What does it mean to slow down and Make in a thoughtful manner....?

Let's talk about it!

Carolyn Friedlander

As it is already June 7th, and the August dates of our Slow Stitching Retreat are creeping up, it is time to talk about another one of the really cool teachers who will be in residence for this event. If you need a little nudge to encourage you to register, I hope this does the trick...

I first met Carolyn Friedlander at Quilt Market in 2014. I was one of those ridiculous fans who crept up to her and tried not to gush too much about how much I love her work.  I had the great good fortune to get a signed copy of her book, Savor Each Stitch at that Market. Previously I was just a fan of her fabulous fabrics (her color palate!), but on the plane ride home I devoured her book and found a voice who's obsessions matched mine.  [A Slow Sewing Studio!] Someplace around there I started formulating this idea for the Slow Stitching Retreat that would include Carolyn and Rebecca Ringquist. At that point I didn't know whether I could convince Chawne Kimber to teach for me.... I spoke with Carolyn about coming to Maine to teach, and she responded favorably (!) so I had a starting point.  A year later, here we are about to embark on this unique weekend of hand stitching in the rustic, yet comfortable, wilds of Maine.  I sincerely hope you can join us. This retreat is limited to just thirty people, so that means each 'class' will be just ten people!  You and nine other souls with the undivided attention of Carolyn, Chawne or Rebecca.... For four days in the wild beauty of a Maine August.  I know I sound hyperbolic, but really, I swear this is going to be special.  If you have any inclination to join us, don't fight it!  Sign on up, we're going to do some amazing, relaxed, languorous, involved, intimate, stitching in the woods of Maine. The ultimate Summer Camp for stitchers.... 

Below is a small selection of images from the last Quilt Market this past May in Minneapolis. Carolyn's booth was so inspiring, as it always is. Her newest pattern release, entitled the Collection quilt, is a year of needle-turn applique projects, collected together into a block-of-the-month type format. It will be a great introduction to needle turn appliqué for those new to the process, and a fabulous set of projects leading to a full quilt for those who have some experience with the process.  I have a copy on order and am eagerly awaiting it's arrival.....

Herewith a small series of questions I am asking the teachers of this retreat, and Carolyn's responses....  For those who still don't know who Carolyn is, her bio is here-  Carolyn Friedlander is a designer working from her hometown of Lake Wales, Florida, an environment she enjoys for its warm weather, few distractions, and potent community of quilters and crafters. In her work, she draws inspiration from features of the Florida landscape—its long leaf pines, palmettos, water, scrub land, sand—as well as her background in architecture. You can follow Carolyn and her work on her website (carolynfriedlander.com) and blog (carolynfriedlander.com/blog).


AGOS:  Do you have a favorite tool or tools?

CF: Absolutely! When you’re doing handwork, having the right tools is so much more important because of how hands-on the process is. I recently found Kai scissors and am in love with how sharp they are, as well as the fact that they can be sharpened if/when they lose their sharpness. I’m totally over the idea of things being disposable.

AGOS:  Do you have a favorite part of the quilting process?

CF: I really love it all. The entire quilting process is a creative one where you can take any idea and use fabric and thread to make it a reality. I love the tactility of that, its relationship to history and the wide range of possibilities it all offers.

AGOS:  Do you have a favorite place to make? Time of day?

CF: I’m definitely a morning person, so I save the activities which require the most mental focus for that time. This includes design work. I could slow sew all day, but that’s usually my favorite end-of-the-day activity, because of it’s ability to relax me and slow my mind down.As for my favorite place to make—a space with good, natural light is massively motivating and will always be my favorite.

AGOS:  Can you describe a typical day in the life of Carolyn Friedlander?

CF: Working on my own, it’s nice that no two days are the same, but I do try to stick to a schedule as best I can. My mornings are for my most-focused tasks. I don’t start off the day by checking email, because I find it to be pretty distracting, but I do start checking in with emails right before lunch. The afternoons are usually spent working through emails and orders while also fitting in as much design work as I can. In the evenings, I’m usually doing something far from a screen and with a needle in my hand. I find that to be the best way to unplug and recharge for the next day ahead.


AGOS:  Can you describe an ideal day, if you could organize it any way you wanted?

CF: When I can make it happen, my ideal day is a Saturday, where I can wake up with a project in mind and sew on it all day while listening to NPR weekend shows—that’s my absolute favorite! 

AGOS:  Do you practice any other crafts besides quilting? If so, how do they compare, or contrast, with your quilting?

CF: Quilting is definitely what I spend a huge chunk of time doing, but I’m not very discriminate when it comes to crafts. Garment sewing has been a big go-to recently. I find the geometry and process to be very engaging.

AGOS:  Why do you teach?

CF: Teaching is great, because it’s an interaction over a creative process with someone else. My own teaching style is pretty one-on-one, because I like to hone in on where each student is and work with them on what’s most relevant for them in their creative work. The challenge of finding that is my favorite part.


AGOS:  If you could make something for someone, alive or in history, who would it be and what would you make them?

CF: If I could travel back in time or bring someone back, I’d probably rather make something with them instead of for them so that I could learn from them. Specifically, I’d love to spend time with some of the past makers in my family. For example, my great aunt was a skilled sewist and could replicate a dress from a catalog without a pattern. I love that. And I’ve always admired how connected people were to making back then. They did it out of necessity and without all of the resources that we have today. So if I could travel back and see how they did things, it would be a total dream.   

AGOS:  What does Slow Stitching mean to you?

Mindfulness is a big factor, when I think about taking anything slow. I won’t say that you can’t achieve mindfulness at a machine, but I do think that working a needle by hand lends itself more naturally to that connection of hand and mind, which is probably what it all boils down to for me.

Thanks Carolyn!  So who wants to come join Carolyn, Chawne, Rebecca and I in August?  All the details (and registration) are HERE....

Slow Stitching

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