2018 was a good year


2018 was a good year - Noodlehead

Whew! 2018 was a roller coaster ride. Looking back at pictures is always such a good reminder for me. Sometimes you don’t realize just how much you can accomplish over a year’s time.

On the personal side, I’ve continued in my yoga practice and started back in the pool once a week. I’ve realized how important it is to have regular workout routine. My girls participated in lots of soccer, volleyball , and school activities and we went on a fun family kayak trip to northern Wisconsin during the summer. I should note that my daughters have both gotten in to knitting. A yarn shop (Yarn Cakes) opened in our downtown area and they’ve been having a great time knitting and being with their friends.

In trying to continue some momentum from what felt like a very busy year in 2017, 2018 was packed with taking on a new challenge. My husband and I worked on renovating an old building in our downtown area for use as my studio space. This was the largest and most involved projects I’ve ever committed to. I’m hoping to do a post soon to catch you up on all the happenings. But for now I’ll just let you know that we’re finished (mostly, still a few little things left) and I’ve been working in the space since November.

On the business side of things I released a couple of new patterns, the Fika Tote and the Making Backpack. My fabric collection with Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Forage, made its debut in May at the Spring Quilt Market. It was truly a great experience and a lot of work! As part of the fabric collection launch, I also shared my free Forage Bag pattern! And I also contributed to Making Magazine’s No. 5 and 6 issues (Making Backpack and Making Bag). The Making Bag will be released as a PDF in my shop on March 15th. Fun stuff!

My goal is to continue to provide a reliable source where you can find components and supplies that work with my patterns. I’m also hoping to add some new leather selections and options. It’s still very much my goal to grow the supply part of my business. I will need to take some larger leaps including hiring some help and possibly taking some sourcing trips.

I’m also very excited to re-energize and refresh myself for the coming year! After last year with most of my focus on my studio space, I’m taking it slow and realizing that it’ll take some time to re-focus. I’ll be the first to say that I learn new things all the time and the business aspect of  this journey is something that I am constantly trying to improve upon. I’m also trying to take some deep breaths and focus on what’s best for me and my family.

I’m continually grateful for my friends and support from this amazing sewing (and knitting!) community. I never could have imagined how my life would be when I started in this space back in 2009 and am so thankful for all of you. Thank you for your support, comments and encouragement. I’m looking forward to see what awesome inspiration 2019 brings and excited to share more about what is to come!

If you’re new here, take a trip down memory lane and check out my previous year-end posts from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 20142015, 2016, 2017. Wow, that’s a lot of years!



a zippered pouch never hurt

Well, I think this might be my last regular post for 2018, but I couldn’t help but share these little zippered pouches. Whenever I’m feeling a little off or stuck creatively, it always seems to help me by taking it back to the basics. This year has been hectic and full and fun. So sewing up these zippered pouches at the end feels like a bit of a calming effect. These are the small size of my infamous Open Wide Zippered Pouch. Back when I wrote the tutorial I remember thinking that I wanted to keep it all to myself and make a million pouches. They were just so fun and rewarding feeling. But of course I can’t keep all the fun to myself, so the tutorial was shared and I think enjoyed by many (or so I’ve seen). 😉

As I was making these I used one of my favorite tools – a glue pen. Glue basting isn’t new, but I really enjoy using the Sewline glue pen. I feel like it’s very user-friendly and comes in really handy for inserting zippers. Pins are great and in just about everyone’s sewing kit, but if you feel like trying out a glue pen, you might find that it makes things pretty enjoyable! I feel like I can get better alignment and be more accurate with my seam allowance. Win win! Of course anything like zippers takes a bit of practice, so don’t get down on yourself if your first few don’t turn out as perfect as you had hoped. Practice and trial and error are the greatest teachers. I love learning from my mistakes (which are many!).

This duo of pouches are heading to a couple of teachers, we’ll fill them with some candy before gifting of course. My daughter Emily decided they’d like pouches and after some fabric indecision, we arrived on these and I think they’re beautiful.

Pattern: Open Wide Pouch Tutorial (size small, modified the corner seams to be 3″ instead of 3.5″ just because I felt like it – see chart here)

Fabrics: Arroyo Cotton & Flax (Erin Dollar), Me + You Batik (X’s in Denim)

Zippers: 10″ (for small pouch), 12″ (medium), 14″ (large)


Forage Trail Totes

Forage Trail Totes - NoodleheadForage Trail Totes - NoodleheadAnother couple of totes that I think might fit right in on your last-minute gift sewing schedule. I’m not one for piling on last minute gifts just because I feel all the holiday cheer. I try to keep things to a reasonable list that I know I’ll be able to create in time for gifting. It’s easy for me to make a huge list of things I’d love to make for everyone, but in reality there are so many great things happening this time of year that I know some free time in the schedule will be perfect for. So maybe you’re different than I am and love tackling projects right up until the last minute. If so, a Trail Tote might be just right for your list!

Forage Trail Totes - Noodlehead

Forage Trail Totes - Noodlehead

The Trail Tote pattern is another free pattern I designed for Robert Kaufman Fabrics a few years ago. I think it’s popular because of its simple design and ease of use. It’s also helpful that it can be sewn up in an afternoon and doesn’t require too many extra bells and whistles. I know it can be so frustrating when you really want to make a project only to find out that you don’t have the right supplies on hand. Maybe that’s just a part of making things that I just have to come to terms with? But hopefully you’ll agree that the design elements of the Trail Tote make it worth it even if you have to pick up a few parts on your next trip to the store.

Forage Trail Totes - Noodlehead

Forage Trail Totes - Noodlehead

I had sewn up the large and small sizes of these totes in my fabric collection, Forage. It’s always fascinating to watch a bag come together. From being a stack of fabric and hardware to a finished project that you can use in just a matter of hours is still a treat. I think I definitely need to consider making a small version for myself in the new year. There is something about small bags that I’ve been obsessed about. Now that my diaper bag carrying days have come and gone, I do love being able to scoot around with just a few basics.


Forage Trail Totes - Noodlehead

Pattern: Trail Tote (a free pattern in two sizes!)
Fabric: Forage by me (Anna Graham) for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Forage Trail Totes - Noodlehead