Thursday, June 14, 2018

Splendid Sampler 2 Block 1

Today is the launch of the new The Splendid Sampler™ Quilt Along! We begin with 20 Free blocks and then the book comes out and continue making blocks with it. Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson authored this series of books with help from numerous quilt designers and I am delighted to be one of them for the Splendid Sampler II.

Pat and I first crossed paths when she interviewed me for her American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast. You can listen to the episode by clicking through the above link. We later met in person earlier this year where we were both teaching at Quilt Weekend Maysville. She is a hoot and has such a heart for quilters.

The first block was contributed by Alex Veronelli, spokesperson for Aurifil Thread, so you know there's going to be a giveaway involved. Get the download by visiting the Splendid Sampler site as well as other fabulous links and instructions.

Check out his block and the Splendid Sampler Facebook Group! There's all kinds of inspiration there as well as a bit of guidance for fabric selection and how to manage a Quilt Along that releases weekly and continues for nearly a full year!

My version of Alex's block is below....

Alex's block is simple but constructed a little differently than expected so to give you these great angles without fancy rulers. It's a bit like a french braid quilt. These six inch blocks of the SS2 is a bit of a challenge for me as I like to do bigger blocks or wholecloth projects so I can get to the quilting, but it's good exercise for my piecing skills.

I pulled my fat quarters several times for this project! I wanted scrappy, but coordinated. I didn't want anything too matchy-matchy though! Then I kept adding to the project box.

The designers were encouraged to stylize the block background which was a little new for me as I'm prone to just snap a plain pic of a block on a table or design wall. I had to throw in this great charm I found.

I hope you will follow along with me as I work through these blocks. Of course, once I get the top done, I'll share my quilting plan with you. By then, I'm sure I will have switched over to our new website and blog. I have started with a redesign of my current site which you can find at You'll notice two blogs there as I have listed one short post on the blog already which will eventually replace this one.

How about you? Will you join in the Quilt Along? Have you done the first one? Maybe started once upon a time, but never completed it? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Amy's Quilting Juggling Act

Hard on the heels of teaching at the Janome Education Summit, I've been dabbling in quite a few quilty projects, though only a few or them involved quilting with rulers or ruler work. Click on the above link to read about the summit and links from other fabulous participants.

Janome passed along some photos from the event, so I thought I'd share them with you too. The Summit was my biggest class yet in teaching free motion quilting with rulers. Thank goodness we all had the same machine (Janome 9400), ruler foot and the Janome Ruler Work Kit for our rulers.  That made it a lot easier even though some of our participants hadn't done free motion quilting before.

Here's a great shot of Sarah Ann Smith! It was an honor to have her in class as she's been an inspiration over the years. She totally did her own thing with the project and gave a fabulous write up on the quilting with rulers class segment on her blog.

Have you seen the Jelly Roll Rug yet? Just had to make one of these fun things. I used a jelly roll and two rolls of pre-cut batting strips, but it's an excellent project for using up scraps of batting.

The trick to getting a nice flat rug instead of a ruffled thing my husband said looked like a swimming flounder is to make sure to sew on a large flat surface (pattern gives a suggestion how to set up machine next to a table if you don't have a machine cabinet) and to ease the fabric around the curves. I loved using my Horn cabinet for this.

As soon as I returned from the Summit, I had to get cracking on my shop's Row by Row pattern and project. Row by Row (aka rxr) is like a giant shop hop, all across North America (possibly elsewhere? Unsure) where travelling quilters collect either free patterns or buy the kit from shops. If you are the first to show a finished "row" quilt with 8 patterns from row shops, to a participating shop, you will win a bunch of fabric. It's something really fun to add during your summer travels.

My "row" is actually an 18 inch block as they are allowing different pattern sizes this year. I played with my machine's decorative stitches and a couple of different weights of Aurifil thread on it. I'll write up more about Row by Row closer to the launch date of June 21st. 

I'm really excited about this fabric line by Hope Yoder that we've got in the shop, especially the panel. I decided to order two more bolts of the panel in the thoughts that this might be the basis of my first either Quilt-along, or a new online class. I've got kits for this quilt featuring the panel in the shop right now, but I'll let you know more about what I want to do with it soon. Need to get the additional panels in before I launch something online.

Speaking of hosting a Quilt-along or a new online class, I'm working on two big changes for you  and my business/teaching.

Ever since we bought our bricks and mortar shop, Sew Simple of Lynchburg, I've been neglecting this blog and my video making. I've been scattered in several places online too and it's been quite a juggling act. To make up for my lack of blogging and video making, I've been shooting more live Facebook videos and they certainly helped me feel more connected to you in my online audience, but I've really been spread thin. Live videos are fun and easy to do, but lacking when it comes to organized instruction.

I finally reached out to a pair of mentors of mine and asked them what to do with my websites. I was afraid to hear how bad my sites were as I'm the one who set them all up, so they're a bit amateurish, though fit for my tiny budget. Their advice? It was that I need to condense the various sites into one site if possible and shorten the url. If you've ever heard me struggle in a video to say "I'm Amy from Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures," you know they're right!

So....I'll be transitioning everything over to!

I'm excited about the change though it will take a lot of work and a bit of time to get everything moved. If you follow the blog via a feed reader like Bloglovin' or something else, I'll let you know when the blog makes the switch and you'll want to change your settings to the new blog. This blog will stay online, but I won't be adding to it once I make the switch.

Lastly, I'm looking at doing some of my own online classes! These will fit somewhere between the highly scripted classes I did with Craftsy and my very casual, informal Facebook live videos, or even my YouTube videos. This will give me better control over the content I teach and how I teach it. Some classes will be free, others will be paid. All will be full of great information and taught in my laid-back style.

I'm very excited about these changes and I hope you will be too! Let me know your thought in the comments.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Janome Education Summit 2018

Earlier this week I drove up to a lovely Marriot conference center in a wooded business park in the northern end of New Jersey. I was there to teach quilting with rulers and the use of rulers when quilting on the Janome 9400 to a huge room full of Janome Educators and Janome Artisans and influencers. In other words, I was teaching the folks who teach others about using Janome machines!

Kimberly Einmo, the new Janome spokesperson, kicked things off with a great presentation about her creative career and a class on making flying geese using her ruler, fabric and pattern. Y'all know I'm a bit challenged when it comes to piecing. Piecing in public? Well, let's just say, while it looked OK, I was slooooow compared to all the other quilters.

I did make pretty rainbow confetti!

She's so incredibly nice and she stuck around to take my class on quilting with rulers. Janome was giving out little pins throughout the event and this was the one given out for my class! LOVE it. So true.

It was fabulous teaching a class in ruler work in which everyone had the same machine, same ruler foot, and rulers. Probably eliminated about 40 minutes of my material on what foot and ruler thickness needed. Also, the ruler mode setting on the Janome 9400 (and the 15000) means I don't have to keep repeating "Remember, lower the foot before you lower the needle! Raise the needle before you raise the foot."

I had a custom panel created for the class as there were some 30+ people in the group. If you're quilting with rulers, you really need places to put the ruler against, so a printed/marked/pieced top is really the best to work on and this saved me a lot of time.

We used the new Janome Ruler Work Kit for our rulers too. This meant coming up with different shapes and designs than I usually use.

What was fabulous is that several of the educators and Janome Artisans were not quilters and so they were new to free motion and still did quite well. Being a group of educators and experienced quilters too, we had several folks take off and run with the technique, doing their own thing. Janome Educator based in Texas, Terry Mingee (below), was actually a "fan" of mine and it was so nice to meet him.

Nicole of Modern Handcraft took her rulers to the project she made in Kimberly's morning class. She was so enthusiastic and sweet. She was off and running with ruler work. She also may have inspired me to play with hexagons.....

One of these people was Sarah Ann Smith whose book, Threadwork Unravelled, I read and studied as I was first learning to free motion quilt, so I was pretty excited!She's an amazing quilter and has been a Janome Artisan for quite some time.

I was also excited to finally meet Liz Thompson of the Janome Canada blog, Janome Life. Her blog post on the Janome ruler foot combination has brought me quite a few new readers and followers over the years. We've come close at a few Janome events over the years, but it wasn't until now that we were able to meet. She also did a great (and hilarious) demo on the Janome Quilt Binder Set.

I wasn't able to attend the rest of the Summit and had to get back to Sew Simple, so I missed the rest of the activities. But my several of my fellow attendees and I are sharing links to each other's posts this week. Click through the links (more at the end of this post) to see more of the attendees and their take on the event.

It was truly an honor to be asked to teach the teachers for Janome and to meet and teach so many other wonderful folks who have also made it their business and calling to teach, encourage, and create.

Kimberly Einmo:
Nicole at Modern Handcraft
The Janome America blog has a post on the event. (Or will have it up soon)
Joanna at KustomKwilts has a great overview of the whole event!
Sarah Ann Smith is doing a series of posts on the event. I'll post the links as I get them.
        Part one

I'll continue to add links as they become listed.
Jessica VanDenburgh of  The Straight Stitch also posted and you should go see what she thinks of my class.

BTW, this is not what I expected to see out my room window in northern New Jersey! How nice and peaceful.