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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 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!

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The Importance of Pressing

“It’s a waste of time. I’ll just iron it when I’m done.”

The first time I heard someone say this I audibly gasped, horrified that anyone would put off pressing. But the mm-hmming  of those around me made me realize that it was a common sentiment.

As a long-time garment sewist, the need to press as-you-go has been drilled into me, but many quilters and new garment sewists don’t realize  the difference it can make in the final outcome.

Because I can be a bit fanatical (I prefer devout) about this aspect of sewing and quilting, Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio invited me to share my experience and tips in her Back to School Blog Hop. If you haven’t checked out Cheryl’s post about the quilter’s knot or Peta’s post about diagonal quilt backs, go check them out. And make sure to follow along with the rest of these talented quilters and sewists: Continue reading The Importance of Pressing

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Come Sew With Me

I’m excited to be teaching the Bridgetown Backless Tunic/Dress pattern at Fabric Depot on May 3rd and if you’re local, it would be a great opportunity to learn a little garment sewing.  I’ve met lots of people who are interested in learning how to sew apparel, but don’t know where to start. This one, I swear, is a good jumping off point. We’ll talk about fabrics, seam finishes, elastic, hems and facings.

Bridgetown Backless Tunic and DressThe dress is a forgiving, but still flattering style. And If you’re stressing about that backless part, that’s what tank tops were made for. It’s super cute and so comfy. I’m finishing up my own version and will show it off soon!

Bridgetown Backless Tunic/Dress class
May 3, 2015
10a.m. to 5 p.m. (with lunch break)
Fabric Depot
$78

I hope to see you there!

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From Idea to Quilt

I’ve been wanting to get back into the teaching game since I returned to Portland, but first I had to find a place to live and a job. Now that both those needs are satisfied, I can start teaching again, at last!

I’ve long-loved curve piecing and while the Winding Ways block is clearly my favorite, I knew I wanted to start with a simpler design to teach. Something that was slightly out of reach for some people, but didn’t seem impossible.punchdrunkquilt_draft

Hence, the quarter-circle (aka Drunkard’s Path) block.

I am just learning Illustrator and not very good at it yet, but I did manage to make this little mock-up for the quilt I wanted to make.  I’d already picked out the fabrics (a bunch of polka dots from Michael Miller Fabrics).

Then I made it up with the EZ Quilting Drunkard’s Path templates (but Jen of Betty Crocker Ass offers them in a few other sizes if you want to give them a try).  It turned out pretty well, I thought.
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Until Charlene quilted it up and then I loved it. :)

punchdrunkquilt

It’s been kinda fun seeing it hanging up in the store the last couple weeks and I’m trying to get over the couple of misalignments that I left in there. You know… trying to accept my faults, even in quilting.  Who knew it could be so hard?!

 

 

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Supernova is a pattern!

Supernova

Last month I participated in Jennifer Sampou‘s Black and White Collection blog hop via the work blog, but I’m so happy about how it turned out, I just wanted to share it here as well! We got to choose our own pattern (or make up our own) for  each stop along the way. I’ve learned to really love this Winding Ways block and wanted to use that. I set to work with a pencil and a Winding Ways blank template.

winding ways supernovaOne of the things that I really love about this pattern is all the intersecting circles and how they play with each other depending on where you put color and where you don’t.

I can sit and color in those blocks for hours, erasing and re-arranging until everyone has locked the doors and gone home.

 

I can’t say I figured this out on my own, either. It was thanks to doing work with Luke Haynes on this Moda quilt that I learned just how entertaining this traditional block can be when fiddled with.

sorry for the iPhone shot, but it's all I can find :(
sorry for the iPhone shot, but it’s all I can find :(

I played with it until I settled on a design, got the fabric and set to work on cutting out the pieces (thank you, Accuquilt) and piecing, piecing, piecing. I did a lot of these blocks one at a time, which I tend not to do (I love chain piecing more than almost anything), but since it was a pretty finicky pattern and I was making it up on the fly, I needed to get it right.

If you look close enough, though, you’ll notice that I didn’t get it quite right. Let’s call that a “design choice” or a “only God makes perfect things” decision.

Yeah, that’s it.

The quilt was featured on the third day of the hop and I was super happy to see it get so many likes on Instagram. I know, it sounds silly and superficial, but really…it’s hard putting your work out there to be judged. And I’ve seen more than a few designers ripped a new one over their designs and it is not pretty. Luckily this one was liked.

20150208-050158-18118064.jpgA lot. And people asked for a pattern. (What the what?!?)

So I asked my boss if we should do a pattern through work or if I should do it on my own.

She said they’d do it (which is great because their graphic designer is WAY better than I could ever be). I wrote up a few guidelines, figured out quantities and then “tested” it with paper pieces.

 

Then wham-bam, there was a pattern!

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And you can get it for FREE from Fabric Depot: Supernova Quilt.

In March I’ll have a little quilt along for those who are interested in making your own version.  I’m still working out the details and trying to figure a workable timeline for everyone, so if you have feedback on what you want/like/hate about quilt alongs, leave me a comment. I’d love your input!

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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!