MCM #84 – Teaching the Star Bright Class

Last week was a busy one. Typically I’m a homebody, staying at home doing all sorts of stay at home stuff and truly loving every minute of it. But last week I had appointments and errands to run every day of the week. It was one of those weeks where somebody needed something from me every day, so that really ate into my quilting time. My work schedule just went kaflooey and I’m not even stressing about it! That’s progress for me people!

Thursday afternoon I taught the first session of a two part class. The project is my Star Bright quilt that was published in Quilter’s World earlier this year. There were 5 ladies taking the class and one lady who ‘audited’. She really just wanted to spend the afternoon with her quilting friends, so with six ladies it was the perfect size class.

For the classes I teach, there is usually a store sample to garner interest in the class and show everyone what the finished project will look like. I also make a second ‘in progress’ version so I can show and explain the steps as we do them.

Here is my in progress version:

Star Bright Mini Quilt

We finished, or mostly finished the center of the quilt in our first class. If they didn’t get their center assembled, then the students had homework. One of the best parts in teaching this class is that everyone who signed up is an experienced quilter. So I didn’t have to go into detail about how to make a half square triangle, etc.

I really like the fabrics I’m using for this sample. It is a fat quarter bundle of Arbor Blossom fabric by Nadra Ridgeway for Riley Blake. I picked up this bundle when I was at Quilt Market earlier this year. The fabrics are bright and colorful, and I think they are perfect for this mini quilt.

In our next class I will show everyone how to make the Seminole border and finish their quilt. The border adds a lot of interest to an otherwise almost boring quilt, but it is so easy to make. I also plan to show several variations of the border. Sometimes it is easier to see the design possibilities of an element if you have a visual, or at least it is for me.

I snapped a few pictures of the quilts in progress. I love seeing the different fabric choices and how those choices change the tone of the wall hanging. So I thought I would share them with you.

Star Bright Mini Quilt

Laura’s romantic version

Laura is using a soft color palette that is fresh and romantic. She already has a blank wall just waiting for her to hang her finished quilt.

Star Bright Mini Quilt

Pearl’s more traditional version

Pearl is using fabrics more reminiscent of the civil war era. Claudine calls these fabrics “dark and dirty” and they are some of her favorites.

Star Bright Mini Quilt

Suzie’s colorful and bright version

Suzie will be giving this bright and colorful quilt to her granddaughter. She is actually planning on making multiple blocks and making a twin size quilt from this pattern. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.

I didn’t get pictures of the other quilts, but will be sure to do that in our next class. Isn’t it fun to see all the different versions?

I’d forgotten how fun (and easy) it is to make this quilt. When I have it finished it will hang in my sewing room. I’m going to have to start rotating wall hangings though – I’m getting quite a collection!

I have so much fun when I teach, and I hope to do much more of it. I started a new group in my Beginner Quilting I class last week, and it’s always so satisfying to see the excitement on everyone’s face when they make that first quilt block. This week, teaching is my crush for Main Crush Monday. What is yours?

It’s time for you to share your projects, fabric, tools, or whatever has you excited to be in your sewing space. You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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Posted in Mini Quilts, New Project | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Three Dimensional Sewing

Hi Everyone! Earlier this week I told you I wanted to find time to ‘whip up’ a Mini Diva Wallet. Well, I found the time and made my first wallet. I didn’t exactly whip it up, but it was a nice project to work on while listening to the final episode of The Bachelorette. I know, I know…now you know one of my dirty little secrets – I watch The Bachelorette. I don’t want to watch it, but it somehow just sucks me in.

Sigh.

But I digress…..back to the wallet!

Mini Diva Wallet

Isn’t it just the cutest thing?

It might start out small, but it packs a powerful punch!

Mini Diva Wallet

Once the wallet is opened there is room for cash in the large zipper pocket. The inside has a small zipper pocket for change, and plenty of room for credit cards and business cards.

This was a fun make and not complicated at all. Some of the pieces have fusible interfacing ironed on and that gives the wallet a nice sturdy feel. I was worried about stitching through several layers of fabric, but my machine handled it like the pro that she is.

Mini Diva Wallet

The metal frame is attached by some teeny, tiny screws. I was pleased to find I had a small screwdriver in my kitchen tool kit that was perfect for working with those tiny screws.

The pattern states that some people like to also use glue when attaching the frame, but that it’s not necessary. At first I just used the screws because I didn’t have any glue. But I wasn’t entirely comfortable that the wallet would stay in the frame, so I bought some fabric glue and used it. I’m glad I did – it feels more secure to me now.

The wallet was easy to put together. One reader, Kathleen,  had suggested cutting out all the pieces and labeling them before starting the sewing. It was a good suggestion and made the assembly process much easier. Thanks Kathleen! 🙂

I love this little wallet and have already had requests to make more, so there will be more of these popping up here now and again. It’s the perfect project to use up some of the few Tula Pink prints I have in my stash – don’t you think those fabrics look great in my wallet??

I’m linking up this week with Needle & Thread Thursday, and with Myra for Finished or Not Friday. Be sure to check out these great linky parties!

 

 

 

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MCM #83 – I Wish You a Merry QAL

If you’ve read my blog for very long you probably know that I struggle with keeping up with quilt-alongs. For those of you who didn’t know this about me, here’s my confession:

I suck at keeping up with quilt alongs.

But now that I have implemented my new work schedule, I seriously hope that will change. I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t finished the mystery quilt of Cheryl’s I started, um, how long ago? Too long….

Speaking of the new office hours, I want to thank you for all your comments and suggestions on the post I wrote last week. I found that several of you struggle with the same work/life balance, and it is my hope that we can support each other. If you ever need to talk about the balancing act we struggle with just reach out. I would love to have a conversation with you.

Last week I kept to my schedule (yay!) and was so happy to have play time to sew whatever I wanted. And what I wanted to sew was the first block in the “I Wish You a Merry QAL”. If you missed it, you can read more about the quilt along here. I’m determined to keep up with this one!

The first block in the QAL was designed by Vanda of Quilt in Piece. Vanda gave us an applique snowflake block to make and it is adorable! I’m not great at applique, but I gave it an honest effort and it doesn’t look too bad.

Snowflake Applique block

I used fusible web to adhere the pieces to the background, then did a straight stitch to outline the shapes. They will probably fray a bit, but I’m okay with that. At least until I learn a better method!

I originally thought I would make a blue snowflake, but at the last minute changed my mind and used this red snowflake print. I still might make a blue one, just to get in some practice. Practice makes perfect, right??

Snowflake block

My Finished Block

If you want to see more snowflake blocks, head on over to the I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Facebook Group . There have been a lot of gorgeous blocks shared. Also, if you have the time I hope you’ll jump in and join the QAL. The organizers (who were all participants in the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop) have rounded up some great prizes for finishers and you won’t want to miss out!

Hopefully I’ll get more personal sewing done this week. We are in the middle of a DIY project, replacing our front porch, and that is taking up a lot of my free time.  We originally had a small cement slab that was very narrow that served as our front entry. After several days, and a LOT of help from my brother, we now have a lovely front porch. It’s 8 feet wide and 22 feet long! I’m excited that it’s wide enough to accommodate a porch swing my dad made for me, with plenty of room for more seating, end tables, and plants. When we have it completely finished I’ll post pictures.

I will also be busy prepping for two classes that will start this week. I have a new Beginner Quilting class starting Thursday, and will also be teaching Star Bright, the pattern published in Quilter’s World earlier this year. I want to make a Mini Diva wallet so hopefully I’ll have time to just whip one up. Uh huh. Just whip one up. Hey, a girl can dream!

So now it’s time for you to share the projects you are working on. It’s Main Crush Monday time! You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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MCM #82 – Cookie Cutter Wall Hanging

As someone who quilts for other people, one of the things I struggle with is finding balance between work quilting and my personal projects. I suspect this is something many quilters and other creatives struggle with, as there are many blog posts dedicated to this very topic.

Sometimes the quilting I am doing is not enough to feed and satisfy my creative side. I may believe a quilt needs a custom job but the customer may only want a quick and easy edge-to-edge design.

I find myself putting my own projects on hold and spending all my time working on customer jobs. It was getting to the point where I was losing my enthusiasm for quilting because every project was a “have to do it” job. I have so many quilts and projects I want to make and I don’t have time to work on any of them. Do you ever feel that way?

Then last week I had a lightbulb moment. (Sometimes it takes me a minute….)

When I had a full-time job in HR, I left the office every afternoon by 6:00 p.m. and I didn’t work weekends. Those evening and weekend hours were mine to do with as I pleased. You know where this is going, right? Yep. I’m going to set ‘office’ hours for my quilting business. Any sewing outside of those hours can be whatever I want. If I’m ‘in the zone’ and want to keep working on a customer quilt I can. But I’m going to give myself permission to walk away and work on personal projects. Hopefully this plan feeds my wallet *and* my creative side.

Giving permission to yourself is a powerful thing. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders!

This past weekend I put my new business practice to the test, and made this adorable wall hanging.

Cookie Cutter Mini quiltI was so happy to be able to work on this quilt! It makes me smile just to look at it. 🙂

You might remember I recently made  a store sample of the Cookie Cutter pattern by Jaybird Quilts. There were enough scraps leftover so I could make this wall hanging. Using scraps and a bit of stash makes this {almost} a freebie. Score!

The most fun part was doing the actual quilting.

Swirls & Pebbles FMQ designIt is a combination of swirls, pebbles, echos and matchstick quilting. I think it looks fantastic. I chose to leave all the colored pieces un-quilted. The batting is Quilter’s Dream Poly, which gives great definition in the quilting but keeps the quilt soft.

The quilting was done on my Sweet Sixteen and not the longarm. I have a quilt loaded so I couldn’t use Freddie, but I really enjoyed using my sit-down machine again.

Shop Hop Girls fabricThe backing is from my stash and is a piece I found while in Lancaster, PA earlier this year. It is called Shop Hop by Bonnie Krebs for Henry Glass & Co.  It’s fun, playful and whimsical and fits the overall tone of the quilt perfectly.

The solids are Bella fabrics. I don’t know the names of each color except for the binding – Nautical Blue. That one came from my stash and is not one of the colors used in the quilt.

FMQ designI have a special plan for this little quilt and am excited to give it to its new owner. I’m also looking forward to doing more personal sewing and quilting and having more projects to share with you.

My crush for this week’s Main Crush Monday is personal sewing time and, of course, this wall hanging. I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re working on and the projects that have you excited to be in your sewing space this week.

So now it’s time for you to link up. You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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Speaking at Scenic River Quilt Guild

I did it folks! (Oh geesh! Did I just say “folks”??) LOL

On Monday I told you I was speaking at a local quilt guild, that it was my first official speaking engagement, and that I was a tad bit nervous. Well, I got through it and I can’t wait to do it again!

One of the reasons it went so well is that I had a wonderful audience of women to interact with. They were attentive, engaged, asked pertinent questions, and it was just a pleasure to spend an evening with them.

So now let me back up a bit. Most of you know that my local quilt shop, Bolts & Quarters, usually has several of my quilts hanging in the shop. They carry printed copies of my patterns and everyone who works there is so supportive of my quilting adventures.

One of the quilts they have hanging is an ombre version of Spinning. The quilt has received a ton of attention and has been instrumental in the sale of that pattern as well as the fabric I used. It’s my most popular pattern to date.

Spinning Pattern in Ombre Fabric

It is because of that quilt that Laura, the president of the Scenic Rivers Quilt Guild, contacted me. When she found out from the shop that the designer was a local gal, she got my contact info from the shop and invited me to one of the guild’s meetings. Laura asked me to speak about how I got started designing and writing patterns and about my journey.

Now at this point I could try to impress you and tell you that I was invited to speak out-of-state because the guild is in Ohio and I live in West Virginia. But the truth is that I live almost on the state line so many of my days are spent back and forth between both states. And Marietta, OH is only about 25 minutes from my house. But maybe you’re just a *teeny* bit impressed??

I took quilts from all my patterns as well as printed patterns. I was hoping that FedEx would deliver my newest pattern so I would have that beautiful booklet to show and they did! It was delivered about an hour before I left the house.

My original plan was to have a PowerPoint presentation and a show/tell at the end. However, as I spent the day practicing I realized I would be much more comfortable and more ‘myself’ if I just spoke from the heart with no notes or slides. I ended up ditching the presentation and just talked. As I reached each stage in my story where a quilt was part of the story I stopped and showed the quilt. It broke up my speaking and gave the group a visual for that part of my story. I really liked the way it flowed, and if I get to do this again I would like to continue using that format.

Several women asked good questions about copyright, pricing, digital vs paper, local printers and online printers. I even found a couple ladies who love quilty math! 🙂 On my drive home as I was thinking about the questions that were asked, I realized that information could be included in my next presentation. I was so happy we were able to interact and have such a great discussion.

After the meeting, several women told me how much they enjoyed hearing my story. Perhaps the biggest compliment I received though was being asked to join the guild. Totally unexpected and so sweet.

So here’s my takeaway from this experience:

  • If you have an opportunity to tell your story and show your quilts, do it! Quilters love to talk about quilts and see what other people are making, and no one knows your journey better than you. Once I started talking the nerves disappeared and it was easy.  It’s been a while since I’ve had all my quilts together in one place, so it was as fun for me to see them again as it was for the group to see them for the first time.
  • Don’t think your quilts aren’t as good as others. I have a bit of an issue with this myself. But when I look at my collection together I see piecing I’m proud of and free motion quilting that has evolved over time. I can see my own growth. One lady commented that they love to hear a good success story. To me, I might not be good enough, but to someone else I’m a success story! So remember, YOU are a success story.
  • Have fun. It was fun for me to talk about my start in quilting and my journey and I think it showed. If you enjoy yourself, others will as well.

I’d love to hear about your experience as a speaker or giving a trunk show. How did you feel about your experience? Would you like to present but haven’t made the leap yet?

 

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Posted in Trunk Show | Tagged | 15 Comments