Cotton Couture Look Book – Color Inspiration

Michael Miller Cotton CoutureMichael Miller Fabrics just introduced a beautiful new Look Book for Cotton Couture. I thought you would enjoy getting a peek of the projects inspired by the all the color choices available. One of our past SHWS guests, Tara Faughnan has a fabulous quilt featured in the book, called Baby’s Got the Blues. Look for it on page 7.  Also, remember my Happy Little Placemats video? They just happen to be featured on page 12 and 18. What a kick it is to see them lined up with the color swatches that inspired them!

I know that I promised a blog post on Favorite Pincushions – but to be honest, I think I need to hold off another week to collect more photos. Everywhere I go lately, someone plops a cute lil’ pincushion out on the table to share with me! I am having so much fun and my photo collection is growing rapidly. Let’s celebrate these faithful friends right and get more readers involved!

If you have a favorite pin cushion, we would love to include it. Just snap a photo and  . . .

Share it with us

10_instagram     02_facebook

#favoritepincushion, #seehowwesew

or drop us an email at Seehowwesew@gmail.com 

That’s is for today! Have a great weekend.

Pati

 

Happy Little Placemats – Easier Than They Look with a Video and Free Downloadable Pattern

Earlier this week, I wrote in my post, A Little Happiness with Cotton Couture Solids, about the latest project I have been playing with. My paper pieced placemats were created to tell a color story using Michael Miller’s great collection of solids. As you can see, no two are alike, which made my job soooo much fun. It was as if I were making 4 different miniature quilts!

Happy Little Placemats by Pati Fried for See How We Sew
As complicated as they look – once I got the hang of it, they were actually quite easy. I thought it would be fun to share with you the process, a few tips, along with a free downloadable for you to play with and create your own paper pieced project.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Miller Fabrics

Writing the instructions is definitely harder than making the actual project! I tend to work improvisationally, so it is always a challenge for me to translate my work into words. Since this is a free download, I am going to take a different approach today and simply talk you through the process – there will be more specific directions in the download.

So, put the rotary cutter down, grab a cup of coffee and let’s just walk through the steps together to make these little gems. I urge you give it a try, be open to experimenting and you will end up with your own unique creation.

You can print out the the free downloadable here:     Happy Little Placemats Instructions and Foundation Papers

I recommend printing them on a lightweight newsprint or specialty foundation paper. If you have never paper pieced before, Connecting Threads has a very thorough blog post on all things paper piecing. It also discusses the different types of paper to use.

My finished placemats are 12 x 18”, but both dimensions can be easily adjusted to make a pillow, tote bag, or whatever your heart desires.

2015-03-22 10.41.14

I chose 6 colors of solids in small cuts, a white “sashing” for impact, and gray for the final edge, face binding and backing. Experimenting with mixing solids and prints to get the look you want. That’s what this is all about, right? Playing!

I cut strips of each color to make the variegated stripes. Don’t let the printout scare you. It is actually quite easy and a great way to practice paper piecing. It takes a little time, but you will soon get a rhythm going and you will never more perfect 1/4″ piecing than this!!!

2015-04-29 16.40.11

Paper piecing is one of those things that makes a lot more sense as you go through the motions. Do it once and you will get it forever. Once the sheet is filled with your lovely piecing, follow the directions on the printout to trim the sections out to the correct widths and tips on how to extend the lengths.2015-03-31 08.18.57

Now that you have some practice under your belt, try your hand at the triangle designs. I suggest you cut a 3″ x 9″ wide strips of fabric to start. The size you need will vary with each design. After one or two passes, you will know how big the rectangles need to be. Remember, stitch and flip, stitch and flip. More directions are listed on the printout. Believe me, you will knock them out in no time. If you like one design more than the others, try repeating it in a different color combination. Mix and match for a new look.

Once all your strips are pieced, it’s time to play with your design!!! Yay! That should make you happy. If not, hmmmm, maybe you need to watch my video:

Inspired to finish now? Great! Line up the strips to your liking. The width of the solid strip in the center is determined by the amount needed to reach your desired width. This is where you might be happy to have a little extra length to position your sections where you want them.2015-05-03 12.01.47

Time to sew your little gems together. Here is a hint: leave the foundation paper on until you have sewn all the white sashing in place. It will help keep your lines neat and straight. I cut my sashing oversized, stitched one side in place, then trimmed to 1/2″. I then stitched the next strip in place. It worked really well and kept the wavy seams away. I also decided to insert gray as the last few on each end and then finished with a 2 1/2″” strip as my edge. 2015-05-05 12.20.03

I kept the quilting very simple, in the ditch and not too much of it. I chose a Faced Binding, so as not to distract from the design. For more on Faced Bindings, read Jennifer’s Round’s post Infinity Edges in the Quilts.

2015-05-05 13.35.19

And there you have it! Happy Little Placemats for you to brighten your summer table with. I hope you share your finished projects with us on our SHWS Facebook Page or catch me on Instagramunnamed (1)

As always, thanks for reading! Have a great weekend.

Pati

A Little Happiness with Cotton Couture Solids

I have been doing a bit of teasing on social media lately. If you follow our Facebook  page or my Instagram, you may have seen snippets of some overly zealous paper piecing I have been working on. The good news is the project is finished and I am finally ready to share!
Paper piecing with Cotton Couture Solids A few months ago, I was asked to work on a project featuring Cotton Couture Solids for Michael Miller Fabrics. It was to showcase a color story from this beautiful line. They sent me a few ideas on what they were looking for, along with the oh-so-cool Color Card Swatch Book. Michael Miller's Cotton Couture Swatch BookJust flipping through the swatch cards put me over the moon with happiness. The colors are amazing and the fabric feels buttery soft and light. But to pick a color palette? Oh, my, that was a tough decision. There were so many to choose from. Being the creature of habit that I am, I of course, eventually chose their red collection in all it’s glory.

Cotton Couture by Michael Miller Fabrics

Somewhere, in bouncing ideas around, I got it in my head that I wanted to do some over-the-top paper piecing. Ok, a quilt would be out of the question – but what about placemats? That would be manageable! So I cruised Google Images, looking for a spark of inspiration. I found an unusual, graphic rug that had an interesting design element to it.

Safavieh Handmade Casablanca Moroccan Rug
Safavieh Handmade Casablanca Moroccan Rug

I pulled out my sketchpad – and so it began. Before I knew it, I was happily sewing multiple strips together of various tints, shades, shapes and widths with my glorious, red family of solids – which made me very happy!

Paper Piecing with Cotton Couture

It got a bit addictive. Each strip was an opportunity to try something different! Gray and white helped separate the busyness, so that you could really appreciate each color combination.

Paper pieced placemats by Pati Fried for See How We Sew

After a few Netflix episodes and some afternoons of stitching, I combined the strips into a set of two  placemats, which you see here. Each is unique and different, yet they are seem to play well together. Happy little things, aren’t they?

Paper pieced placemats by Pati Fried for See How We Sew

I quickly mailed them off to Michael Miller Fabrics for a photo shoot for last week’s Quilt Market. Kudos to their photographer. Isn’t the table setting wonderful?

Photo Courtesy of Michael Miller Fabrics

Photo Courtesy of Michael Miller Fabrics

Photo Courtesy of Michael Miller Fabrics

Photo Courtesy of Michael Miller Fabrics

My little placemats really dress up nicely, don’t they? I am so HAPPY about how they turned out!

Are you picking up on the word “happy” being used quite often in this post? Just remember that thought, because on Friday, my “happiness” theme will all make sense. I will be sharing with you a second set of placemats made from yummy shades of green, along with a fun video showing the process of making them.

And there’s more! I’ll share a free downloadable pattern of the project for you to make your own set of paper pieced placemats!

I would love to hear what makes you happy when sewing. Leave a comment if you would like to share some happiness.

See you Friday,

Pati

My Urban Tunic in Crossroads Denim and a Pattern Giveaway!

On the Design Wall with P&B Textiles

A while back, I received a lovely bundle of P&B Textiles to play with. It was perfect timing, because Laura and I were just beginning our exploration with wedge rulers. New fabric and new quilty toys – now what could be better?1st-shipment-of-fat-quarters-300x225

For my first project, I started with sewing up selected 2 1/2″ strips from Bella Suede and Suede Medley, along with one sweet little green print from the Blissful Moments line. Since I had no idea where I was going with this, I wanted to stay with a minimal color palette – to keep some control in the design. I chose a light to dark combination in greens and blues that had a gradating effect

2015-01-16-13.23.34-e1421641221901      2015-01-18-10.51.37-e1421887289701-249x300

Next, I cut my strips to a 20″ width and then proceeded to cut out wedges with a 24 degree wedge ruler that we were experimenting with from Quints Measuring Systems. I alternated up and down, so that I wouldn’t have any waste.

2015-01-16-13.22.12-e1421641197687

Then I was off to the design wall to see what I could come up with! This is definitely my favorite part of the process.

2015-01-15-16.20.31-e1421886504765

I liked alternating them, but my wedges seemed to blend into each other too much, so spacing them out helped to emphasize their shape more. Hmmm… That just might work. Now to repeat that for another row.

2015-01-15-16.18.51-e1421887099961-172x300   2015-01-18-10.49.46-e1421888455361-259x300 

I added white strips between each wedge to give a crip, clean edge to the layout. .
2015-01-18-12.56.56-e1421886878698

Finish it off with white setting triangles and some borders. For my setting triangles, I just cut my wedges out of white and then sliced them in half lengthwise.

2015-01-19-09.55.58-e1421889192863-845x1024

For quilting, I stitched some simple, straight lines with my walking foot. Almost finished, right?2015-03-15 13.12.40

Well, of course not. While I was quilting, I kept thinking about how cool some “Big Stitch” handwork would look. I could just follow the lines of the fabric strips in some coordinating threads to give it an interesting texture.

2015-03-15 16.20.23     2015-03-15 16.22.20

So, I guess you won’t be seeing a finished project quite yet. But, the good news is, it’s a beautiful sunny afternoon – I think I will just plop myself down outside and get started on the handwork! Wish you could join me!

2015-03-15 16.17.03

Carol Van Zandt has been busy adding more photos to her blog. Be sure to click over to Plaid Portico to see her latest installment of Quiltcon 2015 photos. Quiltcon 2015 Improvisation Category Part 1 and Part 2

Have a good week!

Pati

 

Shortcuts! A few quick tricks for a fast, fun quilt.

A while back, I kept hearing about quick and fun ways to make blocks using unusual construction techniques. I would hear about one, then someone would say, “Oh -that reminds me of another one!” That’s when I started thinking it would be fun to put them all together into one quilt – and so I did.

It is appropriately named, Shortcuts!

Shortcuts-Pat-Fried

Shortcuts! was designed so that it could easily be made with one layer cake, along with a few extra scraps, and a background fabric. Many of the blocks have a 3-dimensional aspect to them, which adds even more fun to the quilt. I taught this last spring in a workshop and the results were wonderful! I was surprised at how quickly the blocks went together. You can see some of the work here. Most of the students used a layer cake, so each quilt had a look completely different from the next.

At the end of January, I will be teaching the class again at Broadway Quilts in Sonoma, California. I wanted to make the quilt in a completely different color palette and a more contemporary style of fabrics to take with me. I used a colorful group of Grunge Basics, a selection from a layer cake called  Comma by Zen Chic and a fabulous background fabric from Jennifer Sampou’s newest line, color:Full.

2015-01-12 12.11.58

Same blocks, just a few tweaks on how many of each and a totally different placement.

2015-01-12 12.12.53

This time, I chose to showcase the background fabric and use it for the centers of my snowball blocks. It completely changed the overall look, don’t you think?
2015-01-12 12.14.31   2015-01-12 12.13.26

Most of the blocks have a 3-dimensional element tucked in.

2015-01-12 12.15.46

Awesome quilting by Kerry Reed. I love the back almost as much as the front.

2015-01-12 12.11.10

I am always looking for a new way to finish off the center of a Dresden. This one adds a bit of a rustic, folk art feel to the quilt. I simply stacked and fused some circles and then raveled the edges.

I love to rework a quilt in different fabrics to see how much it can vary from one quilt to the next. This quilt is so fun to make, I could just keep going and going! I am now putting the finishing touches on the pattern for this quilt. I will let you know when it is ready.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Pati Signature

Making Waves with Kim Andersson’s Tidal Lace Collection – Blog Hop & Giveaway Today!

giveaway2
Welcome to Day 5 of the  Tidal Lace Blog Hop showcasing Kim Andersson’s first collection with Windham Fabrics. We are so happy to be a stop on Kim’s tour!
Tidal Lace Blog Hop Tour
I’ve known Kim for a few years–remember she was one of our guest bloggers, earlier this year–and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Kim bring her beautiful drawings to life in Tidal Lace. The fabric line has a special place in my heart as it reminds me of my favorite beach getaway, the town of Bolinas, just north of San Francisco. And would you believe that Kim also visited Bolinas while working on Tidal Lace! (It is so special that locals have been known to remove the highway sign telling you how to get there!)
Beach Ball Quilt
Pattern for Making Waves is now available on our Pattern Page.
We designed A Day at the Shore for the Tidal Lace fabric line to capture a feeling of a day at the beach. Remember that moment when you unfold and flick your beach towel so it catches the wind and then floats down to a patch of sun-warmed  sand? Grab your ice cold drink, sunscreen, and summer-time read . . . it’s beach time!

Continue reading

Under Wraps: A Peek at a Summertime Fabric Fling

Fabric-J:  Gelato ombre Schenck
A lovely pink ombre from the Gelato series offered by E.E. Schenck.

Like last week’s guest blogger Christine Barnes, I too have a strong liking for ombre fabric. While I absolutely love Christine’s deft hand with color and value play as she builds her blocks, my typical take on ombre is to use it to make flower petals for dimensional applique.

Project-J:  Blossom made of color-changing fabric
I cannot remember where I bought this perfect flower-making print, but I wish I had a bolt!

Clever cuts of fabric can yield petals kissed by sunlight at the tips and darker shadows where the petals grow from the flower stems (or the reverse as shown above). Or, also beguiling, bi-color petals which can be folded and shaped to form realistic flower buds.

Project-J:  Rosebud
Although hard to discern the value differences, this rosebud is made from one ombre fabric.

That’s been my recurring task for much of the summer:  cutting and sewing petals and leaves. No, not 90 days of flower making 24/7–I’m not that insane–a few hours here and there over three months preparing to make a dimensional appliqué floral still life.

Project-J:  Using ombre fabric to make blossoms
Blossoms made from red and pink ombre fabrics–the same pink featured in the rosebud.

Some quilting projects are piecing extravaganzas:  pedal to the metal, innumerable passes of a rotary cutter through fabric, and sweating over a steaming iron. That’s not my way with dimensional appliqué quilts. The grueling part is the preparation–composing the still life is almost anti-climactic. Gotta say I’m about to take on that challenge; after weeks of labor I’m ready to roll.  (But not ready to share yet–stay tuned!)

Congratulations to Monica, the winner of the giveaway goodies from Christine Barnes.

J-Signature

 

 

 

Quilts by Okan Arts

Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

Patricia Belyea, a self proclaimed Japanophile, imports vintage yukata cottons. Patricia is the owner of Okan Arts, a design studio and micro quilt shop, in her home in Seattle, Washington.

Hope by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, Yukata – The Summer Kimono of Japan , I met Patrica while she was traveling in the San Francisco Bay Area for lectures and workshops. I was not only fascinated with her incredible collection of hand dyed fabrics, I was also inspired to see how she showcased these very special fabrics into the artisan quilts she creates.

Patricia took some time out of her busy travel schedule to answer a few questions that I thought would interest our readers and to share her beautiful work.

Babbling by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

What was it that initially attracted you to these fabrics?  I’ve always been a “treasure hunter” when it comes to fabrics. At first, my quilts were made from fabrics found in free boxes at quilting meetings. I’ve also looked for unusual and super-cheap fabrics by the tablecloth section at Goodwill stores. And I’ve bought some vintage fabric on eBay. Once I started to visit Japan regularly, I looked for quilting fabric there. 

Once I discovered vintage hand-dyed yukata cottons, I was hooked. They are so easy to love—good quality cotton that’s a perfect weight for quilting, gorgeous hand-dyed colors, and wonderful patterns. I find the colors and designs inspire my artisan quilt compositions.

How has your involvement with yukata cottons changed your outlook on the Japanese and their culture? Before I ever bought a bolt of yukata cotton, I had been to Japan twice and hosted three Japanese home-stay students. So I already had a real interest in all things Japanese. 

Getting involved with yukata cottons and quilting has changed the focus of my trips to Japan. Now I seek out textile-related experiences—visiting indigo masters, wandering around flea markets, looking for small shops with vintage fabrics, going to museums, and anything else that touches on my interest in Japanese handicrafts, especially textiles.

Tangled by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

What do you see for the future of Okan Arts? My petite cottage business called Okan Arts is synonymous with me! I’m a one-woman enterprise who just keeps dreaming up more things to do.

Right now I’m working on a quilting book that combines yukata cottons and commercial solids in improvisational designs.

I just wrote an article for GenerationQ magazine entitled “A Quilter’s Guide to Visiting Japan.” (Look for it in the November/December issue.) I feel a calling to encourage others to visit Japan so I’m putting together a new Japan Travel section on my website as a resource for individual travelers.

As I’m out of town a lot this summer, I set up a pop-up shop with all my inventory in my local quilting store—The Quilting Loft in Seattle. Making my yukata cottons more accessible has been a good move as shoppers can only visit my home-based shop by appointment–I may do that again as I travel so much. – Patricia Belyea.

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

Aren’t her quilts amazing? Patricia also enjoys hand-quilting her quilts to add to the artisan feel. Being a big fan of Big Stitch hand quilting, I was immediately drawn to her thread work.  She uses colorful pearl cotton to create interesting shapes and line work. I loved seeing her perspective on applying this technique to the large scale prints and large open spaces of the yukata designs.

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea         close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea         close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

Thank you, Patricia, for a sharing this unique niche in our wonderful world of quilting. It is always fun to see how personal passions can merge with one’s creative interests.

Signature Cropped