Posted on 1 Comment

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!

As a pattern, Larry the Lion is cute, but thankfully I’d seen Gayle Camargo’s version in Luxe Cuddle and I knew it could be so much more. I used Luxe Cuddle Hide for the body, Llama Cuddle for the mane and Cuddle for the face. First thing I did was print out the pattern at 120% (in retrospect 150% would have been so much easier) and tape the pieces together as needed. I traced each piece on the back of the appropriate fabric using a Sharpie and then cut them out with my favorite Famore Scalpel Style Seam Ripper. Then it was just a matter of following the pattern. Honestly, Pauline is one of my favorite pattern writers; the directions are clear and she has photos and videos on her site to make it all even easier.

Once I got the muzzle put together, I was sold on it. So freaking cute already and it’s just six pieces so far!

One thing to remember when you are working with Cuddle is to use a walking foot. This would have sat forever under a standard foot, but the walking foot and a longer stitch length makes it sail right through (this is on the Bernina 350QE).

Another tool that really helped with this project was ByAnnie’s stiletto. It has a thin metal shank at the one end to help push fabric down under the foot as it sews. It also works beautifully to pull up the fibers that get stuck in the seams.

Completely pieced together but totally flat, Larry looks more like roadkill.

So I stuffed him really well with almost an entire 16oz. bag of Royal Silk fiber fill from Fairfield. First his feet and legs, then his head, but and finally his body. Just keep stuffing until he’s full, then knot off some threads for the whiskers and toes, and … ta-dah!

I’m so thrilled with him!! It’s a shame I had to pack him off for Quilt Festival, but I think he’ll be my new travel companion for classes in 2019. He’s too cute to leave at home.

P.S. If you’ll be at Quilt Market, come by booth #1400 and say hi! During Quilt Festival I’ll be teaching a bunch of classes and also in booth #100 doing demos. Hope to see you there!

Posted on 2 Comments

Life Quote Quilt

life quote crinkle dreamsI finished a quilt –for myself!!– last month. It’s been on my to-make list for years, but in my life somehow for much longer.

Let’s start back in 1999. Despite the amazing Prince song that most people are reminded of, there was no partying happening. It was the year I got divorced and embarked on a road that I have stayed on for the next 17 years…solo parenting. (Long story short, their father is not a part of their lives.) I grew up in a religious family that holds tight the conservative ideas of American life: birth, school, marriage, work (til you have kids), buy a house, play it safe. Getting divorced and all that it entailed for me and my two kids made me rethink everything I’d believed in.  I knew I could either feel bad about the path my life was on or I could embrace it fully and that’s when I came across the Helen Keller quote that inspired this: Life is a daring adventure or nothing.

You’ll notice in the mock-up I have the quote with an additional “at all.” That’s how I originally knew the quote, but before I got to cutting out letters,  I did a bunch of searching for the original. From what I can gather, that part just got tacked on by someone, somewhere along the line and suddenly there were two versions of the quote. From what I could find, the shorter version is actually what she said (but I could be wrong!)

Anyway, this quote has long-guided me in my choices, both as a mom and as a person. We get one shot at this, I figure, we might as well make it interesting (hence college in my 30s, living in SE Asia, making a hodgepodge career, random road trips, etc).

I wanted a quilt that would exemplify that idea, so I started with a big box of scraps from work. I cut dozens and dozens of strips, divvied up by color intensity. Then started sewing them together. 

I used my handy Strip Tube Ruler to cut out a ton of triangles, then laid them out. Then chain-pieced like a crazy person. Soon enough, the top was done . Then came the scary part–the letters. 

I made templates out of file folders and traced around each, hoping to spell out the quote correctly. I worried about that a lot.cutting out letters

I stitched around each letter, then carefully cut out the patchwork to reveal the Grunge (Moda) that I’d backed the quilt with. It headed off to the quilter (Kazumi Peterson) and came a few weeks later looking just as good as I’d imagined when I first came up with this crazy idea. I love love love the way “or nothing.” just fades away, giving it a bleach-dipped look.  

I’m happy to announce that the quilt will be hanging at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon on July 9, 2016.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Making of Red, a quilt

Red at Watermark Gallery. Photo credit: Peter Cameron

Late last year, I teamed up with Bill Volckening to brainstorm some modern art-inspired quilt designs. Over a couple of dinner meeting, we settled on something reminiscent of Matisse’s paper cuts with a touch of Rorschach, deciding that it should be all needle-turn applique in the spirit of traditional Hawaiian quilt making.

Teresa Coates applique
I started by free-hand drawing the red shape on Kona Cotton, then cutting it 1/4-inch larger. I basted it to 108″-wide white muslin.

Over the next month, it went from a digital sketch to a full-blown (80″ x 80″) quilt, hand-appliqued and lightly hand-quilted by me, with load of echo quilting from Jolene Knight.

The entire shape was appliquéd using a traditional needle-turn method. It took about 30 hours in total.
I just keep stitching, then removed basting stitches.
Needle turn might just be my favorite.
Big stitch quilting
Bill took it to Jolene who worked her magic, but left purposeful gaps for some additional big-stitch hand quilting in both the white and red.

 

In the end, I’m absolutely thrilled with ‘Red,’ which is now part of the Volckening Collection.

It is currently on display at Watermark Gallery (part of Gallery EOSS) in East Providence, Rhode Island through April 10, 12016. Red by Teresa Coates, quilting by Jolene Knight

 

Addendum: Sam of Hunter’s Design Studio wrote about the work here and there was an interesting bit of discussion that ensued.

Posted on 1 Comment

Spring Scoot, At Long Last

Pardon me while I stray far from sewing on this post.

First, a little backstory–many, many moons ago, I was married to a guy who had a love for Vespas. We discovered them together in the first year we were married. Having grown up on the back of my dad’s motorcycle, the love for two-wheeled travel ran deep in me and I was more than happy to encourage a foray into the scooter world. He bought one Vespa, then another, a Lambretta or two, and even a Harley Davidson Topper. He taught me how to ride, but by then I was pregnant and he didn’t want me to ride. Meanwhile, he was making friends with the local scooter people and going on long rides with them. I stayed home, wishing I could join in. And once, he let me.

In May 1992, we drove up to Seattle and I rode on the back of his P200. I was nearly six months pregnant, but not yet showing much and could still easily sit behind him. I had a ball and couldn’t wait to get my chance to join in the fun after the baby was born. But that isn’t what happened. I never got the chance to ride again, though we had nearly two dozen bikes at one point. I was the stay-home mom and stay home is what I did.

Years later, in 2005 in fact, I dated a fellow who’d joined the scooter scene just as my ex-husband was leaving it. They didn’t know each other, but there were mutual friends and I became friends with several. But he didn’t have a scooter and either did I. I knew scooter people, though I never rode.

Then I met P and when we lived together, he bought a scooter–a little Honda Ruckus.  Not only did he let me ride it, he encouraged me to do so. I loved it and took every opportunity I could while I was there (and since!).

Ruckus Duo 2012

We broke up, life moved on (and a million things happened in between), then this last March a friend of the second scooter guy invited me to Spring Scoot 21.  Someone wanted me to join in?! I was thrilled and asked P if I could borrow his bike for the ride. He happily said yes.

And so twenty-three years after my first scooter rally in Seattle, I joined the long-established scooter rally in Portland. And it was more fun than I had ever expected.

We started out at Club 21 in NE Portland.  When I arrived at 6:30pm, there were a few dozen scooters of all sorts (though predominately Vespas, of course). The little Ruckus I rode is right there in the front left.

20150411-182409-66249115.jpg

By the time we left to ride to Mad Son’s, I’d counted 52 bikes, including several more Ruckus riders, a couple motorcycles, mopeds and lots of Vespas.  I did the ride, in the cold rain then decided to take the bike back to P for the night.

20150411-182409-66249435.jpg

We met up again at noon on Saturday in North Portland and took off for another ride. I have proof–that’s me in the video of the ride. I know it’s hard to recognize me, but I promise, that’s me in the big coat and knit skirt!

Spring Scoot video still

It was, to be honest, not the best weather for riding. We took off in dry weather, heading out toward Hayden Island, then turning and driving through St. Johns. By the time we had reached N. Fessenden the rain was falling and when we crossed the St. Johns’ Bridge, it was coming down hard enough to make visibility difficult and there was no way I was stopping for pics in that mess.

We rode up and through the West Hills and across the Ross Island, over to a bar and then on to a barbecue at Vicious Cycle. I headed home soon after and crashed hard.  (I woke up the next morning still fully dressed–I’d managed only to remove my boots before I fell asleep!)

The next day we met up at Catalina’s for a bit of brunch and giveaways before heading out once more, this time in a crowd of around a hundred bikes.

20150414-105012-39012466.jpg

There is something so awesome about driving in a huge group like this and reminds me fondly of riding in Vietnam. I can see how it might unnerve some, but I loved every second of it as we headed out around the airport and then eastward.

20150414-105012-39012220.jpg

As we drove past the Troutdale airport, I realized where we were heading and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It didn’t matter that my little bike was a half mile behind the pack, we were going on my favorite local drive… out to the Columbia River Gorge.

20150414-105011-39011684.jpg

We made it out there, twisting and turning along the Old Columbia River Highway with a stop at the Vista House before continuing on to Multnomah Falls. It was amazing and wonderful and so much fun to just ride and ride.

20150414-105010-39010951.jpg

 

Over the three days of the ride, I put more than 200 miles on the little bike. I couldn’t have been happier, honestly. It was wonderful and I am eternally grateful for P encouraging me to keep riding and for my daughter being independent enough for me to be gone so much.

This… this is my happy place. 20150411-182409-66249570.jpg

Posted on 1 Comment

Sew Expo

I almost forgot to share the pics of Sew Expo–oops! Friday before last I got the chance to head up with the crowd of Fabric Depot customers to visit the Sewing and Stitchery Expo held each year in Puyallup.  The best part was that my mom was already up there and we got to spend most of the day together and I was able to introduce her to some of my industry friends.

I picked up some patterns, too. For only $5 each, I couldn’t pass up these two new dress patterns, especially the top one from Lisette. Liesl Gibson is one of my favorite designers/pattern writers and if you haven’t made up any of her patterns (she also does Oliver + S and Straight Stitch Society patterns), you really should. She knows what she is doing. 20150228-062509-23109505.jpg

I was able to finally meet Marcy Tilton and her sister Katherine Tilton thanks to Pati Palmer. So much design talent all together!

20150228-062509-23109178.jpg

My mom and I wandered around and happily ran into Luke‘s quilt at the Pendleton booth. Having done work with him, it makes me ridiculously happy and proud to see his quilts out in the wild.

20150228-062510-23110490.jpg

My friend Cheryl (of Paradiso Designs) was there and we got to catch up, chatting about bags, customers, industry shows and life in the Pacific Northwest. Then Amy Barickman came by and we  chatted more. I love her Indygo Junction patterns, too, and have made a handful of projects from her patterns. They’re well worth making, I promise!

20150228-062508-23108848.jpg

20150228-062509-23109813.jpg

I picked up a few other things along the way…a little stamp to make 2.5″ pineapple  blocks, acrylic templates for 3.5″ drunkard’s path blocks, a new rotary cutter from Kai Scissors (and a pinking blade!), and the A Place for Everything bag from Patterns by Annie.

20150228-113531-41731011.jpg

It was a fun little jaunt for the day, but next year I’d really love to take a class or two.  And teach a class or two, as well, if I can convince the right people.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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!

IMG_0238 IMG_0243 IMG_0246

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

Posted on Leave a comment

#thegreatfabricdestash

I need to make room for fabric that is being stored for me elsewhere and what easier way to do that than with a massive destash. Join me this week (18-24 August) for flurry of fabrics ranging from fat sixteenths to fat quarters, patterns to yardage. I’ll be selling it off through my new Instagram account, so follow me there, then claim the items you want by leaving your email address and zip code. I’ll be calculating shipping and sending invoices next Monday for shipping as soon as the money is received. Hope to see you on IG! IMG_9291