weekly update

I’m a traveling quilter!

I am a Janome lover now (in addition to being a Bernina lover). My little Jem Gold is such a smooth and easy to use machine, I love it!  I am on the road this week and am traveling with the Janome.  I got bitten with a “finishing” bug and am now on a mission to finish as many WIPs (works in progress) as possible.  So I’ve brought cut up pieces from the Moroccan Getaway quilt by V&Co. using the Ombre fabric line.  I am able to make extra flying geese with the fabric that won’t be used in the Block Bs to use in my own designs (spoiler alert, my first pattern is going to have flying geese).

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I got my Bloom quilt back from the longarm quilter this past week as well.  I was so excited, I quickly added the binding so I could call it done!  It was my first quilt that I didn’t quilt myself because I was afraid of ruining it with my awful (but getting better) free motion quilting (FMQ) skills.  This quilt is very similar to the Cozy Christmas quilt, being a Lori Holt sew along and using the same techniques for hand applique.  I’m so proud of the quilt and all the hours that went into making it.  Rhonda Walker from Olie & Evie did such a great job quilting it too.  The photo doesn’t do it justice.  This quilt has also been added to the completed quilts page, yay!

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I have purchased books to learn how to FMQ better and I’m taking classes at QuiltCon2017 to grow my FMQ skills.  One of the things that impact how much you fight your quilt is how your table and sewing machine are set up.  I finally am investing in a table so I can drop my machine down to table top level (or close to it) for better ergonomic and sewing benefits (it should be here sometime next week).  I didn’t want to invest in a larger table (even though I would have loved it) because of the size of my sewing room.  More to come on the lowered machine sewing table.

Recapping my very productive week:

Cozy Christmas –  I was able to catch up to the sew along after last week’s inability to finish the snowman block before leaving to travel.  The snowman block is definitely my favorite, but all of them are just so cute! Lori Holt has turned some of the these blocks into cute little pillows.  I would love to make them into pillows, but I have higher priorities of projects that I want to work on so maybe next year.

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I can’t believe the sew along is already over half way over (block 7 was released yesterday).  This stocking block is also super cute and it finishes off Row 2 of the quilt.

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Overall completion: 6 out of 12 blocks

Technicolor Galaxy BOM – If you don’t know what this is, you should definitely go to Pile O’ Fabric to see the finished quilt and join the class. It is amazing!  Shannon and I decided to do this quilt together and keep each other accountable on finishing the quilt.  We haven’t worked on it in the last month, oops.  So we are targeting to finish the star blocks by this weekend.  Last week’s goal was to finish the low volume colors on the star blocks.  This is the first project where I’ve done foundation paper piecing on wash-away stabilizer.  I actually love this method because there aren’t any papers for you to rip out at the end and you can use normal size stitches when you piece.

This is what the final star block should look like, total of 12:

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Here’s both the sizes with just the low volume pieces completed:

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Overall completion:  1 out of 11 sections (star blocks is section 2)

Pattern #101 – the pattern has been selected.  But that’s all I’m going to say outside of Ombre fabrics by V&Co. and there will be flying geese!  I will need to look for pattern proofreaders and testers when I’m done.  I’m targeting end of October to have everything written and sample created.

9/27-10/4 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Road: 2 out of the 3 nights (Tues-Thurs)
Home: Saturday, Sunday, Monday night

Projects I want to work on:
Moroccan Getaway
Cozy Christmas
Technicolor Galaxy BOM
Pattern #101

Goals for the Project:
Moroccan Getaway:  Finish all Block Bs. (34 blocks total)
Cozy Christmas: Block 7 & 8
Technicolor Galaxy: Complete the star blocks
Pattern #101: Start making the pattern.  Finish all cutting and start sewing!

weekly update

From Hobby to Side Hustle

I attended the Sew Pro Convention this past weekend in Chicago.  My emotions while there went from excitement to anxious to overwhelmed to downright giddy.  There were so many things I learned that I’m figuring out how to turn into action steps for an overall plan to kick start my side hustle (aka future business).

First and foremost, I would really like to thank the organizers of the event: Brenda Ratliff from Pink Castle Fabrics and Sara Lawson from Sew Sweetness. They did a great job for an inaugural event.  The classes were amazing, and the chance to meet all the industry professionals was priceless.  The swag bag was equally awesome!!!

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The purpose of the event was for me to figure out what I could do to be a part of the fabric and quilting industry, knowing pattern design and/or fabric design would be in my future.  From all the different lectures I took, pattern designing definitely seems to be in my wheelhouse.  Becoming a pattern editor for other designers is definitely an option for me as well. Fabric design will need to be a long range goal; most likely, I will be starting small scale on sites like spoonflower.com where I can design and print my own fabric.

The most valuable thing from the conference was all the different people I was able to talk to and meet.  The spectrum of people I was able to meet ranged from those like myself who were finding their way to experienced professionals that were looking to expand.  Listening to Pat Sloan and Tula Pink talk about their stories and what they needed to do to get where they are now was so inspiring. Lots of hard work and dedication went into their successes.

The very first step I need to take is to create my product(s).  I have a book of sketches for quilt patterns that I haven’t done anything with yet.  I’ve been so busy making the patterns I’ve purchased and sewing with quilt-a-longs that I haven’t focused on my originals.  I’ve complained that I don’t have enough time to do the projects I’ve already started much less figure out my own.  Well that train stops here; I decided to purchase a Janome Jem Gold sewing machine to travel with.  It’s a small compact machine that will allow me to piece quilts during my travel nights in the hotel room.  It never dawned on me to purchase a new light-weight machine after attempting to travel with my Singer Stylist.  Time will always be my most limited resource, but now that should be alleviated to some degree.

janome_jem_gold660My new machine!

The next step I need to do is create a business plan.  My absolute worst fear is to start this process and be flailing.  I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is a graphic designer to help me start branding my business.  I’m looking forward to getting some initial logos made to share on social media.

I have a stack of business cards to go through and maintain the contacts of all the people I met this past weekend.  I definitely feel like having a business mentor would be a necessity for my success.  Hopefully whomever I end up asking will be receptive to being my mentor.  There were several people from the Minneapolis area whom I can’t wait to reach out to and maintain a relationship with.  (I have quilty friends!)

A quick note about the Surface Tote Bag: it withstood all the junk I threw into the bag for the weekend.  The structure of the bag was great for carrying my Surface Pro.  I am going to be writing a tutorial rather than a full pattern for the bag.  I am not as skilled as some of the bag makers out there, but I can definitely share how I do my calculations so you can make the tote any custom size!  The target date for the tutorial to be posted will be mid-October.  The plan is also to post the tutorial as a free pdf on Craftsy (if I can figure out how to do that!).

Onward to the sewing I was able to do after I returned home from Sew Pro!

This is absolutely my favorite Cozy Christmas block.  (I say this every week, but I LOVE snowmen so I’ve been waiting to make this block for weeks!) Too bad I did not have enough time after I got home to finish it! #tears  I finished the main applique but need to do the embroidery, HSTs, Flying Geese, and final assembly of the block.

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Overall Completion: 4 (not quite 5) completed blocks out of 12

9/20-9/27 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Saturday

Projects I want to work on:
Cozy Christmas
Technicolor Galaxy BOM
Powered by Quilting Patterns

Goals for the Projects:
Cozy Christmas: Finish Block 5 and complete Block 6, sew together Row 2 and combine Rows 1 & 2
Technicolor Galaxy BOM: Complete Low Volume portions of all Star Blocks
Powered by Quilting Patterns: Decide on the design that will be Pattern #101 for my business, determine colorway, and fabric requirements

weekly update

I graduated almost 8 years ago?!

I’m back at my Alma Mater this week to recruit for my day job.  It’s unbelievable how fast time flies and I can’t believe just how much has changed.  Therefore, not much crafting/sewing/quilting this week at all!  After these few days on campus, I’ll be heading to Sew Pro in Chicago!  I’m so excited to meet everyone and learn more about the industry.  I have this image in my mind that I’ll be fangirl-ing so hard.

My journey with quilting started just over a year ago, and I have only been machine sewing for a few months more than that. I have definitely fallen in love with fabric and sewing and quilting. #happyplace  My Completed Quilts page is now updated, go check it out!

Anyway let’s recap the last week:

Steampunk –
I was only able to complete 5 blocks (out of my goal for 10) because I made a little detour making a tote bag to bring to Sew Pro  (see below).  I wanted to share a few tips about making the steampunk blocks. Curved piecing scares me…a lot. I use the Curve Master Presser Foot and it makes sewing curves much easier.  (I am still best friends with my seam ripper!)  This block is actually more forgiving than you think.  The finished block has an appliqued circle in the middle where all the points meet.  That means if your points aren’t perfect, who cares!  As long as you maintain your seam allowances at the edge of the block, no one will be the wiser!

Overall Completion: 26 out of 41 blocks  (minus center applique)

Modern Heritage BOM –
The August blocks were 18″ Greek Cross Blocks.  Serendipity Woods is hosting the Block of the Month using the Modern Heritage Quilts book by Amy Ellis as inspiration to make a surprise quilt.

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Surface Pro Tote –
I got a Surface Pro 4 a week ago and was looking for a nice tote that would fit my Surface and other items.  I couldn’t find anything that I liked much less the correct size.  Best thing about being a maker, when you can’t find anything to do the job you make your own to fit it perfectly!  Due to the time constraint to complete the tote, I did not add pockets or zippers to this version.  I see a pattern in the future for this tote.

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9/13 – 9/20 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Sunday night

Projects I want to work on:
Cozy Christmas

Goals for the project:
Cozy Christmas: Complete Block 5

weekly update

It’s Tuesday!

I’ve read that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week.  But this week, it’s really Monday posing as Tuesday as we all get back to it after the holiday, so I’m still not running super efficient yet.

Let’s recap the past week and the progress I was able to make:
Cozy Christmas –
I finished sewing together Row 1.  I’m so proud that I’m getting so much better.  My points are almost perfect!  Seeing as you are usually your worst critic, I consider that a huge win.

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Block 4 is also complete.  (I think each week I have a new favorite block, since they are all so super cute!)  I’ll be sewing the button ornaments on at a later time.

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Overall completion:  4 out of 12 blocks

**Cozy Christmas Quilt is a free pattern from Riley Blake.  The fabric I am using is Cozy Christmas by Lori Holt.  Lori Holt is hosting a weekly sew along on her blog, Bee in My Bonnet.

Steampunk –
I finished 10 blocks this week without the middle appliqued circle.

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I did make a mistake when I set out my goals last week for cutting out the center circles.  Did you catch it?  I didn’t put in a quantity of circles that I was going to be cutting out.  It should have had a measurable number.  Regardless, I didn’t cut them out.  I wasn’t feeling it and I am not planning on appliqueing them on until all the blocks are done.  That task will be added in a future week.

Overall completion: 21 out of 41 blocks

**Steampunk Quilt is a pattern designed by Jen Kingwell.  The fabric I am using is Volume II by Sweetwater.

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9/6 – 9/13 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Wednesday night, Thursday night, Saturday Morning

Projects I want to work on:
Steampunk, Modern Heritage BOM

**Modern Heritage BOM is hosted by Serendity Woods

Goals for the project:
Steampunk: Complete 10 blocks
Modern Heritage BOM: Complete August blocks