New Pattern: The Workshop Tote

Friday, June 29, 2018

Happy Friday! I'm really excited to launch my new pattern, the Workshop Tote today!

I designed this tote to be the perfect size for taking to your next workshop or retreat! Fill it with your latest projects, sewing supplies or snacks. It's nice and roomy, and can easily be customized with piecing or a really fun fabric. The pattern includes three styles: half-square triangle, patchwork, and plain. There's also instructions for adding a simple slip pocket to the interior.

These bags are meant to be strong, but soft. I find that when I'm packing up my stuff for a retreat, I don't pull for the super stiff bags. When I carry my featherweight, I of course use something with a lot of weight to it (my sew portable travel set), but for everyday use I like something that's softer. Structure is added with tucking at the very end, along with medium-weight Pellon SF101 interfacing.

For all three of my bags I used a mix of light and medium weight woven fabrics. It also stitches up great in quilting cotton! You could also use light-weight canvas fabrics, but I'd avoid those for the half-square triangle version. Could make for some bulky seams! If you'd like a stiffer tote, you can always choose to use a heavier interfacing.

The tote exterior can be made with yardage, fat quarters, fat eighths or charm packs.

You can find the Workshop Tote Pattern in my online shop. It's available in PDF and paper formats. This pattern is suitable for comfortable beginners!

There are instructions for making your own handles as well as using webbing for the handles. I love to buy 100% cotton webbing to have on hand for making bags like these, because it's dyeable! I'll share a tutorial soon for using RIT to dye your own custom handles, it's super simple. I also like the look of the webbing as is, which I used on the solid sample for this pattern!

This is a great time to make these totes because there are tons of different woven fabric options on the market right now! My samples are made from woven fabrics from a number of manufacturers, which I'll include in a list below with lots of other great options. The new wovens from Alison Glass would also be perfect for these totes!

- Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass
- Shot Cotton by Kaffe Fasset
- Peppered Cottons by Studio E
- Chambray by Andover
- Cross Weaves by Moda
- Union Chambray by Robert Kaufman*
- The Denim Studio by Art Gallery Fabrics
- Essex Yarn Dyed Classic Wovens by Robert Kaufman*
- Mariner's Cloth by Alison Glass
- Checkers Gingham by Cotton & Steel

*Robert Kaufman has a huge selection of fabrics that would work great for this pattern, including their Carolina gingham, Manchester cotton, and Essex cotton/linen, plus the collections overdyed on Essex, like Euclid, Polk, Arroyo, and my friend Anna's upcoming collection, Forage.

I originally designed the half-square triangle tote included in this pattern back in September 2016 for Quilts & More magazine. This one was stitched up in quilting cotton and it turned out great! It was my first project for the magazine, and it appeared in the Spring 2017 issue. See more about that version in this post. With a lot of magazine work, you have to wait a specified amount of time after the magazine has been published before using your designs in other ways. So that's been part of the delay, that and our big move!

PDF: The Workshop Tote PDF Pattern
Printed: The Workshop Tote Paper Pattern

Share your tote projects with the hashtag #workshoptote on instagram!  

Thank you as always for your support!

Patchwork Essentials: Opposites Attract Quilt

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The time has finally come. I've mentioned quite a few times over the last few years that I wanted to share each of the quilts in my book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle. I put a huge amount of time and effort into writing it, it seems silly that I haven't gone into greater detail about the quilts in it.

I'm slowly going to share each quilt, in order, with the exception of a few that I've already shared. So, first up we'll be looking at the quilts in the color chapter. For more on how the book is structured see this post.
Need a copy of the book? Buy a signed one here: Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle

Let's start at the beginning. This little scrappy block was the beginning of my loving relationship with half-square triangles. It was made with the little triangle offcuts from joining binding strips together. These exact scraps came from the binding of my first two quilts! My warm color quilt and my cool color quilt. This simple block led me to hosting my first quilt along, the Warm Cool Quilt Along, and was the inspiration for Opposites Attract.

This quilt was the first one that I made for the book. I had just signed my contract, and I got to work right away. Since I played with warm vs. cool in my earlier work with half-square triangles, I knew I had to include the concept in the book.

I used a pretty wide range of values for this version. If I made it again, I would have omitted some of the darker prints.

For the quilting I used two different free motion designs. In the cool colored sections I did my standard doodle loops. In the warm colored sections I quilted organic lines. The difference doesn't show up too well in photos, but in person the difference in quilting really helps accentuate the design.

I used one of my coveted cuts of Luxe in Bloom, and it's bound up in one of my prints from Nordika.

Photo © 2015 Lauren Hunt for Lucky Spool Media.

 Happy Quilting!

Work in Progress: Vintage Sheet Four-Patch Quilt

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

For the last year or so, I've been trying my best to prioritize working on getting old projects finished up or pass them onto someone else. This has been an effort to make things easier for our move, but also to tie up some of my many loose end projects. For the most part, I've done a pretty good job of this. Now that we've been in our new home for six months (whoa), I felt like it was finally time for a shiny new project.

When my parents came to visit last month, they brought with them the rest of my vintage pyrex and enamelware collections. I used my stash of vintage sheet fabrics to pack those collections. It worked out great, and made the unpacking really fun and colorful. When I was putting away all my sheets, I kept the scraps and small pieces to the side. I decided my next quilt had to be a scrappy sheet quilt.

If you'd like to learn more about working with vintage sheets, check out my post: How to Identify, Shop for and Sew with Vintage Sheets

With all these crazy patterns and colors I knew I wanted to keep the piecing simple. I happened to have a small stack of 5" squares already cut, so I built off of that. I decided to make some four patch blocks that finish at 4.5" to go with them. This was great for cutting up smaller scraps.

There has been a lot of chain piecing to put this quilt together. The day I started it, I didn't have much of a plan other than the basic design. I didn't know how big it was going to be, how many blocks I'd need, or any other details worked out. I just started cutting and piecing. This is a big deal for me, because I almost never work this way. Usually I have everything figured out and the math done before I even iron the fabrics. It was a nice change of pace.

Can't chain piece without my cutting gizmo.

I think I was able to comfortably work spontaneously on this quilt because it was super scrappy. I didn't have to work about running out of a particular fabric or color. I did dip into some of my smaller cuts once I ran out of variety in the scraps, which was fine. I ended making the blocks in three batches.

I stitched the top together downstairs one evening with my vintage singer featherweight, in front of the tv. It's such a quiet machine, it was perfect!

I'm very excited to get this one finished. It has been a great low-stress project for me, and the fabrics are just so cheerful.

Happy Quilting!

May Monthly Report

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Happy June! It's time for May's monthly report. See past reports here.

Keeping things short and sweet for this month's report! We've been spending time working outside whenever the weather cooperates. A few weekends ago I made a couple of planters for our front porch. I followed this youtube video. I'm really pleased with how they turned out!

I've pulled together most of the dining room, and now have all my vintage enamelware and vintage Pyrex out and on display! I love having it all together again. Here is my shelf with all my Cathrineholm, Dansk Kobenstyle, and Arabia Finel pieces.

I've been sewing, still working mostly on smaller projects. One of which was another little stuffed mouse! I made one for my Mom for Easter (see it here), and this one I made for myself. Her name is Penelope. I used this pattern, and my favorite tiny heart buttons.

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I'm tracking my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track my here. Here is how I did in May:

May Fabric
Used up: 8.5 yards
Brought in: 9.75 yards
Net: +1.25 yards
Year to date: +23.25 yards

May Yarn
Used up: 0 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: 0 yards
Year to date: +218 yards

In terms of stashing, I did okay this month. I bought a few yards of plain canvas for some upcoming bags, plus a few goodies from Bijou Lovely. The rest was gifted to me, which I do still count! :)

One project from last month was this simple mini quilt that I made for my Mom for Mother's Day. I've been holding onto these panels by Suzy Ultman from Appleville for years. I still have a few pieces left, but it felt good to use up a few!

Two George photos this month, because why not? He's been his usual cute self.

Have a great month!