ten years (!) July 27, 2015

This month marks ten years since I started my West Coast Crafty blog – originally a monthly column for getcrafty.com about crafty life in my new home of Los Angeles with plenty of Portland in the mix, with interviews, reviews, and articles covering everything I was most excited about. It was a month before my wedding, and a few months before my first book came out, written with Torie, Cathy, & Rachel! I remember that summer so well… it doesn’t seem like so long ago, but everything in my life has changed so much since then.

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Pretty soon I realized I wanted to write more often than once a month, so I started cross-posting over on my very own free WordPress blog page (with the somewhat limited, but very serene Pool theme) and uploading lots and lots of photos to my flickr. I built this new writing site and exported eight years of blog posts over here in 2013, keeping my daily posting going on my Instagram.

So, since I started this blog, Andrew and I got married, moved back to Portland and bought a house in a then-quiet neighborhood, and had two kids. I’ve written six more books (with #8 coming next summer), taught classes, volunteered, learned how to garden, fallen in love with modern quilting, and realized just how much I love embroidery. We’ve been lucky to find a lot of happiness and success, and I’ve been tested and humbled too. Publishing and the craft and sewing industry have been changing quickly, and the aspiring writer who was so excited to post every day had a lot more energy and free time than the me of today. But along with the work I feel called to do, and lucky to have, I still treasure having my small corner of creative space that’s just mine, and just for love, with no deadlines, no ads, no pressure. Just for fun.


I have something special to share with y’all this week to celebrate my anniversary, an interview and giveaway I’m really excited about, and will post that in the next couple days. I hope to see you then and can’t wait to see who wins the pretty prize one of my craft heroes has generously offered up! Thank you for reading along all these years, and thank you to everyone else who’s inspired me along the way.

spring stitching May 5, 2015

My last few months of craft have been all about stitching – hand-embroidering and machine sewing, with some cross-stitch and mending thrown in for good measure. I wanted to share a few of my favorite projects lately and preview a few new things I’m excited about!


photo by Burcu Avsar from Hand-Stitched Home

Pendleton just wrote such a nice feature on one of my favorite projects from my book Hand-Stitched HomeAmy Alan‘s lovely Modern Plant Hangers. They mentioned what a nice Mother’s Day gift it would be in any of their gorgeous jacquard, plaid, or solid wools, which you can find at the Woolen Mill Store (along with signed copies of my book with Amy’s pattern and instructions!). I’m excited to make some new versions of some of my favorite book projects, starting with Stacy Spaulding’s Picnic Quilt, for this summer, and I have a bunch of new ideas for improvisational piecing with wool.

1 me and Anna Joyce with our quiltPearl and I got to visit one of my favorite collaborative projects last week at Anna Joyce‘s beautiful new studio, our patchwork quilt! Anna hand-painted all the fabrics and I pieced them into a simple, impactful design to spotlight each one. Then Nancy Stovall added her signature quilting magic. It was so fun to see it in person again. I can’t wait for Anna’s new book this fall, where she’ll share tons of techniques and ideas for painting, printing, stamping, and stenciling by hand.

2 Auction quilt

I was so inspired by collaborating with Anna that we came up with a beautiful school auction project to do with Pearl’s first-grade class – a hand-painted quilt with squares from each student and her teacher as well! Anna gave us some great tips on what fabric paint to use (Dyna-Flow, found at Collage here in Portland) and we turned 23 kids loose on white fabric squares for the front and a huge collaborative painting on the back. Nancy quilted it beautifully and I was so happy that it brought in a generous donation for her school! Here’s a photo of it hanging in the winning family’s house – I think it looks awesome.

3 my dropcloth samplerSpeaking of Collage, I went to Rebecca Ringquist‘s lovely book signing there and was so inspired to work on new embroidery projects. Rebecca is amazing, and her new book includes a small circular sampler to stitch (mine is in progress above, I am having so much fun working on it using my favorite pearl cottons). I’ll be writing a full review soon but I love her work so much, I wanted to share a bit now rather than waiting! Maria of Collage had small hoops with squares of muslin fabric set up for us to stitch on, and I asked Pearl to draw a design for me. She made this girl and rainbow, I stitched them and handed it back, she added more and more detail all around, I stitched them one by one, and I love how it turned out. Everett is drawing one for me next and I am going to frame them together.

4 pearl's embroidery collaborationWhich brings me to my next sewing project – a seventh (!!!!) birthday dress. I’m making Pearl a surprise Geranium dress in a pretty Modkid floral for Joann Fabrics I bought last year and have been saving for just the right project for her. We started celebrating on Saturday with our annual family trip to the Enchanted Forest, then she had a fun little birthday party on Sunday, and tomorrow, her real birthday, I hope she loves her new dress! I am trying to finish one up for her American Girl doll, Molly, so with luck there will be some matching dress magic to start the new age off nicely. I’m not one to wonder where on earth the time went, life with Pearl is very intense and I pretty much remember it all! But that she’s seven, and telling me all these interesting things she’s learning about insects and penguins, and solving complicated math problems, and making beautiful drawings… well, that part is a bit hard to believe.

5 Pearl at the Enchanted Forest

I can’t wait to share photos of that project, I think it will be a special one. Happy spring and happy stitching!

Quiltcon 2015! February 17, 2015

I leave for Austin tomorrow and I’m so excited for Quiltcon! I am doing two special events at the show and would love to see you at either (or both!) of them.


On Thursday, I’m teaching a free sewing demo – making your own sashiko-style hand-stitched Pin-teresting Pincushions, with Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids and Coats & Clark Bold Hand thread. It’s from 2:30-3 pm, the pattern is provided, and you can use the fabric and hand-quilting thread in your Quiltcon goody bag to whip up your own pincushion!

Pin-teresting Pincushions

And on Sunday, I am giving a lecture on Modern Quilt Documentation from 11-11:45 am in Ballroom B! I am so excited about this project. I’m volunteering both with the Oregon Quilt Project, and as the Modern Quilt Guild historian, and I’m passionate about preserving and celebrating our modern quilts’ stories – they are such a unique and lovely part of the venerable quilting tradition. I’ll cover why documenting our quilts is so important – including labeling, photography, and planning and hosting a documentation with your guild – and spotlight six amazing quilts.

Modern Quilt Documentation

I’m also thrilled to be able to give each MQG member who comes to my Modern Quilt Documentation lecture a very special gift – sneak preview coming on my Instagram tomorrow! Please say hello if you’re able to come by, I’d love to meet you. See you in Austin!

happy sewing February 9, 2015

Well, hello, (February) 2015! I’ve been working on a whole bunch of new projects, and pretty swamped with boring track changes, hi-res images, and deadlines, but just wanted to share two things I’ve sewn lately that just make me happy. The colorful part makes all the rest of it worth it. So here are two of the colorful things.

my Pendleton plaid Laurel dress!

I’ve now made five Colette Laurel dresses, and I really think the fourth one is pretty magical. It’s my dream dress, in a vintage reissue Pendleton 49er plaid I bought at the Woolen Mill Store, lined with super-soft and silky rayon lining fabric I bought at Bolt. It is simple and fits me perfectly and I love it! That’s the short and cheerful version.

If you want a little more real-life honesty, let’s just say I learned a lot sewing this dress. It was my first lined dress (I’ve sewn several lined skirts) and maybe you already see where this is going. The quick version is that I assembled the dress, using French seams and very carefully matching the plaids, sewed the lining with French seams too, took extra time with all the nice little details… and then when I joined the dress and lining at neck and arm holes, I realized that I had sewed myself a twisted, sealed tube of uselessness. The fabric was too substantial to turn easily so (sob) I started carefully seam-ripping it apart. All those perfect plaid matches, gone! It was so demoralizing that I set it aside for a couple months.

I picked it back up on New Year’s Day and finished the deconstruction and then joined it at the neck and arm holes before sewing the sides. And this time it was so smooth and easy, and looks amazing lined and finished. I still took the time to match the plaids carefully, of course, but I didn’t bother to sew the lining fabric with French seams again. That’s an unpicking nightmare if you’ve ever messed up a project like this! So, I finished it in time to wear it out to dinner on my birthday. I love how this dress feels on, and the lining is wonderful. So worth the extra time and re-sewing.

West Coast Crafty patchwork collaboration with Anna Joyce!

Then, over the last few weeks, I did a lightning-fast, super fun collaboration project with Anna Joyce! She gave me five of her brand-new hand-painted fabrics and asked me to design and sew a quilt top with them. We agreed on a couple of things: using 7” squares to really capture a nice-sized section of each of the patterns’ details, and keeping it very simple so the fabrics shone. I came up with this diagonal arrangement and we both loved it! I did some quick row assembly and built it into a quilt top, gave it a press and it was all ready for her next steps with her next collaborator. The whole time frame from dropping off the fabric and visiting to cutting squares, texting lots of layout photos, sewing, and then delivering the finished patchwork top was maybe a week and a half, and Anna made it so much fun. I can’t wait to see the finished quilt!!!

Anna’s new book, Stamp Stencil Paint, will be out this fall from STC Craft and I am so excited to make tons of things with it. And I’m getting a little bit of a head start – her beautiful painted fabrics inspired our first-grade classroom auction project that I’ll be working on with Pearl’s class soon. All three of us volunteering to lead the kids just loved her work so much that it was an easy pick! Anna kindly previewed a few tips for us and I’m buying the fabric paint this week so we can get started. Pearl is so excited – I can’t wait to see what six-year-olds do with this joyful and creative technique.

I’m super excited to share more projects on both fronts, sewing with wool and modern quilting, very soon. I hope you’re doing some sewing (or crafting) that makes you happy too!

make it: wool Christmas stockings! December 18, 2014

I sewed these stockings from remnants of some of my favorite Pendleton wools last year but didn’t have a chance to put a tutorial together until now. These are super fast to sew and very beginner-friendly, but you could customize them with any cool applique, needle-felted, or embroidery embellishment, too. Michelle even made me a real downloadable stocking pattern (thank you, Michelle!!!), so here you go… my wool Christmas stockings!

west coast crafty wool stockings 1

You’ll need (for one stocking):

•16” x 24” remnant of wool fabric (I used a variety of wool fabric weights in my four stockings) – or two different 16” x 12″ pieces for a reversible stocking

•8” wool felt binding or ribbon

Downloadable stocking pattern!

•Sewing machine, scissors, thread, pins, pinking shears if you have them

west coast crafty wool stockings 2

1. Download, enlarge, print, & cut out the stocking pattern. I actually freehand-drew mine on newspaper, before Michelle made the beautiful professional version, so for reference the finished stocking is about 14” tall and about 9″ wide at its biggest.

2. Cut the wool fabric into two pieces, approximately 16″ x 12,” and arrange the two layers so any stripes or other fabric designs are aligned. Pin the stocking pattern to both pieces of the wool fabric and cut it out with sharp fabric scissors. Optional, but looks cool: trim both the stocking layers closely with pinking shears all around the sides and bottom, leaving the top plain.

Now is the time to embellish one or both sides any way you like – initials, names, designs, fanciness!

west coast crafty wool stockings 4

3. Pin the two layers of the stocking together around the perimeter, again carefully matching any stripes or designs. Double your 8” ribbon or wool felt binding into a loop (I cut my 1.5” wool felt binding in half longways so it was 3/4” wide, but you can use anything you like for your loop) and tuck the raw edges of it in between the stocking layers at the marked spot on the upper right hand side.

4. Using a 3/8” seam allowance (and if your fabric is thick, a longer stitch length), sew around the perimeter of the stocking, back-stitching at the beginning and end of the seam for security. Leave the top section open, of course!

west coast crafty wool stockings 3

That’s it! Let me know if you sew any of these, I would love to see them.

Thanks to everyone who tuned into my episode of American Patchwork & Quilting Radio with the lovely Pat Sloan – it’s now available to listen to in her archives! It’s the December 15, 2014 show, and I’m on 4th – we chatted about Hand-Stitched Home and sewing with wool, and I got to share some of my favorite tips.

Pat Sloan Show

make it: holiday wool wreaths! December 12, 2014

holiday wool wreath 12

I wanted to come up with a quick and easy holiday project in between my bigger ideas (the tree skirt I’ve been hoping to make for the last two years, Christmas pajamas for both kids) and saw a GREAT photo of a holiday wreath on Instagram made with scraps from the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store! I will come back and add a link when I find out the credit, but sadly all I remember right now was that it was made by someone at SCRAP and she used a whole bunch of different colorful jacquard strips all around the circle. I stopped by the WMS a couple days ago and bought 2 pounds ($3.50 worth) of these scrap strips of a few different wools (here’s the bin, yes, they’re just $1.75 a pound), then headed home to try making my own version, inspired by that one!

holiday wool wreath 1

I bought 12” and 14” foam wreaths to experiment with and decided to use these longer, skinnier strips of Pendleton jacquard wool for the bigger one, and shorter, wider red and black jacquard strips for my smaller one. For reference, the 14″ wreath used four 1.5” wide x 70” long strips of the same pattern to wrap around plus one for the rosette, and the 12” wreath used four and a half 2.5” wide x 24” long strips to wrap around (two red, white and black, and two and a half solid black), plus 1 to make the decoration. You can certainly improvise any way that works – cut a larger piece of wool into strips, alternate with multiple patterns if you have lots of different ones, use ribbon, cut strips of quilting cottons or another fabric you love, or you tell me. This is a super-simple flexible project.

holiday wool wreath 2

To begin, I pinned the end of my first long strip (for this width, I used two small straight pins per end) at the back of the 14” wreath and just started wrapping it around, overlapping raw edges and continuing until I reached the opposite end. I pinned that at the back (trim any extra away) and pinned my second strip there to continue wrapping. When I reached the original spot, I pinned the last strip end down at the back the same way.

holiday wool wreath 3

It’s hard to see, but at the 6 o’clock position below, a small wedge of the green foam wreath shows where my last wrap didn’t quite meet the beginning spot; one more wrap would have done it. That’s ok – we’re going to cover it up with a decoration!

holiday wool wreath 4

Here’s the back of my wreath with the pinned ends – this way, you can always take the wreath apart and re-make it if you want to. You could also hot-glue it down for a more permanent version…

holiday wool wreath 5

Next, I made a simple rosette based on a vintage ribbon flower corsage I have – I just looked at the way it was looped and tried re-creating something like that. I folded a new strip of wool into six loops, arranged in threes. Holding the end of the long strip in my left hand, I made my first folded loop in front of it/over it, then added a second one directly across from it, bringing the long end under as well to meet the starting spot in the center (this is the one on top of this rosette below). I tilted the angle 60 degrees and made another simple double loop, then tilted another 60 degrees for a third. Essentially, you’re making a looped asterisk with arms at the 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 o’clock positions, I made mine in this order: 12/6, 2/8, 4/10, and it curves a bit as you go, making a nice 3D petal effect. Or create your own fun decoration any way you like! I left the longer end dangling to use in my final design (more on that in a second).

holiday wool wreath 6

Another look at the rosette.

holiday wool wreath 7

I trimmed the bottom edge of the strip at an angle and cut a second one the same way.

holiday wool wreath 8

Next I pinned the rosette securely in place, over the small uncovered area of the wreath, with the two “ribbons” arranged at a nice angle behind the rosette. I picked out a bunch of buttons thinking a couple of them would be pretty, and arranged them a few different ways to decide which ones I wanted to layer over the rosette…

holiday wool wreath 9

Once I picked two I loved, I hand-stitched them together and then sewed the joined buttons to the rosette, stitching through all the layers. For a heavier button embellishment, you might need to hot-glue or secure them more carefully, but stitching worked fine for this set.

holiday wool wreath 10


holiday wool wreath 11

I made a simple Blazers version with my smaller (12″) wreath form and the red and black strips (I didn’t end up using the gray ones in my earlier photo). For this one, I just wrapped strips all around, then wrapped a last strip around at the bottom of the circle, and angled two “ribbons” at the back, pinning them all into place, then trimmed the angles. I also alternated between black and red/black/white strips rather than using the same one throughout!

holiday wool wreath 12

I really like both of them, and they’re going up in the rec room today! Our front door has my little button wreath from Button It Up, which makes me happy every time I see it.

holiday wool wreath 13

I’ll be posting another free Pendleton wool holiday project to make early next week, and I’m very excited to be a guest on Pat Sloan’s American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast this coming Monday (12/15)! It airs live at 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific. I’ll be talking about two of my favorite things, sewing & quilting with Pendleton wool (and sharing tips from my new book, Hand-Stitched Home) and log cabin quilting. I hope you can listen in – or you can tune in later on the archives on her site!

Pat Sloan Show

PS: Today is the last day to enter my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway drawing for a copy of Hand-Stitched Home & wool Nesting Box kit – good luck!

hand-stitched home in my etsy shop, blog tour, + giveaway! December 8, 2014

I’m so excited that my amazing Hand-Stitched Home contributors have been sharing some peeks at their beautiful book projects on my blog tour this week, and I thought the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day was the perfect time to celebrate!

handstitched home 1

I’ve just listed signed copies of Hand-Stitched Home in my Etsy shop for the first time, which include a little wool fabric kit to make your first small Nesting Box, and I’m donating $5 to the Oregon Food Bank with each sale. I’d love to give one of these same book + fabric sets away to a Sew Mama Sew reader! Just look through all the project photos I’m sharing today, leave a comment on this post with your favorite or the one you’d like to sew first, and I’ll draw a winner December 12 (US addresses only please) & send it right out. On to the pictures!

handstitched home 2

Diane Gilleland made this beautiful table runner & shared it on her Instagram,

handstitched home 3

Haley Pierson-Cox sewed this beautiful wool binding kitchen rug and shared lots more about its design process (& is offering a giveaway!) on her blog,

handstitched home 4

Lupine Swanson, Michelle Freedman, and Meredith Hobbs wrote up their beautiful projects (this stylish shawl, a serape shoulder bag, and a modern embroidered tote) on the Modern Domestic blog,

handstitched home 5

Amber Corcoran posted some gorgeous new photos of her jacquard ottoman (and a giveaway!) on the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog,

handstitched home 6

Anna Joyce shared a bit more about her beautiful chevron pillow on her Facebook page (+ a giveaway!),

handstitched home 7

Heather Mann made a video about the book and her darling jacquard backpack,

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and Sandie Holtman shared lots more about her design process and fabrics for her lovely improvisational chevron bolster on her blog.

handstitched home 9

Here are a few more book projects I just love… I made these party pennants, modern cross pillow, and improvisational wool quilt. All three are favorites in my house (the quilt is on our bed, perfect for this cold weather) and it makes me so happy to see them every day.

handstitched home 10

And (my version of) Alexia Abegg’s beautiful winter cape, Stacy Spaulding’s picnic blanket, and my memorial quilt for my dad are all on display at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store! Go pick up some gorgeous fabric (or dig for treasure in the $5/pound bins) and check them out in person.

Please leave a comment with your favorite project from the book you’d like to make by December 12 and I’ll pick a winner then! (And if you don’t happen to win, you can send your secret Santa a link to the book in my Etsy shop.) Thanks so much to my wonderful contributors and everyone who’s had kind words for my book. Happy sewing!!!

scraps, inc. November 25, 2014

scraps inc 1
I’m thrilled to share my Harvest Gold Charm Bracelet quilt from Susanne Woods’ lovely new compilation book, Scraps, Inc., today! Susanne asked fifteen of us to each contribute an original quilt design that uses scraps, and I love the finished book. It’s beautifully designed and organized, and the quilt patterns are gorgeously varied – HSTs, curves, flying geese, paper piecing, stars, improvisational patchwork, chevrons, and my favorite, log cabin. Quilting superstars Alex Ledgerwood, Allison Harris, Amy Ellis, Amy Friend, Amy Smart, April Rosenthal, Beth Vassalo, Camille Roskelley, Faith Jones, Jeni Baker, Kati Spencer, Lee Heinrich, Melissa Lunden, and Sherri McConnell also contributed, so I was excited to be in such good company!

scraps, inc.

One of my favorite moments at Quilt Market was our Scraps, Inc. book signing in the Lucky Spool/Taunton booth. Taunton published my new book, Hand-Stitched Home, and Lucky Spool has partnered with them and shared the (gorgeous) booth, so it was really cool to see the beautiful book covers, and books, together!

scraps inc

I had just done my Hand-Stitched Home signing a half-hour before, and meeting some of the other contributors (five of us were there, a third of the book’s designers, including all three of the Amys!) to get our first look at the book and celebrate it a little bit was so much fun. Amy Ellis, Amy Friend, Sherri McConnell, Amy Smart, and I set up a little assembly line and signed away, passing each book down to the next person as we went. The last five copies we signed were for us to keep, and that was such a great feeling!


My quilt is the last one in the book, Harvest Gold Charm Bracelet, and it’s one of my favorites I’ve made. It uses only 16 charm squares of your favorite fabrics, placing them as the centers of oversized weighted log cabin blocks, and spins the blocks around the perimeter of the quilt for a circular, “charm bracelet” feel. I originally made this quilt for my daughter, Pearl, who loves rainbows, using Lizzy House’s Pearl Bracelet charms in color order. (Nancy Stovall quilted both these quilts and I LOVE her work!)

rainbow charm bracelet 1

For this version, I was excited to reinterpret the same “charm bracelet” design in what I think of as 1970s appliance colors – avocado green, burnt orange, and of course harvest gold, which inspired the new name, against serene gray (Michael Miller’s Fog). Here’s another look at the scrap charms I chose – arranging and rearranging them into the circle they’d eventually live in was really fun.


And of course, I had to include my favorite Tammis Keefe cats fabric – the charm squares are perfect for fussy cutting and spotlighting designs you especially love.


Scraps, Inc. is on sale now, and Lucky Spool is offering a special discount – 30% off! Use the code SCRAPS30 to get this discount, good through Dec. 1. Yay! Happy sewing!

Laptop Sleeve tutorial on Design*Sponge! November 4, 2014

I was so thrilled to see a lovely review of Hand-Stitched Home on Design*Sponge today – thank you SO much to Grace Bonney for her kind words about Pendleton and my book, and for sharing the beautiful Laptop Sleeve/Zip Clutch designed by Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns. It’s such a gorgeous project and totally customizable to fit a device of any size – or just make as a clutch to carry for a quick errand or a night out!


You can find the beautiful Condensed Black & White fabric Sarai used at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store here in Portland, or call the store at 503-535-5786 for personal shopping and mail order if you aren’t local – they are so nice!

hand-stitched home signing at Market!

Thanks to everyone who came to my book signings at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, and at Quilt Market! I’ll post more about Market later but it was so much fun to see lots of friends and get a peek at beautiful new projects, books, fabric lines, patterns, and everything else on the show floor. I’m happy to be home and looking forward to sharing more from my book now that my events are winding down!

make it: border print wool tote! September 19, 2014

Do you like sewing with border prints? I do! To celebrate my new wool sewing book, Hand-Stitched Home, I wanted to share a tutorial for this super-simple border print wool tote bag I made this week. I loved how it looked in beautiful Pendleton wool jacquard, with a graphic woven design at the bottom of the bag, and a serene stretch of solid navy floating above it.

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 1

I just posted a special feature about sewing for the home with border prints over at Sew Mama Sew (the first one, last month, was a set of Cotton + Steel dresses for me and Pearl!) and shared some tips and ideas for making curtains, tea towels, or tote bags using these pretty designs. I used Pendleton wool fabric* for my tote – though of course you could use denim, corduroy, canvas, or another home dec-weight fabric that you like best! Be sure to stop by the Sew Mama Sew post for a chance to win all the fabrics and supplies I used for mine… Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 2

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 yard each heavy or medium-weight outer fabric and lightweight lining (I used a Pendleton jacquard in blanket weight from the Woolen Mill Store, and Michael Miller Cotton Couture in chocolate for the lining; note, 1/2 yard of the 64”-wide wool yardage I bought is actually enough for two bags.)
  • Straps of your choice (I used 1 1/2” suede straps from the WMS, 60” total length)
  • Sewing machine, scissors, pins, complementary thread, measuring tape, and basic sewing supplies

A few tips:

  • This project uses all 1/2” seam allowances, and I used a longer stitch length than usual to sew the heavier wool fabric. Test yours on scraps.
  • Press your wool using a steam iron or spray bottle of distilled water, never a dry iron.
  • Match your border print details carefully at the seams, as mentioned in the first step. I like to put a pin through both layers to make sure the stripe edges are perfectly aligned. They will line up beautifully on the sides of your finished bag if you take a few extra minutes while you’re pinning! If they don’t match the first time, simply seam-rip and try again.

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 3

1. Cut two 16” x 16” squares of both your outer fabric and lining fabric. (You can include the narrow woven selvage of your wool if you like – it will disappear into your seam allowance.) Cut your straps to the length you prefer; I used two 30” straps for my tote/shoulder bag. Now press your paired outer and lining fabric square sets and pin each of them together, right sides facing, around three sides of the perimeter. Check to make sure any border print details (like my stripes, for example) line up neatly at each side, so they will match at your finished seams. Leave the top open, and leaving a 7” opening at the bottom of your  lining fabrics.Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 42. Using a 1/2” seam allowance, stitch around three sides of your outer fabric, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam to hold it securely. Stitch your lining fabric the same way, but leave the 7” opening unsewn (I used white thread in the photo above so it hopefully shows more clearly!).

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 53. Create a box corner at each side of your outer and lining fabrics, pressing the sides flat to create a triangle, marking 2” over from the tip of the triangle, pinning, and stitching in place, backstitching at the beginning and the end to hold the seam.Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 64. Trim away the excess fabric above your box corner seams, as shown. Gently shake your outer bag and lining sections out so that they both form a 3-dimensional bag shape with structured corners (as seen in the photo below) and press your side seams open. Remember, your lining will still have an opening in the center – this is crucial for turning your bag right side out in a few minutes!Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 75. Turn your outer bag right side out and mark your strap placement on both sides (as shown below) – I placed my straps 4” from the side seams. Pin your straps at that spot on each side of the bag, with the ends just above the raw edge of the fabric, and check to make sure they are evenly placed, and without a twist in the loop of the straps.

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 86. Ease your outer tote bag inside the lining, with right sides facing, and the straps tucked between the two layers. Pin all around the perimeter, matching side seams and checking once more to make sure the straps line up neatly on each side.

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 97. Stitch around the perimeter of the tote bag opening, back-stitching to hold the seam at the beginning and end, and using a 1/2” seam allowance. I like to double-stitch the four straps for security, simply reinforcing those areas and back-stitching again each time. Turn your bag right side out through the opening in the lining and shake it out. Press, pin, and machine- or hand-stitch the opening closed.

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 10

8. Press the perimeter of the opening of your tote bag and pin the lining and outer layers together as shown, with straps arranged neatly and straight. Top-stitch to add stability and a more tailored look. I like to top-stitch with my lining facing up and outer bag down, so be sure to use a matching thread and bobbin color for your fabrics.

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 11

9. Admire your finished tote bag – and be sure to stop by my Sew Mama Sew post to enter to win your own set of Pendleton wool jacquard, Cotton Couture lining fabric, and suede straps for your next project!

Border Print Wool Tote Tutorial 13

Thanks so much to Sew Mama Sew for the chance to write about one of my favorite things, and to everyone who has had kind words for my new book – I am so excited. Powell’s already has it on their author events shelf – yay! Happy weekend and happy sewing!

wool tote

PS – If you’d like to make a quartered log cabin patchwork version of this tote, be sure to check out my Creativebug class – the fourth class in the Log Cabin Quilting series covers both a colorful quilting cotton and luxurious wool version! You can get a free 14-day trial to watch unlimited classes when you sign up with the site.

*During the entire month of September, all the amazing fabric at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store is on sale – from 30-80% off! You can shop in person here in Portland, look through fabrics on their website, or call 503-535-5786 for mail order.

hand-stitched home – book release day! September 16, 2014

Hand-Stitched Home, my new sewing book in partnership with Pendleton Woolen Mills, is officially out today, and I could not be more excited! I’d love to share some photos and details from the book and a little of what makes it feel so special to me, and invite you to my events coming up this fall and winter, too.

hand-stitched home 1

First, there are over two dozen modern home projects, accessories, quilts, and garments to sew, contributed by me and fourteen wonderful guest designers. There’s also a detailed primer on sewing and working with wool, lots of tips and techniques to try, and a history of Pendleton – illustrated with beautiful photos and ephemera from their vast company archives!

hand-stitched home 2

Each project is rated for difficulty, ranging between one sheep (beginner-friendly) and four sheep (for advanced sewists). Here are some of the page spreads so you can get a sense of the book, or stop by Powell’s, the Woolen Mill Store, or Modern Domestic to flip through it in person!

hand-stitched home 3Square Within a Square quilt, designed by me (using 18 different plaids throughout, featuring the signature 1960s Surf plaid as the heart of each block)

One of my favorite things about the book is the chapter opener pages, which pair a project with a beautifully photographed, generously sized piece of Pendleton fabric, showing all the details and colors of its intricate pattern. We also shared exactly which plaids, solids, and jacquards we used in each of our projects, so you can find exactly the same fabrics, or just use ours as inspiration to choose your own favorites – or, of course, easily reuse new or vintage wool fabrics you already have.

hand-stitched home 4Improvisational Wool Patchwork Quilt, designed by me (using 30 or so different jacquard and solids remnants, including San Miguel and Condensed Black & White)

The Tools, Materials, and Techniques section covers all kinds of details for working with wool – with our favorite tips and tricks on pressing, “cutting,” and hand- and machine-stitching wool fabrics of all types, you won’t believe how easy it is to make beautiful projects in your favorite colors or patterns. My longtime collaborator Alexis Hartman made wonderful, clear illustrations and templates you can see throughout the book, but her work especially shines here.

hand-stitched home 5Jacquard Cube Ottoman designed by Amber Corcoran (in Big Thunder Scarlet)

Each themed chapter includes at least five projects to make, from simple and straightforward to more complex pieces – so you can get started with something quick and fun (like these little pennants) right away, or choose special fabrics and details for a modern heirloom you’ll keep forever… or give away to mark a special occasion.

hand-stitched home image

Party Pennants, designed by me (using blue, orange, and oatmeal blanket header and wool felt binding in white)

I think pillows are a perfect way to make something gorgeous that’s also economical, only using a FQ or so of a couple of wool fabrics; even the incredible ottoman pictured a couple of photos above only requires a yard of jacquard fabric, so you can create something amazing at a very attainable scale, or invest in something gorgeous that will live on in your family for generations to come.

hand-stitched home 6Wool Cross Pillows designed by me (in olive Umatilla Plaid Flannel, bamboo Eco-Wise, and Pecos Ivory)

Burcu Avsar photographed the book projects last year over four crisp, sunny fall days on a beautiful horse farm. I love this photograph so much – one of my favorite things I’ve ever made, in such a gorgeous setting! That was a pretty amazing surprise to find on the page of the book – it really captured our time together with lots of book projects and Pendleton fabric in this lovely place.

hand-stitched home 7Improvisational Wool Quilt designed by me (using forty or fifty assorted jacquards and solids remnants, including Chief Joseph, San Miguel, and Harding)

The Accessories projects are a huge favorite of mine – the collection includes this simple, stylish backpack with leather details as well as a modern tote, gorgeous shoulder bag, streamlined zip clutch, and a beautifully tailored messenger bag, each spotlighting its fabrics beautifully.

hand-stitched home 8Jacquard Backpack designed by Heather Mann (using aqua Rancho Arroyo)

And the garments chapter includes stylish scarves for men and women, an understated, lovely modern shawl, a striking obi belt, and this wonderful vintage-inspired winter cape. I just got to film a brand-new series of wool sewing classes as a companion to the book, which should launch in the next month or two, and we featured three of these lovely pieces to wear!

hand-stitched home 9Winter Cape designed by Alexia Abegg (using Four Directions jacquard and wool felt binding in black)

There are paper patterns for many of the projects right in the back of the book, along with resources, tips for caring for wool.

hand-stitched home 10Picnic Blanket, designed by Stacy Spaulding (using San Miguel)

I was so honored to share the visual history of Pendleton over the last century and counting… thanks to an amazing week of research in the company archives in downtown Portland, and the chance to reprint some of the most beautiful images I found there.

hand-stitched home 11

I always design projects using a sketchbook and make tons of notes, revisions, and write out details as I go through drafts and see what works really well (and what doesn’t, and gets vehemently crossed out so I don’t try that again!). This book came to life over the last three years, with my ideas, excitement, fabric swatches, and pattern math filling the pages of an Ex Libris Anonymous journal, one of my favorites – I mean, look at that cover! It couldn’t have been a better match for working with the most iconic Oregon company of all.

hand-stitched home 12

Here you can see how my Nesting Boxes project ideal evolved in size, proportion, construction, and fabric choices last summer, to the simple but ultra-useful set of three you see on the page. I loved pairing some of my absolute favorite plaids with the serene, rich Eco-Wise solids, and the calm of blanket-stitching each one together was the perfect way to balance the thick forest of deadlines a book always brings.

hand-stitched home 13

I love the back cover as much as the front. Here you can see Diane Gilleland‘s lovely Leaf Table Runner (in Eco-Wise Wool in Geranium and Reef); Stacy’s Picnic Blanket; Michelle Freedman‘s gorgeous Serape Shoulder Bag (in Stripe Jacquard Blanket fabric) ; and Anna Joyce‘s ultra-stylish Applique Pillow (in Coyote Butte in Black, Solid Reversible Jacquard in Gold, and Eco-Wise Wool in Charcoal).

hand-stitched home 14

You can find Hand-Stitched Home at your local bookstore, or here online or in person:

Powell’s (including signed copies!) • Amazon • Taunton • Barnes & Noble • IndieBound

The Woolen Mill Store • Modern DomesticFabric Depot

All the wool fabrics in the book are available via the Pendleton website, and this month is the huge annual sale at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, with 30-80% off every fabric in the entire collection, and Hand-Stitched Home projects on display paired with new fabrics! Shop in person at 8500 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Portland, or call 503-535-5786 for mail order, with sale prices good through Sept. 30.

You can also use whatever new or vintage wools you like best, and I’ve given suggestions for substitutions as well.

hand-stitched home book on quilt

And I hope you can come to one of my book events coming up! I’ve listed them here, and you can also look on the Events page of my website for more to come.

Thursday, Sept. 18, Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting, 7-9 pm at St. Andrew’s Church. Presentation on wool sewing and quilting with a show & tell and giveaways! 806 NE Alberta St., Portland.

Friday & Saturday, Sept. 26-27, NW Quilting Expo, more details TBA.

Sunday, Sept. 28, Powell’s City of Books, 4 pm. Reading, Pendleton new and vintage fabric show, book projects and varations, and meeting lots of the guest designers in the NW’s Mightiest Bookstore! 1008 W. Burnside St, Portland.

Friday, Oct. 10, Home Sewn Weekend, Modern Domestic. Wool sewing presentation and trunk show as part of a lovely sewing weekend! 1408 NE Alberta St., Portland.

Saturday, Oct. 11, Hand-Stitched Home book release party at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store! Book projects, fabrics, giveaways, and meeting lots of the book designers at the huge, beautiful Pendleton fabric flagship store carrying hundreds and hundreds of solids, plaids, and jacquards! 8500 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Portland.

Friday, Oct. 24, “The Thread” Schoolhouse event, 3:45-4:15pm, room 381C, Quilt Market, Houston, Texas.

Saturday, Oct. 25, Hand-Stitched Home book signing, Taunton/Lucky Spool booth, Quilt Market, Houston, Texas. More info TBA!

– – – – – – – – – –

Thanks so much to Pendleton Woolen Mills, my wonderful guest designers, my friends who cheered me on, the lovely people who buy my books or just have something nice to say about them, and of course my family. I really appreciate the support – writing a book is always an adventure, an exhausting, detail-oriented adventure that represents years of your life… but this one was truly a dream project, and to see it come to life today, out in the world, is a huge honor. Thank you all!

sew a modern home! August 15, 2014

I just got back from filming my CreativeLIVE Back to School Crafts class in San Francisco this week, which was awesome… but it’s so nice to be home and thinking about sewing for fun again! My PMQG friend Melissa Lunden has a wonderful new book out this month, Sew a Modern Homeand I’m so pleased to read her lovely book, join her blog tour, and get the chance to dream about what I want to make for us.

sew a modern home

Melissa’s quilts, pillows, and other home projects are all so charming – modern, simple, inviting, and with lovely attention to detail. The book has a thorough and clear techniques section, and paper patterns for many of the projects included, too.  I wanted to share a couple of my favorites of the 19 projects she designed – it’s so hard to choose just three!

table runner

The first project I want to make is Birds of a Feather – Melissa’s gorgeous, streamlined take on the venerable flying geese block, which she adapted to a dining room place mats, napkin, and table runner set. I’m imagining this as a series of mini-quilts hanging together in my hall, in orange, gray, and aqua.

sew a modern home

I was also immediately drawn to the super-striking Chevron Starburst Pillow – through clever cutting and piecing, Melissa created this brand-new design from a single chevron fabric!


And I definitely want to make her Sharp Turn Quilt, which she designed for a young boy’s room, but would be stunning as a grown-up quilt in a larger size, too. The clean, beautifully understated lines and simplicity are just so good.

Melissa is also doing a couple of Portland events, and the first one is tomorrow! She’ll be at Fabric Depot‘s Quilt! Knit! Stitch! booth, #2302, showing and signing her book, from 10am-1pm on Saturday, August 16. Then, she’s also having a book release party at Modern Domestic – mark your calendar for 4-6 pm on September 6, too!

Melissa and Martingale have generously offered up a free e-copy of Sew a Modern Home to a lucky reader. Please leave a comment here and let me know what you’d most like to sew from this lovely book, and I’ll draw a winner one week from today, August 22!

All images in this post are courtesy of Martingale and Brent Kane.

Follow along with the rest of the blog tour right here!

8/13/2014    www.lundendesigns.com
8/14/2014    www.veryshannon.com
8/15/2014    https://www.westcoastcrafty.com/
8/16/2014    http://bostonsewer.blogspot.com/
8/17/2014    http://oneshabbychick.typepad.com/
8/18/2014    http://cactus-needle.blogspot.com/
8/19/2014    www.fabricworm.com
8/20/2014    http://generationqmagazine.com/
8/21/2014    http://blog.shopmartingale.com/
8/22/2014    prudentbaby.com
8/23/2014    http://www.stitcherydickorydock.com/
8/24/2014    http://www.favequilts.com/

Congratulations, Melissa!!!