Reblogged from See How We Sew

2015-01-12 12.11.10A while back, I kept hearing about quick and fun ways to make blocks using unusual construction techniques. I would hear about one, then someone would say, “Oh -that reminds me of another one!” That’s when I started thinking it would be fun to put them all together into one quilt – and so I did.

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Home Sweet Home

2014-11-19 08.45I am home from Iowa and landed into a whirlwind of projects to be started. Always fun to start new projects, right?

I wanted to show just a few photos with you from my trip – the friends and family side. I will share quilting and workshops later.

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When I arrived, Fall was over and they were full swing into Winter.

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Wow – seriously? 9 degrees?

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One of the Amish neighbors stopped by to help with the farm.

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I, on the other hand, searched out the quilts to keep warm. This is one I made for my sister years ago.

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And this, I believe, is where it all started. Grandma’s afghans and a quilt from the 1970’s.

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My sweet lil’ nephew didn’t mind the cold.

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Then, I was off to visit one of my closest friends, Deb. I can always count on her home being in the festive spirit!

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I love to see what she has sprinkled throughout her house.

2014-11-19 08.44She is going to shoot me for posting this. But, it seems to speak oodles about our friendship. And yes, a few filters to help with our vanity.

Deb and Pati filtered low res

I am so thankful for family and friends. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you!

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Quilt! My Appliqué Demo for A Workshop in Iowa

2014-11-13 09.02.30On Friday and Saturday, I will be attending a fundraising event for my alma mater High School. It is a 2 day workshop, Quiltfest that is held twice a year to raise money for high school college scholarships. A great cause, but also an excuse for me to hang with quilt friends from the town I grew up in, and to visit with family.

Since the event is organized each year by one of my high school friends, Jodi Geist, fundraising extroirdinaire, I usually get asked to do some demos or projects to keep us busy for 2 days. This year, it was decided that I would demo different style of Appliqué. Now, don’t get me wrong – I do not profess to be an expert at this, as most of you already know. But it is always fun to share with others what you have learned.

I decided it would be fun to use letters, since they are simple shapes and they lend to lots of personalization on the project.

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I worked on each block separately, so that I could play with my layout.

Techniques? I chose machine appliqué, needle turn, freezer paper, back basting and spray starch appliqué. All techniques I have used for one project or another.

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Pick some colorful threads to use for a little hand work.

2014-11-08 19.21.01I chose Presentia #12 in some pretty colors. to big stitch an outline around the letters.

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Echo that in some machine stitching with the walking foot.

2014-11-12 11.05.13A little more handwork and it’s done!2014-11-13 09.02.30Ready for 2 days of sewing!!!


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Brrrrd Houses for A Chilly Visit to Iowa

I am excited to heading back to Iowa in 2 days for some teaching at one of my favorite quilt shops,  and also doing some workshop demos at Quiltfest, a fundraiser for my alma mater High School.

I love going back home for quilty stuff. It is so fun meeting quilters from my home town, finding out that people I have known all my life are quilters, and best of all, seeing what their styles and interests are!

I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, Around the World Blog Hop Tour  that I was would be teaching a fun quilt named Winter Brrrd Houses at Quilts and Other Notions on 11/18/14. I thought I would share a bit about the project again, since the class is in a few days.2014-10-15 11

The idea for this quilt evolved from a sweet lil’ birdhouse design that Laura Nownes created for our the Quilt-Along project, Blackbirds & Blossoms, Oh-La-La! on See How We Sew. The quilt was a joint project with Jennifer Rounds, Laura and myself. You can also follow all the other projects that are evolving from this project on our Pinterest Board, Blackbirds & Blossoms – Our Quilt-Along. Here’s a tip – follow the board, because there are even more projects evolving from this Quilt-Along!

Seriously, so cute!

birdhouseI chose large, colorful, graphic prints for the birdhouses and used Grunge Basics by Moda  to make the roofs and doors pop. Okay, and because I loved them.

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I followed Laura’s directions for building the birdhouses – tweaking the sizes a bit. I gave them long posts to stand on, thinking it would be fun to build a whole hillside of bird houses. Some were big, some were small, so that it created a bit of depth.

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I wanted to add the birds at this point, but realized that if I waited, it would be a great opportunity for some accents and impact, since they would be black. I am so glad I waited, because I ended up doing some fun things with them later.

After the birdhouses were built, I began cutting and sewing curves out of an embarrassingly large collection of grays, taupes and off-whites that I have. Miraculously, they ended up with the snow drift effect that I was striving for.

I then backed my birds with a batting to give them some dimension. As always, I definitely could use some work on my embroidery skills.

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It was a lot of fun playing with the placement of the birds. They had a lot of impact, so some of them were set to only show their heads peeking out of their house. It was a great chance to balance out the layout of the quilt.

Winter Brrrd Houses lighter version

Kerry Reed did the quilting on this quilt, isn’t it amazing?

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If you are interested in learning how to make my curvy snowdrifts, we will be introducing a video on curve piecing soon, along with the Winter Brrrd Houses pattern on See How We Sew -Hopefully in mid-December.

If you are local to Quilts and Other Notions, I hope you signed up for the class – If you are not local, be thinking warm thoughts for all of us. It is pretty chilly back there right now! I guess my snow drifts will feel right at home!

Have a great weekend!

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Quilt Market 2014

Hop over to See How We Sew to get the update on Quilt Market 2104. 12.47.20

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Around the World Blog Hop

Welcome to all you blog-world travelers! I’ve been tagged! Carol Van Zandt of The Plaid Portico asked me to join in on the Around the World Blog Hop.  If you are new to this, it is kind of like a virtual chain letter – only in a good way. Accept the tag, answer some interesting questions, then tag 2 more bloggers. I have been having fun following the, (dare I say, chain?) back to find inspirations and discover a few new blogs to follow. And so, thank you Carol!
As you saw last Monday in Carol’s post, she is a talented artist that licenses her art and design across in many areas, including Andover Fabrics! Right now, I have her Pop Rocks Collection sitting on my cutting table, ready to be made into a fun project. She is warm and supportive and I am delighted to see her creations being shown in the world. I met Carol, and a lot of other amazingly talented souls through East Bay Modern Quilt Guild in Berkeley, CA. One of the best things I ever did, in terms of creativity was to find this group. And look – here I am on a blog hop because of it!
So let’s get started with the questions.
How does my writing/creative process work?
As some of you know, I also write for See How We Sew, a blog collective with Laura Nownes and Jennifer Rounds. My personal blog seems to get neglected a bit because of this. But, when I do write, it is usually about something that I am working on in my design studio, a finished piece or something inspiring that I would like to share. I think of it as a online journal to collect my thoughts, designs and photos.
Once I know what I am writing about, I tend to open a new draft page in WordPress and just start jotting down thoughts and dropping in photos. It is quite a mess in the beginning, somewhat like my studio! Sometimes my drafts sit there for quite some time, waiting for a final photo of a project I haven’t finished. I like that – it is a place to store my thoughts and notes until the piece is complete. After collecting all my information and photos, I spend some time moving, manipulating and massaging it until it is ready to publish. Once in a while I have to check back in my dashboard to see what drafts I have forgotten about – which are usually unfinished projects!
Why do I write/create what I do?
Why do I write? I have no clue. Maybe because my friends and family are tired of hearing me babble about quilting all the time. Why do I create? That’s easy – because I would not be me if I weren’t. There have been times in my life that I was so busy that there was no room for creativity. Those were the times I was the most unhappy. I know I need to allow creative time in my day, whether it is sketching, drawing, sewing or quilting in order for me to stay grounded and smiling. I even consider gardening and home projects as creative outlets – well, most of the time.
What Am I working on?
This is my latest project – Winter Brrrd Houses.
Winter Brrrd Houses by Pati Fried
I just shipped this off to Quilts and Other Notions, a fabulous quilt shop in Iowa. I visit my midwest family at least once a year and shop owner, Joyce Franklin, is always kind enough to schedule me on her calendar while there. It is a lot of fun teaching talented quilters that I knew growing up – especially since I had no clue how amazing the quilting world was as when I was a teen!
Winter Brrrd Houses was inspired by a birdhouse block that Laura Nownes created for our Blackbirds & Blossoms Quilt-Along at See How We Sew. When I saw it, I knew I wanted to do a whole family of them. I started with a collection of  Grunge Basics by Moda and large, colorful, graphic prints.
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I followed Laura’s directions for building the birdhouses – tweaking the sizes a bit. I also backed my birds with a batting to give them some dimension. As always, I definitely could use some work on my embroidery skills.
2014-10-13 02.35.40        2014-10-13 02.36.24 

After the birdhouses were built, I began cutting and sewing curves out of an embarrassingly large collection of grays, taupes and off-whites that I have. Miraculously, they ended up with the snow drift effect that I was striving for.
Winter Brrrd Houses lighter version
Kerry Reed did the quilting on this quilt, isn’t it amazing?
If you are interested in learning how to make my curvy snowdrifts, check the See How We Sew blog later this week. We will be introducing a video on curve piecing. Hopefully, you will be seeing a pattern for this one in the next month or so.
How Does my work differ from others of my genre?
I’m not sure it does. I tend to straddle the fence between Modern and Traditional, which is why I decided the term Modern Traditionalist was a fitting description of what I do. I will always love intricate piecing because it challenges me, but I am also intrigued with the improvisational aspect of Modern Quilting – it reminds me of why I studied art in the
first place.
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I have been doing a lot of what I call controlled improv, in which I mix the movement and flow of improv with the structure of intricate piecing. Each of the blocks in my Amish inspired quilt, Tribute, was an experiment in this process. The color pairings in each block were sewn improvisationally, with lots of waves and angles. Then I brought it into control by trimming them into a defined width to fit between the black triangles, and the pink and lime green on the point. Contolled Improv! Yes, I could have stripped pieced the color pairings, but they would not have the individual personality, movement and interest I was able to achieve. I think it adds another level to a traditional Roman Stripe Quilt.
TributeKerry Reed did the quilting on this also, I did the Big Stitch. Collaboration is a good thing!
Tribute close upI am using graph paper less and less these days. Or at least not until I write up the pattern. My process lately has been to start with and idea, do some piecing, then put it on the design wall, then step back and see where it takes me. I have always said creating a quilt is a journey for me. It is not so much about the end result as what I discovered along the way. I am just taking a different road lately.
Next stop New Mexico and Iowa:
Kristin Groman from Quiltilicious – I have known Kristin for quite some time now. We met at a quilting retreat and immediately hit it off. She has since moved to New Mexico where she has a long arm business and cranks out some beautiful quilts. And who could resist following a blog named Quiltilicious?
Melanie McNeil from Catbird Quilt Studio – I started following Melanie McNeil’s blog this past year. She was actually one of my first readers to comment when I started writing with See How We Sew! She has a very thoughtful approach to her quilt blog and her quilting. I know you will enjoy her blog as much as I do. She also just happens to live in my hometown state – Iowa!
You can enjoy Kristin and Melanie’s post on Monday, October 26th.
Thanks so much for reading!


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25 Patches to a 25 Patch Block

I was at one of my quilt group meetings a few weeks ago, East Bay Heritage Quilters Meetup. Someone came in with a shoe box full of 1 1/2″ squares (cut from every Civil War – like fabric you could imagine) to share. Little surprise, no takers. I quietly waited until I was sure that no one wanted them, then I pounced!!!

2014-10-15 09.15.22 I love the tiny prints in Civil War repros. I was totally excited to go home and make them up into one of my favorite blocks, the 25 Patch.

25 patches

Though, I may not get the entire shoe box emptied, it is enough to get a few adorable blocks. Then I will return the rest and inspire someone in my group to make them also! I already have one quilt top almost completed using the block in french fabrics. Just trying to decide on a border… applique, perhaps? What do you think?

25 Patch Baskets

Betsy has been giving it some serious thought and would like your opinion.

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Monday I will be participating in a World Wide Blog Hop Tour. Be sure to check back in to see what it’s all about!!!

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Point Reyes Lighthouse



About a month ago, we took a drive up to Point Reyes and hiked in to the Point Reyes Lighthouse about 2 hours above San Francisco. It was one of those beautiful, misty, foggy, coastal California kind of days. You know, the kind that forces you to focus on the little things up close, because the background is cloudy-gray. The greens seem a bit greener, and the textures reach out to grab your attention.

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I just came across the photos today and thought it would be nice to share them with all of you on this last week of summer.

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Happy ferns growing in the Montery Cypress with California Coastal Oaks dappling the hills in the background.

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So many hues of reddish brown, taupe and gray.

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Unbelievable texture.

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And at the end of the road…

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2014-07-02 15.55.02Hope you had a wonderful summer. And now on to September with all it’s busy, busy fall scheduling!

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Fabric Tassles – Wall Art for a New Apartment

Molly, my 22 year old, came over for dinner a few weeks ago. She has just moved into an apartment with a friend. Like most first apartments, it is filled with hand-me-down furniture mixed with Ikea and Craig’s List. In Molly’s usual style, eclectic is a plus. She has always had a knack for mixing odd things together and getting a creative and amazing result. How does she do that???

Ok, so she shows up for dinner. “I need some fabric, Mom”, she announces as she comes in. Well, she came to the right place, obviously. “I found something on Pinterest that I want to make for wall art for our living room.”

So we pulled out the fabric, decided on  batiks, because we thought that it would work best if both sides showed the same. She started on with her project.

2014-06-26 20.20Yes, my daughter now knows how to use a rotary cutter!!!

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Clip, clip, clip.

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Roll them, twist them, fold them over and tie with a scrap strip.

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Ok, maybe not hang them here…

Molly with tassles

This is so darn cute!!! Thank Molly, for inspiring us!

Fabric Tassles Wall ArtJust high enough to be out of reach! So flipping fun!

Want to see a demo? check out DIY Fabric Tassle Bunting by


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Exploring Hand Embroidery

My blog sisters at See How We Sew,  and I are halfway through a Quilt-Along that we are sharing with our readers, called Blackbirds & Blossoms, Oh-La-La!   It is really different than your average block of the month,  and sooooo much fun!

Final full shot (1)

One of the things that I really love about this project is that it was designed in a Round Robin fashion and we are encouraging our readers to explore their own creative ideas along the way. The Round Robin design is also a perfect opportunity to use different sections  as mini-projects.  I introduced my mini-project last week, Wool Blossoms Pillow – a wool applique’ project with lots of opportunity to play.

Wool Blossoms PanelIn my usual fashion, though, I did not quite finish the project in time to share in my post. That, my dear readers, is a really good reason to keep active with my own blog – because I am have no deadlines here!

I love doing hand work, but never really had worked on something like this before. I thought it would be fun to share the exploration of hand embroidery on this project with you.

Pati's selection of threads

Threads? I grabbed some yummy, not-so-shiny varieties from my pile o’threads, thinking it would pair nicely with the wool. Most of what I used was from the beautiful, Italian, merino wool line by Bella Lusso. I also used a hand dyed, variegated, #12 perle cotton by Valdani. If I had more, I would have used it all!

Emroidery stitches - 1

To get warmed up, I outlined most of the shapes with a blanket stitch. Ok, that was easy enough. Then, I started playing with lines and textures.

Embroidery stitches - 3

Running stitches added nice movement and pattern. And who doesn’t love lots and lots of french knots?

Embroidery stitches - 2By now, I was getting the hang of it and came up with these fun little loopy knots. They are basically a loop that is not pulled through, then staystitched in place on the back before proceeding to the next loop.

Embroidery stitches - 4

It all seems very similar to playing with line drawings using pen and ink! And relaxing!

Embroidery stitches - 5

And the final result?

Wool Blossoms Pillow by Pati Fried

A spot of whimsical color for my chair!!!

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