Quilting is not only my business, but it's my hobby. I crave it. I love cutting up fabric and sewing it back together again. I am a maker. I'm also a teacher, and I'm passionate about designing patterns and teaching all of you tips and tricks that keep you inspired to cut up fabric, sew it back together again, and just keep making.
I'm not alone in my passion. There are many makers like me that are passionate about teaching and sharing. Many of us love to share fun projects and free tutorials on our blogs, despite the time and preparation involved, because each of you appreciate and learn from them. Unfortunately, offering everything for free isn't sustainable for any of us. Over the years, bloggers have helped rejuvenate the quilting and sewing industry (in addition to many other crafts) with valuable content. Many of us have revived or discovered our love of quilting through amazing bloggers like Amy Smart, Lee Heinrich and Jeni Baker. Through the internet, we've also been able to learn from quilting masters like Sharon Schamber, Alex Anderson, Sue Nickels and Bonnie K Hunter, all from the comfort of our home.
Somewhere along the way, we've gotten use to getting way too much for free. And now "the balance between what we expect for free and what we are willing to purchase" is a bit, well, unbalanced. Free tutorials are great, but shouldn't they be a treat? Like the cherry on top? I think so. I strive to stay teachable. Learning new tips, tricks and techniques is so much fun for me, which is one reason why I love buying patterns from independent designers. I know how much time, effort, cost and heart goes into creating an independent pattern. Whether or not we sell a million, we put the same amount of love and passion into our designs - our only hope is that they inspire and motivate you to make.
Lindsey at LR Stitched created the May is for Makers campaign to support independent designers who infuse creativity, inspiration and institutional knowledge into our craft. Through the campaign, Lindsey is pledging to buy a new pattern from a different independent designer each week during the month of May. I'm joining in, and I hope you will too. With each purchase, we are collectively telling the designer that their work matters. We are also validating all of the time and effort that they put into their brand. No candle ever went out from lighting another. Let's share our light and love! As Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced says so perfectly, "Consider buying a pattern as a way of saying thank you for a free tutorial you learned from, or a free pattern that you especially loved—after all, that free tutorial or pattern was probably only made possible by that designer's paid patterns." (Thank you Lee!)
Each Friday I will purchase a new pattern from a different designer and will share it on social media with the hashtag #mayisformakers. I hope you'll join in and share the pattern that you chose by tagging your post on Instagram or Facebook with the same hashtag.
A while back I was working on a mini quilt, and the backing tucked under as I was quilting it, and I stitched right over backing. Not once, but twice. Ugh! I know we've all made mistakes like this, but can be so frustrating and feel almost impossible to to fix without undoing your hard work. While I was fixing my little "boo-boo", I took some pictures so I could share a few of my tips and tricks for fixing quilting mistakes like this.
Here is my first mistake in all of it's glory. If you look closely at the left hand side, you'll see that the backing folded and tucked under twice. I did a really good job with this one, haha.
I had already done quite a bit of quilting, so I really didn't want to "unquilt" my quilt and have to quilt it again. I always make my backing 4"-6" bigger than my quilt top, which gave me some forgiveness and allowed me to cut the fabric away rather than pull out my stitches.
First, I cut the backing very close to the stitches. Be very careful not to cut your stitches. Using scissors with a short blade and a blunt tip like these from Famore Cutlery help quite a lot.
Cut the fabric away from each line of quilting. Cut closely to the stitching, without cutting through it.
Use your fingers to pull the fibers of the fabric away from the quilting.
Snip your fabric as needed to release it from the stitches. Cutting the fabric close to the quilting will allow it to pull away quite easily.
In this picture, you can really see what a fantastic job I did making this mistake ;). Keep snipping the fabric away while being careful not to cut your stitches.
Almost there!! I kind of like pulling the fabric away from the quilting. It's satisfying, like pulling weeds. I hate to get out there and pull the weeds, but when I pull one out, root and all, it feels so good!
Just a snip or two left!
Next, clean it up and pull away any fibers of the backing from the stitches.
It's all finished and looks so much better. The best part is that I didn't have to remove a single stitch of my quilting.
I hope this helps you if you ever find yourself needing to fix a quilting mistake.
At the start of 2014, I chose a word to help guide me and give me focus: Important (you can read more about it here). I had been doubting my work and the importance of my contributions to the quilting industry. Seeing myself, my choices and the world through the lens of "importance" was empowering. I began to truly see that what I do is important to others and that hiding my importance isn't a sign of modesty, but a sign of not believing in myself. I made small shifts in my perspective, and they began to add up. I had an article published in Machine Quilter's Unlimited (July 2014), I sought out and was presented with many new teaching opportunities, and I filmed my class with Craftsy. It was a wonderful year.
In 2015, I didn't choose a word. Instead, I created a Vision Board, with the kind guidance of Carrie Bloomston. My Vision Board is on my wall, above my computer where it provides daily inspiration and reminds me of who I am and what's most important in my world. It makes me smile too - how can you not smile with Mickey, Goofy and Minnie smiling right at you?
Last year was one of the hardest of my life. I'm looking forward to 2016 as a continuation of the work that I began doing in 2014 - discovering and uncovering who I am, and what empowers each aspect of my life to flourish. As a lot of us do, I was doing quite a bit of reflecting during the holidays. I began to think less of what happened and more of what I want to have happen. One word summed it up: Thrive.
When my friend Mandy told me about the One Little Word class by Ali Edwards, I was compelled to sign up. One Little Word is a year long project to explore, craft, invite and connect with your chosen word. I'm really excited to be a part of Ali's class, and even more excited to have it as a part of of my life. And I'm looking forward to sharing what I discover with you.
Since I've chosen thrive as my word, I've already begun to look at my world through the lens of "Thrive". I've been asking myself a lot of hard questions about what it means to me to thrive, and if what I'm choosing to do (or not to do) is supportive of me thriving. All of this led me to an "Ah-ha" moment. I was working on business "stuff" like emails, packing/shipping orders, and accounting all the while I was getting really down on myself about the state of my home. It was untidy and recovering from the holidays, with many new toys not put away, the sink was full of dishes, and loads of laundry to wash and fold. I began to get down on myself about everything that needed to be done which led me to feeling guilty about doing my work. Later that week, I was cleaning the house, and looked into my studio and immediately began to remind myself of all of the work I needed to finish, which led me to feel guilty about taking care of my home. Oh my gosh! There it was, like a slap in the face! I wasn't letting myself win. I wasn't allowing myself to thrive. I'm not quite sure how I will change this bad habit, but I know that I must. It's not helping me feel good about my work or home, and it's preventing me from being a good mom and wife. Have you ever felt this way? How did you overcome it?
This journey will be interesting, and I'm welcoming it with open arms. I have some work to do. I'm sure there will be hard moments, but it will be worth it.
Have you ever chosen a word for the year? Do you have a word for this year? I'd love to hear what your word is and how you're making it a part of your world.
Lots of love and happy quilting!
Welcome to my stop on the Wanderlust Quilts blog hop! It is an honor to share this incredibly special book with you. I hope you enjoy my review. At the end, you'll have a chance to win your very own copy, courtesy of C&T and Stash Books.
I am not a world traveller. I've had many dreams of jetsetting around the world and visiting places like Greece, Rome and France. In high school and college, I studied French and came quite close to taking a magical trip to Paris. In college, I filled general education requirements with as many non-western civilation classes that my schedule would allow. Classical art, architecture and literature inspired and intrigued me. I found myself always wanting to know more about the stories of those that created such works. For one semester, I even considered changing my major to anthropology or archeology. Even though I didn't change my magor, my deep love for classical art and architecture remain.
Wanderlust Quilts by Amanda Leins reignited my love for the beauty and ingenuity classic art and architecture and how design principles like proportion and balance influence us all today. Amanda (whom I lovingly call Mandy) is a classically trained archeologist turned artist and quilter. In her book, she expertly translates her work with classical designs into fresh and exciting designs for quilters to create and enjoy. Plus, she passes on her technical knowledge as she guides quilters through each beautiful project. As a quilter and teacher, I know you'll enjoy and appreciate Mandy's attention to detail in her clear and thoughtful instructions.
Wanderlust Quilts is a not-to-be-missed. Through any of Mandy's inspiring 10 projects, you'll learn techniques and tips that will help you uncover the depth of your own quilting skills. You'll find techniques for joining Y-seams, turned-edge applique, improv quilting and much more. Mandy also includes wonderful images of the art and architecture that inspired her designs and shows how she translated them into her designs.
One of my favorite projects from Wanderlust Quilts is Aquaducts. The bright colors and the various scale of the arches bring this piece of ingenuity to life in a whole new way.
While I haven't traveled to far off lands, I do find inspiration from places that are very special to me. There are many, and you might find me taking random pictures of the floors, walls or small details that inspire my quilting. One of my favorite places is Disneyland. Besides being The Happiest Place on Earth, it is inspiring and has clearly been inspired by patterns, art and architecture from our collective past. For Mandy's blog hop, she asked that we incorporate her book in a picture of a place or quilt that inspires us. It may be no surprise that I chose the center of the Disneyland, where each magial land awaits you. From the simple herringbone design in the bricks, to the details of Sleeping Beauty's castle, it's clear that classical design has and always will guide and inspire us all. (photo note: all photos of Disneyland were taken by me)
This image of Sleeping Beauty's castle is perfection to me. The colors (aqua, pink and gray) make my heart smile. The shapes in the brick, and the scrolling iron on the castle wall are inspiring. I see so many ways to use the patterns and designs to create unique quilts and quilting designs.
It's a Small World is full of inspiration from the simple patterns and shapes, to the incorporation of subtle and bright color.
As I was looking for pictures to share with you, I found this one of Molly and Aaron as they prepare to battle Darth Vader in the Jedi Training Academy. The wall just beyond the sign for the Jedi Training Academy is a fabulous inspiration for a quilt! I think I need to pull out my graph paper and pencils and get to sketching! Plus that floor!! The floor is a quilt just waiting to happen.
I'd love to know what place, near or far, that inspires you. C&T and Stash Books, the publisher of Wanderlust Quilts, is giving away a copy to a lucky winner at each stop on the blog hop. To enter to win here, leave a comment telling me about a place that inspires you. I can't wait to hear about each one! Entries will end at midnight November 18th. I'll choose a winner on November 19th.
Be sure to visit all of the stops. Each one is inspiring!
November 2: Kickoff with Maddie Kertay at Bad Ass Quilters Society (official link available now!)
Mandy's podcast interview with Sandi of Crafty Planner (official link available now!)
November 3: Stephanie Palmer the Late Night Quilter
November 4: Christa Watson of Christa Quilts
November 5: Gen Q
November 6: Casey York Designs
November 7: Bill Volckening
November 8: Angela Walters
November 9: Kitty Wilkin, the Night Quilter
November 10: Lynn Harris of the Little Red Hen - you are here!
November 11: Latifah Saafir Studios
November 12: Rose Hughes
November 13: Rossie Hutchison of Rossie Crafts
November 14: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio
November 15: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting
November 16: Wrap-up with Mandy Leins