Saturday, June 17, 2017

Row by Row On the Go 2017

I'm off for a few days for our annual family reunion. This year we're in West Virginia.


When we get back home, I'll be short 2 out of three kids (Yay for grandparents!) and working on some quilting projects as well as getting ready for our first time participating in the Row by Row Experience. This will be our first time in this huge, summer-long event.


Beginning June 21, 2017, visit any of the participating shops and receive a free pattern for a row in a quilt. Combine your rows in any way to create a unique quilt that represents the fun you had traveling to the stores. Travel with friends, discover new quilt shops and have fun collecting rows!

Create a quilt using at least 8 different 2017 rows from 8 different 2017 participating RxR shops and be the first to bring it into a participating shop to win a stack of 25 fat quarters (6-1/4 yards of fabric!). Use that shop’s row in your quilt and win a bonus prize!

I designed our row in the midst of moving the shop last month. I decided on featuring the 611 Steam engine as it steams through Lynchburg and past our house in small town Virginia as well. My family are pretty big rail fans, especially the boys. We even saw this historic train get underway as it was towed to North Carolina three years ago to get restored and refitted. It fits the theme of "On the Go!" perfectly for us.


If you are on the go  for Row by Row this year between June 21 and September 5th, make a point to visit us in Lynchburg VA. We are one of three participating shops in the area, making it well worth the trip.


This row was fun to work up as an applique project. I prefer turned edge machine applique, so that's what I did for most of it. When it came to the tiny pieces, I did switch to fusible raw edged applique, but the row can be done in any applique method you prefer.  The freight car is pieced, then appliqued.

You can pick up the free pattern at Sew Simple, or you can purchase a kit to make the row as shown.

I am looking forward to meeting more quilters this summer and getting back to my studio for both classes and more of my own quilting projects to share here on the blog.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Amy's Quilting Studio Adventures

It's been a whirlwind here in Lynchburg Virginia, home of Sew Simple of Lynchburg, my Janome dealership and creative sewing center as we prepared to start our second year in a brand new location. The original owner had the shop behind his house on a fairly well-travelled road, but we wanted a better location and more space.



We opened June 1 to several customers waiting for us to open the doors, and while things still needed some minor tweaking, I felt like the place looked pretty good. Above is just part of the shop.

 But behind the public places of the shop, things were chaotic at best. New homes for a lot of our stuff just hadn't been found yet, and there were a lot of boxes. My new studio/classroom was no exception, though I did let people take a peek.

Below I recorded the before shots and even shared them on Instagram, just to motivate myself to get it done.


These big tables are for my students. Can you even see the tables? A total disaster, I tell you.


Pile of white batting we pulled of the wall of the old place. It will be turned into a pinnable design wall as soon as we have a chance to pick up some insulation board. I think we overdosed on the wonder that is Lowe's Hardware when we kept going back for more paint.


Even though we ordered a new Horn storage cabinet, the mess was monstrous. Honestly, some of the mess didn't belong in this room, so that's where I started, getting everything out that didn't belong.



We got a new register too, but didn't get it programmed in time for opening day. We put up with the ancient one for the first week, but I did succeed in moving it to the office in the meantime.

Now it is neat and tidy. At least until the next creative vortex takes over. Below is my Janome 8200 in its Horn cabinet.


Then my cutting and storage area. If you carefully, you can get a peek of my shop's first ever Row by Row pattern. If you travel in Virginia to collect your free row patterns, make sure to visit me in Lynchburg.


Below, you can see a lovely little Janome machine I've set out to do some videos on some new specialty templates made for low shank sewing machines by TopAnchor. Very excited about hiving this option now for those folks with a low shank machine.


Here was no getting around the fact that I had more stuff than I had room to store the stuff, so we ran off to Lowe's (forgetting the insulation board) and got another shelving unit. We love these sturdy units. I love that my hubby put it together for me.


So now my studio/classroom is ready for me and my students. It's fairly small even though we took a wall out between two smaller rooms to make this space happen. It's perfect for the smaller classes I like to do, where everyone can get attention by the teacher.


At the end of the student tables is one of my free motion quilted words. I think it's perfect for my space and the color looks pretty great against my light turquoise walls. Let's hope it's a phrophetic word for this space!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sanity Stitching: Free Form with Rulers

I put my foot down yesterday (with myself) and made sure that I got some sanity stitching done. Remember my post about Sanity Stitching? Quilting keeps me sane, so it has to be part of my life or the crazy comes calling.

Contrasting thread and fabric isn't for the timid. All the bobbles show.
Besides, anyone who does free motion quilting needs to keep that muscle memory going with practice. I felt a little rusty.

Love these QP Curve rulers. So nice in the hand.

I wanted to do a little ruler work, but didn't have anything pieced to work on. Plus I didn't want to try a full-fledged project while stitching on the sales floor of my shop. I wanted something guilt free, not another WIP or UFO. So I did a little free-form ruler work. That sounds fancy, doesn't it. Well, it's not. I just slapped down a ruler in a few places and then quilted a few shapes. Not much to look at maybe, but it fed my soul.




I made a sandwich with a dark blue solid and got out some thread I had been itching to try. I love my Glide thread (some is now listed in our online shop too! More to come.) for my free motion work, but as a sewing machine dealer, it's always good to have plenty of choices in thread, so I've been looking at bringing in threads from Wonderfil Specialty Threads.


This is Spaghetti, a 50wt Egyptian cotton thread, but I've got others I want to try too, all picked up while at Quilt Con East. It's also in one of my favorite colors, of course, turquoise. So pretty.



I made some circles with a Simple Circles template too. See that puzzle piece shape? Something like this is important to have on any template that is an interior shape. You want to be able to put the template around the foot and then take it off without having to cut the thread.



With the piece in, you've got a smooth place to slide the foot against. Though that's less important than being to take it off and on.


Then I just played however I wanted. I'll mess around with this a little bit more as I have time. If I have time, that is. Moving a shop isn't the easiest or most time efficient thing to do!


Speaking of the shop, this coming Saturday we begin the move. I'm really excited about this as I'm sure I've mentioned a bunch. I'll have a studio/classroom that is separate from the sales floor so that will help me do my creative thing whether sewing, quilting, designing, or teaching.

This isn't a show stopper of a piece, but I'm enjoying having some quilting fun, and if I get sick of it, I'll pass it on to the hubby to use as testing fabric for machines. Guilt-free quilting.