Friday, December 21, 2012

Charley Harper quilts—and Christmas stockings!

Snow Fawn and Christmas Cards stockings

It might be a little late to stitch up one of these Charley Harper stockings in time for Christmas, but there’s always next year! The patterns are available from Keri Designs, who, as I was delighted to discover at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, is the official licensed designer for quilt patterns based on the ever-delightful work of Charley Harper.

Keri with Jumbrella and Ladybug Sampler quilts

Keri’s booth was my first stop at the show in October, after spying her quilted version of Harper’s Jumbrella in the show program. Since it was early, I got the chance to chat with the very friendly Keri herself and see the quilts up close.

Keri with Br-r-r-r-rthday and KOALAkoala quilts

Harper’s designs are such naturals for adaptation into applique—just look at the way Keri’s used polka dot fabric as the snowy background in Br-r-r-r-rthday, and quilting lines as the rain in Jumbrella. She even cleverly used fabric show-through to create a semi-transparent effect for the wing in Trumpeter Swan.

Trumpeter Swan quilt

I’m thrilled that these patterns are available so all of us quilters can make our own little piece of Charley Harper. As for me, I picked up the Ladybug Sampler pattern, which I’m saving for some just-for-fun stitching after I get my book done.

By the way, this is a completely unsponsored plug—I was just so excited to find Charley Harper quilt patterns that I had to share my delight with you too (especially since I once thought the licensing possibility seemed remote). And Keri says there’re more Harper quilt patterns on the way!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Solids in EQ7

It’s been awfully quiet round these parts, mainly because my book and several other projects are keeping me busy, but I wanted to come out of the woodwork to mention a guest post I wrote up for the EQ blog, which went live yesterday.


It’s all about using solid fabrics in EQ7, including converting the built-in solid colors to real solid fabrics produced by various manufacturers. The magic ingredient is a Solid Fabrics library you can download and add to your EQ7 Fabric Library, painstakingly created by yours truly (OK, so I take perverse pleasure in cataloguing and organizing things like that, but it still took quite a bit of time).

The download link was left out when the post went up yesterday, so in the meantime you can download the library from my website. Update: The library file is now uploaded and linked from the EQ blog post, so you can download it direct from there too.

It’s a long post, but if you design in EQ and sew with solid fabrics, I think you’ll really find it helpful!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lots of squares and a circle

Chequers throw quilt

Stitch, Winter 2012The Winter 2012 issue of Stitch is out, my first as a contributing editor! Three of my projects are in the issue, including the Chequers Throw Quilt above. Since Stitch is a sewing magazine rather than specifically quilting-oriented, the quilts I submit to them are usually fairly simple—things any sewist could make without needing a lot of experience in quiltmaking. This is definitely one of those.

The inspiration for the design came from a wallpaper by Lucienne Day, one of my favorite mid-century pattern designers. The wallpaper was similarly made up of blocks of black, solid color, and more textured designs, which struck me as lending itself very readily to a pieced quilt. Rather than mimicking the textures of the squares in Day’s design (the reference photo I had was too small anyway), I picked fabrics with gridded and crosshatched designs that would echo the piecing pattern (that’s what the text in the magazine should say—a line got dropped from the intro). For such a simple quilt, I’m pleased with how much depth the prints lent.

Wool Tiles Pillow

Clearly I had squares on the brain when I was working on this issue. For this Wool Tiles Pillow, I went for a looser, more freehand look. I always like wool projects that only need bits and pieces, since I can never seem to find yardage of nice wool when I need it.

Pleated Pillow

One of the fun features in this issue is a “Pillow Fight” challenge, for which fellow Stitch contributors Carol Zentgraf and April Moffatt and I each came up with a pillow using fabric designed by Anna Bondoc in the course of a Cloth Paper Scissors series. In the article I describe how I tried to play “fabric whisperer” and let the fabric speak to me—see what it said to the other designers and get patterns for all three pillows and plenty more in the Winter issue of Stitch!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Free pattern: Hexagon pincushion

hexagon pincushion

When I originally posted my hexagon pincushion tutorial, it was with the assumption that you’d use an AccuQuilt die cutter to cut out the fabric. Of course, that’s not to say you couldn’t make it with templates and scissors! To hand out at my quilt guild, I made up some “recipe cards” with illustrated steps on one side and templates on the other.

AQ_Go Baby tutes

If you want to make your own hex pincushion, you can download the PDF here and print it either onto a 4×6" index card or 2-up on a single letter page. I’m partial to the index card format myself, but then again, I’m a sucker for anything formatted as an index card. I can’t be the only one…

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A trio of corded pillows

corded pillow trio

Between visiting family, a retreat with my appliqué friends, and some big work deadlines, I haven’t had a lot of time to commune with my sewing machine lately. But when I got the samples back from shooting my video, I fit in a quick sewing session to make some siblings for the corded houndstooth pillow from the demo.

corded pillows, closer

I really liked the original pillow’s black-and-white woven suiting framed with bright cord, so to round out the trio I used two more classic suitings, a herringbone and a nubby textured fabric, each with a different color for the piping. Using the envelope backing I show in the video made them quick, cheap, and easy additions to the sofascape, with just a bit of color and just a bit of texture.

What are your favorite simple pillow ideas?

cover_stitchwrksp_20010Learn to sew cording, envelope-backed throw pillows, and more in Secrets of Home Décor Sewing!

Available now on DVD or download in standard definition or high def

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Patterns on sale at Sew Daily through June 24

home dec sewing patterns by Kevin Kosbab

A new batch of patterns was just posted to the Sew Daily shop, and all patterns are 30% off through this Sunday! Since I’m on a home-dec kick these days, I picked out my patterns for sewing pillows and other home accessories for the collage above. I’m especially excited for this shop update because it includes a couple of my very favorite pillows:

Wool Petals Pillow  Chain-Link Trapunto Pillow
Wool Petals Pillow (L) and Chain-Link Trapunto Pillow (R)

Secrets of Home Decor SewingHit up the Sew Daily pattern store to get some patterns before the sale ends! And for more home-dec sewing tips while you’re there, check out my Stitch Workshop video, Secrets of Home Décor Sewing (standard definition, high def, or DVD)!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Pillow ideas on Pinterest

Pillow Ideas on Pinterest

There’re so many different things you can do with pillows! I cover the basics in my new workshop video, and I thought I’d start putting together a Pinterest board of Pillow Ideas for going even further. It’s a little sparse for now, but I’ll keep pinning. (It sure would help if I could get Pinterest’s search to work!) What are your favorite sewn pillow projects? Let me know in the comments or @ tag me on Pinterest.

Secrets of Home Decor SewingLearn all my tips and tricks for sewing pillows and more in Secrets of Home Décor Sewing!

Download in standard definition or high def
Preorder on DVD

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Presenting…Secrets of Home Décor Sewing!

On set

That’s me on the set of my Stitch Workshop video less than a month ago, and thanks to the superhuman video team at Interweave, the video is already available for download (or to preorder on DVD)! Having gotten used to working on a year-plus book schedule, it feels like quite a whirlwind.

Secrets of Home Décor Sewing: Pillows, Cording, & Simple Patchwork Slipcovers

Like the cover says, the video’s all about home-dec sewing—easy ways to sew pillows and more to dress up your living space. Home dec was what got me sewing in the first place, so I cover all the basics in the video for people who might be similarly new to the field. One of the best things about sewing for the home is how accessible it is—if you can run a sewing machine, you can make a pillow.

Of course, there’re a few tricks to make it easier, and I share all the tips I’ve got in the video. You can see how I join the ends of piping cord, for example, in this preview from the Sew Daily Shop:

For more tips and tricks to build your home-dec sewing skills, download and watch the video now or preorder the DVD, which is scheduled for a June 26 release. And keep an eye out for more home-dec hints here during the countdown to the DVD’s arrival.

Update: To see everything in intimate detail, the video is also available in high definition.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coming to a screen near you

If you read Stitch magazine’s Sew Daily blog or subscribe to their newsletter, you may have seen this little snapshot yesterday…


Yep, that’s yours truly on the set of my very upcoming Stitch Workshop video, due out within the next few months. Here are some of the kind words editor Amber Eden had to say:

I was truly amazed at all of the tricks that Kevin had up his sleeve when it comes to pillows. If you are familiar with any of Kevin's work, you know that he creates dramatic home decor accessories. In fact, I think that everyone on set was charmed. We had filmed over an hour of sewing tips and it is all about pillows! I love learning any new sewing tricks and I definitely walked away with a few. Kevin was also pleased that he had taught us all something new.

Check the full blog post for a few more sneak-peak details and share some pillow-making tips of your own. And I’ll be sure to let you know when the video’s ready for viewing!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Gardens of fabric and flowers

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art

cover_stitch_2012_summer_200Two weeks ago there was almost nothing blooming in our garden aside from the camellias, but about the time I got my Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art project back from Stitch, that was all changing. So I dragged the piece out to the front yard so I could show you some stitched-up flowers amongst the real ones that have been pleasant surprises during out first spring in this house.

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art (marigold detail)

I have to credit my friend Sandra Mollon for putting dimensional flower appliqués in my head and for her inspiring use of silk and other non-cotton fabrics. She leads a monthly appliqué group I attend and is always demonstrating different ways to make flowers for Baltimore Album and other quilts—this ain’t no Baltimore, but it was a fun way to play with some new-to-me techniques. One of the things Sandra always does especially well as a teacher is making new techniques accessible, and I hope the raw-edge approaches I’ve used in this project serve a similar purpose.

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art (oriental poppies detail)

These oriental poppies are a bit vicarious, since I haven’t had much success growing the real ones in my short gardening career. Generally fabric seems much easier to bend to my will than live plants! (You may notice in the magazine that the petals got a little squashed in the mail; since they’re only sewn down at the centers so they can be fluffed up again with a finger if that happens.)

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art (celosia detail)

I’ve had more success growing celosias, though this was the scariest part of the project to sew. I’ve mentioned my aversion to velvet, but it was the natural material for representing the feathery flowers, so I faced my fear. As a side note, I was really pleased with how the embroidered “CELOSIA” text turned out.

bluebells and azalea

Back to the real garden…these are bluebells, right? It’s been fascinating to see what the plants at our new place have in store for us, but also little tricky to identify everything. I almost ripped these guys out several times when I couldn’t tell if they were bulbs or weeds; they’re growing like weeds but are kind of pretty, so I’m thinking “wildflower” may be the best term for them. And the bluebell theory is supported by bluebells’ supposed preference for leafy forest floors, which doesn’t sound that far from the state of this flower bed, littered as it is with, uh, nature’s mulch.

Iceland poppy

No go with the oriental poppies, but the Iceland poppies I planted in the winter were some of the first signs of spring color. Gotta love those big, rumply petals.

Iceland poppy

Hopefully spring’s springing wherever you are too! If you’re itching to stitch some flowers, look for my pattern in the Summer 2012 issue of Stitch!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Join me at Sew Many Quilts in May

Click to watch the preview video for my class at Sew Many Quilts

I’ll be teaching my Peacocks on Parade quilt pattern at Sew Many Quilts in Tracy, CA, in May, and shop owner Colette has started putting together YouTube videos to show what the classes are all about. Isn’t that a great idea?!

If you’re nearby, I hope you’ll sign up to join us at the class on May 19! I’m really looking forward to seeing how other quilters interpret the pattern.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Springtime Stitch projects

Hexagon Pouf Ottoman

cover_stitch_2012_spring_200With spring’s creeping up on us (it’s almost March? Seriously?), the Spring 2012 issue of Stitch has crept onto newsstands. Meanwhile, my Hexagon Pouf Ottoman, made for the Alfresco feature, remains firmly indoors despite its hardy skin of outdoor canvas. It’s not that it’s too cold to venture out (this is California, after all); it’s more that I haven’t quite got my bum in gear to clear the garden of the weeds and other assorted debris of winter, so the backyard isn’t the loveliest of places to sit, nor to photograph project samples.

Hexagon Pouf Ottoman

I liked the idea of making a fabric footstool that was a little less bloblike than what I was seeing in shops, so I pulled the structural inspiration from the hexagon print. The quilter in me naturally inclined to piecing the top from triangles of striped fabric, while the shaping is probably my first foray into darts—all the dressmaking books that’ve crossed my work desk taught me something after all.

Bird Collage Tea Towel

The other pattern of mine you’ll find in the spring Stitch is for this pair of Bird Collage Tea Towels, made with fused broderie perse and some free-motion embroidered details. You may have to zoom in to get a good look, but I was pleasantly surprised at the branch’s bark-like texture, made by just sewing back and forth. I used a finer thread in the bobbin that was a bit lighter than the top threads, and the occasional dots of bobbin thread add some extra color depth too. Now I’m wondering how it would look with a brown variegated thread…hmm…

Bird Collage Tea Towel detail

Both of these projects are quick and fun, and as usual there’s a lot of other great stuff in the magazine too (I want to make the placemats on the cover!). Check it out.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sometimes it’s nice to just stitch from a kit

vintage crewel pears kit

No design to plan, no supplies to track down (except matching Persian yarn when my chain stitch is tighter than the kit apparently intended…grrr).

vintage crewel pears kit

Are you loving the blue gingham wallpaper from our kitchen? Yeah, me neither. Distracting from the mingitude with gaudy seventies fruit currently beats stripping the paper. Though I should perhaps save “gaudy” for this lurid little number from another vintage kit:

vintage pigs crewel kit

Love at first pork?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Peacocks on Parade giveaway winner


imageCongratulations to Kim West of A Peach in Stitches—Kim, you should have got an e-mail with a code to get your pattern. Thanks to all who entered and shared their thoughts on PDF patterns. There’s clearly a lot of potential in digital pattern publishing, but also some challenges.

Kim’s comment brings up an excellent point about using PDF patterns:

I like them, but if I could get an app to be able to annotate them, I would probably like them better. I like to write notes on my patterns to let me know where I left off, clarify directions, etc.

I use PDF-XChange Viewer, a free Adobe alternative, for annotating PDFs on my PC all the time—but there’s no version for portable devices. It seems like a no-brainer that there’d be apps out there to mark up PDFs on tablets, but I’m yet to find a good one for Android at least. Certainly nothing as easy as scribbling a few notes in the margin of a printed pattern. Maybe some day…

Thanks again to those who entered—stay tuned for some more giveaways in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Peacocks on Parade available now! (with giveaway)

Peacocks on Parade version A

If you’ve popped over to my website recently, you may have noticed that Peacocks on Parade is now available as an e-pattern. (The printed version is also available to stores.) Since this is the first pattern I’ve released since the Other so kindly gifted me with an Android tablet, it’s got me thinking about downloadable PDF patterns a bit differently than before.

Peacocks on Parade as an e-pattern

In some ways, quilt patterns were made for e-reading. I mean, the standard pattern format—5½×8½" sheets from folded letter paper—is a pretty good size for viewing on a 7–10" tablet or e-ink screen. It can be a pain to scroll around full 8½×11" pages on a display that size, but the half page can fit fully on screen and still be legible (depending on the setup of the file and the device configuration, of course). Then you can bring your e-reader to the sewing room to follow the instructions, zoom in on illustrations, etc., and all you have to print are the templates or pattern sheets. Any links in the PDF (I link to tutorials for basic things like binding) are instantly accessible.

But not everybody has an e-reader or tablet (and I’d be the last snake to lead Eve to an Apple). Those half-letter pages are easy enough to print 2 to a page in most PDF software, which gives you essentially the same format you’d get from one of my printed patterns.

Peacocks on Parade version B

There’s been a discussion recently on the Quilt Pattern Designers e-mail list regarding the pricing of PDF patterns—should they be the same as printed versions because you’re paying for the design, or should the lessened manufacturing and inventory costs lead to a lower price? I’ve always thought it’s only fair for digital products to cost less than their physical counterparts (think MP3s vs. CDs), but there were strong feelings the other way too. Inspired by Sister Diane’s candid discussion of pricing and financial viability in the online crafting world (like in this post, including the comments), I’d like to get your thoughts…

To enter the giveaway for a free copy of the Peacocks on Parade e-pattern, just leave a comment below and tell me your thoughts on downloadable patterns for quilting or sewing. Do you buy them? What do you like about them? What don’t you like? How do you feel on the pricing question? You don’t have to go into elaborate detail or answer all these questions, just give me a quick thought or two. Make sure your Blogger profile has an e-mail address or that there’s some way I can contact you if you win. Comments will be open through midnight Pacific Time on Thursday, January 19, and I’ll announce the winner of the free pattern on Friday.

Good luck, and thanks for sharing your opinions!

UPDATE: Just to clarify, the winner will be chosen randomly from the comments. Thanks!