Carolyn Friedlander pillow and the pleasure of patterns

IMG_0552I haven’t posted in ages, but I’ve been busy sewing! It was really nice to just make stuff for a few months without thinking about taking pictures or how to try and make it interesting. Do people really want to read about the felted bunny I made to fit into an Altoid box bed?

But, this pillow is just too gorgeous not to share. I can say it’s gorgeous without feeling like a braggart because all credit goes to Carolyn Friedlander‘s creative genius. The pillow was made following her Botanics pattern, using some of her Architextures fabrics, and solids that seem very much in her palette. Even though I really love coming up with my own designs, following Carolyn’s pattern was so much fun. No worrying about how things would come together, no decisions to make, just following steps to make something that is an instant classic. Following this pattern was a great learning experience, too. It seems a little counter intuitive, but following a pattern can be a really creative experience; you learn new techniques and try out different designs and colorways. By working on this project, I feel like I got a tiny dose of Carolyn’s design DNA that will help evolve my own projects–good deal!

Another Three Flocks finish!

three-flocks-35Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl finished this lovely version of my Three Flocks pattern and kindly agreed to let me post about it. I really love the way she accented the large triangles with her quilting, and the swirls are so fun.

Here is the back. She used the little triangles left over from making the flying geese blocks to add a pretty detail to the back. It reminds me of origami. I’m inspired to use my bag full of corner scraps. I knew I saved them for a reason!

three-flocks-38Nice work, Yvonne! Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.

Finished Umbrella Print quilt

heart_closeHave you discovered Umbrella Prints from Australia? I first read about them on Anna Graham’s fantastic blog Noodlehead and was immediately smitten. The patterns are cheerful without being too cutesy and the colors are gorgeous. I’m always on the lookout for fun prints that will appeal to kids and adults alike–so I ordered a set of fat quarters from their Elephants Love Water collection knowing I’d find a project for them in no time.

umbrellaprintOnce I had them in hand, I knew I wanted to make a baby quilt. I had some leftover melon and peach Kona from making my daughter’s quilt, and I really liked how they worked with the deep orange in the heart print. Because I usually work in all solids, when I use a print I like to give it room to shine. I decided on a really simple design that centers on the print–and added a few little scrappy pieces on the sides.

hearts_fullMy favorite part of this quilt is the quilting itself. I used a straight-line quilting pattern that echoes the small frame of cocoa that surround the main block of the print. I really love the window pane effect, and the spacing of the lines makes the finished quilting really soft and cozy.

heart-foldedThis quilt has been added to my Etsy shop.

Skillful Sunday: Free Motion Quilting

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I just finished this simple top for a baby quilt and I was wondering if it might be a good candidate for free motion quilting. I am pretty much a straight-line quilter, and my go-to pattern is a grid of two-inch spaced diagonal lines. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of its clean and simple geometry, but I thought that this quilt’s design might need something a little more free form. I read a brief tutorial about free motion quilting on Oh, Fransson! with just enough information to make me think, hey, I can probably do this. (I am a little bit “less is more” when it comes to tutorials.) I made a test scrap, and tried my hand at some loops.

My first attempt was not so good. It didn’t look horrible from the top, but the back looked like cartoon eyes with long lashes. Slight problem with the tension! The only plus was that my first attempt was very easy to unpick.

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My next attempt went much better. I increased my tension to 2, even though the tutorial suggested setting the tension to 0; this worked better for me. And I got more used to moving the fabric at an even rhythm.

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Even the back was not too shabby–no more creepy eyes peering out from the back of the quilt!

I am pretty sure that my free motion quilting is not ready for prime time, and I don’t think I’m ready to give up my neat and tidy grids. But, it was great to try something new, and I’ll definitely practice some more on little projects. So, one day when I’m feeling a little loopy, I’ll be ready for it!

 

 

 

Simple stripes quilt

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All the ladies in my family have a thing for stripes. Chances are one of us, if not all, will be wearing stripes on any given day. So when my daughter wanted a new quilt for her bedroom, I was pretty sure her design would include stripes. We had a great time designing this quilt–Betty chose the colors, selected the fabrics, and sketched her plan. The quilt is made of strips that I made longer than needed so we could play around with the lengths and order of the colored stripes. A process declared to be surprisingly fun!

I really like how the simplicity of the design showcases the prints, and the balance of bold and subtle patterns makes the quilt lively without being too busy. Nice work, Betty!

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Betty may not have an interest in sewing (yet!) but she so far she is my favorite client.

Here is a peek at the Icy Peach backing and the Melon binding. I especially love that Melon, and am very glad I got some extra.

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Pattern winner!

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Thanks to everyone who participated in my very first give away! I really enjoyed hearing about all the wonderful ideas for background colors. I am sure they would all look fantastic.

The winner is Quilting Jet Girl, who said she would use Kona Jade Green. I’d love to see that finished quilt. I am just venturing out of my blue and red comfort zone and starting to use greens and yellows in my quilts. I’m not quite ready for purple–but who knows!

If you would like to have your very own copy, I am offering a discount of 20% in my Etsy shop until Friday, August 15. Just enter GIVEAWAY in the coupon field before checkout. Thanks again for participating!

Also, the pattern was not available in my Etsy shop for a day or two because I did not realize I needed to renew the listing for a digital item each time a copy sells. I am sure there is a fix for this, but in the meantime I’ll be sure to keep the “shelves” stocked.

Three flocks quilt pattern give away

 

Three flocks quilt, finished July 2014

I am really excited to have completed my first pattern! I think the Three Flocks Quilt pattern would be great for an adventurous beginner. It definitely gives plenty of practice in making flying geese blocks! I can see this looking great with a dark background–I have in mind to make a navy crib size (maybe that will be pattern #2).

Please leave a comment and let me know what color you would use for the background and I’ll pick a winner to receive the PDF pattern. The give away will close on Monday, August 11, at 5:00 pm. Thanks for participating!

The pattern is available for instant download in my Etsy shop.