Scaffold Quilt

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My first line of fabrics, Fanfare, reprinted this fall and included a line of coordinating flannel solids. As soon as they arrived on my doorstep I felt they deserved their own quilt, the combination of these solid pastels seemed just right. I love plus patterns in quilts, and I wanted the pluses to run into each other a bit (inspired by this design, though I’m not sure…is that a quilt? Or a piece of art? not sure). The result is that the narrow bands remind me of scaffolding.

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When it comes to making quilts, I enjoy the piecing but I am not a huge fan of the actual quilting bit (by which I mean the stitching through the layers to hold everything together), so the quilting was pretty spare: just a simple stitch-in-the-ditch type situation along the narrow bands to form an allover tic-tac-toe stitching pattern. I also like how the back turned out — four simple squares to complement the front — not too boring, but not too fussy.

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As far as creating the quilt top, I think anyone with basic piecing skills could replicate this — it’s 16 blocks, and the smaller squares are 6.5″ and the narrower strips are 2.5″ wide. The final quilt is maybe about 60″ square? Dunno — didn’t measure and didn’t do the math.

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Anyway, I love how modern and uncomplicated this turned out. Baby quilts are my favorite kind of quilt — pretty quick to piece together, easy to quilt (no long-arm needed, though I do use a walking foot), and they make great gifts (this one in fact is headed to a cousin’s new baby). Aren’t flannels the perfect cosy fabric?

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Striped Double Gauze Outfit for Stylo

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I want to walk you through each of the four Cotton + Steel outfits I designed for the latest issue of Stylo in a bit more detail here on the blog, starting with this one:

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The garments in this outfit were made with Bespoke Double Gauze, part of the Fall 2014 Cotton+Steel lineup that will be in shops early next year. I was looking for something new and different to feature my patterns in the Stylo spread, so when I contacted Melody Miller to ask about using Cotton+Steel garment fabrics for the shoot, I was thrilled to hear they were going to have a line of double gauzes. I believe I have mentioned in the past that wearing double gauze is like wearing pajamas. I selected a couple of quilting cotton fabrics for the shoot as well, but the double gauzes are definitely the main attraction here, and I love how they worked with my patterns.

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Charlie Tunic with handstitching

I’d never made a Charlie Tunic out of double gauze before, but now I’m wondering if I’ll ever sew it out of anything else. Making this one made me fall in love all over again with the Charlie pattern. It’s so comfortable and cute, especially when sewn out of a fabric so soft and easy to wear. Since I designed the pattern a few years ago, I’ve noticed that I’ve started streamlining the construction a bit by using just one button loop, skipping the side vents, and flattening the bottom of the front placket which makes for a more minimal, modern look. In addition, this version features the neckline placket on the inside instead of the outside, so the Purl Cotton stitches which hold the edges of the placket in place became the visual interest of this piece.

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Moon Pants

I originally intended just to make a few pairs of Parsley Pants to coordinate with everything, because that pattern is just so gosh-darned versatile. But as soon as I had the double gauze in hand, I wanted to design something more dramatic, less practical, and so the these harem pants were born. I’m so excited about how these turned out, and how much Clementine loves them — they are super comfortable and roomy. I made two versions of these pants for the shoot; the other one has a separate cuff and a pocket shaped like a crescent moon (I’ll show you those soon!!), so that’s where the name “Moon Pants” came from. For those of you who love to hack patterns, I’m not gonna lie, you could definitely hack Parsley or any other basic pant pattern for that matter to create this style by adding width, cuffs or elastic casings. But I’m starting to realize the value of offering a new pattern ready-made, and so I’m planning this for my next children’s pattern release. I’ve realized that many people (including myself, often) just don’t have the time or patience to figure out modifications for everything, so I hope there will be people who will appreciate this new pattern.

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Headband

This headband was a rectangle of double gauze, sewed together along one long side and then turned right-side out. Then I tucked the ends in and pleated them around a strip of fold-over elastic, which I top-stitched in place. Voila, new headband to match! I have to say, it makes me want to cry a little at how BIG Clementine looks with her hair pulled back. Waaaaaaah!! Where is my little baby girl!??!

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OK! That’s it for this outfit — feel free to post any questions you might have to comments and I’ll try to answer them all. You can see the entire spread, complete with the other outfits I designed, in Stylo Issue 3 (my spread starts on page 99)!! Thank you so much to Tashina and Karen for their help sewing up these looks, and to Jess and Celina for their amazing work on this issue!

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Fanfare Fat Quarter Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for the enthusiasm! Winners will be announced soon.

Now that the weather is cooling off, it’s the perfect time to sew with flannels. And guess what? My Fanfare Flannels line for Cloud9 Fabrics is going into its third printing! To help celebrate, my sponsor Fat Quarter Shop is offering up two fat quarter bundles featuring prints and solids from the Fanfare 2014 collection.

The Pomp Bundle includes 10 fat quarters in the quieter colorways from the line.
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The Shine Bundle has 7 fat quarters and features all of this year’s new colors!
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For a chance to win one of the bundles, leave a comment telling us what you’d make with this squishy flannel! Include your preference (if you have one) between Pomp and Shine, and we’ll see if we can accommodate.

To be entered in the drawing, leave ONE comment on this post by 10pm EST on Thursday, November 13, 2014. Two winners will be randomly selected, assigned a fat quarter bundle, and contacted via email to provide a mailing address. Each winner will receive one of the bundles listed above by mail. Void where prohibited by law.

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My big fat Quilt Market post

It’s been a few weeks since I got back from Fall Quilt Market in Houston, and I thought I’d round up a few of the things I enjoyed this time around. Sadly, I did miss a bunch of great stuff since I only had my phone (this was the first year I left my camera at home), so please don’t be offended if I didn’t include your stuff, awesome designers who I missed!!! I always enjoy seeing the booths and the new fabrics at Quilt Market, at least in the handful of booths that are modern, and it’s always fun to catch up with other designers and fabric shop owners. My new line Small World was also debuting on strike-offs at the Cloud9 booth, so of course I was also shamelessly showing those off. They have their own post right here if you want to see them. Also, please note that I’m not going to link to all the lines/designers in this post, because otherwise I’d never get this post published. You understand.

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Ok, so what did I love? Carolyn Friedlander’s stuff was amazeballs as usual:

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The Kokka booth is always a little overwhelming but I loved the dress on the right:

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Ellen Luckett Baker’s Charms line for Kokka is really great. Metallics and voile and canvas!! Love the persimmon and sheep prints the mostest.

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Cotton+Steel had a fantastic follow-up to their debut lines earlier this year, including my absolute fave, the double gauzes. Which had their own booth, complete with some Made By Rae samples (can you spot them??). The samples I made for Stylo ended up in the booth so that was very fun.

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Dying over this octopus lawn designed by Sarah Watts for Cotton+Steel:

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One of my favorite Melody Miller prints is back (so are the viewmasters!!):

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I wish I had gotten better photos of Alison Glass’ Handprinted collection; I’m dying over the plus prints. Her entire booth was gorgeous.

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Some great organic knits from Monaluna:

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Birch also had some fantastic new organic knits, including another line of Charley Harper (yay!!), but I didn’t get any good photos.

Katy Jones has a new line, Priory Square, with Art Gallery and was autographing books like a boss. Also: fun quilt!

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April Rhode’s new line, Wanderer, is fantastic. I loved the faux camper look she had over in the Art Gallery booth.

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Also from AGF, Leah Duncan’s new line Morning Walk is so great. She makes some of my very favorite designs.

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I really need to make one of these yarn fabric thingys:

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I can’t stop thinking about this new baby layette sewing pattern set from Green Bee Patterns:

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Fun GeoPop canvas prints from Emmie K for Robert Kaufman, one print was even made up in my square floor pillow tutorial!

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I also loved a bunch of lines at Cloud9; I know this is going to sound biased, but they’ve really gotten some amazing designers this year. One is Elizabeth Olwen, and I wish I had managed to get a good photo of her stuff because it is really great. Another fave is Jessica Jones; her line Time Warp is coming out soon on barkcloth, which is perhaps my new favorite substrate:

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This Butterick coat in Time Warp (sewn by my friend Karen LePage woot!) is crazy cool:

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and Biology from Sarah Watson.

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And of course it’s always a thrill to see my own lines still going strong over in the Cloud 9 booth. Yay!!

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OK, now for my thoughts on Quilt Market in general: The first time I attended Quilt Market in Kansas City in the spring of hmmm can’t remember now (2012?), I found it to be immensely fun and exciting; I find that the more I attend, the less this is true. I’m pretty sure the big reason this time was having a baby attached to me at all times — there are no strollers allowed on the QM floor, which is another rant for another time — so I wore him the whole time and got pretty tired, much as I love my little guy. It’s also getting harder for me to justify the cost of flying out and staying in a hotel for a few days. Showing up to see all of the samples we’ve sewn at the studio for various booths is fun; but that alone definitely does not justify the trip.

In the beginning, I attended because I needed a printer for my print patterns, to bring my fabric design portfolio to various manufacturers, and because as a blogger I felt that I had the ability to draw more attention to modern fabric designers with my blog, and I wanted to support those designers as much as I could. The trip had the added benefit of allowing me to meet shop owners who I could connect with.

As time passes, though, the benefit of attending decreases as it becomes less likely that I will make new connections, if that makes sense. I know that may sound blunt, but I want to mention these things because I’m becoming more convinced of how important it is for creatives who are in business to talk about the costs of things, and not just do things for free or for fun, or just because they “love it.” While I do love being a creative business-person, I want to encourage those who are thinking of trying to make a living through design to be realistic about the numbers. Recent blog posts by Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps (“An Inside Look at What Fabric Designers Earn“) and Kristin Link of Sew Mama Sew (“Let’s Talk about this: Do what you love and the money will follow“) about the creative industry are REALLY good reads if you find these topics interesting.

Anyway, I want to outline some of the reasons I go because I think in the past I’ve made it sound like I go just to go — that’s not exactly true; it’s always been a business decision in one way or another. It’s not always the *best* business decision for me, but sometimes you learn that kind of thing the hard way.

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if you need me I’m the one curled up in a ball under the bed

I found the past couple weeks to be pretty overwhelming for many reasons, most of which were predictable when you have a busy life with three kids (traveling with an infant, sick kids, husband with a start-up), but one or two things in particular threw off my orbit and it began to feel like I’d bit off more than I could chew with this whole working-mom-of-three gig. I posted this photo earlier this week on Instagram with a caption that pretty much summed it up:

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“Toothbrushing with my babies, who both got haircuts today. Tomorrow I will clip their fingernails. Lately I feel like I can’t quite stay on top of things with three kids. Appointments, homework, travel, sickness, solid foods, laundry, weight checks…feels like I’m on the brink of chaos. Guess I just have to try to keep it together, one day at a time.

I thought I should share it here too, just gotta keep it real. I still haven’t clipped their fingernails. I too only have 24 hours in my day just like everyone else and surprise surprise there’s really only so many plates I can keep in the air at any given time. It’s fine; the fact that I’m posting today is probably evidence of that, I’m not really on the floor in the fetal position. And honestly I knew it was going to be like this when I decided to have a third child, and it will probably be this way for a while yet, and that is going to have to be OK. But still. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t sometimes frustrating.

Occasionally when I meet people who have been following my blog for awhile they’ll say things like “I just wonder how you do it all” or “wow you’ve really been busy lately!” when I feel like I’ve been doing zilch. It’s a good reminder to me that people both see ALL of my collective work at the same time here AND see only a very small glimpse into my real life at any given time. So if I only ever share awesome projects! new fabric lines! and wowee zowee stuff, it can look (unintentionally) like I’ve somehow got my shit more together than anyone else. I’ve tried to blog about  balancing work life and home life at various times in the past, so I hope I’ve been somewhat transparent about how I fit everything in, but my kids are young and things change all the time, so I’m constantly readjusting my priorities and how I spend my time. And sometimes it just feels crazy no matter how hard I try.

Also: the feeling of “I just can’t keep it together” isn’t exactly unique to this phase of my life; it has been something I’ve felt on and off all of my life, it’s just that now instead of comparing myself to those annoying classmates in high school who seemed to be good at everything and feeling a sense of despair, or getting frustrated when I bounced a check or forgot to pay my bills back when I was first working after college, it’s now all about figuring out what things I need to focus on and what things to let slide. Like for instance right now there are three little people who need most of my attention most of the time, so that’s really priority numero uno. Jess runs the MBR show work-wise, just in case you were wondering, and THANK GOODNESS for that because otherwise I would really go off the deep end. I’m lucky to have someone so capable.

Anyway, it’s no bigs, just wanted to share. So many of you are also “in the trenches” — whatever that may mean for you — and I reckon many of you know how that feels. I hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend!!!

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