When This Quilters Away…

Comes Your Way!

You heard right!! While I’m away ALL orders shipped within the United States will receive FREE shipping until August 20th!

NO Special Code is required to receive free shipping!

So take advantage of this great offer, and fill your cart today!   And you’ll enjoy free shipping within the great USA! 

I can’t stay in Europe forever.  Unfortunately, I will have to return to reality which mean free shipping will come to an end.  So don’t miss out, you have until August 20th to take advantage of what is happening while I’m traveling abroad!

 

 

Something Exciting is coming…..

 

I can barely contain my excitement… you’ve asked and I’ve listened… Yeah…..

Make sure you are signed up to receive my newsletter, or follow my blog, instagram or Facebook… one of them or all of them… you don’t want to miss out…. I am hoping to be spilling the beans next week…. so stay tuned.

Presenting… Perfect Plumes!

 

Some things are worth the wait, and I have to admit these are one of those things!  If you’ve been yearning to master the technique of creating beautiful heirloom feathers then, Perfect Plumes is calling your name!  The class is broken down into steps that are easy to understand and provides the knowledge and skills needed to enhance this aspect of quilting. The only catch is there is no magic fairy dust..

 

 

You may not want to hear this folks but the fact remains, like many things, the key to success with creating feathers is practice, practice, practice! You want to succeed, and I want you to succeed, so in order to achieve that, Perfect Plumes includes worksheets to be downloaded.  Trust me, they will be a huge learning asset. In addition, the class incorporates videos demonstrating drawings and stitching performed on the domestic machine.

When I began quilting, I desperately wanted to master feathers.  This didn’t happen over night, in fact, it took some patience, time, and a lot of doodling.  My unwavering dedication in grasping this concept evolved into a huge love of feathers.  They are, by no means perfect, but that’s just fine with me.

Okay, enough about me, back to YOU and Perfect Plumes! Finally, the conclusion of this session incorporates a final project to test your skills, and the pattern is included! A class with manageable steps, videos, worksheets, and a final project; what more could a fan of heirloom feathers ask for?  Trust me you’ll soon see that magic fairy dust isn’t necessary; the true magic lies in YOU!

So let’s get you flying with feathers! Sign up now!

Folks We Are SOO Close!

 

Does the following little video have you glancing in the mirror saying, “Oh my god! That’s me!”  If so, then you’ll be happy to know I have a solution!

 

Yes, step by step, things are really starting to move forward in my little studio, here in Pennsylvania.  Even during the process of preparing for shows, lectures, etc. I have remained focused on producing the ProFeather™ ruler AND the Perfect Plumes Class.  No doubt it’s a lot to juggle, but I’m so excited that I’m putting the finishing touches on my newest ruler and class that I can’t set it aside now! Heck no! So be on the look out, they are coming your way very soon!!!

 

Feathers Create My Happy Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feathers, feathers, feathers.  Yes, I do know how to quilt many other things, however, I absolutely love to quilt feathers.  As soon as I had finalized the purchase on my machine I was determined to master the technique of  quilting these beauties.   So, maybe you have just bought your first machine and are having the same thoughts I just shared of loving feathers , or you have a machine and simply haven’t taken the time to learn this technique. Well, then this post will come in handy!  Although this is an older video I thought I would repost it for some of my newer followers, and for those of you that have yet to tackle this motif.

The video I am sharing below is a tutorial on formal feathers, some quilters refer to it as the “hump and  bump”.

 

 

Whether you are new feathers, or just needed a refresher on fine tuning your skills I hope you found this video beneficial.  By the way what are your favorite motifs to quilt?

 

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Did You Hear Me?

 

 

What is a business without good communication? There is none.  How vital is communication with our customers?  It’s pretty darn vital.  I know that when I was quilting for customers,  I composed an intake sheet that allowed me to notate information regarding each client and specifics on what they wanted on their quilt.  Why was this so important?  Well, hello I am no super hero when it comes to retaining every single word my customer shared with during consultation.  I could review my notes and realized “I completely forget she had mentioned this, or requested that”.  We all have good intentions of listening closely to the wants and needs of our customers but can we rely on mentally keeping every detail tucked away in our heads…not this girl.

 I rely on contacting with people via email, rather than connecting with them by phone.  This is not something I am proud of, it is definitely an area I am trying to improve upon.  As I picked up the phone recently I became extremely aware of how significant that voice to voice connection is to both the customer and myself.  Those receiving my call were pleasantly surprised I had reached out to them.  And when I am the one answering the call my clients cannot believe it’s actually “me” fielding calls and not an employee.  Yep folks believe it or not it’s just little old me in my studio now that my red-headed assistant got a new job.  Yeah and boo all at the same time…

Bottom line–hearing someones voice, the tone in which they are speaking and having the capability to exchange words “VERBALLY” is huge!

Having an online business does allow me to work with customer but in a different way.  Now, I utilize my blog , and newsletter to reach out to peers, and those in quilting community. Since I’m always striving to improve I’m also working on implementing more tutorials!

Speaking of tutorials thank you so much for all the kind words about my Baptist Fan tutorial.  It really makes my job rewarding when I hear how much viewers appreciate and benefit from my videos.  If there is something in particular you would like to see demonstrated let me know!

Has anyone struggled with finding a balance in communicating with customers? If you have found a balance what’s your secret? And don’t say you remember EVERYTHING!

 

Pantographs, Good or Bad for the Newbie?

My adventure in longarm quilting took off in 2004, and at that time I longed to be able to stitch out a pantograph.  Alas, I did NOT seem to have any talent for producing a  pantograph.  I was totally “Pantograph Challenged” which was a blessing, unbeknownst to me, in disguise.  But during that time period it was sadly, quite clear pantographs  and Lisa weren’t going to be friends.

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My inability to stitch a panto forced me to initiate my work from the front of my machine.  It became apparent if  I wanted any of my designs to come alive on fabric I would need to start the process off this way.  I took baby steps, to begin it was just a meander.  Next I incorporated stars, loops, and hearts to this meander.  As my baby steps grew, the strides in designs grew.  Over time I was no longer taking steps; I was running!  My confidence finally paved the road to implementing feathers, feathers flew into custom, custom brought about stitch in the ditch…and so on, and so on, and so on.unknown-27

Being “Pantograph Challenged” was fate.    I truly believe that piece of my quilting journey drove me to become the quilter I am today.  If creating pantos had been smooth sailing from the get go I often wonder where I might be now.

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So this raises a question to many quilters:  Are Pantos a Good Place to Start?

They aren’t  necessarily a bad place to begin.  I encourage my students to become more familiar and comfortable standing in front of the machine, rather than behind the machine.  Starting in the front of the machine will help in a couple of ways:

  • Gaining insight and understanding regarding “proper balance”.  Was the quilt evenly quilted or did it become smaller and tighter on one side?
  • Hearing the sound of the machine when things go awry.  With some machines the sound changes, (i.e tension) In addition, being positioned in front of the machine will provide the ability to  SEE the stitches. Obviously having a visual will allow immediate access to viewing issues.

After about a year, I became proficiently decent at pantos.  I vividly recall completing an entire row of quilting, only to spend an unpleasant amount of time ripping out the that row due to tension issues. Yes, I had heard the machine, it sounded a little different.  Yes, I chose to ignore it.   And yes, I ultimately paid the price for my lazy choices. What took 15 minutes to establish, took 3 hours to eliminate.  That most definitely was not  a good quilting day.

Are you new to your machine?  If so I would ask you to consider working from the front of your machine for a couple of months prior to diving head first into attempting any pantos from behind.  Then let me know how the transition went.

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Am I Really Quilting Today?

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Most days have me descending down the stairs to my quiet haven and loving all the components that make my business complete.  But that is not to say that there aren’t a few days here and there when time in the studio has me feeling as though I have just entered a gymnasium and am about to be a participant in a wrestling match.

How do the two compare? Believe it or not in quite a few ways.

Me V.S. Fabric

Round 1:   Pre-Washing Fabric Yes as beautiful as it appears in the store, and in your car, the idea of washing it is not appealing.  Loading this amazing purchase into the washer isn’t horrible, but the results of the washer is quite exhausting.  Let me say these two words “Wet Fabric”.  Just like a wrestler moves about the mat being focused and cautious not to step outside the circle, removing the material without bringing water onto the floor is challenging! 

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Round 2: Ironing Yards and Yards of Fabric 

Ironing, ironing and more ironing.  Pressing wrinkles out of a mountain of fabric located to the left of my ironing board can feel endless and yet has to be done carefully.  After spending hours of steaming, and pressing I must be cautious not to trip over the fabric that has been ironed into silky smoothness laying to the right of my ironing board.  This has me dancing around, like a wrestler on the mat, trying to prevent my opponent from bringing me down onto all fours. images-57

Round 3: Piecing Large Quilts in a Small Area  Intense to say the least.  Piecing the fabric to the quilt is quite similar to a wrestler performing the right technique on their opponent in order to gain and keep control. Both are done repeatedly using skill and patience.

Round 4: Feeding Fabric Through the Machine  Without a Longarm working your material through the machine is taxing.  Will it ever end? Pulling, pushing, aligning, and keeping a nice pace.  These are all characteristics that a wrestler acquires in order to prevent being pinned by their opponent; yes you see we are alike!images-53

 

Round 5: Longarm Quilters, Taking Fabric Off Machine and Folding It Neatly Rather than rip my gorgeous pre-washed, ironed, and quilted fabric to the ground, I will firmly tug and pull the beast off my Longarm.  After I have mastered the removal off the Longarm, I will neatly fold the quilt.  In my eyes this is a “PIN”..and to a wrestler this is also considered a win.

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 Both take physical endurance, and both demand mental skill.  But it is both those abilities that push me forward, and I would think this would also pertain to the wrestler.  The wrestler will face easy matches, just as I encounter days that everything in my studio runs smoothly.  However, those arduous matches, and quilting days, make both of us work harder and educate each of us more than those simple periods.

Does quilting remind you of any sport, or event in particular?  We all encounter different challenges, and adversities when we quilt.  I would love to know yours!

Quilting into 2017

The ball in Times Square counted down into the New Year, the radio stations revealed the top songs of 2016, and all the fashion magazines are now covered with the newest styles for 2017.  So 2016 is part of my past and 2017 is now here and ready me for me to tackle.  Which brings me to contemplating my goals for the next 12 months.unknown-8

ENJOY and RISK

They may be two short words but behind those letters are huge meanings and an abundance of possibilities.  The doors that will have the capability of opening, should I decide to turn the knob, is limitless.

ENJOY

Such a simple word; yet so often put aside throughout the course of my day.  Finding “enjoyment” in my day is significant.  Although I love quilting and all that my business encompasses, stress often swoops in and flies off with my positive energy.  This is just unacceptable!  So goal #1 is to be more mindful of the ENJOYMENT surrounding me.  Whether it is the sound of my machine, a comment I have received, the many orders I have that need to be filled, homework with my youngest son, enjoyment can be found in abundance each day.

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RISK

This word has me running scared!images-7

What if I’m unsuccessful?  What if I make the wrong decision?  What if, what if, what if?  Isn’t that the theme of life? And isn’t that what keeps many of us from growing in the business world and in our personal lives? Well, speaking for myself it most certainly does.  The unknown is quite frightening; and holds me back.  My reluctance in taking RISKS is keeping me from reaching and touching the stars.  If I keep worrying about the “what ifs”, there will never be any reaching, never mind, touching the stars.  This quilter wants to touch the stars and then head for the moon!  So RISKS will be taken in the future.  Whatever the outcome may be, I will learn and grow for each one.  Moreover, I will ENJOY the fact that I actually worked on goal #2 for 2017 and took some RISKS!

Do you have any goals for 2017? Whether it is related to quilting or not, I’d love to hear from you. We gain inspiration from one another, so your comment might just be the motivation someone else needs, SO PLEASE share!

Regroup, Reorganize AND Get Motivated!

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Regroup, Reorganize AND Get Motivated

It doesn’t take very long before all the seasonal joy of the holidays dissipates and we find ourselves feeling the doldrums of the wintry months ahead.  All to easily we can be consumed with those lethargic feelings and the constant yearning to remain in our pajamas for several hours each day is a reality.  The idea of breakfast in bed which can easily transition into lunch in bed sounds very enticing; even dreamy!  What keeps me going when the couch/bed potato plays like a lullaby in my head?  Of course my youngest son obviously has me getting out of bed in order to prepare him for school.  But what keeps me from climbing BACK into bed or onto the couch with my favorite blanket?

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Cleaning My Studio!  This does wonders for my spirit.  After completing a project, like the quilt I just finished for my dear friend Paul, and taking the time to revamp all that appeared to be strewn throughout my studio my mind instantly cleared.  Believe it or not stepping down to a clean working space invites creativity and a positive energy.  Who wants to start a new design when it looks like Santa’s elves had a huge Christmas party in the studio?

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Spitballing (or as Drea  likes to say Brainstorming)

My lovely red-headed assistant had never  heard of the term “Spitballing”.

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 She was quite offended when I suggested that prior to diving into our days tasks we needed to huddle and “Spitball” ideas back and forth.  After giving her the definition of what the term meant she was more than willing to  comply with my request.  The idea of spitballing opens the door to new ideas, perceptions, and growth for future business.  This can be especially helpful when your mind feels a bit “stuck”.  Bouncing thoughts off of team members, friends, and peers not only bring enlightenment to my projects but often enables me to wiggle out of that heavy “stuck” feeling that keeps me from moving forward.

My FABRIC!

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Nothing gets me inspired and rejuvenated like finding amazing fabric!  I just bought this “Tula Pink” material, and it has me humming a tune and dancing around the studio.  My web of creativity is spinning away and I am so excited to put vision to thread!  A little fabric therapy does wonders for this quilter!

Motivation comes in numerous forms. Perhaps it is music, or a quote that is hanging in your quilting area. Whatever the source I would love to hear about it!  It’s always nice to tuck away a new idea to prevent the winter blah’s from provoking me into becoming a couch/bed potato!