weekly update

Join me in the Treehouse Club

This week was a roller coaster.  I will preface this with, I am trying to not be as much of a perfectionist, and I think I strive to be exceptional (and with that comes unrealistic goals at times) because ultimately, I fear mediocrity.  So sending my pattern out to just the proofreaders and reading all the feedback was not the most pleasant experience for me.  But I am so very thankful for everyone that proofread my pattern.  I have lots of feedback now to make it even better before the pattern testers try it out.  I was making the second sample and I was overthinking the whole thing!  Is this the right shades for the sample, does it match, is it going to look okay on the pattern, and worst of all is this ugly?!  I really just needed to do something that didn’t require too much thinking.

I had ordered a “Happy Box” from Sweetwater Fabric and it arrived this week. In the Happy Box I received, there was so much fabric: a Cookie Exchange Frivols, a Noteworthy mini charm pack, 5 1/2 yards of Holly’s Tree Farm and Volume II lines of fabric, and a 2lb scrap bag of the Treehouse Club line. I love the Treehouse Club fabric line, it’s so fun and colorful.  The scrap bag contained so many pieces all that were approximately 13″ long with widths from 1-9″.  I decided that I would “improv” a strip quilt and make 12.5″ blocks for a picnic time outdoorsy quilt.  I took 5 different prints of the fabric that I thought looked good together and just sewed them together, depending on the cut of the scrap there are some that are not straight, but I didn’t mind.  It’s scrappy and I just needed to sew without thinking. I think the quilt top turned out great, and I still have quite a few scraps left that will end up in my scrap drawers for a future project.

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The best part about this quilt are the lessons that I learned about myself.  Sometimes you don’t need to be perfect to make someone beautiful and sometimes you just need to sew something to make progress.  This entire quilt top took me only a few hours over 2 days.  It was nice to not have to constantly think about Pattern #101.

So the good news about all of this, my pattern should be launching in November, the 15th to be exact.  I will be participating in a Sew Pro All-Stars Blog Hop that week and I will be launching the pattern.  YAY! I’m so nervous but excited at the same time.  The first sample is heading back my way from the longarm (Rhonda Walker from Olie&Evie was fantastic and got it done super fast!  I can’t thank her enough!).  The second sample should be finished this week and will be machine quilted by myself so I can get both photographed in time for the launch.  I realized I don’t have many photos to share with the “secret” sewing that I’m doing, but November 15th is not too far away!

The follow ups from last week’s accountability:

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I finished reading all the stories of the different quilter’s inspirations in “You Inspire Me to Quilt” by Cheryl Arkison. The book is pretty amazing.  It gives so many different perspectives from other quilters on how they gather their inspiration and design some beautiful quilts.  It’s an great reality check that no one just wakes up each day and poops rainbows and unicorns.  It’s a process that takes inspiration to a design that could take days up to years.  Some of the standout inspiration designs are the bacon and the time clock quilt.  Yes, bacon inspired a quilt and it looks awesome. The time clock is something that I want to make with my anniversary date on it.  It also just so happens that next year is our second anniversary that happens to be a “cotton” gift year.

I didn’t actually attend the guild meeting last week.  I will need to wait to make more quilty friends in the area.  See the semi-panic attack about the second sample quilt for the pattern above and you can probably guess I stayed home to work on it rather than meet other quilters.  I did however sign up to go to the Winter Quiltfest in Logan, UT in January.  Now if only I could find someone that also wants to go and needs a roommate!  If anyone is interested in going and doesn’t have anyone to stay with, I’d love to have a roommate.  There are some really awesome classes this year with Helen Robinson from Sew Kind of Wonderful as the featured teacher.  I am so excited to be able to attend!

Block 10 of the Cozy Christmas quilt was finished.  I think this block has been the best one yet where everything lined up perfectly!  That is always so exciting that pins are not trying to over work to get things to line up correctly.  I can’t believe that there are only 2 more blocks, this fall has been going by so quickly!

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10/25-10/31 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Wednesday and Thursday night, all day Sunday, and Monday night

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

Goals for the Projects:
Cozy Christmas: Complete Block 11
Powered by Quilting Patterns: Send pattern to pattern testers by Friday!  Bind the first sample and finish the second sample.

weekly update

Tools, Books, Retreats, Guilds, and more!

The sewing industry is huge.  But the more I look into making the plunge, I wonder just how expansive this industry is and how many new budding designers it will be able to handle. That in itself is a terrifying thought on how to “make it.”  I tend to fear that the market is or will be over-saturated with fabric designers, pattern designers, bloggers, etc.   It makes me wonder what will differentiate myself from anything that is already out there.  But enough about these fears, and let’s look at all the different things this industry offers newbies like myself!

Tools –  There are tools for absolutely anything and everything!  One of tools that I used this week was the Marti Michell “Perfect Patchwork Corner Trimmer.”  It helped cut the corners off the for the triangle pieces to help all the edges line up.

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When I made Frivols 1 – Kindred, I has such an issue figuring out how the triangles aligned with the squares in the pattern.  My blocks definitely came out wonky, and I couldn’t figure out how to get things aligned.

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When I worked on this month’s Modern Heritage BOM, I used the tool on all the triangle pieces and it made aligning the pieces such a breeze.

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Books –  There are so many books about quilting and sewing out there.  I was listening to Modern Sewciety’s episode that talked to Cheryl Arkison about her book “You Inspire Me to Quilt.” I ended up purchasing the book and plan on reading about other peoples’ design processes.  I own quite a few quilting books that are on my list to read.  I think I may end up putting books on my weekly goal to read and review.  “You Inspire Me to Quilt” will be this week’s book to read!

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Retreats/Guilds – I want to go to more retreats and meet other quilty people.  I cannot wait until QuiltCon in Savannah next February, and I want to find other retreats for me to attend!  My day job vacation days are getting used for retreats.  I am attending Sewing Expo in Minneapolis in a month, but I am only able to attend on Thursday because I will be traveling to China for work for a little over a week in November.  I can’t wait to learn from and see all the different vendors at the show.  These retreats and events end up leading me to really want to find a guild.  I am not the best at going to a retreat/events cold and not knowing anyone.  There is a Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild, but I haven’t attended a meeting yet.  It doesn’t seem to be a part of the Modern Quilt Guild (I’m an individual member!) that is worldwide, but I’m not sure.   I plan on attending this month’s meeting on Thursday to check it out!

I ended up joining the online Craft Industry Alliance but have yet to have time to really explore their site and resources.  I am trying to get integrated with the industry and meet the players.  I am coming up with so much information and not nearly enough time to really look through and learn everything!

I feel like this blog post is just highlighting how this process is very overwhelming.  I don’t really mean for it to come off this way because Pattern #101 did get emailed out to the pattern testers this week.  The first sample is out at the longarm to get quilted and I’m starting to work on the second sample. I am making great progress, but there is still so much for me to do and learn.  I know that allowing myself to not understand everything and to not be perfect will ultimately help with alleviating the pressure bestowed upon myself.  My most limited resource is and will always be time.

Here’s the update on the Cozy Christmas quilt that I worked on this past week.  I finished Block 9 and am keeping up with the quilt along!

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The first 3 rows are complete and only 3 more blocks left!  I love this quilt and it’s so darling for the holidays.

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10/18-10/25 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Wednesday and Friday night, Saturday afternoon aka Craft Day, and all day Sunday! (I love non-travel weeks)

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

Goals for the Projects:
Cozy Christmas: Complete Block 10
Powered by Quilting Patterns: Finish citrus sample of Pattern #101.  Send pattern to pattern testers.

Read:  You Inspire Me to Quilt by Cheryl Arkison

weekly update

Why Quilting?

There were a lot of firsts last week for me.  I completed my first original design quilt top and also finished the largest quilt I’ve made to date.  With both of these accomplishments in one week, it’s made me want to reflect on why I started quilting.  It’s a good reminder, as I transition into making more of the same original design quilt top and start this business.

Unlike most people that learned to sew during Home Ec class, I only learned hand sewing in my class.  I bought my first machine December of 2014 off of Craigslist.  It proceeded to collect dust in my house for 5 months until my mom came to visit and read the manual with me to learn how to thread the machine and wind the bobbin!  My entire family does not sew frequently.  Over the summer, I learned to make small items, some bags, and some baby items for friends.  It wasn’t until I decided to try a blanket that the quilting world crashed down on me.  My first quilt was a simple patchwork quilt.  The front actually looks pretty good, my seams match up and the sashing looks acceptable.  I did not however understand that you are supposed to baste a quilt. I thought that was only for Turkeys.  (Basting a quilt – pinning the top, the batting, and the backing together so it doesn’t move!)  Nor did I understand that even if you straight-line quilt, you need a walking foot (a presser foot that helps evenly feed the quilt through the machine) or else the back is going to pucker really badly!  And did you know there are instructions for the batting written in some cryptic language that tells you how far you can have stitches so you don’t have issues when you wash the quilt?  Well I didn’t know that. Binding, well I made some binding with the bias tape maker (2in finish width, the bigger the better right?!) and proceeded to machine stitch it to the quilt haphazardly aka as straight as I could at the time without a walking foot.  The photo does not show the disaster that is this first “quilt.”

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Then I attended the Sewing Expo in Minneapolis in November of 2015.  I took a free motion quilting class (oh yeah, jump right in, right?!) and a walking foot class.  It was like the biggest light bulb went off in my head; that was the answer to my problems on the baby quilt with all the nasty puckering on the back!  I took a lecture that talked about different shapes I could use in a quilt, but mainly precut squares, triangles, and rectangle templates.  I thought, hey this is cool, let’s try this easy way of quilting.  I have since neglected those shape templates and just cut them out myself!  The one thing I did purchase was a small little kit for a mini quilt.  I figured the baby quilt was not a great start, maybe I should start small.  Well by small, I mean this finished quilt top is about the size of a piece of paper.

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As you can see, I didn’t quite understand the concept of “trimming” down the half square triangles.  I didn’t know what it meant, so I just skipped that step.  I think I can see the reasoning now, the seams would line up if you trimmed the pieces properly.  For all my friends that don’t quilt, starting extra small is not the answer. Start with a baby quilt size, patchwork even… I had it right, but just didn’t have the techniques!

I am definitely hooked on quilting.  There are so many different unique steps to making a quilt so it doesn’t get boring.  For all the other different crafty things that I’ve done, this is definitely the one I’ve fallen the fastest and hardest for.

So knowing this history and looking at all the quilts I’ve been able to complete since then, I need to remember I’m still really new at all of this.  But I should be so proud that this Moroccan Getaway quilt is huge and it’s still beautiful regardless if all the seams are perfect or not. The quilt measures approximately 79″ x 91″.  My husband barely couldn’t hold the ends of the quilt for me to take this photo, and the only way I could get the whole thing was to have him hold it over the deck railing!  (FYI- don’t start with a large quilt either.  This took me 6 months working on and off to finish this quilt top!)

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I can’t show a photo of Pattern #101 just yet, but I can tell you that when I finished I was so utterly proud. I think looking at the quilt really represents my style and what I appreciate in designs.  I can’t wait until I can share it with everyone.  I am currently taking names for proofreaders and pattern testers.  You can sign up here!  Thanks so much in advance.

I almost forgot to share that my new sewing table came in.  My machine is not completely flush with the table top, but it’s close enough to work out well.  Sewing the Moroccan Getaway quilt top together was so much easier with it level!  Totally worth the $100 investment for a new table.

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I had a little bit of a change in plans for my travel schedule, and I did not end up bringing my Janome machine with me this week.  So my Modern Heritage BOM blocks are sitting at home in the sewing room just waiting for me to get back.  I think I might go through some sewing withdrawal this week for sure.

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10/11-10/18 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Sunday all day and Monday night  (yikes, not a ton of time)

Projects I want to work on:
Modern Heritage BOM
Cozy Christmas
Powered by Quilting Patterns

Goals for the Projects:
Modern Heritage BOM:  Finish Month 3 blocks
Cozy Christmas: Finish Block 9 and sew together Row 3 to the rest of the quilt top
Powered by Quilting Patterns: Finish writing the pattern and email to proofreaders! (Good thing I can work on this without a machine!)

weekly update

Quilting has taken over 3 rooms. Yes, THREE.

So this quilting thing has expanded to 3 of the 4 bedrooms upstairs.  The only other bedroom is the master bedroom where we sleep. Therefore, I think I have to thank my husband for allowing me to temporarily take an additional 2 rooms outside of my sewing room.  I used the floor of one of the rooms to lay out the Moroccan Getaway quilt.  With all the B blocks completed now, I have all blocks done!  It’s time to lay out the quilt and figure out the layout of colors.

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The only issue I am having with this quilt is piecing it together; some of the blocks are wonky.  I started working on this quilt 6 months ago when I was a newbie quilter.  I just really want to finish this quilt and ignore the fact that some of my seams don’t line up. If you can’t see it driving by the quilt, it doesn’t really matter!  I wanted to get this quilt quilted with an orange peel design, but I think I might be too embarrassed to send it out to someone.  I may straight-line quilt it and call it a day.  I was listening to the Modern Sewciety podcast last week and Stephanie had mentioned the same thing.  Sending a quilt out to have someone else quilt it, I would want to seams to be perfect!  It feels like someone else would be judging your work while they are quilting regardless if that’s actually true.

The other spare bedroom floor now has my pattern #101 layout on it.  When I wrote the blog post last week, I had a pattern already picked out to make.  From then till now, I’ve changed my mind no less than 10 times.  I finally settled on this one particular pattern I really love.  I started making the blocks with the pieces I’ve made, and I realized I accidentally made Y-seams for this quilt.  First of all, this is a big whoops.  I have never sewn Y-seams before, and I have read that they are pretty tricky!  I figured out how I like to sew Y-seams, but I’ll be researching how other people do it before I decide how to write the instructions for the pattern.  I can write the pattern without Y-seams, but I wonder if I will be ruining the look.  I will need to remake the blocks without the Y-seams to really understand how that will work with print fabrics.  Proofreaders and pattern testers will be needed soon!  I’m on track to hopefully have something by the end of the month, how exciting!  (PS if you are interested, send me a note from the contact me page!)

The Technicolor Galaxy BOM quilt is going well.  This quilt really needed a fabric pull to plan the color layout of the stars before sewing any of the colors together.  I really love rainbow color quilts!  This quilt is a quilt-as-you-go type of quilt so each of the star blocks will get quilted now and then assembled at the end.  I am absolutely terrified to FMQ as I’ve mentioned before, but I think I am going to try using my Frixion pen to draw my lines prior to quilting (Frixion pen – erasable pens by friction or an iron aka my favorite marking tool).  Tracing lines is infinitely easier than freehand drawing/quilting!

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Overall completion: 2 out of 11 sections (still need to quilt each section)

For the Cozy Christmas blocks, I was able to finish the Gingerbread Man block and the Cocoa block.  After next week’s release, I should have the first 3 rows completed!  However due to traveling next week, I will be making Block 9 and Block 10 together the following week.  I can’t believe how quickly this sew along has come together!  On the Cocoa block, I made an edit to cut down the “marshmallows” that are peeking out of the cup since we didn’t need the full length of the piece.

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Overall completion: 8 out of 12 blocks

The new sewing table to lower my machine hasn’t arrived yet so no update on if I like the new setup yet.  My current table is a plastic table that is definitely bowing from the weight! My new table cannot get here quickly enough.

10/4-10/11 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Every night this week and Saturday.
Road: Monday night

Projects I want to work on:
Moroccan Getaway
Modern Heritage BOM
Powered by Quilting Patterns

Goals for the Projects:
Moroccan Getaway:  Finish sewing the quilt top
Modern Heritage BOM: complete September blocks
Pattern #101: Finish sewing the block and create quilt top