Family, Fabrics, and Machines, Oh My!

Here we are heading into the 4th of July weekend and my little family is all back together. These two knuckleheads came back from Colorado and their first plane trip.

Leah made herself comfortable at the shop right away and stitched up a curtain for a back window on our Janome 8900QPC SE.

Then she threaded this serger nearly all by herself. "I just followed the pictures!" Now if I could just get her to follow a pattern. She seems set on stitching and cutting fabric into smaller and smaller bits.

Then at home she stitched up this dress. No pattern at all. I ended up helping with the arm and neck holes just a bit. It's wonky as all get-out, and she wants to wear it to church. I'm proud of her creativity, but I'm not sure of the reception it will get. Think it's time I sit her down for a simple skirt making session and basic pattern following 101. She really hates following a pattern (gets it from yours truly) but I'd really like her to make what she actually sets out to make.

We've had some pretty fabulous visitors to the shop this week. First was Kim, my regional rep for one of our parts distributors AND wouldn't you know it, a fabric rep for a few companies, including one of my favorites, Art Gallery Fabrics. A true trouble-maker, I tell ya! OK, only because it's very hard to say no to beautiful fabrics.....for now.

Mmmmm......look at these pretties! So many fabrics. The brain is running on overload. We will eventually dabble in some fabrics, but these changes take time to happen.

The shop was in need of a new 'open' sign to go along with the new bunting on the awning. I had fun stitching the letters with machine embroidery applique. This could become a new passion. It certainly can help me create fmq-worthy tops faster.

I'm not sure what inspired me to use red thread in the turquoise background. Let's just call it a bold design choice. I didn't snap a pic of the finished sign yet.

Then I got to spend 3 days at the shop with LuAnn Hartley. She wasn't too keen on having her picture taken, but had a ton of inspiring samples to show me. That display behind her is now crammed full of machine feet.

Though the shop's AC started to go during her visit (thankfully, was replaced Thursday), we had a good time learning about the various machines and especially about the digitizing software, digital cutter and software, and the features of some of the newer machines, software, and embroidery machines.

 Since I already have a good knowledge of Janome's machines, we were able to focus on the few areas I was lacking knowledge in and she shared some real gems about running a good shop. She walked me through some problems I had with my Artistic 15. Silly me, I skipped the all-important calibration of the laser.

This thing is pretty amazing! I see more applique in my future. The included software even creates the embroidery file to stitch the cut fabric shape down. I made a bunch of maple leaves first.

Then I tried my hand at adhesive vinyl. Guess who will be trying her hand at new signage on the front windows? Yep, me. If I were learning to quilt these days, I'd be the kind to start with a king-sized double wedding ring.

LuAnn also had some inspiring projects using decorative stitches. Three rows of stitches look like lace on this tea towel.

Have you ever tried the elongation feature on your machine? The flowers below were done using decorative satin stitches and the elongation feature. It looks like machine embroidery, but isn't.

That's all I have for now. I'm so very tickled with this path God has put me on. It's been quite a journey and it feels like I'm just getting started. I'm also exhausted! Goodnight y'all!


  1. Busy, busy, busy but sounds like fun! I haven't stopped to play with all those cool stitches on my Janome, but I can see I need to carve out some time! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. It's fun to be here following your journey as it happens!

  3. I am so excited for you! It sounds like you are learning a lot every day and discovering what fits in your shop! Fun!! I have seen those stitches on my Janime but have not tried them yet. You have inspired me to experiment! Thanks!

  4. Its wonderful your daughter has the itch to create. With some basic pattern sewing skills she will be away to the races creating. Good luck with your store

  5. So exciting to see your shop evolve. I think your OPEN sign is perfecr!

  6. I am so happy for you and wish you a blessed and prosperous future with your new endeavor. The "OPEN" sign is absolutely wonderful...I'm one of those people who loves red with reminds me of vintage kitchens...not sure why but it makes me smile. I hope to visit the shop sometime this summer...I'm only about 2 hours away!

  7. What a treat to sit one on one with Janome expert. I love all of the things she taught you. Do I see another Craftsy class in all of this? Plus I also really like your daughter's dress. Another future fashion designer.

  8. Amy, just a thought I had regarding fabric in the future. In our area I have seen some small quilt shops not do as well with trying to stay with current lines of fabric. Just not enough turn around, but where I bought my machine (a small business) they seem to do well with selling batik fabric. Looks like your shop is going in the right direction. Cute kids!

  9. Love that your daughter has such confidence in her ability to create. A very gifted musician told me once that it was after learning the underlying priciples of music (or sewing) that his ability to improvise became stronger and more creative. Maybe there's something in there that can serve as a hook to get her to consider trying a basic pattern or two? (And this from one of the world's most independent children according to my mother.)