Posted on Leave a comment

#sewingforluke continues

One of the many factors that went into the “should I stay or should I go now?” decision was my ability to work with Luke Haynes. I really adore the guy, I’m an admirer of his creative ways of looking at quilting and I’ve been incredibly grateful for the chance to work with him on several projects. I was pretty sure that if I moved northward, our opportunities to work together would evaporate and I’d have to give up that fun aspect of life in Los Angeles.

But two weeks later, I got the call I’d been waiting for… Luke wanted a little help again. So off we go, on a new yellow and white piece. He shipped me a whole big box full of old clothes and linens that had been cut down into wide strips.

box full of Luke scraps

And I set to work cutting smaller strips out of those.

20140726-100927-36567095.jpg

There’s a whole pile of white variations, too. I’m stitching them together, cutting them, and stitching them again (you know.. that crazy thing we do when we are quilting).

20140726-224206-81726566.jpg

I managed to whip up a few that came to the right size, so now that I’ve got the technique down, I can start chain-stitching these crazy fabrics together like a mad woman. I’ve only got 480 of the small squares to make in a week (ha!). If you need me, you’ll know where to find me — right in front of my sewing machine.

Follow along via Instagram: @teresacoates


(Quick health update for those who’ve asked: It was definitely the right move. My lungs no longer hurt and I’m able to run more than a mile straight, outside. In LA, I was getting winded walking through the mall and would have to take periodic rests whenever we walked anyway. I’m feeling much better overall; thank you all for the support!) 

Posted on 4 Comments

Road Trip to Sisters

For years I’d heard about the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show over in Central Oregon, but it wasn’t until my first visit a couple years ago that I realized just how amazing it really is.

Sisters is a tiny town near Bend, a place you’d drive through without a second glance most weekends. But the second weekend of July? There’s no way ! They even close off the streets for hundreds of quilts and thousands of quilters. (I’ve hear it tops 12,000!)

Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon

Each summer for 39 years, Jean and Valori Wells have been the driving forces behind this celebration of quilting. And their shop, The Stitchin’ Post, is at the bustling center of it all. This wall, in fact, is where it all started back in 1975 when Jean hung up some of her students’ quilts and the idea just took off. Now quilters from all over the world come to Sisters for the show. Pretty amazing, indeed.

My first stop was the shop in hopes of seeing Valori again. I’d worked with her a bit at Robert Kaufman and love her Quill collection (along with the upcoming Ashton Road). Alas, I didn’t see her, but I did see a new-to-me Quill quilt design that I fell in love with. It shows off the huge design so well, don’t you think?

ValWellsQuillQuilt

In addition to her lovely bold prints, Valori has a great collection of blenders that are rolling out over the year called Blueprint Basics. Each week she focuses on one fabric from the collection and then mixes it up with other fabrics, yarns, etc. to focus on her Color of the Week. While I was there, Cinnamon was the focus and I absolutely adored what she did with it in this display at the front of the storm. I hate knitting and I still wanted to pet those yarns!

Caramel: Val's Color of the Week

The whole shop is full of color and texture and you really can’t help but be inspired by it all.  I particularly love the Journey quilt on the far left below and the star quilt on the far right (anyone know what it’s called?)

IMG_8480

After roaming through the crowds at the store, I headed down the street to admire the quilts. There are literally thousands of quilts and I wish I could show them all to you, but we’ll both have be satisfied with sharing a handful of my favorites…

Nel’s Wordplay was made by Irelle Beatie from Santa Barbara, CA and was just a fun way to showcase some quilting lexicon. I love crossword puzzles, so there’s something extra interesting to me about this. Plus who can resist red/white/black combos?!

Nel's Wordplay Quilt

I love traditional quilt patterns, so it’s kind of a n0-brainer that I’d love how Linda Marlow of Lyle, WA hand-sewed and hand-quilted her Grandma’s Flower Garden (76″ x 84″). According to the tag, she bought “a few blocks in a box and a lot of hexagons cut out” at an estate sale and decided to finish it up. So sweet! If there’s a heaven, some quilter is happy to see it finally finished.

IMG_8492

Since I’ve been working on my great grandma’s quilt for so long, I’m always a bit curious to see other’s hand-quilting. I feel better about mine not being perfect either because this was a beauty. All.those.hexies!
IMG_8493

Jane Adams of nearby Bend, Oregon used the Log Jam method to put together this wonky log cabin quilt she called Working It Out (81″ x 81″). This one really grabbed my attention for the bright colors and slightly wonky nature. It’s something I’d love to do, but for some reason I’m still scared of putting together in such a free form method. It’s like the one part of my that is a perfectionist, but really, I need to get over that and just make one. I love the results so very much.

IMG_8498

I also ran into a couple quilting stars at the HandiQuilter booth. Angela Walters gave Heather Braunlin-Jones some stern advice (but only for the pictures!). I adore these two ladies–both have been so supportive these last couple years, with shoulders to lean on and always up for a chat about life, motherhood, and working in the industry. #fangirl
Angela Walters and Heather Braunlin Jones

Then they let me have a turn! I wasn’t a natural by any stretch, but it was an awful lot of fun to give it a try. I even managed to write my name (with an enormous cross on that T!) IMG_8506

And then ran into my recent co-workers, too. Kyle, Ken and Elisabeth were all up from Los Angeles, visiting with the beautiful Valori Wells. Robert Kaufman was sponsoring the children’s booth, their first time at Sisters, so that was pretty exciting. And really nice to see people I enjoyed during my time in LA. Kyle and Ken were so super kind to me during all my sick time there and I will be forever grateful for them.

RKCrew

The quilts continue around town, but this is one of favorites. So Old West looking!

SistersOutdoorQuiltShow

Friends from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild had their own exhibit and it included some beauties. This geometric quilt called Balls and Bowls (40″ x 46″) was made by none other than the talented and uber-kind Rachel Kerley of 2nd Ave Studios. I love all the neutrals and crazy variation of  quilting designs. The woman knows what she’s doing in ways I can only dream about.

RachelKerley

Violet Craft showed off her new Brambleberry Ridge collection (with Michael Miller Fabrics) in this graphic quilt she calls Flying Falcons (50″ x 56″). It looks a bit washed out, but really that’s just the sun doing its thing. And in the back, that’s Cherri Langley’s Converging Corners quilt (the Film in the Fridge tutorial is here). There were a few versions of this quilt pattern around and I think I want to do it sometime because it it pretty cool. 
FlyingFalconsQuilt

I really love the bright colors in this, even though it really isn’t my thing personally.  Joni Reading of Boulder, Colorado did a beautiful job blending values and colors in her Garden Path (90″ x 90″), so it’s not really surprising that it sold. I must say that I was pretty impressed with the $950 price tag, too.  (Put that on my bucket list, too: Sell a quilt for almost a thousand dollars.)

IMG_8521

It was a beautiful day and after strolling and ogling and chatting, I headed back through the absolutely stunning scenery of Oregon. I’ve so missed all this green.

the road to Sisters, Oregon

I’m happy to be home, among quilters, designers, family, friends and this stunning natural beauty.

Posted on Leave a comment

Distracted

alturas-front-cover_low-resThe first time I saw Carolyn’s Alturas pattern I think I actually squealed out loud. You know that embarrassing, “Oh! I looooove it!” exclamation that never fails to leave me looking around, hoping against hope that I’m totally alone. But it was worth it. Alturas is beautiful and simple in this vintage way that I absolutely do love. [Check out her blog post to see the varied iterations of Alturas for more inspiration.]

I made one a while back; quilted it up as a mug rug and gave it away in some swap or another. I don’t even remember what fabric I used, but I knew I really, really liked the pattern.

So a couple nights ago, when I should have been packing for the upcoming move but would rather do anything else, I decided to break open the London Calling charm pack and make one up.

London Calling is a lovely cotton lawn collection, a tight weave but kinda floppy. I starched the bejeezus out of the charm square before cutting it (and yes! the pattern is perfect for charm squares!) and started out by basting it onto the Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen, all the way around, then clipping the curves and doing some relaxing needle turn appliqué.

IMG_8203

I watched a couple of episodes of Dexter and it was done. Just like that.

IMG_8207

My original plan had been to make a pincushion out of it, but once I got the box made and stuffed I realized it was just too big for a pincushion. So instead I have a tiny pillow.

IMG_8208

And the impetus to make an entire Alturas quilt, one block at a time.

Posted on Leave a comment

White on white on white

Recently I had the opportunity to work on yet another quilt for Luke using the Winding Ways traditional quilt pattern. The 72″ x 96″ quilt is made with 10 different variants of white fabric, including sheers, twill, quilting cotton, silk/cotton blend, and more. It made it a challenge to sew, mixing fabric weights, but using spray starch on the lighter-weight fabrics made it much easier to combine them without too much swearing.

So it started with a big stack of cut pieces: 20140421-174128.jpg

And then I sewed and sewed:20140421-174205.jpg

Clipped and sewed: 20140421-174217.jpg

Pressed and stacked: 20140421-174229.jpg

And sewed more: 20140421-174253.jpg

Until it arrived at this: 20140421-174302.jpg

Which looks even better with a little sunshine behind it: 20140421-174314.jpg

 

You might even be able to see it at Luke’s show this Friday at the BluDot in Los Angeles. After that, I think the only place to see it will be in his room–this one he’s keeping. (And I’m a little jealous! I might just have to make another for myself, but with another color, perhaps?)

Posted on 44 Comments

Modern Quilt Perspectives {book review}

thomas-knauer-sews-book-cover-250x314

It’s finally here, the book that Thomas told me he would someday write way back when we first met at Quilt Market. Houston in 2011, right, Thomas?

I’d already fallen for his first collection, Pear Tree, and its lovely muted colors (the same just-off hues that would sucker me into every TK collection).  We’d talked online thanks to my work for FabShop News magazine and I was both awed and honored when he went out of his way to talk to me in the wide aisles of Market. He told me his ideas for a book and I knew this guy was different.

Spend five minutes talking to Thomas and you’ll be awed by his vast knowledge and ability to pull info, facts and connections seemingly out of thin air. I like to think the guy is a genius. He chalks it up to a lot of schooling. I’ll agree to something in the middle.

Thomas’ skill at drawing connections and thinking beyond the “Isn’t that pretty?” that infiltrates the fabric world continues to amaze and inspire me. And it is in that unique way that Modern Quilt Perspectives unfolds.

Essays. Quilt patterns. Sidebars of wisdom. It’s a remarkable book and I can’t recommend it enough.

In particular I want to share about the Excess quilt. No, I didn’t have anything to do with it (though I did make an ‘I’ for the Identity quilt!).  It’s just one that symbolizes all that this book does.

Here, take a look:
book-88

Lovely, right? It is an incredibly long quilt (13 feet, in fact!) and when I was flipping through the book for the first time, it caught my eye with its size and the preponderance of reds and dashes of green and blue. It’s scrappy the way scrappy ought to be, I thought.

It wasn’t until I stopped to actually read the accompanying essay, that I understood its importance as a piece of art, an unspoken message.

And that’s something that Thomas never  forgets or looks past. Quilts are art. They can be powerful, awe-inspiring, meditative and breathtaking. This quilt took my breath away.

In Excess, there are 1,600 of those little 2-1/2″ blocks. It’s not a random number, something picked out of the air or decided on when the quilt got to the right size. No, that number was chosen for a reason.

Every year, approximately 1,600 women and men are killed in acts of domestic violence in the United States, victimized by their partners and spouses. … Excess is a memorial to this overwhelming reality, a visualization of the forest of loss. Each of the 1,600 squares in the quilt represents a death, with each red or orange stripe a woman killed, and each blue or green one a man.

Now go look at that quilt again and meditate on those numbers, that issue.

Then go read how Lisa quilted it with the text from the United States’ Violence Against Women Act.

This is what makes Modern Quilt Perspectives more than just a quilting book. There is substance and depth and meaning, so much meaning, to all of it. Thank you, Thomas, for reminding me (us?) of the import of it all.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

IMG_7348

I decided I  would make the pattern myself (this is a quilting book after all), though not in the numbers that Excess originally calls for. Just a few dozen in my favorite greys. I haven’t decided how big I’ll make it, or quite what I’ll do with it when I have pieced it together. But I can tell you that the quilts in Modern Quilt Perspectives are not only powerful art, but that they are well-written patterns as well.

 

So get to it–go get the book, read it, learn from it and venture onward. I can promise you this: it will change the way you look at quilts and the messages they can send.

Thank you, Thomas, for an amazing book, jaw-dropping quilts and for being you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

A giveaway! I almost forgot. Tell me what issue/message you’d quilt about if you could. Personally, I’m pondering ways to put the struggles and joys of solo parenting into fabric form. Let me know if you have any ideas. Comments will close on Monday 4/7 at midnight. Winner announced 4/9.

Posted on 1 Comment

Back at it for another year

In many ways, this feels like a year that wasn’t. The last 18 months have been a whirlwind of changes and adjustments, some great (a fabulous job with a wonderful fabric company) and some not-so-great (sunk $6k into what should have been a reliable car, but ended up with car payments on a new one instead).

Last January, before much of the craziness started, I set all sorts of goals for myself, things I wanted to start, finish or some combination of the two. But as life tends to do, it gets in the way of all my grand plans. And so while I was sure I was going to be able to finish all the quilting on Grandma’s quilt in 2013, I only managed to finish eight blocks before it got lost to the chaos of moving to Cali.  Eight. [hanging head in shame] Sorry, Grandma.

But I’m back at it!

grandmasquilt1.jpg

I’m setting the bar low this year and am promising to finish just one block a week. Of course, it will end up taking me two and a half years to finish it this way (there are 143 of those little blocks!), but at least it’s progress. And who knows, maybe there will be weeks when I can get two or three or five done.

So while I feel like I’ve let Grandma down somehow by not finishing, I just have to remember that the darn thing sat in a box at my mom’s house for 40 years before this. Sheesh.

And there you have it, my one New Year’s resolution for 2014 (and probably 2015, too!). I will complete one block a week until it ‘s finished. And then I’ll have to decide who gets it.

Do you make long-term resolutions? Do you stick to it?

Posted on Leave a comment

12 Days of Color

It’s not perfect, but I like it anyway. 20131218-134420.jpg

My friend, Scott, of Blue Nickel Studios is counting down the 12 Days of Color and showcasing a different block each day as he counts down. He’s using a bunch of the Konas for the blocks, but I decided to try out Day Four’s design (by the awesome and amazing Katy Jones) in some batiks I had on-hand. Turns out, I kinda like it.

You might notice, it’s not exactly a square like it’s supposed to be. I decided I wanted it to just butt up to all the edges and I’m gonna make it into something else…a pillow? the side of a bag? Any other fabulous ideas out there?