Introducing: the Circling Geese Squished Square Pincushion Pattern

With a name like that I might just call it the CGSSPP from now on.

Circling Geese Pincushion Pattern

It’s actually the first of a series of patterns that will be coming out with paper-pieced (also called foundation-pieced) tops and the funky construction of two squares sewn together to create a 3-D form.

Last fall I made the first of these, taking the idea from a pillow I’d seen that had flying geese in a circle. I’m the kind of crafter who thinks: I can do that. And this time I really did!

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It was a good lesson in working with Adobe Illustrator (something I’ve been struggling to do for years now), tweaking the size of the triangles, then the actual squares until I got something I was really happy with.

I’m super stoked to finally get to offer the pattern and hope to do a little teaching with it to show just how simple paper-piecing can be. Seriously, it’s perfect for stuff like this that needs precision. And once you’ve got it figured out, it takes the stress out of getting perfect seam allowances. I don’t know about you, but that’s a stressor I can definitely do without.

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I took a ton of pictures and my co-worker helped put together a classy looking little pattern. Natalie of Beyond the Reef Patterns is selling the pattern at QuiltCon for me and hopefully I will get the paper pattern into more shops soon. But for now it’s available as a download from Craftsy.

Thanks so much for everyone who’s bought one so far and I can’t wait to see your variation!

 

I -heart- this city

Coming back to Portland last July was one of the easier decisions I have had to make. I had everything worked out so well. Or at least I thought I did.

It wasn’t the easiest return after all with the house, job, boyfriend, home-life, etc. all disappearing beneath me as I landed back in Portland.

Six months later, life is settling into place and I’m loving my job at Fabric Depot. I work with some of the nicest, most understanding people I’ve had the pleasure of spending eight hours a day with. My daughter and I are getting settled (ever so slowly) in our new apartment. My son is busy traveling the globe and I’m getting ready to kick off all sorts of fun plans for 2015-16.

I have to thank Portland for my happiness these days. We’re stuck in the middle of winter and yet there are days like today when I get the opportunity to join the ex-boyfriend/now best-friend in the sky and see this city I love so much from a whole other perspective.

Portland

I’m sort of awed when I see it like this, a city with so many memories, hopes, and friends. I’m so very, very happy to be home.

Making a coat for my son

I made my son Stuart a peacoat years ago, maybe five or six years at this point. Long enough ago that the coat is showing its wear and the fit leaves something to be desired after a couple growth spurts. It was time for a new one.

Enter the Vogue 8940, a Men’s Jacket and Pants pattern, deadstock wool I’d bought for dirt cheap over the summer and leftover Radiance from a bridesmaid dress I made in the fall…suddenly I was really close to having everything I needed. Add in a bunch of buttons, some shoulder pads, new black thread (my machine really loves Superior Threads’ OmniThread), fusible interfacing and muslin.

You end up with this lovely jacket, ready just in the knick of time for my son’s first trip overseas as an adult…20150108-125026-46226883.jpg20150108-125025-46225620.jpg

I’m ridiculously proud of him for taking flight and seeing the world. (It was a secret little hope of mine when I dragged them to Asia all those years ago!) And knowing that he’ll be a bit warmer and wrapped up in some maternal love makes it all the better.

Pattern Name:Vogue 8940
Time Required: 15+ hours
Rating:  Advanced
Would I Make It Again?: Yes
What I Changed: I added an interlining of muslin to give it a little extra warmth and made bound buttonholes because they are so much classier.
Overall thoughts: It’s a great pattern and went together beautifully. I used a walking foot for most of the construction and specifically for the topstitching. This helped immensely to get it to lay nicely without any puckering. I also had to fiddle with the ease in the shoulders a bit, but on the second try got the sleeve in beautifully. I wouldn’t try this pattern as your first foray into coat-making, but if you’re comfortable with the construction techniques, it’s totally do-able.

 

 

 

Coming up for air

Oh my. It’s been a whirlwind and a half these last few months and I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. So much has happened over the last few months (and so much is still coming down the pike) that it’s kind of crazy when I think about it.

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Me and the wonderful Ebony Love @ Market

I got hired at the sewists’ Mecca–Fabric Depot–and three days later went to Market in Houston where I was able to meet up with my ex-sister-in-law and her family after three years apart. I saw some of my favorite people in the industry. I also fell off the sidewalk and twisted my ankle so badly that three months later, it’s still swollen. Best of times, worst of times.

I found out we can’t stay in the house we’d plan to reside in for the next two years as they’ve decided to sell it. I totally understand the reasoning, but will fully admit that it caused quite the breakdown when I first was told. I had no real income source and was looking at having my car repossessed on top of losing the one place we had to call home. There was a hell of a lot of crying there for a bit. But we’ve finally found a place and are moving (again) this next weekend to a tiny little apartment in SE Portland.

I designed and made a quilt with my friend Kell’s wooden block pattern and you can find it in the next issue of Generation Q magazine. I also made a quilt for my best friend, sewed my first Mariner’s Compass block and got around to making up the Noodlehead 241 Tote pattern that I bought way too long ago.

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Patterns coming soon

I’m working on patterns to sell, starting with pincushions and moving to clothes. Plus I bit the bullet and finally submitted a book proposal. We’ll see what becomes of it, but at this point I’m just proud of getting the idea out of my head (and secretly hoping so hard it works out!).

2015 is right around the corner and I’m looking forward to being settled with a good job, living in a neighborhood I love (hello, Hawthorne!) and knuckling down to do more pattern-making, teaching and writing. This past year was a doozy, so I’m extra hopeful that this next one is going to be much, much better.

It will be, right?

Buy the Book: Quilt Talk

Quilt Talk by Sam Hunter One of the things I’m really grateful for (it is November after all) is knowing people like Sam Hunter.

I first heard of her and her amazing quilt late last year when I was working for Robert Kaufman Fabrics down in Los Angeles. Sam and I had, unknowingly switched places. She’d moved to Portland from LA just before I’d moved from Portland to LA. But she and I worked together to get her fabrics for myriad quilt and project patterns she was designing. She loves Radiance (a cotton/silk fabric from RK) as much as I do, I think, and that made her even more awesome.

Over the email conversations we became friends and I have been grateful to have her here in Portland when I returned. She is kind, supportive, generous and smart. Plus she doesn’t take sh*t from anyone. I love her for that.

Last month Quilt Talk, her first book with C&T Publishing, came out and I was lucky enough to get to try the paper piecing patterns out early and I love them! I had to wait for the book’s publication, though, to see all that she’d managed to do with this alphabet. And what she did is kick some butt.

Quilt Talk interior

The book is filled with projects that she shared with us at Market in Houston and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its arrival. Today it’s here and I’ve got my very own copy sitting on my desk. It’s taunting me, prodding me to get going on those Christmas projects that are swirling around in my head.

I can hardly wait to start, but until then I’ll let you have a little glimpse at what you can make, too. And tell you to go buy the book!

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Plus she’ll be teaching and signing books at Fabric Depot on Sunday. More info here.

cozy textures & uncommon mirth