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San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild Mini Quilt Show

The guild I belong to recently held a mini quilt show/silent auction, where the members were challenged to make modern mini quilts measuring 16″ square to show and raise awareness for modern quilting and invite people to ask questions about what our guild does.  The event was graciously hosted by Sew Special Quilts in San Antonio, where they provided space for us to show the quilts and have our meeting after hours.  They were so awesome and have a great selection of quilting and sewing supplies, so if you’re in need and in the area, please show them some love!  

I already posted about the mini quilt I made two weeks ago (the double wedding ring mini quilt), but I wanted to share the other two quilts I worked on, in collaboration with Debra–a fellow member of the guild.  
The first quilt I quilted was pieced by Debra from yet another guild member’s inaugural fabric line (Leslie Tucker Jenison-Urban Artifacts by RJR Fabrics).  It’s a great design and awesome way to showcase a variety of great fabrics.  For this quilt, I just quilted some simple contrasting straight lines.  I think the fabrics and design of the mini are more prone to show better when the quilting design is simple.
Pieced by Debra B, fabric-Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison
pardon the not-square appearing mini.  It really was square, but I forgot to smooth that wrinkle before I snapped this picture.  This was right after quilting and mini was not yet bound. 
The second quilt I quilted was also in collaboration with Debra.  Debra hand cut each charm square from a Grunge charm pack and fused the fabrics to the background.  I thought this was a super cool quilt pattern to use and has the illusion that all the circles are connected.  For this one I wanted to do something to make the circles stand out from the background, so I quilted a smaller grid on the fused circles and then did some straight line quilting on the background fabric.  
Mini Quilt “pieced” by Debra B. using Grunge fabrics
We had a really great night and the event was so much fun.  It isn’t often that everyone in our guild participates in “Sew and Tell”, and we had a lot of members participate in this.  Seeing the range of everyone’s quilting interests and what their personal specialty is was a treat.  
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Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 48!

photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting
fabric for quilt provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Have any of you ever made a goal so outrageous that you don’t ever really even consider it to be a possibility?  You might still work towards that goal, but the hopes that it will come to fruition aren’t there.  That’s exactly how I feel about this post. I always looked at the quilts and projects in this magazine and was blown away by the talent and variety.  I’m BEYOND excited (so excited I’m yelling in all caps!) to say that this quilt I submitted to Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine made the cover!  When I started sewing a few years ago, I joined the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, and someone mentioned that LP& Q was the only magazine they bought.  So I jumped on that train.  I had never heard of it, because I was very new to quilting, let alone sewing.  I was tired of the traditional color palettes that are represented in other quilting magazines.  It was definitely love at first sight, and I subscribed to it immediately.  (And ask for it for Christmas every year!)

photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting
fabric for quilt provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

I’m super excited about the photography of this quilt!  I’ve never had a quilt professionally “shot” before, so it is thrilling to see the results (and know that I have a lot to learn when it comes to my own quilt photography 😉

This quilt is something I worked really hard on, and for a long time.  I am so thankful to the amazing people at Robert Kaufman Fabrics for providing the Kona Cotton Solids that were used to make the cover quilt, and for the opportunity from LP&Q to share my quilt!

I did some custom quilting and a little bit of ruler work on the longarm to finish off the quilt.  I hope you’ll check out the quilt in issue 48 of Love Patchwork and Quilting!  Thanks for letting me share my happy news with you 🙂

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Working with baby :)

Good morning!  I’m going to take a brief pause from the regularly scheduled program to be real for a minute…and fair warning…there is not much sewing talk in this blog post.  I want to talk about running a business while taking care of a baby.  

My husband and I are both SO extremely blessed to be able to work from home.  However, he does have to travel some.  Which means our usual schedule of passing the baby off to one another takes a break and I’m full time care giver for a short period of time.  Which is AWESOME.  There’s some sarcasm in that comment, but there is also 100% truth.  As I type this, I can hear my little girl baby talking through the baby monitor that’s perched a foot from me at all times when she isn’t on me.  I never thought I would say this, but it is music to my ears.  And while I may not get all 50 tasks on my daily to do list completed in 24 hours, I’m fine with dragging the incomplete tasks to the top of my list for the next day.  

I was very naive in thinking running a quilting business AND being daycare manager to my little one would be a piece of cake.  There are times when it’s trying and I’m not sure I’m going to make the deadlines I set for myself, but it always seems to work out.  I’m no expert in time management, but I’d like to share some of the things I’ve implemented to still be able to work a minimum of a 40 hour work week.

1.  Wake up at 3:30-4:00 AM…Luckily, (for now, anyway) baby girl sleeps in until 9:30.  That gives me about 5 hours of UNINTERUPTED work time.  Granted, I can’t always leave the house and walk out to the studio, but I can brainstorm and plan for upcoming projects, write invoices, and calculate estimates for customers.  

2.  NEVER sleep when the baby sleeps…If I got one piece of advice over and over again before and after I had this sweet baby, it was “Sleep when the baby sleeps”.  I will say, I don’t enjoy naps.  I lay there, thinking about how much time I am wasting not falling asleep and run through my list of things I could be getting done, instead of getting some shut-eye.  I try to make the most of every tiny nap she takes and bust my hump to get some quality work done.  And I can honestly say that was the worst advice I was given (that’s saying something!)

3.  Basically, it’s just more of one and two.  Early bed time for baby means more work time for me.  For some reason, I thought I had all these great tips on how to run a business and be a stay at home mom, but all it boils down to is making the most of your time while the baby doesn’t need you.  Also, don’t waste time on inconsequential tasks (IE makeup 😉 .  Unless there are appointments with real people that day.  Then, don’t skimp!

And finally, what do I really know???  My sweet little angel is only 4 months old.  I’m sure someone is reading this, shaking their head, and saying…well wait another week and we’ll see how that works out for you.  

So I’m going to end with…this parenting gig is much harder than anyone could ever explain.  And the hard work really hasn’t started for us.  So here’s to muscling through…and why do I want to add an emoji to every sentence I type (insert eye rolling emoji here)…?  Have a great week and hopefully I’ll have some sewing goodness to share next week!

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Red Heart Quilt – client quilt

I recently had the privilege of quilting this gorgeous quilt for one of my clients.  The piecing is just gorgeous and the quilt was donated to a charity event/fundraiser.  I quilted the quilt with free motion hearts all over the top.  
Quilt Pieced by Debra B.

 This was such a joy to quilt–check out the close up of the free motion hearts 🙂

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Graffiti Quilting my Karlee Porter Panel

I know I already posted about attending the Karlee Porter workshop that SAMQG hosted a few months ago–but I really need to post about this as well!  Karlee has some really awesome panels that she designed, and if you haven’t felt them in person, they are buttery soft.  This one is called “Explosion” (picture is from Karlee Porter’s website), and if you want one, click HERE to order your own!  And FYI, this one is ginormous!  

“Explosion” printed tapestry designed by Karlee Porter (picture from Karlee’s website)



I love sewing and piecing and constructing quilt tops as much as the next person, but seriously…it is so awesome to load a quilt top and not worry about the hours, days, weeks it took to piece it.  Especially when you get to skip that part entirely.  There’s nothing better that just mindlessly losing yourself in a quilt while quilting.  This is my ultimate stress reliever.

The back of the quilt (Tula Pink wide back)


I haven’t hung this one yet, as I haven’t bound the edges, but I will update this blog post once it’s finally finished.  

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Quilting a “Letters from home” quilt

A couple of months ago, I had the awesome opportunity to quilt one of my customer’s “Letters from Home” quilt (pattern by Heather Givens/Crimson Tate).  Now, I have to preface this post by saying that I’m barely wetting my toes in the waters of custom quilting.  But I am super-duper proud of the quilting on this quilt.  I’m going to take you through the process.

I like Glide’s thread for a little pop of sheen on a quilt.  Plus, it quilts like a DREAM.  I selected a few different thread colors for the quilting on this quilt.  Mainly, I changed thread colors to help them blend with the fabrics they were quilting on for a more subtle pop.  I used Quilter’s Dream batting for this quilt, as I do with most of my client quilts.

Glide Threads selected

 Some people might have you believe that once the quilt was loaded and the threads picked out that the quilting just magically happened with a wave of their wand.  Here’s my dirty little secret:  This quilt sat on my frame for a week.  An entire WEEK.  I had sketched out at least a dozen ideas for quilting, and each morning I would go out to my studio, ready to attack.  But then I would end up standing there, staring at the quilt top.  I changed my mind so many times, and then decided on the most difficult (or most time consuming) design I had drawn up.

Beginning to mark and quilt the borders

So I broke out my water soluble marking pen and trusty ruler and started marking some guidelines for the quilting.  I did some straight line quilting on the borders after marking them, and then marked the rest of the quilt as I went.  Each pass on the longarm took me about an hour to mark with the ruler and pen.

More markings, filled in with some quilting
The thing about the design being quilted, is that it isn’t complicated.  It’s just a bunch of straight lines and loops, but the way they are put together really leaves you with a huge impact.  
I have a black light on my longarm and seriously think it is SO cool.  This shows the texture a little better.

I really wanted to focus on the texture on this quilt, and so I chose to stitch in the ditch around the envelopes and the focal fabrics so they would pop out more.  My client selected Japanese import fabrics from Bunny Designs (out of Austin, TX), with a backing out of an adorable cupcake pattern (see the first photo in the post).  The attention to detail and her impeccable piecing made this quilt one of my all time favorites to quilt.  The quilt pattern by Crimson Tate is SO cute, and an ingenious way to showcase focal fabrics.

So, aside from me just talking about how much I loved this quilt, my other point is that sometimes it isn’t second nature to just come up with quilting designs out of thin air.  And it’s okay if the quilt has to sit on your frame for a week while you change your mind a hundred times about the quilting design (as long as your client has allowed you to do so!).  And while it is my favorite thing ever for a client to say–I want custom quilting, and the design is up to you–it can also be the most challenging (and rewarding) part of my job.  I think this is a great way to grow your skill set and think about how many different ways there are to quilt a quilt.  (Quilt construction and fabric selection by Debra Barnes)

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I left my REAL job to quilt! My two cents…

Up until this past June, I was a full time teacher for 9 years (or all of my professional career, post college).  I’m not going to give you an earful about my experiences, but I will tell you that I taught agriculture science and was the FFA sponsor.  Also, not going into the details of that…I could talk for hours about what that job entails.  But I’m not going to.  

I am going to say that I think teachers are not supported in what they do (by lots of people).  I’m not going to be specific, but I will say that it only took 9 short years for me to become burned out.  In a job that I originally thought I would never tire of.  I loved my kids.  I loved them so much that I called them MY kids.  Years after they graduate, I still have many contact me around the holidays, when they are home from the military or just texting me to say hi (When you’re an FFA sponsor-all the kids have your phone number in case of emergencies with their livestock projects).  I’ve cried over sadness my kids have suffered, prayed for them, been happy with their successes, and some of them have impacted my life in ways that I can’t begin to describe.  I think there truly is no other profession where you become so invested in the lives of other people’s children that you are emotionally torn to shreds over decisions to move, accept another job, or leave the classroom entirely.  (With FFA, you keep the same kids all 4 years of high school.)

That being said, I also think there are few careers where a person (in this pay grade) is criticized so much.  And called/texted at all hours of the day, night, and in between.  The expectation is that you are 100% devoted to that job 100% of the time.  Or that’s how I felt, at least.    

I made the decision to leave teaching (for now, at least) because I was truly unhappy.  I stuck it out for roughly 2.5 years of being unhappy.  I know that being happy isn’t everything, but I think your job shouldn’t make a miserable, bitter person out of you.  The only times I felt happy was when I was with family or when I was sewing.  I’m not going to talk about the MANY factors of what made me unhappy, but there was a limitless supply.  I did still love the kids, and that was one of the few reasons I stayed.  This post was originally going to be about what I do now-the custom sewing for others, longarm quilting, creating, making, etc. but I feel like that almost cheapens the decision I made to leave the classroom.  When I’m alone in my sewing room with the machines humming around me, or the music turned up as loud as it will go, my mind will frequently travel to the kids I spent so much time with.  I wonder about the choices they are making on a daily basis, if I even made any difference being with them in the classroom, and I hope for them and their futures.  I think about all the hardships those kids endured through high school, losing loved ones, being mistreated by parents, and all the other hard things kids go through.    

I don’t really know where I was going with this, just felt the need to get this off my chest.  And most days when I’m walking the short 20 yard walk to my sewing room to go to work, I have a smile on my face.  I’m not a miserable person to come home to anymore.  I’m able to spend quality time with my family.  I know that for now, I’ve made the right decision.  Just my two cents.  

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Graffiti Quilting workshop with Karlee Porter

This picture!!!  I had the awesome opportunity to take a 2 day workshop from THE Karlee Porter.  The workshop was in Castroville at the Quilt Shop, and I swear, it was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.  Most of the time, when I take a workshop and the person putting it on says there will be about half a day of lecture, then we get to play… I’m usually a little dismayed.  But Karlee had an awesome program that I left with PAGES of notes and drawings for inspiration.  And it wasn’t like I was just writing stuff down to busy my hands.  I’ve referred to those notes and drawings at least a dozen times in the short weeks since I took that class.  

Karlee was so gracious in letting us ask unlimited questions, take pictures of all the samples she had, and she even did a trunk show at our SAMQG guild meeting.  This is one of her masterpieces–I  believe it’s called “Russian Mosque”, that literally takes your breath away.  

The principles Karlee taught can be applied to a domestic machine, sit down quilter, or longarm.  Since I started out quilting my quilts on a domestic, I liked that.  However, since I’ve been doing most of my quilting on a longarm in the last year, it took a minute for my brain to catch up that my hands were moving the fabric and not the machine 🙂

After Karlee taught us her important principles of successful graffiti quilting, she turned us loose and we were able to apply those principles to some small class samples.  This was the sample that I worked on, and although I’m not nuts about the thread colors I selected, I did like the high visibility of it.  

And of course, I had to include a picture of me and Karlee!  Not sure what I’m doing with my hand…is that a hook?  Anyway, I was seriously beyond excited that I had the opportunity to hear Karlee in Texas–and can’t wait to keep working on my graffiti quilting skills.  

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Anna Maria Horner Quilt and thinking about quilting design

Ahhhhh!  I’m dying a little bit over those Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent prints.  This is a fabric line that I adore, but never ended up making anything myself with.  So it was a special treat to get to quilt this and ooh and ahhhh over the fabrics and quilt design.  

When I first looked at this quilt, I was literally stumped at what to quilt it with.  I knew it was going to be custom quilted, but couldn’t figure out what to do with all the negative space.  I loaded it on the frame and it sat for a week.  I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook and didn’t really have any great luck with inspiration.  Finally I decided on a simple outlined design with some ruler work, embellished with pebbles and other straight lines to fill in the gaps.  

This picture has a filter on it to try to high light the thread more.  It was quilted with Glide Cloud, so it doesn’t necessarily blend like white thread would have, but it doesn’t starkly stand out from the background, either.  If I could change anything about the quilting, I would go back and double batt the quilt or use a loftier batting.  


You can see here a little better that each print fabric was outlined twice with a small ruler.  Then pebbles were added, along with some straight lines for filler to add more texture.  

I really enjoyed the process this quilt took me through, and I hope to continue to better develop my quilting design.  Usually, I can load a quilt on the frame and I have at least 2 fairly decent ideas by the next day.  This quilt really gave me a run for my money, but all in all, I’m pretty satisfied with the results.    I really love the way a quilt looks finished when ruler work and free motion quilting are combined in the same top.  Sometimes the simplest design can work and really make the fabrics and quilt pop, and other times, it takes some work and elbow grease to figure out the best fillers and accents.  



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Finding time to give back #quiltsforpulse

 In the midst of tragedy, I am relieved that I belong to a group of people that goes out of their way to show love for others.  The group I’m talking about is the Modern Quilt Guild.  And even  more specifically, the San Antonio chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  The Orlando MQG organized collections to accept in progress quilts and completed quilts to show support and love for some of the people affected by the Pulse night club shooting.  I hate that I’m even writing a post about this, because it’s so disturbing the amount of violence we hear about on a daily basis on the news…but I want to focus on giving back and showing support for our fellow human beings.  



The SAMQG members are SO giving and generous with their fabric and time, that we’ve had a plethora of blocks constructed (most using the Heart pattern tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew).  A few charity sew-ins, and we’ve finished (I think) 5 quilts!  



I had the great opportunity to quilt a few of these, and wanted to discuss charity work in this industry.  I’ve done a little bit of charity sewing in the past, but not really donated much of my time or resources prior to getting my longarm.  And once I started donating my quilting, I kind of just rushed through the process, doing a stipple or some quick meandering design to get that top off my frame as quickly as I could.  But one night, I started thinking about the recipients of these rushed through pieces I had worked on.  Was I proud of the work I was doing on them?  No.  Absolutely not.  I was just FINISHING THEM.  There was nothing special or generous about what I was doing to add to the quilt.  And maybe those recipients don’t even look at the quilting.  But it really got to me that I was doing about 2% of my best work on something that was supposed to be making someone happier.  I decided to start doing my best work on every quilt top.  Whether it was a paying customer or not.  If I’m going to commit to working on something, why would I give anything less than my best?  And besides, if you want to look at it from a really selfish angle, it’s great practice and helps develop your skills even further.  


I really love the graffiti quilting style, and chose to do that on this quilt.  These blocks were pieced together by so many different people, with such love and compassion in their hearts.  It really does give me a little bit of hope for humanity.

Anyway, my two cents for the day is to think about where your heart is when you decide to do charity work.  If it’s in your heart, put your best foot forward and really give all you have.  Otherwise, what are you wasting your time for?