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Best of 2017 + a giveaway

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What a year.

It’s still shocking to me to see pictures pre-Irma. Having sustained serious home damage and still in the process of putting things back together, it’s been very easy to forget how things used to look and function around here. Putting together these photos reminded me of that. This process has also reminded me of how much stuff I’ve forgotten about over the year! Do you do that? This reason alone justifies taking an actual look back. If you haven’t done this for yourself yet, do it. While there might be difficult things to look back at, I promise that there will also be encouraging things as well. I’ll bet you accomplished more than you thought you did…

It’s been a big year. I released 2 new fabric collections–Blake and Gleaned, as well as 4 new quilt patterns–Eads, Tee, Russell and Wainwright. Sessoms got an update, and I added some new items to the shop (here and here). We did our first QAL together with Eads, which I really enjoyed, and I hope you did too!

Carolyn Friedlander 2017

Thank you so much for all of your support this year! Without you, none of it would be possible. Because of that I want to thank you and give some stuff away. I’ll be giving away goodies from above to 7 lucky winners.

To enter, leave a comment by January 4, 2018 (11am EST) in this post sharing one of your favorite highlights from 2017 and/or a goal for 2018. Giveaway now closed.

For me, I really enjoyed sewing with you in the Eads QAL, and I hope to do it again in 2018!

Happy New Year!

Carolyn Friedlander 2017


T-Shirt patterns for everyone else.

I recently posted some of my favorite t-shirt patterns for women, but here are some t-shirt patterns for everyone else. When I was looking for patterns to use with blake, I found there to be a TON of women’s patterns, quite a bit of stuff for kids and not so much for men. I guess that isn’t too surprising, but that makes it all the more worthwhile to share my findings!

For men, we’ve got Eugene by Seamwork, a classic henley-style t-shirt.

Seamwork Eugene in Blake knit

Seamwork Eugene in Blake knit

The men’s Metro T-shirt by Liesl + Co is a great, classic t-shirt.

Men's Metro T-Shirt in Blake Knit

Men's Metro T-Shirt in Blake Knit

There’s also Paxson by Seamwork, which is a raglan-style t-shirt for men, but it’s currently under construction and not available. It’ll be nice when it is available, because a basic raglan pattern for men is hard to find. I’ve looked…

For kids, there are so many good ones. Here are some of my favorites.

The Field Trip Raglan by Oliver + S, is a great raglan option for boys–with a pocket.

Field Trip Raglan t-shirt in Blake Knit

Field Trip Raglan t-shirt in Blake KnitThe School Bus t-shirt by Oliver + S is a great basic t-shirt pattern for boys.

I added contrasting cuffs and a pocket to this one. The pocket was quite the highlight for my nephew. Not pictured, but within minutes of putting it on, he was delighted to discover that he could fit his entire hand in the pocket. Score!

Schoolbus T-Shirt in Blake Knit

Another kid’s t-shirt that I haven’t tried, but would like to try is the Flashback Skinny Tee by Made By Rae. It’s really cute, and I like the wider cuffs.

Flashback Skinny Tee

The Modern Layette Set by Green Bee Patterns has some good knit options. I’ve been wanting to try this out, especially after seeing this set that Anna Graham sewed up.

Modern Layette Set by Green Bee Patterns

The Lunch Box Tee by Oliver + S is one that I’m hoping to whip up this week since my niece is coming to visit.

Lunch Box Tee

I think a striped version of the short-sleeve length would be very cute in some blake. (And the culottes might need to be made too–so cute!)

Lunch Box Tee

I really enjoyed the feedback and comments that I received after my last t-shirt post. You guys pointed me towards some good stuff to check out, including the Sewaholic’s Renfrew Top, Hey June’s Lane Raglan and Love Notions’s Laundry Day Tee (available in sizes XS-XXXL).

What other knit patterns are you a fan of?

 

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Eads Quilt Along #1: Getting Started.

Eads Quilt Along #1: Getting Started.

You ready?

Let’s start with your sewing setup…or actually, let’s start by taking a look at mine.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

Here’s my current sewing set-up. I’ve got my sewing machine set up on a big desk. It’s huge, which is awesome, because I can also fit my serger and coverstitch machine on it without any problems. Since we’re talking about paper piecing today, I’ll save the specifics on my serger/coverstitch setup for later, but the above pic gives you a nice overview. You’ll also notice that I have a small folding table to the left of my machine. This is awesome and so handy. It gives you cutting and pressing space while sewing, as well as quilt-resting space for when you’re quilting. (FYI it’s also where I throw my smaller, non-straight-stitch machine when I need to sew buttonholes.)

As for (paper piecing) tools, here we go.

Paper Piecing Supplies . Carolyn Friedlander

From left to right and up:

+ Flatter. Yep, I use this, especially since I designed the labels for the newest scent. (See next pic for closer look)

+ Mini iron by Clover. This is a new addition as of the most recent Quilt Market. I’m obsessed with this iron and mad at myself that I didn’t get one sooner. I bought it to use during the show, but it’s quickly become my go-to while working.

+ Small ironing board. This last Quilt Market seemed to up my supply ante as this and the mini iron were purchased to use at the show, and I cannot imagine sewing without either of them! This mini ironing board came from Ikea. It’s $5 and I covered it in some Blake. Small and portable. It can’t be beat.

+ Cutting mat. You’ll need one. This 18″x24″ fits perfectly on my folding table and lives there 99% of the time. Rotating cutting mats are handy, but for the Eads block, I’ll not be using one. Usually if I’m using a rotating mat, I’ll use it on top of this one anyway.

+ My Maine bookmark. A friend gave me this, and I love using it to fold back the paper. Anything else will work…an index card, the pattern itself, etc.

+ Xacto knife. I have many of these and use them to slice up my paper templates. You could use scissors too, but I like the speed and efficiency of an Xacto.

+ Paper scissors. Either these or an Xacto will be needed to slice up your templates.

+ Rotary cutter. Pick your fave. This one by Kai is lightweight and lovely. (Full disclosure, I have many rotary cutters in many sizes. This is my preference for paper piecing.)

+ Clover Roll & Press. I’ve not always been a fan of seam rollers until meeting this one. I love it. It’s lightweight and very effective. It also feels good in my hand.

+ Small scissors. No matter the project, you’ll always need a pair of small scissors for thread clipping and stuff like that. This one lives by my machine.

+ Pins and pincushion. Yep. Standard stuff. (FYI Cute Dumpling Pincushion pattern by Alchemy Tea.)

+ Thread. I use Aurifil 50wt cotton when I’m piecing. As for color, match to your lightest fabric.

+ Ruler. This neon, Omnigrid 4″x14″ ruler is one of my favorites. This particular size is perfect for the Eads project. With any ruler make sure the markings are clear and legible to you. Just to note, add-a-quarter rulers are well liked for paper piecing. Feel free to look into them if you’re interested. They are great, but my personal preference is a regular ruler, as it’s a multi-trick pony.

+ Fabric. You’ll need that! See back of pattern for amounts.

+ Paper templates (not pictured, but needed). There are MANY different papers for paper piecing out there. If you’re up for trying them out to see what works best for you–go for it. My preference is recycled office paper. It’s very available, it’s a little more responsible and I prefer its weight/thickness.

Paper Piecing Supplies . Carolyn Friedlander

Handy enough, this Clover mini iron comes with a mini spray bottle. The sprayer is surprisingly effective! I fill mine up with flatter and keep it nearby.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

To take a closer look at my sewing set-up, I’d like to point out a couple of other things. First, an extension table–no matter the project–will make your (sewing) life much easier. Since my table doesn’t have a cut-out for my machine, the extension table expands the flat area of my sewing surface.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

Let’s take a look at the floor for a sec, and not just because it’s freshly vacuumed, although that is a miracle to be captured! I’ve got 2 waste baskets to the right (both from Ikea). One is for fabric scraps and the other is for paper scraps. Since I do a lot of paper piecing, I like having a separate bin just for paper so that I can recycle it later.

Also of note down here is my new(ish) pedal for operating the thread cutter–hands free! I love my machine, but unlike some other straight stitch machines, the thread cutter function is only operable by the button on the front. After talking to some machine folks, we discovered a 3rd party foot pedal that works with this machine. It couldn’t be easier, you just plug it in (you must have the outlet on your machine–look for a hole with a scissor icon next to it) and start cutting. It’s life changing. I know that sounds dramatic, especially if your machine doesn’t have a thread cutter at all, but it is. One of my most prized functions is the automatic thread cutter, and the ability to operate it hands-free–yes! For information on this pedal, contact the folks at Pink Castle Fabrics. They helped me out, and they can help you out too.

I imagine that someone will ask me about a knee lift, I know that those are handy too, but the screw on mine broke, so until I get my act together and locate a replacement, it’s not part of my routine.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

I’m a pin hoarder and like having different pins for different fabrics, projects, etc. It makes life easier to store different types in different pincushions. The above are from my Crew pattern.

I also love having these nesting boxes (pattern by Aneela Hoey) by my machine. They hold bigger scissors, my seam gauge, washi tape, wonder clips, marking tools, etc. There are so many handy things that you’ll want access to while you are sewing, and these nesting boxes are a pretty and functional way to house them.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

To back up a bit, you’ll also notice a piece of foam core against the wall behind my machine. I have many of these panels floating around, and while originally purchased for something else, now I use them as design walls. This one is freshly blank, because I’m ready to fill it up with some Eads QAL action. Yeah!

Blake knit design wall . Carolyn Friedlander

Just to give you an idea, here’s one from when I was working on blake release projects. I love having multiples, because I am always working on multiple things happening at once–like I’m sure you are too. You can either purchase foam core panels like these, OR a cheaper option would be to hit up your local hardware store and grab some rigid insulation panels. They come in 4’x8′ sheets, and you can easily cut them down with an Xacto and/or cover them in batting.

Let’s talk about project planning.

Eads quilt project planning . Carolyn Friedlander

Here’s the extent of my project planning for the first Eads that I made. After getting the design nailed down, I took colored pencils and markers to a layout and started exploring options. You can see that I didn’t spell everything out, I’d say that these explorations were more about getting a sense of the feel in terms of color and tone. After doing that, I made a block, just to see how that went. It was after this point that I pulled the rest of my fabrics.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

And yes, this is actually how I often to work and definitely how I worked things out for this project. While cutting out my strips (as outlined in the instructions), I laid them on the floor. You can start to build relationships between the different colors and prints this way, and it’ll also give you a good and visual sense of how your pickings are shaping up.

Of course, you may have a different way of working, so never feel bad about working in a direction that feels most comfortable to you!

OK, so I’ll stop here for now. But I’ll leave you with some tips:

+ Assess your sewing space. It’s good to be comfortable and have access to the things you need for a project.

+ Use the coloring sheet that is included with the pattern to start mapping out ideas and directions for your project.

+ Have FUN pulling fabrics. Assessing what you like and don’t like as you go helps better shape the project to your tastes and interests.

+ Ready to paper piece? Learn how from one of my videos on Creative Bug.

And one more thing. Let’s do a giveaway! I’ve got 4 fat quarters of my fabrics from a few different collections. Just leave a comment on this post sharing something special/helpful/non-helpful about your sewing space or favorite supply. I know you guys will have some worthwhile tips. I’ll pick a winner randomly on Monday, June 19 10am EST. Giveaway now closed–thanks to everyone for participating!

Carolyn Friedlander Fat Quarters

If you need a copy of the pattern, you can check quilt shops for the paper version or here for a digital version.

Share what’s happening on Instagram using #eadsQAL . I’m eager to see your progress!

Eads quilt along . Carolyn Friedlander

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