Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Finished Social Tote

Have you ever finished a project and felt a sense of victory?

That's how I'm feeling about finishing my Carolyn Friedlander Social Tote!

Social Tote

I learned a lot in the process and have a much better sense of putting together a tote like this one with different compartments. For a couple of in-process photos, see this previous post here.

One of my favorite things about the totes was making the handles. The instructions for making them were a new-to-me technique that made the handles come together easily with a neat finish.  

Social Tote_handles

The other thing I like was the optional pincushion. It's a nice, chunky pincushion. I filled it with batting scraps to give it some puff and raw rice grains to give it some weight. 

Social Tote_Pincushion

One thing I would do differently if I were to make the tote again is to adjust the size of the lining and make it a bit smaller so that it would fit more a bit more snugly inside the outer shell. I'm thinking that either making the pieces smaller or taking a larger seam allowance would work. 

Social Tote_Inner Shell

All in all, it was a great learning experience!  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Selfish Sewing

A while ago I picked up the Social Tote pattern by Carolyn Friedlander and Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I had visions of a little tote sitting next to my sewing machine filled with my sewing doohickeys.

Social tote pattern

But it wasn't until Selfish Sewing week this past week that I decided to give it a try. Selfish Sewing week is a week dedicated to sewing something for yourself. What better time to make my visions of having a Social Tote come true?

I decided to make the tote using one of my favorite Cotton and Steel prints from the Mochi collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale. For the lining and trim fabrics, I'm using solids in purple and turquoise.

Social Tote_In Progress

I'm about halfway through the tote. I made it through the hardest part, putting together the inside, thanks to the great photos on Carolyn's website.

Social Tote_In Progress2

Now to put it all together. Wish me luck and some free time!

What about you? Did you do some selfish stitching this week?

Monday, March 9, 2015

And the Rainbow Goes to...

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the RJR FQ bundle of Basically Patrick and The Motley Wheel pattern!

RJR_Basically Patrick

Of 230 entries, says that the bundle and pattern goes to #78!

True Random Number Generator  78Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Entry #78 comes from Rachel who writes:
  "Would love to try the pattern - and those colors are beautiful!"
Please join me in congratulating Rachel on winning everything she needs to make her own Motley Wheel!

Motley Wheel_RJR

The Motley Wheel pattern is available in my Etsy shop.

Happy stitching!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Want a Rainbow of Your Very Own?

A little while ago, the good folks over at RJR Fabrics sent me a box of goodies. Inside was a bright collection of fabrics from the Basically Patrick collection. They were destined to become The Motley Wheel. Made of tone-on-tone prints with subtle, small scale motifs, the Basically Patrick Collection is perfect for a project like The Motley Wheel since the prints give a hint of texture without overwhelming or distracting from the main quilt design. In other words, they are great blenders!

RJR_Basically Patrick

Instead of the improv version I made originally (seen here), I stitched together a version with a solid background using the RJR Cotton Supreme Solids in Cream.

Motley Wheel_RJR

I went a little crazy with the stitching, covering the quilt in dense stitching. In the spokes of the wheels, I filled in organic wavy lines.  For the background, I stitched tiny paisleys.

Motley Wheel_RJR_Close up

I stitched the center last. I almost filled it with paisleys, but when I "listened" to the quilt, I heard it screaming for something different. I decided on a spiral to keep the theme of circles going.  I made this spiral with my walking foot. Usually I start stitching spirals from the inside out, but I find that it is quite challenging to start in the center. This time I started the spiral from the outside going in. It was much easier. Give it a try for yourself!

Motley Wheel_RJR_Spiral

It was fun working with this bright set of fabrics. Would you like to win a set of these rainbow goodies? The generous folks at RJR Fabrics are giving away a fat quarter bundle of 24 fat quarters to one lucky reader in the U.S. or Canada. I'm sweetening the deal and throwing in a free copy of The Motley Wheel mini quilt pattern to that lucky reader. Will it be you?

Leave a comment for a chance to win. I'll close the drawing on Sunday, March 8th at 9 p.m. EST and let pick the winner.

If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. To find out if you are a no-reply blogger, check out Adrianne's post here.

If you don't want to wait to win a copy of The Motley Wheel pattern, you'll find one in my Etsy shop.

Happy stitching and good luck!

The giveaway is closed.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The 8th Quilt

For February, I set a goal of finishing my youngest's daughter's eighth quilt. For more on the motivation for making the quilt, see this post here.

With all the traveling I did this month - 11 days out of 28 - I wasn't sure how I was going to finish it, but I did!

I adapted Thomas Knauer's Palimpsest quilt in his Modern Quilt Perspectives book. It fits her toddler bed perfectly.

Toddler bed

Since I already had the top put together, the major task was the quilting. I used my long arm machine to quilt all over flowers.


I've been wanting to try this quilting design for a while ever since I discovered it in Angela Walters' Free Motion Quilting book. I thought it would take a while since the design quilts up fairly densely, but it went pretty quickly once I got a rhythm going. It took about 3 hours altogether, not counting the stops and starts to take care of the kiddos. Plus, I did have to stop from time to time to stretch my arms and give my wrists a break from making the little arcs that form the petals.

This floral quilting design is pretty forgiving of inconsistencies in the spacing. Somehow when it's all done, they all flow together nicely.


I couldn't decide on one fabric for the binding so I went scrappy. I think it's perfect for this scrappy quilt.


I had some of the backing fabric left over and stitched up a pillow case to match. It only took about 10 minutes to make and kept me from adding to the scrap bin.


This quilt is another w.i.p. that I can knock off my list! Hooray!


Linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A New Pattern: The Motley Wheel

One thing I love about teaching is getting to inspire people to make things that they have never tried before. But since I can't be everywhere, teaching through patterns is a great alternative.

My goal through patterns is to provide lots of detail and instructions so that my patterns teach when I can't be by someone's side. My patterns include lots of full-color photos for each step of the construction and assembly of the quilt to walk readers through what each step involves. 

While I have published patterns though magazines, I'm starting a new direction by publishing my patterns independently.  The first one is The Motley Wheel.

Motley Wheel Pattern Cover

The Motley Wheel is a mini color wheel that would be perfect as color inspiration for a sewing room or as a gift for someone who loves color. The pattern is 16 pages with more than 50 full-color photos to illustrate the step-by-step instructions. I provide lots of detail on the various techniques required to create The Motley Wheel, including sewing curves, improvisational piecing and paper piecing. 

My patterns also undergo testing before I release them. Testing is an important step in the process as it helps me to discover potential issues and address them before publishing a pattern. 

I was fortunate to have The Motley Wheel tested by quilters of great skill and talent.

Debbie of A Quilter's Table stitched up this beauty. For more on her testing experience, check out this post.

Courtesy of Debbie of A Quilter's Table
Svetlana of s.o.t.a.k. handmade made this adorable pillow. 

Courtesy of Svetlana of s.o.t.a.k. handmade
Karie of Two Kwik Quilters took things in a different direction using a bundle of Cotton & Steel fabrics. It shows that The Motley Wheel doesn't only have to be a rainbow quilt. 

Courtesy of Karie of Two Kwik Quilters
If you have any questions about The Motley Wheel, please feel free to ask. For more on the making of The Motley Wheel, please check out my previous post here

The Motley Wheel is available in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Motley Wheel

A year ago, I made this mini color wheel for my partner, Karie of Two Kwik Quilters. She said she loves rainbow quilts so I thought a little color wheel would be perfect. For more on the quilt, check out this post

DQS14_Color Wheel

That little quilt got quite a lot of love not just from Karie, but from some folks on Instagram. Some people asked me if a pattern was available. I can now say, "Yes!"

I've written a full-color, step-by-step pattern. I modified the original quilt, reducing the number of spokes from 32 to 24 and changing the background from a regular patchwork to an improv background.  The result is The Motley Wheel.  

The Motley Wheel

The Motley Wheel is a 20” mini color wheel. The colors flow from red and orange through yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and back to red. I love the contrast between the colors in the wheel and the low-volume of the background and center.

I had fun deciding what to put in the center. I chose a quote by Clem Snide, “Find love and give it all away.” The center fabric is from the Collage collection by Carrie Bloomston.

The Motley Wheel_Center Circle

For the quilting, I stitched wavy lines in the wheel and spirals in the background.

The Motley Wheel_Detail

I'm making the final edits to the pattern based on feedback from the testers. Once I'm done, I'll list the pattern in my Etsy shop. Stay tuned!