Gleaned Pillow Shams using Rin and Alturas patterns.

I love making pillow shams. They are less of a commitment than a full quilt, and yet they can make just as much of an impact. Here’s a look at some Gleaned pillow shams using my Rin and Alturas patterns.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Towards the tail end of losing power after Hurricane Irma in September, I had a hankering for some Rin appliqué. You’d think that I would have been hand appliquéing it up without power, but the truth is that so many other things were on my mind (mainly my lack of a roof) that I really didn’t have the mindspace or time for it. Sadly. This is why it was nice when I started thinking about appliqué again towards the end of that first week.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

I made a pair of these guys, because I really like how a pair can show off how the variety of shapes can play together. And, a pair is also good for expanding on your fabric combos.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s something about exploring a fabric theme across two shams that’s really fun. You have more room and opportunity than just doing one sham, but not too many opportunities like when picking out an entire quilt where it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the picking process.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

With this set, I had this lime-y, pale purple-y, olive group in mind with a fun mix of textures between the prints and the fabrics themselves. All of the printed fabrics are my new stuff coming out, and then there’s a bit of Essex linen in there too. The main print from gleaned that I wanted to use has a special edge design, which is always fun to play with in appliqué. There’s some of that happening here.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s also more happening on the back with the backing panels.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Finding fun finding places to use these special edges is always enticing to me, but of course, you can definitely use the fabric normally as well.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Cording on a pillow sham is a great place to kick it up a notch. In this case, I like how it also ties the two shams together by using the same fabric.

Gleaned Cording . Carolyn Friedlander

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

My Alturas pattern was another motif that had been on my mind.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Again, I liked the idea of making a pillow sham, because it would be a great size to play with and the end results could be used to spruce up anything.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I used the same print as with the Rin shams for the appliqué but in another colorway.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

With the Alturas design especially, I like using fabrics that change and offer new ways for seeing the appliqué motif itself. Even though all of the shapes are the same, the way the fabric can be used makes them look a little bit different.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Oh, and BTW, with the size and shape of Alturas, I’ve long searched for the right size scissor. It’s a small-ish shape that is cut multiple layers at once, so sometimes a big scissor can feel a bit too big. As soon as Kai released smaller sizes in their 7000 series, I knew one of them would be perfect for cutting this shape. This is the reason that I decided to offer this size and this one in my shop. Either are great, and I’m constantly on the fence about which size I like better.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

For the backing panels, I went with a gray theme using two prints from Gleaned.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

There we go. So many new pillow shams!

Gleaned Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Patterns : Rin, Alturas

Fabrics : Gleaned, Essex Yarn Dye in Olive (Robert Kaufman)

Some Tips:

+ I’m recently a big fan of the Ikea FJADRAR cushion insert.

+ Use a stiletto when sewing cording–it’ll save your fingers from danger! (Ask me how I know…)

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

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Traverse Bag in Gleaned.

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

Making a Traverse Bag (pattern by Noodlehead) was a long time coming. Ever since releasing the pattern earlier this year, it had been on my list. Before the hurricane, before the rush of Quilt Market and most definitely before the start of the holidays, I managed to do it. Here’s a look at my Traverse Bag in gleaned.

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

It’s always fun picking fabrics for a bag, but I know that this part can also be daunting! I knew that I wanted to use the camo print from gleaned as the main print, and so it was just a matter of figuring out what else to use, including the hardware–that needed to be picked too! Noodlehead has special hardware kits available (see here), which is exactly what I used. It made it SO easy. She finds great pieces and offers a variety of color and finish options. Win win.

As for the other fabrics, I used some of the new coordinates from my architextures collection, including one of the new text prints as the lining. There’s something about light-colored linings in bags that I’m always interested in using. Lighter linings make it much easier to see inside when you’re inevitably going to grab something, not that there are too many places for things to hide in this bag–a major pro!

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

Also on the inside, I used one of the prints from gleaned that has a special edge treatment. Special edge designs are fun to work with, and here you can see how I fussy cut it for the inside pocket.

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

I also took advantage of that in the front flap–fun stuff!

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

This bag is a thoughtfully compact bag by design. There are 2 size options in the pattern, and both are geared toward keeping things light and tight. This size is the smallest option–the mini. It’s great being able to carry all of your necessities, while keeping them organized. Plus, I like that it’s a crossbody style which means it’s hands free.

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

As far as pockets and compartments, there’s a snapped pocket on the front, a larger-zippered section with small slip pocket inside, and then even a small zippered pocket on the back. For a bag that isn’t super big, there are plenty of spaces to keep your stuff tidy.

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

The front flap is also the perfect spot to incorporate some cording. I’m always a fan of that. If you get the hardware set from Noodlehead, a strip of cording is included. How handy!

Traverse Bag in Gleaned Fabric

Traverse Bag in Gleaned FabricPattern : Traverse Bag by Noodlehead, mini size

Hardware : Here (from Noodlehead)

Fabric : Gleaned and new Architextures coordinates

(photos by Alexis Wharem of Greenprint Photography)

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Aurifil Thread Sets in the Shop.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

Thread makes such a difference in a project. I’ve known this to be true as soon as I made the switch from using whatever random thread that I had on hand to making a deliberate effort to use what wouldn’t cause me problems. I know, that sounds super obvious, but as I think we’ve all experienced, you don’t really know this until you’ve experienced it first hand.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

After trying many types and brands of thread, I landed on using Aurifil for most everything. I discovered that I had fewer problems with tension, thread breaking and overall consistency.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

When the opportunity to put together some sets came up, it was an easy decision, because it was already what I was using. My first sets came out a few years ago, and more recently, I’ve been able to put together some new ones, which I’ve finally added to my shop.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

The 50wt cotton is my go-to for

+ basting (in appliqué)

+ any piecing (by machine or sometimes hand–although I’ll hand piece with 80wt also)

+ machine quilting

It’s reliably consistent, strong and the colors are beautiful. With the sets, I also try to cover a useful range that can work with many different projects, coordinate with my fabrics and just be pretty to look at.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

There’s a larger set with 12 big spools, as well as a smaller set with 10 small spools.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

I basically live off of the larger spools, and the smaller spools I find to be handy for travel–or if you’re just wanting a taste of a certain color.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 50wt Thread Favorites

For appliqué, I’m a MASSIVE fan of the 80wt cotton. I do a lot of appliqué, and it is always what I use. Always.

In fact, I was able to test their 80wt thread while it was under development, and I was so hooked that I basically refused to use anything else even if the color didn’t work. At the time, I only had 1 color–which was similar to the cream (top, right) in the pic below, and in using it, I realized that the fineness meant fewer colors could serve a wider range of needs.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

It’s great, because you get the benefits of it being all cotton, but a thinness that totally disappears into your project.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread AppliquéUsing a thinner thread makes you appear more skillful, because your stitches disappear more easily while still being quite strong.

I thought really hard about this set, because I wanted the most essential range of colors that would be ready for most any project you were working on. With handwork being so portable, the smaller spool is great, and having the right mix of colors is even better.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

And by the way, I recently discovered that the smaller petal pouch (by Noodlehead) fits these spools perfectly!

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

This last set is a really fun one–it’s a combination of 12wt cotton and aurifloss.

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

The 12wt cotton is great for big stitch quilting. I love the look and feel of textured, colorful big stitches, and this thread just glides through a project.

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

The Aurifloss is great for embroidery or other embellishments, like what I did here on some Crew pincushions.

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

Aurifil 12wt Aurifloss Set . Carolyn Friedlander

All of these sets can be found in the shop, and all of them come with free domestic and discounted international shipping.

Happy sewing!

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