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Best of 2015 + a giveway

It seems like every year goes by in a flash, and 2015 was no exception. While wondering where it all went, I took a look back through my archives to find the best of 2015–an excellent exercise and something I encourage you to do as well, if you haven’t already. There is so much that I forgot happened this year! And although it went by quickly, it still seems strange how much of it seems so far away.

quilt austin house . carolyn friedlander mammoth flannel archer . carolyn friedlander adventures at LACMA adventures at LACMA carolyn friedlander in UPPERCASE carolyn friedlander studio brooklyn tweed boardwalk . carolyn friedlander gingham wiksten tova . carolyn friedlander in the studio for Austin Fox 5 Austin houses class at QuiltCon 2015 . carolyn friedlander carolyn friedlander for patchwork threads linden sweatshirts . carolyn friedlander austin houses quilt pattern . carolyn friedlander outhouse quilt pattern PDF . carolyn friedlander austin house for nichole spring 2015 quilt market . carolyn friedlander handwork is fun . carolyn friedlander spoonflower alder shirt . carolyn friedlander doe coasters . carolyn friedlander the collection quilt . carolyn friedlander a scrappy collection quilt . carolyn friedlander carolyn friedlander in You Inspire Me To Quilt book Doe Wide scout tee . carolyn friedlander Lotta big stitch coasters . carolyn friedlander chambray shorts . carolyn friedlander Handmade Style makeup bag . carolyn friedlander mercer tunics . carolyn friedlander austin houses class at Superbuzzy . carolyn friedlander scrappy poolside tote . carolyn friedlander linen and lawn poolside tote . carolyn friedlander Slow Stitching Retreat in Maine . carolyn friedlander boro . carolyn friedlander ebb quilt pattern . carolyn friedlander everglade quilt pattern . carolyn friedlander envelopes quilt pattern . carolyn friedlander satellite 5 . lynn harris envelopes for elisabeth . carolyn friedlander envelopes signature quilt . carolyn friedlander carkai alturas quilt . carolyn friedlander carkai fabric . carolyn friedlander fall 2015 quilt market . carolyn friedlander scout tee and moji pants . carolyn friedlander everglade pincushions . carolyn friedlander carkai stationery . carolyn friedlander carkai and city cargo duffle . carolyn friedlander carkai crossbody . carolyn friedlander carkai maker tote . carolyn friedlander carkai kiomi top . carolyn friedlander lotta pants . carolyn friedlander carkai fabric . carolyn friedlander

You’ll probably notice a few things that I haven’t shared yet. Keeping up with the sharing may not have been a strength for me in 2015, but I’m hopeful to improve on that in 2016. So stay tuned! I have plenty of stuff to share starting in January.

Otherwise, I really appreciate all of your support this year and want to thank you by doing a giveaway with my 2015 highlights – Austin Houses, The Collection Quilt, Carkai, Envelopes, Ebb and Everglade. To enter, leave a comment below with either enthusiasm for a highlight for you this year and/or something you’re looking forward to in the year ahead. I’ll be picking 6 winners on January 4 at 11am EST. Giveaway now closed. Thank you to all who participated–it was such a pleasure reading your comments!

carolyn friedlander best of 2015


Carkai Gatherer Crossbody Bag by Noodlehead.

This bag–the Gatherer Crossbody Bag (in carkai) by Noodlehead–is worth your while. Truly. Anna Graham continues to be the bag-designing master and (somehow) mind reader who knows exactly what I want–before I even know that I want it.

gatherer crossbody bag in carkai fabric . carolyn friedlander

And for anyone working on last-minute gifts, take note, because the Gatherer Crossbody is quite speedy. In fact, this one might have been made in only a couple of hours before my schoolhouse presentation at Quilt Market. (I had quite the sewing set-up in my hotel room…)

gatherer crossbody bag in carkai fabric . carolyn friedlander

But before I go any further, I need to acknowledge the fact that my version lacks some of the beautiful details you’ll see in the versions that Anna made (see here). Hers are stunning, as usual! In her examples, she has a very sophisticated button stud closure with leather tab, as well as some swivel claps at the strap. I love both details so much, but just wasn’t able to work them into my last-minute situation. However, in future versions, you can bet I’ll be adding them in there. (Alternatively, I was thinking you could use a button, snap or velcro at the flap as well.)

gatherer crossbody bag in carkai fabric . carolyn friedlander

But really, it’s kind of nice to know that you can forgo those things if you aren’t able or wanting to add them in. I’ve been carrying around this version ever since I made it, and the flap is totally functional on its own. It functions so well that it almost makes me think it’d be one of those bags where even with a closure, I may not always be using it. Nonetheless, in future versions, I’ll totally try the post, because I love the look and know it’d be fun to add a new type of hardware installation to my repertoire.

There are so many things that I love about Anna’s work, and this bag is no exception. Her designs have great style, smart function and offer so many opportunities for personalization. With the Gatherer Crossbody, I can already imagine many more directions to take it, in switching up the fabric, maybe doing some piecing or special something to the flap, playing with the hardware…there is so much you can do with it.

gatherer crossbody bag in carkai fabric . carolyn friedlander

When making this bag, I was working from preliminary directions and wasn’t entirely sure if the pocket was for the front or the back. Both seemed to be good spots for it. The front made sense because the piping would look pretty against the flap, plus the flap would keep it closed. But I could also see why it’d be handy to have on the back. There’s always a need for a pocket for sliding those quickly-accessible things (like keys, phone, etc) into when you’re running into the store, and I figured this would be perfect for that. So, I added it on the backside, and have loved using it as my go-to pocket to drop whatever into when on the go. (Note: I now know that the pocket is intended for the front, but it works well on the back too!)

gatherer crossbody bag in carkai fabric . carolyn friedlander

Lastly, I have to mention the size of this bag. It’s perfect. The mind reader in Anna knew that I was looking for a bag that would allow for the essentials and not encourage the pack-rat behavior which is my tendency and something I’ve been trying to avoid. This bag can not only fit everything I need, but the space is situated just right so that all of those things fit together like magic. When I need something, it’s there for me without any digging.

Big thank you Anna for this amazing project! I can’t wait to make many more.

(On a side note, I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and my new aspiration that’s based on Kondo’s suggestion of emptying your purse after you use it, would be to have several of these Gatherers lined up and ready to grab each time I head out the door depending on my mood. After reading that recommendation, I realized that my habit is to use the same bag for months on end, which is fine, but also sad when I realized that I have so many good ones that I’ve made. So why not spread the love and change it up? Plus, this would justify making more of these guys…)

+ Find the free(!) pattern for the Gatherer Crossbody Bag at Robert Kaufman.

+ Follow Anna and her amazingness here.

Carkai has been hitting stores now–happy happy sewing to you! I can’t wait to see all that you make.

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Everglade Pincushions and some Carkai Cards.

When it comes to pincushion making, I have a hard time making just one…

everglade pincushions . carolyn friedlander

Gift sewing is upon us. And even though I can’t always promise punctuality with my gifting, I am a big proponent of the handmade gift. Aside from the obvious, it also beats going to the mall or getting sucked in to the black hole of online shopping…

Having been slightly obsessed with the smallest blocks in my new Everglade pattern, I knew that I wanted to make some everglade pincushions for some friends. These guys are so much fun…and fast…and addictive when using them to explore new fabric pairings.

Directions to make them are included in my new Everglade pattern. As for fabric, I used mostly carkai, except for some of Anna Graham’s Rainwalk fabric in the one below. (Turns out it and carkai are big friends. No surprise.)

everglade pincushions . carolyn friedlander

My favorite pincushion tip comes from Amanda Jean Nyberg (in this post). She suggests quilting the top panel of your pincushion to enhance the fullness. It’s SUCH a good idea and couldn’t be easier. Just grab a scrap of batting (bonus if you have wool because the lanolin is great for your needles), quilt it to the top panel (I did some basic big stitch quilting for added color and texture) and assemble pincushion as you normally would.

everglade pincushions . carolyn friedlander

With any gift, it’s nice to have a card, and surely you’re aware of my go-to, but here’s another recent batch using many of my carkai scraps. True to form, everything was dug out of the trash can, which I talk about more in Savor Each Stitch.

carkai stationery_carolyn friedlander

carkai stationery_carolyn friedlander

carkai stationery_carolyn friedlander

Every time I make even the smallest batch of these I’m reminded of what a fun exercise it is in working with what you have and in learning to see things in new ways.

carkai stationery_carolyn friedlander

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