Archive | quilting

Big Stitch Coasters in Collection CF

With the newest fabrics in Collection CF arriving in stores, I thought I’d share with you these new Big Stitch Coasters that I made in Collection CF.

The coasters are made using this free tutorial that I put together a few years back. (I’ve now given it a fresh update!) I use these coasters all the time, and they’re a fun thing to give away to friends.

big stitch coasters tutorial-stitch layers . carolyn friedlander

Small projects are perfect for trying out new techniques. If you’re wanting to give big stitch quilting a try, this is a great way to start. The commitment is small, and the possibilities are endless. Of course you could machine quilt them if handwork isn’t your thing, but I love the added color and texture of the big stitches.

It’s also a small and speedy project that can update something you use around the house, which I am all for. Or maybe you could send some to a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them. Both are worthwhile motives in my mind right now.

I made a point to update my favorite hand-quilting supplies, if you’re new to the game and want to find out more.

There are a couple more versions, but I’ll share them in a future post. Have fun!

Project Info

Tutorial: (Free) Big Stitch Coaster Tutorial

Fabric: Collection CF

Shop Supplies: Thread, Scissors, Needles, Marking Tools

+ Learn more about Hand Quilting Tools.

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Quilting with Sashiko Thread and trying out other new things.

At QuiltCon, I picked up a few new things to try. Whether it was the options as they were presented or my mood, there was clearly a theme to what I bought. I grabbed up many different Sashiko threads to use in my hand quilting.

sashiko thread

To back up a smidge, Riane Elise planted the quilting-with-Sashiko-thread seed after recently reading her book. Her quilting is stunning, and I love how much the contrasting stitches add to a project. To start, I grabbed up some of her recommendations; this sashiko thread, Tulip needles and Bohin marking tools. (I am a sucker for trying new marking tools. It is always a challenge to find a good one!)

After doing some quilting, I’m happy to share a report on the experience.

Threads: Yes! Sashiko threads are glorious to quilt with. They come in an endless array of enticing shades that are a flat color instead of something more glossy like perle cotton. My spool of lemon yellow was first to go, and I immediately ordered more. (That is color #12 if you’re wondering.)

Needles: I have to admit, the Tulip Sashiko needles were a bust for me. I like the length and how they glide through the layers so easily, but the heads break off consistently for me. I’ve done a fair share of big stitch quilting with other needles, and I’ve never had this problem. I’ve since ordered more brands to try, and I’m eager to see how they do!

Thimbles: The Clover Protect And Grip thimble has been my hand-quilting favorite for years. The new thing I tried this time are their Flexible Thimbles that help grip the needle as you move it between the layers. Whereas the Protect And Grip is worn on your middle finger that is pushing the needle along, these grippers can be worn on your index finger and thumb to pull the needle through the fabric. I’ve actually had these sitting around for years, but I hadn’t tried them yet. They are GREAT, and I don’t know why it took me so long to give them a go.

Figuring out the most comfortable size on the Flexible Thimbles wasn’t super obvious to me. Luckily I have all of their sizes (S, M, L), and I swapped in and out of different sizes as I went. After a few hours of stitching, I seem to have it sorted out.

Marking Tool: Bohin Extra-Fine Pencil in chalk and grey leads are surprisingly discrete. I’ll continue experimenting with these. (Always test before using on your own project. No marking tool is perfect.)

Not new, but in use and much enjoyed: Sew Fine Thread Gloss, Kai scissors, Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (pre-washed, very dreamy), Quilters Dream Blend batting and Collection CF backing.

Here are some places to find Sashiko threads, needles and supplies.

Riane Elise (her book describes how to work from a skein of thread too!)


Snuggly Monkey

Bunny’s Designs

Red Thread Studio

Brooklyn Haberdashery

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Tee: The Knit Quilt Primer and why I love making quilts with knits.

With my first knit collection, Blake, coming out, there was never a plan to make a knit quilt, because why would you? It sounds like a terrible idea, right? Knit stretches, it’s a garment fabric, etc etc, and if you’ve ever made a t-shirt quilt–at least in the popular way which uses interfacing–you know that it’s not the most fun experience. But after working with the knits, I couldn’t get the idea of a knit quilt out of my head. I decided that making a knit quilt wasn’t a bad idea, but instead a very good one, and therefore a new pattern outlining the process was worth pursuing. My Tee quilt pattern is for doing just that–sewing up a knit quilt.

Tee quilt pattern . Carolyn Friedlander

But first, I’ll bet that you have some questions.

Blake Knit Cotton Jersey . Carolyn Friedlander

First, why make a knit quilt?

  1. They’re soft. So damn soft. We love wearing knit for a reason–it feels great–so why not apply that softness to a quilt?
  2. Knit scraps happen. If you’re both a garment sewer and a quilter, I’m sure you’ve felt challenged by the what-to-do-with-those-knit-scraps situation. The desire to make use of our leftovers is real.
  3. T-Shirt quilts, there must be a better way! The interfaced approach to t-shirt quilting isn’t my idea of a fun time, but no judgment if you’re into it! A goal of that method aims to make knits behave more like wovens…which I get, but what’s the point when knits are so wonderful (see point #1) as they are. Plus, the interfacing makes everything super heavy and not-fun to work with, while also requiring an extra step and supply to incorporate it. Neh.
  4. I love a good crossover. To say that I’ve learned a lot about quilting from making garments and vice versa is an understatement. Having a project that acts as a stepping stone for quilters wanting to move into making garments (and garment sewers wanting to make quilts) is a worthwhile opportunity–one that I’m all too eager to support.

If that is all true, then what’s the hold up on knits?

Fear. There’s definitely some fear around knits. (Hence my desire to create a knit resource page for my site.) To be honest, I’m not sure why, and I wonder if there’s some history with woven manufacturers planting seeds of doubt and fear around knits…that’d be pretty juicy, wouldn’t it? (JK on knit conspiracy theories!) But to be serious, there are many qualities with knits that make them different than wovens, and I’ll bet that’s where much of this fear originates.

Let’s start with stretch. It’s probably why most people are scared of sewing with knits, but you shouldn’t be. The stretch is totally manageable and…forgiving. Yes, unlike woven fabrics, knits will bounce back, and knowing this means you can anticipate it and start using it to your advantage. Knit win.

The other fear that I get asked often has to do with raveling. I’m not sure why this is often a concern, because in general knits don’t ravel. The use of a serger or overlock machine is less to prevent raveling and more for providing a seam that will allow for stretch, because in most cases knits are being used in situations requiring that, i.e. a t-shirt or anything that you’re going to want to be moving around in. For this reason, it’s a) not necessary to use a serger for making a knit quilt (although I personally find it super fun to sit behind a serger), and b) not a concern that your seams will do any raveling. In fact, they’ll probably look cleaner than your seams with woven projects! Knit win.

With those thoughts in mind, let’s get back to the quilts and my new pattern, Tee.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

There are 3 versions in this pattern, each building on skills and complexity, and all written for use with either a conventional sewing machine or a serger.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

Version A features squares. There’s a lot you can do with knits that you can’t do with wovens, and this first version explores some of those things which are highlighted and explored in the pattern. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to start with something basic to get a feel for it.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

There are 3 size options for this version, and this one is the baby size. Have I mentioned how soft knit quilts are? They are.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

You’ll notice that I rounded the corners, which is outlined in the pattern. I liked the round reference back to a t-shirt, and also how it adds another layer of shape play and interest.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

I used knits from blake entirely for the top, some friedlander lawn for the binding and friedlander (quilting cotton) for the backing.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version A . Carolyn Friedlander

Version B adds in a curve, well 3 of them to be precise.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

This version touches on that crossover project idea in that it can help develop the skills to help you cross over.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

For quilters, learning to conquer sewing an inset circle like this can be a helpful step in conquering inset sleeves. For garment sewers, this works in reverse–your familiarity with sewing in a sleeve will make sewing in this curve feel like you’re still doing the same thing, but in this case you’re working toward a flat result instead of the 3-d sleeve cap. Adding a new twist to something that you’re already familiar with is a perfect way to expand your skills.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

And bonus, because knit stretches, these inset curves are some of the easiest ways to take them on if you’ve never done one before. A great experiment is to try it out using knit and then try it out with a woven.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

This version also has 3 size options included, and this is the largest, which is a throw.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Blake is used entirely for the top, and friedlander lawn is used for both the binding and the backing. This is the softest version ever.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version B . Carolyn Friedlander

Version C combines both ideas–rectilinear shapes and curves, giving you lots of options for mixing it up. This is super helpful if a) you like a mix, and especially if b) you’re making a t-shirt quilt…which is a big (not-too-secret) agenda of this pattern also. I have big plans for t-shirt quilts using this pattern in my future…

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

There are 3 size options to this version as well, and this is the smallest, a wall hanging.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

This top fabrics are all blake, and the binding and backing are both quilting cottons.

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee Quilt in Blake Knit . Version C . Carolyn Friedlander

In case you’re wondering, because I know that you probably are, and I was…knit quilts are long-armmable. I’ve done some testing with this idea, including a few mins experimenting on my friend’s longarm.

Blake knit quilting on a longarm . Carolyn Friedlander

Despite my amateur longarm skills, this was fun and problem free! It’s also still pretty soft, which I was curious about.

Blake knit quilting on a longarm . Carolyn Friedlander

Yay for knit quilts! This was an incredible amount of fun, and I’m eager to see what you make. As I mentioned, I have plans for a t-shirt quilt for myself next, and I’m also teaching a t-shirt/knit quilt class at QuiltCon in 2018. I’m beyond stoked for this class and will be challenging my students to bring in some fun stuff to work with. We’ll not only cover the technical specifics of knit-quilt sewing, but we’ll also get in to the design aspect of working with different sized pieces and motifs. It’ll be fun.

Tee Quilts in Blake Knit . Carolyn Friedlander

Tee is a booklet-style pattern that is popping up in physical form in stores (like Hawthorne Threads, Jones & Vandermeer, i love fabric), or you can find the digital version in my shop here.

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