weekend links

Hello friends!

I’m on another adventure. But this time it’s a very different sort of adventure.

I’ve just unpacked my bags from yet another flight. I’m in New York for the first time in almost a year, since our move to Madrid. But this trip is extra special because next Wednesday I’m giving a kidney to a friend.

Actually, my kidney is going to a complete stranger, and my friend will get a kidney from another stranger. It’s all part of a rather miraculous chain of kidney donors and recipients made possible by the National Kidney Registry. I’m quite thrilled to be a part of it, since it means that many people who desperately need a kidney can get one when otherwise it would have been much more difficult or even impossible. You can read more about the process in this fascinating New York Times article. Every time I think about the number of people who are helped by this kidney exchange I get all teary. I’m teary right now, actually. I think it’s just amazing that one donation can help so many people.

My friend and I have been waiting for over 1 1/2 years for this chain to develop. We’ve had a lot of near matches, but this one looks like it will finally happen. I’m more than a little nervous, and I can’t say I’m excited about the surgery or the recovery period, but I’m glad that the wait is over. And of course I’m hopeful that the results will be good for all the recipients. The surgery for a donor is relatively easy compared to that of the recipient, and my recovery will be much faster than my friend’s.


Just a few facts for you, in case you’re interested. My surgery will involve only a small incision in or near my belly button, which is pretty nifty. I won’t be working for a couple weeks afterwards (which is going to push back delivery of our fall Liesl+ Co. patterns, but I hope you’ll be understanding…), and I won’t be able to lift anything or do any sort of exercise involving my core for at least a month. I’ll probably be pretty tired for two months. But I’m supposed to do as much walking as possible, so New York is a good place to be while I’m recovering. I’ll be in the hospital for two nights following the surgery, and then I’ll return to the apartment of some dear friends for a couple of weeks to recuperate. Laster this month I go to pick up S from her visit to her grandparents–and to see my Grandma!–and we’ll return home. (By home, I mean back to Madrid for another year.) Todd is flying to New York today to be with me during and after the surgery. He was planning to keep me fed during my recovery period, but I’ve been told I probably won’t have much of an appetite for a while following the surgery.

Since my recovery is going to take time, it’s going to be a little more quiet than usual around here for the next month or two while I rest and get my strength back. My Friday Weekend Links post is going to go on a summer hiatus, but Rachel will be here a couple of times a week with new posts for you. And after August I’ll be back with new Quick Sewing Tips videos, two new Lisette patterns, and my new book which is being printed now! I can hardly wait to introduce you to it.

Pinterest Pick

I didn’t pack much for this trip, but I did make sure to pack my Lisette for Butterick B6296 pajamas as well the caftan from my Creativebug class (see above) because I think it will also make a great hospital gown. When I’m feeling better I want to make a longer one like this.

pinterest link

Weekend Reading

  • I’m so excited to see the Manus x Machina exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum this weekend!
  • We really need to have a laundry discussion one of these days. But in the meantime, do you wash new clothes before you wear them? This article claims you should. That’s probably true, but when I was working at a designer we garment washed almost everything before it left the factory. Garment washing pre-shrinks clothes so you don’t have any surprises, plus it leaves them feeling soft and it removes any chemicals.
  • I think you need Facebook for this one, and maybe you’ve already seen it, but these costumes are amazing! The transformations are so creative. (And by the way, don’t miss the “Sewing for Disney” series at Frances Suzanne. So cute!)
  • Are your kids bored with summer vacation yet? If so, good!
  • I hope Bill Cunningham Corner becomes permanent.

I’ll be back as soon as I’m feeling well. And I’ll try to post updates to my Instagram feed regarding my progress, as much as I feel able. In the meantime, have a great summer!




  1. My goodness, LIesl – what an amazing thing you are doing. Best wishes for your recovery, your friend’s recovery and everyone else involved. Oh, and you have the world’s most stylish hospital gown!

    1. Thank you so much, Marisa!

  2. Best of luck to you and your friend!

    1. I, and we, appreciate that, Laurie! xo

  3. Heather

    Good luck! Our son needs a kidney so I’m always heartened to read about generous people like you. One hint I have learned from experience, you will need an IV for at least part of your time in the hospital and you cannot put a robe on with the IV. Take a big wrap with you so you can go for walks in the hall with the IV pole.

    1. Heather, thank you for the advice! And my prayers and best wishes for your son.

  4. Amy

    Wow. Awed by the commitment you have to make someone else’s life better. To be willing to donate a kidney is the embodiment of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It makes my heart happy in a week where there has been too much bad news.
    Prayers for safety and speedy recovery for everyone in the chain.

    1. Amy, it’s been a dreadful week, hasn’t it? But we have hope!

  5. Jamie Antilla

    Very inspiring! hope everything works out for the very best!

    1. Thank you, Jamie.

  6. Helena

    Blooming heck, what an incredibly kind thing you are doing, that brought a tear to my eye. Good luck with the surgery. I’m sure we will all wait for as long as is needed for the new patterns, it will pale into insignificance next to a year and a half waiting in a kidney chain. Maybe we should start a ‘recovery reading’ thread on the forum and we can all post links to some of the interesting and odd things available on the Internet to try help entertain you. Best wishes. Helena

    1. Helena, yes please! And thank you for the very kind words.

  7. Gillian Whitcombe

    How amazing!!!!!! That’s a lovely tonic for all that’s happening in the world. Thanks for sharing, and please keep us posted on how it goes! All the best wishes for everyone’s speedy recovery!

    1. Thank you so much, Gillian.

  8. SarahB

    How wonderful! What an amazing and beautiful act of kindness! I hope your recovery is easy and your friend recovers wonderfully too!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! My friend and I will have recovery rooms in the hospital next to each other. Isn’t that cool?

  9. Patsy

    I was a surgical nurse for 37 years and worked on many kidney transplant cases. When you see the first drops of urine go down the catheter tube of the recipient , it is like liquid gold! I will keep you both in my prayers. What a special gift you are giving.

    1. It’s funny to think about, Patsy. Thanks for the advice!

  10. Laura

    Wow! What an amazing gift. You are wonderful. Wishing you and your friend a speedy recovery. Looking forward to what comes next whenever you are ready x

    1. Thank you, Laura!

  11. asheley

    Liesl, wishing you all the best during the surgery and recovery. Thank you so much for writing about this! It’s now on my bucket list!

    1. Glad to hear it, Asheley!

  12. Lisa Taylor

    God bless you and the rest of the donors and recipients in this chain. I wish you all a speedy recovery.

    1. Thank you, Lisa!

  13. I’m totally speechless about the news! That’s so generous and incredible brave.
    Donors are very special persons (huge thank you from all of us) – I’m keeping you in my prayers.
    Take care <3

    1. Thanks, Ana Sofia! A big hug to you.

  14. Ginger Newcomb

    How incredibly kind and generous you are! I will be keeping all of you in my daily prayers.

    1. Thank you, Ginger!

  15. Maria

    Liesl, you are amazing…!
    You are giving the gift of life. My husband received a bone marrow tx two years ago, and I understand perfectly all the feelings arousing in this adventure: love, gratitude, fear, relief…
    God bless you. I’ll keep you and your friend in my prayers.

    1. It’s definitely a mixture of all the above, Maria. Thank you for the prayers. I hope your husband is thriving!

  16. Tamara

    Liesl I am gobsmacked! This is amazing! I don’t know if we have something like this in Australia but you hear about it every now and then with advertisements to become a donor. Your post surgery routine sounds a little like a cesarean post op, except without the baby and with a much smaller incision. I think this is just such a kind and loving thing to do. I wish you all the very best for your surgery and recovery and I sincerely hope this is a good match for someone and that your friend gets her kidney for real. You are a healthy lady, they wouldn’t have picked you for something so serious if you weren’t so you will be ok and your heart will be so much fuller and brighter knowing you gave someone else another chance at living. Hats off to you Liesl!

    1. Tamara, you’re right! I have been poked, prodded, x-rayed and evaluated to ensure that I’m just as healthy as can be, so I really feel blessed that I am healthy enough to have passed the test! Thanks for the kind words.

  17. Liesl,

    What courage you have and what a blessing to your friend. Everyone at the Smocking Arts Guild of America wishes you and your friend a happy and healthy future and a speedy recovery!

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! A big hug back to you and the Smocking Arts Guild from me! xoxo

  18. Linda Adam

    Liesl, you have me in tears. What a wonderful, wonderful deed for you to do! I underwent kidney surgery when I was 18 (many moons ago, way before transplants were even thought of) so I have a bit of an attachment to anything “kidney”. I wish you & all those involved in your kidney chain the very best with speedy recoveries. God bless. Now I need to blow my nose. My kidney’s are just too close to my eyes!

    1. You and me both, Linda! I’m such a mixture of emotions this week. I’m a bit raw! I guess our kidneys are both pretty close to our eyes. xo

  19. Jody

    I had kidney surgery at 33. I am 60 now and still going strong. Hope I don’t ever need one but so thankful to you for your donation. Be good to yourself in recovery. God Bless you.

    1. That’s fantastic, Jody! Thanks for the encouragement. And here’s to many more years for you! xo

  20. KerryQ

    What an amazing gift you are giving! And what a great example to set for S! I hope you have some hand sewing or knitting to keep your creative juices flowing! Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    1. Kerry, thank you for saying that! The more common response has been something along the lines of “I wouldn’t do that because what if my child needed a kidney someday? It’s taken a lot of strong character on my part to continue with this decision. And I agree that it’s a good example (I hope) to my own child of what it means to give selflessly. Where there’s a need…

  21. Krystal

    “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Your example of love truly is admirable. God bless you for your humility and self-sacrifice in your friend’s hour of need. Prayers to you and your family.

    1. We have an excellent example, don’t we Krystal? After all, Someone else gave much more than this for me.

  22. Ginger

    Wow. What an amazing thing you are doing. Hugs and prayers for all of you.

    1. Thank you, Ginger!

  23. Linda gerig

    Good luck on your surgery. My son has been on dialysis for over eight years. He has never really considered a transplant
    Due to his health. But we have know many who have had them. You are so brave to do this for a friend. Such a gift. Linda Gerig in Michigan

    1. Linda, my best wishes for your son! It’s a gift I’m more than happy to give my friend. I just wish I had three! Or two hearts. Or extra arms and legs!…

  24. Caroline

    You are a wonderful person and friend! I wish you a safe procedure and a smooth and speedy recovery.

    1. Thank you, Caroline. I appreciate your good wishes.

  25. Jess

    Such a selfless act of love Liesl – I hope that someday I am in the position to do something similar. The donation chains are amazing, and rely on so much faith in each other. I’ll pray that all goes as anticipated! Having gone through some laparoscopic abdominal surgery myself, I would suggest getting a few 1 lb bags of frozen peas or corn and using them as ice packs on your abdomen – they were a godsend for my surgeries as I don’t tolerate strong pain meds.

    1. Good advice, Jess. I’ll add it to my shopping list. And thanks for the kind words!

  26. What an amazing gift. I wish you and everyone else involved safe surgeries and healing!

    1. Jessica, thank you!

  27. Liesl this is such wonderful and exciting news. I’ve always thought that post mortem organ donation should be an opt out system, rather than opt in. But a living donation is even more considered and generous.
    Just when it seemed your country was going to hell in a handbasket, you’ve reminded me that there’s so much more than the newscycle.
    Absolutely you’ll have the most stylish pyjamas on the ward. All that sewing was for a purpose after all
    I’m inspired to sew something slightly lopsided and asymmetrical in your honour!!

    1. Thanks, Lightning. Sew something with an elastic waistband in my honor, will you?

  28. Oh, and Tamara, we certainly do have chain donation systems in Australia. http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-16/altruistic-kidney-donation-saves-seven-lives-in-one-day/7032292

  29. Brooke

    Liesl, I am so moved that you are doing this. Bless you.

    1. Well thank you, Brooke!

  30. Jody

    Good luck with the surgery you’ll be in my prayers!

    1. Thanks, Jody!

  31. Nicole

    So very proud of you.

    1. Thank you, Nicole. Kisses!

  32. Eunita

    Wishing you a successful surgery and quick recovery! Glad that you will be surrounded by people you love.

    1. I’m so happy to be surrounded by people who are so supporting and caring, Eunita! Thanks very much.

  33. Lizzy

    Thank you for doing this! I hope you don’t mind some TMI advice. I’ve known two people who went through this and both mentioned that recovery involves quite a bit of constipation so keep your intake of fiber high!

    1. Absolutely, Lizzy! First get through the nausea and gassiness, and then lots of fiber! xo

  34. Constancia piasentin

    Que deus te abençoe muito e muito.

    1. Gracias, Constancia!

  35. Wowsers. I’ve just spluttered my tea all over my computer! So impressed by your generosity and kindness. I hope everything goes smoothly, for you and for your friend.

    1. Thanks, Janet!

  36. Andrea Krauss

    Amazing! I don’t follow your blog but a good friend does. She sent me this link. I am doing the same thing on July 26th! I am an altruistic donor. I do not know my recipient. I am not partnered with anyone. My donation will start a chain resulting in 11 transplants. I too am blessed to be healthy enough to help another person in such a profound way. I will be following you now in hopes of hearing of your progress. Prayers!

    1. Andrea, that’s wonderful! I hope more people will continue to donate. Once I learned about the process I was determined to do it, whether for my friend or for someone else. Best wishes, and please stay in touch!

      1. Andrea Krauss

        Hi Liesl! How are you doing? I am a week and 2 days post op. I am doing great! How about you? I don’t know how to find any updates you may have blogged. I found out a few days prior to my surgery that my recipient is a 10 year old child living in Atlanta. My kidneys are small and child size I guess, LOL! My kidney was flown to Atlanta same day and that surgery was done same day. All the other surgeries in my chain were successful as well. My recipient is now safely home and off dialysis. God is good!!

  37. Linda

    I’m new to your following and have found it such a positive, happy place to be. But this just blew me away! I mean I feel magnanimous when I give blood, for heaven’s sake! God bless you and I will definitely keep you, your friend and all the other recipients in my prayers.

    1. Thanks so much, Linda. Glad you’ve found your way here, and thanks for the kind words.

  38. Peta

    What a wonderful thing you are doing. Best wishes to you and your friend for a speedy recovery.

  39. God bless you Liesl! I pray for peace, confidence, success , and comfortable recovery for you, your friend, and all.

  40. Renee

    Leisl, what a tremendously wonderful thing you are doing!

  41. Natasha

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery. You are very courageous and inspiring!

  42. Vibeke

    Have not commented on here befor, but usually click by your blog on the weekends and really like your patterns and design sensibility. I have made the Gallery Tunic and love it, (though need to work some more on the shoulders to get a perfect make). Anyway.

    I was very moved reading about your donation. A truly good and selfless act of love and friendship and I hope with all my heart that all procedures will run smoothly and that everyone recovers to a long life of health and happiness. Your family must be very proud of you and your act of giving will surely affect the world like rings in the water. Gods’ speed!

  43. Fiona

    Take good care, dear Liesl. I hope you recover quickly from your operation, and that the donee does too. I will be thinking of you, often.

  44. Kathy

    Liesl – Thanks for the boost tonight. Your post put a smile on my face. I hope everything goes well during surgery for both you and your friend. Take it easy for the next two months. You’ve earned it.

  45. What you are doing is amazing Liesl. I am very much moved by it. All the best to you and your friend for a speedy recovery.

  46. Haleemah Rahman

    I am truly admire what you are doing for your friend. Wish you bpth recovering soon and thing will going well with your friend after the surgery also.
    A big thanks to Todd as he is supporring you also.
    Best of luck to you.

  47. Nancy Weber

    Liesl. You are awesome! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend for successful surgeries and speedy recoveries.

    1. Super initmraofve writing; keep it up.

  48. Miriam

    Liesl, I just read your post. So brave and generous of you. I wish you and your friend all the best and hope that you will both feel great soon after the surgery. I will be thinking of you.

  49. Liss

    All the best for you and your friend’s recovery. A beautiful and inspiring act. I look forward to hearing about your new book.

  50. Jenny G.

    Hi all, I just saw Liesl in her hospital room and she looks wonderful and is doing great!

    1. Kerri Cayo

      Thanks for the update!

  51. Pamela

    I never ever comment, I am too shy. But this time I have to… just to say how much I admire you for your bravery and your big heart. Best wishes for this wonderful adventure!

  52. Sravanthi

    Wow such a wonderful act by you Liesl love it .. In today’s material world people like you show kindness still exists wish you and your friend good luck and speedy recovery. Lots of love and god bless!!!

  53. Shalini

    Such love and commitment. Wishing both you and your friend the best with the procedure and recovery. Warmly, Shalini

  54. Adaire Graham

    Hope you are doing well. Have been praying for you. Hoping for an easy recovery for both you and your friend. On a lighter note…you at
    least know you won’t have to do it again!

  55. silk

    Dear Liesl Gibson wish you recover at an early date and everything goes well.

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