Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Quilting with the Baby Lock Tiara II

Hello! I hope you had a lovely holiday. I can't believe it's been so many weeks between my last post and today's update, but I wanted to share a little bit of excitement in and around my sewing room.

I recently welcomed a new Baby Lock Tiara II into my sewing studio! The Tiara is a seated longarm quilting machine that comes with its own table (I like to call it a midarm quilting machine). This baby is specifically for free-motion quilting. It does free-motion and nothing else, and this is specifically why it is a dream come true for me to own a Tiara.

If you are thinking about purchasing a machine specifically for free-motion quilting, here are my 5 favorite aspects of the Tiara II:

How Do I Love Thee, Tiara?

1. Large throat space, 16" wide and 8 1/4" tall!
2. Table included, which is also height-adjustable. Just set it up and start quilting!
3. LCD color touch screen makes it super-easy to adjust the speed and raise or lower the needle
4. Bright light-up workspace for quilting and an open-toe foot for great visibility (even in my low-light basement)
5. Extra-large bobbins need to be changed less often than regular bobbins. Score!

Despite all my best efforts, I've always struggled to wrangle large quilts (anything lap size or larger) on my sewing machine. In fact, I recently quilted this twin-size project on my Tiara (more details on this quilt in the spring!) in a few hours while my son was at Mom's Day Out. I used a large cone of grey Madeira thread, which worked great with my new midarm.

Compare that to a year ago, when I finished twin size and full-size quilts for a customer. I know they would have held up better over time had I free-motion quilted them, but I had to settled for stitch-in-the-ditch. I think half of the time was spent wrangling the machines and real-rolling them into some sort of thin burrito that would fit in my sewing machine's limited throat space.

This clamshell mini quilt is a project I quilted this December on my new Baby Lock Melody. I used each defined space as a chance to try out a different style of free-motion quilting, and I love how it came out! This mini quilt was a gift for Jenny, the president of my local Modern Quilt Guild, for our Christmas party. I was super lucky and was gifted a gorgeous baby quilt from Sharon that day.

I'm so excited about the creative possibilities that come with my new Baby Lock Tiara and my Melody! I hope to really branch out into some new free-motion quilting styles this year. Here are a few of my favorite things about the Baby Lock Melody:

Why I Love the Melody . . .

1. Top-loading bobbin with a clear case so you can see how much thread is left
2. Automatic needle threader is so easy to use!
3. Push-button thread cutter is super handy that I never want to be without it again. Also, needle up-down and reverse sewing happens with the touch of one button.
4. Quilting extension table for makes projects easier to manage

As some of you know, I blog every week over at the Craftsy quilting blog, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my recent tutorials over there! Each of these projects was sewn on my new Baby Lock machines, and at this point, I'm very well acquainted and am so happy to welcome them into my sewing life!

The next time you are shopping for a new machine, let me know if I can offer any advice or recommendations. I was first introduced to Baby Lock machines a few years ago when I attended Sewing Summit. After sewing on a wide variety of machines, I'm thrilled to sew exclusively on Baby Lock!

A New Year, a New Blog

Starting this month, I'll be sharing a monthly column on the Totally Stitchin' blog with handmade business advice. I'm also sharing one of my 2015 New Year's Re-sew-lutions alongside some of my sewing idols like Jenny Doan, Mary Fons and Nancy Zieman!

One thing I really appreciate about the Baby Lock brand is that no matter what your needs, there's a machine for you in your price range. I taught my good friend Melissa how to make her first quilt on a basic Baby Lock sewing machine. It didn't break the bank, but it has everything she needs to get started. When you are ready to move on to some more advanced features (or add a serger or longarm to your toolkit), there's a Baby Lock that's perfect for you. You don't have to be "Richie Rich" to have a great experience.

Do you sew (or have you sewn) on a Baby Lock machine? I'd love to hear what you think of yours!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lined Drawstring Bags + DIY Holiday Giveaway!

Looking for the Cultural Fusion Quilts blog hop? Click here!

Lined Drawstring Bags

Hello! I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. Ours was a very quiet holiday at home. After missing a family gathering because I came down with a bug, my husband had to work (from home) on Turkey Day. So, we did what any busy American family would do and bought a pre-cooked turkey at the grocery, and dinner was on the table about 10 minutes later. I love time savers!

Lined Drawstring Bags

I wanted to share these lined drawstring bags I whipped up over the past week. They are a custom order for a baby shower gift (toss a diaper and mini pack of wipes in each bag, and they are easy changing kits to toss in your purse when you're headed out).

Lined Drawstring Bags

All of the fabric is by Ann Kelle and Robert Kaufman. Isn't it cute?! To save myself from sewing my own drawstrings, I bought some braided cotton drawstring cord on eBay.

 DIY Holiday Giveaway


Since I don't have any more little bags to give away, how about these 3 copies of the new DIY Holiday magazine from Interweave? Inside, you'll find sewing, knitting, crochet and all kinds of winter crafting ideas for your inspiration! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

1 winner will take home all 3 copies, so you'll have a copy for you and two for some of your crafty friends. Giveaway open in U.S. only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

OLFA Anniversary Quilt, Craft Fail Book + a Giveaway!

Photo Courtesy of OLFA

I wanted to send you a glimpse of the OLFA 35th Anniversary quilt, which I had the privilege of making a block for.

Andrea, the talented quilter who put it together, blogged about her experience. You can visit her post to see my block and read the funny story I wrote about it with my submission card!

If you recall, I made a block based on my husband's interesting decision to use my rotary cutter for slicing into a frozen pizza. (No pizza cutter? Improvise!)

Well, wouldn't you know it . . .

My husband's devious ways are forever immortalized in a brand new book, CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong by Heather Mann. And I received my copy in today's mail!

The book is filled with all kinds of examples showing you what happens when crafts don't go as planned. I think we can all relate to this, and I love the idea of a community of crafters willing to own up to their failures just as much as the successes. It's real. Honest. Refreshing!


So, here's to us! All of us. Do you have any craft fails (or those you'd like to blame on your significant other) worth mentioning?

Leave me a comment with your biggest craft fail, and I'll let my hubby pick his favorite. I'll send one winner my extra copy of the CraftFail book!  

Winner will be chosen one week from the date of this post and entries open worldwide!

Congratulations to Ashley!

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