Upcoming Events at AmyQuilts

I just finished the live Facebook quilt-along for the Boho Owl free motion quilting project and other than sharing some finished photos of it soon, it's time to move on to the next new thing. If you've missed any of the videos or "don't do Facebook," you can see most of the videos here on the blog in the post: Boho Owl Quilt-Along: The Videos.

I've realized that these twice a week videos has made me neglect the blog a bit as I usually share what's going on through these FB videos and forget to share anything here.

So what's coming up?

The biggest thing is new quilting rulers! Yes, after using and loving the QP Curves made by the Quilted Pineapple, which are thick long arm rulers, I've convinced expert longarmer and ruler maker Linda to recreate her rulers in a thickness better suited to domestic machines. This means that I will have rulers with the same shapes and markings for whatever machine my students might use. More about these rulers in a separate post.

This leads right into my next quilt-along, which will be for both regular free motion and ruler work. The free Roses and Arrows Free Motion Quilt Along will feature a beautiful panel and coordinating fabrics to lead you through basic ruler work and free motion fills. It will make a lovely wall hanging or small throw. The videos will continue to be done via Facebook Live, but will be posted here on the blog afterwards as well.

The panel that will be used in the next quilt-along.

Pre-orders of the rulers and the quilt-along kits will begin this Wednesday, December 12th. The quilt-along videos will start January 16th. This will give us all plenty of time to mail out kits and rulers, plus extra downtime for the holidays. Kits are limited to the fabric on hand.

This quilt-along has been so well received that I've ordered other panels that will work for future quilt-alongs and/or free motion quilting practice. Because we don't get better at this skill unless we practice.

Additionally, I've been wanting to host a few paid classes online. Just like the Boho Owl QAL was a way to test the waters for the QAL concept, I will be doing the same with a future QAL to test doing a paid class online that I host myself. I'm very excited about hosting my own classes so that I can teach the content according to my own (and students') needs. There will be more on this soon.

There's something else in the works too, but I can't reveal it yet! Let's just say I haven't been this excited about something since we bought our shop, and it will ultimately benefit not just my business and my family (as AmyQuilts.com and Sew Simple of Lynchburg are our sole income), but also allow my students, both online and in-person, to benefit in various ways. So excited! It's going to be very hard, but totally worth it if I can pull it off.

Boho Owl Quilt Along: the Videos

Have you missed seeing some of my Boho Owl Quilt Along videos? While the replays are available on the AmyQuilts Facebook page, they aren't all that easy to find, especially if you want to view them in order.

These are shot on 3 different machines, 4 if you count the Janome 9400 and 9450 as separate models. Most of it is done on a Janome with an 11 inch throat (9400/9450), then a standard sized sewing machine with a 6-7 inch throat, as well as the Janome Artistic 16SD, a sit-down style long arm.

While I still plan on editing them down and putting a good portion of it on my YouTube, it turns out that editing twice weekly videos that run for an hour each takes more time than I have available right now.

The first video is worth skipping as it's just a brief intro. You can see the information on piecing the Boho Owl project here on the blog. You do not have to do your panel the same way as I do, or even at all to glean tips from this series.

Please remember these were recorded live, so they are not "polished" and there's some sound issues in the earlier ones. This is as close to being right in my studio for a class without being in my studio!

The link to the actual replays on Facebook are given for each video if you want to see the questions and answers as well.

Week 2 Talk about basting and stabilizing the sandwich by stitching in the ditch. For this project, I used my built-in walking foot on the Janome 9400. Click to read more about quilt stabilization and walking foot quilting from this segment.

Week 3 We start with the free motion!

Week 4

First Saturday video, October 6th. Trying to move faster on this project so we can do more Quilt Alongs, each video will only be referred to by its date and they are being done twice a week. Stitched on the SD16, a sit-down style long arm from Janome.

October 10th First video with the new mic and the sound is much improved. Also on the SD16.

October 13 Starting on the background fills, using the Janome 9400.

October 17th Some sound issues on this one, the new microphone was confused and kept changing sound levels between the machine and me. Straightened it out for other videos.

October 20  This video was deleted as there was an uploading issue with Facebook. Sadly, I was quilting on the small Janome 4120 which is nice for those of you using a smaller machine. Th next video is done on a similar sized machine.

October 27th  Quilting on the Janome 4300, a smaller machine.

October 31  Halloween night. Quilting on the Janome 9450 and using the ruler foot. Doing a tiny bit of ruler work tonight, but most of the quilting was done without rulers.

November 3rd Fun mix of background fills tonight.

November 6th Starting on the sashing! 

November 10th

November 14th  Two more sashing designs

November 17th Part 2 While you can see the first part of this video on FB, there was a glitch and this one pretty much covers the whole of it. Doing a little detail work on one owls followed by the design for our larger sashing.

November 28th A design for the cornerstones and revisiting the wide sashing design.

Finally, the last full video, covering the border on December 5

I have really enjoyed doing this series and after getting our sound issues worked out, it's been a lot of fun and the feedback I've been getting tells me you are enjoying it too. I will be offering more of these in the future.

Boho Owl QAL: On a Smaller Machine

The Boho Owl Quilt-along continues on the AmyQuilts Facebook  page (I recently changed the name to make it easier to find and match our online shop) and this week I switched machines and used a smaller machine. This project is 60x60, so there's still plenty of room to free motion quilt on a regular sized machine.

The machine I used is the Janome 4120QDC and I fitted it with the Janome Convertible Free Motion Foot Set for low shank machines and used the open toe on it.

A big difference when using a smaller machine is that even when there's still plenty of room to stuff a quilt under the throat of the machine, there's not a lot of room to move your right hand side to side. This makes the range of motion smaller, so your designs typically are smaller, especially as you move laterally. Making designs that run forward and backward are easier.

Below are a couple of shots from previous video sessions.

free motion quilting McTavishing

A little McTavishing in the green portion under the first owlet. Farther up in the background I did swirls on the right side, and a curvy orange peel variation on the left, like what I use in the first photos of this post.

 I love keeping the sketchy nature of these owls as I do my quilting. Keeps it fun. I enjoyed this flower detail below too.

I used the printed design as my plan for this area of quilting. In a couple of places, the background design disappeared entirely, so I had to draw it with my trusty purple pen.

It's been a lot of fun to do this quilt-along via live FB video, though there have been a few technical issues. I love being able to interact with so many quilters this way. I go live on my AmyQuilts FB page each Saturday at 6pm and Wednesday at 7pm, both eastern time in the US.

Owl Quilt-Along with Amy: Week 3

Wheee! This week's (September 26) quilt-along video was fun. After stabilizing the quilt in week 2 with stitch in the ditch quilting (SID) using my AcuFeed SID foot (my machine's built-in version of a walking foot), it was finally time to play with free motion quilting.

Don't you just love his googley-eyed face?

You can catch the replay of the live video on the Amy's Quilting Adventures FB page. It's right at an hour long and I talk about the choices I make for the quilting while I make them. I also talk about a few basics of setting up for free motion in general, and then some details about setting up for free motion quilting on the Janome 9400. Then I quilt the entirety of this owl on camera.

He was pretty straightforward to quilt, mostly just outlining the different shapes but getting a bit creative with the feathers on his tummy and adding some highlights to that multicolored print at the tips of his wings. I kept the lines "sketchy" meaning they don't need to be right on top of the printed lines. This made it easier to stitch, to stay relaxed, be fun, and I think it fit the aesthetic of the panel.

I'm still using the dark violet thread so most of the stitching is pretty visible unless on the violet or black printed areas. I stitched up some freehand clamshell-like feathers for his belly and if you look closely, you can see a bit of the white pencil I used as reference lines. I started with two rows of clamshells and then went to one row per line as the feathers got bigger. I also began to curve the lines to follow the curve of his tummy.

I am sorry that we ran out of this panel so quickly. I had no way to know how many of you would want to join in and since the panel is stinkin' cute, the fabric company ran out after my second re-order. We do still have quite a bit of the below companion print if you need something for your backing.

The response to this quilt-along has been wonderful! Whether you bought fabric or are just following along to watch and learn, I am encouraged to do more of these. It's so fun to stitch and answer questions together. I am always a bit timid in telling people what to do and how to do it (there are a myriad of ways after all!) but as a teacher, there is a need to do just that to some extent. So I'm glad to get such positive feedback.

Thank you!

Owl Quilt-Along with Amy: Week 2

Welcome to the Quilt-Along with Amy!

Week 2 is all about the basics of machine quilting. The quilt has been basted with pins, my personal favorite method. On a quilt like this with blocks and sashing, I like to stabilize my quilt before getting to the free motion fun.

You can see the live video I shot last week for this segment on the Amy's Quilting Adventures Facebook page. I warn you it is a long one. I'm working on editing it down to a more streamlined version for youtube.

What is quilt stabilization?

It's pretty much a permanent, beefed up version of basting. Quilting some of the major lines (or bones) of the quilt keeps things from shifting, breaks the quilt into smaller areas, and helps assure that seams stay straight and don't get distorted with quilting over them in multiple directions.

For the most part, we're talking about Stitch-in-the-Ditch, SID for short.

Those of you who have followed me for a while or taken my Craftsy classes,know that I like to do my SID in free motion with a ruler most of the time, as I don't have to rotate my quilt as often when working in free motion.  But sometimes a walking foot is perfect for smaller quilts like this. Plus I want to leave ruler work for another quilt-along in the future.

What is a walking foot?

A walking foot, sometimes referred to as an even feed foot, has a set of feed dogs that help move the fabric from the top side. This allows layers to be pulled through the machine together without shifting. If you've ever sewn two squares the exact size and the top fabric has "grown" by the time you get to the end, you've seen how the regular feed dogs under the fabric pull the bottom fabric through more effectively than the top.

The basic walking foot has a lever that goes over the needle clamp and it is powered by the action of the needle going up and down. You can get these for just about any sewing machine as long as you match up the right shank type. Some walking feet are a bit lightweight and too cheap in my opinion. Others include options to make using it easier, like a SID guide, open toe options, and most have a guide bar that can be used for parallel lines of stitching.

Some machines have "built-in" or integrated walking feet and these are wonderful. They are powered by the actual machine and are synced with the movement of the lower feed dogs. Unlike the needle bar powered versions whose upper teeth only go forward, some of these systems can be used with decorative stitches too as the upper feed dogs go into reverse. Typically, they work best on simpler stitches without a lot of reverse as there can be a little bit of a lag between the upper and lower sets.

Pfaff machines have had them for quite a long time. Janome rolled out their own versions with the 6600 and 7700 models and then an improved version for their newer, bigger machines, called the Acufeed Flex system. I love the Acufeed Flex feet for my machines. In this case, the Janome 9400. I also have interchangeable feet for the base of the integrated walking foot for SID which makes this pretty easy-peasy. See more about the SD foot above at AmyQuilts.com

How do I Stabilize My Quilt?

Opinions vary, but for the most part, it's a lot like basting. Work from the center to the edges, to keep things nice and even, not creeping in one particular direction. I did my stitching in pairs of lines as shown in the graphic below. Then I went around the outer sashing and the inner edge of the border (not shown).

Once I've done this stitching, I can remove a lot of my pins as well and the layers are less likely to shift, nor is the top likely to warp its main lines.

The Stitch for the Ditch

I used my built-in walking foot, the Acufeed Flex SD foot, which is a foot made for Stitch in the Ditch. There's a guide to keep the foot moving more easily right down the seam line. I keep my guide running on the downhill side of the seam. This is the side that does not have the seam allowance under it. Get things running just right, and the stitches will hide right under the fold of the seam. In the picture of my SD foot above, the downhill side is on the left.

My first thread audition
I used a pretty dark violet colored Glide thread and you can hardly see it, down in the ditch. In fact, when doing the live video of this process, I stitched over and area I had already stitched and it took about 6 inches before I saw my earlier stitching.

The darker violet thread below is what I used and you can see the backing I chose there on the right. This busier back will help the dark thread blend in a little better. If I had not been doing this quilt on camera, I would have used the lighter thread. I may use it for some of the background spaces.

The stitch itself is just a straight stitch with a fairly good length of 2.4mm. I did alter my needle drop position (by adjusting the width setting) so that it was one needle position off of center towards the downhill side, changing it as the downhill side changed.

After stitching the lines represented in the diagram, I went back and stitched between the green and purple sashing strips. With the other lines stitched, I didn't need to do those from the center out, but did it as felt best as I moved from area to area.

One thing I did that seemed to surprise my viewers on the video is that I pulled up my bobbin thread before I started the SID. This just gives a neater look to the back as the bobbin thread tail doesn't get stitched up.

There were several short lines that I would have left until doing the free motion and done with a straight ruler, or possibly even free hand if I hadn't said this was going to be a ruler-free project.

Next: the Free Motion Quilting!

The next segment will be done via live video again on the Amy's Quilting Adventures Facebook page on Wednesday September 26 around 7pm eastern time in the US. I will post the recording on the FB page too, so you can watch it later. We will get started with the free motion around the owls and I'm excited about it. Join us, won't you?

Sew much fun,

PS If you have questions regarding any of the feet or products I show, we likely can fix you up with the right foot or whatever for your machine (or other fun supplies!), even if we don't list it at our online shop. Just shoot me an email at amy@amysquiltingadventures.com

Amy is a guest on American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast

I'll be chatting it up today with Pat Sloan as one of the guests on the American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast, episode #392.

You can catch it LIVE here: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/radio/index.html

After the airing, you can listen later at the same link. Just look for episode #392. This is the second time to be a guest with the lovely, fun, and talented Pat Sloan. The first time was episode #298 back in April of 2016. So much has changed since then!

Owl Quilt-Along Panel Assembly Tutorial

There's a hurricane south of us and the school system is excessively cautious, so I lost quite a bit of my work day Friday to time with my kiddos. I could have let them do what they wanted while I tried to power through and work on this post, but instead we had some fun. I have to admit, with both parents working on a relatively new small business, sometimes fun family time is hard to come by.

We've just got a bit of rain and wind so far. No damage, but I still expect  lower areas here to get some flooding. Though it's been far more gentle of a rain than we had expected. My thoughts do go out to those closer to the coast in South and North Carolina.

On with the tutorial! First, remember this is a "relaxed quilt along," The main focus will be free motion quilting the actual owl panels, so if you are short on time, feel free to just use the panel as-is. If you want a bigger quilt, feel free to do your own arrangement of panel and other fabrics. I think the squares will make excellent pillows or bag sides as well, if you'd like a smaller project.

You will need:
one Boho Owl panel
1/2 yard each of two coordinating fabrics (actual fabric use is about 1/3 yard, but you will likely need a smidgen more for squaring up)
1/4 yard for cornerstones
Optional: outer border fabric

I wanted to make use of the print to the outsides of the blocks so I incorporated it as a border. 

First step is to cut carefully 1/4 inch to the outside of the magenta frame around the blocks on 3 sides, and 4-1/2 inches away from either the left or right sides to keep that outer print. You will have two blocks with the outer print to the right and two with it to the left.

From two coordinating prints, you will need to cut eight 2-1/2 inch strips by 16-1/2 inches. It is important to note that this is not the final length of these strips! The digitally printed squares are not 16 inches square, and vary in that measurement depending on horizontal or vertical. We'll trim them down later.

Next, cut nine 4-1/2 inch squares from a third fabric for the cornerstones. 

Sew your strips in pairs, long sides together. Press to the dark side. Then trim them down to match the actual length or width of the blocks.  Leaving them at 16 inches long and easing them to fit will yield in a wavy outer edge. I found them to measure 15-1/4" wide by 15-7/8" long. 

Sew a strip pair between the inner sides of each two pairs of blocks, keeping the outer 4-1/2" strip to the outside. To get the alternating placement of colors like I did, you'll want to alternate the colors between the two pairs of blocks. One will have the first color on the right, and the other pair will have it on the left. See diagram below.

Watch your quarter inch seam allowance to make sure you don't get a strip of the printed color from the seam allowance showing. You may find it best to keep the panel on top so you can see the line where the seam allowance meets the narrow magenta border. Press towards the strips.

Stitch 2 pairs of strips between 3 conerstone squares, paying attention to the color arrangement as shown below, to make the 3 sashing rows, alternating in color placement as shown.

Sew these horizontal sashing units between the pairs of blocks, making sure to align seam between the the outer corner stones and the strips with the printed line of the outer magenta border of the owl block and the outer fabric. Press towards the strips as you go. Double check your color placement before sewing!

I plan on adding a 6 inch border to this but ran out of the print I wanted to use. I am totally blown away by the response we got to this project and have ordered more of the coordinating fabrics for delivery next week. (Edited to add: The companion fabric is back in stock) Cut 6 inch strips by the length needed to attach them by the method of your choice. I will be using a mitered border for this and will do a post when I add it.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. I am still honing my graphic design and pattern writing skills, so forgive me if it's not as clear as it could be. I'm a work in progress!

Looking forward to next Wednesday and our quilt along video on the Amy's Quilting Adventures page on Facebook.

We have plenty of this line left if you want to sew and quilt along. Explore and place orders at AmyQuilts.com

Quilt Along with Amy

Ever since I shot my first class with Craftsy and couldn't include as much information as I wanted to due to following their content format, I've wanted to do my own classes for free motion quilting and quilting with rulers.

I've been doing a lot of work in the background, prepping to do just that, but there are a lot of "ducks" to get into a row.  If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've been doing a lot more Facebook live videos there instead of my usual YouTube videos.

If you're lucky enough to catch me live, you can ask questions and I'll even "Quilt on Demand!"

Until I'm ready to launch my own classes, I'm getting more involved with these live videos as it's a great way to practice, learn the lighting and audio techniques I need, and yet, because it's done live, I don't have to do the very involved and time consuming editing work that my own actual classes will need.

I'm launching a little, informal, quilt along this Wednesday evening, approximately 7pm eastern time in the US, on my Facebook page. This is the first project that I'm selling the fabric I'm using and folks can follow along. If you haven't been watching my Facebook content or aren't on Facebook, I apologize for the short notice. I have been talking about it on Facebook and Instagram for the last 3 weeks, but neglected to put anything here.

As I said, it's informal. This is a good way to decide if you like my teaching style, before I launch my other classes this winter. I will be quilting up an adorable owl panel and discussing how I choose quilting designs for something like this. Unlike many quilt-alongs, there isn't a mandatory pattern to follow and pardon the pun, I will largely be "winging it" when it comes to quilting these adorable birds as that is the best way for me to share my thought process with you.

I will be cutting the 4 owl blocks apart and piecing some of the coordinating fabric in between and adding borders to get a final project that makes for a nice throw sized quilt. I will share that information here, but you can just watch if you want, quilt just the panel as-is, or piece up your own version. You can find the panel and coordinating fabrics at AmyQuilts.com

 If you've watched my classes at Craftsy and my live videos, you'll see that there's a big difference in my delivery with highly scripted classes like with Craftsy. My upcoming classes will be more scripted and edited for clarity, but since they won't be shot in less than three days (like Craftsy) I can take my time and present more information in a more relaxed way.

I'm really looking forward to these classes and all this Facebook live video practice has been fun for me, informative for my followers and a good time for all. I hope to "see" you Wednesday evening live at Amy's Quilting Adventures Facebook page, but don't worry, the video replay will be available to watch at your convenience.

This is going to be sew FUN!

Binding Quilts with the Janome Quilt Binder Set

I love to free motion quilt my quilts, but once I get done quilting them, especially if I've gone a little over the top with ruler work and dense fills, I tend to stall out on the binding. So I finally got around to using the Janome Quilt Binder Set.

I am totally in love with the quilt binder set! It's perfect for just getting these quilts bound and done. And I'm a big fan of done over perfection any day.

People usually wonder, "What about the corners?" Well, I think my corners are possibly better than my usual traditional method. I've got a pictorial tutorial for you and I will hopefully follow up with a video at some point. (This is not the easiest process to get good video footage while still getting my hands where they need to be.)

turning the corner with the quilt binding attachment
Four fabulous corners and #2 is where I joined the beginning and end!
This is the Janome Quilt Binding Set, not to be confused with the simple binding foot, which can't handle the thickness of a quilt but does a great job with binding raw edges of garments or making thin straps. If you have something other than a Janome, check with your dealer as I would think some of the other brands would have a similar product.

Janome Quilt Binding Set
It attaches to the machine, in part, by replacing the bobbin cover door with the base of the binder set, so it's important to get the right one for your machine. It's only meant for the bigger machines as you've got to have some room to work.

feeds the binding onto the quilt

It does a half inch binding using a 2 inch strip of fabric. There are other binders that are compatible that do different sizes, but you need the base from this set to make them work with means another purchase, which can get spendy. So just stick with this one unless you've got your own sweat shop going.

I cut my strips 2 inches wide and join them with 45 degree seams, then press to one side. I've tried to press them open but the binder just pushes them to the right as it is fed through, so to one side they go. I also make sure to load it with the seam allowances going to the right.

 As you can see in the above picture, the attachment wraps the binding around the edges. That 90 degree positioning/fold of the binding really helps get the quilt fully into the binding. There are several adjustments that the various screws allow you to make, including angling it for a curved edge and making the bottom fold stick out further than the top fold of the binding.

It comes with a foot but I chose to use my narrow Acufeed Flex Foot (a built in walking foot that is perfectly synchronized to the regular feed dogs) for more even feeding of the quilt layers and binding. It works fabulously together.

You can use a straight stitch but using a decorative stitch ensures that you'll catch both edges of the binding for sure.  In these two samples, I used pretty wide stitches because they looked great with the quilts, but I have used a narrow serpentine stitch, blanket stitch, and straight stitch with great results.

When you get to a corner, you stitch right up to the edge. Then you lift the foot and pull the quilt straight back about 10-12 inches (away from you) and put the foot back down on top of the binding and finger press the folded binding hanging out the back of the machine. Don't skimp on how much you pull through the back or you won't have enough to comfortably work with.

turn the binding around the corner

Then you fold the mitered corner down in front and secure with pins or tape, then the same for the back.
Kimerbell tape to secure

I now prefer Kimberbell Tape to do this. I do not sew over pins and when using them, as soon as I took them out, it would shift. I can sew right through the tape and it picks out easily without gumming up my needle or fabric.

Kimberbell tape on the back

Then you pull the quilt towards the back and insert into the extra binding that was pulled out. Then you carefully pull the binding backwards through the binder attachment, moving the quilt backwards as you go, until you are at the corner ready to continue stitching.

Gently pull until the binding encases the edge and you are back at the corner

Since I use the Kimberbell tape, I don't have to futz with pins. Just start stitching again. For the record, I wouldn't use any other brand of tape for this even it it does look like paper bandage tape. It's been made for stitching through.

turning a corner with the Janome Quilt Binder Set

And how do I join the ends of binding? There are a couple of different methods, but I am now a fan of joining the ends at a corner! This means I can use the binder as much as possible. If I joined along a side, I'd have to wing it to secure the binding on either end of the join.

 So I just hand tuck the raw ends to make a nice mitered corner and stitch it down. If I stitch all four corners down at the miters, it would be super duper hard to tell the difference. My friend and one of my favorite customers, Ann, took a look at this quilt and totally approved.

Because the attachment covers the bobbin cover door, you'll want to start with a full bobbin. Learn from my experience! Also, I don't recommend using a super complicated decorative stitch for this reason; uses more thread.

I wouldn't use this for show quilts, but if you want something to help get quilt binding done, this is fabulous. Great for charity quilts, utility quilts, and in my case, shop samples. I know some will say they prefer to hand bind, that's it's relaxing. I actually agree, but I am strapped for time and this helps.

My daughter is certainly happy to finally have her first quilt done. She pieced these 10" squares together and then we split the quilting. We each quilted every other block, and then it sat....waiting for its binding. Now it's all done!

Now, it's not cheap. But time is priceless. Many dealers don't keep the binders in stock because of the price, but I do, now that I've seen how easy it is to use. You can find the Janome Quilt Binder Set over at AmyQuilts.com in two versions for different machines.

Finally, yes, I'm back to blogging here. Turns out our online shop's blogging platform makes it difficult to format a decent article and more importantly, it didn't allow me to respond directly to comments! That's a total deal breaker, so this will become the blog for all of my sewing and quilting adventures.

Quilting Doesn't Happen without a Top

I've finished up another block of the Splendid Sampler 2 this week.

Working on these blocks and sharing them with you may seem outside of my usual work, but ultimately my aim is to encourage you to quilt your own quilts and that can't happen in a vacuum that doesn't consider the blocks and piecing that is being quilted.

Read the rest of this post at my new blog over on the AmyQuilts.com site. Don't forget, this blog will be retired soon and left as an archive. Change your links so you don't miss a thing.   I am happy to announce that after a painful attempt to change my blogging platform, blogging will continue to happen right here.

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 AmyQuilts.com. 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.

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 AmyQuilts.com!

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.