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.