Liberty Spoolish Quilt

Pattern: Spoolish by Denyse Schmidt

Materials: Liberty Spools Kit with Liberty Tawna Classics, Free Spirit Solid in Raven, and Anna Maria's Penmanship in Milk. 

There's just something about Liberty of London fabric, isn't there? I used to think I was immune to its charms, but that was before I sewed with it. And making this striking Spoolish quilt made me fall in love with Liberty all over again.

We decided that the best way to pick up on the moody blues and Springy reds in this Liberty bundle was to pair it with a very dark background- in this case, Free Spirit's Raven solid. The almost black shows, too, how versatile this pattern is, giving it a completely different feel than the classic white background. I love those popping prints in the larger triangles against the darkness.

This was my first time using one of Denyse Schmidt's patterns, and it was a great experience. I made the baby size, but it also includes instructions for twin, queen, and king sizes. The way the pattern is presented in a pretty booklet made me feel like I was being lovingly walked through the steps with an old sewing buddy. I will admit to using my seam ripper more than once, just because there are triangular corners to fiddle with. But honestly, it was pretty painless once I figured out the first couple rows.  Seems the longer I've been sewing, the more I use my beloved seam ripper, not the other way around. Is it higher standards? Quicker draw with the ripper? More humility in the making? I don't know exactly, but I do love that simple little tool. 

I am happiest in quilt making when every little design decision pays off along the way. Each step in this quilt brought that feeling of satisfaction. I mean, could any other backing fabric have been more fantastic than the bold black bows of Anna Maria's Penmanship print? (No, the answer you're looking for is no.) Then for the quilting, I just went with Denyse's classic loopity-loop free motion design and it turned out to be a lovely complement to all the corners and angles of the quilt top. And matching the binding to the background and border was yet another trick we stole from Denyse, but it's perfect for letting the Liberty really shine. 

I think my favorite thing about making a quilt with Liberty prints is that if this quilt is still around in 100 years, it won't look at all dated. It will only look classic and beautiful. 

Happy sewing!  -Jessica



Charley is in the Hood

Pattern: Baby in the Hood Jacket from Handmade Beginnings (Also available for bigger kids in the All Set Pattern Set)

Materials: Koala Koala by Charley Harper for Birch Fabrics Nurture Collection, Cracking Codes in Turtle, Anna Maria Knits

When I spotted the Charley Harper organic knits, I knew I had to make something for my little Liam.  With Spring on the brain, the Baby in the Hood Jacket is a perfect way to incorporate these cute koalas into his everyday wardrobe. 

The Baby in the Hood Jacket is one of the most satisfying projects in my opinion: it's a fairly quick sew, the instructions are very easy to follow, and the results are always so adorable. Between the book and the All Set Pattern Set, you can make jackets for everyone from baby to big kid. I've personally made them with just about every combination of fabric for every season - quilting cottons, voile, flannel, velveteen, and I've even seen people make it with laminated cotton for a rain jacket.

For this version, I decided the interlock knits are perfect for transitioning into spring. Growing up in Michigan, shopping for Spring jackets meant good times were right around the corner. The snow was melting, the flowers were blooming, and we could go outside to play without our noses falling off. Hope and positive thinking all wrapped up in a simple Spring jacket. Hopefully I made this one big enough for Liam to wear it through breezy Summer nights and even cooler Fall days! I love how washable and wrinkle-free this jacket will be, and the weight is just enough to keep out the wind but still super soft and comfy for a baby on the move.

The pattern worked well with the knits without any alterations. As always, pre-wash your fabric before sewing; the knits especially have a good bit of shrinkage, which you may want to consider when purchasing yardage. I used a ball point needle in my machine and slowed down my stitching. The knits can get a little bulky at some of the seams, so take your time. Anna Maria blogged about sewing with knits and there are tons of other tutorials and tips out there if this is your first foray into knits.

Now if we can just make the sky stop dropping white stuff and encourage the grass to start growing green again, we can all get out and play in our new spring jackets! 


Hand Stitched Hearts Blanket

Pattern: Project designed by Anna Maria & sewn by Brittney, details below
Materials: Lovely Knit Kit w Alabama Chanin & Anna Maria Knits

Well there is no limit to the amount of sweetness we could have created with these soft and wearable fabrics, but we were inspired by the love in the air around Valentine's Day and feel certain that it should be celebrated all year, along with all the people that you love.

Last August, we had the immense pleasure of hosting the imitable Natalie Chanin for a weekend workshop in our temporary Craft South studio.  I led tutorials on sewing with interlock and jersey fabrics using your home sewing machine, while Natalie spent a day teaching her ways of hand sewing her beautiful garments which included various styles of applique and embellishing organic jersey.  She had brought along several sample combinations of my printed knits with her stenciled and appliqued solids. The experience for all involved proved as inspiring as it was relaxing.  But then our friend Natalie has that effect on people. 

In addition to enjoying several AC projects, I have sewn a bazillion items from my Anna Maria Knits collection and have accumulated so many pre-washed scraps that simply had to be put to good use.  I figured perhaps you might want to take advantage of the scraps without doing all the sewing that led to them.  Taking cues from our weekend together, her amazing books, and my love for hand quilting I felt that creating a fresh layer of love was in order.  So the idea for this little blanket was born, and our friend Brittney had the pleasure of sewing it up by hand alongside her little Liam (9 mos).  As much as we love our machines, it is nice to have a quiet break for hand work and babies.  They go so well together.

The background is just one simple un-hemmed yard of Alabama Chanin 100% USA grown organic cotton jersey.  And the rows of hearts are cut from scraps of my Anna Maria Knits collection.  The stitching was done in a simple running style and using a pearl cotton.   Edges are raw.  Knots are proud and visible.  The heart-shaped stitching is as illustrative from the front as it is from the back.  The result is completely lovable.  We have kits available in the shop including all the pre-washed fabrics shown ready to immediately become a gift, but certainly something that will be well-loved. (We can also imagine a set of applique t-shirts and newborn caps!)

Stay tuned for our exciting plans with Alabama Chanin in 2015! xo, Anna Maria



Hand Spun Taffy

Pattern: totally made it up (details below)

Materials: Camellia Fiber Co.'s Handspun Taffy Merino Wool, DPNs-9 & 10

I am so pleased to introduce you to the first batch of Handspun Taffy yarn by Camellia Fiber Co. exclusively for Craft South!  Isn't it yummy?

We were already happy enough to be selling the beautiful, ethically sourced, and naturally dyed yarns by our friend and Nashville neighbor, Rebekka Seale for her brand Camellia Fiber Co.  Every month we will be receiving a fresh and unique dye lot of yarns- often mill spun and in a few shades and weights- that are an absolute dream with which to knit, crochet, or weave (check the shop for all of them so far).  But what an immense delight to be able to exclusively share this hand spun variety of merino wool that she dyes and spins just for us.  The skein shown above is dyed with pomegranate, copper and madder root.  We were deliberating on what to call it, and when it was just an idea that had not yet materialized Rebekka and I kept referring to it as "funfetti", you know like cake sprinkles.  But when I received the first skeins I shouted "IT'S TAFFY!"  And Taffy it shall remain.

Obviously I had to immediately whip it into something, you know the drudgery of product testing.  I am a newish knitter, but a hat I can manage.  We have a smaller and a larger put-up of this yarn.  One is 2 ounces and approximately 80 yards, and the other is 3.5 ounces and approximately 175 yards.  I was anxious to see what I could eek out of the smaller skein.  Sort of like my little bitty dress sewing challenge with the small cuts of Liberty of London.  And because I was in mini-wardrobe mode for Mary Anna already, I decided I should give the bub a little noggin topper. 

The recommended needle size for this yarn is anywhere from 9-13 depending on the style of cloth you'd like to knit.  I decided I should try to go a little denser (smaller needles) and warmer since it's a hat after all, knowing that the thick/thin nature of the yarn would still give it a lot of variety.  I cast on 60 stitches, closed the circle and went for it, just making the whole hat a simple 1x1 ribbing.  I did the first 4 or 5 rows with size 9 needles for edge snugness.  Then I switched to size 10 for another 4" or so of knitting, keeping an eye on the shrinking ball of yarn.  When it came to decreases I switched back to size 9 needles.

I made up the decreases in a simple fashion:

  • the first round, every other purl stitch, I k2t (knit two together) with a knit stitch. 
  • now I think this left me with a funny ending to that row, as I recall, like two knit-togethers in a row, but I was not afraid 
  • then I knit the knits and purled the purls on the next row or two
  • then I k2t all remaining purls with a neighboring knit for a row
  • for the rest of the decreases I just alternated a regular knit row with a k2t/k1/k2t/k1...... etc. row
  • I believe there were just about 12-14 stitches on my needles (and very little yarn left) when I cinched them all up with a sew through and knotted on the inside

With what remained of the yarn, I made a furry little pompom, which I do feel was required by this creature-like little hat.  So I would caution that if you have a kid or non-kid person that would like a hat that is older than two or so, you may want to go with two of the smaller skeins or one of the larger sized skein.  Mary Anna loves hats and this one is no exception.  She is the dream-child that will actually leave them on her head in delight.  Only 2 out of my 7 kids have left a hat on their head.  I understand this to be a good ratio.

Happy Knitting!  The skeins are in limited supply, but we will have a new batch every month! xo, AMH


Taking a few Liberties

Pattern: Piece of Cake Baby Dress (free)

Materials: Liberty of London Spring Stack

When we received our newest Liberty of London cotton lawn fabrics, I was excited to see how much I could make from one 8 piece fat quarter bundle.  Naturally, I started by thinking then of what I could make for the smallest among us, our little Mary Anna.

Now I have been sewing for wee ones for very many years, so in general I know that you can get a dress or blouse out of some very small pieces.  But even I was surprised to see that I managed to get three of these little Piece of Cake frocks out of the one Liberty stack by using a mix of the prints for front, back, and sleeves.  The pattern is a free one that I created for Janome and available as a download and highlights video right over here.  The simplicity of this pattern is part of what makes the multi-fabric design work out so well.... the front is just the same as the back, so really each of the dresses have two lives. 

Though Mary Anna has outgrown the baby sizes (she is 20 months) of this dress, it is such a simple shape that I was able to grade the pattern by just free-handing a bigger size with a highlighter.  As long as you pay attention to how each of the nested pattern sizes changes as they get bigger, it is pretty easy to see how to shape one size to the next and in what direction.  I made one short sleeved tunic, one long sleeved tunic, and one long sleeved patchwork dress.  The patchwork piece was just an improvisation using what fabrics I had left, that I added to until it was big enough from which to cut a dress front (the back is solid).

So plenty of cuteness for the little lady that will transition well from winter to Spring, not to mention a nice pile of scraps left for my quilting projects!


Craft South Online is OPEN

We are so happy to announce that our online SHOP is now OPEN!

We are only about a month away from taking possession of our brick and mortar space which we will turn into the Craft South home about two months later.  So for now the accomplishment of getting our online shop launched feels just reaaaal good. 

We've curated what we feel is a very special collection of beautiful, quality supplies from independent creators as well as some of the best and oldest names in the handwork world.  We will continue to  grow the depth of our offerings and share making inspirations with you right here.

Enjoy browsing our shop, and let us know how we can help!  This is just the beginning! <3 Anna Maria

Needleworks Weekend w Heather Ross

The final retreat of the Craft South 2014 Summer Series was a dream. With a studio full of energetic ladies, some new representation from local artisans, and our lovely friend Heather Ross, it was truly a weekend to remember. The students learned all about cross stitch, needlepoint, embroidery and crewel work techniques; and picked up handfuls of helpful tips and tricks from Heather and our own Anna Maria Horner. Click through the gallery below to see some of the details from our needleworks weekend:

Rainbow Tote

What do you get when you combine a printed tote, a jar of technicolor threads, and a table full of eager kids? A collection of adorable embroidered projects, of course! Each of these girls went home with a happily stitched bag, and knowledge of 4 embroidery stitches! Click through the gallery below to see a bit from our colorful day:

Embarking on Embroidery

We were so honored to have such a lovely group of ladies for our final week of the Craft South 2014 Summer Series. We started off the week with a one day workshop, where we learned about all different types of needleworks, including cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint and more! Click through the slideshow to see pictures from our day of embarking on embroidery:

Announcing our permanent location coming soon!


We are so pleased to announce that we are the proud new tenants at 2516 12th Avenue South in Nashville!!!  This is a building development that is, well, still developing and we hope to be open for business early 2015!  We are so excited and cannot wait to welcome you there next year!

For more about the story of finding our Craft South home, read my post over on my personal blog:


Fashion By Hand Weekend w Natalie Chanin

We were so honored to spend some time with the wonderful author and designer, Natalie Chanin. With Natalie's insight on hand-sewing techniques, and our own Anna Maria Horner's experience with machine sewing, our students were able to go home completely prepared to tackle every type of knit garment they could dream up! Because we like to keep our classes small, each of our students were given the opportunity for one-on-one attention, and were able to get started on some truly beautiful projects. We are so inspired by all of the lovely work that came out of this retreat, so click on the image below to get a glimpse of our Fashion By Hand Weekend:

Hula Hoop Weaving

We had such a blast learning about warp, weft, and the ins-and-outs of weaving in our afternoon of hula hoop weaving class! Armed with a hula hoop, and a pile of technicolor fabric strips, each of our kiddos created their own one of a kind weaving, and we are so pleased with their beautiful work!
Click the photo below to see all the photos from our day.

Knitty Gritty

We had so much fun during our Knitty Gritty one day class. While learning how to cut, construct and care for knit garments, each of our students accomplished so much in only a few hours. In just a day's time, we had a whole group of lovely ladies who were able to walk away with their personal take on the Lemon Drop Tunic!
Click on the image to see a little more of our day together!

Garment Weekend w Liesl Gibson

48 hrs with the talented Liesl Gibson is was all this crew of garment sewing enthusiasts needed to learn the basics of altering sewing patterns to so that the fit is custom and comfortable. Together Liesl & Anna Maria tackled specific fit issues one on one with students throughout the weekend so that everyone created a muslin adjusted just for them. We all showed up different sizes, ages and shapes.  But we all left feeling smarter, more empowered and beautiful!  Click the image below to enjoy a small slideshow of our weekend.

Kids Patchwork T-Shirt

What do you get when you combine 8 young girls, fabric, scissors, t shirts, giggling, sewing machines, Anna Maria Horner and Cheetos?  An amazingly fun few hours of making Patchwork Tshirts.  Click on the image to enjoy a little slideshow of our day.

Simple Silhouettes

In just 7 hours each of the students in Anna Maria's Simple Silhouettes class finished a custom made bias skirt and a comfy summer kaftan!  There may have been a few unfinished hems, but the energy and learning was fierce my friends.  Click on the image to see a little more of our day together!

Patchwork Weekend w Amy Butler

We had such a wonderful time with Amy Butler and all of our lovely attendees! So proud of all the beautiful work created by these ladies this weekend. We will miss you all so much! Please keep us posted with any progress photos by tagging #craftsouth! And so excited that the first week of Craft South events was a success and looking forward to next month with Liesl Gibson.  Click on the image to see a slideshow of our amazing weekend!

Kids Patchwork

More than half of these sweet and spunky girls had never sewn before they took Anna Maria's kids patchwork class.  But every one of them ended the two hours with a beautiful mini-patchwork and loads of excitement about what they want to try next!  Click on the image to see a slideshow of all kinds of cuteness and patchwork pride.