de-cluttering + quilt tops

If you read a significant number of blogs or magazines, you've probably heard about the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The book is by the Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo, and has a magical effect of inspiring you to clean out your closets and drawers. I started reading the book in December, and ever since, I've been employing its tips for simplification and de-cluttering, which includes taking the time to clean and organize my sewing room.

While sorting through drawers, I came across a number of cut fabric squares from past projects. Rather than letting them languish any longer, I decided to turn them into quilt tops for my local chapter of Project Linus, and get them out the door.

Each top is crib size, and features polka dots, solids, calico prints, and white borders. Each was a quick and satisfying finish, and it's so nice to know that these fabrics will now be put to better use!

Have you read Ms. Kondo's book? Has it left you feeling similarly inspired to organize and de-clutter your space?


sashiko mini quilt

I gifted my mom this sashiko pillow a few years ago, so for her birthday last month, I made her this mini quilt featuring blocks of hand-stitched sashiko embroidery.

The fabric squares were actually from a coaster kit (here's one place that sells the same kit that I used), but since coasters tend to be in abundance in our family, I decided to use the small squares to make a wall hanging instead.

I alternated the squares with a chambray, and backed the quilt with a navy and white Japanese print. Since the squares already featured so much stitching, I kept the quilting simple and stitched in the ditch. I bound the quilt with a topographical print from Carolyn Friedlander's Architextures line.

I really love how this mini quilt turned out, and thankfully, so did my mom!

P.S. There are still a few spots left in the embroidery class that I'm teaching at Gather in Cary, NC, tomorrow night, and I'd love to have you join if you're local and interested!


now in stock: maze and vale

Though I posted about it on Instagram, I realized that I never shared the news here on the blog: I am now stocking a selection of five unique prints by Maze and Vale in the shop!

Leslie is the powerhouse behind Maze and Vale, designing and printing all of the fabrics that are sold by this Australia-based company. She is also the organizer of the yearly Handprinted: a fabric swap, which I've had the pleasure of participating in twice (blogged here and here).

I worked with Leslie to select the designs and colorways you see in the shop, each of which are printed on an organic quilting-weight basecloth. These design-and-color combinations are completely unique to Salty Oat; you can't purchase them anywhere else! Additionally, Leslie recently announced that she'll be retiring two of the designs I stock---Gathering and Love Hearts---so now is definitely the time to grab them if you love them as much as I do.

Happy sewing!


scattered squares quilt

Do you have projects that begin in one place and wind up in another? When I started this quilt a few years ago, my idea was to create a colorful, scrappy checkerboard quilt, inspired by those by Red Pepper Quilts. At the time, I pieced five blocks and set them aside, assuming I would continue to add to my pile as I collected more 2.5" scraps.

Fast forward to earlier last year, when I came across these blocks again while cleaning my studio. Rather than doing any more checkerboard piecing, I decided to make a quilt by mixing the blocks I had with large white and cream squares.

The resulting random and scattered layout, with its wide open spaces, is perfect, and I think better than what I'd originally envisioned.

I backed the top with a Marimekko large lime green dot, and quilted it with intersecting straight lines in a matching bright green thread. The binding is a navy-and-white stripe from Sew Modern.

This quilt is now listed for sale in the Salty Oat Etsy shop, and I can attest to its crinkly fluffiness, which makes it perfect for snuggling.

All quilt photos by Caroline Okun.


how to make fabric labels

I really love adding labels to everything I make; they add such a professional finish to my projects! I recently put together a tutorial for Spoonflower that walks you through how to make your own personalized fabric labels, which can feature either your logo or a favorite phrase. Pop on over to the Spoonflower blog for step-by-step instructions and more photos.

And in case you don't feel like designing your own, I also designed a simple "Handmade with Love" label (pictured above), which you can print out and use for your own projects. Happy labeling!


sachets + a friday link round-up

For gift giving this past Christmas, I made a pile of lavender flower sachets (pictured above) using this excellent Purl Bee tutorial. Purl Soho carries the prettiest stacks of wool felt, and I opted to use the Spice colorway for my sachets. The final product was super fragrant and really beautiful; I highly recommend the tutorial!

What are your plans for the weekend? I'm hoping to sew (of course!) and fit in a couple of runs. In the meantime, here a few of my favorite things from around the web lately to take you into the weekend:

Season Evans makes stunning quilts, and this spotlight on her work is killer.

Etsy also did a feature on another fellow quilter, Btaylor Quilts.

My friend Kait bought a fabric shop!

Umbrella Prints launched their new Flowers Collection, and the color palette is spot on. (Pieces from their past collections can still be found in the Salty Oat shop.)

Apartment Therapy has some great tips on how to clean quilts.

Lee over at May Chappell is hosting a fun block swap featuring Carolyn Friedlander's new Outhouse quilt pattern; I've already signed up!

This video of a putter (a scissor maker) at work is so cool.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


playing with color

Happy New Year, dear readers! I hope 2015 is off to a great start for all of you!

Over a year ago, I discovered Sarah Waterhouse's screen-printed fabrics and fell in love. I quickly decided that I wanted to stock her designs in my shop, and selected a number of prints from her Geometrics collection to carry. Though her organic fabrics are a heavier weight---perfect for upholstery, tote bags, pillows, and zipper pouches---they actually work quite beautifully in quilts, as I discovered while working on this improv wall quilt.

I started simply with small swatches of each of the fabrics in the line. I outlined each print with a white border, and then built up blocks using solids which coordinated with each of the prints. Each block was pieced improvisationally, so no two are alike in size or layout. I used various shades of white for the surrounding background, and anchored the blocks to a center horizontal line.

For the backing, I chose a quirky Japanese print I've had in my stash for years, which had most of the colors featured in the top. I quilted it with a grid of diamonds in white thread and bound the quilt with an orange-red crosshatch print.

This piece came together organically, and I really fell in love with the results. I hope to do more piecing of this type; it's fun to go into a project with no set plan! This quilt is now listed for sale in my Etsy shop, and you can find Sarah's prints there as well, to use in your own crafty projects.

Photos by Caroline Okun.