Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The first MQG mini quilt swap-are you in?

Who doesn't love a great sewing swap?  I started my first with a swap hosted by The Sewing Loft.  Soon after, I found out about the Schnitzelandboo mini quilt swap.  I think I started on the second round of that swap and have stayed in it ever since.  I even participated in another smaller themed sewing swap that was a lot of fun.  And in October of 2016, The Modern Quilt Guild announced its first mini quilt swap, open to members worldwide.

To be honest, I was really bummed when I first heard about the swap.  I recently quit my real job to sew and quilt as my full time job and (as I type this) am about to be a new mom.  The odds of me signing up for this swap didn't look too good.  But then I started thinking about it, and realized I needed something to look forward to in the first few months of being a new mom.  I don't want to lose myself entirely in my new role and hopefully I will find bits and pieces of time to work on this for my partner (sorry partner... ;).

So I signed up.  I got my partner assignment, and wouldn't you know...their instagram profile is PRIVATE.   GRRRRRRRR.......Seriously.  If you're going to do a swap, have a public profile.  You're ruining the surprise.  Or at least include some other form of social media where you post your preferences.  I was a little miffed.  But my swap fairy came through for me and managed to get a Pinterest profile for me.  This provided tons of inspiration and so I'm currently working on tweaking some things I've found to make it my own.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quilting for Market with Urban Artifacts Fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison

So I guess this is part 2 of my Quilt Market preparations posts...The quilting edition!  
I had the opportunity to quilt a couple of quilts for my friend Leslie's quilt market booth.  I'm going to be brief here...

The first one was an awesome quilt designed by Liberty Worth.  It's pretty modern and gave me tons of inspiration with the quilting.  Below are pictures:

Putting the binding on...
Quilt designed by Liberty Worth with Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison

Quilt designed by Liberty Worth with Urban Artifacts fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison

The next quilt was designed by Allison Chambers of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild and was inspired by mid-century modern style.  I love this quilt!  I was aiming to keep the quilting modern but understated and used a blending thread instead of a highly contrasting one.  I did some geometric ruler work with stitch in the ditch on this one.  
Quilt designed by Allison Chambers using Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison

Quilt designed by Allison Chambers using Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison
I got to quilt 2 other amazing quilts that were designed by Leslie, but those are patterns that are not yet released, so no pictures of those yet!  I am so blown away by the talent and creativity.  I really wish I could have attended Quilt Market this year, but like I said...life happens.  There's always next year!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Quilt market prep- with hand bags for Leslie Tucker Jenison

So many people in the sewing community are working hard to prep for market in and around the month of October.  I know when I first got an instagram account, I was so jealous of everyone posting the #secretsewing or #marketprep or whatever the hashtag was and hoped that someday I could get in on the action too!  In my local MQG, one of our members-Leslie Tucker Jenison-recently got a fabric line with RJR fabrics and I was asked to quilt a few items and make some bags from her amaing fabric line, Urban Artifacts!  Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and couldn't wait to get started.  I know this is December and quilt market was in October...life happens, guys!
Reisende Bag in Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR Fabrics, pattern by Sew Sweetness
So Leslie selected three really awesome bag patterns for her market booth and the first one was the Reisende bag-a Sew Sweetness pattern.  I really love the look of these fabrics with this pattern and I cannot wait for them to be at my LQS!!!

The next bag Leslie had chosen was the Nora Doctor bag by Swoon patterns.  This pattern is seriously so cool.  I love the vintage looking patterns and these fabrics are also amazing.  


Nora Doctor Bag-Swoon Pattern in Urban Artifacts Fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR fabrics

The final bag I made for Leslie's booth was the Betty Bowler, also a Swoon Pattern.  Such a great pattern to showcase Leslie's new fabric line, and I couldn't be happier with how they all turned out.  I'm so excited that my sweet friend had this opportunity to show off her amazing artistic talents and share her art with everyone!  

Betty Bowler by Swoon Patterns in Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison for RJR Fabrics

If you haven't tried your hand at making some of these store-quality bags with these awesome patterns, I highly recommend that you grab some great fabric and try one!  I don't think you'd be disappointed with the results!  Plus, you should go check out Leslie's fabric line and buy the prints.  Pictured below is Leslie's full line.  I am SO inspired by the grey/steel color way!

Leslie's complete line-photo taken from leslietuckerjenison.com 


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Free Christmas Stocking tutorial

It's time for another free tutorial!  I got to team up with Janome again to bring you an awesome Christmas stocking tutorial :)

Be sure to check it out on the Janome website !


These stockings are super easy to whip up!  All you have to do is sew some strips of fabric together (jelly roll strips would be perfect!), then use the template to cut the stockings out.  You can add some decorative stitching to the seams where the fabric is joined for a little extra oompf!  Start and finish in an afternoon and make some awesome new stockings for the family :)  Merry Christmas!




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A little more FMQ

I love the understated look of Superior Threads' So fine thread for busier quilts.  There's just enough substance there to make the quilting do its job, but not so much that the quilt is overwhelmed.  


This isn't a super involved post--I just wanted to share a quilt that some of the ladies in the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild put together for our past president who moved out of state.  This quilt was designed by Emily Robbins using some of the modern quilt block guides put out by Love Patchwork and Quilting this year.  Cotton + Steel prints were used in combination with various shades of grey.  It's pretty difficult to see the quilting, but the real star is the quilt design and the fabrics.  

This was the finished quilt prior to the binding being put on.  Love the design, and I think Emily did a great job!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sewing for BABY part 2 with Anna Maria Horner fabrics

So there are really only 2 more items I wanted to talk about on this topic, then I promise, I will move on from the baby talk!  

Find the fabric for this projects HERE and the pattern for the Belle Baby Bag HERE
Diaper bags.  Are. Outrageously. Expensive.  If you can sew, there is no excuse for buying a diaper bag (in my opinion).  I spent weeks looking for the perfect diaper bag pattern, and low and behold...Alicia from Swoon Patterns is miraculously pregnant at the same time that I am!!!  Which means she released a diaper bag pattern in the nick of time for me!!!  I mean, not really for me.  More for her, I'm sure.  But I'll take it!  
My pile of Belle Baby Bag pieces cut and ready to go!
So I adore the "Passage" in Pomegranate from AMH's Mod Corsage collection.  Such vibrant colors.  Seriously, pictures really don't do the print justice.  I didn't want to pair the fabrics with a solid, so I went with some Michael Miller's Painter's Canvas in a blue-grey color.  I feel like it really gave a little added texture and made the bag really POP.  



This is the shoulder strap for the bag--using Passage in pomegranate.  You can't find a store bought diaper bag in fabrics this gorgeous.  Won't happen.  


And then this is the nearly finished bag (I was waiting for the strap hardware to come in).  The pattern is very well written (thank you Alicia!), and I couldn't be more happy with the fabric (thank you Anna Maria!!!).  I'm not going to lie...I started carrying it as my purse as soon as I got the rest of the hardware in.  It's going to be a great diaper bag--there are pockets everywhere, and there are even stroller clips (not shown in picture) that attach to the handle of the stroller.  So there's the diaper bag.  

The last thing I'm going to gush about for the time being is the wall hanging I made for Gemma's room.  If you haven't heard of Vanessa at Fabric Confetti, run--don't walk--to her website.  Her embroidery-applique designs are awesome!  I purchased the Elemenopea embroidery design package (it also comes with SVG files to load into your cutter).  I was originally going to hand embroider "Gemma" onto a big wall hanging, but...ain't nobody got time for that!  Find the embroidery files to purchase HERE on the Fabric Confetti website.
Elemenopea Embroidery package-picture from the Fabric Confetti website

So this comes in two different sizes (I swear--I didn't get paid anything to promote either of these products.  I just love them.  I purchased them both myself and didn't ask for any kind of payment from any designer mentioned in this post.)  I bought the larger size.  And yes, it is a bit pricey.  But...so worth it.  



I embroidered/appliqued each letter in "Gemma" separately and cut them out so I could set them at wonky angles on the wall hanging.  Note the reappearance of "Passage" in pomegranate!  The solid fabric on the bottom portion of the letters and also seen in the border of the wall hanging is a shot cotton by Studio E.  The prints in the top portion of the letters are all various prints from Mod Corsage.  




So this is the nearly finished project--loaded onto the longarm and being quilted.  So these are just a few of the things I've made for the nursery, and I'm happy with the few items I did make...even though my original plan was to basically stress myself out to the point of no return by making crib sheets, changing pad covers, lots of baby clothes, etc.  Nope.  Didn't happen.  :)  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sewing for BABY with Anna Maria Horner fabrics

As I said in my post a few weeks ago...we have a little girl on the way (I'm typing this in October, so I'm half way hoping she's already been born by the time this goes live!).  My husband and I come from a long line of handmade people...my father in law made Gemma's crib and dresser, my mother in law hand painted baby blocks for her and even wove some handles on a wooden basket to keep the blocks in.  So I wanted some other handmade items in the nursery too!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I had all these grand illusions of what I wanted the nursery to look like.  I was dreaming of a little girl.  We found out that was the case, and I knew immediately I didn't want a sickening pepto pink bedroom for her.  

Pinterest was my BFF and I was pinning tons of color schemes and baby patterns.  I decided to make a short list of things I knew I would have time to make prior to her arrival and planned them out.  I started out with Alison Glass fabrics because I LOVE the saturated colors.  But I couldn't pick a color scheme.  So I moved on to AMH and fell in love with the Mod Corsage line and Fibs and Fables.   I love how complex the colors are in Anna Maria's lines.  The color schemes are very sophisticated, but they all manage to work with her other lines.  So I'm just going to do a quick run through of the items I've made so far for sweet baby girl's room.  


Handmade burp cloths from cloth diapers and AMH Mod Corsage
 So this style isn't typical of the burp cloths I used to make and sell in my Etsy shop, but I think these will be much more absorbent.  We shall see!!!  At the very least, they'll be beautiful until they are snotted on and spit up on :)  Get the tutorial HERE (and better yet, this tutorial is labeled for beginner sewing!


Hour Baskets in Mod Corsage for baby organization
And have you seen how expensive simple little organizing baskets are???  Enter the hour baskets by kelbysews.  These literally took me 30 minutes from start to finish, and they hold the burp cloths like a champ.  I think I made 6 of these, and I love them all!  Get the pattern HERE


Tummy time mat made with Mod Corsage and Fibs and Fables AND batting scraps
And this ethereal print from Mod corsage with the bouquets...to die for.  I wasn't sure what I was going to use this fabric for, but I knew I wanted it showcased.  And I loved this dressmaker print from the AMH Fibs and Fables line.  So I made a simple tummy time mat.  Another great thing about making this was that I used up a TON of batting scraps that I didn't have any plan for.  I quilted this mat pretty heavily, so I stacked the batting scraps 3 layers deep.  This is the cushiest thing you could ever lay a baby on.  And I love that I put those smaller batting scraps to good use.  I squared it up after quilting, rounded the corners to give it a little more style, and bound it.  It's small enough that I can roll it up and take to grandma's house or wherever but big enough that I don't have to worry about other people's dirty floors :)  
There's no pattern for this to link to, but it's basically just a whole cloth quilt with tons of batting scraps layered in between the two pieces of fabric--enough to make 3 layers thick with batting.  Quilt as desired.  Trim/square up into whatever shape you desire.  I rounded the corners because I didn't want them square, and then I slapped some binding on that sucker.  I did machine bind--in the event that this got pooped on or spit up on a ton and needed to be laundered a lot--so if you love hand binding as much as I do, you may want to rethink that!

I'm going to make this a two part post to talk a little more in depth about the other items (so I can credit other people's designs).  Continued to next week--when I will hopefully have this baby out of my body if I don't already!!!






Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hot Pad Hostess Gift! Sewing for a hostess...


So I got to team up with Janome to offer a free tutorial for a quick and cute hostess gift!  If you aren't the main cook in charge of Thanksgiving, but a guest at someone else's table--you don't want to show up empty handed!  Whip up one of these cute hot pads with a little recipe card and a cooking utensil and you'll be sure to be invited back!  Get the free pattern at the AQS Blog !  And also--Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Quilty friends are the best

I may not have come right out and said this yet, but as I type this, I am 37 weeks pregnant with our first child.  I'm kind of a private person when it comes to this kind of stuff and social media, so there haven't been any baby bump pictures or ultrasound photographs or "facebook official" posts.   


However...I have to talk about my "tribe".  The group of people I didn't even know I needed until I found them.  I also have my church family to lean on and love (thank God for that!), but there is something to be said for your sewing friends that other groups don't relate to.  

I'm a member of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, and have been for a little over 2 years.  From the first meeting I attended, I looked around the room, and I could feel something different about the group.  It was mostly (I think ALL, then) women.  They were talking about things they made with their own hands, and they were supporting and encouraging each other.  There was laughter and gossip and friendship.  And they were all very different in their own way.  

Sewing can be a very isolating hobby if you don't have a tribe.  And I didn't know what I was missing out on until I went to that first meeting.  I immediately joined and can't believe the friendships I've made in that short period of time.  There has been laughter, tears, good times, and bad.  And sometimes there wasn't any sewing going on during this.  My point here is that sewing/quilting friends are the BEST.  They get it.  You can be talking about your dog dying one minute and the new quilting technique the next, and they don't bat an eye.  

I feel like I got a little derailed there, so let me get back to my point.  Our MQG has a tradition that someone will head up making a baby quilt for expecting moms in the guild.  So several of the people in the guild got together and put this amazing quilt together.  I love everything about it, and it couldn't be more perfect.  They had even finished piecing it back in August.  Which is the month our guild had booked Karlee Porter to come do a graffiti quilting workshop for us.  Somewhere in all of this, they were discussing the baby quilt in front of Karlee and discussing who would quilt it.  (I have to say here that Karlee is hands down the most authentic Sewlebrity I've even met.  She is real and such a great person to be around.  And AMAZINGLY talented.)

And Karlee volunteered to take it home and quilt it.  NUTS.  Not only did she take it home and quilt it, she couched my baby's name in the center of the quilt with metallic yarn.  This post is more for me than anyone else.  I want to always remember how special I felt when i received this.  Emily presented it to me at our October guild meeting, and I had no idea that it was finished.  I wasn't expecting it, and lately, I have been nothing but a bucket of raw emotions.  So they told me how they put it together, the amazingly special people that planned it, gave fabric for it, gave their time for it, and arranged for Karlee to help as well.  And I lost my shit.   (Pardon the french.  I don't cuss on the blog, but there it is.)  I cried so hard that I nearly couldn't recover to do the rest of the meeting (I'm currently interim President).  Ugly tears were seen by all, and I didn't even care.  Because this group is my tribe.  And wouldn't you know, I'm crying again while I'm typing this.  Seriously, I can't wait for these pregnancy hormones to be gone!  

Anyway. I'm totally overwhelmed at the thought of being a new mom and have no clue what to do once Gemma gets here, but I know that she will be SO loved.  And already is if this group is any indication.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Is more sometimes less?

Let's talk a little bit about quilt designs.  Of the quilting variety.  Not the piecing variety.  How many of us struggle with keeping our quilting plans fresh and unique?  If you're anything like me, you might be constantly on Instagram or Pinterest searching through "free motion quilting" posts or "custom quilting" or "longarm quilting", or any other search request you can think of.  And while I don't ever want to copy someone else's work, I'm always trying to find my own voice through things I like in other quilters' work.  

I'm often blown away by tedious, tiny, overthought, quilted to death quilts.  I know I don't charge nearly enough to compensate me for my time if I were to quilt every quilt that way.  To be honest, I wouldn't even be able to pay the electric bill!  Don't get me wrong, this is not a post to get on my soap box about charging what you're worth.  I just want to discuss simplicity in quilt design.  I chose one of the quilts I quilted this year, that honestly, isn't a show quilt--it isn't a mind blowing quilt design, but it is thoughtful enough to look good (in my opinion).  

Isn't the purpose of a good quilter to make the designer/piecer's work shine?  To make the block or the quilt look it's absolute best? 

I chose two motifs do be used on this quilt.  One was a continuous loop that was stitched throughout the green pieces on the quilt to give uniformity to the design.

The other motif was simple double wavy lines with curved lines connecting them on the larger pieced blocks.  While these two designs won't be winning any ribbons at quilting shows, I'm sure, it does enough to simply enhance the quilt without drawing so much attention to the quilting that you can't even see the actual quilt or blocks anymore.  I know this is nothing special, but I just want to point out that not every quilt has to be QTD.  (Quilted to death)


I recently saw a quilt on Instagram from a quilter I follow on a log cabin quilt.  The quilter is extremely talented and really takes quilting to a new level.  The log cabin quilt was QTD.  Quilted. To. Death.  It looks good.  But the actual quilt is lost in the quilting.  What purpose does this serve?  I almost feel like it is just to inflate the ego of the quilter, and maybe the piecer requested this...but I wouldn't think so.  Shouldn't the piecing and quilting work together to make the quilt balanced overall?  I would really like to post a picture of what I'm talking about, but I don't want to demean anyone's work.

Also, keep in mind that I've only been sewing and quilting since about 2011.  So really, in the grand scheme of things, what do I know? :)  Just something to chew on and think about when it comes to quilt design...does more sometimes equal less?




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Spooky Spiderweb Trick Or Treat bag tutorial

If you'd like to make the perfect project for your special little trick-or-treater, I teamed up with Janome to bring you the perfect tutorial for a reusable treat bag!  Visit Janome's website for the full tutorial and a quick and easy sew!  



 This is a great project with a little pop of color on the reverse side of the drawstring bag--you can use a contrasting fabric to really make it pop (or even glow in the dark fabric!)


And learn to quilt some really fun spiderwebs!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lemon Slice Picnic Blanket

This may seem a little redundant, seeing as how I already participated in Erin's blog hop for SewHome, BUT I had to talk about the really unique Picnic Blanket (Quilt) that I also had the opportunity to work on for the book.


SewHome by Erin Schlosser, photo by C&T Publishing
I can't stop thinking about how unique and practical the projects are in Erin Schlosser's new book.  For real, y'all.  I've bought fabric and supplies to make my top 6 favorite projects in the book (who knows when I'll have time to do it!!!).

Lemon Slice Picnic Blanket, photo by C&T Publishing
So, this is the Lemon Slice Picnic Blanket, and it is too cool for school!  The ingenious part is that the backing is with laminated cotton--so you don't have to worry about getting grass stains on the back of it.  Erin asked me to quilt this for the book, and it was so much fun to do.  I just had to share this and, if I'm being honest, don't be surprised if there are more posts from Erin's book in the future.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Quilting a "Letters from home" quilt

A couple of months ago, I had the awesome opportunity to quilt one of my customer's "Letters from Home" quilt (pattern by Heather Givens/Crimson Tate).  Now, I have to preface this post by saying that I'm barely wetting my toes in the waters of custom quilting.  But I am super-duper proud of the quilting on this quilt.  I'm going to take you through the process.

I like Glide's thread for a little pop of sheen on a quilt.  Plus, it quilts like a DREAM.  I selected a few different thread colors for the quilting on this quilt.  Mainly, I changed thread colors to help them blend with the fabrics they were quilting on for a more subtle pop.  I used Quilter's Dream batting for this quilt, as I do with most of my client quilts.

Glide Threads selected
 Some people might have you believe that once the quilt was loaded and the threads picked out that the quilting just magically happened with a wave of their wand.  Here's my dirty little secret:  This quilt sat on my frame for a week.  An entire WEEK.  I had sketched out at least a dozen ideas for quilting, and each morning I would go out to my studio, ready to attack.  But then I would end up standing there, staring at the quilt top.  I changed my mind so many times, and then decided on the most difficult (or most time consuming) design I had drawn up.

Beginning to mark and quilt the borders
So I broke out my water soluble marking pen and trusty ruler and started marking some guidelines for the quilting.  I did some straight line quilting on the borders after marking them, and then marked the rest of the quilt as I went.  Each pass on the longarm took me about an hour to mark with the ruler and pen.

More markings, filled in with some quilting
The thing about the design being quilted, is that it isn't complicated.  It's just a bunch of straight lines and loops, but the way they are put together really leaves you with a huge impact.  

I have a black light on my longarm and seriously think it is SO cool.  This shows the texture a little better.


I really wanted to focus on the texture on this quilt, and so I chose to stitch in the ditch around the envelopes and the focal fabrics so they would pop out more.  My client selected Japanese import fabrics from Bunny Designs (out of Austin, TX), with a backing out of an adorable cupcake pattern (see the first photo in the post).  The attention to detail and her impeccable piecing made this quilt one of my all time favorites to quilt.  The quilt pattern by Crimson Tate is SO cute, and an ingenious way to showcase focal fabrics.

So, aside from me just talking about how much I loved this quilt, my other point is that sometimes it isn't second nature to just come up with quilting designs out of thin air.  And it's okay if the quilt has to sit on your frame for a week while you change your mind a hundred times about the quilting design (as long as your client has allowed you to do so!).  And while it is my favorite thing ever for a client to say--I want custom quilting, and the design is up to you--it can also be the most challenging (and rewarding) part of my job.  I think this is a great way to grow your skill set and think about how many different ways there are to quilt a quilt.  (Quilt construction and fabric selection by Debra Barnes)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Free Jelly Roll Quilt Tutorial!

 If you've been looking for a way to use up those super cute jelly rolls you've acquired...I have a great jelly roll tutorial for you!  It's free, and you can find it at the American Quilter's Society Blog, sponsored by Janome.  
Free Jelly Roll Quilt tutorial by Joanna Marsh
I whipped up this quick tutorial using L's Modern Basics (in the warm colors) Sushi Roll.  I absolutely love this fabric collection and plan on making one of these in the cool colorway too!  

Easy piecing with Janome's 1/4" piecing foot
If your quarter inch seams aren't perfect, you can take your piecing skills to the next level with a 1/4" piecing foot that will give you perfect seams every time.  This foot is everything when it comes to piecing!!!

Up close and personal of the quilting
And then finish your top off with some fun free motion quilting!  Have fun with this free tutorial, and use up that fabric you've been hoarding for so long :)  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sew Home Blog Hop! It's a Twist table runner

Welcome to the next stop on the SewHome blog hop!  I am super excited to be included in this blog hop and can't wait to share one of my favorite projects from this awesome book with you.  There's also a giveaway (open internationally) hosted by each blog hop participant!!!  Instructions on how to enter are at the end of the post :)



SewHome by Erin Schlosser (photo by C&T Publishing)
Be sure to follow the other participants as they showcase some seriously amazing projects from Erin's new book!

Wednesday, September 21 - Sew 4 Home & Jen Carlton Bailly
Monday, September 26 - Windham Fabrics & Rebecca at Bryan House Quilts
Wednesday, September 28 - Dear Stella Fabrics & Mandy at Mandalei Quilts
Thursday, September 29 - Erin at Schlosser Designs

Let me start by saying I had the awesome opportunity to quilt another project for SewHome, and so found out about this amazing book a few months before its release.  Erin is so talented and has thought of literally every project you could ever want to sew up to make a house your home.  

I am not as blessed as others when it comes to the interior decorating gene, so this book is a God send.  Erin even thought to include some design basics and clearly explains everything that needs to be considered prior to starting any project.  She has tons of suggestions on how to keep your projects cohesive, even discussing color and fabric selection.  I had the opportunity to preview this awesome book before it was printed, and had to purchase it myself to keep a hard copy on hand.  


It's a Twist Table Runner (photo by C&T Publishing)
I chose to make the "It's a Twist Table Runner" since my kitchen decor is a little blah...and I had never seen a design this unique before.  With summer fading and fall quickly approaching, I opted for a warm ombre color scheme to do my "twists" in, and chose the new Essex linen in yarn dyed metallic by Robert Kaufman so I could keep this beauty on the table from September through December.  


Warm ombre color scheme with Essex metallic linen
I had so much fun picking out my fabrics, and couldn't wait to try the new Essex yard dyed metallic to keep the design warm and fall-feeling.  This project is so fun, and great for adapting to use up your scrap pile!  


You can see the tiny metallic detail in this close up of the sewn together table runner
Erin's instructions are clear and concise, and I was able to finish this adorable project in under 3 hours.  The twisting technique is really simple to follow and gives such a great look when finished.  I'm excited to try this technique in other sewing projects, too!  


My finished table runner

I also loved that the table runner didn't have batting in it and wasn't quilted.  It seems like most table runner projects these days are of the quilted variety, and the "It's a Twist Table Runner" has ample interfacing to give it a luxurious feel and weight.  It also made it a quick and fun sew.  

I was thrilled to participate in this, and can't wait to make more projects from SewHome.  Thanks Erin for a delightful read!!!

To enter the giveaway for your free copy of Erin's book SewHome, answer the following question by September 30, 2016 either in a comment here (on my blog), or a comment on my instagram post about this project:  What home decor item have you been dying to sew for your home?   Giveaway entries will close at midnight, central standard time 9/30/2016 and winner will be selected randomly.  If winner is domestic (US), they will receive a hard copy of SewHome, if international, the winner will receive the e-book version.  Winner will be contacted by me for shipping information.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I left my REAL job to quilt! My two cents...

Up until this past June, I was a full time teacher for 9 years (or all of my professional career, post college).  I'm not going to give you an earful about my experiences, but I will tell you that I taught agriculture science and was the FFA sponsor.  Also, not going into the details of that...I could talk for hours about what that job entails.  But I'm not going to.  

I am going to say that I think teachers are not supported in what they do (by lots of people).  I'm not going to be specific, but I will say that it only took 9 short years for me to become burned out.  In a job that I originally thought I would never tire of.  I loved my kids.  I loved them so much that I called them MY kids.  Years after they graduate, I still have many contact me around the holidays, when they are home from the military or just texting me to say hi (When you're an FFA sponsor-all the kids have your phone number in case of emergencies with their livestock projects).  I've cried over sadness my kids have suffered, prayed for them, been happy with their successes, and some of them have impacted my life in ways that I can't begin to describe.  I think there truly is no other profession where you become so invested in the lives of other people's children that you are emotionally torn to shreds over decisions to move, accept another job, or leave the classroom entirely.  (With FFA, you keep the same kids all 4 years of high school.)

That being said, I also think there are few careers where a person (in this pay grade) is criticized so much.  And called/texted at all hours of the day, night, and in between.  The expectation is that you are 100% devoted to that job 100% of the time.  Or that's how I felt, at least.    

I made the decision to leave teaching (for now, at least) because I was truly unhappy.  I stuck it out for roughly 2.5 years of being unhappy.  I know that being happy isn't everything, but I think your job shouldn't make a miserable, bitter person out of you.  The only times I felt happy was when I was with family or when I was sewing.  I'm not going to talk about the MANY factors of what made me unhappy, but there was a limitless supply.  I did still love the kids, and that was one of the few reasons I stayed.  This post was originally going to be about what I do now-the custom sewing for others, longarm quilting, creating, making, etc. but I feel like that almost cheapens the decision I made to leave the classroom.  When I'm alone in my sewing room with the machines humming around me, or the music turned up as loud as it will go, my mind will frequently travel to the kids I spent so much time with.  I wonder about the choices they are making on a daily basis, if I even made any difference being with them in the classroom, and I hope for them and their futures.  I think about all the hardships those kids endured through high school, losing loved ones, being mistreated by parents, and all the other hard things kids go through.    

I don't really know where I was going with this, just felt the need to get this off my chest.  And most days when I'm walking the short 20 yard walk to my sewing room to go to work, I have a smile on my face.  I'm not a miserable person to come home to anymore.  I'm able to spend quality time with my family.  I know that for now, I've made the right decision.  Just my two cents.  

Monday, September 5, 2016

Graffiti Quilting workshop with Karlee Porter

This picture!!!  I had the awesome opportunity to take a 2 day workshop from THE Karlee Porter.  The workshop was in Castroville at the Quilt Shop, and I swear, it was one of the best classes I've ever taken.  Most of the time, when I take a workshop and the person putting it on says there will be about half a day of lecture, then we get to play... I'm usually a little dismayed.  But Karlee had an awesome program that I left with PAGES of notes and drawings for inspiration.  And it wasn't like I was just writing stuff down to busy my hands.  I've referred to those notes and drawings at least a dozen times in the short weeks since I took that class.  

Karlee was so gracious in letting us ask unlimited questions, take pictures of all the samples she had, and she even did a trunk show at our SAMQG guild meeting.  This is one of her masterpieces--I  believe it's called "Russian Mosque", that literally takes your breath away.  

The principles Karlee taught can be applied to a domestic machine, sit down quilter, or longarm.  Since I started out quilting my quilts on a domestic, I liked that.  However, since I've been doing most of my quilting on a longarm in the last year, it took a minute for my brain to catch up that my hands were moving the fabric and not the machine :)

After Karlee taught us her important principles of successful graffiti quilting, she turned us loose and we were able to apply those principles to some small class samples.  This was the sample that I worked on, and although I'm not nuts about the thread colors I selected, I did like the high visibility of it.  

And of course, I had to include a picture of me and Karlee!  Not sure what I'm doing with my hand...is that a hook?  Anyway, I was seriously beyond excited that I had the opportunity to hear Karlee in Texas--and can't wait to keep working on my graffiti quilting skills.