Cashmere Dyed with Food Coloring



Hey folks! I know it’s been a while. Just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day nowadays to blog as much as I’d like to, but I had to share this. I dyed my favorite cashmere sweater with food coloring.

The sweater had been getting kind of dingy, and although it’s machine washable (a-MAY-zing!) and had cleaned up well several times, eventually, the dinge was stuck and not coming out. I became embarrassed to wear it. And I looove this sweater. It’s Boden, was secondhand to me, and has held up beautifully, especially compared to other sweaters.

I knew food dyes could dye cashmere, having done it before on a smaller scale (see here , info on dyeing animal fibers here, and info on overdyeing here). I did some research on dyeing whole sweaters and found this post to be particularly helpful. I decided on a deep aqua and took the plunge, using (this color). I think I also added some Easter egg dye (pink?), but honestly, I can’t remember at this point.


I am really happy with how it turned out. The color is really intense though a bit mottled in spots, but for me, that’s part of the charm. The one thing I wish I could change is the fact that the thread didn’t take the dye. This is really to be expected since sewing thread is usually some combo of cotton and polyester, fibers that don’t take dyes in the same way animal fibers do. All in all, though, I’m just glad my favorite sweater has a new life.


In other news, I’ve been reading Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. Watching The Crown and Younger.

In general, I’m feeling the need to rearrange, weed out old stuff, mend things, and change things up—i.e. wearing jewelry that hasn’t seen the light of day in ages, mixing and matching new outfit combos, switching purses (which I do infrequently). What about you? What’s new?




Kid’s Artwork on a Mug


Well, I didn’t mean to be gone all summer, but it was a little busy. How was yours?

This project was actually an end of year gift for a very special teacher who happens to love llamas. My son was always drawing llamas and writing llama sentences for extra credit, so we decided her gift would be made from one of those drawings.

LLama 1

I took his drawing above, took a picture with my iPad and imported it into a drawing/ painting app (Procreate—yeah, not the best name but a good app). He used the stylus to “trace” his drawing and fill it in, and he chose the green background.

I uploaded the image into Shutterfly to have the mug made. We were really happy with how it came out. If anyone has suggestions of other places to have artwork turned into gifts, I’m all ears. I actually wasn’t that impressed with the variety of options out there.

What are you watching and reading? Currently I’m into Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. Somehow it’s just what I need to unwind in the evening. Movies: loved Wonder Woman and especially The Big Sick (an indie romcom, if you haven’t heard of it). As for tv, I got really into Grantchester and Poldark over the summer, and have just started watching Hinterland. It’s good but it’s a little too creepy sometimes, so I can’t watch it too late at night. Also just finished Anne with an “E.” Let’s discuss. Spoiler alert! Consider yourself warned.







Okay, here goes.

I have mixed feelings about Anne with an “E.” The casting, acting, sets, costuming, and cinematography are all really top-notch, but I’m not loving the giant liberties they took with some of the story lines. Especially the fact that they make Anne’s trial run with the Cuthberts so high-stakes. It makes Marilla and Matthew look like heartless, cruel jerks just for the sake of drama. And the whole losing the farm thing and Gilbert’s family situation and the shady characters coming in at the end. Come on! The books were never about major dramas, for the most part, and it doesn’t feel true to them to up the ante so much. Also it kind of kills me that Rachel doesn’t make the dress with the puffed sleeves. That was the thing that really made Marilla crazy about it! You can probably tell I’m a devoted Anne of Green Gables fan. I’m definitely feeling the need to introduce the kids to the older series (with Megan Follows and the dear late Jonathan Crombie). But despite the writing shortcomings in Anne with an “E”, it was fun to watch, too.

Anyway, in the comments, tell me what you thought of it. I’d also love recommendations for other shows and books.



Blue Cashmere Patchwork Blanket



Hi everyone! What have you been up to? Besides work and regular life, I’ve been working on a revision of my nonfiction project. I finally seem to be getting somewhere with it.

And then there’s this blanket, which came together pretty quickly, all things considered. Like its sister blankets, it’s made from thrifted cashmere sweaters. These are so cozy and very popular in our house.

In other news, just finished reading How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky. It’s a collection of her advice columns (she’s the author of New York Magazine’s “Ask Polly”). I enjoyed it a lot, especially the one about making friends as an adult. The columns are more like essays, really, and if you liked Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, you may enjoy this one, too, unless you’re offended by lots of strong language.

Other things I’m enjoying: rooibos teas from Adagio Teas: green citrus, caramel, and vanilla chai.

Anybody watched the new Anne of Green Gables TV series? Haven’t tried it myself, but I’m intrigued. Okay, gotta run. Hope to be back soon.



Finished Scrap Quilt


The thing about documenting projects on a blog is that I can actually see how long things take me. Yipes! I started this lap quilt over two years ago. But on the bright side, I’ve actually finished two quilting projects in the same month. A record!

I got bogged down in the quilting of it. It’s my first attempt at free motion machine quilting, and I struggled a lot with the technique. I still haven’t figured out what all was going wrong, but I finally made peace with it and decided I could accept the deeply flawed quilt stitching. If I hadn’t, I don’t think I ever would’ve finished it. Let’s just say it’s a good thing you can’t see the back of this puppy.


Now that it’s all finished, I am really loving this piece—the deliberate wonkiness, the way the colors and patterns play against each other. My nine-year-old started designing it when he was seven. He had some strong opinions about it. The scraps are from all sorts of things: his baby quilt, his crib sheets, vintage family fabric, a friend’s crib sheets, his baby sling, a friend’s baby quilt, various craft projects, and on and on.

My favorite way of seeing this quilt is wrapped around my little guy like a cape. If you want to see this quilt in an earlier stage, click here.

For more of my patchwork and quilting projects, click here.



Green Apple and Aqua Quilt


Ever notice how some people have a kind of family color palette? They pick out clothing and decor with the same basic colors again and again. For me, that palette is blue and orange. I can’t seem to get enough of different variations on that theme, both in clothing, decor, and even in my paintings to a certain extent.

I always think of red and blue as being my parents’ family colors, and for my in-laws, at least for the women, green apple and aqua are a recurring theme. My daughter has in the last few years adopted that color palette as her own, and I love it.

She came up for the concept for this quilt/ duvet cover—the colors, the shapes. She picked out most of the fabrics, with a few scraps coming from friends and family. I put them all together, and I’m pretty happy with it, if I do say so myself. It took me two years plus to finish this project, though of course I was doing lots of other things in between and lost interest several times.

I’m so glad it’s finished!






Rey Costume (The Force Awakens)


Is it a belated Halloween post? My preparation for the premiere of Rogue One? Or just my warrior outfit for the challenges that lie ahead?

How about all three?

Wow, 2016. What can I say? Are you as exhausted as I am with the onslaught of awfulness?

Despite everything, playing Rey for a day was wicked fun. Once again, this costume is a mish-mash of altered thrift store finds. The trickiest part was finding the right fabric for the drapey scarfy thing that goes on top. No, that curvy thing behind my head is not part of the costume. It’s a lizard made from a seed pod (a gift to us from friends).

For more not-exactly-from-scratch costumes, click here.

Watching: Recently finished The Crown on Netflix. So, so good if you like period stuff about aristocratic/ royal types. Reading: Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates, a light-hearted history of early New England colonists—amazing how resonant many of the issues still are today. New-to-me blog: Blue Collar Red Lipstick –fashion by a  professional and classy yet quirky dresser who relishes a good thrift find.



Cashmere Patchwork Throw #2


I’ve missed you, readers! I’ve been busy with work, writing, and taking care of the family. Meanwhile I have been crafting, but mostly on big projects where my progress has been slow.

Here’s one project that’s actually finished. If you’ve been around long, you may remember my previous similar project in different colors. This one is very much the same, made from thrifted cashmere sweaters.

It’s crazy hot in North Carolina, but this throw is already in high demand around here. There’s just nothing like wrapping yourself up in cashmere.

Read or watched anything good lately? I loved the indie film Sing Street, about an Irish 80s teenage band, created to impress the hero’s love interest. Also enjoyed reading The Nest, a funny novel about grown siblings fighting over their shared inheritance.

I’ve been thinking about my fall wardrobe and new ways to mix things up. For one, I’m working on getting things fixed that have needed it for some time: shoes, boots, clothes needing alterations, beads that need restringing. Have to replace some buttons on a sweater and am even going to attempt repairing some cashmere sweaters that have a hole—wish me luck! I’ll be reporting back on that.

Loving following Sherri Lynn Wood’s Instagram feed (@sherrilynnwood). She’s an artist/ quilter, and I always love her style, but this summer is special—she’s been doing a residency at the San Francisco dump (yes, the dump!) where she’s been uncovering amazing finds to make into quilts. I can’t wait to see her finished products. Nothing I love better than watching treasures be uncovered and made into art.

That’s all for now. Hope I can make it back here in the near future!