I feel like a spy!

While I am constantly working on all sorts of projects, I don’t have the luxury of getting to share them until they are published and out in the retail shops. That makes my social media a bit lacking. 

  
This is the kind of stuff I think I can get away with posting. The new quilt just happens to be lying around on the HandiQuilter which is the primary focus. 

   


Or things like this really cool project I’m just finishing up. Now that the files are on their way to China and you can preorder on Amazon, I figured I can mention it. Since last November I have been designing a pop up for the one and only, James Taylor.  It should be released sometime in November 2017. 

But all this secrecy does get to me from time to time. I will try and be better about posting on here especially as I try to upgrade the site to a more functioning version. 

Who knows. Maybe this will become a quilt in the near future?

  

Welcome to the Blithe World Tour!

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A good friend of mine from London was about to have her first baby and what does a quilter always give as a gift? Cute baby girl clothes!  SO, I decided to break from the clothes gift and make a fun little crib quilt for her.

 

It also turns out that I had already planned the design for an upcoming issue of QuiltNow!  Two birds, One stone sort of thing.

 

I have used Katarina’s Avant Garde prints for a previous project and when I saw this new Blithe range I was all over it.  A call was made to Art Gallery Fabrics and a few days later I had the lovely blues and grays in my possession (and possession is 9/10th’s of the law) so I jumped right in on cutting it up.

 

The Pattern for this quilt can be found in Issue 33 of Quilt Now!  (Out on Feb 16th)

 

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Lately I have been adding a bit of the selvedge to the quilt back that way we will always know what fabrics were used to make the quilt.

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If you decided to make your own version of Harriet’s Quilt please do send me an image.  I would love to see it!!

 

Photo by: Renata Stonyte/Quilt Now

Photo by: Renata Stonyte/Quilt Now

Photo by: Renata Stonyte/Quilt Now

Photo by: Renata Stonyte/Quilt Now

Photo by: Renata Stonyte/Quilt Now

Photo by: Renata Stonyte/Quilt Now

What’s been going on lately?

I have been working hard the last few months trying to get through my many quilt projects. Lately I have lucked out with the wonderful people that o have been working with. People like my friend Katy who is the awesome editor of Quilt Now!!  

We are at a point in our relationship where Katy kind of let’s me do what I want and that is a nice place to be. I’ll send her an idea and a possible fabric choice and she has never said no. It’s always a positive comment and off I go. 

Then there is my new online friend (as we have never actually met in person) Katarina Roccella. An amazing fabric designer working for Art Gallery Fabrics. For some reason I’m drawn to her designs and keep requesting them for my projects. 

One afternoon when I was doing a bit of brainstorming I came across her most current line called Avant Garde. As you can now download jpegs of the range I did so and began to drop them in place and this came about. 

  
A pretty simple block made to look more complex with the use of specific fabrics in places. I wasn’t sure which direction to go but the unanimous decision was the top one. So I sent the image over to the great team at Art Gallery and this is what they sent me a few days later. 

  
So as you do when you are about to cut into a brand new collection, you grab yourself a Mt. Dew and get to chopping. With my measurements in hand I began slicing and piecing the blocks together, then the rows and a few hours later my new baby was born!

  
Now the fun part of planning the quilting. I’ve been hooked on doing some spirals as of late so why wouldn’t I put it on this quilt?  Armed with my jar of curved pins I began making first the quilt sandwich and then when I realized I had not had lunch yet an actual sandwich. 

  
Off we go into the endless abyss of my spiral quilting. See I have this problem where I never do anything simple or easy. My spirals always end up taking more time to do then the actual piecing. Silly me!  Note to self – adjust needle position to make spacing wider. Wider = less quilting!

   
 
But I do have to say when it was done it looked AWESOME!

   
   
To make your own version of my trippy courthouse quilt go out and get yourself a copy of the latest Quilt Now magazine. Issue 31. 

Is there a builder in the house?

So we finally moved into our house back in April and it’s only taken the last 6 months to get it to a spot where it feels like home. During the last few months I’ve been making things. Moving from NYC to London 6 years ago and from London to North Carolina last year left us with a hodge lodge of furniture. Victoria and I have been making lists of things we wanted in our house since we first decided to move back to the states. 
  
We opted to build our house from scratch because we wanted things a certain way. It started with our tree filled plot surrounded on 2 sides by a tree preserve. ( perfect for me as I didn’t want to s of neighbors surrounding me )

  
So the planning began. First on the list was our concrete fire place with a reclaimed wood mantel. All things the “custom” builder didn’t want to do. So I did it myself. 

   
 
I made my forms and got down to business mixing my concrete. I think they turned out pretty well. 

  
Once we moved in, I wanted to tackle the reclaimed wood wall up in our bonus room. I found the wood from the same place I found the mantel. The Reuse Warehouse up in Durham. 

   
   
At this point the folding table wasn’t cutting it with Victoria anymore so the next on the list was our breakfast nook table. With the help of a ever growing folder in my Pinterest folder I found a table that we both liked. The awesome sisters at Shanty-2-Chic supplied the plans and I modified to suit my space. 

   
    
 
Next was a few corner shelves. Also made from walnut found at Reuse. 

  
Then my office work desk. 

   
 
Then Victoria wanted new outdoor chairs. 

  
Next was a new dining table for our neighbor Julia. 

   
   
Then our friend Lindsay asked about some Chevron Shutters for inside their bonus room. So I started dismantling the dozen or so pallets I had collected.  

   
 
As you can see I am enjoying having a garage to work in. Can’t wait to keep making more things for our house. 

Self (ish) Promotion!

So this week was the release of my first full book and I’m super excited about it. A few years back I was the contributing editor for DK’s big “Quilting” book which was a fun experience but this new project is all me.

I have said it in the book, Quilting Basics,  that everything in the book is how I do things and by no means the only way of doing them. These methods work for me after trying several different techniques.  You will need to figure that part out for yourself but this book will give you a few options to create the same effect.

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The entire book came together really fast.  It was only about April or May of 2015 that I was contacted about doing something like this. Once the idea and direction of the book was ironed out it was on to creating 12 lessons or techniques and the 12 corresponding projects.  I wanted the book to help those who didn’t know where to begin. With that in mind I created a simple very basic piecing table runner project to help prepare you for the next level of complexity.

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Add some smashing to your next project with lesson 2 or try your hand at traditional English paper piecing.  I wanted to include a little bit of what I would have liked to have learned when I started quilting. The projects in this book are really just an introduction to what you can create once you learn so many different techniques.

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If if you do decide to buy a copy, and I hope you do, please share some photos of the projects you made from the book. I would love to see what you create! Tag me on Twitter (patchworknpaper) or Instagram (patchworkandpaper)

 

Sew time with Cleo Cobb! Handmade in London.


One of the last things I had the chance to do before I left London this past July was to meet and hang out with the amazing Cleo Cobb at her home studio. Cleo started her handmade clothing company a few years back and has been growing her range every year.

Earlier in the year, Haydn received one of Cleo’s handmade shirts for Christmas. He rocks it whenever he can.

I reached out to Cleo and asked her a few questions about her work, her life and what inspires her to “Rock”!  This is what she had to say.

MC – Let’s start by getting to know you a bit.  Where you from, where do you live now? 

CC – I was born in St Bartholomew’s Hospital in Smithfield and grew up in the Barbican until I was about 14 when I moved to across Blackfriars Bridge to Southwark. Now I live with my partner and our two children next to Victoria Park in Bow.

MC – When did you start designing your awesome shirts? 

CC – I first made one of my Skull Tees for my eldest daughter in about 2011.  There was a princesses and pirates day at a local childrens’ centre. I was so pleased when my daughter said she wanted to be a pirate, I jumped at the chance to make her a pirate t’shirt. I made one for my (then) toddler too! I then made a few as birthday presents for kids we knew and it’s grown from that.

MC – Did you have a boring day job before that?

CC – Making things and blogging about it was something I was able to do around raising my children during nap times and after bedtimes. I still have that day job, but now the kids are in school and I schedule running my business around that timetable.

I also starting working in the art department of a secondary school about a year ago. As well as giving me a regular income while I establish and build my business. It also helps keeps me connected to what’s going on. I hear music and slang and see fashion and style at the school which all helps keep me in the loop.

MC – If so what made you decide to leave and create a new life?

CC – I choose to build my handmade business while being at home with my kids mostly because of being at home with my kids.

Before having my first daughter, I was studying textiles and procrastinating on how to turn those studies and all my other training and skills into a business. Having my kids put that development on hold for a bit.

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Hard at work in her home Studio, Cleo sews up a custom gift for a client.

Hard at work in her home Studio, Cleo sews up a custom gift for a client.

When my youngest was still in her first year I decided to start blogging about all the things we did at home that were creative and to document the things I made. This was mostly to stop going insane. It is so easy for those things to go unnoticed in the avalanche of parenting duties and daily routines so flagging up the creative stuff we did really helped. Some of those creative projects were presents for people we knew and some of those turned into products.

MC – Tell me about your process, do you need quiet to work or are you rocking out?

CC – At this stage of my business I have to wear a lot of different hats. Sometimes I’m writing copy, taking product shots, editing photos, updating the site, researching new prints to work with, doing the accounting. During these times I need to focus and concentrate which can mean listening to music or no distraction at all.

Stacked and ready to be finished.

Stacked and ready to be finished.

When I’m actually making the tees, I can relax a bit as it’s all manual, I get a production line going and I don’t have to think too much. These times call for a bit of company and I could tell you this is when I listen to intellectual radios programmes, but I don’t! This is when my Netflix addiction comes in and I rack up some serous binge watching hours.

MC – Some of your designs are very Rock n’ Roll, What type of music inspires you? 

CC – The 90s dance scene and rave culture is playing a massive part of my inspiration right now. I personally listen to all kinds of music while I’m working, but I’m really enjoying the renaissance of street wear and music from that time has been having. Lots of currant music, clothes, colours and iconography is reminding me of my adolescence. Discovering friends, clubbing, buying my own clothes and getting my first tastes of freedom.

MC – What kind of machines do you use to create your shirts? 

CC – My equipment is very basic. I do everything on basic a Janome my mum bought for me when I was about 10 or 11. I’m on the verge of upgrading to another Janome. Probably a 2522LE. On my wish list is a Husqvarna Topaz 30 with all the extra software and extra hardware… you know, just in case someone wants to gift me…

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MC – Is there something you would like to try and incorporate into your work but haven’t tried yet? 

CC – I love working with great printed cottons by existing designers, but my ambition is to go back to designing and printing my own prints at some point in the future. I also have a zillion ideas of products I would like to add to my range and how I would like to expand the lines. I could tell you some of those ideas, but then I’d have to kill you.

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Not only shirts get made in the studio. Check out these cool hair clips. All made by hand!

MC – Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

CC – I will have nailed the life/work balance of course. Living by the sea, still being passionate about the things I make. I’d like think I would have a team working with me by then, taking over the world one tee at a time. I would hope I would have learned a lot about running a business by then so that I would be in a position to mentor other people in building their own handmade businesses. That would be great.

 

If you are in the Spitalfields area every Saturday you MUST stop but and pick up some awesome gifts from Cleo at her stall.

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Support independent crafts.

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Someone is super happy about his Cleo Cobb shirt!

Someone is super happy about his Cleo Cobb shirt!

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I have been busy working on my Cico Books project as of late but before I was smashed, I finished up a few more quilts for Quilt Now! Here is one!

On one of my strolls through Pinterest I found this cool little postcard that used a bracket as a graphic pattern. I’m a designer or was not to long ago so I came up with this idea and pattern.

While creating curved blocks is not a favorite pastime I knew to make this work as I wanted it had to be number 1 on my list. The thing with piecing 1/4 curves is that you generally have to pin the heck out of them and inevitably end up sticking yourself all afternoon. Then I remembered I have the curved piecing foot I bought from the Festival of Quilts a few years back. After reaching through the studio for the unopened set, snapped it onto my Janome Horizon and I got to work.  First by making the template….

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Then by tracing and cutting the endless sections.  Remember each block has two parts.  There are something like 180 little 2 1/2″ blocks.  Oh Joy!!!

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And once we had all the pieces in the correct color and direction we were off with a vengeance! I started by adjusting my foot so we had the proper 1/4″ seam allowance and the positioned both curves in place like below.
(note: I added extra fabric to the outer curve just to make sure we could trim them down so they all matched)

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Carefully and slowly I made way through the curves.

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Once you get close to the end it is best to use a pair of tweezers to hold both ends aligning as you go.

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Press the curved section flat and you will be ready to trim to your final size.

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Line up the 1/4″ marks on both seams and trim two sides square.

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Rotate the block and trim to the final 2 1/2″ size.

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Ready to be added to the rows and finish the quilt.

Victoria likes this quilt so it will make it to our bed. Looks good in either direction!

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For the complete pattern and directions please find yourself a copy of issue 11 from Quilt Now!

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