It happens every couple of nights, where I start thinking about what I want to do next: feverishly planning a project from start to finish in my brain, hoping equally for sleep or the morning to come. When I finally do get up, though, these ideas seem to end up in random places, the notes jotted down in whichever sketch book, calendar, or paper-like object is closest to hand, and I either do them or forget about them.
Clearly, I need a better system of organizing these. People have suggested I use Pinterest, and I do for inspirational things, it isn’t the same as keeping my start-to-finish-totally-mine ideas. My admiration for people with beautifully curated spaces, who make artistic and pretty journals that are totally instagram- and pinterest-worthy, is high, but that isn’t really me. When it comes down to it, I fall on the practical get-er-done side of the scale.
Right now, I’m trying this index card filing system. It is far from perfect, but at the least, it is a singe place where I can write things down and maybe possibly find them again, right? The cons are that, if I do have inspirational things to go with them, there isn’t room to stick them in, too. I am thinking that using a variation of the Getting Things Donesystem could be really good.
So I’m curious: do you have a functional system? Care to share? I feel like I’m losing my ideas because I don’t have one in place.
Right now, I’m in a period of time that I tend to think of as “The Vacuum”. The final edits for Wanderlust Quilts have been done for months, the book is at the printer, and the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) has made it out to a few people. I haven’t seen it yet, and so I’ve been anxiously frettingagonizingjittering waiting to see or hear anything about it.
Back when I first started longarming, I had expected and planned to do certain kinds of quilting: I’d quilt for others, probably pantographs, and save the custom work for my own quilts. What actually has happened is that I have ended up doing custom for nearly everyone, with only 2 pantographs requested in the last 3 years! In that time, what I learned about my quilting personality is that I love to work from the front of the machine, and I really love experimenting with fabric, thread, and whatever else comes my way.
During this time, I also realized that there were some things that would make my quilting life easier, and had a wishlist of “love to haves” that fit my quilting preferences. Fast forward a year and a half, and I have found the machine that suits me right down to the ground. I’ve been quilting things for about 2 months now since I purchased it (can’t share any, almost all are going to be in books and whatnot, so have to be under wraps!), and can officially say I have put this amazing machine through its paces.
I love it so much that I did a quick video (my first on my own! go me!) of my favorite features of the BERNINA Q24, and am happy to answer questions if you have any. It’s a quick overview of the stuff I use every day, and there’s quite a bit more to share, but I’ll save that for another video. Thanks for watching, and happy quilting!
I am a BERNINA Ambassador, and have purchased this machine for my use. The opinions I share are mine, and I do not receive payment for them.
It’s a chronic problem: having the desire, no, the need! to make things and feeling there is never enough time. Between the kids and the business and many important but secret deadlines, I’ve really been feeling stretched thin, and the things I have been craving to make keep getting set aside. I know I’m not alone.
So when my friends and co-moderators Stephanie the Late Night Quilterand Kitty the Night Quilter suggested we all give a new idea a try, it seemed likes the perfect chance to do something about it. The idea is super simple, which means it is more likely to work:#sewtake20 is setting your intention to take 20 minutes every day and chip way at something you’ve been wanting to sew. I have so many projects in mind, but few of them are just for us. That’s about to change, with my shweshwe fabrics.
Oh, the shweshwe: Two weeks ago, when my fella was out of town, I decided to tke the kids to the Vermont Quilt Festival. A few years back, I had seen the most amazing collections of this indigo fabrics with complex white prints. Right s I was about to buy them back then, my son had a catastrophic meltdown and we decided to pack it up nd leave. I’ve been dreaming about them ever since, so when I went back (this time with both kids!) I bought what I could and decided to make something just for us.
My #sewtake20 experiment starts today, with 20 minutes primarily spent working on this project–a queen-sized quilt for our bed–and maybe throwing some other things in there to mix it up. I am hopeful and excited! I set my timer on my phone and started prepping my pieces for prewashing. The indigo is prone to bleeding and fraying on the edges, so before I put them in the washer, I sewed a zigzag down each side. In 20 minutes, I finished half the pile (about 2 dozen prints!), and am on my way to getting to the fun bits.
Care to join us? We’ll be posting most of our #sewtake20 progress on instagram as @mandaleiquilts @ latenightquilter and @nightquilter although we plan to write up what we’ve learned on our blogs on occasion.
You can also see more of these awesome fabrics on my IG feed, where I will be posting one a day until they’re all out there!
I hope you have some free time Monday June 22 at 4:00 P.M. EST to listen in, because I am going to be a guest on American Patchwork and Quilting with Pat Sloan! I’ll be talking about my life as a quilter, and talk a little bit about the book and other stuff, too. I am nervous and excited all at once. I’ve been listening to Pat’s podcasts for a long time!
And now, my other news. A couple of weeks ago, I sent one of my quilts out to the NQA show. This quilt, “Eggs and Darts”, is one of the ones in my book Wanderlust Quilts, and I love it. One of my goals is always to be a little better than I was on the quilt before, and I had heard that the judges there at NQA were thoughtful and serious and I wanted some comments about things I could do better. Imagine my surprise when I saw this on Christa Watson’s Instagram feed:
That ribbon was for First in the Modern category! I almost passed out. I had designed and quilted this, and my dear friend Sue Bishop helped me out with the construction because the book was on such a tight deadline. I couldn’t have gotten all my projects finished in time without her. What a week! Hope yours is full of quilt goodness!
This free wool applique project, a monogram for a small monogram for a pillow or wall hanging, teaches you some basic techniques that I like to use for wool applique. In it, I will share how I make and use basic freezer paper patterns and some of the little details that help make your project look really nice and neat.
A note about the templates I’ve provided: Many of these letters include the basic shapes you will want to practice, such as interior and exterior corners, and convex and concave curves.
I have beautiful wool precuts and Valdani perle cotton threads in bright modern colors over in my etsy shop, as well as notions to get you started! The bundles are the perfect size for these monograms.
Enough wool for the background circle (the outer circle is 7 1/2″ in diameter, so just slightly larger). If you wanted to use cotton fabric, that would be cute, too! Just use applique techniques for cotton to attach it to your backing.
Enough of a single color wool for the design (at least 7″ square for the monograms)
The Monogram printout
To begin, find the letter you’d like to use. Each monogram looks like this:
For the “Circle Within a Circle” version:
You will need two contrasting colors of wool for this, or a cotton print background for the outer circle, and wool for the inner circle + monogram. I will only be providing directions for preparing the wool-on-wool version
1) Print out your image 100%. Place your freezer paper over this paper-side up, and using a fine tip permanent marker or pencil, trace both the outer and inner circles and the outline of your letter. These will be your cutting lines. A lightbox or window might be helpful with this. TIP: I choose not to cut the template out along the circle at this point, since I think you get crisper edges and a smoother cut if the freezer paper stabilizes the wool on either side of the line.
2) With a hot dry iron, press your template onto your wool background shiny side against the right side of the wool. This may take a bit of pressing, and pay particular care to making sure the freezer paper is well-adhered where the cutting lines are.
3) Using serrated scissors for best results, carefully cut out the outer circle. Run your finger along the edge and see if there are any high spots that need to be trimmed away.
4) Peel off the template, and iron it shiny side down as before to the wool piece you picked for the negative space monogram. Cut out the interior circle and again feel to see if there are any high spots.
5) Cut out the letter by snipping a hole in the center of the letter, and carefully snipping your way to the outer edge of the letter. Take care here with the points and curves. Make sure that you don’t snip too far into any of the interior corners!
6) Once I have the entire thing cut out, I attend to the points. For me, if the points are too sharp, and I know the angle is too narrow for a nice stitch, I will round them off:
7) Once you are satisfied, peel off the freezer paper and center your inner monogram circle on your outer circle, and use pins or glue basting to hold it in place. I, personally, glue baste because I don’t like snagging myself on pins. I run a thin bead of washable school glue about 1/4″ in from the edges and heat set with an iron. After this, you’re ready to stitch!
To Prepare the Stand-Alone Monogram Version
Many of these directions are the same as above.
1) Print out your image 100%. Place your freezer paper over this paper-side up, and using a fine tip permanent marker or pencil, trace both the inner circle and the outline of your letter. These will be your cutting lines. A lightbox or window might be helpful with this. TIP: I choose not to cut the template out along the circle at this point, since I think you get crisper edges and a smoother cut if the freezer paper stabilizes the wool on either side of the line.
2) Iron the freezer paper to the fabric you picked for your background, shiny side down. Cut out the circle along the cutting line, and use your finger to feel if there are any spots that need to be smoothed out.
3) Peel off the template and trim the leftover freezer paper about 1/4″ shy of the exterior edge of your letter, leaving enough freezer paper for a nice, neat cut.
4) Iron it shiny side down to the second wool piece you chose for your letter.
5) Cut out your letter, giving particular care to points, curves, and interior corners. Be careful not to clip into the corners! This will make your thread “sink” into the cut and your stitch will look as if it is lost.
6) Peel off the freezer paper, center your monogram letter onto the background, and baste in place, as above. Now you’re ready to applique!
My next wool applique post will be on the basic blanket stitch by hand as well as machine applique, and some sweet notions to help make for a fun experience.
Well, I may not be at Quilt Market, but I am happy to have something hanging there! I recently finished a quilt pattern for RJR Fabrics called “Fair Day”, made with the line “Pie Making Day” by Brenda Ratliffe of Pink Castle Fabrics. The sashing is all 1 1/2″ finished HSTs, and the pattern will be available for free on the RJR site soon! I’ll let you know when that goes live. The finished quilt is 72 1/2″ x 72 1/2″. I can’t wait for this one to come back to me!
But for now, I can satisfy myself by looking at pictures.
This is actually a much older quilt, the “Linton Block”. When I first saw it flipping through a collection of old blocks, I new it would look great with wild amounts of color! The original block is smaller, so I resized it so that the HSTs would be able to be cut using any one of the die cutters (that really saves a ton of time and helps with accuracy!) My favorite part about this quilt is that all the seams nest, which is one of the reasons the points turned out so nicely. I’m submitting it to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side in the Large Quilt Category. Please check out all the quilts (and vote for me if you’re so inclined, ha!)
When Cheryl Sleboda first mentioned she was thinking about having a blog hop for studio cleanup, I knew I needed to be on it. I had started transforming my sewing space into a for-reals studio for my longarm quite a few months ago, and needed the motivation to get it finished. Other deadlines had been taking precedence, but its half-finished state was a major thorn. This room has been used for five different things: Ben’s office, a toy/play area, my sewing room, and now it is my longarm studio. I am totally going to set ego aside and show you how bad it looked after I had finished writing my book:
This was in October 2014. The following stages all took place in October and November 2014, and then… it sat for a bit.
First, I wanted better cabinets that weren’t cobbled together from years of mismatched furniture. These are the Billy series from Ikea. We took the mismatched bits out, painted that section, then put the cabinets in and started refilling them.
this is what is behind the closed door on the left:
My fella is the best thing that ever happened to me. He was a huge help and drove to IKEA 3 hours away, picked up the cabinets, and drove back immediately just for this. I am probably adult ADHD, so organizational stuff and cleaning can sometimes literally manifest itself as feeling like ants are crawling all over me and I have to get! out! but he really helps me to stay on task.
And from this point, this is where it sat since about December 2014:
SO, given the timeline of this Spring Clean hop, here is where I’m at now! I finished painting, and reorganized my shelves so that I could have a shipping station and better storage for all my longarm stuff (and realized I have a bit of a template collection). Of course, it had gotten back to being messy first, so I had to clean that up, but here is the finished series:
It’s still not perfect or completely finished, but the biggest needs I had have been met, and I am really happy with the results. Thanks for checking it out! Here are the links on the blog hop, go and see other people’s befores and afters! I love seeing how other people have themselves set up.