Last weekend I got together with a couple of friends and we each sewed up one of Anna'sCargo Duffles.
The fabrics I used are Robert Kaufman essex linen for the handle, RK kona in peridot for the pockets, a happysewlucky text print from spoonflower for the handles, and from Mama Said Sew, the green Kei geo stripe and the gray fabric is Garden by Ellen Baker. (Also, did you know Mama offers free US shipping on all orders over $50?!!).
If you're at all interested in making a duffle, you're in luck! There's a sew-along going on and Anna has recently revised the pattern to give more details. And what? The pattern is a free download? Um yep!
It's rare that I make something that I love soooo much that I'm afraid to use it and soil it, but I'm having that problem with this bag. I just need to get over it already!
Do you all remember when I made this undie and t-shirt block?
Well today, I'm revisiting the process of making the undies and sharing the template and tutorial so you can make a pair or two or three of your own. (for those of you who adore the t-shirt, keep your eyes peeled for the pattern in my upcoming book with Interweave later this fall/winter!)
The undies pattern is a mix of a template and improv-ish sewing, and you can whip up a pair in about 10 minutes.
1. Trace your undie template onto your main undie fabric and cut out using a rotary cutter.
2. Lay your main undie fabric right side up on the accent fabric and and use your rotary cutter to cut a piece of accent fabric that fits perfectly in each leg hole. Make sure you give yourself an extra 1/2'' or more to work with at the beginning and end.
3. Cut a 3/4'' strip of accent fabric and sew it to the top edge of the undies.
4. Sew the accent fabric onto each leg hole then press. I use my 1/4'' foot as a guide when doing this. As you can see from the photos, I don't pin, but scissor the fabric together as I sew. If you're more comfortable using pins, go for it!
5. Trim each leghole accent fabric to 3/8''. I use my hemguide to help mark the fabric then trim with a rotary cutter.
6. Lay your undies right side up on top of your background fabric and repeat step 2 for each leghole and sew each piece in place.
7. Square up your block so it is 2 3/4''X 4 5/8''.
8. Add 1'' strips of background fabric to each side then to the top and bottom of the block.
As soon as I saw the cover of Lucie Summers book Quilt Improv, I was hooked. I knew it was a book I wanted to own and pour over.
Lucie's use of color, solids, prints and her bold designs speak to the very heart of me.
I was immediately impressed with her explanations on how to piece in an improv fashion. I love that there is a decided omission of exact measurements (she gives suggestions or approx measurements) for the most part. Which in turns frees up to the reader to be creative.
The arrangement of the book is genius, techniques and blocks listed in the front and then loads of quilt ideas/diagrams towards the back.
So let's get on with it. Here are a few questions I asked Lucie and then a quick project I made using one of the techniques she describes and teaches in her book.
Q:what sorts of things catch your eye as far as color and design? A:absolutely anything and everything! whenever we go somewhere as a family, i'm always being left behind because i'm taking photos of interesting things like old tiles and doors and graffiti and weeds and gutters! if i lost my phone and someone scrolled through my photos, they'd think i was awfully strange!
Q:what is your sewing process like? for example if you're sewing a block and you don't like the fabrics you used, do you go with it or start over? A:oh yes, if i don't like something it goes on a pile and i start again. i'm often experimenting, so if things don't go right, i don't mind because the 'mistake' has taught me something. and sometimes when i haven't seen a 'failed' block for a while, i've forgotten why i didn't like it and end up using it anyway. i reckon it has something to do with mood. lately, i've wanted to work in much calmer, quieter colours because that's the mood i'm in - perhaps linked to seasons? come the late spring/summer, i'll want to break out all the crazy colours and prints again!
(photo from Quilt Improv)
Q:who taught you to quilt?
A:my mum, unsurprisingly!
Q:do you have any formal design training?
A:i did textiles at school, then a two year course around 20 years (ago) called 'design crafts' at norwich school of art and design (as it was then, i think it's changed since i was there) where i specialised in printmaking which i loved.
Q:what inspires you the most?
A:i am like a magpie when it comes to colour, so sometimes the object itself isn't so interesting, but the way it's juxtaposed against another colour is what excites me.
Q:does anyone else in your family sew?
A:yes, i come from a line of women who sew in my family on my mother's side, but as i've got boys who don't seem interested in sewing, it looks like i might be the last! my nan (grandmother) made her own clothes and soft furnishings and was an amazing knitter. my aunts are both very creative sewers and my mum is a longarm quilter. she quilted many of the quilts in the book (although they're all just straight lines, which mum found quite hard, her work is usually much more flowy!)
(photo from Quilt Improv)
Q:I thought it was particularly intriguing that you've sketched out your improv quilts in your book. Can you tell me a bit about this since I always considered improv to be design as you go this is a new concept for me! Also, do you always sketch out your improv quilts before you start sewing?A:i don't always sketch out my designs before stitching, because yes, i totally agree that it kind of goes against the whole concept of improv. however, depending on my mood, i can sit and start a quilt with no idea what i am making which is wonderful and freeing. but more often the ideas are harder to come forth while i'm sitting staring at the sewing machine and i need a stroke of inspiration to get me in the mood so to speak! if this is the case, i like to play with doodles - really really simple stuff - that's sparked by exactly the kind of things i show in the book - a washing line coiled in a heap on the lawn, a stack of colourful boxes against a white background or the view out of my window. then i can just get on and stitch. sometimes the designs can move away from the original ideas and i think that it's really important not to be too rigid in sticking to them - to just let yourself go and see where the improv takes you. the second part of the answer is also this: writing a 'how-to' book about improv meant that i had to write instructions that were not daunting for readers to try and recreate - which meant showing workings for each of the quilts in the book, and yes, in this case i did draw out the designs before starting to make them.
I'm enamored by Lucie's portholes.
(photo from Quilt Improv)
So I decided to try them for myself.
I didn't use a template although she suggested one, but drew my portholes freehand and her technique worked like a charm!
So I made a porthole potholder.
If you're interested in reading more about Lucie's book, you can find more info at the Stitch Craft Create site, and here are the other blog hop participants and the dates of their posts!
The campground is terraced, so everyone has the perfect view.
On one of the days, we took our tandem over to Balboa via the (short) ferry and rode along the coastline from Newport to Seal Beach.
It was my favorite by far!
It was a treat to drive up to Ventura and see Kelly and her Superbuzzy store, then driving back to Laguna beach via Malibu. I have to say, Malibu felt a lot like "the old" Las Vegas if you know what I mean!
Our early morning beach walk on Christmas morning was such a treat.
And Newport Pier was fabulous
I can vividly imagine a trip to this area becoming a Christmas tradition!
I hope your Christmas was filled with wonder and your 2014 is filled with joy!