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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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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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A Few Road to California Favorites

If you’re a quilter, you’ve probably heard of Road to California, held in Ontario, California every January. I’ve wanted to go for years, but never had the opportunity until last week when, for five days, I hung out there in the Shannon Fabrics booth telling people that Cuddle fabrics are beautiful, soft and not nearly as difficult to sew as you’ve been warned.  I also got to talk up garments and blankets made from Embrace, the company’s double gauze fabric.

I always love the opportunity to get out there and chat with other quilters; this was no exception. Annette and I talked with hundreds of people over the time there, handing out patterns and charm squares, answering questions, and being the faces for Shannon Fabrics at Road2CA.

On Wednesday night, before the show officially started, I was back in the classroom and boy, was I thrilled. It’s been months since I’ve taught a class and I have truly missed it. We made up the Be Brave kit and out of 18 students, all but two were able to finish during class. I was so proud of everyone for working with a new-t0-them fabric in a less-than-ideal classroom (the tables were way too narrow so many of us took to the floor for the spray basting). We all had a great time and honestly, teaching feeds my soul. I didn’t even care that it ended at 10pm; I would have kept going if they would have allowed it!

collage of photos from class at Road to California

 

The show happened to coincide with one of the biggest storms So Cal has seen in years, Sunday was a slow, slow day with torrential rains and a chill that invaded much of the convention center. I took advantage of it by checking out quilts and buying a few things for myself (what else is a sewist/quilter gonna do?!).  Here are a few that stood out to me

Wickedly Green” Made and quilted by Deborah Poole of Shelley, ID.
“This quilt was an experiment in linear precision, hence the “Wickedly.” I wanted the majority of the background fills to be lines. It’s kind of fun, the blue thread highlights different areas from different angles of observation, exactly what I was hoping for, and the reason I didn’t us e a lighter weight thread. This quilt has 293 hours of hand-guided quilting that took nearly 8 months to complete.”

Insanity” Made and quilted by Kristin Vierra of Lincoln, NE.
“This quilt is based on a photo of an antique quilt made in the 1800s.  One hundred and thirty 2-inch Lemoyne Stars seem to float across the top, accented by traditional feather and grape leaf quilt designs. All of the stars are appliquéd to the quilt top.”

Summer Lake Sandhills” [detail] Made and quilted by Joanne Baeth of Bonanza, OR.
“Large groups of Sandhill Cranes arrive in early spring in SE Oregon and NE California. Summer Lake is a large refuse with extensive wetlands and a ridge that rises to 7000′ in elevation. The feathers for each of the 34 Sandhills were inked, cut out, and fused one feather at a time. Silk organza fabric was used to create a receding shoreline at the bottom of the quilt.  Bushes and grasses were thread painted.”

Detail from the handwork  of the Tentmakers of Cairo group who had a large display at the event.

As always, I was awed and inspired by the work of others. If you get the chance to visit a local quilt show, do it; it’s always amazing to see the beauty that others create with fabric and thread.