“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way--things I had no words for.”

~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Friday, January 31, 2014

How Mama Got Her Groove Back

I was in a bit of a sewing slump. After over three years of having an Etsy shop with slow but steady sales I was not yet in the place I had hoped to be. I couldn't find my "Mojo", if you will. Through the years I attempted to try new (to me) quilting techniques and patterns, wanting to become an avid and respected quilter. My fabric stash became larger and larger but my sewing output was a bit stagnant. I finally realize some of my issues...I'm lazy and want instant gratification, right NOW! I just do not have the patience for following a quilt pattern with lots of small, precisely measured pieces in which one beautiful block takes a day to complete...ugh! I struggled to figure out a way to create quilts using my ever growing fabric stash that would inspire and excite my creativity. I had found I was more inclined to create random patchwork quilts, as this technique allows the freedom to use various sizes of fabric pieces in every which way, without the need for measuring. It is a wonderful way to use up those precious scraps. It was my go-to method. Then the other day I watched a video in which the instructor was explaining how to line up points in a traditional patchwork: Lay out your squares, sew into strips, iron seams in each row opposite of the next row, pin rows together at the seams by "nesting" or "locking"them together, sew rows together accordingly. Pretty simple...with some practice.

I started out slowly and then things started heating up from there. I began creating quilt tops in a matter of hours.  I wasn't creating the much beloved quilt block (although I do still love piecing together simple quilt blocks). I was just sewing beautiful fabric squares together, kind of a no-brainer. I was pulling out all my fabrics, creating fun combos and whipping them together in a flash. I wasn't worried that my traditional method wouldn't be worthy to be considered a modern application. The thing about Modern Quilting is that it is vast in it's definition:

From the Modern Quilt Guild web page ~

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. "Modern traditionalism" or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

I can totally relate to modern traditionalism in that I'm using a traditional design with bold, modern fabrics. Yay me!

So, for now I'm really liking this new/old (modern/traditional) way of using up many of my long neglected fabrics. As I see my stash dwindle and my Etsy shop expand I can feel oh so much better with buying even more bold, modern fabrics. Because that's what it's all about anyway...a reason to buy more fabric without the guilt, right?

You can find these new quilts in the shop!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sweet Baby Jane - A Sewing Machine Review

Today I am participating in the Sewing Machine Review Link-up hosted by Sew Mama Sew. I have been wanting to blog about my sewing machine since I purchased it a while back but never got around to it. This is the perfect chance to gush about my machine!

What Brand and Model do you have?
My machine is a Baby Lock Jane (A-Line Series, Model #BL500A)

How long have you had it?
I purchased my machine in 2012.

How much does that machine cost (Approx.)?
I paid a little over $1000 for my machine.

What types of things do you sew?
I am primarily a quilter, however, I also sew bags and purses, aprons and home accents (pillows, curtains, etc...).

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does your machine get?
I sew a LOT! Sometimes every day all day long, sometimes a few times a week.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Does she have a name?
I absolutely LOVE my machine! Her name is Sweet Baby Jane, of course!

What features does your machine have that work well for you?
I did a LOT of research before buying my machine. My last machine was a Baby Lock Grace that I used constantly for three years but it just could not keep up with the amount of sewing I did. I wanted a very simple, very powerful machine. I did not need decorative stitches but I DID need a wide throat space as I do a lot of quilting. Baby Jane has a 9" arm which makes quilting large quilts a breeze. Another feature that is just as important was the Feed Dog Adjustment knob. There are 4 heights to choose from with just the turn of the knob, so, so easy! This is a straight stitch machine and at 1500 stitches per minute, this baby is FAST! There are many other impressive features (hands-free presser foot, telescoping thread stand, quilting extension table, needle threader, thread cutter button, etc...).

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
Surprisingly, no.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Yes! I really do love my machine. It's simple, strong, fast and easy to clean and oil.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Consider what style of sewing is to be done on the machine. I mostly quilt so I needed a fast machine with a wide throat and the ease of lowering the feed dogs. Someone who does a lot of decorative stitching and minimal quilting probably would not appreciate this machine.

Do you have a dream machine? 
Someday I might like to have an industrial Juki.

Do you have a great story about your machine?
While in a rush trying to finish a quilt for a client I sewed right through my finger with the needle breaking off IN MY FINGER. I never found the end of the needle so I am assuming it's still in there!

 I Love my Sweet Baby Jane!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bug-A-Loo Quilt

Kid quilts are just so much fun to make! I love all the bright and happy colors. I created this quilt around the Bugs fabric by Jone Hallmark for Blend Fabrics. 

I like to mix fabrics up and not use just one collection for a quilt. I added various charm squares of Happy Go Lucky and a few fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's True Colors collection for a kaleidoscope of bold primary colors and geometrics. 

Backed with Kona White and a strip of matching patchwork. Measures 46" x 35".

A perfect size for the crib or as a take along naptime quilt for a toddler.

In the Shop and ready to ship to that special little one who loves all things "creepy-crawly"!