Quilted Dream Big Dahlia Eye-Candy

In August, I traveled to Atlanta, GA for Janome Institute. This is the big conference for Janome dealers where we get to see new machines (Have you feasted your eyes in the Janome M7 yet? 13.5 inches to the right of the needle, perfect for free motion quilting!), new product, and learn more about the machines and business in general. We also get to check out various vendors as well.

While I was in a class on the Janome Artistic Quilt Maker Pro 18 (the longarm I now carry in the shop and am learning to use), I spied some fabulous Dream Big Dahlia panels hung up on display. I assume they were done on the long arm, but they were done with free hand free motion quilting, so I snapped some pics so I could share them with you.


 First a detail shot and then the full picture. While up close the loops over the center might seem like it obscures the detail of the panel, from a distance it's lovely!


Now, they didn't have any attributing artist info on them, but thye might have been done by Michael Smith, one of the Canadian Janome educators.


Sorry, no detail shot of this one above.


I really like the look of the variegated thread in the center of this one.


Now, the one below was really stunning with the striped fabric appliqued over some petals.


Finally I took this shot just because I loved the look of the quilting on this vinyl.


Now, here are some in progress shots of my panel from the Facebook quiltalong at AmyQuilts.



I hope you are following along on Facebook, and if not, please be patient as I eventually will share the videos here.

Happy Quilting!



Dream Big Dahlia Quilt Along

I've started another live FB Quilt Along, this time using the popular Dream Big Dahlia panel. I'm almost sold out of my panels, with it available in the Opal colorway only. I'll see if some of my other independent quilt shop owners carry them and post links here if possible.


This panel is a whole lot of free motion fun! I'm echoing the outer edges of the petals and filling them in with free-hand fills and a little ruler work.


You can watch the videos on the AmyQuilts FB page Wednesdays at 1pm and Fridays at 1pm and 5pm. That's Eastern US time. Catch me live and ask questions! The replay is posted as soon as the live ends, so you can watch at your own convenience.


These videos are very long and rambly, so I'm not sure they will end up on my YouTube. Some will if I can edit them down a bit, make it more concise.


The threads on this project match pretty well, so a shot of the back really helps! I'll be using 3 different colors and all of them should show nicely (or badly as the case may be) on this violet backing.

As with my other videos, I'll do an archive post with all the videos on it here on the blog. That makes it a bit easier to find them all in order and get context of what the videos are about.

So....have you done one of these panels before? Do you have one you've wanted to do, but just haven't tried it yet? Let me know in the comments!

Amy's Amish Bars QAL: The Videos

Here are all of the FB Live videos from Amy's Amish Bars Quilt Along on the AmyQuilts FB page

This QAL got off to a rough start. I started in a rush and didn't like what I did and it had a pucker on the back so we're starting with this video instead.




Absolutely adoring these whirling curvy feathers!



Next comes some tiny feathers.



Next is some geometric looking ruler work. The ruler used is one that comes in the Janome Ruler Work Kit which is a nice assortment of high shank rulers.



And more feathers.



Crosshatching using my Low Curve Mini. Can also use the QPC BFF ruler.



Some dithering about with this video as I design on the fly what I want to put into this inner border. I change my mind a few times.


Still working out this design....



Finally in the below video, I figure it out and stick with it.



This project might need to be named the Indecisive Quilt! Below is a great design for a border, but again I changed my mind.



The below video is a quick follow up to the above video as I decided to change things up!




Loving the use of this Double S ruler for my outer border!



Fair warning on the below video...I change my mind on the feathers afterwards!



Time for some curved crosshatching...



Trading the feathers for some straight line work!



Whew! What an adventure we've been on! It's time to move on to our next series, so this shows the last of the Amy's Amish Bars QAL. It will be back in its finished glory in an upcoming post.

Amy's Amish Bars Tutorial

Amy's Amish Bars Quilt Along Project

You've been asking, so it's high time I get the tutorial up for making my "Amish Bars" variation. It's a great space for practicing all sorts of designs with and without rulers, especially those that work linearly like sashing and borders.

Still in progress....

 All you need is two fabrics with a decent amount of contrast. My selection of a tan solid and turquiose-y Grunge has been a big hit. You can order the kits for the top, backing and binding, and thread on AmyQuilts.com.  You'll need 1/2 yard for the narrow strips (the tan) and 1 yard of the main fabric. You might be able to squeak by with less, depending on how wide your fabric is and the care of cutting, but I think this is a safe amount. The final quilt measures 32 by 30 inches.

Cutting:

    From the tan:

        Cut two 2-1/2 inch by WOF (width of fabric) strips. Subcut into 4 strips 20-1/2 inches long

        Cut two strips 2-1/2 inches by 22-1/2 inches

    From the main fabric:

        Cut one 6-1/2 by 20-1/2 inch strip

        Cut one 4-1/2 by WOF strip, subcut into 2 strips 20-1/2 inches long

        Cut two 4-1/2 by 24-1/2 inch strips

        Cut two 4-1/2 by 30-1/2 inch strips



Assemble as shown in the above image. Press well and sandwich with your choice of backing. It takes a yard to back it. Our mottled brown has been a big hit too, so there's a backing kit too.

Looks like a nice suede, doesn't it?

Feel free to adapt this tutorial to fit your own needs; vary the strip width and/or length. I think a wider center strip would look great with the addition of some applique.

My hubby said the image above reminded him of a Roman or Greek temple, which tickled my funny bone and I made up the image below and sent it to him! I thought he was going to choke he was laughing so hard.


David goes quilting....eyes up here ladies, it seems to say....

If you can come up with a witty caption I can use with this, leave it in the comments.

For quilting of this top, of course you can head over to the AmyQuilts Facebook page, but I will follow this post up with an archive of all the videos so you can watch them directly here on the blog. That makes it a little easier to follow them in order. I'll also post a list of the rulers I have used in that post.

American Valor Quilt Along: The Videos

This fun and easy panel quilt is a great canvas for practicing your free motion quilting. Come along with me as I undertake another free motion quilting adventure. A limited number of the American Valor kit are still available.


There are two videos shot live each week via the AmyQuilts Facebook page on Wednesdays and Fridays, each at 1pm eastern time in the US. The replays will be posted afterward on the Facebook page and also embedded into this post below so that you can watch them without going on Facebook at all.

First we start with a little talk about prepping a quilt for basting and quilting. Click this link to watch it in Facebook where you can see the comments. There's also an introductory blog post as well: American Valor Quilt Along Introduction.




Now we move on to the quilting in this second video! You can watch this video directly on Facebook so you can see comments and questions, or right here on the blog below. We start off with the center star and quilt is lightly so it can be the "star of the show".....



The third video in which I finally have a decent haircut and I stitch some wind into the flag stripes! Watch below or at facebook to catch all the discussion that happened during the live video.




The fourth video is below or you can watch it directly at facebook so you can catch the comments and questions. In this quilting video, I begin outlining the words towards the top of the panel and do a little star and loop fill in the background. (Note to self, do not stand while making last minute adjustments to the camera when it's already on!)


I'll add more videos as they are posted. I hope you will follow along.

American Valor Quilt Along Introduction

Today I started my first video for the American Valor Quilt Along and we stuck to just covering a few pre-quilting basics. In all honesty, I hadn't gotten it all sandwiched and ready to quilt and I probably could have, but realized there were a few things I wanted to talk about that would be easier to show before I sandwiched the top with the batting and backing.


I had to take the picture of the top in two parts so I could get it fairly straight and well lit on my design wall. (OK, and the fact that there are several boxes in front of the design wall didn't help! LOL.) I neglected to pay attention to the star placement on the right vertical strip of stars. Boo. Oh well.


Trimming threads off the back of the top.



Especially if your fabric is off grain (which can happen with digitally printed fabrics and panels like this when you need to cut along a printed section. It's a lot easier to trim before you sandwich than it is to go fishing with a knit picker (tiny crochet hook) and get it out after you realize that dark thread is showing through the top. Here's a video I did where I did just that.




Backing choices!  I am totally crushing over these! They look a little like worn denim, but are a nice quilting cotton. I'll be using the #3 fabric with is nearly a perfect match for the blue around the star border. These will be sold at AmyQuilts.com shortly.


Thread choices! Of course, I'm going to use my beloved Glide thread and since you all want to see my stitching in the video, what I will use is different than what I would choose if I was doing this video for myself. In the next video, I'll have more of the quilt stabilized and we'll move into the actual free motion quilting.


The next video is Friday, May 3 at 1pm Eastern time. Won't you join us? Feel free to share this quilt along info with any of your quilting friends. The more, the merrier!

American Valor Quilt-along

Next week will start the first Facebook live videos for my next quilt-along series for American Valor. There's still time to get your kit and quilt along with me!

Due to all the preparation for our local shop hop right on the heels of two separate spring breaks for my kids, it's been difficult to get this going as planned, but we will get started May 1!


The kit comes with full instructions and includes fabric for the top and binding.



Videos will be shot live on the AmyQuilts facebook page Wednesday and Fridays at 1pm with an additional video Friday at 5pm. This is all Eastern time in the US. The footage will be recorded and posted to the facebook page after each live segment so you can watch whenever it's convenient for you. If you don't do facebook, I will be running a separate blog post here with the videos embedded so you can watch them right here on the blog without going to Facebook.


I'm excited about this panel based project as there are spaces and design areas that we can really make sing with our free motion quilting. I have additional yardage that goes with this fabric if you are interested in making it bigger than the 37 x 67-1/2" kit directs, as well as some great choices for backing. Right now the yardages aren't listed online, but I'll work on getting it up somehow soon.

Won't you join in the fun with me?

Amy's Sew Simple Studio is Stupendous!

Yes, I've got a thing for alliteration in my titles.....

The stand-alone studio is now functioning! It's still a work in progress, but I've been doing all my live videos here for a few weeks now.


As you can probably guess from the exterior, it's an older building and needs a lot of work. But as this gem from history shows below, it's come a long way!


This is looking through the same doorway towards the back door. It had been a salon since the 1940's.


Decades of hairspray is not fun to paint over! Once we got the paint to stick to the wall, it took many coats to cover this dark red shade.


While this space is very much the playground for AmyQuilts.com and of course, for me, I believe we'll be calling it the Sew Simple Studio. Mostly I call it the studio or my studio, as we have to make sure to keep the two locations straight and make sure our locals don't think of it as a second shop. Or think that we're moving out of Lynchburg.


While I'm sure at some point there will be a small retail element to this space, it will be just to support occasional classes, workshops, and day retreats. But its core function is give me a space to do my own projects and shoot my videos without cluttering up the classroom at Sew Simple of Lynchburg. If you've ever taken over the dining room or the guest room with your quilting stuff and suddenly have a guest in this space, you know this feeling. We have important guests all day at the shop and I do not want things to look messy.

OK, and I like being able to listen to whatever I want, as loud as I want, and typically, I'm singing along! :-)

This area will eventually be a classroom/event space

Not only can I work without fear of making clutter, but I can spread out better and have several projects going at once. This is important because I have different projects sometimes for the shop, than I do for my online peeps. Plus, there are various things that need to be at different stages for my customers and students.

The studio is helping me to put some much needed boundaries in place for work, family, and other interests. When you own your own business, it's hard to separate work from life. Especially if that work supports your family. The studio is very close to home and the kids' schools. This is helping me to have a refreshed mind. It is nearly impossible to let your creativity flow when your mind is flitting from thought to thought, especially if you're running on empty.


I think I might bring my Poured Out II quilt to the studio to remind myself how important it is to fill your cup up in order to pour out onto others.

I'm very excited about the studio, even though right now it almost seems like I've doubled my workload. It's already helped me create more videos. You can see my latest video on tension adjustments for free motion quilting. Subscribe to my channel so you don't miss any new ones!

Innovative, Remarkable, Remembered

I'm feeling very introspective lately, so what follows are some thoughts on innovation, being remarkable, being memorable, and being popular. I promise it ties in with quilting and creativity.

I was listening to an online talk by Seth Godin about innovation, risk and the mass market. He mentioned the name of the man who invented the car. To be honest I don't remember the guy's name, but I do remember that Seth mentioned that he had to get a permit or permission from the king, because it wasn't legal to drive a car on the road...in fact, in many places, there were no roads.

I don't remember his name and I bet many of you don't either. But I do remember Henry Ford. Henry Ford didn't invent the car though. What he did was make it accessible to the masses.



Singer didn't invent the sewing machine, but they sure made it available to the masses. In fact they were revolutionary in their use of the installment plan and they were wildly successful.

So successful that even non-sewing people think of Singer as the leader in the realm of sewing machines even to this day, even if those who really use sewing machines these days know that new Singer machines are no longer innovative. They still are quite affordable and their wide reaching availability in the mass merchandisers stores, the big box stores, certainly shows that they are being sold to the masses. They have their place, but they're not exactly remarkable.

Why do I write about this? Am I building up to a rant about cheap machines and big box stores? No. About the difficulty of putting a price on helping people, not just selling a product? Not really. Though this is the crux of the questions facing the independent quilt shop and sewing machine dealer these days.

I admit I certainly could launch into a rant of this type, especially as Hobby Lobby has just opened up a store across the street from our shop.

But what Seth's talk brought to mind was that the masses are the middle of the bell curve of any market of any product or concept. The middle is unremarkable. It's affordable, easy to use, doesn't do too much too well.

The remarkable, on the other hand only appeals to the outliers. To the masses, the outliers are the weirdos, the obsessed, the elite. Quilters are artists...artists know they are outliers. I think it's safe to say that we could be called obsessed, some of us might be those other terms too.

He talked about those who innovate are remarkable, but over time they might not be remembered. What, or who, is remembered isn't usually the original developer of the remarkable thing. With the main creativity of the idea and/or the basic mechanical concepts worked out, the next folks to work on the idea are the ones who can focus on the masses and make the concept or the product accessible, remembered, possibly unremarkable.

We all want to be remarkable. In what area is completely up to you and as varied as people are.

A blanket is typically unremarkable. Sure, some folks have a special blanket, and you certainly can find luxury blankets somewhere. I wouldn't know, my blankets are definitely unremarkable. I like the blanket I might add to my bed on an extra cold night, but it's unremarkable.

But a quilt, even a poorly made quilt, is remarkable. (I'm not referring to the commercially made quilts sold by the mass merchants.) They vary from maker to maker, from season to season of the maker's life, and from what materials we choose. They are unique and worthy of being remarked upon.

Remarkable and memorable is a rare combination.


Sometimes we find a rare place in our creativity and really make something remarkable. It doesn't have to be museum quality, it could be because the "market" you are making your quilts for is actually remarkable and responds to your efforts in a remarkable way. This might be the family who reminisces about their mother and grandmother as they hold their quilt.

Remarkable isn't for the masses.

Do you think about the work of your hands, your quilts, your art as remarkable? That means it likely doesn't appeal to the masses or at least isn't shared with the masses. I've been there and I know many of you have too; a ton of people want you to make a quilt for them or for someone they need to give a gift to, and they have no idea what goes into a quilt. Their desire for the quilt immediately diminishes when they learn what goes into it.

Does what I do appeal to the masses? Nope. Can I bring what I do to the masses? Do I even want to do that?


I have even been innovative, but wasn't really able to bring it to the masses within the quilting niche. Does that mean I'll fade into obscurity as others bring that innovation to the masses? Probably. But in the meantime I hope my little tribe of students and quilty friends find me remarkable in some way.

Have you tried to innovate in your life, in your craft, your art, even your sewing? Innovation doesn't have to be revolutionary or a giant step. It might just be a tiny little step out of your comfort zone, trying a new technique, a different color, or even a different substrate/fabric. Maybe it's introducing a person to what you do.

Do it! Let's be remarkable. The personal reward is great. Remember it may not appeal to the masses, but that's OK. I'm pretty sure the masses (in general) don't appeal to us!


Roses and Arrows Quilt Along Series Videos

We've been having a blast with the Roses and Arrows quilt-along over at the AmyQuilts Facebook page. Have you been quilting along? It's not too late to enjoy this fun and laid back project to improve your free motion and ruler work quilting skills. I even have a few kits still available and all the videos have been posted after the live broadcast finished.



Below are the videos so you can find them easier than scrolling through the FB page and watch them without having to be on FB. Though I suggest you check them out on FB to see peoples comments, questions, and my responses. These can be pretty helpful too.

Remember that these live videos are a little more ramble-y than my Youtube videos. I'm not sure how much of these videos, if any and when, will be added to my YouTube channel. Most are around an hour long. Feel free to skip ahead through the chit chat, but keep in mind, sometimes FB doesn't load things well when you skip ahead.

To purchase the Quilt Along Kit and the Backing Kit.
There's also a thread kit which gives you a choice of two top threads and a great color to use on the back with our backing fabric.
Finally, we're using a few rulers on this panel and they are the QPC #12 and BFF or my new Low Curve rulers #12 and Mini. I've put those into a Starter set. Plus you'll want to use a straight ruler and this is my favorite straight ruler.

First we started off with piecing the panel and borders. That link is to the blog post with instructions. Here's the video on Facebook: Roses and Arrows Part 1, which is a bit of an introduction




An Intro to McTavishing


For our next video, due to a brown out at our shop following a big snow storm, I did a video at my new studio and I demonstrated the McTavishing design I will be using in the center of the panel. Drawing this design really helps! Watch this video in Facebook or watch it below here on the blog.



Beginning to Quilt the Panel

Posted on January 23rd, watch on FB or below. Showing a little stitch-in-the-ditch followed by McTavishing in the center of the panel and discussing how to work around and through the letters across the panel.



More McTavishing....

January 26 video is about more McTavishing and another way to work around those letters to make things extra swooshy.



Starting with Ruler Work!

Next we introduce simple straight-line quilting. I'm keeping it pretty basic for folks who are new to quilting with rulers. This video was shot January 30th.



Adding in Crosshatching

This video was done February 2nd and we continued with straight ruler quilting and added in curved crosshatching.



The below 2 videos had a little technical problem and was shot in two parts on February 13th. and focuses on stitching with rulers in the flying geese.





Below, February 16th is a bit of a review.



February 23 is working a very simple design in the narrow inner border.



Curved Echo Border

February 27th, my first video in the new studio! In this video below (watch in Facebook) I show a great border design.



March 6th is a follow up to the border design. Watch it on Facebook, or below.



Starting with the video below, I move to a 3 video per week schedule: Wednesday at 1pm and Fridays at 1 and 5pm. Watch this video shot on March 8th below or directly in Facebook.




The 5pm video below or watch in Facebook. I start stitching some backgrounds fills around the "pieced" blocks.



This next video, shot March 15th at 1pm, includes another background design as well as a tutorial on thread tension and free motion quilting. Watch below or in Facebook.




Next is the 5pm video from March 15th showing a design worked around the flying geese units. Watch below or in Facebook.



In the below video, we revisit the flying geese units with a stitching path that allows the entire row to be stitched continuously. Watch this March 20th video directly on Facebook.



That's nearly all the videos, there will possibly a review video before the final one. Sections of some of these videos will be edited for use on YouTube eventually.

On March 27, at 1pm I revisited the narrow border and dressed it up a bit! Enjoy the video below, or watch directly through FaceBook.



That's the last video on the quilting folks! At least until I get one of mine completely quilted and bound.

We're gearing up for another quilt along which will start April 24th. Here's a direct link to purchase the kit for the American Valor Quilt Along.




Splendid Sampler II: Potted Paisleys

I have to say I was pretty flabbergasted when Pat asked me to contribute a block design for her Splendid Sampler II book. While I'm no stranger to making my own designs, especially since I like to do my own thing, making small 6 inch finished blocks is certainly not what I typically do.

Pat popped in for a brief visit at my shop.

Truthfully, I'm all about the quilting! Piecing, applique and embroidery (mostly machine embroidery these days as I am a Janome dealer) are just the thing I do to give myself a canvas to stitch out my heart. I am more likely to design a large block, set it on point with a bunch of negative space around it and quilt away!

I took it on as a skill builder, a challenge for myself to step outside of my comfort zone and take bite sized nibbles of techniques that I don't usually do. I think we all need to do that from time to time.

I'm getting ahead of myself! These Splendid Sampler designer posts get visited by all kinds of new folks, so an introduction is in order.

My name is Amy K. Johnson and I'm a quilter, teacher, shop owner, Janome dealer, blogger, mother and more. Not necessarily listed in order of importance, of course. You can find me at Sew Simple of Lynchburg in Virginia and online at AmyQuilts.com, where I sell my favorite rulers for ruler work, tools, fabric, and more. You can even see me over at Bluprint, aka Craftsy, where I teach Quilting with Rulers. Lately, I've been having the most quilting fun on my Facebook page AmyQuilts where I've been doing live quilting videos twice a week. We're currently doing a fun free motion quilt along using a panel and added borders to play with free motion and a few basic ruler work designs.

Quilting with rulers, also called free motion ruler work, on a stationary sewing machine is something I've been doing for quite a long time. In fact, that's how I first met Pat. She had heard the buzz about using rulers to quilt on a sewing machine and contacted me to be interviewed on her radio show on the April 4, 2016 episode and again this past September. She's an amazing interviewer. Like having a chat with a friend.


Fun fact: I'm a Janome dealer and my husband is my sewing machine tech. We joke that between us we know the guts and glory of sewing. He literally knows the guts of sewing machines and I get to use them to make all kinds of gloriously fun projects.

So what's a gal like me to do when challenged to design for such a specific project as the Splendid Sampler? Well, I took my favorite quilting design and turned it into an applique block.


 That's how Potted Paisleys came to be. A sweet block with a boho vibe featuring fusible applique. I love traditional applique with a modern twist and adore ones that look like a vase of flowers. So I turned some paisleys into a potted paisley plant.


Just like any other quilter doing the Splendid Sampler projects, I started with a fabric pull. AS a shop owner, I could have been matchy-matchy, but instead I went for a kind of controlled scrappy look. I pulled across several lines by Moda and put fat quarters of several colors from each line into my project box, plus a few Grunge and white on whites. This is where I pull all the fabrics for my blocks going forward.


I think it works, don't you? I don't have a bunch of blocks to show you, but I'm trying to do a few each month.

I used my new Cutterpillar light box to trace my shapes and to flip the diagram for my placement. Tip: When using one of these fabulous light "boxes" and your pattern has printing on both sides, use a less intense light selection. Mine has 3 choices. This will let you see the lines on the top facing side far better than the back. The brightest light will make them show equally.


Building up my applique...


 Final placement on my background....


Ta Da!


Looks a bit like one of my paisley play pieces, don't you think?


Since I'm really all about the quilting, I'll be doing a live Facebook video at 1pm Eastern US time with a tutorial on free motion quilting a paisley design at my Facebook page, AmyQuilts. I'll post the recording there so you can watch when the time suits you. Don't do Facebook? Check out my YouTube channel. The video will eventually be added to it, plus there are quite a few videos on free motion and ruler work.

Don't forget to enter the activities (giveaways?) over on the Splendid Sampler page, and check out the other 3 designer's blocks for this week.

If you're looking for a great companion block to mine, I nominate Flower Child by Carolee McMullin on page 102. A match made in hippie heaven.

Sew Simple Studio for AmyQuilts.com

I have been remiss in blogging about my newest challenge and project. I've talked about it in Facebook, but haven't actually posted here. For Christmas, I gave myself a building!

OK, so I actually signed a lease for the building, a 1920's storefront in my local town of Altavista, Virginia.



Why? First of all, we're not moving or closing our shop, Sew Simple of Lynchburg. Rather this is a way to make our shop better. We are getting crowded in our current location and I kept driving around Lynchburg looking for possible places to move the shop. But there really wasn't anything that was a reasonable step larger. Just places that were huge, expensive, or not in a good location.

Add to that, we still have a few years on our current lease and it is in a great location. I had spent a fabulous weekend in early December with Carol Britt from Batiks Etc. & Sew What Fabrics in Wytheville, VA where we talked about our visions for our businesses. I had shared with her my trouble seeing us get bigger, as well as my frustrations of not having time to make the projects I wanted, recording my videos, and topped off with late hours at the store trying to do that, I was missing having time with my kids.

On my 2 hour drive home from Wytheville, I had plenty of time to think. I began to think of what our shop did, what our customers wanted, and whether there was anything that could be taken out of the store to give us more room for the necessary activities and products. Suddenly, it hit me, I didn't need to be there!

That's sounds a bit drastic, I know, but as I thought about it, my video equipment and my sewing machine set up could be removed from the shop and would give the shop's classroom some much needed space. Additionally, I could do much of the shop's admin in a different location which would allow us to use some of the office space at the shop for processing inventory when it comes in. This is an activity that often was being done in the classroom. As a result, we often had to clean up the classroom to have a class and also, get my stuff back out in order for me to make samples and videos.

I love my set up, but it takes up a lot of space in the store's classroom.

But I already knew working from home wasn't going to work. I have already been doing much of my computer work from home and it just wasn't working well. There certainly wasn't room in our house for the sewing and quilting studio, plus the video equipment. So what's a girl to do?

While space in Lynchburg was hideously expensive, the small town we live in (or officially, across the river from) had several vacant storefronts, like many small towns these days. I set a budget and decided that if I could find a space that fit it, I'd set up a studio space. This choice has been a real challenge! It means stepping up and making sure I am using this space to generate it's own income via video classes, pattern design, writing that book on ruler work that I really need to do, and more.

Isn't it funny that even when you feel like you just can't do one more thing, life has a way of making sure we step up, take it on, and move forward?

Removing a partial wall that had been added in the past.

My new studio has three main areas, my quilting and video area, an open space twice as big as the shop's classroom, perfect for hosting classes and workshops, and a private back area for my office and space for my kids to hang out.

Speaking of the kids.... the studio is walking distance from school for the older two, as well as the library, 2 parks, and the Y. It's a mere one mile from our house, though with the hills, river, and road between the two, not great for walking or biking from home. Since the studio will not be open to the public other than for special events and classes, they can spread out through the space. Leah is looking forward to more sewing time with me and my geeky oldest is looking forward to inviting his friends over after school to game together sometimes. Leah has asked for crafty classes for her and her friends too.

The community is also asking for classes. Some are quilters, but there is also interest in just having something fun and creative to do in a small town. I'm certain we can provide that eventually.

The building had been home to a series of hair salons since the 40's. The last one had an interesting mix of Art Deco meets Industrial design.

In the meantime, I have a lot of work to do. Nearly 100 years old, this building has a lot of character and what has been referred to as "layers."  Some of the layers are good, others, like the remnants of a past dropped ceiling and the cheap paneling put over the original bead board is not so great. My budget is small, so the work and outfitting the space with what it needs will happen gradually, especially as I still have my duties at the shop to attend to.

The painting begins. Not sure what colors we will paint the walls, but we're starting with primer.
While I will be separating my duties across two places, it will allow me to be more focused, efficient, and present in each space. That's a good thing.