improv quilting

Simple. Handmade. Everyday. Podcast Episode 2 Show Notes

In this episode I talk about my love of tea, some free motion quilting adventures, my second sock nightmare, my current favorite binge-worthy show, and how I get my kids in the kitchen.

Here are the links of things I talk about in the show:

(Disclosure: Some of these are affiliate links)

Harney & Sons Earl Gray Tea

Teavana Perfectea Maker

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson

Piece and Quilt with Precuts by Christa Watson

Free-Motion Meandering by Angela Walters

My Free-Motion Meandering blog posts:

Sew Illustrated by Minki Kim and Kristin Esser

HollyAnne of String & Story

Steam-a-Seam fusible web

Hermione’s Everyday Socks (free pattern on Ravelry)

Void Shawl

Selbu Mittens

Save Our Stitches Craftsy class

Yarn on First yarn shop in Napa, CA

Quince & Co. Lark yarn

Victoria show on PBS

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Free Motion Meandering :: Paisley and Leafy Meanders

Welcome back to week 3 of the Free-Motion Meandering blog hop. I’m continuing to practice my free motion quilting skills by working my way through Angela Walters new book, Free-Motion Meandering. I haven’t been able to practice as much as I would have liked to this week (who knew February was going to be so busy?). But even so, I am constantly surprised and delighted how much progress you can make with a little practice.

I really enjoyed this week’s designs: Paisley and Leafy Meanders

Paisley Meander

This is a design that I love and I practiced it quite a lot over the summer. Since I was pressed for time this week, I warmed up with it a bit, but I didn’t spend too much time, since I kind of worked it to death over the summer.

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

The Leafy Meander

A variation of the Paisley Meander is a pointier version called the Leafy Meander. I find this motif a bit harder, due to making sure that you get that little point at the top. So, I practiced a bit on paper first, and then checked back to Angela’s step-by-step drawings. It was then that I realized that I had been doing it, well, if not wrong, then…differently. For both the paisley and the leafy designs, I was going back to the base of the design every time that I echoed it. This is fine, but can really cause a build-up of thread near the base.

After following along with Anglea’s drawings, I realized that she just echoed the design, keeping a consistent distance between the lines at all times. This turned out to be a lot easier, and frankly, it covers more territory quicker. And I love a design that stitches out quickly.

Leafy Meander quilting from Free Motion Meandering

Leafy Meander quilting from Free Motion Meandering

I filled up my light blue swath of fabric with this meander, and was feeling like it was just starting to click, so I just kept on stitching. Like many meandering designs, you have to really pay attention that the leaves don’t all point the same way. I realized at one point that a bunch of mine looked like they were starting to lay on top of each other, so I made an effort to echo back and change direction.

Leafy Meander quilting from Free Motion Meandering

Sometimes getting that leaf shape is easy, and sometimes…not so much. I eventually realized that I need to pause at the point of the leaf, or else they tend to round out. I definitely need more practice, but this design is a lot of fun and builds quickly.

I also want to go back and practice my paislies in this more spaced-out way.

Next week we will wrap this blog hop up with Flower Meander and some Improv Quilting. I’m a little nervous about these designs, so I need to be more diligent about carving out time to practice. Just 15 minutes a day should do it! And I can always find 15 minutes, right?

If you are joining in on machine quilting practice let me know–and if you would like a copy of Free-Motion Meanders, there will be a giveaway next week!

You have three chances to win a copy of the book. C&T Publishing has given Vicki, Jen, and I each a copy to giveaway. So, stay tuned for that next week!

improv quilting

Free Motion Meandering :: Swirls

Here we are on week 2 of the Free Motion Meandering blog hop with fellow quilters and bloggers Jen and Vicki. You can check out the first week here. We would love it if you grabbed a copy of the book and spent just 15 minutes a day building up your free motion quilting skills. I am finding that even 15 minutes really builds skill, and let’s face it, it often ends up being quite a bit more than 15 minutes once I get going.

This week we are tackling Swirls and Swirl Hooks. I’ll be honest, I was nervous.

Swirls

Free-Motion Meanders swirl quilting

I’m just going to say it: I hate swirls. They are not my thing. And they are deceptively hard! Let’s back up here. Angela does a wonderful job of showing you how to form them in a very step-by-step way. So that was awesome. I practiced on paper, and this is not my first time around the block with swirls. But they just don’t get any easier for me. The number one tip that I have heard from Angela Walters on quilting swirls (and quilting in general) is to keep the spaces between the lines consistent. This consistency becomes texture in an overall quilt design. And texture hides a multitude of quilting missteps.

Free-Motion Meanders swirl quilting

But that consistent spacing is my problem. I start out okay. I’m fully focused and (somewhat) relaxed and I’m swirling away when about four swirls in, I start to get a little bored, so I ever-so-slightly start to speed up and things quickly get sloppy (as you can see in the photo above). It’s a bit of a revelation to me actually, to figure this out. But it hasn’t stopped it from happening. I have finally figured out how to use the width of my open-toe free-motion foot to help me gauge a consistent space, but I’m still not really happy.

The book does a beautiful job of not only showing how to make a swirl, but how to build them into an all-over meander. And she tackles common issues, like not finishing the swirls, and how if you aren’t careful, then tend to stack on you, which is not as pleasing as a more random placement. I have this problem and reading that section was helpful.

Swirls will never be my favorite motif by themselves, but I can see mixing them into an improv quilting design–so I will keep practicing them. Can we please move on though?

Swirl Hook

Free-Motion Meanders swirl hook quilting

I confess that I was dreading this design. It just seemed like harder swirls. However, Swirl Hooks turned out to be my dark horse favorite! They were tricky to figure out at first, and I followed the drawings in the book step-by-step until I had it figured out. For me the hardest part is remembering which way to come back up after I create the hook. But once I had that down, it was a lot of fun! One thing that I found easier is that there was less “swirl” in this design. If I managed to come out of the “hook” part correctly, the motif was just about complete–and then on to the next one! I found the trouble shooting section useful here as well, because I had a tendency for all my “hooks” to line up, and trust me–you don’t want that!

I’m so glad to have this design in my repertoire! Who knows, maybe practicing this one will help my plain swirls over time as well.

How do you feel about swirls? Do you have a quilting motif that you just can’t seem to master? Tell me about it in the comments. And don’t forget to swing by Jen and Vicki’s blogs to see their beautiful swirls! (Am I the only one who can’t swirl?!)

improv quilting

Simple. Handmade. Everyday. Podcast Episode 1 Show Notes

I’ve launched a podcast! I like to chat about quilting, knitting, what I’m reading and even a little bit about keeping a cozy, organized home. I hope that you give it a listen and let me know what you think. I love comments!

Here are the links to the things I talk about in this episode:

The Off-Kilter Quilt

The Posy Gets Cosy blog post that was inspiration for my first quilt.

Quilts for Cure

Charity quiltmakers:

Here is the quilt that I pieced for the Michael Miller Charity quilt:

Michael Miller charity quilt

Michael Miller charity quilt

Walk by Jacquie Gering (affliate link)

Electric Quilt 8 (not an affiliate link)

The Vanilla sock pattern I use by Susan B. Anderson

Hermione’s Everyday Socks (free pattern on Ravelry)

Void Shawl

Selbu Mittens

The Inspector Gamache mystery series by Louise Penny

The Bookshop on the Corner

Modern Mrs. Darcy (great for book suggestions and e-book deals)

Flylady

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Free Motion Meandering

Are you ready to do some free motion quilting? I know that I feel more confident in my machine quilting when I am practicing regularly. And I get inspired when new quilting books hit the stands. When I heard that everyone’s quilting hero, Angela Walters had a new book out, called Free-Motion Meandering: A Beginners Guide to Machine Quilting, I definitely wanted to check it out. So, I will be working my way through this book along with my quilting and blogging friends, Vicki and Jen.

Free-Motion Meandering by Angela Walters

I am not exactly a beginner, but I was intrigued by the step-by-step, photo tutorial style of this book. I’m a visual learner and this approach really appeals to me.  Another thing I liked about it is that while it contains all the information that an absolute beginner needs (sewing machine feet, needles, thread, batting, etc.), the motifs ramp up quickly and it ends with some designs that are quite impressive.

She really builds up the designs in a thoughtful way. As a matter of fact, you can get a preview of the motifs covered in the book and a FAQ from Angela herself here.  The book is filled with Angela’s fun personality and encouragement that you should never, ever pick out your quilting mistakes. My kind of girl!

Something else that I liked is that all the machine quilting motifs that she teaches you is perfect to meander across a whole quilt (thus the name). And that is my kind of quilting! I’m not sure I’ll ever be a custom quilter–the type that quilts each area of a quilt block differently. It’s beautiful, but it’s just not my thing right now. Just give me a doable design and let me quilt the whole quilt.

The Basic Meander

Basic meander qulting

We definitely start with the basics here. I’ve done hours of meandering, but it has actually been a while since I stitched out this motif. It turned out to be a great warm up. I had fun practicing it in different scales: large, medium and small enough to be considered stippling. If you are a brand-new quilter, Angela sketches this motif out for you and trouble-shoots common mistakes. I thought this troubleshooting aspect was very helpful. It was a perfect place to start, but I was quickly ready to move on.

The Loopy Meander

Loopy meander quilting

In a natural progression, Angela has you move onto a loopy meander. I actually love this motif and find it useful in so many places. It is fun, fast, and whimsical. With this design in your arsenal you can tackle a wide range of quilts. I practiced it with small circles, which is my usual way, and then changed it up to larger circles, which I found more challenging.

large loopy meander quilting

She shows you lots of ways to vary it, as well as how to use it in different areas of a quilt, like as a background filler or in borders. Lots of fun examples. Angela also tackles the most common mistakes that people make with each design and gives you tips on how to fix them.

Loopy Meander quilting

Here is my first longarm quilting project–I wanted it to be a success, so I did the whole thing with big loopy meanders. I was able to quilt the whole thing in about an hour and a half and it was pure bliss.

I love how this books starts out so easy and doable. I got more practiced and relaxed behind the sewing machine this week–so now I am ready to tackle next week’s designs–swirls. Even though I have tackled them a couple of times before, I never seem to quite get comfortable with them. Let’s see if a week of practice will help me get over my fear of swirls and even more daunting–hooked swirls.

Are you quilting along? Let me know! Let’s build these skills together! And make sure to pop over to  Vicki and Jen’s blogs to see their takes on the first couple motifs as well.

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Project Round Up (aka what I’m doing these days)

(This post  contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through this link, I will get a (very) small commission, at no additional charge to you. Rest assured, I only link to products that I love!  My disclosure policy can be found here.)

How is it already the end of January? Today is my son Jonah’s 18th birthday, which means that I am the mother of two legal adults! What?! Thankfully, I feel like both Chloe and Jonah still need a mom, so I’m not out of a job yet. The job is just a little different than it used to be. But musing about motherhood is not what I came here to talk about today–though maybe someday soon. I definitely have thoughts on that subject.

Michael Miller charity quilt

Michael Miller charity quilt

Michael Miller charity quilt

Michael Miller charity quilt

Michael Miller charity quilt

Michael Miller charity quilt

January was a blur, but I do have a trail of projects to prove that I was doing something this month. Most notably, I sewed up and quilted a charity quilt that will eventually make its way to comfort a child with cancer through the wonderful charity Quilts for Cure. This quilt, along with six others, are entirely constructed from blocks donated by quilters all over the country. They all picked up fabric at last year’s QuiltCon show at the Michael Miller Fabric booth, made blocks and then sent them back to Michael Miller. Then a handful of volunteers (myself included) pieced them together with borders and sashing into wonderful, one-of-a-kind quilts. These quilts will be hung in the Michael Miller booth at this year’s QuiltCon in Pasadena–to hopefully inspire a whole new batch of quilters to do the same thing this year. I can’t wait to see all seven hanging together! And how amazing to know that each one will someday comfort a child who is fighting for their life. Once I’m done binding, I’ll share some pictures of the completed quilt before I send it off with lots of love.

I love a good sock knitting project

I also made some real progress knitting this pair of shorty socks (yarn from Knit Picks.)  All I have left to do is to close up that toe! And it’s been sitting that way for weeks! I think the problem is that I always need to look up Kitchener stitch to finish it off. No matter how many socks I knit, I cannot commit that stitch to memory. I vow to get that done this week though–since I’d like to pop these in the mail for Chloe at college. I think they will be a fun little Valentine’s Day surprise.

hand piecing

I am in the homestretch of finishing the blocks for my yearlong (and then some) hand piecing project. I’m so pleased to have made it this far. Next will be to actually assemble them into a quilt top, which will probably take all of 2018. Which leaves 2019 to hand quilt it. No big deal 🙂

string block

I’m prepping for a new machine quilting blog hop for February. I will be working my way through Angela Walters new book Free-Motion Meandering. I really need to keep practicing my freemotion quilting and working my way through a book is one way that keeps me inspired. I blogged about working my way through The Ultimate Guide To Machine Quilting and Piece and Quilt previously. It’s a great book–especially for beginning quilters. I has all the basics you need to know, but teaches some really fabulous motifs. I had planned to sew together these blocks, that I made on a whim, for the blog hop (here is a video on how to make a string block) . But, I am running out of time, so I may have to change my plans. Nonetheless, these blocks keep staring at me, so I will get them stitched up into a throw-size quilt soon.

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

And lastly, I continued to read obsessively through January. I finished off the the Inspector Gamache book series and I’m a little devastated that I’m done! I’m sure there will be more, but for now, I have to say a temporary goodbye to some characters that I have truly come to know and love. I’m actually thinking about just starting the series over again. Have you ever done that?

But the devastation didn’t last long, because the newest quilt fiction book from Frances O’Roark Dowell arrived to save the day! If you loved Birds in the Air (and if you haven’t read it, then do!) then you will love this collection of sweet short stories called Margaret Goes Modern. Each story is just so fun and inspiring. Perfect for a curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea.

So, those are some of the things that I’ve been up to . Meet me back here next week when I kick off the fist week of the Free-Motion Meandering blog hop. You can grab the book here, if you would like to follow along!

improv quilting

How I use a bullet journal

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

Do you bullet journal? I do and it is one of those things that even though it’s such a simple concept–it has made a huge impact on my productivity.

I’m one of those people who loves to write things down. I have a gazillion notebooks all over the house. A gratitude journal, a blogging notebook, multiple quilting notebooks, a one-sentence journal, a journal journal (diary), and a morning pages journal (where it’s okay to be really messy)–you get the idea. Add on top of that lots of bits of scrap paper and post-it notes to help me remember random bits of information. Clearly, I was drowning in paper.

Then I ran across this video, by the originator of the bullet journal concept:

Compared to the crazy layouts that bullet journaling has inspired–the original idea was pretty utilitarian. And since the last thing I need is another hobby (of designing bullet journal pages), my take on it is even more straight forward. I want to add at this point that I also keep a paper family calendar so that everyone can see what the schedule for the week is–but I don’t keep my to do list on that. I’ve used this one for years and it works perfectly for our family.

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

I’ve tried a couple of brands of notebooks for my bullet journal so far, Moleskine and  Leuchtturm. My favorite is the Lechtturm 1917 . I currently have it in navy. The pages are graph paper, which makes it easy to make little  boxes to check off, but I’d like to try the one with the dotted grid someday. One nice feature of the Lechtturm over the Moleskin is that the pages are numbered and it has a table of contents all ready to fill in. I had to create those myself with the Moleskin books.

 

How I organize my bullet journal

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

The idea behind bullet journaling is to have one place to capture everything. Your goals, dreams, random thoughts, and all kinds of lists: to do, movies to see, books to read, projects to sew, etc. This idea is very appealing to me. I do use it for all of the above, but mostly I use it to keep track of all of the things that I want and need to do. But the reason that you can write anything in it, in no certain order, is because of the table of contents. Every month or so, I go through and update the TOC, so that I can find all those random lists that are mixed in with my every day to do lists.

(As you can probably tell, I did not stage these photos at all–this is my real bullet journal in all it’s utilitarian, scribbley glory. There are no artful banners or washi tape here.)

Master List

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

It starts with the Master List. This is the first brain dump that I do at the beginning of a new journal. It is everything I both want and need to do. When I get a new journal, I transfer whatever is not checked off. I continue to add to it all year long. I don’t even want to tell you how many times I’ve transferred “Will” over. Seriously, we really need to get that done!

Monthly List

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

Then at the beginning of every month I write down what I want to get done sometime that month. Sometimes the list is pretty obvious, but I always flip over to the Master List to see if there is anything that I can make progress on that month.  Some of the things are easy and small, and some are larger projects. I don’t always finish what is on this list, but it gives me a framework for the month.

Weekly List

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

At the beginning of the week, I narrow it down further. What are the main things that need to happen? I check the monthly list and see what fits in for the week. I find that narrowing it down like this really helps me make progress on a number of projects.

Daily List

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

This is where the magic happens–the daily to do list. But these lists wouldn’t be as good without the thoughtful planning about what I want to accomplish this year, this month, and this week.  Beyond that, there is nothing special about them–just checklists. But I get a lot of joy out of checking off those little boxes. And I do usually take the step of reviewing the list from the day before to move forward any items that I didn’t get done. You can see that with the little arrows over the check boxes.

How to use a bullet journal to organize your life at Simple. Handmade. Everyday. kristinesser.com

I also use it to just scribble down random ideas, lists, and things to do. This was my random brain dump list from a couple weekends ago. I just kept adding to it until one day I transferred all these thoughts and ideas to a better place. But it was very nice to have them all in one place instead on a bunch of random scraps of paper.

I also have pages of sewing projects that I want to remember, notes that I’ve taken from webinars, meals that I want to remember to make, etc. And I can find them nestled deep between the daily to do lists because I’ve listed them in the table of contents.

That’s it–pretty basic, but I have found that taking a few minutes at the beginning of the month and the beginning of the week to figure out how to move forward on all kinds of goals: housekeeping, personal development, professional development, as well as just remembering to drop off the library books has made a big difference in how much I actually get done each day and week.

How about you? How do you organize your life?

improv quilting

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review

 

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com
Photo from Craftsy.com

(This post  contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through this link, I will get a tiny commission, at no additional charge to you. Rest assured, I only link to products/classes that I love!  My disclosure policy can be found here.)

I’m a bit of an uptight quilter. There, I said it.  I can get pretty uptight about perfect points and I am totally obsessive about my scant 1/4″ seam allowance. In order to sort of balance this, I’ve been thinking a lot about improv quilting. Only thinking though, not really doing anything about it. I know that I need to carve more time out to just play at the sewing machine, but I just wasn’t making space to actually do it.

Then a new Craftsy class launched from the adorable Suzy from Suzy Quilts. It’s called Fabric Play: Sewing Mojo Minis and it was just what I need to loosen up a bit.  If you don’t know Suzy, she is a fabulous quilt designer with a big personality. And that personality really shines through in this class–she seems completely at ease in front of the camera, and is a natural teacher.

The class features four projects, which build on each other. I actually had to laugh at myself after my first attempt of sewing some wonky strips. At first, my scale was totally off, which Suzy had warned me about, but of course I ignored that warning. So, I tried again after doing a quick sketch, to get the scale right. Guys, I totally felt like I was sewing all wonky–but alas, I was not. I literally laughed when I was done with this. I thought about trying again, and maybe, I don’t know, have a glass of wine first to loosen up some more. But I was anxious to move on, so I did.

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Log cabins are fun, so I was looking forward to this asymmetrical improv version. I got a little wonkier on this one and was pretty pleased with how it came out. But obviously, I still had some loosening up to do.

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Next up–curves! For the third mini I got out of my previous color palette, because I bought a stack of fat quarters (Boundless Modern Brights from Craftsy–what a deal! That is not an affiliate link–it really is a just a great deal.) There were lots of colors that are out of my wheelhouse here, so it was fun to experiment. I played around with lots of arrangements for this one. It came out a little Dr. Suess-y but I still love it.

Boundless solids bundle kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

Sewing Mojo Minis Craftsy Class Review at kristinesser.com

There is still one more mini in the class, as well as lots of inspiration for quilting and adding hand embellishments. I plan on finishing these up with some quilting and hand stitching–and am really looking forward too it. At least I know that I can sew some wonky hand stitches!

All in all, I enjoyed Fabric  Play: Sewing Mojo Minis  immensely. Suzy is a trained graphic artist, so she knows the theory behind what she’s teaching you. I feel like this class gave me some foundation knowledge that will be a jumping off point for more improv quilting in the future. And best of all, it made me carve out some unstructured play time that I had been craving.

(Full disclosure: I was given free access to the class for my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.)

Online Fabric Patterning with Wax Resist Class
Make something that means something at Craftsy.com

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5 Things I’m Loving in January

Hand pieced quilt blocks at kristinesser.com

I had a couple of weeks off from work during the holidays and it was such a treat to be home with the kids with absolutely no agenda. I stayed off of social media (mostly), took lots of bubble baths, read a ridiculous number of books, went for a hike, played board games and basically checked out of real life. It was wonderful.

Now I’m on the other side of it and expected to hit the ground running, and frankly, I’m still just not quite ready. I’ve started a new morning routine, and I keep making lists–but the possibilities just seem so endless. So while I contemplate my plans for 2018, here are a few things that I’m loving right now and need no more thought.

  1. The Crown. Though I enjoyed season 1, I felt like I was the only person on earth that didn’t LOVE it. And the first episode of season 2 is a bit of a slow starter. But now that I’m past that–I am loving this season. Every episode I end up googling some person or event to find out if it really happened. And it turns out that the show is pretty accurate. This is definitely the most fun way to learn history. And it doesn’t hurt that I can hand sew and knit while I watch.
  2. The Inspector Gamache book series by Louise Penny. Here is another example of a series that I had heard good things about, and I started Still Life (the first book in the series) a couple of times before I actually finished the whole book. But this is a series that just keeps getting better. I flew through six books in the series during my two weeks off. I literally sat on the couch for hours on end, only to get up to go to the library to get then next book. A few details–these are extremely well-written mystery novels that take place in Quebec. I’m a sucker for any book that has a bit of French in it, but in general I just want to crawl inside these books and live in the world that Louise Penny has created (except for the murder part). I’m craving croissants and cafe au lait, and plotting a vacation in Quebec.
  3. My Roomba (robotic vacuum), whom we call Mr. Bates. When we first got hardwood floors a few years ago, we bought a Roomba to keep from having to sweep all the time. Mr. Bates performed quite well, until his battery died and I forgot all about him. Well, because of having literally almost nothing to do for two weeks (except read mystery novels), I found the bandwidth to order and install a new battery. Mr. Bates is back in business and keeping our floors crumb and pet hair free and it makes me ridiculously happy.
  4. Small changes. I don’t know about you, but when the new year rolls around, I tend to try to overhaul all the things that aren’t working perfectly in my life. All at the same time. I’m kind of an all or nothing girl that way. But I know that this doesn’t actually work very well. So, this year, I’m starting small. Small changes. I started a yoga routine (see #5 below), but instead of the whole video, I’m just doing the firs 10-15 minutes. I’m working on deep cleaning my house, but just 15 minutes a day. It’s never going to be “finished”, so why kill myself to do a whole room at a time? This is the year that I will accomplish big things, one small step at a time.
  5. Yoga with Adriene. I used to do yoga. At an actual studio. And I miss it. There is just something about a great yoga session, or even just a really good stretch, where you feel muscles moving and relaxing and getting all tingly. Ah, I love it. So, I’m making space in my morning routine to do just a little bit each morning. Nothing too ambitious–just enough to remind myself why I love it and see where it grows from there.

So, that’s it, just a few things that are working for me right now. What’s working for you?

improv quilting

The simplest dishtowel hack

(This post  contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through this link, I will get a tiny commission, at no additional charge to you. Rest assured, I only link to products that I love!  My disclosure policy can be found here.)

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

I’m almost embarrassed to write this post, but since I have found it so helpful, I’m hoping that someone out there will too.

I used to have this issue with the dishtowel in my kitchen. It always seemed to be this rumpled, soggy mess carelessly tossed on the counter, somewhere close to the sink. I felt like I was forever refolding it and neatly setting it next to the sink, only to find it on the floor a few minutes later. Hanging it over the handle on the dishwasher or oven never really worked for me. If I put it on the dishwasher, it touched the floor whenever I loaded the dishwasher, and I have stainless steel appliances, so I didn’t want to hang on the oven door where it was going to leave spots. (First world problems, I am well aware!)

But then I bought a cheap set of Christmas dishtowels and lo and behold they had a little loop in the corner! (Like the center towel above.) I was able to slip it over the knob of my cabinet right next to the sink, and there it hung in all it’s glory–always in the same place, with enough air circulation that it drys out pretty well, and…well let’s just say it made me very happy! I will say that the towel in this part of the kitchen is mostly for just drying hands. I love absorbent bar mop towels for actually drying dishes, but I digress.

So, I picked up some white twill tape at Joann’s and proceeded to sew loops onto every dishtowel in the house. That was a few years ago, and it has worked splendidly.

Then I picked up the adorable dishtowels above at Trader Joe’s about six months ago (similiar ones here). But I never used them, because–no loops! So I sat down to remedy this a few nights ago and thought I’d share a bit with you. It’s super simple and it took me like 5 minutes.

When I was digging through my basket to find the twill tape, I came across some cuter trim that I decided to use on two of the towels. I actually sewed the tab on three different ways, to see if I have a preference. (It turns out I don’t.)

Supplies
  • Dishtowels
  • Twill tape or decorative trim

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

  1. Cut the twill tape to about 5″.

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

2. For a looped tab, fold the twill tape in half and sew to one corner, or halfway along one side, on the wrong side of the towel.

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

3. For another option, sew corner to corner on the wrong side of the towel. Trim excess twill tape.

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

How to add hanger tabs to dishtowels. kristinesser.com

That’s it! Let me know if this mundane issue has plagued you and if you find this a useful little homemaking hack.