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Show Up -a quilt designed by Lisa Congdon & Hunter’s Design Studio

Quilted, but not yet bound. I asked my IG followers whether to bind or face the quilt because I couldn’t decide.

Lisa Congdon has been an artist I’ve followed casually for a long time. She first came to my attention back in 2013 when she designed fabric for Cloud9 Fabrics. Around the same time she moved to Portland and she had my attention. Then last year, Sam of Hunter’s Design Studio worked with her to create a quilt pattern from one of her designs. I was sold.

The Show Up Quilt pattern has various sizes available and I chose to do the wall-hanging size. The entire quilt is paper-pieced, which at first seems weird because it’s just a bunch of triangles. But Sam kept the whimsical, imperfect feel of Lisa’s art by making each triangle different. I love the hand-drawn feel of the quilt, rather than striving for perfection of points and smooth text.

I used Kona Cotton solids for all of it, including the orange backing. I used Quilters Dream Fusible 80/20 for the batting.

Brewery Art Walk in Los Angeles, April 2019
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Sewing Cuddle Strip Quilts

Teresa Coates Fat Quarter Shop video

I’m often on the road teaching quilters and sewists how to sew with minky/Cuddle fabrics, and this summer I was able to film some videos with Fat Quarter Shop. In this video I share a bunch of tips and tricks for making the most popular kind of Cuddle project: the strip quilt. Shannon Fabrics offers a wide variety of quilt kits, from 27″ squares to 58″ x 72″ throws, but regardless, they are all constructed in the same method. If you’ve been wanting to make one, but weren’t sure how, this video is for you:

Still have questions? Go ahead and ask!

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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!

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Filming for The Quilt Show

One thing I never expected to happen in my life:

  • film an episode of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

But that’s exactly what I did on Saturday afternoon.

The craziness began at Quilt Market in the spring when Alex came by the Shannon Fabrics booth, excited to share the Wyatt Wolf quilt with her audience. I’d made it with a bunch of Luxe Cuddle, Cuddle Suede and Kona Cotton –which is kinda crazy in and of itself– and used a paper piecing pattern from Violet Craft to do it.  She invited me to come on the show and I did.

We talked about the Wolf Abstractions quilt, as well as the Ascension quilt I’d made with Hawke, a denim quilt I’ve been working on as a commission and the Freewheelin’ Single Girl quilt I made for myself.  All include fabrics/materials that are atypical in quilting: plush fabrics, denim, knits, used clothing, silver lame and more.

I have watched a dozen or so episodes of the show and have always enjoyed it, but I wasn’t expecting the level of production or kindness that I got.  Ricky is incredibly talented and his quilts left my mouth gaping. Alex is a pro at making people comfortable. Everyone behind the scenes was happy to answer questions, fetch waters, help carry samples and be there when I needed them.

The best part, though, was that my daughter was able to join me and play personal assistant/cheerleader. It made the entire weekend so much better to have her there, supporting my work and calming my nerves.

The show will air sometime later this year or early 2019.

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Join me at Quilt Festival!

I'll be teaching at Houston Quilt FestivalI’m super excited that I will be staying in Houston after Quilt Market this November to teach at Quilt Festival!

Friday

Friday Sampler 10am to noon

Take the Fear out of Sewing Plush Fabrics 6pm to 9pm

Saturday

Quick & Easy Cuddle Quilts 8am to 5pm

Sunday

Sew a Luxe Stuffed Animal 9am to noon {SOLD OUT}

I’ll be making up kits and more tip sheets, prepping for all the classes PLUS I’ll be in the Custom Creations booth with Cindy, the Fat Quarter Queen.

I hope I’ll see you there!

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Alex Anderson and I doing tutorials– whoda thunk?

I met Alex Anderson last fall at Quilt Market, years after I started following her in the quilt industry.  I look up to her immensely as she has much the same passion that I do about sewing and quilting. We both really just want everyone to find their happy place here! A lot of that passion involves teaching the basics and I’ve often admired her Alex’s ability to seem so approachable and excited in her public presentation.  The truth is, she is actually one of the nicest people I’ve met.  She knows her stuff, too.

As the head educator for Shannon Fabrics, she invited me up to her home in northern California to do some videos and I jumped at the chance.  It was a mix of fear, excitement, admiration, and joy to be honest.  But I’m so glad I did it.  We got to share some great information and I got to get over my awkwardness (or at least a bit) by the time we filmed the last video.

If you are interested in sewing with Cuddle fabrics, I think we’ve included some helpful info. Give ’em a watch and let me know what else you are curious to know.

You can see more tutorials and interview on The Quilt Show YouTube channel.

xo,

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Studio Spring Clean

For decades I’ve sewn in a corner of my bedroom, in the basement, in the kitchen and in the living room. But last year I inherited the big studio in our loft when Luke moved to Kansas City.

I had moved down to Los Angeles in 2016 with my sewing machine and a few boxes of fabrics and tools. Since then I’ve used a mish-mash of tables and storage found in the hall, left by Luke, or bought at IKEA. It’s been less than ideal.

Here’s proof:

I am a crafter, sewist, and quilter so I have a big variety of fabric–everything from cotton to leather, in everything from rolls to scraps. It makes finding a way to organize it even harder, in my opinion.

Another big issue is the table. It’s a great standing height but it has a weird curve in the one side and no storage underneath. I made do with it but I knew I needed something better. And I had just the partner to help me out…


We took a trip to the absolutely gigantic IKEA in Burbank and picked up two each of two different size Kallax shelves (the 2×2 and the 2×4). Then to Home Depot for a couple sheets of plywood, one with a melamine top, five table legs, aluminum for the sides and bolts to hold it together.

{This is when I feel especially grateful: I have a space that’s larger than anything I could’ve hoped for; I have a guy who cares about me enough that he’s willing to drive all over Los Angeles for me to buy stuff then haul it back in his truck and help me build the damn thing. Life is good.}

While Hawke ran some work errands, I broke down the old table, moved everything to the side and built the bookcases in the middle of the room. Then he came over and cut the plywood sheets down to size. The bottom is the same size as the bookcases. The top is 1 1/2″ wider on three sides and 12″ longer on the fourth side.

The leftover from the plywood was the perfect size for a ironing board and I’d lost space for the standalone. I used Leah Day’s tutorial, using two layers of batting covered with canvas. In a weird coincidence, the fabric is actually from IKEA, as well, it’s just been sitting in my stash for about five years.


I started getting stuff put away ASAP but there’s been a bit of shuffling and as I use it I’m sure it will move around even more until everything finds its happy place.

My machines (Bernina 350PE and Pfaff 130 Industrial) live under the window. My serger (Brother) lives on the table for easy access, with plenty of room for cutting mats, ironing board and my new Sizzix die cutter.

My books and magazines and precuts make for a pleasant view when you enter my studio and are way easier to access in these shelves. I don’t love the power cord coming down from above but it totally works, so I can’t really complain.

I finally bought a spool holder for all my thread, which made me realize that I have more than 120 spools of thread, in addition to the dozen cones I have, as well. I might have a problem with collecting thread.

In lieu of buying fancy cupboards, I just hung up a white sheet to cover the piles of random denim, minky, knits and linen on the shelves. Visually it helps a lot to not see the mess. Or at least so much mess.

I’m not finished but it was such a dramatic improvement I couldn’t help but do a little happy cry. I think is going to help my productivity, my happiness, my concentration and creativity by adding the table and storage. I’ll check back in with you later, but I’m pretty optimistic about it.

Follow along with the rest of the Studio Spring Cleaning crew:

April 23 – Lori Crawley Kennedy – http://theinboxjaunt.com/

April 24 – Jennifer Thomas – http://curlicuecreations.blogspot.com

April 25 – Robin Koehler – http://nestlingsbyrobin.blogspot.com

April 26 – Andi Barney- https://www.andibarney.com/

April 27 – Misty Cole – http://www.mistycole.com/blog

April 28 – Carolina Moore- http://alwaysexpectmoore.com/

April 29 – Heather Pregger – https://heatherquilts.blogspot.com/

April 30 – Linda Bratten – https://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/

May 1 – Lisa Reber – https://www.dippydye.blogspot.com/

May 2 – Teresa Coates – http://www.crinkledreams.com

May 3 – Lisa Chin – http://www.lisachinartist.com/

May 4 – Jamie Fingal – http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/

May 5 – Sam Hunter – www.huntersdesignstudio.com

May 6 – Jessee Maloney – www.artschooldropout.net/blog

May 7 – Randa Parrish – http://www.sewartsyfartsy.com/

May 8 – Sarah Vedeler- https://meaningoflifedesigns.com/

May 9 – Jessica Darling – https://jessicakdarling.com/

May 10 – Melody Crust –http://www.melodycrust.com/

May 11 – Debby Brown – http://higheredhands.blogspot.com

May 12 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

And thanks for inviting me to participate, Cheryl. It was just the kick I needed!

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Brewery Artwalk

April 7th was a big day for me.  For the last few months, Hawke and I had been working nearly every day on the Ascension Quilt, a collaborative art quilt based on his wall mural. We had a hard deadline for the Brewery Artwalk and neither of us were entirely confident it was going to be complete. I gave myself a pretty gnarly concussion in the studio in early March, but with some pretty intense work we managed to complete the entire quilt in time for it to be hung in Hawke’s loft and be ready for the droves of weekend visitors.

A lot of love went into this quilt, including Hawke’s favorite “woobie” jeans. He’d worn them to the point that my patching was doing no good, so he sacrificed them to the quilt gods and we used them for the top of the wings.

Hawke’s porch above the quilt was  a favorite for many visitors and it was fun to see their reaction when they realized there is an indoor porch!

The number of people who came through the loft was pretty overwhelming, but between the living room theater, the quilt space and the upstairs studio and  bedroom they had plenty of places to wander.  It was still weird to have so many strangers in there all weekend.

Hawke took his time to explain our methods and purpose to so many visitors and Aaron disarmed one visitor after another with his brash humor. I can’t thank them enough; it was really outside my wheelhouse to talk at length about my quiltmaking work and get such positive feedback.  So strange.

We had quite a few fellow Brewery Artist Lofts friends come by (thanks, Binns!) as well as our local security guy (below).

This was my first time participating in the Brewery Artwalk as an artist. It was wonderful. It was overwhelming. It was inspiring. It was exhausting. It was everything I could have hoped for.  An enormous thank you goes to Hawke, whose support I could not have done without.  The collaborative work was amazing and then there was Artwalk.  His love, encouragement, artistic skills, knowledge and handyman skills made it all work out and I can honestly say, this would have never happened on my own. Thank you, Hawke.