Monday, October 6, 2014

Liberty Lawn Fabric Tests

I was asked by a couple friends to run some tests on Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabric to see how it reacts to washing and sewing. Watch this video to see how it went!


Danny

Friday, April 11, 2014

Angela Walters Classes: A Review

This past weekend, I had the rare opportunity to attend three classes on long arm quilting lead by the absolutely fantastic Angela Walters. Now I know you're thinking, “But Danny, you aren't a long arm quilter” and you would be correct. I don't have a long arm nor have I spent much time playing on long arm machines, but it is a skill I have been dying to learn and I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity like this one. (I'll leave my first experience with long arm quilting for another post.)

Also, these pictures were all taken on my IPhone. I wasn't about to lug a big camera with me to the classes! They were taken just to be a reference for me so I didn't worry about lighting or composition. This blog post wasn't planned until after the classes. If you dislike dark images, just pretend they aren't there! And I don't know which of the long arm samples are mine or Angela's. If you think it's absolutely amazing, it was probably hers!


I'll admit I was nervous for the first class. I had almost no experience with long arm quilting but somehow mustered the courage to throw myself into a room full of women who make quilting their career. I was pretty certain everyone was going to hate me since I would have a bunch of lame questions they surely already knew the answers to (“How do you quilt a feather?” Yup. I went there.) Obviously, as revealed by my presence, I was “ready” for the onslaught of hatred and murderous sideways glares because this was a class I was NOT going to miss. It's ANGELA-FREAKING-WALTERS! I knew I was going to waste precious class time because of my naivety. I knew I was throwing live bait into a shark tank. But I was strong! I was confident! (And I drug Alyssa {Pile O' Fabric} along with me as a shield, I mean, for moral support!)



Much to my chagrin, the class participants were kind, welcoming. They were excited to have someone as green as I am join their ranks, and shared an overwhelming amount of advice and information on the ins-and-outs of long arm quilting with me. I think the largest class of the three days contained 12 students so I had an ample opportunity to stroll around and chat with each and every one of them. (Go ahead. Pretend you're shocked that I spoke to EVERYONE.) I won't go into too much detail regarding who I met or what we discussed. The point I'm trying to make is everyone was super friendly, more so than I ever could have hoped for. The positive energy and creativity flowing from the group was permeating and I left each day 100% exhausted, yet riddled with the uncontrollable urge to speed home so I could quilt!



Angela was awesome, and I say that in the sense that she was truly awe-worthy and not in the way a teenager haphazardly throws around this adjective, diminishing its power. It was obvious quilting is her passion and her energy (albeit fueled by a couple Redbulls and a Starbucks latte) was invigorating, helping to keep us all on point even after our post-lunch sugar crash! She told jokes often and altered the pace of the class to be sure none of us had missed a thing. She was very cognizant of our needs as students, and made sure to check our understanding of a topic before moving on to the next. She even took time to discuss how certain motifs and designs would be quilted using a domestic sewing machine (DSM) because SOMEONE in the class didn't own a long arm. :) The class structure was conducive to learning, running in a series of segments including lecture and visual, when she would draw the design and its variants on the white board, application, when Angela would stitch the design on the long arm, and practice, which gave us the opportunity to attempt the design she taught. Even though there was only one machine set up in the classroom (it had two heads), we all got the chance to stitch and ask questions. I was unsure leading up to this class how it would be managed, but I was excited to see how flawlessly it ran.

When I walked in to the Creative Space (where the event took place), Angela was standing around talking to some of the other ladies in the class. I recognized her from her Handi Quilter ads and other little quilting-themed haunts online, but had never met her in person. And even though we had never met, Angela greeted me with a huge smile and a hug. It completely set me at ease and tore away some of the barrier I had imagined between us, her being a quilting superstar and me being a lowly peon who doesn't even own a long arm quilting machine. During the class, she kept reiterating that no quilting is perfect and discouraged us from trying to attain that impossible standard. I really wish I had recorded some of her Angela-isms so I could perfectly recall the words. I remember something like, “Deciding to become a perfect quilter is like deciding you don't want to breathe any more. All the practice in the world isn't going to make you stop breathing, and all the practice in the world quilting isn't going to make you perfect.” It was something like that, though probably much more eloquent and lined with humor. Regardless, she made quilting attainable. She made it personal. She made it fun. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from her, I highly recommend you do so. She has three (going to be four in the next couple weeks) classes available on Craftsy, which I think you should all take full advantage of if you were unable to attend her classes.

So, I suppose you want to know about the classes themselves?


The first day of classes was dedicated to Dot-to-Dot Quilting. We learned about how to find points on the quilt to use as guidelines while quilting. These designs were predominantly angular, great for use in borders, squares, rectangles, and triangles; basically any defined, modular space. I hear all the time about quilters who struggle with quilt top designs and fabric selections specifically for men, but because I've never made a quilt specifically for a man, I've not run into the struggles associated with creating less flowery, more manly designs. These quilting designs, made using a variety of straight lines, would be PERFECT to add a masculine touch to a quilt. Brent is always talking about how he wants me to make him a quilt, but that I need to leave my “swirly whirly junk” out of it. Now I know how!


Swirly whirly junk



For this class in particular, Angela mentioned that we should consider using rulers to keep our lines nice and straight. I was struggling to make straight, diagonal lines using the Gammill Vision. I'm not going to lie: I felt a little more proud of my lines after seeing a dozen other women struggle with the diagonal lines too! I'm not usually one to compare myself to others, comparison is the thief of joy and all that, but when I'm learning a new technique, I want to make sure I am doing it correctly.


The second day of classes was dedicated to Negative Space, the class I was most amped about after registration. The designs were meant to add texture and depth and interest to a quilt, filling in the negative space. Something I love about Angela's quilting designs is how they vary in every quilt. She doesn't typically do an all-over design. She does a little bit of this over here, then a little bit of that over there, and she'll add in a little twist of another in between, just for good measure. Her quilts are dynamic. They have great movement and it is the negative space quilting that gives that aesthetic, or so I think.


We started with basics, learning the value of the back and forth line (which she will sometimes use a ruler for) and moved into a diverse mix of modular and curvy designs. We learned to create offset squares and merged lines, then how to create ogee and pea pod/pebble patterns across the quilt. She brought small samples of each for us to see and feel. Tangent: I have a new found love for Art Gallery Fabrics. She brought a few completed quilts made entirely of Art Gallery Fabrics, which is the manufacturer she designs fabric for (I know. Jack-of-all-trades!) I am a tactile person. I love touching things, especially when I'm not supposed to! I'm the girl the white-gloved ladies watch out of the corner of their eye while at a quilt show. Many times I hold my hands behind my back just so I don't accidentally jump out and rip the quilt off the wall, snuggle into it, and rub my cheeks across it. Yeah. I'm that girl. Angela's quilts were so smooth and cool. They had a nice loft, which I know is batting, but the surface itself was just magnificent. I really want to go buy some yardage of Art Gallery just to play with because it feels so amazing! End Tangent. If you want to see some of the designs we learned in this class, Google her Quilt Market wall quilt for Legacy. It was full of the designs we learned in this class, in particular.


The last day of classes was dedicated to moving beyond feathers, although we spent the first half of class talking about feathers in general! In this class, I learned about scrolls, swirls, and a ridiculously confusing rope design that I couldn't master to save my life! In every class, Angela talked about turning corners with the designs since we all quilt borders at one time or another. Again, could not do the rope border or motif for the life of me, but I was able to manage the others.



Over the whole series of classes, Angela showed not just the designs, but also their variations, demonstrating how each design is versatile and how they can be used in different areas of the quilt. Her expansive knowledge of long-arm quilting was mind blowing. She knows how to quilt anything! (Well, except for hearts. It's nice to know she struggles with SOMETHING in the quilting realm! She's so super amazing!)


Here are some general tips Angela shared during the classes regarding quilting:

- Practice, practice, practice!
- Work in different directions. You can't reposition a quilt on a long-arm for directional quilting. Practice your designs in every direction so you can be confident when quilting them.
- Use a thread color that matches the quilt top. That way, your quilting gives texture but doesn't detract from quilt, especially if you make a mistake.
- If you make a mistake, do it a few more times on the quilt so it doesn't look out of place!
- Echo your quilting. Echoing can set quilting apart so it doesn't all blend together and it can help you get to where you want to go on your top. End in the wrong place? Echo back to where you need to be to start your next design.
- Quilt where you are. Don't leave a section of your quilt until it is all quilted.
- When you are practicing your designs with pen and paper, always draw a square first and doodle inside. This will help you learn what to do when you get to edges and corners.
- Use elements of the quilt, like quilt blocks, to help keep you on track. No need to mark on your quilt.
- Search Google and Pinterest for straight line drawing and rod iron work for quilting inspiration.

I know it is going to be years before I can afford a long arm but I feel the skills I learned from this class are invaluable. I'm going to practice constantly on my DSM and hopefully, when that illustrious day comes and I am the proud, new owner of a long arm machine, I won't have to take a year to learn how to use it. It was a pleasure to meet Angela. I love her personality and teaching style! There was a rumor swimming about that she may be back later this year to teach more, and if she comes, I will SO be there!

You can find Angela Walters online at:

Website
http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com/
Blog
http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com/homepage-test/my-blog/
Business of Machine Quilting Blog
http://thebusinessofmachinequilting.com/
Craftsy
http://www.craftsy.com/instructors/angela-walters
Amazon (She has a new book coming out soon!)
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=angela+walters+quilting&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=33844294915&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1659619331072161092&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_3l2i5bgf3i_b





Danny

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I realize I haven't updated you on the status of my family. On 9 January, we welcomed our new little girl into the world! Meet Lily Noelle.


This is our little Valentine picture for you!

She is now a month old and I can't believe how fast the time has gone!


My labor and delivery was horrendous. I won't get into too many details, but for my safety (and the baby's) we won't be having any more children, making Lily even more special to us (as if she wasn't already the most precious gift ever imagined!)


There is a lot of good news though. I have a healthy little lady. I healed very quickly. SHE SLEEPS 6-8 HOURS EVERY NIGHT!!!

Yes. You read that correctly. We use a method called Baby Wise and it is phenomenal. I highly recommend everyone who will be having a child to look up the book and read it.


For now, we are just making it through our days. Learning how to live with each other. We are finding a schedule that works for us all, which is so helpful, especially when there is another little child in the mix.


Maze has been amazing during our transition time. She loves Lily tremendously and I couldn't be happier! She gives her kisses and "soft hugs" and likes to rub her head. We have to watch Maze because she doesn't quite know her own strength, but thankfully all her feelings toward HER Lily have been affectionate.


So, I'll still be around. I'll still be sewing and doing fun things with my kiddos, and I'll still be sharing with you all here.

Thank you all for your well wishes and positive thoughts. I appreciate you all more than you know!


Danny

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Just an update

Blogging has become so daunting for me over the past few months, but I wish it hadn't. I really do love to write, and I love to share with all of you. This will be just a short post as I have actually found a few minutes between errands that aren't dedicated to playing dress-up or getting toddler snacks prepared.

I've just been missing you all, and I want you to know I'm alive.


Most of my blogging efforts have been going into Stash Bee. Sign-ups ran through November and we have officially begun our 2014 year as of 1 January. We have 12 hives of 11 bees this year and I cannot wait to see what everyone has in store! I have chosen this block for my hive mates to make:


I've done some moderate purging of my fabric stash and reorganized my craft room to make more space for Mazer and soon-to-be-here Baby Lily. I love fabric, you all know that. But there is something so therapeutic about purging that which no longer suits me. I donated most of it to a local charity that makes quilts for people with cancer.






Christmas was good to us this year, as it always is. I cannot tell you how blessed I am to have such a wonderful and supportive husband. He spoiled me with some quilting necessities and we bought Maze a train table, which has been beaten loved immensely already!


I made Maze some letters for her wall…





And I've decided that this is the year to make her a quilt of her very own.


This one is a gift for Baby Lily from a friend of ours. Miss Maze saw it and immediately claimed it as her own! I know she won't give it up easily, so I am going to make her a very special quilt she can call her own. I have been hoarding some FFA1, 2, and 3 prints from Heather Ross, as well as some other fairy tale prints that I am going to incorporate into a big girl, twin sized quilt for her. We have framed all the Heather Ross Prints book prints on her wall, so I thought it would be only fitting to carry on the motif to her bed.

And yes. I'm STILL pregnant.


The {short} story there: My first ultrasound showed my due date as 11 January. My second and third ultrasounds (and two different doctors) showed my due date as 4 January. Based on my period, my due date should have been 4 January. And then there was the AWFUL NURSE who told me my due date should be 16 January! I'm lost. My normal doctor has been out of town. I have no idea when this baby is coming. I'm just assuming that within the next couple weeks, I will have a new little baby in the house. I have been having Braxton Hicks, lasting days (and nights). I'm well within the whole 5-1-1 (Every five minutes, one contraction, for one hour) but I know they aren't strong enough to induce active labor. So I've been waiting. Uncomfortably. In happier news, since the baby isn't here yet, I get to keep my hair appointment today, so that's something great! I NEED a haircut. I'm rocking a full blown mullet at the moment.

And finally, a few finished quilt tops I don't think I ever shared, probably because I'm waiting to actually quilt these beauties. But, just to prove I still sew occasionally:










Not too shabby, right?

I hope your head isn't spinning from my whiplash update.

So what does 2014 look like for Danny?

I'm going to learn cross stitch. I've joined the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Once Upon a Time Sampler.

I'm going to become long-arm certified. Brent is paying for me to take classes and become certified as my birthday/wedding anniversary gift this year! (Hence all the unfinished quilt tops. I'm saving up.)

I've joined the Pile O Fabric Skill Builder BOM.

I'm running Stash Bee and the PHXMQG Vitamin D Bee again this year.

I joined the Economy Block Along on IG and Flickr.


I am trading some squares with a friend so I can have lots of different prints. This is going to be my easy-going, as-I-have-time project for the year. I always like having those.

Oh yes, and I plan to finish a few WIPs I've been avoiding!

Thank you all for your continued love and support. I try to read up on all of you when I can! IG is the easiest platform for me lately, so if you are on there, add me! My username is dheyen.

Can't wait to see what you all have in store for 2014!


Danny

Friday, December 6, 2013

Juki HZL-F600 and Juki TL-2010Q Sewing Machine Reviews

I get countless emails asking me about whatever happened to Vera (my awful Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 835 sewing machine). Today I would like to address what has happened since I posted about Vera and which machines I ended up with. This will be a long, but hopefully informative, post.

To read the initial letter sent to Husqvarna Viking regarding the machine, click here.

To read the response to the letter sent to Husqvarna Viking, click here.

In the response post, you will read that I purchased a Juki TL-2010Q. Originally, I wasn't going to post a full review of this machine since so many other bloggers have already done the same. But, now that I have answered questions from dozens of other sewists out there looking for a decent sewing machine, I decided to go ahead and post about it here.

Monster - Juki TL-2010Q

Juki TL-2010Q

I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q (who has not been officially named yet, but has been lovingly referred to as "Monster" in my house) the first week of January 2013. Initially I had a few problems with the tension, not because there was anything wrong with the machine, but because setting the tension on the Monster is much different than setting the tension had been with Vera. As always, I keep my manual close at hand when sewing and referred to it often in those early days. My friends Cristy (Purple Daisies LLC and Sew Much Like Mom) and Alyssa (Pile O' Fabric) both have this machine and helped me understand how it works. If I ever had an issue, I called one of them. Isn't it nice to have such knowledgeable friends?! Honestly, I didn't have many issues then and still haven't encountered many almost a year later. This machine is just great.

The 2010Q is a true workhorse. The solid metal frame and casing means this machine has top notch parts not susceptible to heat or friction related warping. The straight stitch only design keeps the needle stationary, avoiding any needle placement/timing related issues. I really love that it is built to hold cones of thread rather than just tiny spools that feed sideways through the machine. And if you need to use a thread that may be more slippery than a traditional poly or cotton, the 2010Q manual draws out how to feed the thread through the thread intake to decrease the chances of the machine coming unthreaded.

There aren't as many bells and whistles on this machine as there are on some others, but the features that come with this machine are the best. There is an easy-to-use speed control lever ranging from tortoise to hare located on the front of the machine, making it convenient to change the speed of stitching mid-project. There is a large reverse lever for quick back-stitches as well as a knee-lift for quick turns. The machine has a needle threader which threads from the side, not unlike a long arm machine (did I mention this can be a mid-arm when placed on a frame?) taking the stress and anxiety off of having to re-thread a minuscule needle eye. The automatic cutter can be used by either pressing a button on the front of the machine, or kicking the heel of the foot pedal. Also, the thread cutter draws both threads to the back of your work, super handy when you don't want threads on the front. If you're lazy and don't like to pull the bobbin thread up before starting to stitch again, you can begin stitching immediately after using the cut function. Just know sometimes the needle will come unthreaded when you sew this way. The table this machine comes with is large and accommodating for piecing and quilting. And even though the bobbin is placed underneath the machine, the table offers a trap door making changing the bobbin with the table on the machine a breeze.
Juki TL-2010Q

This machine came with a walking foot. The first time I used the walking foot, I loosely quilted a queen size flannel quilt. The foot clicked and clacked and really just made it clear that it wasn't going to do a great job on the quilting. I managed to press through, quilting the entire quilt with the same foot. The quilt turned out fine; no tucks, tension issues or skipped stitches, but still the foot had been SO LOUD. I contacted the store I bought the machine from.

The store employees had not heard of the problems I was (or perceived) having with this particular walking foot, but ever the customer service based company, they replaced the walking foot, free of charge. A few months later, I used the new walking foot to quilt another straight line quilt, this one for someone's wedding day. I wanted it to come out perfectly, and it did, but not without more clicking, more clacking, and more paranoia from me. I called the store back to discuss the foot, only to find that the particular foot I had was very expensive, more than $100 on average. They, as well as I, were flabbergasted. Surely I was doing something wrong. If I'm being completely honest, I don't straight line quilt on this machine very often, or at all. I really like FMQing so I typically do that when finishing a quilt. Cristy lent me a couple other walking feet to try on the machine, but since I don't make many things that require a walking foot, I haven't had the chance to use them yet. I called another local Juki dealer to ask about the foot, and they were as puzzled as I was. They said I should make sure my foot pressure is high while using my walking foot. I don't remember what I had the pressure set to when I quilted these quilts. SO, this is my way of saying the walking foot that comes with the machine is supposed to be good (and costly) but I haven't had great luck with it. I need to tweak my technique before I can give an accurate review of this particular foot. But, since you don't need a walking foot for quilting, I'm not sure how detrimental this will be. Maybe if I were a bag maker, a shoddy walking foot would be a bigger problem.

Juki TL-2010Q

Juki TL-2010Q

The machine is sturdy, never scooting around my tabletop even when I have the pedal-to-the-metal on full "hare" speed. It's a great machine. Amazing. Fantastic. I would recommend this machine to anybody. AND I HAVE!

So then I was left with an amazing straight-stitch machine and Vera. Freaking awful Vera. I thought it would be okay to keep the Viking around for those times I needed specialty stitches, like zig zag or button hole, but she couldn't even handle those. At best, Vera had become a giant dust collector in my craft room.

Big Butt Hazel - Juki HZL-F600

Juki HZL-F600

Fast forward to May 2013. I still had not been able to create a consistent stitch with Vera. I had, however, still been able to churn out some impressive amounts of commission projects and quilts, buffering my craft budget enough that I could buy a new machine. I hemmed and hawed for a while, claiming I was completely satisfied only owning a giant, Vera-shaped doorstop and an amazing Juki TL-2010Q. But my husband heard me from my craft room. He heard the screaming, the frustration, the hate-filled words that spewed from my mouth and onto Vera's stupid, plastic face. He couldn't stand it any longer and so, set up a babysitter so we could go machine shopping.

I did some research online before venturing out into the claws of sewing machine salesmen. I knew the features I was looking for. The price I was willing to pay. I came prepared with a giant bag full of projects and no time limit. (I am a salesman's worst nightmare, I assure you.) I tried out many machines from many manufacturers. I stitched and quilted for HOURS, taking the time to work on some projects and giving each machine a real workout to determine how well it would hold up under pressure. Eventually, I found myself coming back to a Janome my friend had recommended to me. It fit my price point and had a stellar recommendation, but it still didn't quite feel right. I made up my mind to leave the shop and sleep on it for a few days.

Then, realizing they may lose a sale and grasping at straws, the saleswoman asked me how I felt about Juki.

Juki? I LOVE my Juki.

After all shock had worn off that I had even heard of Juki and a 10 minute vacation to the back room, she emerged with the Juki HZL-F600. Having never heard of this machine, I was hesitant, but wanted to give it a fair try, especially considering the company had earned my respect by making such an amazing 2010Q. As I pulled out another project, my husband began frantically bashing his fingers into his iPhone screen, searching for any and all reviews he could find on the machine. Turns out, there weren't very many out there, giving him pause over whether we should even consider this machine. After all, we couldn't find reviews for Vera either and look how that turned out.

Juki HZL-F600

Sitting there in that tiny machine shop, sitting on the too small chair and stitching in a too small area, I fell in love. Fell in love with the fact that the same great features I adored in my 2010Q had been transferred to this computerized machine; the knee-lift, the table, the cutter, the speed control. I fell in love with the sound it made as it whirred through button-holes and zigzag stitches, the sound it made when it performed the basic functions it was meant to perform. I fell in love with the storage it offered, both on the machine and on the case. It was sturdy and it never faltered once during my hour or two sewing session. I knew this was the machine I wanted.

Juki HZL-F600

The local shop I purchased from is fantastic. They are interested in pleasing their customers and worked with me on the price. My husband had found the machine online for a much lower price than they were asking, but I like to support my local economy and so asked the owner of the shop if he would match the price. I would pay cash. Satisfied with that deal, he asked for $50 more than the online price, which I wasn't going to argue. I also discussed with him my dilemma with Vera:

I had the machine and all the parts but it was a terrible machine. I didn't feel right selling it to someone on Craigslist or eBay. I couldn't, in good conscience, sell that awful machine to someone who thought they were getting a smoking deal. I just couldn't. I wouldn't. But trading into a machine shop toward a new machine would both give me a small return for my troubles through the years and still keep me away from any moral dilemma. If they chose to fix and resell the machine, at least they could offer customer support. Or they could scrap her for parts. I didn't care.

The owner offered me a more than fair amount for trade-in on Vera, saving me from that monstrosity once and for all. I cannot even tell you the relief I felt when I handed her over to the saleswoman! I was finally free! After a quick ride to the bank, I came back to find a brand new (not even the one they opened for me to play with) Juki HZL-F600 sitting, waiting for me. Again, I love this shop.

I have had the machine about seven months now with no problems. She sews brilliantly. Her name, Big Butt Hazel, comes from the fact that she has a very wide base, mostly due to her computer. I mostly just call her Hazel though. No need to cause a complexion!

I bounce back and forth between these two machines, sewing about 20 hours each week on each of them. They perform different tasks for me and both are staples in my craft room. Hazel usually accompanies me to guild meetings and sewing play dates since she's lighter than the 2010Q, while the 2010Q is my sole quilting machine. Hazel actually has some great quilting capabilities too, but I choose not to use them. Hazel is used for all alterations. She has a tiny free-arm. The 2010Q is used for most of my piecing.

Hazel is a self-lubricating machine (as are most computerized machines). I make sure to run her at least once per week to keep all her joints moving smoothly. The Monster 2010Q gets oiled about once per month (as needed). The manual includes detailed directions on how to oil the machine (made even easier by holes in the casing specially designed for oil) and also includes your first bottle of machine oil. Right now, I keep the hard case on Hazel when she's not in use, but I don't use the soft case that came with the 2010Q. I keep meaning to make a sewing machine cover for him, but it just hasn't happened yet. It's on my to-do list, I guess.

So there you have it: my reviews of my sewing machines. If you have any questions regarding these machines, please do not hesitate to ask. I would love to share my knowledge so everyone can make a more educated decision when purchasing their sewing machines.

The last bit of advice I will leave you: a sewing machine is an investment. Save up until you can afford the machine you really want. Don't settle for the machine that might work for now.

Danny

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Skill Builder BOM from Alyssa at Pile O' Fabric

I have some very exciting news: Pile O' Fabric's new Skill Builder BOM is live!

Most BOMs and skill builders leave you with some new technique/skill, but also with a stack of blocks that don't match and just scream "SAMPLER" when pieced together into a quilt top. Alyssa's Skill Builder BOM is different, offering not only great techniques you may never have heard of before, but also a cohesive design any sewist can be proud of creating; not like some other sampler quilts which end up lining dog beds or being used for outdoor-only activities. Oh wait, is that just me?? Right... moving on then.

This Skill Builder BOM is also quilt as you go (QAYG). Alyssa will teach FMQ each month along with the block construction taking much of the stress out of FMQing. I personally LOVE FMQ and am looking forward to honing my skills and learning new designs. Plus, it's so much easier to FMQ on small blocks than it is to tackle large quilts on your domestic machine.


I'm a realist. I know my time is precious and between Stash Bee and PHXMQG Vitamin D Bee and actually wanting to do some sewing myself and being a mother and wife, it's difficult to take on anything new. This, however, is one program I am going to make time for. I love to learn, especially when it comes to my craft. I spend so much time quilting, it's only natural for me to want to master existing skills and learn to stretch myself, creatively. I hope you will join me. I chose not to participate last year and feel I missed out on something great, not just the skills, but the community that comes with sewing alongside other creators.

I have already joined and tried out the new Pile O' Fabric Sewing Room interface. The Sewing Room is a class section of the Pile O' Fabric site that offers a gathering place for all the lectures, discussion, and students of the Pile O' Fabric classes. So far, it's been user-friendly and I was even able to link it with my Facebook account, making it even easier to share my profile picture and sign-in.

Now for the hard part: choosing my colors for this year's quilt!

Danny
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