Show Up -a quilt designed by Lisa Congdon & Hunter’s Design Studio

Quilted, but not yet bound.

Lisa Congdon has been an artist I’ve followed casually for a long time. She first came to my attention back in 2013 when she designed fabric for Cloud9 Fabrics. Around the same time she moved to Portland and she had my attention. Then last year, Sam of Hunter’s Design Studio worked with her to create a quilt pattern from one of her designs. I was sold.

The Show Up Quilt pattern has various sizes available and I chose to do the wall-hanging size. The entire quilt is paper-pieced, which at first seems weird because it’s just a bunch of triangles. But Sam kept the whimsical, imperfect feel of Lisa’s art by making each triangle different. I love the hand-drawn feel of the quilt, rather than striving for perfection of points and smooth text.

I used Kona Cotton solids for all of it, including the orange backing. I used Quilters Dream Fusible 80/20 for the batting.

Brewery Art Walk in Los Angeles, April 2019

Sewing Cuddle Strip Quilts

I’m often on the road teaching quilters and sewists how to sew with minky/Cuddle fabrics, and this summer I was able to film some videos with Fat Quarter Shop. In this video I share a bunch of tips and tricks for making the most popular kind of Cuddle project: the strip quilt. Shannon Fabrics offers a wide variety of quilt kits, from 27″ squares to 58″ x 72″ throws, but regardless, they are all constructed in the same method. If you’ve been wanting to make one, but weren’t sure how, this video is for you:

Still have questions? Go ahead and ask!

Larry the Lion — sewing plush stuffed animals

You’ve probably seen Funky Friends Factory patterns in a quilt shop somewhere along the way. They are popular among sewists, but usually whenever I’ve asked someone about their experience with the pattern, they admit that they’ve been too scared to try! Like so many fabrics and quilt patterns, these stuffed animal patterns often live in our stash but never get put to use. That’s just silly–give it a try! Continue reading “Larry the Lion — sewing plush stuffed animals”

Filming for The Quilt Show

One thing I never expected to happen in my life:

  • film an episode of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

But that’s exactly what I did on Saturday afternoon.

The craziness began at Quilt Market in the spring when Alex came by the Shannon Fabrics booth, excited to share the Wyatt Wolf quilt with her audience. I’d made it with a bunch of Luxe Cuddle, Cuddle Suede and Kona Cotton –which is kinda crazy in and of itself– and used a paper piecing pattern from Violet Craft to do it.  She invited me to come on the show and I did.

We talked about the Wolf Abstractions quilt, as well as the Ascension quilt I’d made with Hawke, a denim quilt I’ve been working on as a commission and the Freewheelin’ Single Girl quilt I made for myself.  All include fabrics/materials that are atypical in quilting: plush fabrics, denim, knits, used clothing, silver lame and more.

I have watched a dozen or so episodes of the show and have always enjoyed it, but I wasn’t expecting the level of production or kindness that I got.  Ricky is incredibly talented and his quilts left my mouth gaping. Alex is a pro at making people comfortable. Everyone behind the scenes was happy to answer questions, fetch waters, help carry samples and be there when I needed them.

The best part, though, was that my daughter was able to join me and play personal assistant/cheerleader. It made the entire weekend so much better to have her there, supporting my work and calming my nerves.

The show will air sometime later this year or early 2019.

Join me at Quilt Festival!

I'll be teaching at Houston Quilt FestivalI’m super excited that I will be staying in Houston after Quilt Market this November to teach at Quilt Festival!

Friday

Friday Sampler 10am to noon

Take the Fear out of Sewing Plush Fabrics 6pm to 9pm

Saturday

Quick & Easy Cuddle Quilts 8am to 5pm

Sunday

Sew a Luxe Stuffed Animal 9am to noon {SOLD OUT}

I’ll be making up kits and more tip sheets, prepping for all the classes PLUS I’ll be in the Custom Creations booth with Cindy, the Fat Quarter Queen.

I hope I’ll see you there!

Alex Anderson and I doing tutorials– whoda thunk?

I met Alex Anderson last fall at Quilt Market, years after I started following her in the quilt industry.  I look up to her immensely as she has much the same passion that I do about sewing and quilting. We both really just want everyone to find their happy place here! A lot of that passion involves teaching the basics and I’ve often admired her Alex’s ability to seem so approachable and excited in her public presentation.  The truth is, she is actually one of the nicest people I’ve met.  She knows her stuff, too.

As the head educator for Shannon Fabrics, she invited me up to her home in northern California to do some videos and I jumped at the chance.  It was a mix of fear, excitement, admiration, and joy to be honest.  But I’m so glad I did it.  We got to share some great information and I got to get over my awkwardness (or at least a bit) by the time we filmed the last video.

If you are interested in sewing with Cuddle fabrics, I think we’ve included some helpful info. Give ’em a watch and let me know what else you are curious to know.

You can see more tutorials and interview on The Quilt Show YouTube channel.

xo,

Studio Spring Clean

For decades I’ve sewn in a corner of my bedroom, in the basement, in the kitchen and in the living room. But last year I inherited the big studio in our loft when Luke moved to Kansas City.

I had moved down to Los Angeles in 2016 with my sewing machine and a few boxes of fabrics and tools. Since then I’ve used a mish-mash of tables and storage found in the hall, left by Luke, or bought at IKEA. It’s been less than ideal.

Here’s proof:

I am a crafter, sewist, and quilter so I have a big variety of fabric–everything from cotton to leather, in everything from rolls to scraps. It makes finding a way to organize it even harder, in my opinion.

Another big issue is the table. It’s a great standing height but it has a weird curve in the one side and no storage underneath. I made do with it but I knew I needed something better. And I had just the partner to help me out…


We took a trip to the absolutely gigantic IKEA in Burbank and picked up two each of two different size Kallax shelves (the 2×2 and the 2×4). Then to Home Depot for a couple sheets of plywood, one with a melamine top, five table legs, aluminum for the sides and bolts to hold it together.

{This is when I feel especially grateful: I have a space that’s larger than anything I could’ve hoped for; I have a guy who cares about me enough that he’s willing to drive all over Los Angeles for me to buy stuff then haul it back in his truck and help me build the damn thing. Life is good.}

While Hawke ran some work errands, I broke down the old table, moved everything to the side and built the bookcases in the middle of the room. Then he came over and cut the plywood sheets down to size. The bottom is the same size as the bookcases. The top is 1 1/2″ wider on three sides and 12″ longer on the fourth side.

The leftover from the plywood was the perfect size for a ironing board and I’d lost space for the standalone. I used Leah Day’s tutorial, using two layers of batting covered with canvas. In a weird coincidence, the fabric is actually from IKEA, as well, it’s just been sitting in my stash for about five years.


I started getting stuff put away ASAP but there’s been a bit of shuffling and as I use it I’m sure it will move around even more until everything finds its happy place.

My machines (Bernina 350PE and Pfaff 130 Industrial) live under the window. My serger (Brother) lives on the table for easy access, with plenty of room for cutting mats, ironing board and my new Sizzix die cutter.

My books and magazines and precuts make for a pleasant view when you enter my studio and are way easier to access in these shelves. I don’t love the power cord coming down from above but it totally works, so I can’t really complain.

I finally bought a spool holder for all my thread, which made me realize that I have more than 120 spools of thread, in addition to the dozen cones I have, as well. I might have a problem with collecting thread.

In lieu of buying fancy cupboards, I just hung up a white sheet to cover the piles of random denim, minky, knits and linen on the shelves. Visually it helps a lot to not see the mess. Or at least so much mess.

I’m not finished but it was such a dramatic improvement I couldn’t help but do a little happy cry. I think is going to help my productivity, my happiness, my concentration and creativity by adding the table and storage. I’ll check back in with you later, but I’m pretty optimistic about it.

Follow along with the rest of the Studio Spring Cleaning crew:

April 23 – Lori Crawley Kennedy – http://theinboxjaunt.com/

April 24 – Jennifer Thomas – http://curlicuecreations.blogspot.com

April 25 – Robin Koehler – http://nestlingsbyrobin.blogspot.com

April 26 – Andi Barney- https://www.andibarney.com/

April 27 – Misty Cole – http://www.mistycole.com/blog

April 28 – Carolina Moore- http://alwaysexpectmoore.com/

April 29 – Heather Pregger – https://heatherquilts.blogspot.com/

April 30 – Linda Bratten – https://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/

May 1 – Lisa Reber – https://www.dippydye.blogspot.com/

May 2 – Teresa Coates – http://www.crinkledreams.com

May 3 – Lisa Chin – http://www.lisachinartist.com/

May 4 – Jamie Fingal – http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/

May 5 – Sam Hunter – www.huntersdesignstudio.com

May 6 – Jessee Maloney – www.artschooldropout.net/blog

May 7 – Randa Parrish – http://www.sewartsyfartsy.com/

May 8 – Sarah Vedeler- https://meaningoflifedesigns.com/

May 9 – Jessica Darling – https://jessicakdarling.com/

May 10 – Melody Crust –http://www.melodycrust.com/

May 11 – Debby Brown – http://higheredhands.blogspot.com

May 12 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

And thanks for inviting me to participate, Cheryl. It was just the kick I needed!

Brewery Artwalk

April 7th was a big day for me.  For the last few months, Hawke and I had been working nearly every day on the Ascension Quilt, a collaborative art quilt based on his wall mural. We had a hard deadline for the Brewery Artwalk and neither of us were entirely confident it was going to be complete. I gave myself a pretty gnarly concussion in the studio in early March, but with some pretty intense work we managed to complete the entire quilt in time for it to be hung in Hawke’s loft and be ready for the droves of weekend visitors.

A lot of love went into this quilt, including Hawke’s favorite “woobie” jeans. He’d worn them to the point that my patching was doing no good, so he sacrificed them to the quilt gods and we used them for the top of the wings.

Hawke’s porch above the quilt was  a favorite for many visitors and it was fun to see their reaction when they realized there is an indoor porch!

The number of people who came through the loft was pretty overwhelming, but between the living room theater, the quilt space and the upstairs studio and  bedroom they had plenty of places to wander.  It was still weird to have so many strangers in there all weekend.

Hawke took his time to explain our methods and purpose to so many visitors and Aaron disarmed one visitor after another with his brash humor. I can’t thank them enough; it was really outside my wheelhouse to talk at length about my quiltmaking work and get such positive feedback.  So strange.

We had quite a few fellow Brewery Artist Lofts friends come by (thanks, Binns!) as well as our local security guy (below).

This was my first time participating in the Brewery Artwalk as an artist. It was wonderful. It was overwhelming. It was inspiring. It was exhausting. It was everything I could have hoped for.  An enormous thank you goes to Hawke, whose support I could not have done without.  The collaborative work was amazing and then there was Artwalk.  His love, encouragement, artistic skills, knowledge and handyman skills made it all work out and I can honestly say, this would have never happened on my own. Thank you, Hawke.

Waterproofing cotton with Glue Gel {product review}

Back at Fall Quilt Market in Houston, the folks from ODIF came by the Shannon Fabrics booth to show off a couple new products they have.  I happily promote their 505 Basting Spray in my classes (it really is the best/least stinky), so I was excited to see what else they had. My co-worker Ellen handed me a piece of cotton that was slick and lovely like oilcloth, but not as thick.  “It’s waterproofed cotton,” she told me and I nearly lost it.  Seriously? They’ve been trying to do this for a while and it’s rarely worked.

A couple decades ago someone came out with a product that you could iron on, a vinyl coating that was supposed to make cotton waterproof.  It worked for one use and then it started to crack and peel and just generally look like crap.  There have been a couple of sprays, but they still tend to wash out and not give a nice sheen to the fabric.

This on the other hand had me intrigued.

Fast forward a few months and a bottle of OdiCoat O’Fabric Waterproof Glue Gel showed up in the mail for me at work.  It’s a weird name, but I figured I’d give it a shot anyway.

I found some fabric I’d want to use for the inside of a new make-up zipper pouch (an old print from Thomas Knauer with Andover) and a flat brush that I had from some Christmas craft I never to around to making.

The gel is thick but easy to spread over the fabric.  I did it back and forth, then up and down to make sure the fabric was well-coated.  The instructions are to brush the gel over the fabric completely, then wait an hour. Re-coat it, wait an hour and then do it once more.

It is easy to see where you’ve covered thanks to the high-gloss.  Just get it all covered then leave it there. I put the fabric on a couple sheets of paper to keep it off my board.

After the third coat, just let it sit and dry for a full 24 hours (per the instructions). At this point it has a sort of gritty feeling to it.

Use a pressing sheet or parchment paper and iron it.  I used a warm iron (at the high end of the wool setting, just at the bottom end of the cotton setting) and ironed back and forth for a good 10 minutes.  It gave it a nice sheen and smoothed down the roughness. My sample isn’t quite as slick as the one I felt at Market, but I’m super satisfied.

 

I sprayed it with my water bottle and let it sit for a  minute or two to see if it would soak through, but instead it just pooled up.

And then I flipped it over to see if there were any spots the water had soaked through and NADA! Not a bit of the back was even damp.

According to the package, it’s now washable and the waterproofing won’t come off.  I have laundry to do this weekend, so I’m just gonna throw it in and see what happens. At this point, though, I’m really happy with the Waterproof Glue Gel and will totally use it.

Good to know:

  • A little goes a long way. I used only about 1/10 of the bottle to cover a full fat-quarter of fabric.
  • It doesn’t smell strongly and didn’t leave a lingering smell while it dried.
  • The water stayed where I wanted it to, on top of the fabric and not in it.
  • Don’t rush it; give it all the time requested to let it dry.
  • I’d recommend it and will totally use it again.

It’s available on Amazon and while ODIF did send me the stuff, they didn’t ask me to review it anywhere.  I’m just telling you about it because I like you.

 

Getting started on a denim quilt

Late spring last year, I was able to help Luke out with some piecing for a quilt he did for the Stagecoach music festival, piecing the denim/star part of the quilt background you can see in this cute pic from Instagram (I have no idea who @sophieschillaci is, but it’s her photo with some country music star). Anyway, while I was piecing that Greg, our mutual friend, saw it and decided he really loved the denim and wanted something similar, but not the same. He wanted the stars and the denim, but wanted to add a spiral and less structure.  I took him up on it and together we started brainstorming.

First stop was the local Goodwill, then St. Vincent’s and another thrift shop or two, buying the cheapest and largest jeans we could find. He washed and dried them all then brought them back to me to start chopping them up.

 

I cut them so that most of the seams were gone, but left a few intact.  I also purposely left some holes that I then patched and darned.

I’m piecing it together more boro-style than anything else I can name.  Just laying them on top of each other and topstitching close to the raw edge.  I’ll built it out, incorporating about a dozen of those stars. I plan to back it in flannel, then will quilt it with thick yellow thread and top it off with some hand-stitching.  It’s slow and tedious, but I’m learning along the way.  The rugged and raw nature of the denim is lovely. The precision of puzzle making is equally enticing and I love how the two aspects work together.

Denim quilt being pieced

My advice so far:

  • Buy more denim than you think you’ll need. I cut up 23 pairs of jeans.
  • Use a 90/14 universal needle.
  • Denim is heavy so work in sections.
  • Don’t expect to get it done quickly.

Expect more soon (but not too soon!)