eight by eight

august’s box: I’m lured by quilts by Blair
September 24, 2008, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Etc.

Dear Daria,

First off, I’m glad you like the box of materials I sent you for “thread”. Don’t you love getting these monthly boxes? The minute I see one on my doorstep, I feel a little tinge of possibility. I will admit that often what is on my sewing table heavily influences what I send in some of those boxes (I know this goes for you too- hello remnants from Jedi costume), but the combination of thinking about “thread” and a clean studio made me start from zero this time, which I think was helpful.

I’m giggling because the late timing on our August box certainly makes me heavily influenced by the inevitability of Fall. And the contents fit right in with my thinking. I have wholeheartedly surrendered to my yearly quilt obsession again this year, which is happening right now. I don’t see how I can avoid thinking about quilt blocks with this current theme, handquilting is certainly the manipulation of thread and all it can be, right? I thought about doing some fancy stitching and exploiting my new machine, maybe embroidering something like “thank you for not sending me buttons”. But I think the dimmer days, mist in the air (did you feel it today?), and the cozy brown bits you sent all feel like they need a good dose of handstitching.

I treated myself to the postcard set of The Quilts of Gee’s Bend a couple of weeks ago and have definitely found my inspiration in the quilt above. I don’t quite know how its inspiring me for thread yet, but it is. Done by Sadie Bell Nelson in 1965 of synthetic knits, a variation of the “Monkey Wrench” pattern. I think its so pretty in fact, you may see it inspiring a future box one day.

Write soon,



Mixtape Issue #5 by Blair
July 6, 2008, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Blair, Daria, Etc., finished, special projects | Tags: ,

Daria and I were asked a loooooong time ago (wasn’t it ladies?) to create cover projects for Mixtape’s issue #5. I have been anxiously awaiting each new issue of Mixtape since Justine and Nichola began it and was honored to be asked. In keeping of the spirit and theme of what eight by eight is all about, a box was sent (one to Daria and one to myself) from Australia with an assortment of all kinds of things create a project with. Daria and I did not see each other’s pieces or really even discuss how we were using the items in the box until they were completed (it was killing us, believe me). Same rules as always…use all the materials in some way on the project, finished size must be 8″ x 8″. To fully show each finished project, they featured mine on one side of the cover of issue #5, and Daria’s (below) on the other.

I love how different they each turned out. Yet we each seem to be on a similar wavelength, which seems to happen to us often.

You can preorder your copy of Mixtape issue 5 here, which will begin shipping in late July/early August. It promises to be larger than ever. I can’t wait.

Thank you to Justine and Nichola!


P.S.- Daria, I’m still struggling over the whole button project for June. Which is why I haven’t shown my finished project yet. It’s not finished! Soon….soon….God help me soon…..

June: Buttons by daria
June 30, 2008, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Etc. | Tags:

Dear Blair,

These buttons are killing me.

I took these pictures two weeks ago, started trying to write a post about them, lost the post in a computer crash, got busy, procrastinated, waited for excellent button inspiration to strike…

I’m still waiting.

I knew that I would get an excellent & varied assortment of vintage buttons from you, but I didn’t realize just how many button-themed fabrics you had in stash.  (Because, ok, two = many in this case, I’m pretty sure.)

This one is hard!  I’ll get there, & the fact that it’s hard is sort of exactly why we’re doing this project, right?  But, it’s HARD!


buttons…buttons…what to do with the buttons… by Blair
June 16, 2008, 8:44 am
Filed under: Etc. | Tags: , ,

Dear Daria,

Well, I have to admit that I really wanted to skip June altogether. I mean, buttons?? I’m still wondering if we had some sort of sudden button/fastener inspiration the day we decided this, that I can now not remember for the life of me. But then I got your box.

Your purples make me like purple. They really do. I love everything you sent. The fabrics could be the perfect palette of squashy cushions and chair covers for my backyard. Add some white lights and we’ve got a party. It feels just like you described in your note. Of the summer we are looking for here in Seattle…lemonade, berries, blue sky….

I’m looking out my window today and thinking we may finally be seeing it. The summer stuff, I mean. Not the inspiration for the buttons. I’m still working on that.

april finished piece by Blair
May 2, 2008, 11:48 am
Filed under: Blair, Etc., finished | Tags: ,


You were a very clever girl to have gathered the bits you sent me from charm packs, to go along with our theme of “square”. I loved each of the prints and actually had in my mind a finished piece very similar to yours, using them as squares within the larger square. But when I sat down to work on them I decided on strips of them, all mixed up. I am sticking to my commitment to myself of doing each month’s eight by eight project in one sitting (which sometimes leads to, um, interesting effects), so in an afternoon I had several strips of pretty prints, all kind of loosely based on this pillow I saw in one of the magazines I got recently-

I thought it would be interesting to combine these into strips and zig zag stitch them on to the beige large swatch, similar to that pillow in the photo. I wasn’t loving my result until I added the teal blue binding-

I don’t remember where I got it, but it has got to be the most narrow width of binding I’ve ever tried to sew over an edge (which I’m now thinking it wasn’t meant to do, but whatever). Once I added it, it all felt much more cohesive to me. This was good practice for me, I’m always trying to get nice sharp corners. As Melissa once said about her (always lovely) quilt binding, “Next time will be perfect.”

The charcoal embroidery thread you included added a little more handwork, which I liked adding to this piece. I just roughly marked parallel lines and handstitched a running stitch across them.

As I said, you totally got my April package to you, it is perfect!

Is it May already? Okay, your “post” May Day package of “green” is on its way (can you guess I’m behind).

For anyone joining in, you can check out our entire gallery of past month’s eight by eight projects in our Flickr group.

cozy inspiration by Blair
February 12, 2008, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Blair, Etc., inspiration | Tags: ,

felt box

Dear Daria,

You are in complete auction, gocco-love mode right now, arent’ you? As busy as life is, I had to share these images with you while we’re thinking about inspiration for this month’s theme. I *love* the way the dots are sewn onto that felt box, don’t you? The dots you sent in my box this month totally brought this image to mind.

felt chair pads

I envision a future dining room of mine definitely needing these chairs and chair pads. Oh yes!