Friday, August 25, 2017

A New Janome Ruler Foot

Janome was the first sewing machine brand to have a ruler foot, and while it was originally intended for use on a frame mounted machine, quilters far and wide began using this combination of feet on regular, stationary sewing machines.

As I've shared my quilting adventures with ruler work here for over 7 years, so many people have enjoyed the technique, whether on a Janome or a compatible machine.

In the last few years, machines have been created with an automatic presser foot mechanism which is super duper awesome for sewing, but Janome did not approve of using the Janome ruler foot combination with these machines. Plenty of determined quilters used it anyway, though it wasn't approved, nor ideal.

Just last year I was in Cincinnati Ohio at a Janome training when they introduced the Janome 9400, which has an automatic presser foot lifter. I was talking to my Janome rep about the ruler foot when Shin Yamamoto, President and CEO of Janome America came over and asked what I thought of the new machine. I explained that I thought it was fabulous for sewing but because I loved to do ruler work and the Convertible Free Motion Foot set wasn't approved for the model, I wanted to see a ruler foot for these machines.

Fast forward to earlier this week and I'm in the same hotel conference room and Janome announced than not only was there a new version of the Memory Craft 15000, called the Quilt Maker 15000 that had a ruler foot and a ruler work setting, but there was also to be a free upgrade to previous versions of the 15000 that would make them compatible to the new ruler foot and several other new feet!

Janome Quilt Maker 15000 ruler foot

 The new foot and ruler work menu settings make quilting with rulers substantially easier to set up.

Janome Quilt Maker 15000

It gets even better! Janome is working on updates for the other Janome machines that have the auto presser foot lift (MC14000, 9400, S7, and S9). The update is a free one performed by your dealer, the new feet will not be free. (The update will also have a replacement part for the needle threader on the older 15000 versions, to make it work better.)

Ruler work was all the talk during our dealer training. Janome is motivated to get these new upgrades and feet out asap!

The new feet (ruler foot and a few others) aren’t quite available to dealers yet, other than those that come with the new 15000, which I have sitting in my studio! I was told that the update for the 9400 should be ready in a few months.

I’ll keep everybody updated as I can.

Meanwhile, I'll be playing with my new 15000. I used it for the very first time while demonstrating ruler work to students in my Quilting with Rulers class here in the shop. It was fabulous! No more worrying to remember to put the foot down before putting down the needle or making sure the needle is up before raising the foot. It's got a ton of other nifty features, but I'll save that for my shop's blog.

The foot is super! It's smooth, rounded on the bottom and has a good sized divot at the front to better see at the needle. It attaches directly to the presser foot bar, so there's no spring part in the way. You adjust its height through the ruler work menu. This gives it great visibility.

This will likely be the machine you see me use in my tutorials from now on, unless I'm doing a test of a new low shank ruler. This means my beloved MC8200 is for sale as a used machine. I'm not sure what the protocol is for a dealer selling a used machine and listing the price online so if you're somewhat local and looking for a fabulous machine for quilting with 11 inches to the right of the needle, you can call the store (434-239-6708). Not that we couldn't ship this machine where ever, but I feel weird about selling a machine far enough away that we couldn't support it well as the dealer. Having a local dealer is sooooo important. (BTW, we are also selling a new sewing/embroidery machine, the MC14000 at a smoking hot price that I can't list online, as it's being replaced by the 15000.)

I am so happy to see that Janome has listened to its dealers and customers and are making these changes so these higher-end machines also have a great ruler foot. I was blessed enough to have an opportunity to remind Shin that I had asked for this very thing in the same spot last year and how happy I was to see it and thanked him.

If you have a Janome without the auto presser foot lift, the new foot isn't for you. Stick the the convertible set and ruler foot combination.

Quilt on!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Leah Day and Amy Chat on Hello My Quilting Friends

I cannot believe I never posted that I was a guest on Leah Day's podcast recently! I shared it on Facebook and then totally dropped the ball.

Hopefully you've been catching these very interesting episodes hosted by Leah as she interviews people from the quilting industry and beyond. The show pulls back the curtain a bit into the business side of the quilting industry and she decided to interview me about running a "brick and click" business. Brick and click means a business that has a store front as well as an online component.

Actually, she wanted to see how I balance life and work between the two businesses.....insert hysterical laughter here.........and I am not the person to talk about balance! It's a constant juggling act with balls getting dropped from time to time. I liken it to standing on a teeter totter. Ideally, you're in the middle, keeping both ends balanced. More likely, it's a dance from one side to another, a constant wiggling back and forth. It's a pretty wild and amazing ride and I think Leah did an excellent job of asking the right questions to bring out my story.

You can listen here: Hello my Quilting Friends with Leah Day, episode 26

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Floss Your Bobbin!

I was cleaning out my bobbin case and it reminded me of a couple tips for all my free motion quilting friends. Actually, this applies to all sewing machine users and technically, I have a bobbin holder, since my machine is a top loading machine.

I love my top loading machines for ease of use and easily seen bobbin. I hate running out of bobbin thread! But one drawback is that the groove that creates the bobbin tension can be difficult to clean.

Most sewing machine owners know that keeping your machine clean and lubricated extends the life of a machine, keeps tension troubles at bay, and keeps the noise down, but did you know that much like teeth, you can floss your machine? If you've ever watched me demo the proper way to thread a machine I often talk about using two hands like flossing teeth. But flossing the bobbin case is another trick I've picked up over the years.

Getting lint built up in these grooves can really mess with getting good tension on your machine. Here's a video on cleaning these spots:

Make sure you have a good brush to clean the lint out of the bobbin area. One should have come with your machine. You can also get these at any sewing center or place with a good selection of notions.

See the bit of lint I teased out ?

You can "floss" your bobbin holder too with a bit of thread as shown in the video. Running a piece of good thread through the groove can loosen lint and help remove it.

Don't be tempted to disassemble the case/holder as it is likely that you will lose one of the tiny screws or have difficulty getting the tension set back to where it needs to be.

Clean this area out frequently. Newer Janomes make this easy with their lever release needleplates. If the area under the bobbin case is linty, it can cause extra tension on the top thread and can cause the bobbin case to try to come unseated.

One suggestion quilters are given when having a sudden issue with tension is to re-thread the machine. We all hate to hear this as usually we think it's threaded properly. But there are times that the issue is a wad of lint that has caused the problem and the re-threading process may work it loose. (Plus, there are those times when the thread jumps out of the take up lever!)

You probably already know this, but never thread the machine with the foot down! Put the foot down to thread the needle if need be, but the thread won't settle between the tension discs properly with the foot down as that closes them. For this reason, I always raise the presser foot when adjusting my thread tension too.

I mentioned canned air in the video, don't blow it into the machine! It will send the lint around the gears and shafts. I have seen some machines so full of lint (glitter, sequins, needles, and pins too!) that a wad of lint has felted and become a wedge in the workings and causes them to "freeze up".

So, now that I have a clean machine, I'm off to sew......

This post was retrieved and edited from my archives. The original posted in August of 2014.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A bit of this and that

In my recent post, Creativity: On a Wing and a Prayer, I talked about letting your creativity take flight without the constraints of perfection. Of being "gooder enough." Yes, my  inner grammar nazi doesn't like the phrase, but the artist in me is OK with it. I also mentioned this chair cover I was working on....done! Even stitched up a new embroidered pillow for it.

The hubby has me working on a leather work apron and again, totally winging it. Check out those big shears! The leather smalls wonderful too! Am I the only one who thinks leather smells fabulous?

By the way, I'm using a chaco liner pen to mark the back side of the leather. If you like using loose chalk to mark on dark fabric, this is the bomb! The line is fine and the tool is narrow at the tip to go right along a ruler.

Last night I taught a lovely group of ladies to free motion quilt. We had a blast and learned that they can free motion quilt. I'm looking forward to another class with them soon to teach them some more designs.

This student was a natural and very excited about the process. I love the butterflies on her machine. I think I found another free spirited artist-type who can 'wing it.'

 Finally, I pieced up this cute sunflower and his little friends. This was an easy and fun project.

Don't worry, I've got some quilting projects to show you soon. In fact I've got three projects to quilt up, all for other people. What have you been working on?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Free Motion Quilting: Doodle on the Wall?

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I was doodling on my shop's bathroom walls. Yep, totally giving it a bit of free motion design to liven it up.

The walls are the same boring brown as the rest of the shop. Or at least the same as the other walls were. Most of the walls in the building were painted a cheery, but soft color of yellow. It turned out fabulously, but the brown was dark enough that it took several coats to cover it up and there just wasn't time to paint the bathroom as well.

Of course, now that we're open 6 days a week and I want to have some sort of life away from the shop, there isn't time to paint it now.

You may remember some of my painted window escapades at our shop's original location. That doodling was an absolute blast and was just calling out for me to doodle on the wall. What's the worst that could happen? I have to actually paint over it?!

There's a big difference between doodling on glass with window markers and drawing on an actual wall that's not part of some graffiti encrusted urban area. I knew I didn't want to use the window paint as it was rather difficult to manipulate and get an even line of paint. Let's face it, writing "Go Team!" takes a different line than a curvy, graceful feather.

Paint pens are pretty easy to come by these days, and I figured I'd use them, but I was nervous about making mistakes and I'm fairly sensitive to paint fumes. So I put it on the back burner of my mind and let the idea percolate a bit.

We installed a large chalk board in the foyer of the shop and decided against using chalk markers to write on it after seeing that some of my chalkboard labels on bins in the shop were 'ghosting' when I wanted to remove the so-called chalk.

Bingo! The perfect use of those chalk markers was on my wall! It does wash off to some extent, and is available at most craft stores. I got mine at Michael's.

So I began drawing with a fairly fine pointed marker. Meh. The fine line blended in and didn't give me the bold graphic line I wanted. So I got a wide pointed chisel tip marker. I was leery of it at first as it had a similar tip to the window marker that had given me trouble. It worked like a champ.

What about making mistakes? Well, I realized that the earlier attempts with the fine tipped marker looked pretty sad next to the thicker lines and I was happy to report that I was able to wash it off. Now, the wall is painted with a fairly slick paint, maybe a semi-gloss, so I don't know that this will work on all paints, nor after a bunch of time passes. Try this at your own risk, but I am so happy with the results.

Bonus, I get my free motion quilting practice in as I doodle my favorite designs. I absolutely think frequent doodling is a great way to improve your quilting skills.

 What do you think? Am I crazy for drawing on my walls? I did think of getting some plexiglass on the wall first, but then decided to go for it. I'm glad I did!

You can see more pics of these walls as I go on my Instagram account. I'm a little more active on there these days, snapping a picture when I can. I take forever to write up a blog post. Follow me there.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Creativity: On a Wing and a Prayer

"You can't just wing it!"

Yeah? Watch me.

I should have feathers, I 'wing it' so often.

In fact I fly often by the seat of my pants!

No cage for this bird, I'm taking flight!

Sure, there are some things that you can't just wing. Taxes for instance. To bring it to quilting, it's highly likely that winging a complex pattern of angles and measurements is bound for unexpected results, if not downright disaster.

Disaster being relative of course, as this is just quilting, not brain surgery.

Speaking of the brain, it's common to refer to people like me as right-brained and people who are more analytical as left-brained. Turns out that research doesn't support the idea of using one side of the brain over the other.

Because I do tend to wing it, (and my memory is poor) I don't tend to use left or right brain terminology, instead I like to refer to people tending to be more like an artist, or more like an engineer. Yes....because I can't remember which side is supposed to be which.

I talk about this artist/engineer concept often in my free motion quilting classes as I find that there's usually a correlation that affects how easily someone picks up free motion quilting.

I'll talk about that in another post, but today I just wanted to sing the praises of being able to let the artist in our brains have some freedom. In part it's because you can't just 'wing it' when it comes to running a business (yes, I've tried), especially that of a retail business and in the quilting industry as well. I've been squashed creatively. Well, except for the pretty awesome row I created for my shop's participation in the Row by Row Experience this year. Any rail fan will recognize the 611 steam engine.

So I've stepped away from the computer, accounting, and huge piles of paper in order to maintain my sanity and to let my creative spirit come out to play. Just a little bit, at least. Every day I now make time to wing it in my studio.

Two of my projects are totally wing friendly. First, I've started doodling on the boring brown wall in my shop's bathroom with a white chalk marker. (Chalk marker, because in theory, I can wash it off. At least enough to paint over it.) Yes, the bathroom is getting a custom mural of quilt doodling!

Just doodling when I can.

The second project I'm pretty proud of so far. I'm making a linen slip cover for a wingbacked chair in my shop. It's the non-shopper/handwork chair. Not the husband chair, just the waiting chair. It's had a large cream and green toile slip cover over it for ages. Every time someone sits in it, the thing shifts and looks bad.

So I made the slip cover fit better and then began using it as a very rough pattern to create a new cover out of linen. By rough I mean slap the cushion onto the fabric and trace around it with a blue marking pen. Sloppily, messily.

Guess what? It worked! More importantly, it's been getting done instead of just sitting there, waiting for me to be able to 'do it right' as that might happen never.

Just a ruffle and some finish work and this chair will look so much better.

And folks? Getting something DONE is what got me into quilting in the first place. It feels so good to have something done, even if it isn't perfect, in a time of a never ending to-do list. My season of chasing around little ones and a house that comes undone constantly may be nearly over, (The kids are still quite the mess makers!) but the never ending undone stuff has just changed to different stuff.

Think about it.... are you letting the need to make something "right" keep you from getting things done? Sometimes close enough is perfect. As my husband sometimes says, "gooder enough." Yes, he knows that drives my inner grammar nazi crazy, one part of me that is decidedly left brain. (Let's leave my overuse of exclamation points and .... out of things, shall we?)

There's a reason why improve piecing, scrap piecing, and folksy wool applique is on the rise. These things allow for less precision and more winging of various aspects of it. Life can get horribly rigid, regimented, and judge-y. Fight it by allowing yourself to enjoy the less than perfect process.

Free motion quilting looking not as good as you want? Give yourself permission to just wing it and play with it. I guarantee you'll get better and some projects will get done!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

More Template Options for Low Shank Machines: Blue Dahlia

When it comes to quilting with rulers on sewing machines, Low shank machines are at a disadvantage as the lack of clearance behind the foot limits your choice of rulers. There's only one maker of 3mm quilting rulers......

Or at least there was only one! TopAnchor, my favorite maker of fancy, specialty rotating templates has begun having her popular designs cut in a 3mm thick version. I've used her 1/4 inch thick templates all along on my high shank Janomes and I love how easy it is to position the anchor post from the top side of the quilt and without pin tips sticking up. (Because if a pin sticks up, I'm going to be the one to put my hand on it.)

I set up one of our smaller low shank Janome machines (7050) with the Janome ruler foot combination and shot a video using the "Blue Dahlia". It's a bit long (22 minutes) and also gives a little peek around my new studio/classroom in our shop, newly relocated to 2414 Wards Rd. in Lynchburg VA.

I love that this option exists now! In the video I used the 6 inch version of the template. All of Janome's low shank machines are small machines with a regular sized harp space, so using the 9 inch template is a little harder to use. Not impossible, but harder. Certainly harder with a camera between me and the machine! But there are quite a few larger throat machines in other brands that have low shanks.

I show in the video how to make the double dahlia, but I have also done a triple dahlia years ago in bright colored fabric on linen (with the high shank version) that was absolutely stunning! I'll have to see if I can find it. The markings are on the template for both the single and double version. These templates are now available at Amy's Quilting Adventures.

Whew...nope, no dice on finding that design. I had to dive deep into the archives looking for it, so I'll just post this adorable pic of my now 10 year old at 4 years old in the dress and bloomers I made her back when I had a "mommy blog." Isn't she adorable? So twirly!

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.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

3 Key Steps to Find Your Creative Flow

I posted last week about finishing the Ombre Triangle quilt I had been working on, or rather off and on, for far too long. I had shared how it felt like the project was just dragging along and I think the big dissatisfaction I had with it was that I was never really able to get into the creative "flow" that I usually find when I quilt.

Do you know about "flow"? Call it being in the groove, absorbed in the process, or whatever, but it's that state of being when you are focused on a project and lose all track of time. It's addictive to be in that state, so I guess I'm in withdrawals a bit.

When you're in the state of flow, the ideas and the execution of them are in perfect harmony. This is a fabulous state to be in when creating a new pattern, improv piecing, free form applique, drawing, painting, whatever. Things just flow from brain to hand and it's just all....flow-y. Angels sing in the background, the seam ripper is forgotten and you get stuff done.

I did find a bit of that state yesterday while working at our new shop location, painting the walls a cheerful, sunny yellow. I think the color is called "peaceful calm." Seems appropriate to me. I stayed until 11pm painting!

When you're outside of the creative flow, you can still be creative, but it can seem disjointed and harder. More like work and less like fun. Less creative too. It can feel forced.

If you are a creative soul, and I bet you all are, you know what I mean about flow. Sometimes it seems magical and elusive, but it is also something we can cultivate.

How do we cultivate flow?

Well, there are folks who are much better on this subject than me, but I know the first thing is to give ourselves permission to create and experiment. Yes, that sometimes giving ourselves permission to fail.

We can also set aside time for our creative pursuits. That's probably pretty close to giving ourselves permission to create. No one really leaves a life free of concerns these days. Even if you're retired, I know days can get busy with family, travel, service  and charity projects. There's always the mundane of course; housework, bills, etc. For most of us there are the concerns of work, kids, maybe elderly parents and other things that can keep us busy.

You are of no use to anyone if you don't give your soul what it needs. So make time to dabble in your creative pursuits and get into the flow of what makes your heart sing.

[Full disclosure, that might be the most hypocritical thing I've said in a while. I have not prioritized my time to do my creative thing. Hubby even gave me a lecture on it today, he might not have been happy about that late night painting thing....]

Flow is also aided by setting aside a place to be creative. A separate studio is a pretty sweet thing, but it could also be having a grab and go set of tools and materials for a more portable project. It could also be a nice walk or trip outdoors for creative inspiration.

One of the things I'm super excited about our new shop location (to open June 1!) is that it has proper spaces to separate different activities. A workshop for the hubby and his sewing machine repair. (Seriously, you should see the explosions of dust and sometimes glitter that occurs when cleaning a machine! Don't neglect to get your machine properly serviced.) An actual office, a space for the kids when they are in the shop (just in time for summer vacation!), and my favorite, a classroom/studio.

The classroom/studio will make it easier to have classes of course, but will also be my studio. Where I can do my creative thing without having to keep it sales-floor presentable. No stomping upstairs tenants either! This will help get a semi permanent video arrangement set up so I can do more videos.

Funny aside, I got an email the other day from a cosmetics company that referenced my number of YouTube followers and proposed working together on sponsored content. Clearly he hadn't actually looked at my videos or he would have seen that my face is only seen in a few videos! Nope. Not gonna happen.

So there's just 3 things you can do to find that flow in your creative pursuits. What things do you do to find your flow and in what activity are you most likely to be doing when you are in flow?

By the way, I flipped my ombre triangles quilt over to inspect my machine binding and fell back in love with it. The back shows the chunks I grouped the 60 degree triangles into for quilting. Gotta love quilts with pretty backs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Free Motion Quilting Finale

Look! I'm making binding, which means I must have finished quilting something. Yay me! Ombre Triangles is done. (I think I need a better name for this project.)

This poor quilt had so much start and stop quilting that I kept forgetting how I wanted to quilt it between sessions, so it lost its cohesive look. But I had fun playing around with these triangles and groups of triangles. Some were done as diamonds, others as hexagons, but all pretty different.

Most of it was ruler work, with the QP Edge (12") but I also used a QP Curve #8, and a free hand scroll-y, flower fill especially around the edges. Then I threw in a few other things just to keep it interesting.

This whole quilt was done in one fabric, V&Co Ombre, and I was able to trim up the extra backing for my binding, which left it mostly as the darker teal color.

I always struggle when it comes to stitching strips of binding together. I get distracted, sometime from others around me, other times from my ditzy brain. So I've taken to ironing one end of each strip (each strip oriented the same way) at a 45 degree angle. This helps me make the angled seam point the same way and makes sure I sew the strips together properly.

Don't you hate it when you pull the strip open and you've done it wrong? Maybe you've stitched right side to wrong side? Maybe I'm the only one whose botched it more times than I want to admit?

Then I open the crease and I've got something to follow for a good straight 45 degree seam.

Now, if I had turned my binding around so the bulk of it was lying to the right, I could have used these handy dandy markings on the needle plate (see red arrows below). Janome machines have a mess of helpful lines on the needle plate! Sometimes I forget they are there though....bad Janome dealer, shame on me!

Then I switched to a different foot 'sole' for my integrated walking foot, aka the Accufeed Flex System. Love these built in walking feet that are completely removable. This foot combination has a 1/4 inch guide on it.

Of course, by the time I got to the binding, I was beyond ready to do something else and didn't audition the binding around the quilt very well and ended up with this....

Now, if this had been an actual solid fabric, I could have easily adjusted that last binding seam that joined the ends. But that ombre was making its move to another color where I wanted to do it. In the end (ha!), I worked it out as far away as I could without having a noticeable change of color between the two strips. (Totally should have done the "No Tails Binding" by Linda Hungerford.)

I like using Roxanne's Glue Baste It for putting ends of binding together. I pressed my 45 degree angle, added a smidge of glue in what would be the seam allowance, hit it with the iron for instant drying, then opened it up and stitched along the crease. Once I stitched, I popped the seam allowance open, trimmed it to 1/4 inch, pressed it open, and stitched it the rest of the way.

Next, I'm machine stitching this guy down by stitching in the ditch. Then I'm off to one of many things on my to-do list. So many things I want to make. I want to make a little girl's dress to show off a new fabric line in the shop, there's a bag I want to make from another line, I want to make a sloth pillow.... the list goes on and on!

Plus, there's moving to do! We're coming up on our one year anniversary of owning Sew Simple and to celebrate, we're packing everything up and moving down the road almost one mile to a better, bigger location. I'm so excited!

Goodness! Look how dark my hair is. I need some highlight, stat.

One of the things I'm loving about this move is that the new location has no overhead tenants. So many videos have gotten ruined by thumping feet. I think they must be little gymnasts. Also, we will have a separate classroom space from the rest of the sales floor, which will give me a better chance to work on projects. Finally, I think we're just about ready to take another giant leap of faith and look for our first employee or two. I just can't do it all, even with my wonderful husband's help.