Our friends at Baby Lock need your help! Can you please fill out a quick survey to give your feedback on the Totally Stitchin’ website? As a thanks for your time, Baby Lock is giving one lucky sewist a $250 Visa gift card! That will buy a whole lot of fabric, thread, patterns and more!
This post is written by Amy Garro of www.13spools.com as part of our “Up & Coming Designer Program”, where we introduce you to some awesome, small-time fabric designers we’ve found! Read the program announcement here.
Kelsey at Lovely and Enough stood out to me immediately once I spotted her “Pistachios” print. This is one of those designs that is incredibly versatile because it has both curved and straight lines in it, is a medium scale, and leans feminine and soft on lighter fabrics, yet also masculine on bold on darker fabrics. I mean, seriously genius, right?
After looking at these prints, I just knew the designer behind them was special. I started checking out her blog, and just loved everything about it, and couldn’t get enough of her fabrics. Her prints are very sophisticated in that they are screen printed, but don’t scream it. It’s common to look at a screen-printed fabric and immediately think to yourself, “oh, those are screen printed”. But when I look at these fabrics, that’s not even on my radar – I just get lost in the design. I reached out to her, and am so excited to introduce her to you today as part of our Up and Coming program.
Kelsey is a recent graduate of Wheaton College, IL in both studio art and chemistry. She is currently pursuing a degree in Textile Chemistry at North Carolina State and told me that she “looks forward to the fresh inspiration that Raleigh and dye studies will bring to [her] work”.
And now, I thought I’d invite Kelsey to share a little about herself, her process, and how she arrived at her beautiful business name. Take it away, Kelsey!
When I begin to look around and see other people’s beautiful lives with seemingly more time, less stress, cuter clothes, more prolific sewing rooms, I stop and remember. My life is lovely. And my life is enough. I don’t need more than what I have. Close friends. Comfy clothes. A wonderful family. A burgeoning church. And time and space to sew to my heart’s content. Lovely. Enough.
I work with textiles because they are tactile, meant to be touched. The soft slip of fabric through your fingers, the crisp edge of a perfectly pressed seam, the holes that expose flannel linings. Each speaks of care and process and history. Textiles allow me to explore making emotions and moments tangible. To wrap my arms around my sister from miles away in the cables of an afghan. To capture the lost feeling of big life decisions in angles and juxtaposed stitches. To anchor my dreams for my niece in threads on which she can sit and stand and play. Textiles make the intangibles something that I can grasp.
Pulling from personally designed and hand-printed fabrics, I carry quilts from conception to final binding stitch, combining traditional quilt patterns with modern colors and stitching. From hand-illustrating the designs to printing swatches, I relish the process. I follow the maxim that every choice can transform a quilt, envisioning how the eye could be directed with a line of stitching or a quilt balanced by the turn of a triangle. My fabric designs are inspired by the organic beauty outside my window and fused with the geometry of architecture and Amish quilts to create unique pieces for home and studio.
Wow, what a beautiful reflection on the power of creating!! Thanks so much for sharing with us!
If you loved these photos of Kelsey’s work, I encourage you to check her out – and buy her fabrics!! Here’s a fantastic list of places where you can find her:
And don’t forget that you can look forward to, and follow, my (Amy’s) projects showcasing Kelsey’s fabrics in tutorials, pillows, quilts, and more at www.13spools.com!
Today, we are so excited to feature creative quilter Rebecca Bryan, author of the new book Modern Rainbow: 14 Imaginative Quilts That Play with Color. (Stash Books). Rebecca blogs at Bryan House Quilts.
Thanks for having me! After the initial inspiration to write a book about rainbow quilts, I really had little idea of how exactly one gets a book published. On top of not knowing how to publish a book, I knew it would be a lot of work and take a lot of time. Instead of being discouraged, I just started.
The bulk of the work in a quilting book is the quilts right? So I began by making the quilts I knew I wanted to be in the book. While I was making quilts, I also sketched ideas on graph paper and took notes in my journals. I also researched the whole book publishing process by reading blogs and articles and attending the “getting published” lecture at QuiltCon in 2013. Finally, I began learning graphic design programs (TouchDraw for iPad and Illustrator); each sketch taught me at least one new trick. There was a lot to learn!
At the time, this poem really encouraged me:
2) The rainbow quilts in your book are really stunning! Where do you find your design inspiration?
Thanks so much! I’d say that the quilts are a collection of inspiration over the course of that 6 to 9 month period I described above. Knowing I wanted to create quilts that showed off the glow and radiant goodness of the spectrum, I sketched and sketched while I researched how to submit a book proposal. Some of the designs I started making right away – Rainbow Streak, Rainbow Remix, and Invisible Rainbow. After I had 20 or so designs, I choose what I thought were the 15 best designs for the proposal.
Some of my ideas were for improvisational quilts, some were traditionally inspired, and some I felt were modern. But when I started choosing the top 15 quilt designs, I felt it was necessary to choose a genre. But had I chose one genre, some of my best quilt designs would not have made the cut. I found that to be stressful and wrong. Finally, it dawned on me that I didn’t have to choose one genre and maybe multiple genres could be a strength (or at least a unique aspect) of the book. Then I felt better.
3) With four kids at home, how did you find time to write a book, create and sew?
While I was writing the book, I was able to work only in small bits during the day, and mostly during nap time. Much of the work occurred after bedtime, from 8pm – 2am. So basically I just stayed up until 2 in the morning to meet my weekly deadlines! NO BIG DEAL! <insert slightly crazy giggling> My weekly deadlines were self-imposed and a big part of how I kept myself on track. My goal was to finish a quilt – top and instructions – each week. It was a delirious couple of months!
Now that the kids are a bit older and the big kids are in school, I have more time to work during the day. Of course, I’m not in book writing mode so things are more balanced. I still try to work only while the littles are napping; in the morning we will hang out and play, or run errands, or go to the gym, etc. And then a couple of nights a week I’ll spend sewing. Right now, I’m trying to cap my working hours to 20 hours a week, but that really depends on deadlines.
4) Do you have a favorite quilt in the book? What’s the story behind it?
I have several favorites! I shared about Wavelength, the cover quilt, in the most recent issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting, so I can share about another favorite. Really I have a bunch of favorites – I hope that’s ok!? As an aside, I remember in art class in high school I couldn’t stand my work.
So let me tell you about Rainbow Streak. Rainbow Streak (pictured above) was one of the first quilts I completed for the book and it was the written project sample I submitted in my proposal. The inspiration comes from the traditional Streak of Lightning quilt pattern; I thought it would be fun if each streak was a rainbow. Using enough fabrics, you can capture a nearly seamless transition from color to color. There’s something about that seamless rainbow that makes it just jump off that gray stormy background. Choosing the fabrics for this quilt was fun fun fun. Also, the quilt is unique and a bit challenging, but not overly difficult. So it was fun to make but not a booger to piece. Plus, did you see the binding? Special bindings always add a special touch.
5) What’s next for you?
Apart from the staying up until 2 am, I really enjoyed the whole book writing process so I’d love to write another book. I’ve been publishing a few patterns independently, so I’m working on adding to my pattern business. Also, I’d like to expand my teaching.
Follow the blog tour!
Today, we are proud to announce a partnership between Craft Buds and 13 Spools to bring you an awesome new program:
Let’s face it, this industry is tough to get a foothold in, especially for aspiring fabric designers! But luckily, as sewers (and consumers of beautiful fabric), we have the power to lift up those artists who are truly amazing, even if they aren’t “big-time” yet.
For the next year, we’ll be following some awesome fabric designers. We’ll learn about their process, see samples of their fabrics, and what inspires them. Along the way, Amy of www.13spools.com will make some real life projects showcasing the fabric, so you can really get an idea of how they’ll look in your own work.
We encourage you to support these designers in the start of their journeys by using their fabrics, sharing about them with your friends, following them on Instagram, and by commenting on these posts with your feedback. And if you are a textile artist/designer with a unique body of work, but not yet signed with a fabric company, or know of someone who fits that description, please contact us!
Last but not least, we want to know – what part about the fabric design process are you curious about? Please leave a comment telling us what you’d love to hear about from the designers!
With a baby at home, I always appreciate a sewing project I can start and finish during my son’s nap time. These 1-hour sewing projects include quick gifts, quilted items for your home and more fresh sewing ideas to get you inspired when you only have a little bit of time to sew.
Download the free patterns now, or Pin them for later! Happy sewing!
1. Easy Lined Zipper Pouch
Once you get the hang of sewing zippers, this pretty lined pouch will take you less than 1 hour to sew… maybe even 30 minutes! Make one for a friend, yourself or a child. This pouch is great to help keep small items organized inside your purse (like gum, mints, lipstick, etc.).
2. The Hour Basket
Do you have 1 hour to sew? If so, you can make this pretty, lined storage basket with fabric handles! Use it to store your prettiest fabrics, your child’s books or even Easter eggs. This basket took me just around 40 minutes to sew, and I’ve made two more in different sizes using Kelly’s fast and fabulous tutorial.
3. Quilted Pot Holder
Do you love to cook (or know someone who does)? Treat yourself to an extra-large, pocketed pot holder for the kitchen. This easy hot pad pattern takes only 2-3 fat quarters, depending on how scrappy you’d like to make it. You can make your own bias binding to add an extra dose of cuteness, or used packaged binding to make the project even quicker!
4. Tote Bags
If you love reusable grocery totes, but don’t love the look of the ones you get from the store, you can sew your own with this quick and easy tutorial! Make two sizes (big or small), and you’ll happily carry books, clothes and other belongings wherever you go.
5. Charity Smocks
Here’s a sewing project that will bring warmth to a family in need! These teeny, tiny NICU smocks are designed to fit babies weighing 3 to 5 pounds. When babies are in the NICU, it can really be a gift to the parents to see their little ones wearing some sort of clothing. (With all the monitors & wires, clothing is difficult to get on.) Make one to donate to your hospital’s neonatal unit.
6. Number Bean Bags
We love quick sewing projects, and this kid’s toy offers you a chance to use all of those fun fabric scraps in your collection! Make some easy applique bean bags with this free sewing pattern,
7. Car Trash Bag / Reusable Lunch Bag
Does your car collect clutter? Receipts and gum wrappers be gone (poof!) with this easy, 1-hour car trash bag sewing tutorial. As a bonus, you can make another one to carry your lunch to work.
8. Reversible Table Runner
This is the perfect beginner-friendly sewing pattern to add a little bit of color and livelihood to your dining table. Choose a home decor fabric, quilting cotton, linen or satin, depending on how formal you’d like your table decor.
9. Summer Headbands
Do you want to do some summertime sewing? These two headbands are simple to sew, and they will help you look great this summer for all of your outdoor adventures. Best of all, they only take an hour to make!
10. Boxy Quilted Pouch
Using just two fat quarters (one for the lining and one for the zipper), this free boxy pouch pattern is easy to sew (even for beginners)! With no lining to sew, the quick pouch is great for storing cosmetics, pencils, sewing supplies and more.
11. Rainbow Dinner Napkins
How fun would it be to set the dinner table with these beauties?! Whip up a set of coordinating dinner napkins with professional mitered corners for your next dinner party. This pattern is easy and fat-quarter friendly!
12. 15-Minute “Burrito” Pillowcase
What’s the burrito method? You’ll just need about 1 yard total of fabric and 15 minutes to sew a pretty pillowcase for your bed with this magic sewing trick! Learn how to finish the seams with a sewing machine or serger with this free pillowcase pattern.
What are your favorite 1-hour sewing projects?
I thought it was time to host another craft swap! This time, we will be swapping low volume plus blocks.
These quilt blocks are easy and relaxing to sew, especially if you pre-cut your fabrics! Beginners can sew this blocks, and you can choose to sew and swap as many blocks as you’d like. You’ll get back the same number in return. I’m planning to use mine to make a queen-sized bed quilt, so I’m going to make a lot.
About the Block
The block is 11 3/4″ unfinished, and it uses charm squares for the corners. The background is made of scrappy low volume fabrics … mostly prints, and a few white, cream or grey solids are fine. Make sure that the background and the plus fabrics read very differently when you lay them out.
The plus features a bright, single-color print, such as this pink herringbone! Any color of the rainbow, including dark neutrals like blacks, dark greys, and browns are okay for the center.
All fabrics should be quilt-shop quality, modern FUN fabrics! (Robert Kaufman, Moda, FreeSpirit, Etc.).
I estimate that you’ll need this many blocks for each size quilt:
Mini: 9, 12 or 16 blocks
Crib: 24 blocks
Lap: 30 blocks
Twin: 48 blocks
Full: 56 blocks
Queen: 72 blocks
Photo Credit: Rachel Wooden Spoon on Flickr
I’ve gathered some finished quilts for block inspiration! Check out this rainbow-licious version by Rachel. She used some great pops of color! If you join this swap, you’re most likely to get a rainbow of plus blocks back.
Photo Credit: Wombat Quilts
Imagine a whole quilt with dark blue or black plus blocks!
Photo Credit The Sewing Chick
Look at how warm and cozy this block looks in yellows, oranges and pinks!
Photo Credit: Rachel Wooden Spoon on Flickr
See the rest of Rachel’s blocks and finished quilt HERE!
Here’s how to make the block:
Low Volume Fabric:
– 4 squares 5″ x 5″
– 4 squares 2 3/4″
Plus Fabric (Please Stick to One-Color Prints!):
– 2 squares 2 3/4″
– 1 rectangle 7 1/4″ x 2 3/4″
Step One: Join two of the 2 3/4″ backgrounds to the 2 3/4″ color blocks. Press the seams open.
Step Two: Join the strip you’ve just sewn to the 5″ backgrounds. Press the seams open.
Step Three: Sew the remaining 2 3/4″ backgrounds to the long colored strip. Press the seams open.
Step Four: Join the three rows to make a 11 3/4″ unfinished block. Press the seams open.
If you have to repeat a low volume fabric in the same block, that’s fine! Just make sure all big squares are different and all the small squares are different, and that no matching prints touch. By the time we’ve swapped, everyone will have a good variety of low volume fabrics in their finished quilt!
Who wants to swap blocks with us?
1. You will get back the same amount of blocks that you mail in. You can make any number of blocks, but I’m going to recommend sets of 12 blocks (12, 24, 36, or 48)!
2. Ship your blocks to me by May 10th (Mother’s Day), 2015. This will allow you to sew about 1 block a week if you want to swap 12, two blocks for 24, etc. Once you sign up, I’ll e-mail you my address!
3. All blocks must come from a SMOKE FREE home.
4. You must include return postage. Please send a self addressed stamped envelope; it’s much easier for me.
5. We’re going to keep this swap to the U.S. and Canada only! Sorry international friends. This will be my first swap in awhile, and I don’t want to overwhelm myself.
6. Please mail your blocks in a gallon zip-sealed plastic bag. Please put a note inside of a gallon bag with:
A. Your Name
B. Your Mailing Address
C. Your Email
D. How many blocks you sent.
E. Any special requests you have for the blocks you get back. (“I hate orange.” “Anything is great!” “No florals please.” “Masculine prints only.” “Love pink!”) I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to adhere to this, but I’ll try!
7. We’ll share our blocks on Instagram with the hashtag #lowvolumeplusswap
8. Also, please spread the word and invite your friends, because the more participation we get, the more variety of blocks you’ll receive!
Sign up for the swap here! Signing up is not a commitment to send blocks; it is the list that I will send my address to.