Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Leah Day's Quilting Podcast

I love listening to podcasts, especially on my 40 minute drive to my shop (Sew Simple of Lynchburg) and while there are crafting and quilting podcasts out there, I don't typically listen to them. My usuals are business and productivity shows, something to hype myself up before work.

But Leah Day has started up a quilting podcast, with a bit of quilting business focus and so I've been listening to it lately. I'm not a guest, but since Leah and I are doing our Tunic Challenge, I get a mention in Leah's intro section for the last 3 shows. My kids were around when I listened to one of the episodes, and they thought it was really neat to hear me being mentioned!

This week's guest was Patsy Thompson, and you can check it out here: Hello My Quilting Friends, Episode #4  We all owe a big debt to Patsy as she recommended me to Craftsy to teach quilting with rulers. She also gave me some big pep talks as I was preparing to teach with Craftsy and do my thing.

Want to hear more of Leah? Check out this listing of all Hello My Quilting Friends episodes.

If you like to listen to podcsts, this is probably a good place to mention, especially as I have a lot of new blog readers over the last several months, that I was on Pat Sloan's American Patchwork and Quilting Radio Show in April. We chat all about ruler work and quilting with rulers on a sewing machine.


She's a great interviewer and set me at ease. Pat's show is live, so you are really on the spot. I think there are some special measures that can be taken if you really foul up, but I am so glad we didn't have to go that route.

How about you? Do you like listening to podcasts? In the car or while quilting? What are your favorites?

Join me in wishing Leah much success with her new podcast!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tunic Challenge: Week 2

It's crunch time with the tunic challenge between Leah Day and myself. This is week 2 and it's probably the most crucial....fitting the muslin. AKA tweaking the pattern and really wishing that I was eating less and exercising more. Leah's got her tunic muslin all set and is looking fabulous. Take a look at Leah's blog and see.


The first attempt.


Better....



I shot another video for this week's deadline and honestly? It's not going on the YouTube channel. I'm all about being honest and real online, but a girl has her limits of just how far she needs to show herself!


The audio quality isn't all that great, so you may need to turn the volume up. 

Practicing my runway walk....


I can't believe I put all this up here. Must be I'm getting to that age where I don't give a flip what others think about me. Or it's just another late night and I'm getting slap happy.

I haven't truly met our challenge deadline as I still need to work on the sleeves, placket, and give it a few more tweaks. What will next week bring?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Day After Thanksgiving

Happy day after Thanksgiving! Also known as Black Friday in the states and as I like to think of it, the day people lose their minds and manners shopping at the big box stores. I can't stand it! Though I know plenty people love it. Then again, if there are 3 people in the grocery store aisle, I feel like it's crowded! 

Even though I now have a retail shop as a Janome dealer, we are closed until Saturday when we will be having a sale on all floor model machines and a few other specials. If I wasn't having an event in the shop on Saturday, I wouldn't even leave the house. If you are in the central Virginia area and looking for a new machine, come visit. You'll be happy you did. 


Isn't this fella the cutest ever? 



My favorite straight ruler was recently re-cut by the manufacturer and they left off the markings that made the ruler my favorite. It doesn't look as if they are going to change anything until this new batch is all gone from their stock, so I am now selling the QP Edge in the 12" size in the shop. Of course I had to play with it before I listed it, because I don't sell things I don't use myself.

Check out the video to hear all about it.

You can get this ruler and more at at a great price during our Cyber Monday Sale which starts Saturday.

Get 15% off all purchases over $50.00 from 11/26-11/28 with the code BlackFriday2016  

You must use the code to get the discount! Sale ends at midnight on 11/28.


This is made by long arm quilter, Linda Hrcka and just like her QP Curves, it is a beautifully crafted ruler. It isn't the pretty greenish color of the curves which makes them look like gems in my ruler toolbox, but it's so smooth on the edges, the markings are crystal clear, and it's easy to hold. I especially like how the 1/4 inch markings go all the way across the width of the ruler. If I want to make a 2 inch spacing I don't run out of lines.

I've been teaching some lovely girls to sew. My daughter is there on the left. It helped her to be in a classroom setting so she would better follow her mother's instructions. I'm sure some of you moms know what I'm talking about. The other two girls had never touched a machine before and they left with a completed tissue pouch.


Speaking of teaching, learning, and Black Friday....Craftsy is at it again with the year's lowest prices on all classes.

There's a fairly new class out there by long arm quilter Natalia Bonner and it's a great one to take if you are quilting with rulers on any machine. It's a design class for the most part and she shows all kinds of designs on a long arm including a lot of ruler work. She shows handy tips for marking as she shows a wide variety of designs.

You can watch the trailer below:

video

I highly recommend her class!

You can see all the great holiday specials by clicking through my affiliate link. Enter Natalia's name into the Craftsy search bar once you are there to get to her class. One of the great things about the new Craftsy site is that it is much easier to search and find what you are looking for within the site.

Now I've got to get back to folding fat quarters. I'm giving one away with each purchase over $50 at Sew Simple of Lynchburg.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sew Thankful!

If you are in the states, you're likely gearing up for Thanksgiving. I hope you are having a good one, hopefully with family, friends, or both. We'll be having a low-key day with our family all having moved away. But I'm looking forward to spending it with my hubby and kids.

I believe that they have plans for me. My boys want me to play their new game with them and my daughter wants me to sew with her. With no school or work, the hubby and I plan on trying to sleep in. The kids and our new energetic cat may have other plans.

It's unclear how much cooking I will be doing. My husband has been doing all the grocery shopping and much of the cooking lately. I think he plans on cooking. I will make sure to bake the pies and rolls. I'm really going to miss my neighbor this year and the joy she had when I would take a plate over to her. She loved getting visitors, but didn't care much for coming over.



We're really thankful for being the new owners of Sew Simple of Lynchburg, and all the changes that it has brought. Change is hard, but good and we are so thankful for it. I redid my drawing in our cloudy window at the shop and yes, I shot a video.



The window will change quickly as we switch over to decorating for Christmas. That might be one of the hardest things to get used to in a retail business (besides accounting and administration work), the staying so far ahead of the holidays and now with the addition of fabric, the buying fabric for those holidays at the right time. It's a lot like buying a bathing suit; if you want a good selection, you better buy it when it's freezing out. I don't usually even decorate my house until 2 weeks before Christmas!

Thank you, thank you for reading my blog and supporting my quilting adventures! I give thanks for each and every one of you.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Tunic Challenge Part 1

It's been a busy week so I decided to do a video post for the first week deadline of the Tunic Challenge between Leah Day and myself, using the fabulous Tunic Bible.



Did you like this video post? I do need to figure out where to look when recording a video with me on screen. It was fun to do, but I know garment sewing isn't something you're used to seeing from me. Everyone needs to try something new now and then.

Upcoming Tunic Challenge post schedule:

Week 2 - Cut and sew a test muslin and adjust the fit as needed.

Week 3 - Select fabrics and any special features or trims and cut out the pieces

Week 4 - Sew the tunic and show it off!

Check out what Leah's doing with her tunic and don't forget, we're both posting bits of this project via Instagram.

Never fear, I've got quilting content coming up soon!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Leah Day and the Big Challenge

Quilter extraordinaire, Leah Day, has thrown down the gauntlet and issued a challenge to me!

Is it a quilting competition? A quilt-off? Hardly....

She saw on Instagram that I had bought the same book recently and with both of us being busy quilters and business owners, thought we could help each other complete a project that was likely to be shoved to the sidelines otherwise.


So with the help of The Tunic Bible, we are meeting weekly deadlines to complete our own tunics! We'll be posting on Instagram as we go, so if you haven't found me there, I'm amys_fmq_adventures and you can find Leah through my recent posts, and at her site.


Stay tuned and see how we've done this Saturday with our first step: cut out our tunics.


Since I've likely got quite a bit of alterations to do, I better get busy! First is to trace the pattern included in the book. Then to do a muslin before actually cutting the pattern out of my choice of fabrics. Since I've got some gorgeous fabrics from Art Gallery in my shop, I'm looking forward to that part.

Monday, November 7, 2016

How to Tell the Shank Type of a Sewing Machine

When it comes to doing ruler work, there are two hard rules that I teach (besides have fun!):

  • Make sure you use a ruler foot on your machine to safely keep the ruler from popping over or under the foot. 
  • Make sure the foot is down before lowering the needle (conversely, raise the needle before raising the foot).
Today I want to talk about how to tell what type of shank is on your sewing machine. I get a lot of questions about what ruler foot is needed for various machines. (Shank type really doesn't apply to sit down long arms.  Most of the time, the machine owner just doesn't know which shank type they have. Once you know the shank type, then you can match up whatever brand of ruler foot you want to use.



So how do you know whether you have a low shank or high shank machine or some other shank type?

Easy peasy! First, remove the shank or foot from your machine. We're going to measure from the center of the screw hole where the shank or foot attaches.

Some machines have feet that attach at this hole, while other machines have a snap-on shank and the feet are easily interchangeable. Removing whatever is attached at the screw hole makes it easier to see the measuring point.

Now lower the presser foot lever. We need the machine to be positioned like you're ready to sew even though the foot isn't attached.

Again, make sure the presser foot lever is down.

Now measure from the bed of the machine to the screw hole.


If the distance is 1/2 inch, you've got a low shank machine.

If the distance is 1 inch, it's a high shank machine.


Above machines; low shank on left and high shank (with my beloved Janome ruler foot combination on it) on the right.

Those are the easy machines. But there are some machines that don't fit into these two main categories.

First there are some machines that are high shank machines, but the needle position is different than regular machines. These are the straight stitch only machines like the Janome 1600P and its clones: Brother 1500, Husqvarna Megga Quilter, Juki 2010, etc. These are considered a high special by Westalee and the High Straight Stitch by Accents in Design who are making a clear ruler foot (More on this soon.)

There are some machines that fall somewhere in between high and low. Westalee categories these as medium shank machines. These are usually Pfaffs, but not all Pfaffs are medium shanks. Before declaring your machine a medium shank, make sure the presser foot lever is in the down position. Pfaffs that use a special half-way position for free motion are considered medium shanks.

Berninas are....well, Berninas. There is an adapter shank that can be used with Berninas to use with other brands' feet. This supposedly the #77 adapter, though I'm not well versed with Bernina, and will make it like a low shank, though the series 7 and 8 machines can be manipulated to use the medium ruler foot from Westalee. This gives the ability to use thicker rulers, though now Bernina has its own ruler foot for the series 7 and 8 machines.

Once you know the shank type of your machine, you can match up the foot version you need. BTW, this applies to any foot for the most part, not just a ruler foot. At my shop in Lynchburg, we sell a lot of Janome feet to owners of Singers, Brothers, Vikings, and other machine brands not supported by a local dealer.

I hope you find this helpful. As always, if after using this article to try to determine shank type, you still can't determine it, email me and I will try to help you.



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Power of Positivity

I mentioned it briefly in my last post and newsletter that I'm learning (relearning, actually) the power of positive thinking. I can be a negative Nellie sometimes. But this past week has been pretty awesome, though not without challenges.


As I opened this box the other day, I was struck by how awesome it is to try to earn your living doing work that is an extension of something you love. I mean, seriously? How awesome to open this box of quilting gloves, Sew Slip mats, rulers, and my favorite marking pens.


Then there's this wonderful machine in the corner of my shop for me to work my quilting magic on. I have a proclivity to rearrange my shop often to optimize the small space, so the machine is no longer in this little spot, but it's still good.

I also get to preview books that I'm thinking of getting for the shop. Of these four, I can really recommend Amanda Murphy's Free Motion Quilting Idea Book. It's full of ideas for how to quilt various blocks and shapes. I haven't gotten around to the rest yet.


I've been a little nervous about my shop and my online followers. I know it looks amazing to the long-time customers of this local business as little about it changed over some 30 years that it was operated by the original owner. But if you were new to the shop, especially if you've been to some of the gorgeous, large, colorful quilt shops that are out there, this shop is a bit of a let down. (There's me of course, but I'm not entirely sure where I rank in the scheme of things. LOL I promise I'm not getting a big ego.) I've had a few blog followers and Craftsy students come (sadly, I missed the most recent couple.) and I doubt it was really worth the trip.

But then one day, I was driving up the road to the shop, listening to my favorite Christian radio station and feeling all kinds of full with gratitude and I spied two young men wrestling this table (below) to the curb. Why do I forget the synergy that comes with feeling grateful and positive so easily? When you're in that flow of looking on the sunny side, things just fall into place. Sure, it still takes a lot of work, but it sure helps to have that positive attitude.


Here it is after I cleaned the top and before I moved it into position. I got it for free! It's huge and sturdy. I rearranged the whole shop and everything just clicked into place and it looks so much better!


The shelves on the wall then got nearly filled with fabric in the last few days. It's so exciting to finally offer customers fabric. It will sure help me plan classes too.


Above, the fabric awaits being unwrapped and shelved. The table the bolts are sitting on used to hold machines in the center of the shop. It blocked the flow of traffic and looked dingy. I'm going to make a fitted cover/tablecloth for it and use it for displays and samples.


Tada! My nearly full fabric shelves. I've got even more coming. This step in our business has turned out to require a bigger leap of faith than actually buying the shop. BTW, your support of my Craftsy classes and online shop made that first leap possible and continues to support us. Thank you so, so, sew much.


Here's another cat picture! Miss Bootsie has settled in quite nicely, though a trip to the vet and a round of worm medicine has her feeling a little puny. Poor thing. (Yes, that's a Walmart quilt. Oh the Shame. Oh the practicality! Give the kids another year or two and I'll make a nice quilt for my bed and maybe even replace our couch. Moms, I bet you understand.)


Imagine my delight as I cut fat quarters of this newly arrived fabric by Moda duo Bonnie and Camille. I'm making my happy life for sure. (With a lot of help from above!)

How about you? Life is hard. But it is harder when you let the myriad of blessings slip your notice. So keep looking on the sunny side. Keep quilting and don't give up.