Anchors Away!

by Katie on November 30, 2014

Someone at work recently welcomed a granddaughter into her family! Yay! I learned that the grandbaby would share a room with her older sibling, so I wanted to make matching or coordinating quilts for both of the wee ones.

After some not to subtle detective work, I learned that the room was going to be navy and white with pops of yellow. My original plan was to have navy and white striped quilts with applique names in yellow on each. But, because I was working with a deadline and the baby girl’s name hadn’t been finalized, I opted for some anchors instead (I figured it was a safe bet for a family living in a costal community).

I’m not sure if the room ended up being navy and white, but I hope the little ones will be able to put the quilts to good use anyway (maybe the quilts can go to the beach for play time! ;) ).

Naturally, I used fabrics from work – a fabulous navy, white, pink and red batik!

Red Anchor Quilt

Pink Anchor Quilt

My original plan was to use a fusible for the anchors (which I drew up in Illustrator), but I didn’t want them to be stiff! My solution was to trace the shape onto fusible, trimming away the excess leaving about an inch around all sides. I then cut away the inside of the shape, leaving about one half inch along my trace line. After ironing this very flimsy shape to the back of my applique fabric, I cut out the shape on my trace line. NOT the best method, but it worked (though my shape was a bit skewed when compared to my original). If there were a next time, I’d use freezer paper and applique glue for the same (well, probably better) results! After fusing the layers, I zig zag stitched the shapes down (because I don’t have a better option)!

I quilted horizontal straight lines along and in between the navy and white stripes using my walking foot (my favorite method so far). I bound the quilts and voila – gave the quilts to the second time grandmama to give to her grandbabies. :)


Can't resist old bricks.

by Katie on November 30, 2014

Can't resist old bricks.


Finally got a pan for baking donuts! Tried a recipe this afternoon...NOT delicious. Any good recipe suggestions?


House, I never thought I'd see this part of you.

by Katie on November 20, 2014

House, I never thought I'd see this part of you.


Pumpkin Mug Rug Pattern

by Katie on October 7, 2014

I get to work with some awesome pattern designers through my job. Talented artists (and IMHO, mathematicians ;) ) and all-around lovely people. Having the opportunity to work with them makes my job so much fun!

But, even after two years of working with designers, I really had no clue about the process they go through to bring patterns to market. I wanted a little taste of what that was like!

Let’s just say this little experiment has given me so much respect for pattern designers! Not that I didn’t have respect for them before, but wow. Even this teeny tiny little pattern took hours of work!

I love all-things pumpkin and fall and orange and tea and paper piecing so I figured a foundation paper pieced mug rug was the perfect thing to try. Here she is! I used a mix of prints and batik for my sample. :)

Pumpkin Mug Rug |

>>> Download the pattern here! <<<

Thank you to Jennifer and Toni for testing this pattern out! If anyone else downloads the pattern and stitches it up, please send me a picture – I’d love to see it! And of course, if you find any mistakes (or have suggestions for improvement), please send those my way too. :)

Happy stitching!

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September Guild Meeting – Carolyn Friedlander

by Katie on September 14, 2014

Ooooh exciting times! I love being a guild member. The ladies of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild are the best! Meetings are full of fabulous quilts and lots of laughs – I not-so-secretly wish we had more than one meeting a month.

The September meeting’s guest was the one, the only, the completely fabulous pattern and fabric designer, Carolyn Friedlander! We had the opportunity to meet her and see many of her lovely quilts up close. It was a wonderful way to spend an evening!

Here are three of my faves being presented:

Local by Carolyn FriedlanderLocal

Botanics by Carolyn FriedlanderBotanics

Aerial Grove by Carolyn FriedlanderAerial Grove, from Carolyn’s new book, Savor Each Stitch

And here is me with the designer herself, clutching my signed copy of Savor Each Stitch. :D Thanks, Diane, for snapping this for me!

Carolyn Friedlander and Katie Laughridge

What is YOUR favorite CF pattern? Visit her website if you don’t yet have one. ;)

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I had the most lovely Saturday morning – a trip to the Historic Garment District Museum in downtown Kansas City followed by stop at the Kansas City Public Library to see, “Apron Strings: Ties to Our Past“, a special exhibit on aprons. One last stop in the West Bottoms to get some much “needed” fabric at Modern Makers closed out the morning. What a day!

Our trip the the Garment District Museum was fascinating. I had no idea that Kansas City was home to 75 garment manufacturers back in the day! Our tour guide, Ann Brownfield, was the woman responsible for creating the museum and curating its contents. Turns out, she was actually a designer for one of the local manufacturers back in the day, so she had a unique perspective to offer. It was so great to have the opportunity to hear her speak!

Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City Sign

Here are a few interesting tidbits I picked up:

Every morning, people would ride in on buses and walk to their places of work (factories). No one had cars, though if they had, there would have been no place to park them – there were no parking lots in the area!

While Kansas City was big on garments, St. Louis was all about shoes. While there were wholesalers in the KC area, you wouldn’t find many, if any, shoe manufacturers here. You could, however, find many milliners (hatmakers).

Hats on Display at the Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City

TWA, the airline based in Kansas City (long ago – it’s not even a company any more), had their stewardess uniforms made by one of the Kansas City manufactures. The museum has two of the suit uniforms on display – one designed by Oleg Cassini and another designed by Valentino!

Vintage TWA Stewardess Uniform

Our tour guide and former designer shared a bit about her time working with the manufacturers. On fabric buying trips, she’d buy three-yard cuts that she’d bring back to her design team (made up of production people and her bosses). Knowing she often worked with wools and heavier materials (as she worked for a company that made suits and coats), we asked what she typically paid per yard. $1.00! One dollar per yard. I’m still trying to get over it. ;) She also spent a lot of time picking out and ordering buttons. Must have been rough, right?

Vintage buttons on display at the Historic Garment District Museum of Kansas City

Nelly Don could be spotted all over the museum. This sparked a whole new interest in entrepreneurial women in Kansas City, but that’s a post for another day!

It’s not a huge place, but the museum was very informative and just wonderful to see. I’d recommend paying it a visit if you’re interested in fashion, vintage fashion, garments, textiles, manufacturing, or Kansas City in general. Visit the website for more information.

Our next stop was the downtown Kansas City Public Library, which is in THE more gorgeous building. While we were there for the special apron exhibit, I would have been perfectly happy just sitting there for hours staring at the ceiling and the light fixtures that hung from it. And maybe picking up a book or two. ;) But I digress.

“Featuring aprons from as early as 1900, the exhibit chronicles changing attitudes toward women and domestic work and presents aprons as vehicles for self-expression.” It was an interesting glimpse into the past. I originally went to admire and appreciate the textiles, but it really did make me think (mostly about how thankful I am to have the opportunity to work outside the home if that’s what I wish to do)!

After the aprons, my MIL and I headed to the West Bottoms. While we went for Modern Makers, we wondered our way through a few antique shops before dropping some serious cash at the great new fabric shop. ;) My findings:

Playful Little Paper-Pieced Projects

Fabric from Modern Makers

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American Textile Mills

by Katie on August 1, 2014

Whilst searching for some simple, unintimidating (is that a word?) shirt patterns to try, I stumbled upon Grainline Studio. The fabulous blog instantly sucked me in and has definitely inspired me to give garments a serious try (I think the last garment I made was for senior prom!)!

While clicking through the blog (SO many things to try!!), I couldn’t help but notice this post about a New York Times article featuring photographs of American textile mills shot by photographer Christopher Payne. The article details some interesting tidbits about the history of textile mills in the US. It’s a must-read if you, like me, love all things textiles! :D And the photos – don’t they make you want to reach out and touch EVERYTHING?! Just look at those beautiful old machines. *sigh*

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Christopher Payne

Here are a few words from Christopher’s website:

Historically, the textile industry has been an essential component of the US economy, but in the last two decades, overseas competition, unfair trade policies, and a flood of cheap imports have decimated US factories. Since 1990, job losses in the apparel and textile manufacturing have been greater than those in any other type of manufacturing.

In 2010 I was searching for a new project after Asylum, and I stumbled on an old yarn mill in Maine. The vintage machinery and small scale manufacturing taking place there reminded me of the workshops I had seen in the state mental hospitals, and I was amazed that a scene from the past could coexist with the present. From the mill employees I learned about other mills in the area and the project took off, taking me all over the Northeast and even down South. In some cases, I’m trying to document mills before they close, while in others, I’m trying to show that they are not only surviving, but actually thriving in a marketplace dominated by foreign imports. I also hope to pay tribute to the undervalued segment of Americans who work in these places. They are a diverse group, comprised of young and old, skilled and unskilled, recent immigrants, and veteran employees, some of whom have spent their entire lives in a single factory. Together, they share a quiet pride and dignity, and prove that manual labor still has value in the 21st century economy.

Read the article the caught my eye here and see all of the FABULOUS photos in the series here.


A Day in LA

by Katie on June 15, 2014

When the hubbs and I were thinking about moving to California, we talked about living in either Los Angeles or San Diego. It was a pretty easy choice in the end – we had family in San Diego, it was more “us” than LA, and well, apparently traffic wasn’t as terrible in America’s Finest City. ;) But! There were so many things about LA that we loved that we’ve visited often in the last 3.5ish years. Today was the last trip for a while (since the drive from Kansas City likely wouldn’t be quite as pleasant ;) ).

LA Garment District Buildings

We stopped first at my favorite spot – the LA Fashion District. The district has different areas for different goods. The best, in my humble opinion, are the streets lined with FABRIC SHOPS! The shops primarily offer material meant for garments, and home dec fabrics are a close second (followed by trims and other goodies of that nature). And here and there, you can find pockets of cottons perfect for quilting. During my first trip there in college with Brandon’s family, I acquired so much fabric (I was into kints at the time) that I had to borrow a second suit case to get it all home!

My most favorite spot within my most favorite spot – Michael Levine. It’s really three stores – a main cotton/apparel fabrics and trims/notions, home dec, and then “The Loft”, which offers fabrics by the pound. Yes, by the POUND people!!! I always seem to come home with a lot of shirting fabrics when The Loft is open…alas, today it was not. Probably a blessing in disguise…as I have yet to actually use those fabrics to make shirts. ;)

Michael Levine Fabrics

I managed to decide on a few Kokka/Echino fabrics, and a cut of Dear Stella‘s Woodwinked Mushrooms, and another of Sarah Jane‘s Wee Wonder Naturewalk in Grass. I’ve made my stash very happy today, indeed.

After the fabric, we found our way to The Last Bookstore. It’s THE coolest bookstore I have ever had the opportunity to visit. I encourage (nay, demand!) you to visit if you’re ever in LA. Most of the books are used, meaning they have unbeatable prices. There’s a whole level just for $1.00 books! ONE DOLLAR BOOKS!! The dollar books are arranged in “the labyrinth”, which is quite possibly the best place in which I have ever been lost. There’s also an Artists’ Nook, where a few artists are able to vend their pieces. This place couldn’t possibly have more character.

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore

Before we left, we had to get our “housing fix” so we HAD to pay a visit to H.D. Buttercup. With a name like that, you might not expect to find wondrous treasures of the home furnishings variety inside, but oh, what treasures you do discover! Fabulous furniture on top of (literally, in some cases) fabulous furniture, basically as far as the eye can see. The kind that makes you drool. And want to redo you ENTIRE dwelling. And then do it over again just to live with even more great furniture!

H.D. Buttercup

I was too distracted by all of the prettiness that I didn’t get any pictures of the inside….so you’ll just have to visit so you can see it for yourself! :)


Come Fly With Me

by Katie on June 7, 2014

The hubby laughs at me for loving this video so much! My talented, film-making cousin shot this with some of his new toys and I just adore it. It makes me feel like I’m flying! And I love the music. I have watched it no less than 30 times in the last three days. Come, fly with me –

DJI Phantom 2 Aerial Demo Reel from Christopher Olson on Vimeo.

See more of Chris’ work here.

Missouri Fun Fact – The ruins in the film are the remains of the Ha Ha Tonka Mansion – not something you’d expect to see in the middle of grand ole’ Missouri, #amiright?