I have had some time lately to think about free motion quilting and do some drawings on paper.
there are some amazing quilters out there, and it is inspiring to see what they do. Some of the ones like Amgela Walters and Natalia Bonner have books which I have poured over, and some have you tube videos to share their processes. There are quite a few longarm quilters who I follow on instagram as well.
A couple of people who I have come across have quite distinctive styles! and I have been inspired to try to imitate their process.
these are a few pages of my sketchbook. the first person, Karen McTavish has the great way of breaking up a space, and filling it with smaller fill... she is the creator of "mctavishing". Then, Krista Withers has used this concept to divide up the space in a more planned out way, and uses marking on the quilt to plan out general areas. I did a couple of practices on my domestic sewing machine and I am so hooked.
I have set a time for the first new class, formally called Practicing Your Penmanship, but could also be referred to as Free Motion Quilting for the Totally Terrified. Tuesday, May 16, from 1pm to 5 p.m.
A link to the class description is here
I am pretty excited about this class, since I really believe that the approach it takes will make the idea and practice of free motion quilting accessible to people who think that "they can't draw".
I have been spending hours with various sketchbooks and marking tools, learning and expanding on the ideas that will be explored in this class. Next to my drawings, I am keeping a running commentary on the process--- observations, how to present the content, tips, what skills are being developed and all that sort of stuff.
So, to the potential people who might take this class, I can promise you that your mind will be whirring and you'll have tons of stuff to practice, whether on paper, or stitching on the longarm or on your domestic machine.
I hope that after teaching the class once I will get some feedback and continue to make it effective, then schedule more classes starting in July. High hopes!
A new longarm class
One of the things I have been doing over the past couple of weeks is developing a couple of new longarm classes. the first one I am working on will be called Practicing your Penmanship.
I have noticed that many people feel very insecure about their free motion abilities, yet that is the type of quilting that most people find most rewarding. so this class will be the first step in developing some long arm techniques to have at your fingertips, using skills you didn't even know you already had. it really is based on some penmanship ideas, and who didn't love penmanship when they were a child at school.
i'm working out the content of the class using big sketchbook of newsprint, since I'm away from my long arm machine for a couple of weeks. I myself am finding a lot more confidence in some of these basic movements and I'm pretty excited to be back in May to work these ideas out on the machine.
I'm hoping that I will have a couple of guinea pigs to try the class out on in May as well.
there is a lot of material that can be covered in the class, between the sketchbook and the actual machine work, so I'm just a bit unsure about how long to schedule a class for.
I decided that the best way to get familiar with the new blog was to just write more entries!
I also discovered how to fix the problem of the blog having no sidebar, which had been baffling me. So, now there is a sidebar that makes it possible to search the archives and categories, and for a reader to add the blog to their rss feed!
It also helped to get re-acquainted with using my laptop computer. It is so easy to use my ipad for almost everything, but sometimes it doesn't have all the functions that a real computer has.
This is a photo of in the studio where I have been taking photos of quilts!
I am using a system of "command hooks" stuck on the wall that hold the metal dowel.
There are clips that attach to the top edge of the quilt, and hook onto the rings on the dowel. Very slick. The wall gets some good lighting, until the sun creeps in later in the afternoon to cast shadows.
I took photos of a huge stack of quilts, which I am now trying to decide what to do with.
Some of them I am adding to the website to try to sell.
Some of them I will end up giving away,
and some of them I will probably take home to keep!
Hope that your Easter Sunday is lovely!
It is sort of hard to develop a new routine sometimes. I am finding it tricky to get used to this new blog format. I wrote a blog when I had Periwinkle, and after 713 posts, I had become very used to the system it used. Now, it is like I am starting from scratch again.
I was thinking about how one does things on a computer or tablet as opposed to doing something with physical items. For instance, when we got new fabric delivered at the store, we unpacked it, cut and folded fat quarters, labelled them and put everything on a shelf for display. When I write a blog entry, it is sort of the same, but at a remove. I need to open the program and find my place. I open a new page to write on to, and think of what I want to say. then, I type words, and place them on the page. to add a photo, I need to go to where it is stored and retrieve it, sometimes editing it to make it show more of what I want to communicate. Sometimes I can't find the photo I want to use, or it is on a different device so I have to figure out how to move it over to the device I am using. Putting together the blog post is sort of like putting a display together. I think we have been told so often that doing things on a computer are so quick and easy, that it comes as a surprise to find out that it actually takes a fair bit of time to compile something using words and images.
Right now I am out of Saskatoon for a month, so Nancy, Wendy and Sandy are taking over the studio while I am away. I am going into longarm withdrawal.
While I am here in Savannah, I have a goal! Over the past few weeks, I took many photos of the quilts I had had at the shop. Most of them had been shop samples for kits and fabrics. My goal is to sift through and decide what to do with. them. I think that some I will donate or give away, and some I will put up for sale. It is sort of a long shot to sell a quilt though.
Today, I found this post that I had started on February 19, but never finished it! but, better late than never...
This week I had the time to quilt my off center logcabin quilt. It's not bound yet, but it is quilted!
I started this quilt in November 2014 at a quilting retreat with the goal of trying out a new ruler.
I started by making the nine blocks that are yellow and white.
It didn't seem very big, so I decided to make more blocks. I didn't have that many yellow fabrics left, so that's when I pulled out the blue fabrics.
when I finally completed all the blocks, and sewed the top together, I really liked the way it looked. I knew that the large white spaces would have to have some special quilting in them to enhance the design.
I spent many nights trying out ideas in my head while waiting to fall asleep.
On Monday when I loaded the quilt, the only plan I was sure of was that I wanted to stitch in the ditch and echo stitch the seams where the white and colored sections met.
After that, I decided to stitch feathered wreaths surrounded by stipple quilting in the white areas. I just used a blue wash away marker and some round rulers to mark the center vein of the wreath, and where the outside limit would be. then, I spent some happy hours stitching wreaths.
I love doing feathered wreaths.
This is an overall view,
Note, April 24,
well, this quilt has been bound now, in turquoise fabric, and even washed to get more crinkly!
I have also explored feathers much more since then, but I am still pretty happy on how this quilt turned out!
Over the past month, I have had some quiet time to really concentrate on doing some quilting.
In the past I have done quite a lot of free motion quilting on my home sewing machine, but I knew that when I got the longarm machine, more things would be possible.
Fortunately I have quite a stack of projects ready to practice on!
One quilt I did last week was this hexagon one. I had room left at the bottom with extra batting and backing so I was able to add a table runner and some placemats. they were great as a space to try out some all over free motion patterns.
Yesterday I started this off center log cabin, and I marked circles using a wash away marker in the large white areas to help the placement of the feathered wreaths. I got almost half way done yesterday so I am looking forward to working on it more today,
I must say, it is really exciting to try out some of these ideas!
This past month has been full of getting things organized. I have been tweaking where things are in the studio, assembling shelving and chairs, and doing a little bit of painting here and there. We should even have signage installed soon!
Our big news is that we will soon have another longarm machine to keep our Lucey company!!! hooray!
yes, she is getting a twin sister, Lucey II. It should be here within the next week, so I am looking forward to getting it set up. Then, you and a friend can come to quilt together at the same time!
Also, I have been working on the website, so that it explains more of what we offer you in terms of services. It seems that so much of what I do these days involves websites, I realize that it's probably the same for you too.
While we were part of the shop at Periwinkle, we started as a place to rent time on a longarm machine for you to quilt your projects. This continues to be our focus, but now that we are in a dedicated space, we have broadened what we can do. So, we have three main offerings.
The first two are to help quilters finish their quilts more easily, especially those big ones that are difficult to do on your home sewing machine.
1. Machine rentals -- we can train you how to use the longarm machine (new class times) and have it available for you to rent on an hourly basis so that you can quilt your project. This is great for when you want to do your own quilt from start to finish so that it is all your own creation. learn more here
You can even book a session online with the calendar, here
2. Longarm quilting services --- we can quilt your quilt for you. This is for when you want your project to get done and either don't have the time or inclination to do it yourself. Sometimes it might be a gift you want to have done by a certain date, or it is a big quilt, but you don't really want to tackle it yourself. Whatever the reason, we can do it for you. learn more here
3. and finally, for people who just don't want to make the quilt themself, we have finished quilts available to purchase. This is a work in progress. We will add to it slowly but surely. Right now we have some quilted items in the studio, but not up on the website, since the photography has been a bit of a challenge for me!
The other thing I have been working on is stitching out samples of all the pantographs that we have available for renters to use, or for people to choose to have stitched on their quilts.
The samples are about 15" x 20" so that you can see what the panto looks like without having to unroll it, since sometimes it is hard to see the actual scale of the design.
This has been a fun project for me to do, since I am learning a lot as I go!
It has been fun to interact with the people who have come in for rentals, I always like to see their projects and how they think about quilting on them.
It just so happens to be New Years Eve, but today I am back at work.
Not at the studio itself, although I suspect that Nancy and Sam are there right now installing our new flooring . But, I just designed and ordered new business cards, and that was a bit of an effort.
Over Christmas we had our son and daughter stay for ten days which was an immense treat. While they were here, I took a total break from all work related stuff.
Before that in November and the first half of December I was busier than normal. I sold the shop, Periwinkle Quilting, to Patti. That was more involved than either of us anticipated, I believe. It had seemed like such an easy plan... she would just take over and I would fade out.... in reality there was a lot of paperwork and other details. We had a series of sales to pare down the inventory so that Patti could bring in lots of new stock, and that was fun! I hope you got a chance to get some great deals during that time!
Then, since I was keeping Lucey, the plan for the Longarm Studio began to snowball!
to recap, this is what has happened so far:
1. Last autumn we got our longarm machine, an APQS Lucey, to provide the option for quilters to rent the machine to do hand-guided longarm machine quilting on their own quilts. I didn't know that some of us would fall head over heels in love with that process. 💖💖💖
2. we trained a lot of people on how to operate the machine, and started renting it by the hour to quilters in the basement of the shop on Broadway
3. I decided to sell the shop, but to keep Lucey (because I love her😉). It didnt seem right to just take the machine home after training all those people to use it, so I decided to rent a space in Saskatoon where people could come to work on their quilts. Because it is always more fun (and less scary) to do something like this with company, I twisted Nancy's arm to come along with me.
4. I stumbled upon a great location, at street level, with great lighting, and snapped it up!
5. The space has been undergoing some renovations which should make the space workable by early January. Until then, Lucey has spent the past couple of weeks nestled in bubble wrap, snuggled in between a couple of rolls of batting at Nancy's house.
6. I have worked on some computer stuff, starting a website 😳, and thinking about our whole endeavour.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be continuing to get ourselves organized.
I, Michelle, am out of town until Jan 10th, so that might cramp our style a wee bit, but not by too much!
Nancy, Sandy and Wendy are hoping to re-assemble Lucey this week, hooray.
then, I suspect that someone (Or more than one someone's)might take her for a test drive or two.
Then we will start to unpack all the other accoutrements and hopefully we will be up and running and open for business by mid-January!
and you know I will keep you posted!
So, In summary, do lots of sewing, and get lots of quilt tops ready to quilt, because we will be ready for you to come visit us soon!
p.s. Happy New Year, Michelle
It feels strange to write a blog post in a new place. It seems that I have had my Periwinkle Quilting blog at blogspot for such a long time. But now I have a new venture, and a new location, on the web as well as in real life.
I opened Periwinkle Quilting and Beyond in Saskatoon over 15 years ago, in a small space in Cumberland Mall on 8 th St. It grew and evolved over the years, until it reached its present location on Broadway Ave. It has been quite an adventure. Through it all, I have been really fortunate to have some incredible women to help me. (more on them later!)
In the past couple of years, I have enjoyed running the shop, but started feeling a bit overwhelmed by the variety of tasks that it entailed, and I started to wonder how I could simplify my focus. The best choice by far was to hand over the shop to someone else who could bring fresh eyes, interests, and enthusiasm to re-invigorate it. Luckily, Patti, a friend who also worked at the shop for over ten years has risen to the challenge, and she will be taking it over in late December. So be prepared to see a fresh take on the shop after Christmas! I find that really exciting, and will be thrilled to see what she does, and what products she will bring in, what samples will appear, and so many other things.
That said, I wanted to hold on to one aspect of the shop that hasbrought me great pleasure over the past year, the longarm rental program! And, I have twisted the arm of Nancy to come along and help me with it, so I am really happy. As well, Sandy will continue to be involved in teaching longarm certification classes, and Wendy will do some of the studio supervisions as well. There is a lot to work out over the next few months, but with people like this to walk the path with me, I feel positive and delighted to see what the future brings! I hope that we will be able to offer you another, new, happy place to visit and nurture your creativity!