Thursday, December 17, 2015

'Tis the season

The holidays, for a crafter, are crazy. Crazy busy, crazy creative, crazy fun... and crazy. There are so many lists: handmade gifts, and projects for holiday shows, teachers to make for, yankee swaps, parties... It's manic I tell you!
All the same, this year has been a best ever year. Holiday shows have produced more sales for me than ever before and I am grateful to the community I'm in for all the support. That being said, this past week has been a major frenzy for the last show of the year: BCA's Holiday Artist Market. I love this show for so many reasons, mostly because I get to see all the summer artist market vendors that I miss seeing!
And I love doing these last minute, what-can-I-come-up-with projects:
Bags! New bag designs are my way to stretch my creative muscles and use on-hand fabrics to create some unique piece to sell at market. This bag uses some scraps from a blanket I made for my daughter Mira. It solidified in my mind over a couple of days and came together very quickly. I just love experimenting with these ideas!
Looking forward to slowing down next week and spending time baking cookies, catching up on some TV watching, and visiting with family. Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Geometric Applique Pillows

Subtitles for this post include "I love a good 14" pillow" and "Easy Beginner Sewing Projects"
I've been teaching at Nido / Sewing and Yarn Shop for almost a year. It's been really fun, really inspiring to work with Phiona and I'm happy to report that I've helped add on class offerings at her shop, including Kids Learn to Sew, a Kids Sewing Camp, and a Me and Mom (or Dad) class. I'm looking forward to working more at the shop, learning what people are interested in making, and of course... keeping up on new fabrics :)
I have noticed since I started teaching that there is a relative dearth of good beginner projects out there. Nido's classes do a great job, but because we are offering even more in the way of learning to sew, I have started doing more and more research on projects we can teach.
As you can imagine, I have criteria.
1. Has to use a reasonable amount of materials (to keep costs down).
2. Has to be pleasing to the eye.
3. Has to be relatively easy to sew (um, duh).
4. Has to be reasonably useful.
5. Has to fit in with my aesthetic and the general aesthetic of the store.
6. Has to incorporate at least 3-4 basic sewing techniques.
So... not so easy. Nido has been teaching a wonderful 1/2 yard tote bag for a long time, and I added some really kid friendly projects over the summer. But, variety is the spice of life, so I just came up with this very simple, unlined, removable pillow cover.
1/2 yard fabric (non-directional preferred but can work with directional)
1 spool thread
1 14"x14" pillow form
one 6.5" square contrasting scrap fabric
one piece of heat n bond fusible interfacing (minimum 6.5" square)
applique with fusible interfacing
straight stitch
zig zag stitch
basic hem
envelope pillow enclosure
Tah Dah! (please ignore poor lighting... it's been cloudy here for days)
I won't go into detail about construction (take a class with me if you're interested!), but I will say this. I love the project. I love throw pillows. I love bold geometry and bright colors (right now). I love that this is a quick sew that is relatively forgiving to new sew-ers. Whether or not I end up teaching it at Nido I'm glad to have experimented with some "easy sewing"!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A New Little Tree Block!

My friend Jess is really the reason I made the Tree Block tutorial. She had seen one of my pictures of it, and rather than explain it to her via text I thought a tutorial with pictures would work!

And last night, she sent me this picture:

Isn't it great?? She even has woodgrain fabric for the trunks! I think she's decided to use white-on-white fabrics for the background, it will add some lovely texture to the quilt and help her use up some of her low volumes.

I'm so happy to see someone else's little tree turn out so well! If you're also working on this quilt, or block, send me some pictures I love to see them!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Stormy Quilt

It's interesting to me how my projects often reflect my mood. I've been dark and stormy lately, but still hoping for the sunshine to lift me up.

Cloud 9 First Light Organic Flannel.

Doe by Carolyn Friedlander.

What do I love about this quilt? So many things. Contrast and tension in the colors and quilting. Harmonious elements in the line drawings. Symbolism - sun in the colors, raindrops in the circles.

And perfectly mitered corners. On all four corners. Precision is beauty!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Half Square Triangle Study

I could just let this one tell the story in pictures, shall I?

Start with a bunch of Cotton & Steel FivebyFives in Mochi (yum yum)
Get the points to line up. It's hard. I didn't necessarily achieve the goal throughout the quilt but when I did... beauty.


Back. With Essex Yarn Dyed because of course! I love the stuff!

Quilting detail.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Little Tree Quilt

I finished the little tree quilt! If you're interested in the tutorial for the tree block, click here.


I'm in love with the textures this quilt has. There is a very nice combination of different fabrics including lots of Cotton and Steel, some beautiful solids, Kaufman Chambray dots, and even a touch of Skinny laMinx. Background is done in Kona Snow.


Backing is a Kaufman Chambray Dot (Olive), and quilting lines are variegated softly falling lines (like snow in winter).

This is one of the only quilts I've ever hand stitched the back side of the binding for. This quilt is being made as a wall hanging, and there really is no other way to get a beautiful clean and crisp front side of the quilt. The finished size of this quilt is approx. 40" x 48"... I used and 8x8 grid of my little tree blocks that had been trimmed to 5.5" x 6.5".

I hope you love it! This quilt will have a very special home this holiday season. I will be sure to post about that when the time comes ;)

Friday, September 4, 2015

the Making of a Tree Block

I'm working on a tree quilt. It's certainly holiday themed, with the Christmas holiday in mind, but really I just love trees. Tree fabric, tree quilts, real trees... all are on my loves list :)

And because I know lots of people also love trees, this post will show you how to make a simple triangle tree block

I found these two quilts on Pinterest and wanted to re-create them, but found both methods to A) not fit the dimensions I was aiming for and B) be slightly fussier than I was aiming for.

So... I modified this Purl Bee tutorial (by Sharilyn Wright of Lovely Design) to fit my vision!

*** All seams are 1/4" ***

Step 1: Create a bunch of tree trunks
Cut 2 - 3"x9" from white background solid
Cut 1 - 1.5"x9" from tree trunk fabric

Sew together along long edges, press seams open.

Cut 1.25" strips from this block for several tree trunks. Set aside.

Step 2: Create the Tree
Cut 1 - 4.5" x 8.5" from white background solid
Cut 1 - 5"x5" from tree fabric

Cut along the diagonal for the white fabric to create 2 triangles. (***Note: If you're using a non-solid fabric, like a white on white or some other low volume printed fabric, you will have to cut TWO pairs of diagonals, in opposite directions, in order to get both sides of the white background)

Fold tree fabric in half, cut along the diagonal to create 3 triangles. You will use the bigger triangle, scrap the other two.

Please note when you cut the tree fabric, FIRST fold in half and THEN cut on the diagonal. You'll be left with a beautiful center-folded triangle:

Align the tree triangle onto a white triangle (align bottom tree point 2" up from bottom white point, as shown below):

Sew together, Press seam toward tree side.

Align the other bottom tree point 2" up from the other white triangle:

Sew along entire edge, trim excess white as follows:

Press seam toward tree so the back looks like this:

Trim excess white off bottom edge, and get a trunk piece

Step 3: Sew the trunk on

Sew the trunk strip on, press that seam open:

Last Step:
Trim the entire block to 6" wide by 6.5" tall:

And you're done with one cute tree block!

Note there is no center seam along the tree (clean and simple!), and you don't need a special ruler for this block!

I will post a finished Christmas Tree Quilt after I've completed it, but for now... go make a bunch of trees :)

* please note I'm sharing this block construction for your personal use only. please do not copy my work for your profit without express permission from me. thank you for respecting the work of artists on the web :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Typewriter Railroad Tote

I've been trying out some new bag designs lately, and one that I love is the Purl Bee Railroad Tote.

I admit I make changes to most patterns when I sew them up and this one is no exception... I changed the strap width, added an exterior pocket to both sides, and created a lined interior with zippered pocket, slip pocket, and magnetic snap closure. In all, LOVE how it turned out, highlighting the Melody Miller typewriters :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Little House Gathered Apron

I'm teaching a small sewing camp this summer for kids, and one of the projects we will be working on is a simple gathered apron. It will use techniques like making a sash/strap, zip zag stitching, applique, and free form sewing.

It's super cute. Cuter than I even anticipated before I made it!

I modeled the idea of applique buildings after this Oliver + S blog post.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bicycle Trail Tote

Oh man. I have not done a great job blogging once a week, have I?

Well, one can only try. I'll keep on trying :)

Here's a cute Trail tote to make up for it!

Noodlehead Trail Tote in Echino Bikes

I have a crazy stash. I know, everyone who sews says the same thing. We also say that we will use it up. This week. This month. This year. But I'm really really making effort to actually use up some of my stash. Hence this old (2012?) canvas print from Echino. I have to say, this bag makes a splash and really draws people to my booth at the Artist Market!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Plus quilt plus a pillow

Had enough of bags yet? No, neither have I. But today, I'll show you a fun nursery set I custom made for someone. She was going for gender neutral and also wanting to compliment some wall paper that she was using for the nursery. We worked together via Pinterest and came up with a lovely, modern plus quilt set:

I completely adore the color combination and plan to make another one *just because* it's so pretty :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hybrid Sewing

In my last post I mentioned what a big fan I am of Noodlehead bag patterns. I've sewn so many of them that I decided I'd try to merge two of them together! The Go Anywhere Bag is my favorite and I really wanted to use this beautiful KOI plus fabric for it, but I didn't want to cover up the fabric with the big pockets, so I decided to make a version similar to the Poolside tote, which really highlights one fabric. It's a hybrid bag!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Back to Blogging

It's been what, about 6 months since my last blog post and honestly I thought I had abandoned it for all intents and purposes. But then, spring and a rebirth of creative motivation happened.
And this:

I had dinner with Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I've been testing patterns for Anna since 2011 (four years?! gasp), and it's no secret that her bag patterns are my favorite. I make several Go Anywhere Bags per year!

Anna was here in Vermont teaching a workshop for a local quilt-and-yarn shop, Nido, and I was lucky enough to take her out for dinner one of the evenings she was here. We had a nice time talking creative and getting to know each other outside of the sewing world. She convinced me to keep blogging, and keeping in touch with this great supportive community we have.

Get ready for her new book, being released later this month. Handmade Style promises to have some innovative and beautiful new projects:

And check back here every now and again - I'm aiming to post about once a week, with some great projects I worked on over the winter, and ways for you to get sewing too.