Best of Quilt Market: Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud 9

I’ve decided to do my Quilt Market blog posts a little differently this year; instead of posting Quilt Market pics back in May (which is when the most recent Quilt Market was held, in Portland), I figured it might be more fun to see the fabrics and booths WHEN they are available. That way you don’t have to wait three months until you can go out and buy them! Since most of the fabrics that were shown at Quilt Market this year had July and August release dates, it seemed like it might be fun to show them off on the blog now that they’re hitting shops or already available. How does that sound?

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Let’s start with one of my favorite designers (and friend!), Rashida Coleman-Hale. I am a huge fan of Rashida’s designs, and I’ve already sewn with a number of the Tsuru fabrics already, including one of my favorite Washi Dresses to date. Her new line, Koi, is just as amazing and is now arriving in shops (as of this week, I think)! These pics show her amazing booth at Quilt Market Portland, complete with bits of color, the sweetest samples sewn up in Tsuru and Koi, and a vintage newsprint wall. I understand the newsprint concept was completely impromptu, after her initial wall plan fell through. I loved the effect of the yellowed newsprint on the walls!

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This booth showed both her Tsuru and Koi lines, and Rashida had swatches of voile in the booth as well (Koi will be printed in a few prints on canvas AND voile, in addition to the main quilting cotton line…woot!!).

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As you can see, I coordinated well with the Tsuru chair.

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Love this girl!!! And love the new line. Koi is available now in online and local fabric shops — you can check the sponsor links on my blog for Koi and Tsuru (which is still around in certain prints here and there)! You can see the whole line over at Cloud 9 as well.

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Arrow Dress for Quilt Market

I just arrived in Portland today for Quilt Market! Quilt Market is a trade show for the quilting and sewing industry to show off new fabric lines and products to shop owners and press. In addition to seeing The Fabrics (one of my favorite reasons to go!), I get to meet tons of great people who are all passionate about sewing. This may be strange for me to say as someone whose business is almost entirely online, but there is still absolutely NO replacement for meeting people face-to-face and talking shop in person. I have gotten invaluable advice, feedback and information at each Quilt Market I have attended, and this has really helped me grow my leetle business (which feels less and less “leetle” every day, actually). The other fun thing about Quilt Market this time around is that Cloud9 will be previewing Fanfare, my new line of flannels (coming in August), which I am BEYOND thrilled about, AND all of the Tsuru Geranium Dresses are here on display as well. Yay!!!

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One thing that’s been really fun is making things to wear on the floor when I go. Almost exactly a year ago I was stitching up the very first Washi Dress in Rashida‘s awesome washi tape fabric the night before I left for my first ever Quilt Market. It wasn’t until I wore the dress to a Quilt Market event last spring and got so much positive feedback from everyone that I realized that maybe I should try to do a women’s pattern. When I got home, I started working like crazy on it. That’s where I was a year ago, pre-Washi-hype. It amazes me sometimes to think about that, in retrospect. It’s a little crazy, actually, how much has happened in a year, and I have to tell you that I feel nothing but gratefulness to all of you guys, for how you received that pattern and helped make it a success.

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The Washi Dress is a pretty hard act to follow, but I did make a few new things to wear to Quilt Market this year, including this cute little dress that I wanted to show you today. Melody brought some samples from her new line for Kokka, Ruby Star Polka Dot, to Camp Stitchalot a couple weeks ago, and I ended up swiping a little over a half a yard of this awesome arrow print. I’ve been dying over this design (and, if we must be truthful, the whole line) ever since I first saw Melody’s sneak peeks on her Instagram. It’s debuting at this Market, so don’t worry…you will see tons of pictures of this in my Instagram feed. I’m also completely in love with the ridiculously awesome Staple Dress April made for Melody from the blue version of this print, too. Maybe Melody will wear them at the same time, and we can be twinsies. !!!

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Anyway, when I realized I had just enough fabric to cut it down the middle and make a little dress out of it, I was suddenly crazy-inspired to design something super simple that would really show off the print. I wanted the lace yoke to be see-through, so I didn’t line it, just bound all the edges with off white voile. There are no closures, so it just pulls on over my head, but it’s roomy enough that it works. I hope this does the print justice. I also left the selvage visible at the bottom on purpose so that people could see Melody’s name and the name of the line, and I la-la-LOVE how that looks! That idea was totally a brainchild of my Michigan homegirls at the last local meetup, where I started working on it. You guys are awesome for suggesting that I leave it;  I’m so glad I did!

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This is way more leg than I will ever probably show with this dress, ACK. Hot-cha-cha, you guys {*a little embarrassed*}. I think I will be wearing it with skinny jeans underneath instead. What do you think? Do you love this print as much as I do?

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How to stay sane on the train

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(With a 3 and 6 year old)
(cross-country)
(for 3 days and 2 nights)

We had a ton of fun on our train trip to San Francisco last week! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter (@madebyrae) you probably saw a few pictures from our trip already! We spent one day traveling to Chicago from Ann Arbor, one night in Chicago, three more days (and two nights) on the train, four nights in San Francisco and then flew home. It’s important, I think, to think of your train trip not in comparison to flying (it’s not cheaper, or faster, for sure), but more as a portion of the trip. It’s a great way to spend time with your family and enjoy travel at a slower pace. Here are a few tips from me should you ever decide to take a family train trip.

Coloring pages

To say that you will do a lot of coloring on this trip is a vast understatement. Jan Brett (my mom’s favorite activity site for coloring pages and games) and Mr Printables (my fave!) are both great.


Snacks

Take a bag of snacks along. Pull them out at intervals. If your kids don’t usually have pre-packaged snacks at home, this will be even more novel.

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Get a sleeping car, or two if you can.

Coaching it cross-country is definitely cheaper, but is far less comfortable and fun. Our two cars had a door between them that opened, so it was a suite (see our suite on the Amtrak website) . Each room had a fold down bunk bed and a “couch” that converted to a lower bunk, plus a sink, and shower/toilet (very small, but very nice when littles need to go).

Explore the train.

Exploring your sleeping car alone should take you NO LESS THAN ONE HOUR. There are nightlights, a bathroom, a fold-down bunkbed, and pop-up tables. Make it last. If you burn though that in a half hour you are in trouble. If you can save the rest of the train for day 2, even better.

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Bring small, portable games

These will buy you less time than you think. But if they’re new, and you pull one out each day as a surprise after breakfast, you will thank yourself when the time comes. We had travel bingo and a magnetic story game.

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Books

If I have to tell you this, you really are a novice. Tin-Tin books are light, thin, and take a long time to read. Bonus: the 6 year old will love it.

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Look outside

Play I-spy!

The route that our train, the California Zephyr, took was really stunning. Even the parts of America that are relatively flat were pretty awesome. We crossed the Mississippi the first evening, and there were many canyons, rivers, and mountains along the way. My favorite part (which I should have taken more pictures of!!!) was going through California between the mountains and Sacramento. This is just about the only time of year when northern California is green and not brown, so it was a real treat to go this time of year!

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Pillows!

There are lots of pillows in your room. Hello, pillow pile!

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Dining Car

The dining car is pretty cool. Eat your meals in the dining car. You make reservations for dinner, and breakfast and lunch are first come, first served, with a waiting list when they get full. Bring coloring stuff along here too, as there may be a bit of a wait between ordering and food. The food is not superb. You will manage for a couple of days.

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Observation Car

Wait until Day 3 to let them know that this even exists, if possible. Bring coloring along.

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Take pictures

I asked for an Instax mini for Christmas and the kids really loved taking pictures with it when they pointed out something interesting that they had seen. You can burn through film pretty fast though, so saying “If you see something really interesting, tell me so you can take a picture!” as a requirement to use the camera may be wise.

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I think everyone should travel on a train at some point. The cross-country routes here in the US are a really beautiful way to see the country, no matter which route you take.

Any tips that I missed here that I should know about? Do tell!!!

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We are on a train!

Today is our last day on the train from Chicago to San Francisco! We are on the California Zephyr, which is an Amtrak superliner. You can see what the train is like and what we’ve been up to for the last three days in on my Instagram feed (@madebyrae). We’ll be flying back at the end of the week after we spend a few days in the Bay Area. Fun, fun!!

I’ll be back on the blog soon with some fun sewing projects!

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My Fabric Shop Stops of 2012

There’s a lot of talk these days about “shopping local,” and while I’d love to say I shop locally for my fabric, the truth is that I don’t. I would love to shop more frequently at *my* local shop in Ann Arbor, but sadly they cater to a very different type of sewist than I — one who is more traditional and enjoys a wall full of batiks, for instance — so I have a hard time finding the fabrics I want there (and yes, if you’re wondering, I have offered my feedback, no surprise to those of you who know me in person). Lucky for me, Pink Castle will soon be opening a new modern quilt shop and fabric studio here in Ann Arbor (yippeee!!!) which I am sure to visit on a regular basis. Since they’re not open to the public yet, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite local fabric shops from my travels this past year instead. These places both inspire me to sew and give me hope that sewing will be alive and well in the next generation.

Now first let me say that I do think it is great that we have an online community of sewing enthusiasts who support each other virtually, through blogs and instagram and facebook and such. And I think it’s fantastic that we have such a great selection of wonderful online shops as well, because it makes it much easier for those who do not have local shops or who live far away from civilization to find and purchase fabrics they love. But over the course of a few years, I have been making a concerted effort to turn that virtual community into a real one; to meet my virtual friends in person and to visit as many brick and mortar shops in my travels as I possibly can, so that I can both support those shops and raise awareness by blogging about them. And can I tell you, as fun as making friends on the internet is, it is a bajillion times more fun to finally meet those friends face to face. And so important to have a place to gather, talk and sew.

This year I made a point of visiting local shops that carry a great selection of fabrics and supplies for modern quilters and sewists, and that offer classes to help encourage new sewists and pass on old skills to the next generation. I still have a ton of shops on “the list” that I’d still like to visit yet, of course, and I can’t wait to check off even more of these as time goes on. If you live near any of these shops, I hope you know how lucky you are to have them nearby and that you make a point of visiting them first and frequently!

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Dry Goods Design, Ballard Washington

The most recent shop I’ve visited is Dry Goods Design, just north of Seattle. Dry Goods’ owner, Keli, has just opened Make*Do*Mend, a sewing studio space directly behind the fabric shop where she is now offering a number of classes. As you can see, the sewing studio is absolutely stunning.

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With a modern navy, yellow and grey color scheme, original artwork by Blair Peter of wisecraft, and lovely fabric wall decals, this sewing space is fun and inviting. I was honored to be invited to help celebrate the Make*Do*Mend space’s grand opening earlier last month, so I gave a little presentation on sewing garments. But mostly it was just so fun to be in this space, talking to people and hearing about their latest projects…it made me wish I lived right around the corner.

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The Dry Goods fabric shop space is equally charming, with lots of color, a comfy couch, and plenty of fabrics to keep you busy for a long time.

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See more pics of both the Dry Goods shop and Make*Do*Mend sewing studio here:


Nido, Burlington Vermont

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I visited Nido early last fall (where I gave another talk — see the blog post here) and it did not disappoint! The antique decor and amazing selection make it a must-visit if you are in the Burlington area! In addition to fabrics, Nido carries a wonderful selection of yarns as well.


Purl Soho, New York City

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Purl is another must-visit if you ever find yourself in New York City. I’ve never seen such an amazing selection of Liberty Lawn in one place, and their wall display of fabrics in embroidery hoops is pretty much now iconic. I had the opportunity to stop by Purl Soho a couple of times as part of Heather Ross’ sewing/fabric design weekends that I participated in this past year (see the blog posts here and here).


Whipstitch, Atlanta Georgia

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Though Whipstitch’s owner Deborah Moebes recently transformed her shop space into a dedicated sewing studio for the local Atlanta sewing community (check out her amazing class selection!), these photos of the shop from my visit last March (see the blog post here) are still a lovely visual inspiration to anyone with dreams of ever opening their own space. I can’t wait to go back!!

I hope this little tour has inspired you to go out and support your local shop, or if you don’t have one, support an independently-owned shop that’s local to someone else. They are such an important part of our communities and deserve our support! Do you have a local shop that you love?

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Earplanes

Elliot thinks that name is so funny. Earplanes. I am always amazed at how many people have not heard of these, and after someone inquired on Instagram (Clementine is wearing them in this picture), I thought some of you might be interested.

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You can find these at just about any drugstore, and the “kids and smaller ears” size just fits Clementine, who is now 3 and, as we discovered on the way to and from Florida last month, really knows how to throw a tantrum when the airplane ascends/descends. Also, what’s with the apostrophe in the word “kids?” I know I’m no Punctuation Queen but seriously. I feel like it should be after the “s” or not at all. And Comic Sans. Really???

Anyway, they are soft-ish and have a little filter in them that allows the air to go into and out of your ear canal more gently, so while you still get a little bit of “popping” from the pressure changes, they really help a ton. They won’t really fit kids much younger than three; they need to be old enough to understand and let you put them in and such.

Actually, you want to know my secret weapon for flying with kids under three? SMARTIES. Those tiny little sour candies. I remember when Elliot was one and a half and he’d barely had a piece of candy in his life and we had to fly somewhere. I took a bag of smarties along and used one roll going up, and one roll going down, handing him a single Smarty (?) one by one until we were up in the air. The sour-ness of them makes you swallow more than other candy and they best part is that they make no mess. There’s very little choking hazard because they’re about the size of a cheerio and dissolve quickly (though, don’t give them to a child under one).

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Here are some of the presents my mom gave the kids while we were in Seattle that also came in handy on the plane ride home. She made that cute pencil pouch for Clementine from Gwenny Penny‘s tutorial. Would make a great stocking stuffer, no?

Anyway, I’m sure many of you have travel tricks up your sleeve that I don’t know about, so feel free to share. Plenty of readers still have holiday traveling with small children ahead of them and would appreciate the tips!

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Hey Seattle!

I’m going to be in the Seattle area next week and I’m excited to announce that I’ll be at Dry Goods Design in Ballard on Thursday evening, December 6th, to help celebrate the opening of their new make*do*mend studio space. A sewing studio full of Berninas??? Awesome!!

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Here’s a blurb from Dry Goods: “December 6, 2012 – Open Studio Night with special guest Rae Hoekstra of made-by-rae.com and creator of the famed Washi Dress Pattern. Join us for our first studio night in the new make*do*mend at Drygoods Design space! Rae will be speaking to sewing clothing, tips and tricks on the Washi Dress, fun variations and more. You will also get the first look at the new space, test drive our fleet of Bernina sewing machines, and check out our new selection of notions, supplies and crafting fun. Attendees will save 10% on the Washi Dress Pattern as well. We’ll provide the space and machines and some snacks, you bring yourself! *Special waiver of the $10 reservation for studio night for this date.

I’ll bring along my closet of Washi Dresses and give a short presentation on sewing garments and maybe even do a demo or two of some garment-sewing techniques. There will be machines so bring something along to sew or bind or work on, or just bring your amazing self and hang out and chat. I also heard there might be snacks. It’s going to be really fun!

If you haven’t checked out Dry Goods Design online shop yet you really should — Keli has a great eye for selecting fabrics and has a nicely-curated collection of modern prints. The website is really fun to look around!

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Dry Goods Design is located in Ballard. The address is: 5308 Ballard Avenue NW, Studio One, Seattle, 98107. Please reserve your spot by going to the event page and clicking on the “Join” button to let Keli know you’re coming!

Hope you can make it!!!

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Best of Quilt Market: Anna Maria Horner

Never fond of finishing what I start before the next thing, I pooped out before I had a chance to write all of the “Best of Quilt Market” posts that I wanted to…but I can’t stop thinking about a few other cool things that were at Quilt Market that must see the Light of Blog. Anna Maria’s booth was one of them!

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You already know I love Anna Maria Horner’s fabric designs (hello shower curtain?? And to the two or three ladies who keep emailing me repeatedly to ask if I will sell it, I’m very sorry but it’s not for sale). Her latest line, Field Study, is currently vying for the award of “favorite AMH fabric line” in my heart (with Good Folks, of course. Both lines can be viewed in AMH’s product gallery). I also really fell for this booth because, as someone who loves to sew garments, I’m super happy about the coming-soon Field study voiles and rayons that will work great for sewing garments. See these lovelies? They are the most wonderfully drapey RAYONS. Perfect for skirts, dresses, blouses. YAY! I am giddy with excitement. When. will. they. be. here. ???

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The other fabric I get really excited about is velveteen, and the Field Study velveteens are really, really great. Check out these awesome pillows, with TASSELS. I know. Those are going to take a big chunk out of my fabric budget this year. Oy.

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I also really enjoyed the peek at her embroidery designs from her new hand-sewing book, Anna Maria’s Needleworks Notebook. Really love the pink wall too. I wish I had the guts to paint a room in that color.

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More of my Fall 2012 Quilt Market posts:

Kokka faves
Melody Miller
Carolyn Friedlander
Ty Pennington hilarity

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The Princess and the Pea Dress

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First can I just say, the Gulf of Mexico at sunset is quite possibly the best backdrop for photos that I have ever had. These pics are all unedited (save a couple of crops), taken with a cheap 50 mm lens, no tricks, so fun. Snapping pictures of my daughter playing happily on the beach in something cute I made her in less than a half hour THAT SHE WILL WEAR WITHOUT A TANTRUM = heavenly.

Second. I have owned this Heather Ross Far Far Away Double gauze for more than three years, but it wasn’t until I chopped a bunch of it up for a rainbow quilt that I felt really liberated to really dig into it. A quilt for Clementine was always the first thing I meant to do with it, but now there are plenty of other big chunks of the rest of the collection that I can see already will make divine little outfits for the girl. Fun!

Third. This Florida vacation has not been quite as idyllic as it looks in these pictures and in my Instagram pics. Mr Rae, his parents, Elliot, and I all spent the earlier half of this week suffering from a ridiculously contagious stomach flu that now everyone on this trip except Clementine has had (we’re in Florida this week on an annual vacation with Mr Rae’s entire family. We’ve done this now for four years in a row instead of exchanging gifts for Christmas). My sister-in-law now has something resembling strep. Ack. I don’t think I want to do this again. All that to say, family vacations can be a mixed bag, right?