Monday, May 30, 2016

Secret Project Revealed!

Happy Memorial day to those in the USA. A bitter sweet day if you've lost loved ones during their service for our country. You have my many thanks and much love. Freedom isn't free and I appreciate those who have secured it for us.

I promised to reveal my secret project and it's a whopper! Not a book, or another Craftsy class, but a whole sewing machine shop!

This is the shop where I've been working. Sew Simple is a Janome dealership and the only sewing machine repair shop that I know of in south-central Virginia that services all kinds of sewing machines.


After 30 years of serving the Lynchburg and surrounding areas, Mr. Heckman is enjoying his retirement. At 89, and having had several recent surgeries and losing his beloved wife in February, he deserves to spend his days however he wants.


The shop is a bit of a diamond in the rough, but he's the real jewel. He is going to be sorely missed. He lives next to the shop and I hope he'll pop in to visit from time to time. The shop is in need of decluttering, updating, and I'm hoping to make it a source of inspiration and fun. Of course there will be classes and fabulous Janome machines.


Instead of barbecuing, I'm spending my weekend and the next few days cleaning, reorganizing, painting (bye bye country blue from the 80's) and getting the shop set up to suit me and my family. The first thing was to set up two areas for my kids to hang out in while spending time in the small shop over the summer. They're heading out for nearly 3 weeks away after this week.


Then it was time to start painting. So much work to do. I think I'll be painting little bit by bit for the next month or so. We're only closing the shop officially for one day for the change over in ownership, so I have to do what I can when the shop is normally closed (Sunday and Monday). Fresh paint on the door is a must.


I also have to get ready to show my customers the brand new Janome 9400! I've got a whole bunch of machines coming soon and I can't wait to set them out and show how they can make sewing and quilting so much more fun. We all need good tools to do our work. I feel a bit like that commercial (Was if for men's suits or an electric razor? I can't remember), "I liked it so much I bought the company!"

This isn't a quilt shop by any means. We have no fabric. That might change eventually. We do have plenty of accessories for Janomes and other machines too. We even have feet and parts for a lot of vintage machines.

My husband is now the machine service man and he's really enjoying it. He's always been a "fixer." He's a whiz at fixing machines, big and small. As he's gotten older, especially after having cancer, the appeal of fixing smaller machines inside a climate controlled building has sounded better and better. He's already attended Janome service training in 2004 and has studied with a sewing machine repairman from NC, as well as learned a lot from Mr. Heckman.

I never thought we could really buy this shop. Plenty of people wanted to see Sew Simple continue, but this isn't a cheap undertaking, nor do we have the kind of funds that most small businesses need to start up. But you wonderful quilting people? You made this possible! YOU! Every cent that we could save up from my Craftsy classes, ruler foot and ruler sales, even tiny bits of money from ads on my blog and YouTube channel was used to pull this off. There was no money to put into the shop from my husband's job or even a business loan. So this is all from my wonderful quilting peeps.

Pardon me while I shout it, "THANK YOU!"

What does it mean for the blog? Not much should change. In fact I'm hoping to see a bit more consistency in my posting and creating as it feels like I've been living two separate lives. Work in the shop and work at home for the blog and Craftsy classes. I'm merging my home studio space, the online shop inventory, and all the overflowing shipping supplies into the shop.

That's all for now, my paint is ready for another coat.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Free Motion Quilting Video: Fern Flower Motif

Better late than never! I finally got my latest video uploaded and edited on YouTube. I had a lot of fun building upon this sample from my Craftsy class and sharing it with you.



I hope you have a lovely Memorial Day if you are here in the States. No matter where you are, I think it's safe to say the men and women who served and died while serving their country should be honored.


Check back with me early next week because I'm finally going to reveal my big secret project!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fern Feather Floral Motif Finale


Here's my finished pillow top! I really like how it turned out, especially the depth and dimension it appears to have. I'm a little annoyed at myself for the background fill around the edges. It started nice and tiny but got larger and larger as I worked around the edges.




I shot video of the last bit of this project just like I did for two other parts of it, plus there's the footage of it in my newest Craftsy class, Creative Quilting with Rulers, More Techniques and Motifs. (That's a 25% off link there!) Unfortunately, after doing a great job shooting and editing the video on my iPad, I have had no success in uploading it to YouTube.

It has me completely flustered. The video and camera quality of this iPad is great, and editing in iMovie has worked so much better than what I was using before, but uploading it is an exercise in futility. My latest workaround has been to upload it to the iCloud then download it to my laptop (not an i-anything) and now I'm getting ready to upload it to Youtube off the laptop. Ridiculous!

Hopefully, I'll get it on the YouTube soon.




Thursday, May 19, 2016

Birthday Bash

Craftsy is turning five! Best... Birthday... Ever. Get 50% off most-loved Craftsy classes to celebrate turning five! Save today through my affiliate link!


I thought I'd mention my favorite class picks today:

I love Kim Brunner's class! It's a great class for using rulers whether a long arm or domestic machine.

Patsy Thompson has a great class on creating the Ulimate Free Motion Feathers and she's a favorite teacher of mine.

Christina Cameli has a new class on free motion quilting, Wild Quilting; Creative Free Motion Combinations. It's a class right after my own heart, going from one design to another!

My friend Lori Kennedy is taking us from Doodle to Design with free motion quilting.

Then to move away from free motion quilting, I've got my eye on The Ultimate Travel Bag, Elizabeth Hartman's Woodland Animals class (So cute!), and Smart Baking Substitutions: Tricks for Healthful Treats.

There are really a ton of great classes available with Craftsy. I love that I can watch whenever I have time and can send questions to the teacher.

Of course, there are my two classes with Craftsy. I started with Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine and then followed up with Creative Quilting with Rulers; More Techniques and Motifs. You can see both of these classes on my Craftsy Instructor's page where they are offered at 50% off.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ruler Work Video: Adding More Lines for More Impact

A quick reminder that today is the last day to for my 15% off Spring Fling sale at Amy's Quilting Adventures. Enter the promo code SpringFling15 at checkout and get the best prices on ruler feet, rulers, templates and more.

I'm still working on finishing up this ruler work sampler from my Craftsy class, Creative Quilting with Rulers (25% off link there!). The basic motif from the class is fabulous, but I wanted to add more to it. We couldn't pack anymore content into the class so you get to see it here. (Want to learn more about ruler work? Take my classes at Craftsy. Their camera work is so much better than my own and you can watch them whenever.)



Bit by bit I'm getting this done. I'm working on my super special project and all of you that have placed orders with me at Amy's Quilting Adventures are a huge, wonderful part of it! Yes, I'm a tease.


I can't wait until I finish the rest of these areas and then dress them up even more. Stay tuned, I'll make sure to do another video.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Dad Sews

I just had to share Christian Lee's video at "Dad Sews" on what he's learned about fabric stores as a dad who sews. He's sharing some universal truths and his own unique perspective.




He made me laugh, and I hope you will too. I wonder if I can get him to tackle free motion quilting?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dressing up a Ruler Work Sample with More Free Motion Quilting

I actually quilted last week! Bless my hubby's heart, he's had some time off from work and has been helping me get a little more time to do my thing. I worked on this sample left over from my newest Craftsy class, Creative Quilting with Rulers, More Techniques and Motifs (That's a 25% off link!)


After filling around the design with a fun filler (that seemed to grow as I quilted it, losing that tight dense look), it still didn't have much pizzazz going on. Meh. So I decided I needed to fill in the center with a fern feather fill in the center petals. I even took a video for you.


I really like how it turned out. My camera had some serious issues in capturing this navy blue fabric with turquoise thread. Not to mention showing every bit of lint.


Of course I'll have to do something about those outer petals. I got a good start but you'll have to wait for my next post to see the rest!


I think I'll add some pebbles and some more ruler work, plus another fill before I'm done with this.

Don't forget, my 15% off of everything sale continues at Amy's Quilting Adventures until May 15th with the code SpringFling15 (don't omit the code!). I might not be making as much per order, but the additional sales are helping to pave the way for something pretty exciting in June and I really, really thank each one of you that's placed an order.

Also, if you've taken my newest Craftsy class and left a review, please send me an email or comment below to tell me you've done so. There have been so many students, but not a single review. We're starting to suspect there's a glitch keeping them from showing.

Until next time, keep quilting!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Quilting Density and the Time-Starved Quilter

I finished up this background fill around one of my Craftsy class samples and just had to laugh when I got back around to my starting point!



It's always a good thing to look at what you've already quilted to check up on your stitching density. Things have a way of growing when you're in a hurry!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Peeks at My Craftsy Projects

Less than a week after my class, Creative Quilting with Rulers, More Techniques and Motifs (25% off discount link there!), I got a big box from Craftsy. Inside were my projects from the class. I'm so excited to get these back.


Imagine being halfway through a quilt that you're very excited about and having to stop working on it. That's what it was like with these projects. It was very important to me to use actual quilts in this class to help my students see how to use piecing lines and corners for placement of rulers when creating designs.

The solid samples from my first class, Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine (50% off discount link there) just wouldn't do this time. That class is all about how to stitch alongside rulers, to hold them, and an introduction to all the different types of rulers that are available as well as introducing how to use rulers for different basic designs. It was easier to stitch various "step outs" as they are called, to show the different stages of each lesson segment when they were just plain samples. This new class is focused more on creating designs with rulers you have using the seams and points of the quilt as anchor points for the rulers.


Each quilt in this class had areas that were completely finished, as well as areas that were in various stages of completion to demonstrate each step. Camera crews, producers, and production editors aren't cheap, so I can't just have them wait around while I finish each step so we can shoot the next step.

ruler work with rulers on a sewing machine

My ruler work sampler was the only completed project. It was used as part of the background, as well as used to show a few of the variations and finished designs. But everything else is awaiting me to finish them.

applique quilt with crosshatching done with rulers on a sewing or domestic machine.

We ran out of time for me to show one of the techniques I had ready on the above quilt, so I can share that here on the blog. We try to fit so much stuff and so much detail into these classes, but they've got a particular time line and class plan we've got to stick to, so some things have to be left out.

Craftsy also kept my favorite rulers so they could be used in the professional still shots of the class. I felt a little bit like a child after having her toys taken away. Now I've got them back and I am ready to use them.


I think this quilt with its turquoise and green stars is the project I am most happy to see. I can't wait to stitch it up and show it off. I've been calling it my "Starfall" quilt. It's being stitched in a gorgeous variegated thread too.



If that's not enough to keep me busy, it looks like my special somewhat secret project is also finally coming together. It's huge! I can't wait to finalize it and share it with you. If it works out like we're hoping, it will help me pull several areas of my life together so my days aren't quite as disjointed as they have been lately.

Don't forget that I'm still having a sale on ruler feet, rulers, and everything else that I sell online at Amy's Quilting Adventures. Enter the promo code SpringFling15 at checkout for 15% off everything there. It only lasts until May 15th and the proceeds are very important to the success of my special project I mentioned above. This is your chance to get rulers and other products at fabulous prices.