Chronicle Books recently sent me a copy of So Pretty! Felt, the lovely new book by Amy Palanjian, and I’m excited to be today’s co-stop on the blog tour! I love sewing and crafting with felt, and this collection of projects is a pretty mix of accessories, jewelry, ornaments, and decorations.
The book is a gorgeous, colorful hardback with beautiful photos – Amy curated 24 sewing, embroidery, and felting projects, two each by 12 guest designers. The book is as much inspiration as it is hands-on instructions, and I immediately found a few projects I want to make! I especially love the Floral Clutch on the cover – it was made by Jill Collier.
Each contributing designer has an opening page with her bio and lots of other details about her projects, which is a nice touch.
I also loved this stylish Snowflake Necklace by Yoko Vega – amazing that it’s made with just a few strips of felt.
I asked my five-year-old daughter, Pearl, to choose her favorite project and she loved the Cupcake Toppers that Stephanie Monroe created!
I’ll definitely be making some for her next birthday party… maybe spelling P-E-A-R-L-! or S-I-X-!
Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour – there are lots more reviews and giveaways to check out. Thanks so much to Lorraine at Chronicle for sending me my copy of So Pretty! Felt!
Tomorrow’s stop is at Mod Podge Rocks – happy weekend, everyone!
I just got back from Quiltcon and my first visit to Austin, Texas, and it was so fantastic! I am working on a post about it with lots of photos, but in the meantime, slowed down by a major post-flight cold, I wanted to share a little project I sewed last month for the Woolen Mill Store: a set of Pendleton puppies!
Michelle asked me and several other sewists to make some projects with Pendleton’s wool, especially their marvelous plaids, for their Sew Expo booth. I sent her several ideas and was so excited when they picked my favorite one, the George the Puppy softie from Jennifer Paganelli’s book, Girl’s World.
I’ve made several in quilting cottons for my kids and I knew they would be so adorable in wool plaids of different scales and colors. It’s a super fun little pattern to sew.
A few tips/details on sewing them in wool instead of quilting cotton: I cut mine on the bias instead of on the straight grain as directed with absolutely no issues.
For the curves, I “clipped” them with pinking shears, turned them right side out, and then top-stitched them for stability. No interfacing or any other materials necessary.
I love how the ears turned out!
And how the bias lines of the plaids looked along the seams.
Pearl and I named them Oliver and Madeleine and had a little indoor-outdoor photo shoot.
One of my favorite things was making a tiny wool-felt binding collar with a mother-of-pearl button “tag” for each of the puppies.
Buttons just find their way into a LOT of my projects. I love them so much.
The two puppies are so cute together. I used Pendleton’s ombre plaids in shirting weight, which is lovely to sew. I mixed larger-scale plaids for the bodies with smaller, more delicate plaids for the ears.
If you go to Sew Expo, I hope you’ll stop by the Pendleton booth and say hi to Oliver and Madeleine! Check out all the beautiful Pendleton project samples everyone sewed in Michelle’s post here.
If you go:
February 28-March 3, 2013
I got my copy of the spring Stitch magazine this week and was so excited to see my article on Japanese fabrics, right there in real life on the page! It’s so colorful, perfect for a February day like today. I love Japanese fabric and it was a dream to get to write about it. The whole issue is so pretty!
I got to interview some of my fabric industry and sewing heroes for this article – thanks to Mariko of Super Eggplant, Marie of Cool Cottons, Cynthia of Fabricworm, Patricia of Okan Arts, Kim of True Up, and Naomi of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin for their contributions.
Rashida’s new Tsuru line with Cloud 9 and Melody’s Ruby Star collections for Kokka are both spectacular. They are both American, but their work is gorgeously inspired by Japanese design and culture, and (I think) perfectly reflects what Kim Kight calls the “inventive, cute, oddball and beautiful” qualities of Japanese fabric.
And Stitch excerpted and shared my Block Pocket Apron project from Modern Log Cabin Quilting – plus I got to re-make the pocket using three different combinations of Japanese prints to put a new spin on things! Thank you to Rashida for sending me prints from Tsuru, Fabricworm for sending me Kei and Kokka, and Cool Cottons for helping me with the Echino. I loved working with these fabrics and I hope it inspires lots of small-scale projects like these little pockets. A little goes a long way with these gorgeous prints.
Speaking of, I had a little dream project in mind for Quiltcon and was so happy to pull it off this week. I needed a neat little bag to hold my MLCQ book postcards, PMQG business cards, and the new moo cards I ordered (yay!) while I’m at the convention. I knew I wanted to use Melody’s Viewmaster cotton/linen print from Ruby Star Rising, and Rashida’s aqua Tsuru prints were the perfect complement. I found a vintage Coats and Clark zipper in my stash (“Bermuda Sea” blue) to go with it. I signed up for Kristin Link’s free Craftsy class on zip bags and totes, and used her stellar instructions. Her blog post on alternate sizes was also very inspiring. (And check out Amber’s cute version with typewriters!) After a little math to adjust the finished size upwards, I had this pretty little bag all stitched up!
I am so happy with it!! I wrote about my size adjustments on my Craftsy project page if you’re interested, and added a D ring (as Kristin suggested on her blog) to the tab loop. My friend AnnMarie Cowley of PMQG made the other loop with the Denyse Schmidt dots for another pouch she gave me, but I borrowed it for this one – I love it! Makes it a perfect little clutch purse.
And Rashida’s cranes make me happy every time I see them! I have to be honest, I’ve had this Viewmaster print for ages (along with a few others of Melody’s – I love her prints) and have hesitated to cut into it, thinking it was too precious. This little project was the perfect way to use both of these treasures. Now every time I reach for a card at Quiltcon, or want to tuck in someone else’s card to keep it handy, I will enjoy these pretty prints.
Speaking of Quiltcon, I wanted to mention that I’m on a panel on Friday at 2:00 on writing for magazines and would love to say hello if you can come to that! Latifah Saafir is moderating, the other panelists are fantastic magazine editors and publishers, and I think it will be a great hour. Thank you to the Modern Quilt Guild for including me! I fly to Austin in a week (!!!) and I am so excited. See you then!
Today I’m writing in honor of my friend Julie Forward DeMay and her memoir, Cell War Notebooks – today is a blog-athon organized by Indies Forward and I asked to join as well. Julie’s book was made from seven months of her blog posts, telling the story of her journey with cervical cancer. It’s beautiful, honest, funny, full of love and so, so hard to read at times – I just want the ending to be different, so badly. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I hope that you read it, too. And as Indies Forward says…
What if you couldn’t promote your book? Not everyone gets that chance. Our indie-ninja-in-spirit Julie Forward DeMay dreamed of being a published author, and in 2011 her first book was released — two years after Julie (a daughter, sister, wife, and mother) lost her battle with cancer.
In a couple weeks, it will be sixteen years since I landed here in Portland. The first morning I was here, I went for a walk and got a cup of coffee in the rain. The very first store I walked into was a little record store called Q is for Choir. I set my coffee down and started flipping through records, and it was sometime in that magical hour that I realized that I was home, and that if I loved Portland in February when it was wet and dark and cold, it was the place for me.
I met Julie through a bunch of mutual friends sometime a couple years after that. I loved her photography and we sold our stuff at a few of the same art shows and craft fairs. I remember buying a couple of her prints and loving them. This top one is called “Trapeze” and I don’t think the other, of train tracks, had a name. We were never super close friends, but I always liked her so much, was always so happy to see her at a party or an art show or her shop. She was a bright light and a huge talent, one of the people who made Portland special.
Julie and her husband Scott bought Q is for Choir a few years later, and they made it such a cool place… they carried zines (they sold my husband Andrew‘s eBay PowerSeller guide), art shows, books (I got my Ex Libris Anonymous spiral-bound family cookbook there) and lots and lots of records. Julie (whose adorable daughter Luka is a few years older than Pearl) had created such a great kids’ section, I always found some treasures there with her guidance. Here are a couple of my favorites she helped me pick out.
I was out for a walk with baby Pearl one afternoon early in 2009 and we saw Julie on Clinton St., walking to work. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked how she was doing. She said that her cervical cancer had come back after nearly a year of remission, but she was doing everything she could to take care of herself and beat it again. I told her that my mom is a cancer survivor, four times over, and that love and support from her friends had meant so much, and I’d be honored to help in any way I could. She told me that she’d started writing a blog to share updates and her story for everyone, and I started reading it, and like so many of her friends, left her little porch presents and sending cards, cheering her on, visiting her at the shop, hoping so much that her bravery and strength would win.
The last time I saw Julie was at her opening for a show of her photographs that summer. I got to tell her how much I loved them – they were all lights and colors and beautiful-ness. Andrew and I bought this one. I sure wish I could get a good photo of it for you, today. It’s just so luminous and serene and warm and energetic all at once. I hope you can see a bit of that even in these off-kilter snapshots, with the reflections and angles. Every time I see it now in my house, it makes me happy. I’m thankful to her for capturing that image and sharing it with the rest of us.
Julie was a photographer, writer, mother, wife, friend and record store owner. Her amazing blog has become a book, self-published by her family, with all proceeds going to her beloved Luka (who is now nine). You can buy it here and find out much more about it here, and you can see all of the Indie Forward posts linked here.
That spring of 2009, my third book, Button It Up, came out, and I brought a copy of it over for Julie and Luka. Julie was so excited for me, and her kind words meant a lot. She asked what it was like to have your own book in your hands. I’m shy, even around friends, and probably to a fault never want it to seem like I’m bragging – I feel so lucky and thankful for the chance to write, but I downplayed it a little bit, not wanting to seem cocky. But now, holding Julie’s book in my hands, I wish I could somehow go back to that conversation with her and be more brave, and say instead – it’s awesome. The chance to have your very own book out in the world is wonderful. And I am so proud of Julie and her beautiful book, and very thankful to her family for bringing it to life on the page. I wish she were here to tell you about it herself. But I am honored to be one of the ones talking about her, and her book, today.
PS: Q is for Choir has now become Clinton St. Record and Stereo, and along with records, they specialize in stellar vintage record players and audio equipment. Aaron recently fixed my static-y early-70s Pioneer receiver and it has never sounded better. I love the shop and I’m so happy to be able to walk over, after all these years.
Hi for the first time in awhile! I’m very excited to be back over here, reviewing my dear friend Nicole Vasbinder‘s brand-new book, Sewing Solutions. Her publisher, Interweave, generously sent us a copy to give away to a lucky member at our PMQG holiday party this Thursday.
Nicole is a fabulous seamstress herself – she owned a handbag and accessory business called Queen Puff Puff for many years,
and now owns and teaches at Stitch Craft in Petaluma, California.
Nicole shares a wealth of insightful tips and details about the art and science of sewing in this super-handy book. From understanding your sewing machine and serger to making perfect buttonholes, and everything in between, Nicole has you covered.
Her special sections on types of fabric and notions are especially helpful. I snapped photos of pages that I thought modern quilters would especially appreciate, but there are tons of other sections that demystify every element of garment sewing, patterns and alterations, and design. She explains sewing techniques clearly, adds tips and suggestions throughout, and shares great resources for shops, books, and magazines to explore.
You can win a copy of this fabulous book at our holiday party this Thursday! And if you want to pick up an extra copy, I spotted it at the downtown Powell’s this afternoon (aisle 510 in the Orange Room!).
Good luck, and see you Thursday!
Labor Day has passed and it’s really starting to feel like fall here after such a beautiful summer… I even put on a cardigan sweater this morning (!) so cozy sewing is on my mind. If you feel the same way and haven’t seen the fall issue of Stitch magazine yet, definitely snap one up. I love it and have some favorite projects bookmarked.
My kids went back to school (well, preschool and the toddler class) yesterday and it’s the perfect time of year for these two clever projects – Jennifer Wolak’s bunny nap roll and Lisa Anderson’s chalkboard mat.
For myself, I can’t decide between the prettiest party frock by Gretchen Hirsch (have you seen her gorgeous new book yet??) and the big blue by Stitch editor herself, Amber Eden! Full paper patterns for each design are included in the issue, or downloadable online, so it’s easy to sew even the most ambitious project.
And these two hats by Stephanie Smith and April Moffatt are just adorable. I’ve always wanted to sew a hat.
I wrote two articles in this issue, too! I’m so thrilled to be one of three contributing editors (alongside Gretchen and Linda) and getting to write regularly about craft history and culture (and of course, sewing). I interviewed Jade Laswell of Craft Hope about her truly amazing love-inspired charity crafting mission. You can find out a lot more about her efforts on their Facebook page, including the current project (#18), quilts for wildfire victims.
And I got to tell the story of Coats and Clark, the 200-year-old thread company that is still at the forefront of sewing technology. It was fascinating to research and a lot of fun to write, I love craft history.
Here are a couple of page snapshots, including a look at how thread is made – both now and hundreds (even thousands!) of years ago.
I absolutely loved the Coats and Clark ephemera I found on eBay and Etsy for this piece. My two favorites were the Zebra from the “Spool Zoo” (included free with a package of bias tape in the 1930s, so a child could cut out the animal shapes and glue them to an empty spool of Mama’s thread) and the 1961 magazine ad pairing spools of thread with chic fabric scraps for a fashionable effect.
Thank you to Amber and Stitch for the chance to write these pieces! I have two more articles in the Winter issue (here’s a hint about one, and the other for good measure) and I’m working on an article that’s very close to my heart for Spring 2013, complete with some sneak peeks at pretty new fabric collections. I feel very lucky to get to write about craft things I love – freelance life definitely has its ups and downs, but the good parts are great.
Hope you are enjoying your first few days of fall too!
I’m so honored to be part of the third annual Action Kivu fundraiser, which helps women and girls in the Congo through education and sewing! Alissa has been a tireless and wonderful advocate for this amazing nonprofit, and has rounded up a fantastic mix of modern quilting prizes for donors. You must see her post to believe all the cool fabric, books, patterns, and even quilts that people who contribute will win!
If you contribute $10 to the cause, you are automatically entered to win this package of prizes. I’m so thankful to Stitch and Pendleton Woolen Mills for generously adding their contributions to make it really special!
One donor will win:
• a signed copy of Modern Log Cabin Quilting
• the new Winter issue of Stitch, with a nice feature on wool sewing, donated by Stitch, and
• a brand-new set of 8 wool fat quarters, and a baby quilt kit (which includes 2 FQs and 1 full yard of wool), donated by Pendleton Woolen Mills.
If a friend or a blog reader wins I’ll add an extra prize, too!
This blog entry from Pendleton shares more about what makes this winter issue of Stitch so special – I’m so proud to have my feature article on the history of wool in America included alongside some amazing sewing projects, including Michelle‘s midcentury-inspired quilt and Daniela‘s Northwest Modern laptop case!
I’m very excited to review Elizabeth Hartman‘s gorgeous new book Modern Patchwork today, and we’re so looking forward to Elizabeth sharing some of her quilts in a special presentation at tomorrow night’s PMQG meeting!
Modern Patchwork includes a dozen new quilt designs to take you beyond the basics – territory beautifully covered in her first book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork. Along with full, detailed instructions for creating each quilt, she shares many extra tips and ideas in the back of the book (more on that in a minute).
I wanted to spotlight two of my favorite quilts from the collection. Looptastic is a stylish and striking design of concentric circles, created through a surprisingly simple, straightforward sew-and-turn applique method. I love the aqua and citrus colors Elizabeth used in this quilt – inviting and full of life.
But if you have another vision in mind, she offers a lovely alternative: two other totally different color and style options, each created as a mini one-block quilt. Each quilt in the book gets this wonderfully open-ended treatment!
I also love Xylophone, a lively, colorful, angular design that sweeps across a neutral background. It reminds me of her Chopped Vegetables pillow patterns, another instant favorite.
And of course she has some interesting alternate takes on this one to share as well!
After the quilt patterns, Elizabeth offers a thorough guide to constructing a quilt, from choosing fabrics and piecing to quilting and binding. Along the way she shares tips for making a design wall,
keeping your work organized,
and some of her signature patterns for free-motion machine quilting. (If you’re interested in free-motion, I highly recommend her class at Modern Domestic, or if you’re not local, checking out her posts on the topic over at her blog).
We are so thrilled that Elizabeth will present at tomorrow evening’s PMQG meeting (7 pm in room S1 in the Stagecraft Building, across the street from the main PNCA building). She’ll be giving away copies of the book*, fabric, and templates** to lucky winners, so make sure to put your name in the bucket. And check out her blog, Oh Fransson, for a July 1 announcement of a new Modern Patchwork quilt-along!
*Thank you to Stash for sending a review copy of the book, plus the ones to give away at our meeting!
**Speaking of templates, our own Jill Collins of PMQG offers templates from many of the Modern Patchwork quilts (including Looptastic, Honey, Fire Drill, Happy Hour and Owl Eyes) in her Tabslot Etsy shop!
I’m so happy to be part of Katie and Jacquie‘s blog party weekend of posts celebrating their stellar new book, Quilting Modern! Katie is president of the SMQG and Jacquie is past president of the KCMQG, a current member of the CMQG, and on the national board too. These two know their modern improvisational quilting, and they generously share so many beautiful ideas, packed into one gorgeous book!
I love improvisational patchwork (and was very lucky to take Denyse Schmidt’s classes at PNCA), and Katie and Jacquie’s thoughtful designs, techniques, tips, and details are wonderfully illuminating. They cover many facets of modern quilting, like improvisationally piecing curves, creating sharp, perfect triangle designs, and one of my favorites, the log cabin makeover – they offer seven core techniques in all, each with three projects to sew. The table of contents gives a nice peek at the diversity of approaches and techniques (and I love the names they chose for their quilts!).
I’m sure many of the other bloggers will cover the 16 beautiful quilt designs in the book – but for my review I wanted to spotlight the striking smaller projects Katie and Jacquie designed for the home. With two little ones and not much free sewing time lately, a beautiful pillow or table runner is more my realistic speed, and these projects are also very scrap- and stash-friendly… a nice bonus! When I first got my copy and read right through it, I was immediately drawn to the Winging It Pillow, which builds a simple, stunning design around a focus-fabric scrap. The mix of erratic-height vertical piecing, bright, strong colors, and ultra-streamlined background is so appealing. This one is at the top of my to-sew list (and I love Katie’s invisible zipper technique, which is also included in the book).
The Southwestern Pillows are similarly striking. I especially love the Tumbleweed (the center asterisk-like design) – it’s such a fresh take on my favorite design style, mid-century modern. I’m picturing how fantastic a quilt made up of all Tumbleweed blocks could be… hmm, maybe when Pearl starts kindergarten…
My favorite of the three is the Sardinia Table Runner, a calm, serene, and gorgeous design with neatly curved “pods” (that Jacquie’s husband thought looked like sardines, so that’s where the name came from). This is another one I could see as a larger quilt. Angela Walters did a great deal of the quilting in the book, but Katie and Jacquie quilted these three projects. I loved the simplicity of these neatly alternating-angle diagonal lines over the curves and solids – a beautiful texture.
I will bring a copy of Quilting Modern for everyone to check out at our PMQG All-Day Sew tomorrow afternoon (at Fabric Depot from 9-9, though the book and I won’t be there til around 1:30), and I’m so thrilled that we’ll also be giving a copy away at the June 21 PMQG meeting. Thank you to Katie and Jacquie for including me in their book party, and to Interweave for sending two copies of the book for me to review and offer up at PMQG!
Be sure to visit the other bloggers reviewing (and giving away!) the book, too at the Quilting Modern blog celebration weekend:
A Stitch in Dye – Malka Dubrawsky
Fat Quarterly blog – Tacha Bruecher
Film in the Fridge – Ashley Newcomb
Generation Q – Jake Finch
Handmade by Alissa – Alissa Haight Carlton
Happy Zombie – Monica Solorio-Snow
iheartlinen – Rashida Coleman-Hale
Oh Fransson – Elizabeth Hartman
One Shabby Chick – Amber Carrillo
Pink Chalk Studio – Kathy Mack
Quilting is my Therapy – Angela Waters
Red Pepper Quilts – Rita Hodge
Sew Take a Hike – Penny Layman
West Coast Crafty – Susan Beal
Whip Up – Kathreen Ricketson
Wise Craft – Blair Stocker