is it a ghost?

I’ve been inspired by ghosts lately. A few of my pals are really into ghost-hunting and ghost-themed TV shows, and hearing them chat about these has ghosts on my mind. The other day an AC adapter fell out of a loose socket in our house and my immediate thought was: it’s a ghost!

Ghostie Sweater for Blythe

I designed this little ghostie sweater awhile back but finally got the pattern written up and ready to share with you! I’ve been intimidated by intarsia in the past, but a project like this one is a great way to start. It’s only two colors to manage, and the charted design makes it easy to follow the pattern.

Ghostie Sweater for Blythe

Spooky ghost sweaters are in your future. Find the pattern at Etsy, LoveKnitting, Ravelry, and Craftsy.

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vintage silk and lace

After finishing my big art quilt project and clearing off my work table, I was ready to make something quick and easy. Recently I scored some vintage scarves at an estate sale and though some of them have long set-in stains that I wasn’t able to remove, portions of them are perfect for making Blythe clothing!

Dahlia in a new dress made from a vintage silk scarf and matching lace

This cream-colored silk scarf is quite sheer, so I knew I was going to combine it with some lace from my fabric stash. I grabbed a piece (thank you, remnants section at Joann!) and realized it worked perfectly!

Dahlia in a new dress made from a vintage silk scarf and matching lace

I used muslin as the lining for the bodice, since the silk is so fine and doesn’t have much structure. I did take extra care while turning the bodice so that I didn’t put any undue stress on the silk. It was tricky to press it and keep the silk looking good, but I managed it. The skirt is silk with lace on top and I used the existing hem of the scarf as the hem of the skirt – easy as pie!

Sometimes a simple dress can be really elegant given the materials you use. What have you been making lately?

It’s done! It’s done! It’s done!

FINALLY! I have finished my latest art quilt, Modern Venus.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I am so happy to have completed this gigantic project. It’s taken forever, mostly due to its size and the fact that we moved a bunch of times during the making of it. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, too.

As you can probably tell, this piece is a riff on Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, which led to the name I gave it: Modern Venus. I find works by other artists very inspiring, and I find that studying a work in the context of creating something inspired by it helps me to understand the original piece and notice the little details that I might not otherwise.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

As do my previous art quilts, this one features a main figure inspired by Blythe. I also wanted to give the main figure unruly hair that would overwhelm the rest of her.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

This figure is also menaced by moths which are swarming toward her, apparently having emerged from the dark side of the moon. One of the construction techniques I use in my art quilts is a blend of traditional patchwork pieces for the background accompanied by a top layer of appliqued figures/objects. I wanted there to be rough edges on this piece, so I left room for a little bit of fraying around the edges of most of the appliques. The moths are cut out from printed cotton fabric and then appliqued on to the background. I didn’t fully adhere all of them to the background so there is some movement in their wings.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I like to include details that are specific to my own experience, so the trees I created are White Pines, which are native to my home state (and current home) of Michigan.

Now for a little bit of behind-the-scenes: as I may have mentioned, our home has plaster walls, so hanging things is not as quick and simple as with drywall. This means that I don’t have a ready background for photographing large items like this, so I enlisted K’s help.

Finished a major project today! #annearchy #artquilt

Thanks to K, we have this terrifically handy frame to use for hanging things. It’s meant for use with a green screen, but it works well for a quilt, too!

Karl helping me with the backdrop

K then helped to hold up a temporary background (spare white sheet we normally use as a dust cover for large items in the basement) while I snapped pics.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

I’m looking forward to finding a spot for this to hang in our home, as well as to entering it in some upcoming local shows.

Modern Venus art quilt by Anne Heidemann

ready for warm weather?

Dream with me for a moment. It’s warm outside, multiple layers are not required to be comfortable, and there’s a refreshing beverage somewhere nearby.

Band Collar Tank Top for Middie Blythe

It’s a perfect time for a halter top! This one features a band collar that fastens with a snap at the back of the neck. The collar and hem of the top use a moss stitch for a nice texture and for sturdiness in the construction.

Band Collar Tank Top for Middie Blythe

This pattern was inspired by a request from an awesome Blythe enthusiast and knitter. She suggested a tank top with this type of collar. As soon as she asked me about it, I was super excited to figure out the construction and set about prototyping. I worked on a few different ways of constructing it before I hit on a way that works shape-wise, makes sense construction-wise, and is easy to knit up. I haven’t designed much for Middie yet and this was a really fun way to gain experience in that area, as well as in making a tank top, which I also haven’t done before.

Band Collar Tank Top for Middie Blythe

I’m so pleased with how this turned out! I am also excited to work on a similar pattern for Neo Blythe, now that I have more knowledge about designing a halter top. What other patterns might you like to see? I’m always happy to hear your ideas!

Get your Middie pattern at Ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, or LoveKnitting.

review: The Bee-Friendly Garden

The Bee-Friendly Garden

The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

This book promises to help you “design an abundant, flower-filled yard that nurtures bees and supports biodiversity.” That sounds pretty good to me! The book lives up to its promise. Filled with easy-to-digest information and lovely photos of flourishing gardens, The Bee-Friendly Garden provides a wonderful start for a new gardener as well as inspiration and ideas for someone more experienced. As I am embarking on the design of the gardens at Firefly Cottage, I am sort of both – experienced but starting a brand new project pretty much from scratch. Throughout the book, the authors emphasize that a bee-friendly garden is a healthy garden and offers info on all the types of bees that we depend on and all the many things that we depend on them to do. I often think that the best plants for bees are perennial native plants, but there is also information here about annuals and using flowering bee-friendly plants in the vegetable garden. Reading through this, I can’t wait to work more on my garden plan. I am really excited about establishing a healthy, pollinator-attracting space!

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books.

potential plants for Firefly Cottage gardens

I’ve been looking through the many, many seed catalogs I subscribed to last year when we bought Firefly Cottage. There’s something so refreshing about looking at green and growing things (even if just in photos) when it’s so cold and mostly monochrome outside.

Seed catalog season

Since we have so much yard to cover, I’m going to try to figure out smaller mini-garden areas within the larger scope in order to make it easier and manageable to get things started. As I’m a fan of perennials, hopefully I’ll be able to add on each year while still maintaining what already exists. I’ll be looking for low-maintenance plants as always, as well as those that thrive without a lot of additional water. This should help with my long-term plans of a lovely, mostly self-sustaining cottage garden. I’ll also be setting aside space for raised beds for veggies, but I am not sure yet if I’m going to do that this year or next. I simultaneously want to DO ALL THE THINGS but also don’t want to set myself up with so much stuff that I can’t successfully manage it all.

Right now I’m making a list of all the plants I’d like to eventually include in the garden. Many of these I’ve grown before, though some I’ve just admired in other gardens or in print. Here are a couple of the plants I have on my list so far:

 photo hyssop_zps8sghnxdl.jpg
I’ve grown Hyssop (this is my own photo from our garden when we lived downstate) before and it makes a nice compact shrub and attracts pollinators.

Allium photo allium_zpsp2zmrakm.jpg

Allium is also on my list – in several varieties! And there are so many varieties! I’ve had great luck with the smaller ones in the past, and mixed luck with the larger ones like Drumstick Allium (again, these are my photos from downstate). The smaller varieties have always self-seeded really well, spreading and filling in quite nicely, but the drumstick doesn’t seem to do that, or didn’t for me in that garden anyway.

More to come – what plants would you include?

art quilt WIP: SO CLOSE

I am getting SO CLOSE to finishing this project! I really cannot wait to be done with it. My brain has already moved on to my next project.

Art quilt WIP

I’m actually working on the binding!

via GIPHY

I chose a gold fabric for the binding since I feel like it adds a ‘gold frame’ feel to the piece. Since the quilt is inspired by a grand Renaissance painting, it seems to fit. I am so happy to be in the home stretch of this project. I’m hoping that this coming weekend I can make the time to completely finish this project.

Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde

Clyde Sweater for Blythe

Any retro videogame fans out there? I have fond memories of playing Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man as a kid when it was pretty much only available in arcades or places with the odd arcade game (Pizza Hut!).

Clyde Sweater for Blythe

This is the first AnneArchy pattern with a chart! For a design like this, a chart makes it easy to know what color to use when, and I’m really happy to be able to now offer patterns with charts! Look for more sweaters with designs coming soon – and let me know what designs you’d like to see!

Clyde Sweater for Blythe

Chase Clyde over to Etsy, Craftsy, LoveKnitting, or Ravelry for this pattern.

Review: Wanderlust Quilts

Wanderlust Quilts

Wanderlust Quilts: 10 Modern Projects Inspired by Classic Art & Architecture by Amanda Leins

I look at a lot of quilt-related books. I love to gather inspiration and ideas and learn new techniques, so whenever I see a quilt book I haven’t looked through yet, I try to get my hands on it. That means that I see a lot of awesome stuff, but it also means that I see a lot of things that are very similar and your average quilting book ends up looking pretty much the same as all the other ones. This one is a lovely exception!

Art and architecture are both interests of mine and sources of inspiration for my many crafty pursuits, so it makes sense that these projects would appeal to me. Leins draws inspiration from sources including the egg-and-dart carving at the Pantheon, the piers and arches of the Aqueducts, the cobbled streets of Italy, and the mosaics of the Fishbourne Roman Palace. Given this ancient inspiration, Leins manages not only to translate architecture into quilts, but the ancient into strikingly modern designs. It’s terrific and kind of amazing. I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with in the future – I’d love to see a book of quilts inspired by mid-century furniture, for example, or by the art of the Italian Renaissance.

Full disclosure: I checked this book out from the library using the amazing, awesome, couldn’t-live-without-it MeLCat (shout-out to the Houghton Lake Public Library, whose copy I borrowed).

what’s your favorite sleeve?

I am currently mostly a fan of raglan sleeves. The tidy line they have and the neatness of the look really appeal to me. That’s why I designed this sweater!

Roz Sweater for Blythe

It has raglan sleeves and uses fingering weight yarn, which means that it looks stylish but also knits up super quickly. It’s cozy but still elegant.

Roz Sweater for Blythe

As I was styling Ash in order to take these photographs, I was really pleased with how her look turned out. My collection of clothing and accessories is really reaching a point where I have a good number of things to mix and match to get the look I’m going for. (This will, of course, not stop me from adding to my collection, but who suggested that?)

Roz Sweater for Blythe

If you’d like to make this sweater, you can find the pattern on Ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.