Last year about this time, hundreds of quilters descended upon Chicago for the Sew Pro Convention. The convention was unique because it was about being a professional in the sewing industry. You can read my initial recap here.
So what have I done with all I learned in the past year?
I have a logo and a brand: Powered by Quilting
I’m officially registered as a small business through the Minnesota State Department.
I have participated in several blog hops (See the buttons on the right side bar on PC or at the end of the page on mobile). The most recent is Making Connections Blog Hop – giveaway ends at the end of today!
Last but not least, I’ve made lots of quilting friends!
Without Sew Pro, I would not have gotten the inspiration and the motivation to really push for publishing patterns and creating a brand for myself. I have a long way to go, but I definitely feel like I’m off to a good start! Continue reading “Sew Pro: A Year Later”→
It is Day 2 of the Stitching Stars Blossom Blog hop, and I get to share with you my project inspired by “Blossom.” As much as I wanted to be inspired by Mayim Bialik from the Blossom TV show, I figured showing my blossoming quilting skills was a much better idea. I also gathered inspiration from Cherry Blossoms to have that floral spring touch as well. I started with wanting to create a foundation paper piecing pattern and I somehow thought a 5 petal cherry blossom inspired flower would be the best idea. It takes a smarter person than me to create a repetitive pattern on a 72 degree angle. It ended up being way too complex for me and nothing looked good.
So I decided to do an appliqued piece. I’ve done plenty of hand applique before so I sketched out an overall look of what I wanted the piece to look like. I thought a mug rug size would be great! I’m in a mug rug swap in May and was told they are typically 8″x8″ in size so that’s what I targeted.
I forgot to take a photo of the poorly drawn PowerPoint art I did to create a flower petal to confirm the shape that I wanted. But once I got the shape, I traced it to a piece of paper, and you can see the final design layout of what my Blossom project would be. You can also tell which flower I started on and which one I ended with. (Hint: I got sloppier as I went)
For the applique, I used sew-in lightweight interfacing to flip each piece and hand-appliqued them to the background. The stems were made using 1/4″ bias tape maker and hand-appliqued to the background as well. I decided to try my newly learned free motion quilting skills by quilting this piece with paisleys all over. This is the first piece I’ve ever completely free motion quilted, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It’s definitely scary for me to sit down and free motion quilt a project because I’m terrified that my quilting will ruin the piece.
I think this turned out to be a super fun project. The overall size seems to be slightly large for a mug rug, but I don’t think there are any set rules for sizing. This is finish number 6 for the year, and the Completed Quilts page is updated!
The Stitching Stars Blog Hop group is made up of ladies who all went to Sew Pro Convention last September in Chicago. It’s been so helpful to have a network of great people to support each other as we all grow in our journeys. What’s even more awesome is this giveaway quilt that had blocks contributed by people participating the blog hop!
Special shout-outs to Lissa LaGreca of Lovingly Lissa for putting the blocks together into the quilt–she is also going to have the pattern for the quilt for free on her blog after the hop–and to Lisa Peterson of Lisa and Lorelai for quilting and binding this quilt!
How to enter the giveaway: You will need to go to a Rafflecopter giveaway and complete the entries to enter. The winner will be selected Sunday April 9.
I am also hosting a giveaway for everything shown below, open to the US only (sorry to my international friends).
How to enter to win:
Comment below with which 3 blocks I contributed to the giveaway quilt (hint, check my Instagram).
All followers of my blog will also get an additional entry to win!
Winner will be randomly selected Sunday, April 9, 2017.
Here’s the Blossom Blog Hop lineup for the week. Be sure to check all these fabulous ladies out with their Blossom projects!
For those of you who are new to my blog, I end each blog post with my accountability goals for the week. I usually have a recap of progress made within the past week, but I’ll continue the updates next week.
4/4-4/11 Weekly Goal: Available time for quilting:
Friday night and Saturday
Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
MQG Fabric Challenge
Goals for the Projects: Quilter’s Planner Block: Complete this week’s block MQG Fabric Challenge: Finish the design for the text and start applique
Hello from Shanghai! I’m traveling for my day job this week, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a Blog Hop with the fabulous group I attended Sew Pro with! And today’s the day! I’m so happy to introduce to you my very first pattern inspired by my Sew Pro attendance this past September. This pattern is called “Spinning Vectors” for the spinning nature of the flying geese and my STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) background.
The pattern was designed with 3 main colors for the different flying geese for a more traditional looking block.
The first sample that I created was using Ombre by V and Co. flying geese that were left over from my Moroccan Getaway quilt. The rainbow pattern of color is one I just adore in any quilt, so I decided to do that as the first sample. The edge to edge quilting was done by Rhonda Walker of Olie&Evie.
The second sample is more modern with a low volume mixture for the background color, but it stays with the main 3 color flying geese just alternating positions. This quilt was made for my sister in a citrus colorway for some fun splashes of color with a modern look. I quilted it with a simple crosshatch. I decided to do my samples in two very different styles with the pattern written traditionally to show different possible looks of the quilt.
Look for a tutorial on how to do Y-seams and partial seams within the next month to help the beginner quilters with the blocks.
I’m now live on Craftsy and Etsy to purchase the pattern as a PDF download. (hip hip hooray!!!)
In short, Sew Pro Convention has changed my life. I attended knowing hardly anything about the industry, only with the desire to be a part of it. Even though I am working on consistently blogging each week, I don’t consider myself a “blogger” just yet. My passion and motivation is to move towards pattern designing and my ultimate (long range) dream goal of fabric designing. Sew Pro really lit the fire under me to start now rather than wait until later to begin. I didn’t have a good answer when I asked myself, “What are you waiting for?” So I designed Spinning Vectors and had some really awesome ladies proof read and test the pattern for me!
I gave a recap about my Sew Pro experience a few weeks ago right after the convention (you can read about it here). But here’s my list of what I feel still resonates with me since then:
Quilting is a consistent asset in my life. There is so much more structure in my creative life and that’s largely due to the accountability I have with blogging my weekly goals. So thank you to all my readers for following and supporting me through this creative journey and doing your part in helping me stay accountable (even if you feel like you aren’t actively doing anything).
The one thing that sticks with me the most was something Tula Pink said in her keynote speech, about how not all your ideas are going to be great. You just need to trash the not so great ideas and put more ideas down on paper. I completely paraphrased but that was the gist of it. Sometimes it’s frustrating that ideas don’t just magically rain down on me, but realizing that everyone goes through that is so normalizing and almost comforting knowing it’s not just me.
Keeping in touch with other participants from Sew Pro and supporting each other is going to be critical in staying in touch with the community. I never considered myself much of an introvert, but too often I find myself that way with quilting.
Last but not least, I can do this! Just see my first pattern above!
In addition to reading about everyone’s projects inspired by Sew Pro, there is an associated giveaway with the blog hop! There are 3 bundles of fabric with patterns! Enter below.
Note – The giveaway will be live at 12am on 11/14 and end at 12am on 11/19. Rafflecopter giveaway (Click on the link to get to the giveaway)
For those of you that are new to my blog, I end each blog post with my accountability goals for the week. I will be giving my Sewing Expo recap next week as this week was a special blog hop post.
11/15-11/22 Weekly Goal: Available time for quilting:
All day Sunday and Monday Night.
Projects I want to work on:
Powered by Quilting Patterns
Modern Heritage BOM
Moroccan Getaway (It’ll be back from the longarm this week!!!)
Goals for the Projects: Powered by Quilting Patterns: Layout schedule for Pattern #102 and tentative launch time frame Modern Heritage BOM: Finish Month 4 Blocks Moroccan Getaway: Finish binding the quilt.
I almost forgot! My sister is going to be going to Saturday of Winter Quiltfest! I conned… I mean convinced her to attend! I’m slowly enticing her to become a quilter, hehe. But that still means if you are attending and would like to share a room with me and wouldn’t mind it being the two of us Friday/Saturday, let me know!
One more week until my first pattern is going to be launched! Yay! So excited. I was really happy to see the test blocks from my pattern testers. A few minor changes and everything will be ready! Also, next week is the Sew Pro All Stars Blog Hop. Everyone that is participating is going to be posting about something that inspired them during Sew Pro and a sewing project. I can’t wait to read and see what everyone has been working on. There is even going to be a Blog Hop Giveaway so that’s super neat!
Because I didn’t get much sewing time this last week, I am going to talk about a few other things that are going on in my quilting world lately. First of all, I need to convince my sister to attend Winter Quiltfest with me. She ended up sewing some pants for her 5 year old’s Halloween costume and is slowly becoming interested… or maybe even hooked on sewing? 😛 But if she doesn’t attend it with me, if anyone else is looking at going and needs a roommate let me know! A-la-carte registration for Winter Quiltfest is now open too! My plan is to bring stuff home for Thanksgiving so we can work on some small projects together. (Jie, I have no shame in trying to convince you and now the internet knows. You’re welcome.)
Quilt Market Houston was last week (or so) and seeing everyone’s photos and blog posts about it made me REALLY want to go. So maybe after I get this pattern business going, I’ll be attending market. Serendipity Woods posted about Quilt Market in her latest blog posts and has so many awesome photos with Sophie, her most adorable sewn bunny. I want to make a Sophie, she’s so cute! You can check out her blog post here!
Sewing Expo aka the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo is in Minneapolis this week! I can only take 2 classes on Thursday because I leave the country for work on Friday. Super bummed I will miss Friday and Saturday, but I’m capitalizing on the time I DO have! I remember last year when I attended I was extremely overwhelmed! I had no idea what a longarm was and didn’t understand why someone would need one. Now I can’t wait to go look at them and play with one. The obvious second step would be to convince the husband that I need a second room in the house in addition to my current sewing room for the longarm machine. So much has changed in the last year and I can’t wait to go and learn more!
Anyway, this past week I was able to finish the last block in the Cozy Christmas quilt! Rudolph is so cute, and he rounds out all of the blocks! The quilt top was also finished and now on its way to Olie & Evie to get custom quilted! I can’t wait to see it finished!
11/8-11/15 Weekly Goal: Available time for quilting:
Thursday – sewing expo, and that’s it! :'(
Projects I want to work on:
Powered by Quilting Patterns
Goals for the Projects:
Powered by Quilting Patterns: Work on designs for Pattern #102!!!
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.
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:
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!
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:
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.
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!!!
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.
My 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.
Overall Completion: 4 (not quite 5) completed blocks out of 12
9/20-9/27 Weekly Goal: Available time for quilting:
Projects I want to work on:
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
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:
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)
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.
9/13 – 9/20 Weekly Goal: Available time for quilting:
Projects I want to work on:
Goals for the project: Cozy Christmas: Complete Block 5