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

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

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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.

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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.

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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. .
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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.

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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!

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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

 

New Wedge Project Revealed

I just returned from a quick overnight getaway to one of my favorite places, The Monterey Bay Aquarium. My wonderful husband purchased “Behind the Scenes Tour” tickets for us to get up close and personal with the sea otters. The tour was spectacular, complete with fluffy baby otters. The tour was almost as good as the previous one we took last year on the jellies. I must admit however, the highlight for me was seeing the Giant Pacific Octopus on display in the newly installed Tentacles exhibit. What a fascinating and magestic creature!

Giant Pacific Octopus on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo taken from the website at www.montereybayaquarium.org.
Giant Pacific Octopus on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo taken from the website at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Our final walk on the beach this morning gave me the perfect setting to photograph my new beach totebag. My vision for this project was to design a circular beach totebag that would double as a groundcloth.  I used the large 36 degree rulers to cut fabric wedges. I doubled alternate spaces creating pockets for holding some beach necessities, such as sunscreen, flip-flops, sunglasses and waterbottles. There would be enough space in the middle of the bag to carry your towel, beach coverup and bikini ; ).

Alternate wedges are doubled to create pockets for carrying necessary beach items.
Alternate wedges are doubled to create pockets for carrying necessary beach items.

I used Kim Andersson’s new Tidal Lace line by Windham Fabrics and our new Making Waves pattern as inspiration to create a beach ball design on one side of the tote. The opposite side is a solid piece of vinyl covered cotton fabric. Everything was running smoothly until I came to adding the casing to the outer edge of the circle. Notice the rippling in the casing? Ugh!

Here's a close up of my problem.
Here’s a close up of my problem.

I’m generally not one to encourage pointing out disappointments, but in this case, I think there are two valuable tips I can share here. First, since I was working on a circular design, the casing strips should have been cut on the bias to prevent rippling. I didn’t have enough of the backing fabric to cut bias strips, so thought I might get away with some wide straight-grain cut strips . . . WRONG! I know better than this ; ). Second, I didn’t have my teflon presser foot with me while sewing on the vinyl fabric. Stitching with my regular foot only contributed to the problem. In an effort to resolve the situation, I put some blue painters tape on the bottom of my regular presser foot. This works in a pinch but I highly recommend using a teflon foot for any serious  sewing with these fabrics.

Sooo, not being happy with the end result, I decided to cut off the wobbly casing and attach a new bias cut strip. Finally, I inserted some cording/rope through the opening to create a drawstring strap. Ready to insert all my gear and head off to the beach.

A calm grey overcast morning at the beach.
A calm grey overcast morning at the beach.

I found a comfortable spot, spread out the tote and began setting up with some goodies purchased in town . . . local wine and Ghirdadelli chocolates!

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While I was setting up, I noticed that one of the locals was keeping a close eye on me!

One of the locals on the beach this morning.
One of the locals on the beach this morning.

Goodbye Monterey, until next time!

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

Quiltcon Workshops – Filled with Inspiration

The Definition of Stitch by Sarah Fielke

The dust is settling from Quiltcon. Everyone is arriving home and posting lots of wonderful photos of the show, the quilts and the friendships they have nurtured . It was an amazing few days for me and I am so appreciative of all the hard work and talent that went into this event. The quilts were amazing, of course. The lectures were incredibly informative. But, I believe I enjoyed the workshops most of all.

I thought it would be fun to share my experiences with you.

Alison Glass
Alison Glass of BigCartel.com

I had signed up for a workshop with the talented Alison Glass. I thought it might be a good idea to “up my game” at embroidery. It has never been my strong suit and I do love me some hand work with pretty colored thread. Alison is such a warm and friendly person and it reflects  in her colorful and oh- so-whimsical work. I am always inspired to grab a sketchbook and colored pencils after looking at Allison’s designs.

Alison Glass embroidery
Don’t you just want to stroll through Alison’s flower garden?

The project Alison shared with us was a stitched sampler that could be made into a needle book. Sweet, simple images that would allow us the chance to practice stitches that she demonstrated.

Alison Glass embroidery needle book

She also shared samples in which she added bits of wool applique into her work. This is something I will definitely try. It paired so nicely with the texture of the stitches.

Alison Glass embrodery     Alison Glass embroidery

Playing with the beautiful colors of my threads was the best part of the class for me. I kept threading another needle just to try a new stitch in a different color.  I had brought some small samplings of Presentia Perle Cotton #8 to work with on the project. I seem to have an embarrassing amount of the thread that I’ve stockpiled for Big Stitch projects. I am so happy to have another use for it.

Pati's embroidery sample     Pati's embroidery sample

I didn’t get terribly far, but I feel like I now have the “tools” to go home and practice – oh, along with her book, Alison Glass Appliqué.

AGappliquecover
Signed copies available on her website – Click Here 

As I mentioned in the workshop, my French knots tend to be more like french tangles. Hopefully this will improve now. Thank you Alison for all the wonderful tips. I aspire to create stitches as lovely as yours.

Alison Glass embroidery

I also took a Screen Printing with Celina Mancurti. Celina was a wonderful teacher and had everyone messing up their manicures in no time! I had done a lot of screen printing in college, but forgot how messy it could be. It all came back quickly once I put that squeegee in my hand.

Celina Mancurti
Celina Mancurti of CelinaMancurti.com

Celina had a lot of beautiful designs on screens and ready to print. That made it very simple to dive right in and start printing. I chose some lovely images and some muslin and got started. Three little birds, all in a row. Aren’t they lovely?

Pati's Bird Screen Print

The student next to me decided to cut her own stencils and was kind enough to let me photograph her work in progress. She was really quick with the Exacto knife!

Stencil sml     Ink screen sml

She whipped out her own original design in no time, then started printing away. Isn’t this great? Love, love, love the bright green on muslin.

Pirnt screen sml

By now my birds were somewhat dry, so I chose to add a second color. I liked it so much, I made it twice! I think I will add these to the bottom of some toweling that I bought ages ago and never used. Wow, I actually made something useful!

one more time     IMG_7175

And then, I discovered the red poppies. And linen. And a very cool graphic element that I printed in black. Sigh. I am so in love with the final result of my poppies.

Pati's print sml

No idea what I am going to do with it, but would love some suggestions from all of you!

Mancurti's linens more sml   Mancurti's linens sml

Celina also brought a sprinkling of the beautiful pre-printed linens that she has created. You will find a full  line of the pre-printed fabrics, kitchen and table linens available on her website. Be sure to visit her shop at CelinaMancurti.com

As you can see, my workshops were wonderful. It is always great to have the opportunity to be learn a new technique or be inspired by someone else’s creativity. I hope you found a little spark of creativity also.

Pati's print closeup

 

If you have an idea of what to do with my red poppies, be sure to leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Pati

 

 

 

 

 



 

Playing with Wedge Rulers

It’s been a crazy, busy week here but just want to pop in and share an apron design I made using some new and very large wedge rulers from Quint Measuring Systems, Inc. It’s hard to tell in the photo but the skirt is so cute and swishy when worn. Since I’m a huge lover of all dotted fabrics, this black and white became the perfect choice when combined with the beautiful large scale floral print. It’s super simple and sews up fairly quickly.

Apron cropped sml

 

Dots and stripes on the backside make this a reversible design. Two in one . . . not bad.

Apron back sml

 

Ok, just one more shot since I couldn’t resist having the adorable Jamie Hirano of Wooden Gate Quilts model the finished product. Love the look on you, Jamie!

Apron Jamie sml

 

Here’s a sneak peek at another wedge project I am working on. Any guesses on what it will be? It was inspired by our new Making Waves quilt pattern.  It will be something that can be used along with the quilt. If all goes well, I’ll reveal the completed (not going to tell you) in my next post.

Hmmm, wonder what this will be?
Hmmm, wonder what this will be?

It’s been fun making these easy projects but I’m so anxious to design and make a new quilt. Feel like it’s been way too long.  I’ve just not been inspired, until this week when I came across this gorgeous print by M&S Textiles Australia. Yes, it is one piece, NOT pieced. Circles and stripes in jewel tones, oh my! I can hardly wait to get started. I’ll be away teaching at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar next week and hope to find a few minutes in the evening to play and work out some new designs. Fingers crossed.

I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!
I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!

That’s it for today. Hope wherever you live, you are staying warm and cozy. It’s such a perfect time to be inside working on projects. Take advantage.

Until next time, keep your eyes open for inspiration, it’s everywhere.

mug

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrap Wool Felt + a Button = Super Quick Xmas Gift

As I mentioned in my last post, this holiday season has me on the run. I don’t have much time to take on big projects with my gift giving. I love a good sewn project as much as anyone, but my quick go-to is always jewelry making. Bead stores have the best stuff for impromptu inspiration. And, if I still feel the need to add a stitch, well, I opt to make a jewelry pouch to hold my handmade gift. You’ve heard my schtick before and you’ve seen samples of my passion for pouches here and here.

This year I’ve been a bit obsessed with natural stone jewelry that I can dangle from a “universal” earring base.

Projects-J:  Earrings for 2014 gifts

The top row sports the universal base. All I need to do is slip off the dangling jewel and slip on another one. Very cool!

In honor of Christmas, I decided to make red wool felt jewelry pouches for my handiwork. I repurposed the wool from a tree skirt that I made a couple of years ago. The sad tale was that my pretty red skirt with  glued on felt snowflakes was taken out by a flood when the Christmas tree toppled and spewed water from the reservoir across the floor. That was also the celebration when my some of my votive candleholders shattered on the hearth. After all that I think the felt scraps should be directed to projects with inherently better karma, like gift giving.

Project-J:  Jewelry pouches for gifts

These pouches are 4 x 9 inches folded to 3.5 inches and machine blanket stitched along the edges. Super simple to make and very nice for stowing in suitcases for travel. The fun part is adding sparkle with a jeweled button or beads.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Jennifer Signature

 

It’s a “Hazy Shade of Winter” at SHWS, but I Will Conquer Xmas!

Despite not having to tackle my traditional major family party on the 24th, I have a feeling that Christmas is running away from me this year. We’re already in double digits on the December calendar?!? Where did the time go between that last bite of pumpkin pie and today? [soundtrack:  primal, panicked scream!] Keep it together, woman!

Okay, enough with the hysteria, here’s one of my accomplishments from this week:  a completed quilt. You might recall my posts on a quilt of crosses called Purple Haze (here’s the first post). I was on the fence about the finished quilt top. The good news is that I am a fan now! That attitude switch comes courtesy of Kathy August, the long arm quilter who took my quilt from slightly odd to FAB-U-LOUS!

Quilt-J:  Detail of reverse side of Jennifer's Purple Haze
Long-arm quilter Kathy August outlined each bird and then quilted the top in unevenly spaced horizontal lines.
Quilt-J:  Detail of Jennifer's Purple Haze
Front side of Purple Haze–can you see the bird outlines?

Kathy actually finished the quilting in October, along with my son’s birthday quilt, but I pretty much ignored the purple monster until last Thursday night when I picked up the folded quilt from the corner of the floor of my husband’s empty office-in-the-making, where it had languished for many weeks.

Quilt-J:  Auditioning binding for Jennifer's Purple Haze
Auditioning the Kaffe Fasset stripe from Westminster Fabric.

A striped fabric was my top choice for binding, although my stash was a bit thin on color/quantity candidates. I found about a half-yard of a Kaffe Fassett Westminister stripe with a sizable bias-sliced chunk removed. No way sufficient for a queen-size quilt. Ah well. I gathered the candidates and, the next day, took them to my friend Cyndy Rymer’s for an impromptu lunch with my quilt/dining group. Turns out they were in unanimous support of the stripe, which put an annoying internet fabric search for more yardage on my agenda. Until, that is, Cynderella went stash diving in her collection and found a complete set of 3-inch strips of that very fabric in her Kaffe box. (She’s got some wonders locked away in that fabric treasure trove!) Christmas lesson:  Seek and ye shall find.

Quilt-J:  Detail view of binding, Jennifer's Purple Haze
Detail view of finished binding

It’s truly amazing how well-planned and executed quilting (Kathy August’s amazing spin on my original minimal idea) plus a perfect binding candidate can win over a doubting quilt maker. I am enchanted by the result. I love it! That’s very good because I’ve got bedrooms to furnish for the return of my fellas for the holidays . . . they’ll have to flip a coin for the bed with the fancy new quilt.

Quilt-J:  Jennifer's Purple Haze
I had the B Team holding the quilt today, my A Team has grown up and launched. Looks like I’ve got to train the new guys on quilt holding techniques cuz, among other things, I just realized the quilt needs a flip to the right.

See ya Friday here at SHWS . . . perhaps I’ll reach holiday zen by then, but I’m not optimistic. In the meantime, though, take a gander at my stress-relieving effort for the Christmas season–month-long Ballet Conditioning classes led by Katarina Wester, a former soloist at the Royal Opera Ballet in Stockholm, Sweden and an incomparable teacher. (Jennifer was not harmed as a result of Katarina squishing her straddle split because she weighs nothing, but J. may be very sore tomorrow!)

Inspiration-J:  Katarina Wester's hard-core conditioning class

p.s.  Hazy Shade of Winter–Paul Simon!

 

Jennifer Signature

St. Nick Stockings

While I was visiting my home town in Iowa a few weeks ago, I was part of a 2 day “Quilt Fest” fundraiser. I shared a project with the quilters called St. Nick Stockings. I can’t take too much credit for this pattern, because it started with a freebie pattern from Moda called Secret Santa Stocking. You can get a Moda’s free downloadable pattern here: Secret Santa Stocking.

Moda Secret Santa Stocking

If you know anything about me, you know that I can’t ever leave well enough alone. I decided to enlarge it, make a few different sizes, then add a lining and a contrasting cuff. Here are my 3 sizes that I used for class samples.St. Nick's Stockings
It was so fun to watch the quilters at Quilt Fest come up with different fabric combinations. Here are a few of the stockings created that day.

 Iowa stocking 1     Iowa stocking 3

Iowa stocking 2   Iowa stocking 4

Iowa stocking 7   Iowa stocking 8

Iowa stocking 5   Iowa stocking 6

 Aren’t they fun?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Pati Fried Signature

Simple Wedge Tree Skirt

Friday already? Yikes! I’m still curious about where November went. I’m guessing like many of you, this is a busy time of the year. Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up on me and then I start rushing in preparation for Christmas. I’m not one to purchase gifts throughout the year, but instead I wait until I’m inspired. I guess that’s why they call me “Last-Minute Laura.” Oh well, it works for me.

I’m still organizing my sewing/quilting room and promise to share photos as soon as it is ready for viewing. It amazes me how much stuff one person can collect over a 30-year period. I am happy to report that I HAVE donated lots of it, but there is still so much left to organize . . . one box at a time.

I needed to take a break from all the boring work and decided to do something simple and creative. I may be one of the last sewers/quilters who wraps the base of the family tree with a piece of holiday-printed fabric. Not this year, I decided it was time to actually make a proper skirt for our tree.

Our tree isn't up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.
Our tree isn’t up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.

I was recently given a 9-degree wedge ruler and thought it might be fun to cut and sew pieces together to form the needed circle. It’s pretty simple, and just 5 fat quarters are needed to make this skirt.

skirt4

skirt5

After sewing the 40 wedges together, I felt it needed some decorative trim around the edge. Prairie points! After sewing them on I preferred the look of them folded inward and so I decided to secure them through the layers with red beads. I think it makes for a nice finishing touch.

Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.
Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.

OK, skirt done. Now I just need to get the tree up so I can enjoy the new look, at least until the presents make their appearance. Speaking of presents, here’s a fun website I stumbled across today. If you enjoy unique gift wrappings you will enjoying watching the many tutorials. I am anxious to try the pleated one, it’s adorable. Click here to watch the beautiful Japanese gift wrapping by SHIHO Style and Design.

Enjoy!

Laura Signature