Introducing my new Craftsy class, Start Paper Piecing!

Drumroll, please! It's finally time to share my newest Craftsy class, Start Paper Piecing!



If you've followed my blog for more than five minutes, then you probably know how much I adore paper piecing. It's hands down my favorite kind of piecing, and one of my favorite topics to teach. Learning a new technique can be a daunting experience, but with this class, I'm right there with you, on demand, to help you build your paper piecing confidence! Most of the blocks I sew these days are paper pieced, and I love to share my tips and tricks for making the technique as simple as possible.

Start Paper Piecing walks you through a total of seven different paper pieced blocks, ranging from some interesting angled blocks to a few star blocks and even some pictorial blocks. There's a wide variety, and there's me to hold your hand the entire way. I'll tell you about how I fell in love with paper piecing, and give you all the information you need to get started with paper piecing!


If you haven't checked out Craftsy before, let me tell you, you can learn just about anything there. Seriously, they have such a wild variety of classes! Want to prepare a new dessert for your Thanksgiving dinner next week? No worries, Craftsy has you covered with their Sweet & Simple: 10 Classic Desserts class with Nick Malgieri. Are you interested in trying out garment sewing? Let Deborah Moebes help you with her Design & Sew an A Line Skirt class. Itching to make some quilts for the holidays? 3 Blocks 30 Quilts with Kate Colleran has some great setting ideas that will get your creative juices positively flowing. I'm itching to check out the Design It, Stitch It Hand Embroidery class with Jessica Marquez, which looks super fun, but I think you get my point - they really have something for just everyone. The best part is that whenever you purchase a Craftsy class, it's yours to watch as many times as you want, to rewind and fast forward as you please, and to ask as many questions as you want - that's been one of the most fun parts about my first class, Start Free-Motion Quilting! I love getting to interact with other quilters.

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and fall in love with paper piecing! Get a $20 discount on your class registration when you click right here to register. Have a super day!

Back from the North!

I didn't realize it was possible to have cold weather after June 1st, but on my trip to Minnesota last week, I was super thankful I had packed a light coat! While I was in town for the Minnesota Quilt Show, I trekked into downtown St. Cloud to find coffee. I was able to find a cute little coffee shop,

Central Perk

, but along the way, I found myself in windy 50 degree weather. Normally, that would be nice and refreshing, but when you've been in 90+ degree weather for many weeks, 50 feels a lot colder than it used to. After my first coffee trip, I came prepared, with my hoodie to help keep me warm, but it was awfully nice to feel the brisk Minnesota wind. I had a lovely trip to Minnesota, in spite of a couple of minor travel snafus, and I had a great time teaching there!

I wanted to share a new mini I made for my paper piecing class, Discover the Joy of Paper Piecing - this little mini uses three Lucky Stars blocks from the

2013 Block of the Month club

plus a bonus block that has not been part of either the 2013 or 2014 club (pictured above). I love the look of a beautiful paper pieced block in solids, but I wanted to have fun with the background, so I snagged a fun black and white pin dot from my stash for the background. I think it gives the blocks a less serious, harsh look than they would have otherwise, while still leaving the blocks crisp and graphic. I had such a great time with this class. It was a great group of students, and I can't wait to teach it again soon. In the meantime, I can't wait to find a place to hang this little mini until the next time I teach this class!

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Quilt Stats

name:

Lucky Stars Jr

size:

24" square

pattern:

three

Lucky Stars 2013

blocks plus one bonus unreleased block

fabrics:

assorted Kona solids and black on white pin dot

quilting:

meandering stipple in 50 wt white (#2024) Aurifil

binding:

black pin dot on white to match background of mini

Shadow Sawtooth - a finish!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, and this week is looking like it will be nothing short of crazy, as I plan out and prep far too many projects for my yearly journey up to Atlanta for

The Stash Bash

. It's always better to have too many projects to pick from to work on than not enough, right? For the last week, I've been trying to recover from the fun I had at SewDown Nashville - it was such a great time, I can hardly even describe it in words. One thing I can do, though, is show you one of my recent finishes that I shared for the first time in Nashville, at my lecture, Shadow Sawtooth.

Shadow Sawtooth on a nearly cloudless day

The lecture I gave in Nashville was about applying modern aesthetics to traditional, classic quilt blocks to yield modern traditional quilts. Everything from applying interesting, alternate grid work to a classic block to adding asymmetry to a block, to unexpected uses of color. This quilt is by far and away one of my favorite class/lecture samples I've made to date, and it could be the color combinations, it could be the quilting, or it could be the way that your eye can often "lose" the grayscale sawtooth stars as you take in the center star in all its glory, but all in all, I adore this quilt.

Shadow Sawtooth - FMQ Detail

It's sewn up in Kona solids, in Kona Ash, Medium Gray, Charcoal, Curry, Cerise, and Pool. The quilting is another part of this quilt that really grabs me. I used several different shades of Aurifil, from a variegated gray (#4670) to a fuchsia (#2588), yellow (#2135), and aqua (#2835) to match the center star.

Shadow Sawtooth - in Kona Solids

It's a super simple quilt that totally goes to show you how the use of color can absolutely change a quilt - and I can't wait to find the perfect place to hang it up at home! Happy Monday everyone :)

Quilt Stats

name

: Shadow Sawtooth

size

: 36" square

pattern

: none - just used a classic Sawtooth Star block throughout

fabrics

: Kona

Ash

,

Medium Gray

,

Charcoal

,

Curry

,

Cerise

, and

Pool

quilting

: L's in 40 wt Aurifil variegated gray (#4670), L's in 50 wt Aurifil yellow (#2135), fat L's in 50 wt Aurifil fuchsia (#2588), and zig zag in 50 wt Aurifil aqua (#2835)

Start Free-Motion Quilting - My Craftsy Class!!

Start Free-Motion Quilting

The day is finally here - my Craftsy class is officially up and running! Start Free-Motion Quilting is my first class with the wonderful folks at Craftsy, and this class is perfect for you if you're just getting started with free-motion quilting, or if you've done it before and run into trouble, or if you've done it before and just haven't fallen in love with it. Trust me, my love for free-motion quilting is contagious!

Start Free-Motion Quilting with me on Craftsy!

In my class, you'll not only learn about the necessary tools of free motion quilting, but you'll also learn how to handle many of the common problems that can happen when you free motion quilt, from skipped stitched to crazy stitch lengths. I also walk you through ten different free motion quilting stitches that I come back to again and again, that can be used in many different ways, and all of which are super beginner friendly.

More from Start Free-Motion Quilting!

There are also three patterns included with the class, two pillow patterns and a baby quilt. You'll also find a great Getting Started checklist and a Troubleshooting Checklist in the class materials, to keep near your machine to help you as you're getting started free-motion quilting. Today, I want to share with you about the baby quilt pattern found in the class materials, the Superstar quilt. For the class, I sewed up a Superstar quilt in Bonnie & Camille's April Showers prints. Super light and fun, perfect for a new baby.

Superstar - The Original Version

Very sweet, right? Having played digitally with fabric choices on this pattern before making it, I knew Superstar could have an edgier, funkier look to it, so I also sewed up another one over the past week or so, using Denyse Schmidt's Ansonia and Violet Craft's Waterfront Park. Talk about a perfect match! While I love both versions of this quilt, I will definitely be looking for a great place to hang up my Denyse/Violet mash-up Superstar quilt, the colors are just totally me :) 


Superstar - The Edgy Version

Superstar - The Edgy Version - backing

Have you taken a Craftsy class before? I'm big on learning new things, so I love Craftsy. I love being able to learn about what I want to learn about, when I have time to learn it. And oh my goodness, they've got a class for everything! I just love the wide variety of classes on Craftsy, from creative photography to croissant making, from chocolate cakes to improv piecing, from dressmaking to cake decorating, they've really got it all. And now they've got me, too, and I'm so very excited to be working with them. It was a blast to put this class together and I cannot wait to hear what you think of it! To save on your Start Free Motion Quilting class registration, click here and you can start watching right away! 

Registration open now for the Minnesota Quilters Quilt Show & Conference!

Are you from the Minnesota area? Then I bet you're dying to think about summertime right about now, the nice warm sun and not a drop of snow to be seen for miles...am I right? The Minnesota Quilters are gearing up for their 36th annual show and conference this summer, and I'm super honored to be a faculty member for the event! Registration is open now and you can read the full show program right here to plan out your workshops and such.

I'm teaching three classes at the show, all of which are super reasonably priced for an all-day workshop, and they're going to be a ton of fun! Here's the details on what I'm teaching...

Thursday T04D - Discover the Joy of Paper Piecing, an all-day workshop where we'll be working on foundation paper piecing. I love teaching paper piecing, it’s such a fun thing to do in a group! We'll be making a Lucky Stars mini quilt using four Lucky Stars blocks and talking a lot about tips and tricks for easier paper piecing as well as for plotting out your color and fabric selections for maximum wow...
Friday F04D - Tame the Scraps, an all day scrap workshop where we'll discuss scrap storage solutions, ideas for putting your treasured scraps to work, and work on making a Rainbow Cakes scrap quilt, as featured in my book, Becoming a Confident Quilter. Rainbow Cakes is a great quilt to make as a quilters’ memory quilt, using bits and pieces of the many quilts you’ve made, all together in one harmonious quilt. This is a really fun quilt that can look quite different, depending on the plan of scrap attack you choose to work with...




Saturday S04D - Cutting with Confidence: The Monterey Square Workshop, where we'll work on the cover quilt from my book, Becoming a Confident Quilter. This quilt is near and dear to my heart for a lot of reasons, the biggest reason being that it's the first quilt I made for that book! In that quilt, I used one of my favorite fabric lines ever, Heirloom by Joel Dewberry. It was a challenge to find the right quilt pattern for that fabric line, as the prints are quite large and difficult to chop up. Monterey Square is perfect for those large scale florals and paisleys and such that have been waiting for the right project. Here's a couple of other alternative ideas for how this quilt can look. I'm totally planning to work on the sorbet low-volume version very soon!



If you're in the area or looking for something quilty and fun to go to this summer, I sure hope you'll think about registering! I'd love to see you in one of my workshops, they're going to be a lot of fun!! If you're already registered, tell me about it, I'd love to place a virtual name with a face when I meet you in person :)

Some fun teaching coming up!

I'm really loving all the teaching I've been doing this year. It's so fun to get to meet other quilters and work with them to build their skills and quilty confidence! I've got a few events scheduled over the next week or so that I wanted to share about, as they're at the newest Juki dealer in my area, Happy Apple Quilts in Palm Harbor, FL. I was so excited when I walked into the shop, only to be greeted by my dream long arm, a Juki Quilt Virtuoso Pro, as well as the younger sibling to my TL98, the TL2010. Felt like home :) I'm happy to share that I've got three events over the next week and a half out there - starting next Saturday, February 15th. I've got a trunk show at 10:30 am on Saturday the 15th. Trunk shows are so fun to do - and I always make sure to bring loads of different quilts from my lifetime as a quilter, including my very first quilt!

Trunk Show @ Sarasota MQG

Also on Saturday, I'm teaching a HST Boot Camp, where I'll show three different ways of making half-square triangles, as well as several ways to put them together into fun blocks.

                   Lattice of Stars - from Becoming a Confident Quilter   Sparkling Diamonds quilt - FMQ detail 2-1

Then, on Tuesday the 18th, I'm teaching my Showstopper foundation paper pieced block in a workshop format, which is going to be super fun, but it is currently sold out. I'm really looking forward to this one - I love teaching foundation paper piecing and making it make sense to someone who's felt frustrated by it! There's nothing like having a person in front of you showing you how to do something. That's why I love to teach at local quilt shops!

Showstopper - side view

There's a few spots left for the trunk show and the HST Boot Camp workshop, so call the shop today to reserve your spot if you're in the area! You can reach them at 727-786-0080, and I hope to see some familiar faces there! Have a wonderful weekend everyone :)

Intimidation

First off, I owe you a winner - the winner of a copy of Quilt Improv is... Susan M, lucky number #131. Congratulations, Susan! I'll be emailing you shortly!

I've been doing a lot of teaching the last few weeks, and I have to say there's one word that I keep hearing over and over again from students...intimidation...it seems, and the more I teach, the more I seem to hear this word from quilters.

I'm intimidated by {insert scary but gorgeous technique}.

I'm too intimidated to try [insert beautiful quilt pattern].

That machine intimidates me.



As a teacher, a big part of my job is to help quilters move past that intimidation to try new things, and to find a confidence they didn't know they had, and I love that part of my job. I really do. I love when students walk out of my classes feeling like they've really learned something, it's such a wonderful feeling. But, in teaching and interacting with more and more quilters over the last year of teaching, I feel like I'm hearing this word more and more from quilters, so I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about intimidation here.


Now, I'm human, so I'll admit it - I have definitely felt my fair share of intimidation over the years...in quilting, in personal situations, and so forth, but with my quilting, I try my best to set aside that feeling because 99% of the time, it's thoroughly unfounded. Feeling intimidated isn't a bad thing - but the important thing is to move past that feeling and not to let that feeling paralyze you. You can't let intimidation keep you from trying something you're interested in.


Does foundation paper piecing intimidate you? You're not alone. It used to intimidate me, too, immensely. I had so much negative talk in my head about how it was a technique that surely was beyond my skill set that by the time I sat down to paper piece for the first time a few years ago, there was no way I could have had a good experience. I quite literally threw my block in progress across the room several times. And cursed like a sailor. Then, I'd start the block all over again, only to have the same exact hissy fit twenty minutes later when it didn't go quite right. I had to set it aside, and come back to it because I was driving myself crazy with the level of frustration I was feeling. I felt like I was clearly right when I thought that paper piecing was something I just couldn't do, that it was too advanced for me. I came back to the block a few days later, after calming down and trying to chill out. When I was able to stop flying off the handle and stop rushing, I was able to get through the block just fine, and that was the start of my obsession with foundation paper piecing.


All of this rambling really leads me to say one important thing: don't talk yourself out of trying something new because you feel intimidated. Try to set that feeling aside and try new things, whether it's in your quilting or in the kitchen or in whatever part of your life you've got that feeling. Because you might just find that the thing that once intimidated you might turn into something you absolutely love.

The Shazam Star - February 2014 Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club
The February 2014 Lucky Star Block of the Month: The Shazam Star
heading to subscribers' inboxes first thing Saturday, 2/1/2014


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!

Heading to Nashville Next Spring for the MQG's Sew Down!

The Modern Quilt Guild is having another fantastic Sew Down shindig, this time right here in the south - in beautiful Nashville, TN! I love Nashville - haven't been since a high school marching band (yes, I was a band geek!) field trip during high school, but it's still a fond memory of mine. With workshops from Carolyn Friedlander, Anna Maria Horner, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and Angela Walters, you definitely don't want to miss this one. The craziest part is that I'm going to be giving a lecture there, along with Alexia Abegg. I'm honored to be included in such a talented group of quilters!


Did I mention the most amazing part? A studio tour with Anna Maria Horner herself!!! Ever dreamed of seeing where she creates? Now you totally can! Registration opens Monday, November 11th, and you can find more details on the MQG's blog and website right here.


Definitely some fun news! I'm super excited about it. I've also updated my teaching calendar with this event and a few others that have been added to my calendar recently. I've been having such a great time teaching and lecturing and sharing what I know with others. Have a fantastic Monday!

Book Signing Tomorrow!

If you're in the Florida area, you might want to stop by Inspire Quilting & Sewing in beautiful downtown Plant City tomorrow, because I'll be having my first book signing there!

Becoming a Confident Quilter - mosaic


I'll be at the shop from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday, and I'm bringing lots of the quilts from the book as well! I'd love to see you there! I'll also be bringing my finished Less is More Sun Prints Style quilt, which will hang there as a class sample until it heads to Market in Houston. I'll be teaching a class to make that quilt on November 8th at Inspire. Have a wonderful weekend, and don't forget to enter the Sun Prints giveaway - a winner will be announced on Monday.

Rain, rain, go away...

It's been a rainy start to the week in my neck of the woods. A soaker, really. Thankfully, it's nothing tropical, but steady, all-day rain is very un-Florida. Nothing but gray skies and the drip-drip-drip of raindrops, so it's been a sluggish start to the week for me. I need a good cup of coffee to get my juices flowing and get my week chugging along!

Trunk Show @ Sarasota MQG
me and my Less is More quilt, from Becoming a Confident Quilter
photo by Jodi Gustafson, SMQG

My trunk show at the Sarasota MQG
the line-up of quilts I brought to the trunk show
photo by Jodi Gustafson, SMQG

I had such a great time over the weekend at my trunk show in Sarasota. Thank you so much for having me, Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild! It was a lot of fun to talk through a bunch of my quilts and share them with other sewists.

Minion eye!

In my sewing room, I'm making good progress on my little minion quilt - I've got the bulk of the patchwork for the center sewn together now, just need to start adding the outer white borders, then the pixelated border. If only I could decide on what color(s) to use for the pixelated border. :) I did manage to cut up all the white squares, just need to start sewing them together. I think that's in the forecast for today, after I venture out to the grocery store in today's rain. Here's hoping I don't manage to get stuck in a downpour! And I absolutely must remember to put a new cone of Aurifil on the machine today, too! I think I've got mere inches left to spare. Have a great Tuesday!

Nearing the end of the line!

Packing up the trunk

Are you in the Sarasota area? I'm going to be heading down there this weekend to do a trunk show at the Sarasota MQG's monthly meeting, and I'd love to see you there! I'll also be bringing some books with me for a little mini-signing, so if you haven't picked up a copy, Saturday's a great time to do that! The meeting is at 1pm on Saturday, at the Fruitville branch of the Sarasota County Library System, at 100 Coburn Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240.

I'll be sharing some of the quilts from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter, as well as some old favorites and the stories behind them.

Trunk Show this weekend - figuring out what to pack...

And if you're not in the Sarasota area, never fear, my teaching calendar is growing and expanding over the next several months, and I bet I might just be speaking at a quilt shop or guild near you! Have a great day :)

Beginning Free Motion Quilting Class coming up on Friday

I am really enjoying teaching these days! It's so much fun to share my love of quilting with other people, and to share things that I've learned along my quilting journey. And quilty people really are the best people, so it's great to get to spend a morning with other fabric lovers. If you happen to be in the area, my monthly Beginning Free Motion Quilting class is coming up this Friday morning at Inspire Quilting & Sewing in Plant City, FL.

FMQ in progress
You'll see more of this project soon, I promise!

In this class, we get down and dirty with your machine to find and fix any free-motion troubles you may be experiencing, whether it's tension issues, needle issues, you name it. We also practice four to five different free motion stitches, two of which are all-over designs and three of which are linear designs. This gives you the opportunity to stretch both sides of your brain and find what feels more comfortable for you.

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Clamshell Loop FMQ tutorial right here

Practice is the name of the game when you're getting starting with free-motioning. The first quilt I ever free-motioned seriously looks like it's quilted with creepy, long fingers all over it. You have to push through, and keep trying, rather than getting frustrated and defeated by your first attempts. They may not be pretty, but they're going to be, with practice and effort.

Close up of Zoology Baby Quilt
My first quilt, three years ago!

We talk a lot in class about different tips and tricks for making your early attempts at free-motion as smooth as possible, from choosing the right needle and thread for your machine to different techniques for holding and moving your quilt as you free-motion.

Beautiful stitches, without any muss or fuss

There's just a few seats left in my class this week, but if you're interested in joining in the fun, you can sign up for the class by calling the good folks at Inspire Quilting & Sewing at 813-704-4867. In the meantime, I'm going to be having fun stitching up a crazy piecing project I started at The Stash Bash, using one of my favorite fabric lines ever, Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley. Have a great day!

Hope Valley Improv project in progress

My new favorite quilt

I was going to try to hold off on sharing the samples that I made for Sewing Summit until after the fact, but I just can't hold this one in any longer! I am so deliriously happy with how this mini-quilt turned out :)

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I'm calling this mini A Light in the Dark, after the feeling of the vibrant colors against the dark background. I've always wanted to tackle Mariner's Compass blocks, and I'm so happy that I did! I love everything about this mini-quilt, from the fabrics I used - that handwriting print from Violet Craft's Madrona Road collection is quite possibly my favorite fabric ever! - to the quilting stitches, which I'm really proud of.

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These blocks were made with free tutorials I stumbled upon at Quilting on the Square, in working to set up a fun Pinterest board with Lee to inspire our foundation paper piecing students. The top row, left to right, are Which Way North and Wheel of Fortune. The bottom row, left to right, are Kaleidoscope and Spinning Points.

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When it came to quilting this mini, I really wanted it to be something special, so I tackled each block individually. I pulled a zillion different threads to coordinate with the fabrics, a la Angela Walters, and had a lot of fun trying out different FMQ designs. One gripe about quilting something like this with matching thread: burying all the thread tails!!

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I absolutely love this mini quilt, and I'm planning to submit it for QuiltCon, thanks to some Instagram encouragement from Heather. I've never entered a quilt in any kind of competition before, so I'm sure it's going to be an interesting experience!

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And I may not be done with Mariner's Compasses - my husband has asked me to make a quilt for him filled with Mariner's Compass blocks! I told him it'll take me forever, but I will try :)

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Quilt Stats:
name: A Light in the Dark
size: 24" square
pattern: Various Mariner's Compass blocks from Quilting on the Square
fabrics: Memoir in Black from Violet Craft's Madrona Road, ombres from V & Co's Simply Color, coming out very soon!
quilting: many different continuous line FMQ designs, by me, in various shades of Aurifil 50 wt and Madeira threads
binding: Memoir in Black from Violet Craft's Madrona Road

Stay tuned for more Sewing Summit sample reveals tomorrow :)

P.S. - If you love this quilt, it's entered in Bloggers Quilt Festival Fall 2012 and you can nominate it for a prize right here. I'm #398, and can be entered under Favorite Home Machine Quilted Quilt or Favorite Mini Quilt.