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A Finished Quilt!

2017 May 11

Hey there! It’s been so long, how are you doing? I’m ok, still doing my best to recover from whatever it is that’s got me down. In the meantime, I’ve got a long-finished project to show you. Thankfully there are tons of these in the wings – just gotta get the energy to write about them!

I finished this quilt top almost exactly two years ago, June 2015. Backed, quilted and bound it early this year and photographed it in February. Sounds like May is a good time to write about it then?!

You can read about the process I took to make the top in this post entitled “How Not to Make a Quilt” – for realz – that’s the truth! Back when I wasn’t a quilter, it seemed daunting. After my 2 years more experience it took very little time to finish it up and now it’s a kids cuddly lap size at about 44″ square.

It is quilted using the dual feed foot on my on-loan Janome Skyline S9 with diagonal lines in robbins egg blue with navy thread in the bobbin. I just aimed the machine at the next corner in line and went for it. Each square is about 3 1/2″ square finished, so it was a nice easy finish. I also used basting spray for the first time, love it!

The backing fabric is a gorgeous border print from Sarah Watson’s collection with Cloud 9 Fabrics called “Biology”. The quilt top is made from a generous amount of Cotton and Steel fabrics (from when they first took over the fabric world, lol) with a few other gorgeous prints sprinkled in.

There’s actually a label this time! Stitched in shaky blanket stitches that I was too lazy to redo, or maybe just felt like leaving it to show that I don’t fix everything before it’s posted. Found in a Missouri Star Quilt Company post lately…

Finished is better than perfect!

The colours in this are so bright and cheery. It gets used a lot even if it does clash with my red living room furniture. Quilt top fabrics are a Monthly Sparks bundle I put together for Fabric Spark two years ago, the backing was ordered from them as well. Binding is from a Solids Club subscription with Sew Sisters Quilt Shop. Both are lovely sponsors of this blog and Canadian online shops.

As an aside, I just realized that I’ve replaced photos of “quilt on a barn” with photos of “quilt on an abandoned building”. #citygirl #lol

How to Quilt on an Embroidery Machine

2017 April 11

Turns out there are four ways to quilt something – by hand, on your home machine, with a long arm machine or on your embroidery machine. Guess which one I’m going to talk about today?! (#spoileralert Check the title!)

When I was loaned the Janome Skyline S9 combination sewing and embroidery machine last year, I was excited to see a page in the embroidery designs called “Quilting Designs”. Fast forward to now, and I’ve finally managed to use them!

Here’s a little tutorial so you can do it too!

I’m quilting an Easter throw pillow for this project. You can find the instructions for the traditionally pieced 12″ block here: Spring Bunny quilt block.

This post is sponsored by Janome Canada. The Skyline S9, AcuDesign app and iPad Mini have been loaned to me as part of their Artisan program.

1) Prep your project as you would normally for quilting, with batting and backing. Since the backing won’t show on this throw pillow, I used some inexpensive broadcloth in place of a better quality fabric.

2) Use a removable fabric pen to mark the areas to be quilted. I chose to mark out four equal 6″ squares for my throw pillow.

3) Choose a hoop and a design to embroider. I chose the first design in the Quilting Designs folder – the center reminds me of a kite – perfect for spring! There are 12 quilting designs included with the Skyline S9 machine. You will also need to choose a hoop size that will accommodate your quilting. In my case, the largest RE20a hoop worked well.

4) Set up the machine. You will need to thread the machine, attach Embroidery Foot P and choose a needle. I used a blue tipped Janome needle and regular Gutermann thread in both the needle and bobbin.

5) Size the design. You can do this on the machine, or send it over wi-fi or USB key to the AcuDesign app – available for purchase and downloadable to Apple devices. Use the sizing feature to re-size the file as needed. I wanted the quilting to be square, and just smaller than 6″. When finished, send the file back directly to the embroidery machine.

6) Hoop your project. I found that the thin batting I used fit in the hoop along with the pillow front and backing. Be careful not to overstress the hoop.

7) Position the file. I used the free Acusetter app (downloadable to Apple devices) to position my file. First, receive the file to the Acusetter app. It will lead you to photograph and line up the hoop. Then position, angle and scale your file as needed and send it back to the machine.

8) Place your hoop in the machine and start quilting! (Here’s a fun Instagram video of the machine working.)

9) Repeat the steps to embroider the other areas of your project. I took time to mirror the image for each of the 3 remaining corners of my pillow using the Skyline S9 embroidery editing mode. This way they look like one cohesive quilt design.

Finish your project as desired!

I love this feature on the Skyline S9 machine, it makes quilting very quick and easy. Plus, my pillows look super professional, and it only took about 37 minutes of total embroidery time!

This week, I’ll also be posting a tutorial including how I used the quilt bar and dual feed feet to finish the front and how to turn any 12″ quilt block into a throw pillow. See you again soon!

Let me know what you thought of this tutorial. Was it helpful? How do you usually quilt your projects?

Spring Bunny Quilt Block

2017 April 11

I am overwhelmed by the amazing comments and emails in response to my last post! Thank you, thank you! It reminds me just how much I am not in my own sewing bubble, and how the DIY community is so lovely and supports it’s people so well. I already feel more energized and excited to begin this new way of thinking and writing along with you.

In the works over the past month or so I’ve written instructions for a Bunny Quilt Block! Cute, cute for Easter, or any spring project. But of course, my mind also thinks it would be perfect to use in a baby quilt – if I only had the patience (#notaquilter) and someone with a baby that needed a quilt!

So I’m popping in today with the block instructions for you. Plus, to let you know I’ll be posting about how I quilted it (on my Janome embroidery machine!) and also with a quick tutorial on how to turn any 12″ block into an 18″ throw pillow. **Update: Find out How to Quilt on an Embroidery Machine.**

Click here to find out how to sew a 12″ Finished Bunny Quilt Block!

 

Where I’ve Been and Where Things are Going.

2017 April 10

Can NOT even believe the last time I wrote here was halfway through March, and now it is already into April and almost Easter. I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch thinking the last few weeks was due to as-yet undiagnosed vertigo and tiredness that doesn’t seem to want to leave. Though I’ve tried (valiantly, even) to send it on its way!

It’s been a battle of my mind as much as my body since I hate not being able to “do”. Despite my lack of ability to sit for long periods of time, it has been a good time to reflect. Things that were happening in the background of my life became a lot more visible and important.

Short story – I think I am finally ready to try to slow down and remember why I started blogging in the first place!

Long story – If you’ve been following this blog for a long time (THANK YOU so much!) you’ve probably noticed the content has changed over the past year or so.

Last year I found I was having trouble keeping up – my self-imposed deadlines loomed and I constantly fell behind. Instead of creating, I spent my time worrying. New things like speaking at conferences took a huge toll on my mind. Anxiety set in and my body started to rebel. Simple tasks felt like huge mountains. And yet, I still imposed crazy deadlines and knocked myself down each time I “failed”.

So I’ve decided (with my husband’s help) that this year I will focus differently. I want to start by taking some of the time spent worrying or working and use it to play with the kids, plan and make healthier meals, clean the house better, finish my quilt tops and sew the projects I have planned that I can’t ever seem to get to. (Some of them have been waiting for years!)

I’m going to try to ignore the impulse to “not miss” an opportunity I could take due to the unknown “good thing” it could do for my business. I’ve started changing my diet to be healthier and trying (again) to add in some exercise.

I started this blog to share my love of sewing and learned along the way that my passion is to help people learn to love sewing. Unfortunately, along the way, I’ve let myself become pressured into making it about gaining readers and doing “that thing” that will grow the blog. It’s exhausting! Plus, I’ve learned I’m not very good at self-promotion (it always feels funny) and that doesn’t help when you need social media promotion to grow.

I will be slowing down. Writing here needs to take a bit of a backseat to other life things right now. I need to detox from the “pressure to post” and remember how it feels to love doing it again.

I will still be blogging though! In fact, I’ve been asked to join some newly-releasing fabric tours, so they are already planned and booked. I’m still working with Janome and have exciting things coming up! Plus I have long-term projects with other people that I really want to finish and patterns I’d still like to release. And, of course, I want to show you my girls’ Easter Dresses! (Still gotta work on those… eeep!)

I will still be teaching workshops. It is refreshing to teach and recharges my love of sewing, plus I think it’s good for me to get out of my house! I’m in the middle of this 4-week series and it’s been so enjoyable to talk with like-minded people.

Thank YOU! I am and have always been amazed at the growth of this blog. I am so, so grateful for each person who comes by and spends time here. I love comments and questions. I love coming up with fun tutorials and projects. This blog could not go on without you and your encouragement.

This summer marks 5 Years in this space! It feels like a good milestone to take time to reset and make sure it stays true to my original intentions.

P.S. I recently re-read this post I wrote 2 years ago with practical suggestions I hope to start up again.

P.P.S. These photos are from our day yesterday. My husband had a work project to finish up and so the kids and I went out. First a trip to Ikea, where I discovered the play area was closing early. Thankfully, the kids agreed that “texting funny photos to daddy” would make shopping more fun. It was so nice to be outside, that we stopped by the lake for dinner and had our first trip to a playground this year. Note to self: Must do this more often!

P.P.P.S. The youngest declared her socks “look cool” this way. Her decision, not mine or her sisters – as usual! Love it!

One more photo from church yesterday morning. They’re getting so big!

March Break Madness, Winners and Easter

2017 March 17

Hi there, how is your week going? We’ve had a “week off” for March Break, no school for the kids, and the usual juggling and scrambling for my husband and I!

Lots going on (including these adorable sock bunnies!) and in the middle of it all, I decided to get a migraine for the first time in years. So… my wonderful husband took over Wednesday, and I got some rest Thursday, and now I’m trying to ramp up again slowly and still play catch-up. It’s so nice to have help at home and so good to have older kids that can play on their own. (And draw me “get well” cards and get me water and pillows – they’re so cute!) I’ve been well taken care of.

So, today you get a random mash-up of what’s going on around here…

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! I emailed the latest winners this morning, one who gets a Fat Quarter Skirt Kit and the other three lucky ladies that get to play with the pattern. You can check out who won in the giveaway post.

I managed to finish up the Reversible Fat Quarter skirt I cut out last week. And finish photos for another #FQSinspiration tutorial on how to add Patch Pockets to a skirt. Hopefully, I can write and post it this coming week – the girls were fighting over who would do the photo-shoot, so you know it’s a good one! Plus I’m preparing for my workshop – there are still a couple more spaces if you want to snatch one up!

Also, it’s apparently only one month until Easter  – so the usual (and all important) new dresses for the girls are in the works. As they get older, it’s getting trickier to sew for them. They have lots more to say about how things should look! I love designing their dresses – but if all the hard work doesn’t get worn it’s not worth it. So… they get their say, and I try to work out a compromise – ie. where the fabrics match as best as my stash and I can work out!

This year my youngest is on a big maxi-dress kick and we are going ahead with a “re-make” of my second favorite dress ever – this Annabelle for my oldest – only with RED! And I mean that in a good way. Many thanks to the Elizabeth Olwen fabric I picked up at Jo-Ann Fabric for incorporating turquoise so I can match it up with this gorgeous Henley Studio yardage from my sponsor Fabric Spark. I’ve had both sitting in my stash for far too long. (P.S. My most favorite dress make ever is this yellow one!)

The oldest is still into florals – big time! (Thus the large-scale florals… #seewhatIdidthere LOL) She wants her dress from fabrics she chose at Country Clothesline during last spring’s Creativ Festival and I’m so excited to finally put them together. They’ll match beautifully with this lace-edge fabric for an underskirt, if I can pull it off with the sample pieces I have. She wants a repeat of last year’s epic tulle extravaganza, thankfully the included “minus the tulle” pattern version!

It’s a little sad the girls won’t match this year – but at least they will still wear what I’m sewing. So #winwin all around I’d say!

What are you up to right now? Hope you have a great weekend planned!

#FQS Blog Tour: Pienkel and Made by Sara

2017 March 10

Woohoo, it’s Fri-Yay! And I’ve got two more skirts for Day 5 of the Fat Quarter Skirt Blog Tour!

First up, Nienke from Pienkel with her daughter’s fairytale-perfect skirt.

Nienke has nailed the fabrics on this one – what is more perfect than a little girl’s skirt than dots? And my girls would LOVE a piece of this fabric, it’s amazing!  Click here to read her pattern review.

You can find Nienke on Pienkel, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Sara from Made by Sara is also here today with TWO fat quarter skirts!

I know this drill well, make something twirly for one girl, gotta make one for the other! Ha!

On a more serious note, Sara has a tiny baby at home and talks in her post about having/making time to sew and her experience sewing this pattern. Click here to visit her and find out how it went.

You can find Sara on Made by Sara, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a Fat Quarter Skirt kit or pattern. (Remember, you can “click to enter” once each day of the tour!)

Plus, get the pattern for only $6 with discount code FQSTour all week, through Sunday, March 12, 2017. Don’t worry, if you win the prize, we’ll refund your payment!

#FQS Blog Tour: Crafty like a Rox & Sew and Tell Project

2017 March 9

Thursday (almost Friday!) and two more great skirts for Day 4 of the Fat Quarter Skirt Blog Tour!

First up, Roxanne from Crafty like a Rox with her daughter’s “recording” skirt.

Roxanne’s post is as hilarious as her skirt (and daughter) are cute! The cassette tape fabric caused a bit of confusion with her kids… you’ll have to read it.  Click here to visit her and find out why!

You can find Roxanne on Crafty like a Rox and Instagram.

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Emily is also joining us today from The Sew and Tell Project with her daughter’s perfect playground skirt.

I love that Emily chose to add shorts to her daughter’s skirt! It’s hands-down my favorite hack for a Fat Quarter skirt. You can find out more in her “playground tested” pattern review.

You can find Emily on The Sew and Tell Project, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a Fat Quarter Skirt kit or pattern. (Remember, you can “click to enter” once each day of the tour!)

Plus, get the pattern for only $6 with discount code FQSTour all week, through Sunday, March 12, 2017. Don’t worry, if you win the prize, we’ll refund your payment!

#FQS Blog Tour: Will Cook for Shoes and GAAFmachine

2017 March 8

Hooray, it’s Wednesday and today we have two wonderful bloggers bringing us Day 3 of the Fat Quarter Skirt Blog Tour!

First up, Trina from Will Cook for Shoes with her purr-fect skirt… (*hee hee* couldn’t help it!)

I met Trina through Janome, and her blog is a great mix of quilty and garment goodness, along with a healthy dose of baking and her three dogs. (Bassets, SO CUTE!) Plus, bonus, she’s also Canadian! Click here to visit her and find out more.

You can also find Trina on Will Cook for Shoes, InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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Nelleke is also joining us today from GAAFmachine with a winning skirt, literally! Read on…

Nelleke won the Fat Quarters she used for this skirt in a giveaway, woohoo! And the florals are so cute for her daughter’s skirt. Visit her blog to find out more.

You can also find Nelleke on GAAFmachine, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a Fat Quarter Skirt kit or pattern. (Remember, you can “click to enter” once each day of the tour!)

Plus, get the pattern for only $6 with discount code FQSTour all week, through Sunday, March 12, 2017. Don’t worry, if you win the prize, we’ll refund your payment!

#FQS Blog Tour: Rebel and Malice

2017 March 7

Terrific Tuesday brings us Day 2 of the Fat Quarter Skirt Blog Tour!

Melissa from Rebel & Malice joins us today with her sunny skirt.

This skirt makes me wish summer were here in my part of the world right NOW! I love Melissa’s combination of teal and yellow, and the striped contrast band is perfect. Click here to visit her and find out more.

You can also find Melissa on Rebel & Malice, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a Fat Quarter Skirt kit or pattern. (Remember, you can “click to enter” once each day of the tour!)

Plus, get the pattern for only $6 with discount code FQSTour all week, through Sunday, March 12, 2017.

#FQS Blog Tour: Sewing by Ti

2017 March 6

Happy Monday to you, it’s Day 1 of the Fat Quarter Skirt Blog Tour!

Today we get a unicorn-friendly treat from Sewing by Ti.

She whipped up a quick skirt for her daughter and by the photos in her post – it was a bit hit! Plus, she explains how easy it was to fit the skirt for her “super skinny minny” daughter. Thanks for visiting her to check it out!

You can also follow Sewing by Ti on Facebook.

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a Fat Quarter Skirt kit or pattern.

Plus, get the pattern for only $6 with discount code FQSTour all week, through Sunday, March 12, 2017.

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