Road Trip Reads: “This Long Thread” by Jen Hewett

I heard about This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community, and Connection late last year and have been looking for it at quilt shops ever since we hit the road, but it wasn’t until I got the opportunity to visit Gather Here in Cambridge, Mass. that I finally found it. (They also have Jen’s Print, Pattern, Sew book!)

This Long Thread is the compilation of survey responses and essays from women of color about a variety of topics–some I can totally relate to and others that are a brand new perspective for me. The book is broken down into sections relating to the politics and history of crafting, the business and teaching side of it, the personal why of crafting and more. Each provides insight by women of a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and professions.

The way the book is divided up makes it a great road trip read since chapters aren’t long and are self-contained (though they flow from one to another beautifully).

If you’re interested in hearing more from Jen Hewett directly, both about this book and her other pursuits (including a new collection with Ruby Star Society!), check out these podcasts:

The Lisa Congdon Sessions
On Taking Small Actions and Exercising Boundaries with Jen Hewett

Seamwork Radio
This Long Thread with Jen Hewett

Beyond the Studio – A Podcast for Artists
Jen Hewett talks Pivoting Your Business, Staying Small and Sustainable, and Setting Boundaries

Check it out and give her book a read, even if, like me, you don’t find yourself in the target audience. There’s a lot to learn from listening to others’ perspectives and this book is just one of many ways to expand your understanding of the world of craft and how it affects all of us.

Happy reading,

Sew Together Tuesday: How to use Cuddle® Minky to Self-Bind a Cotton Quilt

This week I’m talking all about using Cuddle® on your cotton quilt, in particular about how to wrap the backing around and make an easy binding with Cuddle®. I’ll be live at 10am PDT/1pm EDT on Tuesday, June 14.

To help you out, I’ve made this PDF for reference to know how to make a mitered corner with Cuddle® and how to figure out the sizes to cut both the batting and backing.

Download the PDF: How to Make a Self-Bound Quilt

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Sew Together Tuesday: Ask Us Anything

When Hawke and I show up in shops, we often get asked the same questions each time, so we thought it would be fun to answer them for everyone and not just those that can get to our workshops. We had a handful of questions that had been sent in and then took live questions from folks. We had a ball and hopefully you’ll enjoy this look into our crazy lives.

We’ll be back next week at Bobbin & Bolt in Richmond, Virginia (join us in-person!) and talking all about embroidery with Cuddle®. Join us LIVE every week on YouTube or Facebook.

Happy sewing!

Quilts & the Museum of Appalachia

There are places I never knew existed, places in America that I didn’t have the slightest understanding about. One of those is the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. We visited the museum and spent hours wandering the grounds, exploring the varied log cabins that are open to the public and admiring all the beautiful, handmade, and well-loved quilts.

Tied four-patch with sashing at Museum of Appalachia
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Self Binding the Glam Clam Quilt

Several years ago, I got a stack of fat quarters from the then-newly-released Grafic collection by Latifah Saafir. Immediately I decided I was going to finally put that Clammy ruler to use and make myself a clamshell quilt. First I made a few patchwork squares, then cut those and the rest of the 10” square pack into clamshells.Then I stacked them neatly and put them on a shelf…where they would live for the next five years.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who planned to do a Glam Clam quilt and never actually finished it because in 2021, Latifah started a Glam Clam Finish Along. Brilliant! Lots of folks signed up to cheer each other on and it was just the push I needed to start putting it together.

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Old Dog, New Tricks

For years, I’ve played at the edge of hand-stitching without ever fully indulging in it. As a teenager I loved cross-stitch and made plenty of Christmas gifts for years using a variety of patterns. The first quilt I made was from a pattern using cross-stitch to make the focal clowns.

But then I sort of let the hobby go. I made a few store samples when Alison Glass’ Appliqué: The Essential Guide to Modern Appliqué (Lucky Spool, 2014) came out. I fawned over the Alabama Chanin patterns and books online. I bought, and actually stitched, a couple of kits from the Brooklyn Craft Company. I’ve been hand quilting my great-grandmother’s quilt for nearly a decade. I brought along embroidery hoops and the few floss colors I had with me in the RV. I signed up for Badass Cross Stitch’s Year Of Stitch on Patreon, then never visited the site again.

I’ve dabbled in hand stitching and needlework for decades.

My great-grandmother Emmie Mae Massingill pieced this quilt top by hand; I’m (ever-so-slowly) quilting it by hand.
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Sew Together Tuesday: Apparel Sewing with Cuddle®

I earned a lot of my sewing chops by sewing garments, so when we got a request to do a Sew Together Tuesday about using Cuddle® for clothing, I was down for it, but I knew I’d want some help. I reached out to Bianca at Thanks, I Made Them and Ajaire from Call Ajaire to see if they’d join me to talk all about the patterns, fabrics and sewing techniques they’ve used. They both agreed and yesterday we had the joy of sitting down for an hour-long chit chat for Sew Together Tuesday.

It was great to talk about all the garments that can be made with the fabric thanks to the wide variety of looks, textures, and stretch. We showed a bunch more projects in the video, but here are a few of my favorites:

Lined Open Front Coat (Butterick 6382) made by me and modeled by my daughter
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Making a Coat Out of a Quilt

Back in November, before the recent hubbub about quilt clothes needing to die, I cut up my quilt to make a coat. And I kinda really love it. I’d had the quilt for a while, tucked in the closet with no real purpose (it’s not like I had a guest bedroom or cute display cabinet), so when we were starting to pack up the house to move out, I decided I would finally get to making a jacket out of it. That way I could take it with me as something I’d actually use on-the-road versus something I’d just store for later storage.

To me, that’s the crux of any of the argument about saving quilts from being re-purposed as clothing. If you’re going to use it and love it, heck even if you just like it, re-purposing sounds like a great idea. There are so very many quilts out there; we don’t need to save them all. Anyway…

The quilt was a throw size and almost worked perfectly. If I were to do it again, I would probably trace the pieces on first to make sure I had enough room (I had to piece a sleeve), but for taking about two minutes to make the decision and start cutting it turned out okay.

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Sew Together Tuesday: Rustic Horseshoe Sewing Patterns

During our stop in Mesa, we’d gotten word that the STT RV was fixed and ready to go, so the morning after the show we headed back, yet again, to Las Vegas to pick it up. We did the rodeo between rental RV and the STT RV, took care of some business (like all the Zoom meetings I could fit in one day) and headed south again for our show with Rena Dearden of Rustic Horseshoe in Cornville, Arizona. (An aside: that area of Arizona is one of my most very favorite places in the whole U.S. You can read about some of our adventures over on our Makers at Large blog.)

I made the Rustic Horseshoe Nutty Nag stuffed animal in 2020 for a Sew Together Tuesday and thought it would be super fun to come out, see her and talk about the process of making patterns for stuffed animals (seriously, what an interesting career!).

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