New Pattern + Tutorial: Turning Points

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a …fabric triangle???

Well, sort of! It’s a flying goose that also happens to be a prairie point!

Yes, I’ve been playing with prairie points again, this time in a pillow/mug rug/pincushion pattern!

HDS.031 - TurningPoints - Cover - 300dpi

If you stopped by the Hoffman Fabrics* booth during Spring Quilt Market, you might have seen a few pillows that my wonderful Stunt Sewists helped make out of Hoffman’s  latest yummy hand-dyed batiks, the Indah solids and prints from the ME+YOU line of fabrics:

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Here’s the whole line – it’ll be in stores in August. If you have never handled a Hoffman batik you need to go touch these… they are made on a beautiful high-thread-count stock, and don’t shred like a lot of other solids. And this is just the beginning… more coming later in the year!

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Lucky us, the Stunt Sewists and I got to play with them in a hurry for Quilt Market samples. I had worked out the prairie point fish for Fin and Dandy, and had the idea to make a circle of geese from prairie points too. So Cath of Wombat Quilts, Brittany, Wendy and Monica came to help, and we cranked out a bunch of pillows that showed off the new fabrics. Brittany spent an entire evening ironing dozens of prairie points!

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Once market was over, the kind folks at Hoffman called and asked where the pattern was… um… it was still in my head! So I went back to the drawing board, and added the mug-rug and pincushion sizes to the pattern to make it more fun (that pincushion is seriously CUTE!) and promptly sent it off to the testers. I <3 my test crew!**

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It’s ready to go now, and due back from the printer by Friday, so you can order the hard copy here, or grab a PDF right now from here.

Like most of my paper-pieced patterns, this one has easy pre-cutting instructions for the backgrounds to save you time and fabric, along with a bunch of drawings to help you through a nifty way of aligning the points without using too many pins. I also shot a photo tutorial for those of you who find pictures more helpful than mere words!

AND – before you leave… yes… a giveaway! I’ll give away a jar of mini-charms from Hoffman, plus a hard copy of the pattern to a randomly drawn winner drawn on Saturday, June 27th. Hmmm… let’s have you tell me about what you might make out of these mini-charms, should they come to your house!

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* I have a great professional relationship with Hoffman Fabrics!

** This pattern was tested by Janet, Lisa, Melissa, Kimberly, Paula, Kim, Monica, and Adva.

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Sew Together Bag – Elastic Modifications

Back in February, I wrote about having a bit of an obsession for making Sew Together bags. I was working through a list of friends to gift them to, but had not yet settled on the one that would become mine.

Well, last week, I finally finished the one I had been working on just for me!

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I used an embroidery pattern by Shiny Happy World, and made a row of cute robots for each side of the bag:

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For those who like to keep score on crazy, this is my 18th one :-)

One thing about making so many of them is that I had time to ponder exactly how I wanted mine to function. So I decided to add a couple of modifications, using some pretty fold-over elastic, like this one from Babyville.

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These get sewn in between steps 3 and 4 of the original Sew Together Bag pattern, after you make the markings for step 4, but before you sew those marks. No I’m not sharing the pattern because you should buy your own copy!

On the far outer side of one pocket, I positioned the elastic about a 1/4” up from the markings for step 4, and sewed horizontally down the center line of the fold-over elastic. I then played with some groupings of Clover Wonder Clips to map out where I could sew a few vertical lines for stability. Yes, I have a lot of ORANGE clips because kind friends have traded me for their favorite colors!

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On the far opposite side, I ran the elastic along the middle of the pocket horizontally, and sewed it vertically at intervals intended to hold small threads and tubes of Tulip Needles (love these needles!)

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Both of these modifications have allowed me to keep more pockets free for other things, and it made the clips easier to grasp, as opposed to digging them out of a pocket.

And a last tip, designed by my friend Monica… always designate one pocket for all the metal items you carry, and color code the zipper to help you remember. In her bags, metal things go in the gray pocket. I have enjoyed making all the zippers different to help with sorting, but gray=metal is genius!

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New Pattern – Chain, Chain, Chain + Aurifil

UPDATED 06.03.15 11am: Hoffman Fabrics has added a bundle to the giveaway!

This is fifth and last of the spring Quilt Market releases – Chain, Chain, Chain (go on, sing it with me, that’s right!)

HDS.028 - ChainChainChain - Cover - 300dpi

I designed this quilt in partnership with Aurifil Threads and Hoffman Fabrics*. I used Hoffman’s Bali Watercolors (the “solids” in the batik family) and paired them with cheery bright colors from Aurifil. Grab your hard copy pattern here or a PDF here.

The pattern includes some stuff I’m pretty proud of, too. When it came to giving you a chart for working out colors, one of my Stunt Sewists suggested I work it like a cross-stitch pattern using symbols – brilliant idea! So you have coloring sheets and swatch cards to work with while choosing your fabrics.

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Here’s what mine looked like while I was working:

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As I know I’ve stated before, I don’t consider myself sophisticated when it comes to doing machine quilting, but armed with the most recent books from Angela Walters and Christina Cameli, I was inspired to try some new things. I’m pretty thrilled with the result!

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Aurifil gave me a box of my lovely threads to give away! Please leave a comment below to win, and tell me what your favorite color is (and it’s OK if it’s not ORANGE – all the more for me!) I’ll choose a random winner on June 6th, and I’ll throw in a pattern of Chain, Chain, Chain too! (US residents only, sorry international peeps!)

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This pattern was tested by my groovy Stunt Sewists Janet, Kimberly, Monica, and Brittany.

* I have great professional relationships with Hoffman and Aurifil!

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New Pattern – Fin and Dandy

This is the fourth pattern for this season, Fin and Dandy – with kudos to Megan, The Bitchy Stitcher, for her help with finding the perfect name for it!

HDS.029 - BigFinAndDandy - Cover - 300dpiTwo quilt sizes are included – a twin at 60” x 80” and a baby quilt at 36” x 48” – and of course, you can customize to fit. Grab a hard copy here or a PDF here.

I designed a more complicated version of this block almost 20 years ago in a paper-pieced layout for a guild’s block-of-the-month challenge. When it surfaced out of my archives recently, I decided to dust it off and make it easy to do without paper. I had a LOT of fun playing with prairie points as fins. It can be made from yardage, or a package of 10” squares plus background.

Several Stunt Sewists dipped their toes into the water on this one (thank you, ladies!): Terry, Janet, Adva, Caz – and Monica and Brittany, who bravely joined me in the pre-market insanity of cranking one out quickly for Hoffman Fabrics*. We used some of the newest tone-on-tone batiks, and their newest hand-dyed Indah line (Indah means “beauty” in Bali) – they’ll be out in August, and trust me, you want some!

Chains 4 - Bright texture on warm grayWho says batiks can’t be modern? Not me!!

* I have a great professional relationship with Hoffman!

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Market is coming… again! And cool news from Aurifil!

Spring Quilt Market is coming up, starting May 14th in Minneapolis this year. Like other people in the industry, I’m beginning to dig into the final stretch of work that needs to be done. I’m again doing some fast sewing for Hoffman Fabrics, with the help of some dear friends who are offering up Stunt Sewing services. Keep an eye on @huntersds on Instagram for images as we crank out a bunch of quilts this week! It’s all good and exciting stuff – new patterns made from new fabrics – and it’s been a real bummer to not be able to share most of it with you during the development.

But I will be able to share SOON. Really SOON. Once I’m allowed to blab I’ll be blabbing and sharing pix, and offering up some free stuff, so watch this space!

One thing I CAN blab about is this…

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Yes, that’s my smiling face on the box! I was approached last year by the ever charming Alex Veronelli of Aurifil to pair a collection of thread to Hoffman’s batiks. This is the result! And I’ll be releasing the quilt pattern that goes with it for market, so you’ll see it here shortly.

I chose bright, summery colors of batiks, and matched them up with bold, bright colors from Aurifil.

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Yes, there is ORANGE! But also red, yellow, blues, purple, greens, teal, and a medium gray for everyday piecing. They are all 50wt, my favorite, and not just because it’s on an ORANGE spool! I love the finer weights for both quilting and piecing.

I’ll have one to give away soon!

In the meantime… back to the sewing machine!

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The Joy of a Slow Project

I’m capable of working quite quickly, fast enough that my friends invented a hashtag for it, #sewingatthespeedofsam. Yes, I get through a lot of projects – remember, I design and sew for a living! – but over the years, I’ve had several slow projects, lasting more than a year, and I find great delight in them. There’s something about NOT being on a deadline that is so relaxing.

My most recent “slow” finish was a huge bed quilt, just for me. I started collecting the fabric a couple of years ago, and then spent a retreat weekend cutting up the strips I needed. It took me the better part of a year to put it together, just sewing a bit at a time over retreats and social sewing days to finish the quilt top.

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The quilt is comprised of 36 big log cabin blocks. I had a loose rule for them, making rounds of 2 different sizes of strips for a little randomness, but a rule that made sure they would all hit the same size at the end. Most of the centers have to do with writing, and if not writing, they are personal to me in some way, representing my hobbies, heritage, passions, and travels. The quilt is a celebration of birthing my book, Quilt Talk, and I thought that getting that book finished and launched was something to commemorate with a significant project, not to mention something I will continue to be proud of for years to come.

The blocks are 17” across, and the postage stamp sashing is 1” wide (and yes, there’s a lot of sashing, about 45 yards of it!) so it came in at 110” square – big enough to hit three sides of floor and hide all the things stashed under my raised bed.

I sent the quilt to Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting here in Portland, and she searched for the right text driven design to quilt over it. Nancy is a wonder… not only does she bring her considerable talent to her work, but she spends time getting to know you as an artist before she begins her design process. She knew what I liked before I even talked about it with her (not too dense, and no feathers!). And the design was beyond perfect, full of letters and numbers in different fonts – so right for the quilt, and so very ME at heart:

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I finished the quilt right at the end of 2014, and have been sleeping under it since. It sleeps and drapes beautifully, and I utterly adore it.

Later this week I’ll show you blocks for my next slow project… do you have one on the go?

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Sara Lawson’s Fantasia

My friend Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness put a call out a couple of weeks ago for people to sew with her new fabric line, Fantasia, by Art Gallery Fabrics, so I raised my hand to help out.

I worked with some Art Gallery fabrics while writing Quilt Talk, and they’re not kidding when they say “feel the difference.” The hand of the fabric is smooth and silky, and it makes minimal shreds while you work with it. Lovely stuff!

Fantasia is a light-hearted and whimsical line, with a healthy dose of PINK running through it, so as you can imagine, this was out of my comfort zone! The prints are well integrated both thematically and in terms of variety of pattern texture. There are several good blenders, with a couple that could become great “low volume” staples too. There are two colorways: the PINK/GRAY based Ambrosial, and the TEAL/ORANGE based Crepuscular (what a fun word that is – worth looking up!)

The feature/focus prints are based on Unicorns…

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with supporting designs of flowers, mushrooms, and unicorn-shoes!

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Sara sent fat quarters of both colorways, so I decided to mix them in a fast and easy precut pattern that’s been on the design wall… I’ll be releasing it in May with a few others, so no full pix until then! I used Christina Cameli’s latest book for quilting inspiration – more about that tomorrow!

The fabric should be shipping this month, so ask for it at your local quilt store.

Thank you, Sara, for the chance to play with Fantasia!

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QUILT TALK Blog Hop Day 2 – BROWN – with Carrie Bloomston

Day 2 is here and the color is BROWN!

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I was worried about handing BROWN to a friend as the color of their hop, but then I remembered that the fabulously talented Carrie Bloomston of SUCH Designs is helping out, and I knew all would be well.

In addition to designing patterns and fabrics, and authoring her new book, The Little Spark – 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, Carrie is also an abstract painter – so who better than a painter to tell us how to appreciate BROWN? I remember the magic of combining all sorts of colors to make myriad brown tones in my first painting class – it really was a wonder. Learning how to manipulate color is one of the keys to the kingdom of art!

When I was working on the patterns for Quilt Talk, I began to play with some words for those of us who follow paths that are not always so popular. What emerged was “She just ignored the people who said it couldn’t be done.” As I’ve changed my life from full time IT management geek to full time creative geek, I’ve had a lot of encouragement, but a lot of pushback too. I had to ignore the people who said that I couldn’t or shouldn’t make a radical life change, realizing that often when people tell you that YOU can’t, what they are really saying is that THEY can’t.

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As the words crystallized, I knew I had to fnd some special fabrics for them. I reached out to Carrie to use her very first fabric line, Collage, and she and Windham Fabrics squeaked out the needed yardage from the precious pre-release stash. (And this quilt will work with other border prints, too.)

Why this fabric? Well, when I first met Carrie we started gabbing, and soon found out that we both had graduated from art programs that, while they taught us a lot about art, pickled our brains a bit. Carrie put it best when she said it took a while to get back to being the artist she was before school. I’ve felt the same way… after so much critique (helpful and otherwise) my head was in a swirl. Making this quilt for us both was a way to celebrate our return to what we know is right for our own artistic careers. And I know she would join me in telling you to follow your own path, and just ignore the people who would tell you it can’t be done!

Please head over to Carrie’s blog to comment for a chance to win a Quilt Talk book, and to download the BROWN bucket pattern.

Check out Carrie’s new book too – it releases this month! I can’t wait to play with it!

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Here’s a reminder of the tour and COLOR bucket schedule:

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Batik winners!

From 68 entries (I had to delete a couple of duplicate writes for fairness), Random.Org chose 58 and 42

58: sewsurprising – First pack

42: Emily C – Scrap pack + ORANGE

Look for an email from me, requesting your address!

And watch this space… working on another modern batik pattern… more fabric to share!

Square Pegs for Hoffman – plus a fabric giveaway!

If you didn’t already know, I frequently sew for Hoffman Fabrics: they send me pix of their new stuff; I choose a couple of colorways and offer pattern choices; we shake hands on an idea; they send fabric; and I start sewing.*

New collections are ready to debut, so they reached out for a quilt. This time, we chose one of my newest patterns, Square Pegs:

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While the cover quilt leans more “modern” with its clean colors, I’ve been interested in seeing it rendered in batik. There’s been much discussion of late in as to whether batiks can play well in the modern quilt arena (I contributed to an article in the latest Gen Q mag about it). My answer to the question is YES, of course batiks can be “modern.” I think how you categorize a quilt is as just as much a function of the pattern design as it is the fabric choice, and as long as you play by good fabric choice rules (mind your values… watch out for too much medium tone mush), batiks are a fabulous choice.

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Batiks are also a fit for our current hand-made vibe – they are still hand printed, even at the volumes the quilt world consumes. And if you need more eco-assurance, Hoffman has some lovely environmentally careful practices around the water used to make their pretty fabrics.

Anyway, back to that quilt. Like last time, I posted Instagram pix (@huntersds) in real time, and shot them out to the HDS FB page (please go like it! thank you!), answering questions along the way. And feel free to ask more questions over there or in the comments below.

So – fabric choices! The pattern needs 12 quarters (fat or long, or a mixture) and a chunk of background. As you know, I usually lean ORANGE, but this time I was intrigued by the elegance of these cooler colors:

Hoffman for Sq Pegs

They are much prettier than they look in the long shots on Instagram! The background is not pure white, it’s a subtle, very light, mottled blue-gray – it’s part of the Watercolor series (Snow 1895-307) which are the solid-reading batiks. The light gray at top right became the binding. And look at the bold graphic designs in the prints!

For the curious, it took approximately 22 hours over the course of 3 days. Yes, I’m pretty speedy (#sewingatthespeedofsam was coined by my friend, Z-Girl) BUT – truly, this is a speedy quilt to make. It’s all straight seams and easy construction, with lots of negative space for you to quilt-doodle through. Yes, I sew fast, but the pattern choice didn’t hurt!

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For an even faster finish, you could skip the pieced border if you like, or sew these parts together as “leaders and enders” as suggested by one of my Stunt Peeps** if you sew that way. I also copied the quilting I had done on the earlier one, which meant I didn’t spend design time testing different quilting ideas. It’s easy straight lines following the lines of the blocks, and simple stippling in alternating spaces for extra texture.

On the first day I made the blocks and the border; on the second I set it into a quilt top, made the back (ran errands, had the car break down, got towed), and basted it; and on the third, I quilted and bound it (catching up on Mad Men) – and in a rare moment of having it all together, got the sleeve and label into the binding process rather than putting them on, cussing, as an afterthought! If making it for a client, I would bid 28 hours of time to allow for more unique designing if needed, and possibly surprise them with a discount if I beat my time.

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And so to giving away fabric! I have 2 bundles…

Bundle 1: A Square Pegs pattern plus 14 almost Fat Quarters – I cut a couple of the fabrics wrong, so they’re a tad short (wasn’t wearing my glasses… sigh) so you get the 12 you need for the pattern and a couple extra because I’m a goof (and the pattern doesn’t use the entire FQ so you’ll have plenty if you want to use them for this).

Bundle 1

Bundle 2: A Square Pegs pattern plus all my big scraps – most of which are 1/4 yard or more. You’ll have enough to do the non-background parts of the top, but might need to be creative with how you cut. And I might put in some ORANGE just because.

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Comment below to win – and tell me what you think of batiks as potential modern fabrics. And yes, you’re welcome to disagree with me – I love the discussion! I’ll choose winners on Friday. And yes, this is open to international folks too.

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* I disclose my arrangement with Hoffman Fabrics out of a desire to be transparent in the name of my commitment to the We Are $ew Worth It movement. That said, I love working with Hoffman, and like and respect their people – and wouldn’t play with them if I didn’t! I only do what works for me with people I like :-)

**Square Pegs was test driven by Stunt Sewist Peeps Karyn, Jennifer, Karen and Julie!