Introducing FROLIC and my First Knits!

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Blog, Frolic, Quilt Market | 2 Comments

After a long spell of being busy working on other projects, I am so thrilled to let you know I have a new fabric collection making its debut at Quilt Market in St Louis later this week and shipping to stores mid-June.

Inspired by a Mexican fiesta, FROLIC is a sweet, bright and playful collection where hand-painted critters cavort in a whimsical flower garden, where multicoloured blossoms replace the spines on the back of a hedgehog, where the air is full of petals and where love abounds.

Classic blue and white mixed with touches of pinks, oranges and fresh greens for a true Spring/Summer collection that is full of life. Oh, and do you recognize the print right at the top of the blues? Yep. It’s a mini remake of Bargello from Flight Patterns, my first collection with Michael Miller that showed at Quilt Market exactly 4 years ago.

Saturated, clear colours take centre-stage with many prints on clean white grounds to add lots of fresh air to the mix.

One of the highlights of the collection is the double border print, Frolic Border that offers all kinds of sewing possibilities, from sweet dresses and skirts to pillows and certainly lots of fun fussy cutting for quilts. It also works wonderfully as a whole cloth baby quilt top or back.

Here’s a little peak at where the collection began, playing in my watercolour sketchbook. A little secret… While she resembles a fox, that’s actually our border collie, Lilou, lower right, that jumps to pick up her toy just like a fox would in the snow. And under the book, the end result, Frolicking, available in 4 luscious colour ways.

A big thrill for me with FROLIC is the inclusion of my first ever KNITS! There are 9 in total. These knits are so very soft with just the right amount of stretch (95% cotton and 5% spandex) and are a dream to sew with. Bring on the sergers! Just imagine all the cute kiddo leggings, t-shirts and dresses.

Over the next few weeks a number of wonderfully creative bloggers and friends will be sharing some fun FROLIC projects they have in the works and I will also be sharing the quilts and clothing I have sewn over the past couple of months. Hope you check in here regularly to have a peek.

Oh… And there’s a great collaborative FROLIC project with a fabulous sewing-related company I can’t wait to share with you too.
All coming in the upcoming days…

{ Happy Sewing } … Fabric Trays

Coming up with original teachers’ gifts is far from easy. While some years I leave things too late and jump in with the class group gift certificate, I usually try my best to make something as a show of appreciation for all the hard work my kids’ teachers do on a daily basis. In years past, I have made hand warmers, zippered pouches and fabric buckets. For this Christmas, I found a great tutorial for fabric trays by Noodlehead and my search was done.

tamara-kate-nature-walk-machine-embroidery-trays2

This was the perfect project to try machine embroidering some letters from my Nature Walk alphabet that has recently been digitized by OESD. I am very new to machine embroidery, so am learning as I go. Janome Canada generously loaned me a Memory Craft 450E to try my hand at it and, while I will tell you I love hand embroidery, watching this being done by machine is quite magical and the result is far more refined, interesting and textured than I had imagined. I love it! And, for those of you who haven’t tried one of these machines before, let me tell you the best part: the only work you have to do is change the spool of thread and press the start button! So excellent!

Here are a few progress shots of one of the letters being stitched. I really like that the “P” presser foot directs your eye to exactly what is being stitched while not hiding any of the action:

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I could have just use the suggested colours that come with the embroidery files, but I had fun tailoring each letter to the recipient… trying to remember the colours she tends to use or wear most. Knowing the total number of colours needed to complete the design and where each colour would be used (the file gives you all this information), I created my own palette for each letter and thus ended up wth some truly personalized gifts.

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Wanting a neutral exterior to the trays that would wear well, I opted to use “Pollen Burst” and “Hop, Skip & Jump” and the binding is either “Stepping Stones” or “Little World”, all from my Nature Walk collection.

tamara-kate-nature-walk-machine-embroidery-trays

I could see these being used to contain some jewellery on a dresser, keys and phone on a console in an entryway or if it were for me, some yarns and threads from my latest hand sewing project on a side table in the living room.

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If you would like to make a few yourself, the tray pattern can be found here and the alphabet files here.

A few technical notes:

– To properly fit a letter in the bottom of the basket without possibly cutting off some details with the corner darts, I adjusted the size of the cut fabric for both the interior and exterior to 9″ x 12″ (starting with a larger piece all around to create the embroidered letter first, and then trimmed to the correct size).

– I switched the thick interfacing to the exterior fabric and the thinner one to the embroidered fabric (opposite to what Anna suggests in the pattern). This avoids too much bubbling on the interior.

Happiest of Holidays to you all!
xo Tamara

Nature Walk ABC Sewing Challenge Winners

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 2 Comments

So, we had a challenge… To sew something amazing with the Nature Walk ABC panel. The team at Michael Miller Fabrics & I were delighted with the creativity shown in the challenge and now we have our three winners!

sweet julia
Third place went to Paola of Sweet Julia who created this adorable dress for her daughter. The ABC panel with the dress body & knots in the rich amber colour of Little World (coupled with the cowboy boots) is truly delightful.

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Second place was taken by Sherri Noel of Rebecca Mae Designs for this truly awesome sewing machine cover. Her creation of words with the individual letters is skillfully done and just perfect to house her beloved machine.

candice ayala
And our winner is Candice Ayala who, with some incredible painting help from her daughter, Abigail won our hearts with this Mori dress.

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Not only did Abigail use silk paints and dimensional fabric paints, but she also went to every little girl’s happy place with glitter. Great job, Abigail & Candice!

Congrats to all the winners! I hope you enjoy your new fabrics coming your way and Abigail and Candice, I hope you have as much fun with my colouring book as you did with the dress.

Matching Solids with Nature Walk

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 6 Comments

A few of you have asked now, so I thought I’d do a proper post on co-ordinating Cotton Couture solids with NATURE WALK.

Firstly, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, or if I have and you missed it, Nature Walk is printed on Cotton Couture base cloth, which is a finer and lighter fabric than regular quilting cotton, so the CC solids are really the best option for incorporating solids into the mix for your projects so that there is a consistent weight and feel when finished.

So… What works with what?

Firstly, let’s look at the alphabet panel, ABC Nature Walk.
nature walk abc

Here are the colours used in the letters:

nature walk - cotton couture co-ordinates

Most of those will also co-ordinate with the other prints in the collection, but here are some more:

photo #3 - cloud - nature walk - tamara kate

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photo #4 - mineral - nature walk - tamara kate

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I hope this is helpful in planning your projects!

Nature Walk Sewing Challenge

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 4 Comments

OK, all you wonderfully talented sewers out there, Michael Miller Fabrics & I have a challenge for you!

abc nature walk sewing challenge

Yesterday, as a bit of inspiration, I guest blogged on the MMF site about the many ways I sewed with the “ABC Nature Walk” panel for Quilt Market a couple months ago. Now it’s your turn. We want to see how creative you can get with this panel!

Of course there are some cool prizes! Lots of NATURE WALK and COTTON COUTURE fabric up for grabs and something I’ve been keeping a secret… I have a couple of adult colouring books in the works. You could be one of the first to get your hands on a copy of one, based on ABC Nature Walk.

artist's alphabet colouring book - tamara kateThe Artist’s Alphabet, published by Eccolo

So, hop on over to the Michael Miller blog for all the details and get sewing! If you don’t yet have any of the fabric, it is easily available at most online stores (and hopefully at your local shop too… Just ask).

Can’t wait to see what you create!

Off the Beaten Track Quilt

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk, Quilts | 4 Comments

With NATURE WALK arriving in stores over the last and coming weeks, I want to start sharing a few sewing ideas to hopefully inspire some projects of your own.

off the beaten track quilt - tamara kate

First up, my “Off the Beaten Track” quilt. This was a fun and easy quilt to make. I love Flying Geese blocks for their simplicity. Like most good traditional blocks, they lead to a wide range of more modern possibilities where design is concerned, all based on playing with colour placement and block direction.

nature walk - cloud - tamara kate

I chose some of my favourite prints from the Cloud colour group as inspiration and for the most part I worked with white ground, but added a few spots of medium and dark grey (Fog & Clay Cotton Couture) for a bit more contrast and creativity.

off the beaten track quilt detail - tamara kate

I didn’t want to make things too visually chaotic so kept prints grouped together to give the eye places to rest, and chose to send some of the geese horizontally in just a few areas to keep things dynamic.

off the beaten track quilt binding

And the binding… well, let’s just say I have found my new favourite binding fabric. I have always loved stripes for binding a quilt as they add a bit of fun, but these little watercolour lines, Tall Grass, are soft, fade in and out and even offer occasional rows of spots for variety. And they come in four different colours to co-ordinate with a variety of projects. Fun! Fun! Fun!

tall grass - tamara kate

Nature Walk is Starting to Ship to Stores

Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Blog, Nature Walk | 9 Comments

Hi friends and Happy New Year to you!

Last year was a full and frenzied one for me with many hiccups along the way, but also many accomplishments, most of which I will finally have a chance to share with you as this year progresses. I am hoping this year is a bit smoother, but am looking forward to what it might bring, regardless. Hope you are too!

nature walk cover

One of my favourite projects I worked on last year was designing my latest fabric collection for Michael Miller Fabrics that just started shipping to stores.

NATURE WALK marks a return to working with watercolor and pen & ink for me, something I haven’t done since Flight Patterns. There is something so direct and natural about working by hand versus on the computer that I realized I was greatly missing. The designs flowed easily and I often felt like I was relaxing with a much-loved hobby instead of working, I was enjoying the process so much. I hope this comes across in the fabric.

nature walk abc

The first piece I worked on was an alphabet panel that runs the entire width of the fabric. There is so much detail to discover in this piece and its uses are really versatile. I will be doing a post just on that shortly.

nature walk abc detail - tamara kate

The collection on the whole was inspired by my family’s weekend outings. We always try to get out all together on the weekends, regardless of the weather, to wander nearby forests, paddle in a canoe, wander a beach or a garden and see what we encounter. I am constantly inspired by the creatures, colors and textures I see and the way my children delight in the treasures they discover along the way. So here I have tried in some cases, to replicate nature we observe and in others, to let my imagination wander and create fantastical versions of reality.

The end result is a collection for the little curious ones in our midst (with a few pieces for us grown naturalists too). And it is printed on the divinely-soft Cotton Couture, so you will love sewing with it!

nature walk mineral group
The MINERAL colour story.

nature walk cloud group
The CLOUD colour story.

I will have Nature Walk projects to share over the next few weeks, so I hope you pop back in here from time to time to find a bit of inspiration.
See you then.

Making Merry with Janome – Reversible Gift Tags

Things are starting to feel festive around here. Some holiday shopping has been done and we are just starting to pull out decorations to make our home more festive for the season.

tamara kate - gift tags stack

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I haven’t been sewing since the wild rush of preparing for Quilt Market back in October and started to feel the itch to get back to it last week. A quick project is always a good way to begin and so I was thrilled to be asked to participate in Making Merry with Janome, a fun daily sewing project inspiration blog hop to help get all of you wonderful sewers in the mood to create a little holiday magic of your own.

Here are some fun reversible gift tags I whipped up for kids’ gifts. After gift-opening, they can be reused as personalized Christmas ornaments (oh, how they love personalized ornaments) for years to come.

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Should you wish to create some yourself, here is a quick guide:

What I used

– solid coloured fabric (I used Cotton Couture)
– co-ordinating patterned fabrics (I used scraps of Festive Forest)
– iron-on interfacing (something mid-weight will work well)
– cookie cutters for shapes
– scraps of quilt batting
– co-ordinating ribbon
– fabric pen; thread (the colour of which will contrast well with your solid fabric), scissors
– a sewing machine that has embroidered letter options or embroidery thread and needle to do it by hand

tamara kate - cookie cutters

What I did

Iron interfacing to one side of the solid fabric. This will make the embroidery much smoother and help avoid fabric puckering.

Embroider the desired name approx. 3″ from sides of fabric (I found it easier to work with a larger piece of fabric and then cut it down after embroidering to ensure the name would be centred). Below are a bit of the embroidery options I am lucky enough to have at my disposal on the Janome MC8200.

janome machine embroidery

Place the cookie cutter on the fabric, centre name and trace around the outside of the shape with a fabric pen. Cut a basic square or rectangle around the traced shape, with about an extra inch of fabric all around. Cut a piece of batting and of patterned fabric, all roughly the same size. Sandwich the batting between the 2 fabric layers with right sides of both fabrics facing out.

Cut a 10″ length of ribbon. Place the two ribbon ends inside the sandwich at the top of the shape, inserting the ends about a half inch. Pin or hold in place.

With a small straight stitch, sew all the way around the shape about 1/8″ inside the drawn line, anchoring the ribbon in the process.

Cut through the 3 layers all the way around on the drawn line, being careful to not cut the ribbon.

tamara kate - gift tag sewings

And that’s it!

tamara kate - gift tags row

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Sewing!

tamara kate - gift tags tins

Flight Formation Quilt

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Birds & The Bees, Blog, Quilts, Tutorials | 2 Comments

Quilt Number 2!
When I first received yardage of BIRDS & THE BEES, the Bluejay colour story quickly inspired this quilt.

flight formation quilt - tamara kate

While I almost always have ideas of what I would like to sew while I am designing fabric, it usually takes having the finished yardage in hand for me to really be able to envision how I would like to use it. For this quilt, it was the intensity of the indigo alongside the jewel tones and soft white grounds that dictated direction. I simply wanted to play with colour in a dramatic way. I incorporated squares of Cotton Couture solids, some complementary, some contrasting, to break up all the pattern a bit and arranged everything in a strong “V” down the centre for impact. Even the simple quilting lines follow the “V” throughout, as does one’s eye, that then darts around catching little glimpses of a butterfly or flower here, a bird’s head or feather there…

flight formation quilt detail - tamara kate

For the binding I chose Baby the Stars Shine Bright in Navy which frames the quilt well, with little bright stars adding a happy, confetti-like feel.

flight formation quilt detail3 - tamara kate

There is a free downloadable tutorial on the Michael Miller website for this quilt, should you desire to whip one up yourself. Enjoy!

Flight Medallion Quilt

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Birds & The Bees, Blog, Quilts, Tutorials | No Comments

Something I’ve been meaning to share here are two quilts I recently made with Birds & the Bees fabric. Today, number one… FLIGHT MEDALLION

Playing with the Ladybug colour story of BIRDS & THE BEES, I created a simple medallion quilt made of squares and half-square triangles that lets the birds of Feathered Flock take centre stage.

flight medallion quilt - tamara kate

I didn’t want fabric choices to be perfectly symmetrically placed around the quilt, so it was fun playing with the different values of the coral and teal fabrics to create an effective arrangement. Likewise, the pops of charcoal, green and apricot help keep the quilt dynamic.

flight medallion quilt detail - tamara kate

A big step for me in my quilting efforts was to finally try a bit of free-motion quilting (most apparent on the dark teal fabric with the stars, Baby The Stars Shine Bright). It went surprisingly well, though of course, most of the praise must go to the fabulous Janome machine I sew on for making it go as smoothly as it did.

flight medallion quilt detail2 - tamara kate

At 48″ square, this is a fun wall quilt that will brighten a spot in our home, keeping things light, young and happy.
If you are interested in making one for yourself, I have created a free downloadable tutorial for this project on the Michael Miller website. It’s a fast and fun sew, as all the pieces are quite large. Enjoy!