah, (name that movie!) check out Funky Finds this week for an awesome giveaway! Jess has some great stuff out there too.

In Stitches — Winners Within the Week

In Stitches Mosiac

Dear Finny,
Long time, no chat about our happily successful sew-along. Can you believe we’ve received more than 300 submissions in the last 11 months? Even more incredible, can you believe Ms. Butler herself is reviewing these and picking two grand prize winners?
Holy moly. I just cannot get over this. And yes, I am fully aware what a dork it makes me when at happy hour someone asks me what the highlight of my week was and I head straight into, “Well, I’m in this sewing group and this super talented fabric and pattern designer actually emailed me! Can you believe it? Oh my gosh. And she is going to judge our little pool of photos…”
Such conversation, which ultimately always results in the person walking away, rolling his eyes or simply zoning out is man repellent, as my brother so aptly puts it. On the other hand, we have WWF, the latest Mac Leopard/Tiger/Liger details, or football stats. If I can listen to you explain yet again the difference between a linebacker and a tight-end, then you can at least pretend to be alive when I rarely ramble about all things domestic. At least my conversations come with baked goods.
Anyway, for all you In Stitches sew-alongers, I hope your November/December challenge is going well. I am busily sewing a dozen different Christmas gifts and while I’ve thought about what I am doing for this project, it has yet to move past my thoughts into a sketch.
Fin, how fun would it be to receive mail from Amy? I’m sure it would come with a pretty note on her new stationery. And the prize… one can only imagine. It is going to be so fun to announce the finalists and winners with you later this week!


P.S. For those interested in our 2008 sew-along project, now is the time to voice your vote. We are taking suggestions for the next book to conquer.

In Stitches Redux

Dear In Stitches Participants,

Hi there! Wiping your brow? Exhausted? Sipping margaritas sewing machine-side after a brutal two-month assignment? We hear ya. We know the patchwork bag wasn’t easy, but hey! We learned a thing or two. For example? Make sure your lining is going the right direction before you sit down to sew that sucker in by hand. This is a mistake that will make you angry at yourself for days. And patchwork looks much, much better once you sew all those suckers together. OR, once you throw it in the trash and start over with a single piece cut to size because you are a patchwork loser. In pieces on your kitchen table? It pretty much always looks like a disaster in the making. Hell, some even skipped the patchwork (see, “some”, not just Finny) and plodded forward with beautiful pieces of fabric as is. (Hence the new mantra for the September/October project: Cheaters never win? Nah, Cheaters Finish Bags.) Ha!
But you did it! Many of you completed the bag and learned right along with us. Bravo to you! In celebration of your fabulous tenacity, we are rewarding every patchwork bag submission with a prize because that is how we roll around here – pressies for everyone, even people who hate patchwork. Please email us with your mailing details by November 10th to claim your fabulous prize: africankelli at gmail dot com, finnyknits at gmail dot com

If that wasn’t enough good news, we are sending a handful of submissions during the last year to Ms. Amy Butler herself to pick a few grand prize winners. Ms. Butler will be sending along fabulous goodies from her line to reward a lucky few for their sewing prowess. We are thrilled! (And we will be super jealous if she sends you some of her new fabulous patterns. Hello, Spring wardrobe.)

November/December will once again be a two-month project with the holiday time crunch in mind. It’s dealer’s choice: pick any project from the book and share your mad sewing skills in our Flickr pool. Make it a holiday gift or not. Make a dozen, or just one. It is totally up to you!

Thank you again for playing along. We are excited to announce our new 2008 sewing monthly project January 1.

Finn and Donk

on the gorge

In Stitches Sept/Oct: Complete

quilted end, pull tab

Mi querida Finny,
I am so glad we took two months to complete the September-October project for our In Stitches sew-along. Let’s be honest — this bag wasn’t easy. Thankfully so, because its complexity made me slow down, read the instructions more than once and learn new techniques.
I have never before followed Amy’s instructions with such precision. I bought masking tape, used a seam guide to make sure my 1/4 inch here and 1/2 inch there were in the right place and I even pressed the darn seams. I learned to quilt batting and how to make those cute little pull tabs for the zipper.
As I mentioned, I’d saved these fabrics for a handbag just for me. Rarely do I keep what I make because just like most other joys in my life, it isn’t so much about the end result as it is the journey. I truly loved sewing this bag. I found myself sneaking in 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there to work on it.

pink and brown inside too

That said, imagine my surprise when I decided to give it away. I am sending it off to a girlfriend today because I know she’d like it and use it. I won’t. I’m not sure why — I even like the odd shape. But I simply know it would be added to a growing stack of cloth handbags in my closet and what a waste that would be.

Sept-October project complete

So, it’s been wrapped up and shipped off to a girlfriend who I know also enjoys all things pink and has a penchant for purses.

On to other more pressing topics, while I have your ear. How is the shin meat? Are you ready for your big race this weekend? I hope you are sitting on your couch eating a bowl of mashed potatoes for breakfast and giving your hammies a much needed rest.
Fin, like I am certain the sky is blue and chocolate is worthy of the calories, I know you are going to rock this race. I only wish I was there to cheer for you in person. Good luck, my friend!


Fall Magazine Review

Dear Finny,
I miss writing you my monthly In Stitches letter — you know, since this time we have two months to finish the project (phew!). And really, I just miss you. Remember when we went to New Mexico in April and spent the weekend gabbing, knitting, drinking margaritas and laughing a the snow flurries that fell on our open-toed shoes?
Well, going through the towering stack of magazines on my nightstand this week, I thought of you and that trip a dozen times over.

NM Ravine

For one, did you see in the October issue of Country Living they featured our lovely New Mexican getaway? The very ravine where we took such silly photos is shown. I snorted remembering us running through the freezing rain to take that photo.

Behind the times

In the same issue, they actually had a small featured titled In Stitches. If Ms. Butler wasn’t a regular contributor, I’d think they were ripping us off.

MSL, October 2007

What did you think of the October issue of Martha? I’m letting my subscription go. I love her and her craftiness, but I need a break. Her recipes are often too complicated and the practicality of her projects questionable. I find myself much more of a Real Simple girl these days. That said — I’m still itching to cook up two Fall recipes featured: pumpkin chiffon pie and sweet potato cannelloni. Yum.
I also got my new Ikea catalog and picked out a purdy new couch and kitchen.

Dream Kitchen, Ikea

The couch is much more of a reality, but how I covet those dish racks. Those Europeans certainly know how to make simplicity elegant.
And then there is the new Lion pattern catalog. Never mind I won’t use the Lion yarn, these designs caught my eye. What do you think?
Needless to say, I haven’t even thought about starting the September/October project. I hope to have at least one of these babies done come Halloween. I could fill it with candy and be the Fairy Bag Mother. Hmm…

In Stitches September: Feeding the Addiction

September In Stitches Assignment

Dear Finny,
The first step of getting over an addiction is to recognize you have a problem, right? {Or, if you are Lindsay Lohan, to hire a great publicity/law team and take a rehab vacay until everything blows over. Pun intended.}
Point being, I have a bag problem. I love them. I am like the Imelda Marcos of handbags — I want a pretty, sweet, different one for each day of the week. Except, you know. I don’t really own that many and I am regularly making and giving away handbags, rather than adding them to my already quite blessed closet.
That said? I want a new fall bag — a lovely bag perhaps made out of that pink and chocolate fabric stash I’ve been hoarding. Something I can wear when I drive up to Flagstaff to get my Halloween pumpkins. You know, because I can’t grow a thing and your garden is an unfortunate 1000 miles away from my doorstep — you amazing fronteirswoman!
While I’m drooling over this beauty at Banana, I like homemade even more. The September assignment for the In Stitches sew-along is officially the patchwork handbag. Here is the twist: not only is this the September assignment, but also the October assignment too.

Let's take two months, shall we

And the theme? Create your own adventure, like those books you loved as a kid. Do you go this direction or that one? Do you want to take your time with one bag over two months? Or, create multiple bags during this time? Either way, throw your photos into the pool, let us know where you blog and you could win a fabulous prize. I’m thinking a pretty wristlet full of goodies every woman should have in her purse du jour.
What do you think Fin? I mean, I hear you might like handbags too?

P.S. Did you see one of our favorite domestic divas is finally blogging! Welcome Junie!