Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Trees, Trees, and More Trees! My Winter Woods Quilt

Winter Woods Quilt

I finished a quilt! Recently I was tasked to create a block tutorial for the Craftsy quilting blog. I wanted to try to make a Christmas tree block from just my scraps. I shared my first four blocks on Instagram, which I put together at a quilting retreat with my guild in November.

The block will be a free tutorial on Craftsy in December (I'll update this post with the link)!

That weekend I "finished the top," but then I got home and decided to make it about 50% bigger. My original quilt top was only 4 rows and they were about 2/3 the width of the current rows.

Winter Woods Quilt

I'm so happy with how it turned out! The trees are almost all scraps from the massic fabric scrap pile at my quilt guild retreat. I think that I was most inspired by colors I don't normally quilt with (like purple) and definitely by the fabrics I didn't purchase (meaning I haven't been staring at them for years and years, like my own scraps)!

Winter Woods Quilt

I quilted with wavy lines using my Digital Dual-Feed Foot on the Baby Lock Destiny II, to get through all the thick layers. It worked like clockwork.

Inside I used Warm & White batting (so it wouldn't show through the white fabric top), white Madeira polyester thread, and on the back I used a thick and snuggly blue Cuddle fabric.

Winter Woods Quilt

The Cuddle makes it so warm, and I'm obsessed. I did have some tension problems when I tried to free-motion quilt through all the layers, but I think it was a happy accident, because I'm really happy with how the quilting turned out using a walking foot.

Winter Woods Quilt

Elliot is going to be 4 this winter, and he is my best snuggler.

Winter Woods Quilt

If you'd like to know how I put this quilt together, let me know and I can update you with a tutorial! It was not quite improv pieced, and not paper pieced, but I think my method worked really well for using scraps and giving the feel of a random layout with uniform trees in two sizes.


Monday, July 10, 2017

These are My People: Baby Lock Common Threads

 Baby Lock Common Threads 2017

This is my team.

I've never played team sports. It's probably why I got into crafting in the first place! But after 3 days at Baby Lock's headquarters for Common Threads, I'm happy and humbled and proud to say that these are my people. 

I love this group of brave, collaborative, creative individuals. From the staff at Tacony (Baby Lock's parent company) who put on this event each year to the attendees who share their stories and their time and talents to help others in need, I'm so thankful to count these guys as my friends and colleagues, each making a difference in the industry that we all love.

Day One

We arrived Wednesday afternoon in our cocktail attire (a simple black dress for me, and I brought flip-flops as backup shoes) for a meet-and-greet with the other attendees. It was the annual tradition of "speed dating" with other sewists as a way to network and ask questions with industry pros, like magazine editors, pattern designers and seasoned teachers. I just wish there had been more time to talk to everyone on both sides of the table!

Night One: The St. Louis Fashion Fund

We hopped on a bus and departed as a group for Saint Louis Fashion Fund, an incubator for fashion designers. We had dinner and got to tour the modern facility, with workrooms, gallery space and inspiration everywhere. It was so cool to see and touch the garments, and talk with the designers. 

St. Louis Fashion Fund

Here's an overhead view of the party from the balcony. Like, really, how did I end up at this swanky spot on a Wednesday night? I promise, I'm not that cool.

St. Louis Fashion Fund

Here's the workroom, a very open, inviting, collaborative space. Baby Lock machines were everywhere, of course.


Outside was a fashion truck. Like a food truck, without the food!
 Fashion Truck!

Inside the truck.... sewing swag. No one left empty handed!

Day Two: Sewing + Inspiration 


We started the day with a serger sewing class. Each person made a camisole to be donated to a breast cancer patient. Melissa taught the class, and I learned a lot about her personal connection to the charity.


Around lunchtime, we got to hear from a panel including Nancy Zieman, Mimi G Style, and Isabel Pastrana from Baby Lock. So many highlights.
  • I teared up during Nancy's story of her life and breaking into the industry against all odds (women didn't own their own businesses back then... look how far we've come)! 
  • Mimi G is a social media inspiration, and she highlighted the importance of being your true self, and also finding your unique niche. Don't just do what everyone else is doing.
  • Isabel spoke about diversity in the sewing industry, specifically in regards to Baby Lock's campaigns and how they are committed to making sure that everyone feels they have a place at the (sewing) table.
Everyone here was so generous in sharing their talents and insights. I left feeling inspired... but there was still more sewing to do!

We had a half-square triangles workshop with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co. Takeaway? You can make thousands of quilts with just pre-cuts and simple blocks, just switched up a little bit.

Dinner and open sew was that night, and I was able to use a multi-thread embroidery machine for the first time to personalize this teddy bear for my boy.

SAM_1389 Last Day!

The next morning, we had our last class, a pineapple applique tea towel, and wrapped up with "What We Learned" in a round-table session. Everyone shared, and it's a great way to tie a bow on what I'd say is the highlight of my year in sewing.

I left with so many ideas for not only things that I want to sew, but stories that I feel need to be told. Business ideas I want to implement. New projects to plan ahead for.

And there's never enough time. But someday, there will be time. And for the gift of time, to be able to ruminate on creative things with creative people for a few days, I am extremely thankful.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Creating Custom USB Drives for Business Cards

I recently returned from Common Threads, a Baby Lock sewing event in St. Louis, Missouri. It's my favorite event of the year (here are some of my thoughts from last year), and I'm excited to share more about it soon!

But first, how cool are these custom USB drives?

I ordered these from USB Memory Direct, and they have so many styles of flash drives to choose from. This is the Butterfly style, which keeps the USB tucked into a handsome leather loop with a metal keychain.

I selected a few files that I wanted to load onto the USBs to hand out in goodie bags at the Common Threads sewing event, like my digital patterns, a digital copy of my coloring book, and a review copy of my new t-shirt quilting book!

Loading the files couldn't have been easier. I simply e-mailed them to Chelsea at USB Memory Direct, who pre-loaded them onto all of the flash drives for me. Isn't technology amazing?

Photo via Heidi Stock

I think they felt right at home in the goodie bags for all of the attendees! My green USB is pictured in the top center of this awesome photo by Heidi.

Disclaimer: I received these custom USB drives for free in exchange for sharing an honest review. All opinions are my own, and no other compensation was received.

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