making a clean spot.

In starting a business (and also in life) there’s a certain amount of necessary and miscellaneous stuff that starts to accumulate – in piles in my case. Quilting goods pose a similar threat, but my recent issues have had more to do with managing the random boxes, packing supplies, and extra inventory that are starting to take over my life. My recent feature on where I sew planted an organizational seed. It shouldn’t be a secret that I did some much-needed de-cluttering, dusting, and reorganizing in preparation for inviting others to see my space. And since then, I’ve been motivated to take an hour or two here and there to tidy up some other areas.

 

inventory

 

Here’s a look at my inventory. I should have taken a before picture. It was bad. And scary. Ikea has become a good friend in my efforts. The polka-dot boxes may be a bit loud, but they are just the right size for housing my extra stock of patterns. They also add some flavor to the otherwise utilitarian shelf.

boxes

My extra supply of shipping boxes may not look as pretty, but at least they are organized in a way that doesn’t require shuffling through a pile of random shapes and sizes before finding (or not finding) the appropriate one for my needs. It was such a mess, so this is a big improvement.

 

And as I close in on one clean spot, another messy spot opens. I spent a fun weekend away and have a brand new pile of things just waiting to be unpacked. So it goes…

 

more summer sewing.

 

carolyn friedlander feather shirt detail

 

I’ve been obsessed with this fabric. So much so that I think I’ve accumulated a little from each of the different color ways. I thought this ochre version would make a perfect summer shirt, and recently I took some time to knock it out.

 

carolyn friedlander feather shirt

The pattern is copied from one of my favorite ready-to-wear button-ups, so it fits perfectly. The original had sleeves, but I didn’t think I needed those. It’s summer. The shirt came together fairly quickly and with one pleasant surprise – the front repeat nearly lines up. I was shocked. Wish I could say that was because of my mad skills.

And then I’ve also had a recent failure. Remember this knitting project I was eager to start? Well I was finally getting to the end when I realized I had been working from the wrong chart for the body. Instead of maintaining the right shape, I was working from the chart that handled the decrease. Doh! So now, I have this misshapen thing that is far from being rescued. I guess I’ll have to suck it up, take it all out, and start over. In the meantime I picked up the first issue of Noro magazine. Boy does it have some good stuff in there! Maybe I’ll switch over to something in it before picking back up with the shrug.

Happy summer sewing!

.

.

where I sew.

thread spools carolyn friedlander

July means studio tours all month long over at the Pink Chalk blog, and I am LOVING seeing other people’s spaces! It’s exciting for me to be included in the line-up, and today is my day to share. Here‘s the link.

 

Aside from having plenty of natural light, above is my favorite thing about where I sew. Back in the day, my Grandfather had a 5&dime store where he sold all kinds of wonderful goodies. This is a knitting needle display that was used there, and I am so happy to have it. In addition to it’s practicality, I love it’s beautiful style and the family reminder.

 

herringbone card tutorial.

In honor of the holiday and the fact that I’m planning to do lots of sewing today, I thought I’d share a fun, little project with you.

herringbone sewn stationery set_carolyn friedlander

Being a card person, I like to keep several tricks up my sleeve for making my own. Most of my tricks are derived from available options and needs. This particular approach is inspired by a large pile of extra quilt blocks I have sitting in a drawer.

drawer of extra blocks

Oh my. Does anyone else end up with lots of extras??

Sewn cards are one way to use them, and here’s how to do it.

Ok, supplies: Nothing crazy here, just some card stock and a leftover from my herringbone runner. This would make a fitting accompaniment if you are giving the runner as a gift OR you can use it for any other purpose. It’ll be pretty and your friends will like it. As far as card stock goes, Paper Source is my fave – all colors and sizes, flat, plain, and simple.

I maintain a stash.

supplies_carolyn friedlander

First things first: I need to do something about my fabric block. It’s larger than my card, and that won’t work. Oddly enough it is exactly twice the length of the card, so I’ll just cut it in half. You could get crazy and cut it up more to use in a different way or on more cards. Your call.

just the right size_carolyn friedlander

It’s now freshly cut in half, and I need to decide which piece goes with which back.

Maybe this way…

cut in half_carolyn friedlander

…or this way?

or should they go this way_carolyn friedlander

Looks good to me.

Now you can pick out your thread. Keep in mind that you will be seeing it from both sides.

This red-orange looks pretty good here.

match thread_carolyn friedlander

And then how does it look with the other?

thread works here too_carolyn friedlander

Contrast is good, and I’m sticking with it. Otherwise you could switch thread.

Before you start sewing, adjust your stitch length to roughly 3.0. I’m using a straight stitch, but you could get crazy and try a zigzag or something. Just don’t choose a stitch that punctures the paper too much. That would weaken your card, and it could fall apart.

That would be bad.

stitch length_carolyn friedlander

Here’s a tip: Don’t worry about pinning the fabric to your paper. That would give you unnecessary holes. I like to hold it in place with my fingers.

Now you are ready to go. Backstitch a little at the beginning and start sewing…

start stitchin_carolyn friedlander

…needle down and pivot at your corners. Keep sewing…

keep stitchin_carolyn friedlander

…until you get to the end. Backstitch to finish. Trim your threads. Repeat with second card, and…

Voila!

stitched cards_carolyn friedlander

And you can also check out the back.

stitched card backs_carolyn friedlander

I like that you can see the stitching. Usually, I’ll use the box or lines as a guide for my message. In this example, I would probably fit the main portion of my note in the box and then use the top portion to create a fun header.

Then you can pick out an envelope for your first card…

envelope and first card_carolyn friedlander

…and one for the second.

envelope and second card_carolyn friedlander

Finally, think about someone special. Write them a note. Drop it in the mail. Repeat over and over.

Real mail is special, especially when you’ve made it yourself.

Have lots of fun and enjoy the people in your life.

Happy Fourth!