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It’s Giveaway Day!

I nearly forgot it was Sew, Mama, Sew’s Giveaway Day, but thank social media for the reminder! (I knew it was good for something..)

full_6225_203059_Mirthapaperpiecedwallquilt_3In the holiday spirit, I’m giving away a PDF copy of my Mirth wall quilt pattern! It uses 9 different fabrics to create a nine-block quilt. The full-size paper piecing template is included (you’ll make some copies of it) for easy and precise piecing.

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me something you’d like to learn about sewing and quilting in 2017.  I want to know what you want to know. Maybe I can help you learn or maybe it’s something I want to learn, too!

And then head back to Sew, Mama, Sew to see what else people are giving away today!
Mirth quilt pattern by Teresa Coates _Crinkle Dreams
Winner will be announced on Monday, December 12, 2016.  is Kathy E.! Thanks to everyone for their input–it’s given me some great idea for tutorials in 2017.

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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.

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A Grand Finale

The story begins last October at Fall Quilt Market in Houston. Like everyone else I was awed by Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Forest Quilt and wanted to make it. So I proposed that we make it with some Hoffman/Me+You batiks and sell bundles, teach the class, make everyone happy. It worked and over ten weeks, starting in late February, I taught (with the stalwart assistance of the amazing Paula Chipman) 42 students to make the Fancy Forest quilt. I’m proud to say that a good number of them actually finished: 6 of them with the full quilt and a dozen more finished the small version.

It was amazing to see them all complete the myriad animals, struggling at times and cheering with their own success at others. The class was all I had imagined and more, with it becoming a support group of sorts, students encouraging each other as much (or more) than I was encouraging them. Paula helped me out every Sunday class, keeping me in check when needed and getting me back on track when my rambling wandered off. I could not have done it without her.

On our final day, I felt a bit misty-eyed watching everyone still working so diligently on their quilt tops. Then Eileen handed me a bag and said it was for us. I looked at her quizzically, then peered inside to find these beauties. She’d painted us our very own Fancy Forest quilts! I nearly lost it, gave her a huge (maybe awkward) hug and thanked her one million times. 

We’ve filled up the Fabric Depot class again and the next session (with “only” 24 this time) starts Sunday after this. I can hardly wait to get in the classroom again and see what this crew makes.

 

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Introducing Mirth, a paper-pieced mini

Mirth is one of my favorite words and now it’s finally a quilt.  Last fall, Brenda of Just A Bit Frayed asked if I’d like to design a quilt using RJR’s Cotton Supreme Solids and, of course, I said yes! They have a lovely feel, sewed up beautifully and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the final mini quilt. You can find their solids at independent quilt shops.

I’m super happy to introduce you to Mirth, a happy little paper-pieced quilt. The pattern is available now via Craftsy and Etsy.

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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.

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Building a string quilt, one scrap at a time

I got this wild idea about three years ago, that I wanted to make a string quilt that goes from white to bright and I’d embed my favorite quote in it. I plotted it out on the computer and then just let it sit there, for years.

But recently I realized that I have made a whole three quilts of my own design (and a hundred more for others) and it’s about time I start making one that I want to keep. This one is gonna be my very first wall quilt. Of course, I thought about making it bed size, but changed my mind when I started actually putting it together. String quilts are a lot of work!

I started with a box of scraps that I bought from work. Lots of end-cuts, 1- to 4- inches in width, that I sorted by color intensity.

Then I started cutting, getting strips from 1- to 2-inches in width. 

I cut each strip in half so they were about 20-22 inches long, giving me more variety in the combinations, and started sewing them together in a groups of five or six. 

And then there was lots of pressing, starching and cutting. I’d gotten pretty acclimated to the Strip Tube Ruler for this type of project a couple years ago on a LUKE quilt, so it wasn’t difficult this time. The trick is to starch and try to line up the marks on the ruler with a seam so that the outside strip is as straight as possible. And don’t expect to be able to cut them out side by side the entire length. You’ll need a gap between every few triangle cuts.
Cutting with the Strip Tube Ruler

 

Finally I moved on to stitching: first the pairs of small triangles, then with the pieced triangles. After that I cut them down to 6 1/2″ squares. 

I started laying them out last week and slowly but surely they are coming together. Maybe next week I will have it finished enough to show you (and off the living room floor!).

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The Fancy Forest Quilt Along, at last

I got a bee in my bonnet about the Fancy Forest quilt last fall and managed to get Fabric Depot to agree that we should do a quilt along class for it. Then I somehow put together a bundle of Me+You batiks in a color array that dozens and dozens of people liked well enough to buy. This last part makes me ridiculously happy because let me assure you…it was so much more stressful doing a pull that requires a shop to buy 8o bolts of fabric than for me to pull 40 little fat quarters from my stash.  Yikes!

But so far it’s worked and we started our first session of the Fancy Forest Quilt Along on Sunday with 30 students and another 12 the next day. I did a small pull for myself to work through the quilts with my students. Not surprisingly, I chose more of the Me+You batiks. I just love their slightly dusky hues.

Me+You batiks

I talked about tools and quilting and the wonders of this quilt for a good 45 minutes or so before I let them get to work. I like to talk, what can I say?!  Then they got busy measuring and cutting.

Teresa Coates and students

More than half the class is using the bundle, which is awesome, but it’s also super great to see all the other variations of fabrics that people have chosen. Already I’m so looking forward to how these quilts turn out. How awesome will it be to see 40+ quilts from my students? So very awesome. And only 9 more weeks, ha!

Keeping our Fancy Forest Quilt Along organized

If you are interested in following along, you can join us on the Fabric Depot blog and/or on the Facebook group: Fancy Forest Quilt Along. I’ll be posting on both the @fabricdepot Instagram account, as well as my own (@teresacoates).

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Trying to Catch Up

You know how life is, right? Too often the daily bits get in the way of doing the things I really want to do…like update the blog, add new tutorials, finish that pattern, etc. Every New Year’s Eve I think this will be the year to get stuff done. And then suddenly it’s New Year’s Eve again and I feel like nothing was actually done.

It was the same for me this past year, but then I started looking through my pics and realized that I finished 18 quilt tops (none of which were for me) and made more than 200 projects overall, including lots and lots of store samples and custom work. I taught classes at Fabric Depot and Nic & Fig’s. I released two patterns. Despite not getting more clothes sewn for myself (my real goal for last year), I got plenty finished.

So far this year, I’ve already finished two more quilt tops and onto a third. I’ve started, but not yet finished, a coat and a dress for myself. I have two patterns at the pattern-testing stage and my teaching schedule is nicely filling up. I’m doing okay, I remind myself.

Sometimes I struggle to savor the little accomplishments, instead worrying that I’ll never actually get to the big ones.

There are big things to come this year and I’m looking forward to every one of them: my first retreat teaching gig, new patterns, my daughter will graduate high school and I have a road trip to plan for late summer.

For now, I need to get back to planning out the classes for my upcoming Fancy Forest Quilt Along at Fabric Depot. We’ve just added our third session and the first one hasn’t even started yet…this one is gonna be a doozy. I can hardly wait!