Category Archives: Announcements

An Open Letter To Crafters On The Internet Who Have Recently Discovered Cross-Stitching Is Fun

Dear Crafters On The Internet Who Have Recently Discovered Cross-Stitching Is Fun,

As a long-time cross-stitch enthusiast, I am beyond thrilled that cross stitch is finally getting its due alongside other “rediscovered” cool crafts like knitting, crochet, and quilting. For too long, it’s been ignored as a dorky craft suitable only for grandmother’s bathrooms. It deserves better than that!

However, when most people on the internet embraced knitting, crochet, and quilting, there’s been a lot of love for using high quality or designer materials. So why, for the love of all that’s crafty, is everyone using Aida or evenweave cloth?! People, there’s a whole world out there of beautiful fabrics that are a joy to work with, that feel good in your hand while you work, that add depth to your work, that compliment the colors of your floss*.

It’s called linen, and if you’re not at least trying it out, you’re doing your project and the process of cross stitching a huge disservice. If you have the budget, would you knit/crochet/quilt with polyester? No, because it wouldn’t feel as nice in your hands while working, and the final product doesn’t look as good, right? Guess what? The difference between Aida and linen is the same thing. So this year, do yourself and your stitching a favor — switch out that Aida for some linen. You will not regret it, I guarantee it.

Hugs and kisses,

P.S. If you’re worried that it’ll be much more difficult, don’t worry and just go for it! Start with a big count linen. Sure, you may need to really focus in the beginning about counting up and over two linen threads for every stitch, but once you get going, you’ll start to see the linen in terms of the grid made by your existing stitches, and not in terms of each individual linen thread. Trust me!

*If you’ve really got the budget, I also highly recommend trying out silk thread instead of floss. It’ll blow your mind. It’s like sewing or quilting with voile instead of Kona cotton.


Filed under Announcements

Accept No Imitations! Pineapple Is Coming Back Thanks To ME!!

One of my hard-and-fast rules when I started quilting was that I would never, ever, ever like a log cabin or pineapple quilt. I have long believed that aesthetic would, in any setting, make my eyeballs vomit copiously, and figured I’d live a long and fruitful life as a quilter without ever making a quilt that deploys it. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this picture deep in an extremely random internet search:

Pineapple Quilt Model (Stolen)

I would very much like to credit this photo, but I can’t re-create the search that found it on a random blog (one of those shady sorts of blogs that look like they might be made by aggregator robots, might I add), and that blog hadn’t credited it well either. It claimed it was from the V&A, but had no more info or links. So I’m stealing it and breaking the law by posting it here, but I can’t help it!

It was after 2:00 in the morning. I had spent hours looking at pictures of quilts online, as a result of my Dalarnananana jealousy-induced desire to find a Scandinavian-feeling quilt pattern. And there I was staring at a mind-blowing pineapple quilt. A — dare I say it? — beautiful pineapple quilt. I had to make one. I had to make one JUST LIKE THAT.

After announcing that to the hysterical laughter of my housemates, I promptly turned around, saw French General’s “Maison de Garance” line, and declared that my pineapple quilt that is going to be JUST LIKE the inspiration picture would also be made out of those fabrics. (Perhaps I was having a hard time letting go of my Dalarnanananana jealousy and needed to go with a French General line as well.) I don’t know how my imagination thought that would happen (magic?), but my commitment to the project gelled, and there was no going back.

As soon as pre-cuts of Maison de Garance became available, Pookie supplied me with a layer cake of it (have I mentioned yet that she gave me a “custom fabric bundle” of the month for my birthday, and has been surprising me with unexpected fabrics every month? Well, she did, and this layer cake was one of the entries) with the intent that I would use it to mock up a square of Pineapple City. A cursory search of my various pattern outlets did not yield a pattern for my inspiration quilt, so I had to figure out how to assemble a pineapple square. It nearly broke my brain.

September 19 2010

Pineapple quilts are actually nowhere NEAR as complicated as they seem, and someday I’m going to look back at how hard this was for me to figure out and laugh and laugh.

Now, while I was in the process of assembling my prototype square, I noted to Pookie that you just don’t see many pineapple quilts anywhere. She agreed. I then declared that my quilt was going to be so amazing that it would take the interwebs by storm. I was going to bring pineapple back, baby!

No sooner had I made that declaration, though, than I started seeing pineapples everywhere. Damn you, Collections For A Cause Legacy, even though you’re over a year old! Screw you, random book of Edie McGinnis’s “A Second Helping of Desserts”, with your pineapple quilt made out of French General fabrics! I am bringing pineapple back! Not you! Back off, people! Gah!

I’m sorry, where was I? Oh, right. My prototype.

Pineappleback City Mock Up

Is it just me, or is it feeling pretty pineapple in here?

Shockingly, the Maison de Garance palette did not lend itself to a square that looked at all like my inspiration. But you know what? I really, really love the red/brown darks from that line. I decided to pick up even more reds as well as some of the pinker tones from the Rural Jardin line, but didn’t cut into them for this mock-up. I also decided that the overall feel I got from the inspiration picture was a quilt that had sort of lights and darks neutrals making the pineapple, with pink squares on the corners, and the odd splash of bright red and bright blue. I figured my quilt’s lights would be the tans and creams from Maison de Garance, and the darks would be the reds and browns. In place of the pink color, I opted for a robin’s egg blue from Rural Jardin. And for the accent color (in place of the bright red/blue), I really wanted a vivid, jewel green. Sadly, the green I’m imagining (I thought it was poison green, but I’m finding disputing notions around the interwebs for what that shade should be) doesn’t seem to exist except in the wood paneling in Dr. Quinn’s clinic in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. The next best thing I could find was a green micro-dot in Holly Holderman’s Fun Flowers line.

Ultimately, despite it not being even remotely like my inspiration quilt, I am completely in love with my prototype square. It has some construction issues that I should be able to correct when I make the quilt for reals, but all in all, I’m stunned that it worked. And thrilled. It might be a traditional quilt pattern that people have been making without difficulty for hundreds of years, but dude, I just designed my own quilt! I’m a supergenius! Or, um, something.

Anyway, Pookie’s brilliant suggestion recently was to take a picture of a unit of a quilt that will be repeated, then use our extremely rudimentary photoshop skills to create an artist’s rendering of the projected finished quilt. So here it is:

Pineappleback City Projected Vision

Oh yeah. I am totally bringing pineapple back.

[Posted by Schnookie]


Filed under Announcements, Pins and Needles, Quilting

What Else Is Big Grocery Not Telling Me?

You know what’s really, really, really easy? And you know what my grocery store was hoping I’d never find out? It is insanely easy to turn a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast into a boneless, skinless one, and it costs literally less than half as much! This has completely blown my mind, and I want to run out and tell everyone in the world this new, amazing chicken secret. Please, take pity on me and don’t tell me that you already knew this.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Filed under Announcements, Meats Meats Meats

Now We Just Sit Back And Wait For The Crops To Roll In

As of today, every seed we’re starting indoors for 2010 has been started! We’ve got ever-more-hearty onion seedlings hardening off in the cold frame in the garden, pepper seeds doing their slow germination thing in seedling trays in the plant window, and freshly-planted tomatoes and broccoli. All the hard work of gardening is over now, right?


Filed under 3. March, Announcements, Can't Wait To Eat That Monkey, Garden

A Picture A Day Keeps The Doldrums Away

There have been some recent complaints around here that we don’t post frequently enough, so we thought now is as good a time as any to officially announce our two photography/bloggy endeavors on flickr — Project: Dinner 365 and Project: Garden 365. We were inspired by the awesome Project: 365 community on flickr (one of Pookie’s wildly talented coworkers has participated for two years now), but don’t think we’re good enough photographers to do something that hardcore. But we love taking pictures of our foodstuffs, so we figured it would be fun to regularly take shots of something we have every day — dinner. We’ve been having so much fun with it that we have just decided to up our challenge to a picture a day of our garden, too. So if you come by IPB Living and feel like there aren’t enough posts, you can always get a fix of Maple Hoo goodness over on flickr.

Project: Dinner 365

Project: Garden 365


Filed under Announcements, Pictures Worth A Thousand Words