It has been awhile since a blog made a presence. I blame… life. Every time you think things are about to level out, something else comes up. I think there will just always be something. Recently, I was in a good friends wedding the weekend before we were supposed to be selling our house and buying another house which all was happening about a week before a huge program change at Quilter’s Hideaway. I’ve always said I would rather be busy than bored… 🙂
A couple Friday’s ago, when we were about to leave for my friend’s Rehearsal Dinner, Dalton and I received word that our seller was still lacking some paperwork and our move was postponed. I think it probably worked out for the better looking back. I was able to spend more time at Quilter’s Hideaway working on Millie and preparing for our biggest challenge yet—changing to a new point of sale system. We were also able to rest up more following the wedding before moving.
Our move ended up being postponed one week, two weeks before we are/were to go live with our new system. The move happened fairly uneventfully and we are now full focus on our new system.
Side note: This move symbolized so much! We were sad to leave behind certain things at our old house—a shed my brother-in-laws, father-in-law, and husband built, our “first” house as a married couple, the place we introduced our youngest puppy to our family. However, this move meant that QH was successful! (AMAZING) It meant that it was time to move closer to the shop and shorten my over-an-hour drive to work every day. All our hard work was paying off, and I could not be more thankful for YOUR support.
If you have entered the shop in the last week, you noticed it was a little chaotic.
When we opened the shop our goal was to merely open. The details were all slightly foggy. We were learning as we went and the Point Of Sale system we started with wasn’t handling our growth well. There were components of it that I loved, but mostly it was a pain. We have been blessed with incredible growth, and with that, we are going through a few growing pains.
We made the decision to change our Point of Sale system, which also means we are changing our website, newsletter process, and so much more. It is exciting. It is nerve-wracking. It is a learning experience. It might be a little stressful.
I have had more than one bowl of ice cream this past week; whatever it takes, right?
To say I am excited for this new system is an understatement. Do I like this conversion process? Absolutely not. Is the timing a little iffy? You bet. But I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I also feel like it is time to make a change now, while we are still young. We just celebrated our 1.5 birthday, after all.
Stick around. The next few weeks are going to be pretty awesome. I might have an ice cream party at my new house if we all make it through this.
See you at the machine,
Happy 2018! It is a new year, and we have so many things on the agenda for the shop. I’m not a huge New Years Resolution person, but I am really hoping to find time to blog more this year.
With that said, I am also helping to continue learning more on Millie, and I started early learning new things this year. On Christmas Eve/Day, I quilted a custom quilt for my Brother-in-Law. Somehow, my two brother-in-laws have been able to convince me to only quilt custom for them. It has always been a large learning curve. Each time, I have learned new things, and thankfully the quilts always turn out great!
This particular quilt was a gift for the man officiating his wedding. The family’s last name starts with a G and they have three kids: Ellyn Beth, Jax Joseph, and Jones Dean. I promise we checked the spelling multiple times during this process, but it still made me nervous.
Devin, my brother-in-law, had the idea to quilt all of the childrens’ names into the quilt. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well… I couldn’t find an easy way to do it without a ton of jumps between every letter (A jump is when Millie stops sewing in one spot and moves to another spot. It leaves a stretch of loose thread that needs trimmed.), so I improvised. I spent quite a lot of time in PatternCad, a program in QuiltPath that allows a pattern to be “drawn”.
I grumbled quite often while “drawing” this pattern, but I love how it turned out. Now I want to do a similar quilt for my grandmother with all of the grandchildren’s names, but the idea of creating patterns for all of those names makes me worried.
See you at the machine,
It’s been awhile. And by awhile, I mean way too long. I’ve been working full time plus helping at the shop too many hours to count. This isn’t a pity-party, but a party because that has all changed now!
I’m still at the shop too many hours to count, but that full time job is no longer on the table. I’ve taken a leap of faith, and I’m trying to follow a dream. (Or something like that….)
My husband has decided that I am a “Professional Quilter; Occupation: Quilter.” He made that declaration as I walked in the door one week ago after my last day training my replacement at the full time office job. I think he was under the impression that I won’t need to add to my personal fabric stash, now that I’m around fabric all day. He has no idea.. 🙂
Now that I’m at the shop, and supposedly have free time (I still haven’t seen any or that), we are going to start working of a few fun things we’ve been planning. We are also gearing up to announce our next few months of classes. So far, our classes have been successful, fun, and energetic, so we want to keep that going.
When my mom and I made the decision to open Quilter’s Hideaway, we knew we wanted a way to bring people together. We immediately knew we wanted some form of a sew night where people with different experience and projects could come together to learn from one another, create a community, and encourage each other throughout their projects.
Our Open Sew Nights every Thursday, have slowly molded into this. Although I cannot be at every one (I’m still working fulltime in Tulsa), I receive pictures, and it makes me want to be there every week.
There have been many finished projects throughout our short, two months of being open, many newbies have learned tricks, and friendships have been made around our tables. I’ve learned more about embroidery and so many other things, I’ve seen others teaching how to chain-piece, everyone has a home at Quilter’s Hideaway.
The other thing I love about sew night, is that our design wall is always covered in so many different quilts as people work to find a layout they are happy with. Occasionally I’ll even get FaceTime to give my opinion, or someone will leave a quilt up for a few days to play with until they are happy. My favorite saying when a quilt is on the wall is, “Can I play?” Everyone sees quilts so differently, and I love this.
Everyone has been on a log cabin “kick” recently using our new rulers and upcoming class, but every single quilt has been vastly different. Other than the actual block, the quilts are unrecognizable as the same pattern.
If you are on the fence, or want to surround yourself with funny, encouraging, helpful people, think about coming to our next Open Sew Night. It happens every Thursday. Come when you’re free and stay until the seam rippers come out. Usually the crowd starts forming after 4pm and we shut the party down between 8:30 and 9.
I’ve seen knitting, embroidery, paper piecing, chatting, quilt layout, laughing, pressing, and so much more happening during our Open Sew nights.
See you at the machine,
Weekends used to mean a time to relax, clean house, catch up on laundry, and go grocery shopping. Now, they mean sewing and being surrounded by fabric! I’m fine with this tradeoff, but my house might be included in the next State of Emergency Alert. Long days doing what I love, and an extremely understanding husband, make the tradeoff bearable.
This weekend was busy… and fabulous… and so much fun. Friday I worked with Millie and caught up on random shop things including placing more inventory around the shop and ordering even more fun stuff. Saturday we had our first class. The Disappearing Nine Patch Class was a blast. Although the pattern was the same, each quilt was vastly different. I cannot wait to see the finished quilts. Everyone made great progress during class, so ladies, don’t let that get buried in your unfinished project pile. I’m mainly talking to myself since I have had a partially finished D9P floating around in my car/backpack/sewing room for quite a while now.
Two of the quilts we finished this weekend were customer quilts. One was a fun Bruin T-shirt quilt and the other was a GORGEOUS star quilt. The t-shirt quilt was quilted using a pattern similar to the border print.
The Star quilt was quilted with a simple Damask pattern. Can we have an honest moment for three seconds? This quilt made me nervous. First, it is GORGEOUS. I cannot believe the time spent on this quilt. Secondly, the story behind it is one to break hearts and show love. Every stitch was sewn with love, and I felt compelled to carry that through the quilting. Lastly, it is just so breathtaking. I was not the one to take this quilt in, so I had not seen it before I started loading it onto Millie. Breathtaking. Simply amazing. I believe I asked my mom if they were sure they wanted me to touch it. A few deep breaths later Millie started to hum.
The quilting pattern was perfect as it did not take away from the quilt piecing. Thank goodness. I would not have been able to handle it if the quilting changed this quilt in the smallest way.
Shout out to tall husbands and brothers. Also chairs and friends. Taking some of these pictures can be difficult but they put up with my “just a few more pictures” every single time.
The last quilt from the weekend (which is still on Millie) was a quilt my brother-in-law, Devin, has sewn. He pixilated two Star Wars graphics and pieced them together using 3 1/2 inch squares. I think there is a rule that you try to do anything a brother asks (I only have brothers), so we were jumping into the deep end and learning new things, left and right this weekend.
First, we wanted to keep the squares lined up. The front and back were the same size and used the same 3 1/2 squares, so in theory they were to line up. To handle this and knowing that the back sometimes shrinks up more while quilting on a Longarm we pinned the squares together all throughout the quilt. I also attached leaders onto the backing so I would have enough space to attach the quilt to Millie. On the last row of pinning, we found that there was an extra row on the top piece. Something was wrong. The unpinning began and we finally found the problem in the middle. We repined and were ready to start quilting.
Devin found two images he liked and wanted quilted throughout his quilt. One was a TIE Fighter and the other was a X Wing. At first, we tried pulling the images into Quilt Path, the program I use on Millie, but the program could not understand what line to draw next. She was moving all over the place and creating around 45 “jumps” in one small square (Jumps are when the machine moves but does not sew, so you are left with long threads to trim). I finally decided to draw each image line-by-line, so I could control what she would sew next. I figured out how to upload a background image to “trace”, but it still took quite a bit of time, and it was a huge learning curve. I was besties with that undo button.
I also reset the line and dot design he had found so it would fit in the different spaces. We made different sized blocks so all of the lines and circles would stay the same size and not get stretched or scrunched when we set each block. I set Quilt Path up to have four point marking in place. Every block could be placed within the set boundary and not start to sew outside of the grid. Although some blocks are off slightly, most are extremely close.
After all the blocks were designed and ready, I showed Devin how to place each block using the four point set up, pull the bobbin up, and get Millie to sew each blocks. While he worked on this, I was able to work on a handful of other things around the shop.
Out of nowhere, we heard an awful noise and everyone started running to Millie as I kept saying “Press stop! Press stop!” Devin caught it, pressed stop many times, and we were there. She broke a needle. I tried looking for the other part of the needle and said a prayer that Millie’s timing was not messed up. After looking underneath Millie, I quickly noticed the hook assembly looked out of place and way wrong. To test, I put a new needle in and tried using the fly-wheel to make sure everything was okay. It was not. I jumped online and searched for the re-timing video APQS has recorded on YouTube. A machine’s timing is correct when the needle can enter the bobbin basket as the hook assembly spins around at just the right time. This creates a stitch. Needle down, hook assembly spins, needle up, stitch created. That is the simple way to say it.
When I realized the video was almost an hour long and knowing we still had quite a bit of quilting left to do, I called Brenda (The sweetest distributor from Barnsdall – Red Barn Quilting). She confirmed my fear and said we really needed to watch the video and follow each step in order and fully. I thanked her and turned back to the computer. Here goes nothing… After the first three steps, back up was called in. My father-in-law was already at the shop, so he stepped in and I walked away.
I was a ball of nerves as the video continued; file this using an emery board, pull on this, unscrew and remove that. Each step caused me more fear, and I was not helpful. I quickly exited the room and worked elsewhere while they went at it. On occasion they asked for my help, then I would quickly leave again. It was best this way.
Eventually she was back to sewing happily, which meant that I was back to being happy. We began sewing again, this time moving on from the line design and starting on the X Wing blocks. On the first block we all gathered around and were mesmerized by Millie (it happens quite often).
Devin continued placing the blocks and working away. All that is left now are the vertical borders which I will finish up this week. I need to work more in the design software to set those up. This takes quite a bit of time and we were all exhausted last night. Soon it will be finished.
All in all it was a busy but fabulous weekend. We accomplished quite a lot, chatted with friends, and finished quilts. Learning new things is a key component of this journey and I am always pleased when things turn out well even if we have to take the long route to the finish line.
A new week awaits and another class, the t-shirt quilt class, is happening next weekend.
See you at the machine,
Well, I jumped off the deep end for a moment and forgot to clue you all in. It’s been a little while since my last post.
On top of the quilt shop, I am still working a full time job. This week I had a business trip, so I did what every quilter would do and I loaded up my sewing machine in hopes of setting aside a few hours for sewing. Although my evenings were pretty full, I was able to start a new project. I like to think I needed a new project because I was in a new place. I’ll take any excuse to start something new.
It isn’t WIP Week, so I cannot get in trouble. Remember, one of the goals about WIP Week is no new projects, though I often break that rule too.
Anyways, right before I left I cut, and cut, and cut my fabric. Now all my pieces are cut and all I have to do is sew. This quilt is an old paper piecing pattern. I’m playing and learning, but mostly playing.
I did not get far, however I do have one fully finished block to share.
I know I have several other things to update you on, but I always forget or jump around while writing.
We had another warehouse trip this week, so watch for new inventory!! If you come to Open Sew Night tonight you might get a sneak peek as I input everything into our inventory system. Make sure you stop by. 🙂
Boxes and car loads of fabric are a few of my favorite things. Of course, Millie tops this list, but they are both pretty fabulous.
Last week I ventured more into custom quilting with several wall hangings. They turned out really well, and I had a blast learning even more.
I also finished a spectacular customer quilt in purples. There are even more quilts making it onto my need-to-make list, but I know I will never quite be able to finish that list. Instead, I will fall in love with each quilt that passes and enjoy getting to work with them for the moment.
A funny story; we looked high and low for a quilting pattern for the Kitty Cat quilt. The customer asked for paws or balls of yarn. The only paws I could find were obviously puppy dog paws or a tiger/bear type of paw. I couldn’t find any balls of yarn either. Finally, I found cricket balls. They really looked like balls of yarn, especially on a kitty cat quilt. I sent a picture to the customer and we agreed this was perfect! You never know what we will find, but I will keep looking until we can capture the look you are hoping for on your quilt.
Another update is that our first quilt class is this Saturday! The class is a disappearing nine patch quilt and we cannot wait. I have worked up several different sizes and the class is aimed at beginner level and up. Anyone can take this class and be successful.
I have finished the layer cake friendly version and I am working on the throw quilt/charm pack friendly version. I am using Ellen Medlock fabrics and I LOVE how it is turning out. Such a perfect spring quilt.
I think that brings you up-to-date. Don’t forget Open Sew Night TONIGHT! (It’s free!)
See you at the machine (tonight at Open Sew!),