Monday, July 13, 2015

Tennessee Quilt: Welcome Home

Tenessee Quilt

I'm back with the sequel to my Indiana Quilt. Meet Tennessee!

Elliot and I took this quilt to an agricultural park this morning and had fun taking photos near the historic cabins. I've always loved the look of modern fabrics in a rustic setting.

Another fun thing about this photo shoot is that both of us were gross and sweaty from my Mommy Fit Camp workout class, which is possibly my favorite activity since moving to the volunteer state. Exercise was not a part of my life before we moved here. But the parks and neighborhoods are so beautiful, that they inspired me to get out in nature and buy a jogging stroller so the boy and I can enjoy our mornings working out together!

Tenessee Quilt

This idea behind this quilt was to create something meaningful that we could use at home, and I decided on a wall hanging for our entryway. I can't wait to get this back up on the wall so I can look at it every time I'm lugging in grocery bags and baby gear from the car.

Tenessee Quilt

I started this project last Thursday morning and finished the binding on Saturday. In my book, that classifies it as another quick and easy quilt project. It definitely helped that I'd tried the technique before.

Similar to my last state quilt, I used the book Scrappy Bits Applique by Shannon Brinkley for my raw edge fusible applique. I cheated a little this time and used a glue stick only for many of the fabrics, so I didn't have to run out and buy more Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II. It definitely works better with the fusible, so don't skip this step unless you must!

Tennessee Quilt

For the pattern, I found a printable state map, and enlarged it 380% in Adobe Acrobat, taping the 8 pages together. I free-motion quilted loops on the background fabric (Robert Kaufman Essex Linen) with my Baby Lock Tiara. I also stitched around each state and the letters in home. I satin stitched around the entire state border with white thread to create a nice finished edge.

If you peek real close at this photo, you can see the words "Nashville" I cut out from the Sweetwater fabric for Davidson county. Love it when things like that work out! I used fabrics from Ann Kelle, Carolyn Friedlander, Lizzy House, Cotton + Steel, and a few other favorites. The orange fabrics are a tribute to the University of Tennessee, though I went a bit more orange-red, because I just liked the fabrics so much better.

 Tenessee Quilt

I don't know if there will be any more state quilts in my future, but I'm now dying to use this method to make a world map like Shannon Brinkley's "Around the World" quilt!

So, if you made a "home" quilt... would you pick the place you currently live? Where you were born? Or someplace else? I'm interested to hear what reminds you the most of home, and why!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Indiana Quilt: This is Home

  Indiana Quilt

Indiana . . .

You're like a warm hug.

The Hoosier state. It's where I went to college and dedicated my twenties to making a home. Though I'm a Tennessean now (who grew up in Ohio), Indiana is the place I met some of my dearest friends. A place where questions were asked, and others got answered.

It's the place my husband and I met and got married. Where we bought our first house. On moving day two years ago, we said goodbye to that house, crying heavy tears for all the memories we left there. 

Indiana Quilt

And that is why making this quilt was good therapy for me.

Moving from Indiana to Nashville was a big deal. We really love it here, but we've never quite felt at home. Life is full of general goodness... good people, good music, and even more good places to eat.

And though it's unfair to compare, we still miss Indiana for all the sweet times there. We ate at the same chain restaurants all the time. There was nothing to do on the weekends. The weather was so bitter cold. But it's funny... I don't remember any of those things too much.

I mostly just remember laughing about all of those little things with friends. And the way we felt after arriving at our exit after a long road trip. "We're home!"

 Indiana Quilt

I'll make sure my son knows a little bit about Indiana life. The story of how his parents met, and the church there, and our community of friends. About the late nights at Deluxe Donuts, and that little 4-screen movie theater that let us in for free. How we'd always see a familiar face at Hacienda. That one, epic Black Friday Target shopping trip. Oh, and the Jo-Ann Fabrics that never had a line!

 Indiana Quilt

Because while my son is clearly from Tennessee, his roots are a bit deeper. He's got a few grandparents in the Midwest who love him deeply, and parents who spent over a decade digging the Indiana soil. (Figuratively, of course... I'm no gardener.)

In the spirit of being thankful and content for the current season of life, I'm looking forward to making a Tennessee version of this quilt. In it will be the scrappy bits of our new life in the south, and some shared stories around a different table. In the midst of appreciating our time in Indiana, I'm enjoying the process of making a home and some new memories here in Nashville.

 Indiana Quilt

Lots of memories with this guy, who turned 18 months old today!

Scrappy Bits Applique

This style of quilting was inspired by Shannon Brinkley's awesome book, Scrappy Bits Applique (Stash Books). She has an amazing "Around the World" map quilt that I'm dying to make, but I decided to start with just one state. Get her book for lots and lots of tips on achieving this style. It would have taken me months to figure this out on my own, but she makes it so easy. I started this quilt on Monday night and finished it Tuesday afternoon!

I found a printable state map, and enlarged it 380% to make my template. I used Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II for the fusible applique and placed the fabric scraps randomly within the state. I wanted them to look like counties, but didn't want it to be exact. Then, I quilted around each fabric square and added some free-motion rectangles in the background.

To form a border around the state, I cut bias tape 1/2" wide and pressed it in half to make it 1/4" wide. I stretched this around the curves of the state and stitched near the inside raw edge with a straight stitch. Then I covered my tracks and satin stitched over that to make a nice, smooth edge. This was a little more time consuming than just a satin stitch alone, but I knew that I wanted the border to stand out.

MQG Fabric Challenge

This quilt is part of the Modern Quilt Guild's Riley Blake fabric challenge. We were provided a fat eighth bundle of six "The Cottage Garden" prints by Amanda Herring. The challenge was to try something new (did it!) and only use Riley Blake fabrics.

Not usually a rule breaker, I was interested in using what I had from my stash, so I swapped in some Robert Kaufman Essex linen for the background fabric. Since this was destined for the wall, I also used no batting, but used some Shannon Cuddle fabric for the back.

Indiana Quilt 

Now, hanging in our living room. Next up... Tennessee!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Why I Love Common Threads

The first week in June, I spent 3 days in Fenton, Missouri at Baby Lock's headquarters for their Common Threads event.

I can't wait to tell you more about my time there! But first, a cute baby...

Common Threads

This adorable little gal belongs to another Lindsay. It was fun to see her squishy cheeks every day, since I was away from my own cuddly little guy.

 Common Threads

What is Common Threads?

Baby Lock invited a group of bloggers (me!), designers, visionaries and industry experts together for a few days of fun, networking and learning together. It was an incredible group of people, and I honestly wondered several times, "Am I in the right place?"

Bottom line: I am thankful and humbled to be among this group of fellow creatives to hear about their lives and passions, and try to take some of that home with me. Because "what I do for a living" crosses over into a lot of different worlds (writing blog posts and books, editing travel guides, writing marketing copy), I hope that I was able to teach and encourage others by adding my voice to the conversation.

The theme of Baby Lock is "For the love of sewing," and that's what I took away from the weekend. Whether you'd been sewing 2 years or 20 years, There was a definite spirit of being in this together, sharing in something we all love...sewing!

Common Threads

Sewing and Learning

I used a crazy awesome sewing machine, the Baby Lock Destiny. This thing shoots a laser to show you how to sew a straight line, which makes for easy topstitching and half-square triangles with no marking.

(It also has a touchscreen and full-color screensaver. Yeah, no biggie.)

Common Threads

With a little more practice, I bet I'd really get the hang of it! Luckily help was never far away, with the generous Baby Lock staff there to teach us. This was especially helpful on the sergers and long arm.

For our three hands-on sewing sessions, we spent time:

1. Sewing bow baskets with Kimberbell Designs
2. Serging skirts for charity with Simple Simon and Co. (more on that in a future post)
3. Long arm quilting with Amy Ellis

Knot Baskets

Here's Kelly, my road trip buddy, with her finished knot basket! Baby Lock set up all of our finished projects around the room on beautiful displays so we could be inspired all weekend.

All of the fabric we sewed with was donated for us to work amazing! Mind Your Mummy is pictured above. We also got to sew with Patty Young's Knits for Riley Blake and Amy Ellis's new collection for Moda.

Common Threads

Here's Jennifer Keltner, Publisher of Martingale and Co., trying her hand at the longarm.

I really loved hearing from Jennifer over the weekend about her vision for publishing, and the "magic" of a printed book, and how different that is from magazines or other formats. A book, she explains, holds the hopes and dreams of the projects you want to sew, and although some people collect magazines with the same fervor, there's something special about a sewing book that you love and having it in your hands.

Jina Barney, Design Director of Riley Blake, was equally passionate about the way she discussed fabric, and the hard work and love that is poured into making it. I was looking forward to hearing more about how she founded her company, but time ran out on us!

Common Threads

Eating Together and Hanging Out

The staff at Baby Lock was so welcoming to us the whole weekend, which began with a tour of the offices and warehouse, followed by dinner and mini cupcakes! It was so awesome to be able to eat all of our meals onsite, and I ended up chatting with someone different just about every time.


Among the attendees (clockwise from top left): Liz and Liz, Kate and Dana, Amy, Mary and Marianne, Heather, and our amazing family at Baby Lock

Common Threads

Networking (But in the Nicest Possible Way)

I loved the activity we did on Thursday morning. It was called "Getting to Know You," and was a cool way to get just enough time to chat with industry professionals (book and magazine editors, video personalities, celebrated teachers, company founders). Similar to speed dating, we'd each take a turn chatting it up with someone until the bell rang, and then it was time to move along.

Although it sounds like it could be a little intimidating, I really enjoyed it and found that everyone who is further along than me was so willing to share their advice. I just wanted to soak it all in!

We also played a fun game called "Name that Notion" and I realized that I am way behind the times. I didn't know hardly any of the answers, so I volunteered to be Vanna for my team and write the answers on the board. The best surprise... everybody won a bag of fun sewing tools!

For the swag bags, each attendee got the chance to donate an item (45 of them) to go in each of the bags. I shared my fabric button earrings, and it was super fun to look through my bag and get to take home a little something from everyone's world.

How about those cupcakes? You can check out more photos of the Baby Lock Common Threads 2015 event on my Flickr.

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