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Top Tips for Sewing with Oilcoth

Top Tips for Sewing with Oilcloth

So I know what you’re thinking…this blog is called “Kustom Kwilts”…what gives with the oilcloth?

There are so many skills in sewing and quilting that can be transferred to other things-garments, bags, household and decor items.  If you can sew a straight line, there are so many other amazing things you could be creating if you’re willing to do a little exploring.  I just released my new Mamacita Tote pattern, which is a perfect fit for using quilting cotton AND alternative fabrics!  The pattern suggests using oilcloth for the lining, and I don’t want to leave you hanging on how to do that (you can also use quilting cotton).  I love to quilt, but I also adore sewing clothing and bags.  I hope I can share some of that love with you!

Mamacita Tote in Quilting Cotton
Mamacita Tote in Quilting Cotton

What do I mean by alternative fabrics??  I’m talking about vinyl, leather, faux leather, and one of my personal favorites, OILCLOTH.  I’d love it if you were willing to read on and open yourself up to some great new possibilities for yourself!

Some of my favorite oilcloth prints
Some of my favorite oilcloth prints 🙂

Let me break it down for you:  A lot of the things you need to know about oilcloth also goes for other vinyl fabrics and faux leathers.  Here are some things you need to know before buying your first yard of oilcloth–

  • It’s water resistant/doesn’t absorb water.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive.
  •  It is super-duper easy to clean.  All you need is a wet paper towel and you can wipe off pretty much anything.
  •  It doesn’t fray.
  •  It’s more stable than quilting cotton, so most of the time it doesn’t need extra interfacing when used in bags.
  • When you use it as a purse lining, it wipes clean and is SO easy to maintain!

    Mamacita Tote with an Oilcloth lining
    Mamacita Tote with an Oilcloth lining

I’m sure I’m leaving a few important things out, but these things alone are pretty fantastic.  There are some things you’ll want to know about sewing with oilcloth and what you want to do a little differently than if you were sewing with regular quilting cotton.

Here are my Top Tips for sewing with OILCLOTH~

  • Don’t ever use an iron to get the wrinkles out!  You will melt the fabric, and more than likely ruin your iron.  I like to either use a blow dryer on low heat to relax wrinkles , or lay the fabric out in the sun on a flat surface for a few hours (I live in Texas, so sometimes it doesn’t take long!)
  • The holes your needle makes in the fabric are permanent.  That means you want to use a longer stitch length (somewhere around 3.5) so you have less perforations in the fabric.  If you’re using a teeny tiny stitch length, your needle is making a ton of holes that’s making your fabric weaker.
  • Don’t use sewing pins!  The holes they make will be permanent.  When securing oilcloth, use clips instead of pins.

    Pins and oilcloth are a big No-No!
    Pins and oilcloth are a big No-No!  Don’t do it!
  • Use a Teflon or non-stick sewing foot to help the oilcloth slide under your foot with ease.  If you don’t have a Teflon foot, you can also stick a piece of satin scotch tape under your sewing foot, and that will help ease the fabric instead of sticking to it.  You can also use tissue paper between the presser foot and the oilcloth, then tear it away when you’re done.
  • Since oilcloth is a little thicker than cotton, try using a slightly larger needle, like one suited for leather or denim.  If you try a smaller needle and it works okay for you, stick with it–because that means the holes the needle makes will be smaller :).

I buy all of my oilcloth at Jack’s Country Store (not an affiliate link).  It seems like an unlikely place to get it, but it’s a pretty fun site, and they have tons of options and cheap shipping.  Are you ready to try it?  Go ahead, be brave!  I have a total oilcloth addiction now, and it’s so easy to work with.  I’d love it if you gave it a go and shared with me how you used oilcloth in your next sewing project!  Happy sewing 🙂

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It’s finally here! The Mamacita Tote Pattern Release!!!

Mamacita Tote

Today is the official release day for the Mamacita Tote Pattern!  Hip hip hooray!!!  I’d love to tell you the story behind this pattern and why it’s so dear to me.

Mamacita Tote with Serape
Mamacita Tote with Serape

When I first started sewing, I loved to make things that were useful (that still applies today).  I love the feeling I get when I plan a project and sewing that last stitch, and the overwhelming feeling of pride I get when I know I made something that I love (or someone else will love).  I loved quilting, but I loved making bags even more.  I used to be an agriculture science teacher, so my purses were always getting filthy from being at stock shows and around livestock all the time.  I did some research on fabrics that were easy to clean, and I came across oilcloth.  Long story short, oilcloth is a wonderful fabric that doesn’t fray, wipes clean, and, in my experience, has a ridiculously long life.  So I’m going to show you my very first go at what evolved into today’s Mamacita Tote:

My very first oilcloth bag
My very first oilcloth bag

It isn’t exactly swoon worthy, but I loved it.  I used this bag for about a week before I realized the importance of interfacing and stabilizer in a bag this size, and made from all oilcloth.  It didn’t stand up on its own and was pretty floppy.  Also, when you sew with oilcloth, the holes made by the needle are permanent.  That means if you don’t lengthen your stitches, you’ll get lots of perforations that will weaken the fabric.  Hence, sewing the straps directly to the oilcloth where all the weight will be stressing the fabric = terrible idea.  I still have this bag in my sewing room and love to bring it out and see how far my design has come since January 2013.  That’s right.  This pattern has been FIVE YEARS in the making.

I needed a better way to attach the straps and I wanted a more stable, sturdy bag.  So another year of trying out different things and I came up with using large drapery grommets as the strap attachments.  I really loved this, but after I got a package of grommets from the manufacturer and they were all cracked from shipping, it was time to rethink using them.  I couldn’t risk having one break and then go through the hassle of replacing them all the time.  Quality supplies are my top priority.

The second generation Mamacita Loca bag
The second generation Mamacita Loca bag

I really like embroidering the vinyl or quilting it (or both!) and adding unique embellishments to make each bag unique.  Late in 2017, I have the absolute best version of this bag that I could dream of.  I’ve made over 200 of these bags, and even sell custom Mamacitas on Etsy.  They have an updated strap attachment that is stylish and functional, and I love the look of them.  I recently made my favorite Mamacita Tote EVER from Tula Pink’s latest line- De La Luna in quilting cotton.  Although I really like using oilcloth for the lining since it’s so easy to clean, I love the bright and vibrant colors in Tula’s line, so I’ll sacrifice the wipability for that, and just try really hard to keep my 1.5 year old from spilling her milk in it 😉

Mamacita Tote in De La Luna
Mamacita Tote in De La Luna

The Mamacita Tote has been my ultimate labor of love, and I know this pattern by heart.  I love that the lining keeps me organized with all the pockets, and that I can still be stylish or trendy with my fabrics.  Every time I make one, I remember how much I’ve grown as a sewist and how much I’ve learned from all my trial and error and fearlessness as a novel sewer.  I’d love to see your take on the Mamacita Tote and I hope you’ll share your creations with me (use the hashtag #mamacitatote or tag me @kustomkwilts) so I can see the amazing work you’ve done!

Embroidered Mamacita Totes
Embroidered Mamacita Totes
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Quilting Tips – How to plan your quilting designs

How to plan your Quilting

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you’re getting to enjoy family and friends and all the great festivities that the 4th brings!  In my neck of the woods, it’s hotter than Hades and we haven’t had a decent rain shower since March, so we may not be enjoying tons of fireworks this evening…we’re definitely praying for the little rain shower than is a minor possibility tonight.  Now lets talk quilting tips and how to tackle planning your quilting design!

I recently got to quilt an American Wave Quilt (pattern by Lisa Moore of Quilts with a Twist) for my mother-in-law and thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of my quilting tips for adding texture and movement to your quilt tops and planning your overall quilting design.  Even though I love bright colors and modern-traditional quilt designs, I have a great appreciation for traditional colors and patriotic quilts.  Some of the first quilts I made when I was learning to sew were with traditional, warm colors and American designs.  I’m using this quilt to talk about the 8 things I usually think about before I start quilting, but these tips can be applied to any quilt top.

My MIL didn’t follow the pattern exactly as shown below, but this is the original pattern, by Lisa Moore, pictured below.  If you’re interested in purchasing the pattern, you can grab a PDF copy at Quilts with a Twist (this is not an affiliate link, I’m just crediting the original designer in case you want to purchase the pattern).

American Wave Quilt Pattern
American Wave Quilt Pattern by Lisa Moore – Photo from Quilts with a Twist Pattern Page

Here are my top quilting tips for devising your quilting plan:

  1.  Consider the quilting as a design element of your quilt.
    When you get a quilt top completed that has so much work put into it–much as this one does–it’s important to consider the quilting as another design element and not an afterthought.  In my opinion, a basic meander or other edge to edge can take away from the overall impact of the quilt.Since our goal was to enhance the movement already present in the piecing, we decided to stitch in the ditch, quilt swirly waves, add some stars to go with the theme, and quilt piano keys on the striped fabric border.

    SID and swirly waves
    SID and swirly waves
  2. Examine the layout of the quilt and follow the lines in the quilt to enhance the design.This quilt design already shows lots of movement in the piecing.  I opted to stitch in the ditch on the waves and within the different fabric colors, I quilted swirly waves.  Another great quilting motif would have been to echo the wavy lines within the quilt to complement the already wavy lines.The red and white striped fabric wasn’t exactly stitched in the ditch (SID), since it was one piece of fabric and not pieced stripes, but I followed the lines of the colors and did a faux SID to make it appear that it was pieced.
  3. Consider thread color.
    I used three different thread colors on this quilt–red, cream, and blue.  I matched the thread colors to the fabrics I was quilting and changed them often.  This isn’t always necessary, but it’s important to consider before you stick with just one thread color for the entirety of the quilt.  If you want the quilting to really pop, then using just one of those colors–like cream would be a great idea.  The cream will blend into the cream colored fabrics, but contrast highly against the darker values of the red and blue.

    Blending thread
    Blending thread

    Ask yourself — Do I want my quilting to blend or POP?  If your goal is great subtle quilting, then select your thread colors to blend or melt into the fabric.  If your goal is high contrast quilting that will POP against your fabric, select thread colors that contrast with the fabric.
    Also, if you’re a beginning quilter, matching your thread colors to your fabric colors will help conceal any minor mistakes you might make.  This is a great confidence building technique to get you started on your quilting journey!

  4. What color is your backing?
    Some people prefer the quilting to blend into the backing, but in this case, the red and blue threads really pop on the cream colored muslin that was used for the backing.  It’s a good idea to think about your backing and what the quilting will look like on the back prior to starting quilting.

    Backing
    Backing
  5. Look at your borders (if there are borders).
    So there were two “borders” on this quilt top.  The outer border was a dark navy blue, and the inner border was the red and white striped fabric.  I quilted stars that connected to each other in navy blue thread on the outer border and the faux SID on the striped fabric.  It’s a little difficult to see because of the thread matching, but it’s there :).  Select quilting motifs that will complement your border designs.

    Border designs
    Border designs
  6. Think about the theme of the quilt.
    In this case, the theme is pretty straightforward.  It’s obviously a patriotic themed quilt, so think about designs that go with that theme.  Stars, stripes, waves, etc. would all be good choices to go with this quilt top.  maybe you have a quilt top that has cats on it, and the cats are made from triangles–you could quilt triangle motifs in the borders, or a ball of yarn, or little mice.  Stars probably wouldn’t be a good choice to go with a cat quilt, so you’d want to pick something in theme with the quilt top.
  7. Evaluate the purpose of the quilt. 
    This will help you decide the density of quilting that is appropriate and what type of batting you may want to use.  If it’s a quilt that’s going to be a wall hanging, you’d probably want to use a stiffer batting, or maybe double batt with a puffy top like wool.  If the quilt is intended to be used often, you might select a poly-cotton blend  or 100% cotton-something that would stand up to being washed and laundered frequently.The batting you select might also dictate how far apart the quilting can be.  If you buy packaged batting, it will usually tell you how far apart the quilting lines can be (example-up to 8″ apart).  Keep in mind the denser the quilting, the stiffer it will feel.  A looser quilted quilt will be softer and drape better than a heavily quilted one.
  8. Stitch in the ditch might be a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it.
    I’m a big fan of SID.  I haven’t ever quilted a quilt with stitch in the ditch and regretted it, but there have been instances where I didn’t do it and wished I had.  It gives the overall quilt a more finished look (in my opinion), and a very polished look.

    SID detail
    SID detail

    The overall idea is to think of your quilting plan and how it will affect the overall impact of your finished quilt.  These 8 tips are small things you can consider that will really impact your finished quilt.  I hope these tips are helpful in planning your next quilting project!  Have a safe and happy 4th, and happy quilting 🙂

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Wonky Logs Quilt Release!

Wonky Logs Quilt

Who loves free quilt patterns??  I do!  Today is the release day for the Wonky Logs Quilt Pattern (if you subscribe to my newsletter, you got access early!), and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Wonky Logs Quilt Pattern
Wonky Logs Quilt Pattern

I don’t know about you, but when I started sewing a few years ago, I had absolutely zero intention of ever making clothing.  The thought of doing so actually made me break out into a cold sweat.  (I promise I’m getting to the quilt–hang in there for just a hot minute!)  I can still remember sitting on my mom and dad’s bed, worrying over a dress pattern that my mom desperately wanted to make for me.  We (I say we, but I was mostly there for moral support 😉 had managed to cut the pattern pieces out of the flimsy tissue paper, and pinned it to the fabric that was destined to be the dress.  I honestly can’t recall what happened after that, but I don’t think were able to finish it.  I remember the feeling of frustration and not understanding the horribly written pattern that was intended for beginners.  It was even more frustrating because my Mamaw was an excellent seamstress, and my mom didn’t inherit those skills, or really want to.  Her calling is gardening and home making, and she does it all perfectly.  My point in telling you this story is that it left me with a bad taste in my mouth for sewing.  I didn’t attempt any kind of sewing related feat, with the exception of cross stitch, for the next 20 years.

Some angled straight line quilting on my Wonky Logs Quilt
Some angled straight line quilting on my Wonky Logs Quilt

Fast forward 20 years, and I’ve gotten the basic knowledge down of quilting.  I joined a modern quilt guild and went on a retreat where many of the members were making their first (or second or third) garments.  I decided they could have it and waited another couple of years before finally sewing my very first School House Tunic by Sew Liberated.  It wasn’t pretty, but I wore it with so much pride, you’d have thought it was Chanel (the pattern is great–it wasn’t pretty because my fabric choices were A-W-F-U-L).  That feeling of accomplishment and pride–isn’t that what we all get when we complete a new challenging project?  I want to encourage you to broaden your horizons and challenge yourself to take on the sewing tasks you think you’re not good enough for.  That’s how I felt with garments.  And now I am obsessed with sewing my own clothing and clothing for my daughter and husband.  I’d like to help you get there.

Okay, that was a long intro, but I needed to tell you WHY I wrote the Wonky Logs Quilt pattern.  It’s free.  It’s fat quarter friendly!  It’s a quilt pattern you can put together with your serger.

Bust out your serger!
Bust out your serger!

WHAT???  Yup.  (Don’t run away just yet–you can piece it with your sewing machine too)  If you don’t have a serger, no worries.  You can still use the pattern with a traditional sewing machine and a 1/4″ seam allowance just like normal.  If you DO have a serger, and it’s sitting in the corner of your closet with old raincoats and Halloween decorations, then it’s time to pull that puppy out and dust it off.  Give it a little cleaning, find the manual and give it some oil, if necessary.  Think of this quilt pattern as your gateway pattern to garments.  You can still have fun picking out your fabrics and making a really gorgeous quilt, but you can do it while getting to know your serger a little better.  Starting to work with “wovens” with your serger will take a lot of the intimidation out of it because your fabrics won’t be stretchy like knits are.  I’ll be posting more on some fun garment construction and sharing some tips with you along the way, but for now–grab your free copy of the Wonky Logs quilt pattern and gather your fabric and have fun!!!

Picking your fabrics is half the fun!
Picking your fabrics is half the fun!
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DIY Starfish Tote – Sewing Camp with Janome

DIY Starfish Tote

Are you looking for some cute and quick Summer sewing projects?  Then you’ve got to hop over to the 2018 Summer Sewing Camp with Janome!  The first three weeks of projects are already available, and there’s even a cut file for a camp t-shirt.  It’s all the fun and creativity of summer camp without the hefty price tag, so you really can’t go wrong :).  Every Monday, through July 30, a new sewing project will be released that can be finished in a couple of hours with minimal supplies.  You have to check out the DIY Starfish Tote tutorial!

My contribution was Week 3– A DIY starfish tote bag with the option to use an embroidery design (if you have an embroidery machine) and an option to applique the star with a regular sewing machine.  If you want a really quick finish, you can purchase a ready-made tote bag or follow my simple instructions to make your own!

Embroidery
Embroidered/Appliqued Starfish

I used an embroidery/applique design from the Janome Embroidery website and it was so quick and easy to do, I was literally done in 30 minutes with the applique!  I hope you enjoy this quick and easy FREE tutorial–you can download it from the Janome site linked above, or you can download the DIY Starfish Tote here as well 🙂

This is a great project to do with your kids to combat boredom and then load the bag up with some beach towels, sunscreen, and snacks and head over to your local watering hole.  Or if you really want to score some points, gather up some of your kids’ friends and really create the camp feeling!  If you participate in any of the projects, be sure to share what you make with the #janomecamp18 to be entered in the giveaway drawing that will end on August 13, 2018.  They’re giving away a sewing machine AND some other awesome sewing related items, so you’ll definitely want to get in on this!

Happy sewing friends!

 

 

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Free-Motion Framework book – Giveaway!

Free-Motion Framework

I am delighted to announce that I had the honor of contributing to Jen Eskridge’s new book from CT Publishing called Free-Motion Framework.  It’s an amazing book that offers tips and tricks for really building your free motion quilting skills.  There are so many amazing contributors (17, in fact!) in Jen’s book, you’ve really gotta check it out!  Keep on reading to the bottom for two separate chances to win!

Free-Motion Framework
Free-Motion Framework Book

Head over HERE to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!  Jen will be announcing the winner on June 19th (entry closes June 18).  Prizes include: Clover marking tools, Clover Wonderclips, HandiQuilter machine quilting rulers, and a couple of copies of the book!  AND…For a second chance to win, I’m giving away a copy as well, courtesy of C&T Publishing!  Head over to Instagram @kustomkwilts and enter for your chance to win a copy of the book by:

  1. Following my instagram account @kustomkwilts
  2. Liking the giveaway post
  3. Tag a friend!

You must do all three to be entered to win!  My giveaway will close Sunday, July 10 and I’ll announce the winner Monday July 11, 2018.  The giveaway hosted by me is closed.  Congratulations to Marnie Anderson on winning a copy of the book!

Free-Motion Framework launched at Spring Quilt Market this past May, and is available on Amazon now.  Check it out here!  The book includes ten designs that can be transferred to a whole cloth or a single piece of fabric as your quilting guide.  I quilted two of the samples included in the book, and really loved how simple the process was for transferring the design to the fabric and then starting to plan your quilting ideas.

One of my samples in Free-Motion Framework

Jen gives lovely suggestions for how to create your own designs and fill the area creatively.  This book is a wonderful exercise in working out your quilting muscles and trying something new.  The skills to be gained from this are limitless, but I found that it really helped me plan block based quilting designs much more efficiently and gave me some new ideas I hadn’t tried before.  I really like the idea of using hand guided free motion quilting in conjunction with some simple ruler work and straight lines.

sneak peek
A peek at the corner of my other sample in the book

The picture above is the corner of another of my samples in the book.  The designs provided in the book are so simple to use and provide a great study on symmetry in your whole cloth work.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy so I can quilt up some more of these quilts.  Don’t forget to follow the link in the second paragraph to comment for a chance to win some great prizes in this blog tour of Free-Motion Framework!

Stop by each blog this week for a possible chance to win a copy of Free-Motion Framework. (International winners, outside the USA, will receive a digital copy.)

Monday | June 4

ReannaLily Designs (here!) 
C & T Publishing

Tuesday | June 5

Joey’s Quilting Co
Helen Ernst Longarm Quilting
Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC The Blog

Thursday | June 7

Wise Craft Handmade

Friday | June 8

Kustom Kwilts
Living Water Quilter
Seamingly Slawson Quilts – Susan Lawson

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Making it Fun Quilt – Spring Quilt Market 2018

Spring Quilt Market Quilt for Michael Miller

Guys!!!  I’m so excited to finally be able to share my project for the Michael Miller Spring Quilt Market booth.  They sent me fat quarters of their new has dot blenders and their marbled fabrics, along with some coordinating Cotton Couture solids and told me to make something fun and rainbow-y!  Is that a dream assignment, or what??  I narrowed it down to 48 unique fabrics that I wanted to use in the quilt, and lined them up:

Spring Quilt market
Holy cow!!! 48 different fabrics!

I numbered them and then numbered the design I had mocked up in EQ8, but it was starting to get a little crazy.  I ended up having to make a smaller swatch card because some of the fabrics were so similar in color and shade that I was starting to go cross-eyed flipping through that stack.

Spring Quilt Market
Swatch Card

I very rarely make swatch cards, but I found it to be very necessary with this quilt.  I designed a foundation paper piecing block in EQ8 and then rotated it slightly to complete the design.  The piecing went really quickly and I just needed to double check that I had the correct fabric for each block before I started sewing.  I’ll admit, there was a good amount of seam ripping to be had with this one!

FPP
Foundation Paper Pieced Blocks stacked and ready to go!

I used my new Daylight Company light box to help with the foundation paper piecing, and I really love how thin and lightweight the unit is.  I had a very bulky, cumbersome light box in the past and recently upgraded to this one.  It’s been such a nice treat to have one that doesn’t take up all of my cutting mat.  I also used Adobe Illustrator to help design the applique text in the right size and fonts, then tiled the pages to make a huge pattern.  I hand cut each letter and symbol out, then used the paper as a template to trace onto the white fabric for the applique.  I used Misty Fuse on the backside of the white Cotton Couture and then cut out each letter.  It was pretty time and labor intensive, but I love how it turned out.

My EQ layout compared to the quilt top, prior to adding applique
My EQ layout compared to the quilt top, prior to adding applique

I did come up with a slight problem in getting the applique on straight, centered, and spaced equally.  Usually, I would just use a big window and tape the quilt in place or trace where the letters needed to be, but I decided to buy a cheap portable projector and project the original applique design onto the quilt while it hung, and then I positioned the letters in place with a small amount of glue from an Elmer’s glue stick.  Once they were in position, I lightly fused them into place and then took the quilt top to my Janome MC9400 to complete the applique blanket stitching around each individual letter (that took about a day and a half!).

projector
Using the portable projector to project my applique design onto the quilt

Once I finished the applique, it was time to throw it on the longarm for quilting.  I chose just a single layer of Quilter’s Dream Wool to maximize the quilting texture and also keep it fairly lightweight.  Then I quilted some straight diagonal lines with rulers to finish it off.  I opted to not bind the quilt traditionally, but I faced it to not take away from the overall punch of the quilt, and keep the focus on the applique.  I really loved making this quilt and loved the new fabrics being released by Michael Miller Fabrics for Spring Quilt Market 2018.  I can’t wait to get my hands on more of that fabric!

Spring Quilt Market Quilt for Michael Miller
Spring Quilt Market Quilt for Michael Miller
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Janome Education Summit

Janome Education Summit 2018

This past week was one I’ll never forget.  I was invited to attend the first Janome Education Summit in Park Ridge, New Jersey to meet some amazing people and learn some awesome new things about what Janome has coming up!  The Janome Education Summit consisted of Janome Educators, Artisans, and Makers–generally a group of the most amazing people, packed with three days of classes and collaboration.

It had been about 7 years since I had flown anywhere, and I was REALLY nervous about getting on a plane and leaving my 1.5 year old, but once I made it to NJ, I was SO excited to be there!  I’ve been working with the amazing people at Janome America for almost three years now, and had never really gotten the chance to visit with them for longer than 5 minutes.  We had a nice meet and greet to kick off the first night there, and the opening remarks were made by Janome’s new National Spokesperson-Kimberly Einmo.

Kimberly taught a great class showing us the HP foot and needle plate for the MC 9400 and we made a really cool block using her Flying Geese ruler (it virtually eliminates ALL waste) and a design roll of her new Solid-ish line of fabrics.  If you’ve never taken a class with Kimberly, I highly recommend it.  She is so inspiring and has such a genuinely fun personality!

Professional HP Foot
Professional HP Foot

I’ve been using the Quarter inch foot for precision sewing on my MC9400 and had never thought to try the HP foot and needle plate.  Total game changer!!!  If I thought my seams were accurate before, this foot is even more precise.

Janome Education Summit
My finished block from Kimberly’s class using Solid-ish

Amy Johnson of Amy’s Quilting Adventures demonstrated a set of rulers for ruler work on the domestic sewing machine.  Amy provided all of the attendees with a printed piece of fabric to practice our ruler work on.  I had never tried to use rulers (except maybe a straight edge) on a domestic sewing machine, but these rulers from Janome are so versatile and fun to work with.  Here’s a picture I took of Amy’s sample quilt she quilted–and it’s AMAZING!!!

Amy Johnson's sampler quilt
Amy Johnson’s sampler quilt

And this is my very first try at ruler work on the MC9400–it’s definitely one of those things you have to practice a few times.  And some tools that would be good to have on hand–grab a Supreme Slider for the bed of the machine and some quilting gloves to keep your rulers from sliding.

Practicing Ruler work on the Janome MC9400
Practicing Ruler work on the Janome MC9400

The second night at the Janome Education Summit, we had a pajama party and worked on some of our group quilt blocks that each attendee designed and brought with them to the summit.  We were also treated to Liz Thompson (Janome Canada) showing off the awesome quilt binder attachment to save time and fabric when binding quilts!

Liz teaching us about the quilt binder attachment
Liz teaching us about the quilt binder attachment

Liz has the best sense of humor and is such a fun person to chat with!  I can’t wait to start using the quilt binder–you only have to sew the binding down once–no stitch and flip to do the other side!

On the second day of Janome Education Summit, Sheryl and Rachel from Shannon Fabrics brought us some delightful Shannon Cuddle and Embrace blanket kits.  They shared some super soft fabrics with us and walked us through a blanket pattern that seemed like it would take all day–but we finished them in under 2 hours with the quilt as you go method!

Rachel and Sheryl from Shannon Fabrics
Rachel and Sheryl from Shannon Fabrics
Putting the cuddle binding on my blanket
Putting the cuddle binding on my blanket

My daughter already claimed the blanket I made–I selected a kit in bright turquoise and teal with grey accents in double gauze and cuddle, and Gemma promptly ripped it away from me as soon as I got home 🙂

Eileen Roche from DIME (Designs in Machine Embroidery) shared with us her amazing software to customize our own fabrics called My Fabric Designs–and it’s so much fun to play with.  I already have plans to create some custom fabrics for some bag linings to include my logo and colors–and there are so many fabric substrates!

We were also treated to a lesson in the Acusketch app from Janome by Tamara Kate (a Michael Miller Fabrics Designer).  Tamara is so talented and her fabrics and quilts are absolutely gorgeous!  I was blown away by what the app is capable of, but you can make drawings within the app and transfer them to the MC15000 to be embroidered on your fabric.  Essentially, you could have your child draw something special and have it forever preserved as an embroidery design (that’s what came to my mind when I was playing with it–but of course it could be utilized in countless other ways!)

Tamara Kate Designs
Tamara Kate Designs

The Janome America team surprised all of the attendees with a dinner cruise on the Hudson River, touring New York City.  The weather was wonderful and the sunset was just breathtaking.

Dinner Cruise in NYC
Dinner Cruise in NYC
NYC at sunset
NYC at sunset

To wrap up our final day at the Janome Education Summit, our last class was led by Heather Peterson of Girl Charlee to make a quick and elegant pencil skirt with Janome sergers and coverstitch machines.  Heather shared all of the knit substrates offered on the site (holy cow, there are a LOT!), and provided each attendee with a pencil skirt kit.  I thought there was no way we could go from start to finish in under two hours and have a completed skirt, but we did!  We also got a sneak peek and got to use the new Janome serger that will be out shortly–I was squealing with delight!

Heather Peterson, Girl Charlee
Heather Peterson, Girl Charlee

I selected a super cute blue floral knit from the kits Heather brought for us, and it turned out so cute!  Trish from Trish Stitched posed for a quick picture with me with our finished skirts 🙂

Our Girl Charlee pencil skirts
Our Girl Charlee pencil skirts

Every moment of the Janome Education Summit was jam packed with great information that I can’t wait to share with you in future posts.  I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention the swag bag–I literally had to fill an entire suitcase with nothing but goodies from all the sponsors and contributors (A huge thank you to all the sponsors!!!).  I think the plane flying me home was struggling with that extra load!  There were so many talented Educators, Artisans, and Makers in attendance, and each person has so many inspiring things to show with their Janome sewing machines!  Thank you so much to Janome America for hosting such a wonderful and inspiring event.

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Quilting applique and some modern maples

Swirls!

I just love some good free motion quilting!  Last month, I quilted some amazing client quilts.  One quilt was a BOM from a local quilt shop – Sew Special in San Antonio, TX, and another was pieced by Kasandra Lee from the SAMQG.  The first quilt I mentioned was a quilt pieced by Katelen Postert that started as a traditional BOM using Moda’s Grunge line.  Katelen added her own special touch and added some amazing animal appliques to really make this quilt special.  Katelen is so talented, and that mini-parade of wildlife strolling down the center of the quilt is just perfection!

Katelen's Quilt
Katelen’s Quilt

When I met with Katelen for her quilting consultation, we decided on some  clean straight line quilting (not too dense), and outline the appliques with some stitch in the ditch and surround them with medium-sized swirls.  I used Glide thread in a 50 wt. light teal color that matched the duck (along with a lighter cream color for the swirls), and used a single layer of Quilter’s Dream Wool batting.

Duck Applique
Duck Applique
Longarm View
Longarm View

I was so in love with Katelen’s color choices and her addition of the applique was such an awesome touch.  Here’s a portion of the finished quilt with the applique.  Bravo Katelen!!!

Katelen's quilt
Katelen’s quilt

Kasandra’s quilt was just as exciting for me to quilt.  She did a great modern maple quilt with lots of negative space in a cool color palette.

Kasandra's Quilt
Kasandra’s Quilt

I did some diagonal straight line quilting within the maple leaves to follow the lines of the piecing, and then added some free flowing swirls to the background.  The batting used was Quilter’s Dream Orient for a functional, soft, and drapey quilt that will be useful in a hot climate.

Longarm View
Longarm View

And these are the free-flowing swirls I did in the negative space.  This is truly one of my favorite fills to do, and so relaxing to get lost in!

Swirls!
Swirls!

I’m so happy I can share these quilts made by some very talented women.  I love mixing a little free motion quilting with ruler work and I think it makes the quilt really stand out without being overly done.  Hope you’re getting to do some lovely sewing this week!

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QuiltCon 2018

Quilting spacing

Well, months have passed since QuiltCon happened in California, and I’m just now getting around to writing a blog post about it.  I wasn’t able to attend, but several of the quilts I quilted did!  There’s a reason I didn’t write this post in a timely manner.  I have this thing where I think that quilting someone else’s quilt doesn’t necessarily give me the right to share the quilting.  I guess I don’t want people to think I’m trying to take credit for someone else’s work.  I also don’t really know or understand the rules about when someone’s quilt wins something that I’ve quilted…does that mean I also share that victory?  I’m sharing this one because I am super excited about how the quilting turned out, and it won a Judge’s Choice Award at QuiltCon.  There are so many amazing quilts and creators in the winner’s circle, so be sure you check them all out here!  A huge congratulations to Leslie and all the other amazing artists who were recognized for their work.

Nests and vessels
Nests and Vessels by Leslie Tucker Jenison, Quilted by Joanna Marsh (photo from the QuiltCon Website)

Leslie Tucker Jenison created and constructed this quilt titled “Nests and Vessels”, and it was awarded a Judge’s Choice Award by Beverly Fine.  Leslie has studied with Nancy Crow and her style is truly unique and inspiring.   L is a contemporary quilt artist and designer for RJR fabrics.  Leslie’s use of color and shape never cease to amaze me, and I consider myself quite lucky that I get to quilt for her.  Leslie had several quilts that were juried into the show, and they were all equally inspiring and thought provoking.

I’ll share a few progress pictures from the quilting.  Leslie requested some straight line quilting on this one, and I varied the proximity of the lines to be distanced 1/16″ apart to 1/4″ apart.  This picture probably demonstrates that the best:

Quilting spacing
Quilting spacing

And here are a few more:

Nests and Vessels
Nests and Vessels
ladder view
Ladder view
longarm view
longarm view

This quilt was quilted with MicroQuilter thread by Superior Threads and the batting was Quilter’s Dream Orient and Quilter’s Dream Wool.  I really love the subtle finish the Microquilter thread gives a project.  You can definitely see the quilting, but it doesn’t overpower the project and leaves more of a hint of design rather than barging into a room and demanding attention.