My Gammill is Here!

I would like to introduce you to my new Gammill Statler Stitcher (fondly referred to for now as my “personal assistant” until I can come up with just the right name for it! LOL)  It arrived a week ago, has upped the decor level in my quilting room by several points, and is performing like a rock star.

I’m spending time right now getting used to the process of computerized quilting; it is a huge learning curve, but I’m gradually getting the hang of it, and since I was without a machine for just over a month after the old one sold, I had time to piece together a few quilt tops to have ready for practice.  I’m testing out different ways of getting the patterns onto the quilt, some edge to edge as well as some customized work, choosing different patterns to fill specific spaces.

This machine purrs like a kitten and is a pleasure to drive (“She’s got a competition clutch with the four on the floor and she purrs like a kitten ’till the lake pipes roar, and if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid…” OK I’ll stop!)

Everything here is solid as a rock and it’s clear this is no lightweight piece of equipment.  I was slightly intimidated the first time I turned it on myself the day after Mr. Bentley, my dealer/delivery man left.  I had to stand back a minute, take it all in, and show some respect.  Even moving the rollers – smoothly as a hot knife through butter – gives me pause to be grateful.

I wanted to share with you some of the things I’m working on, just to keep you posted and stay in touch while I’m learning 🙂  I have three completed quilts with edge to edge patterns on them and am currently working on a custom one – mostly computerized, some ruler work – and all will be available in my Etsy Shop in the next couple of weeks or so.

Once I’m confident with the basics, I’ll be opening up my computerized quilting services to clients in addition to the hand guided work I’ve been doing thus far and continue to enjoy very much!  For now, here are a few peeks into the fun I’ve been having.  I’m trying a new techie system of embedding these from my Instagram feed, so be sure to follow me over there – annwalshquilting – to see regular day to day updates that don’t always make it into a longer post here 🙂  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Instagram, the notations you see under these photos go along with the Instagram posts, and it’s all about the hashtags over there!

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Changing plans for a New year!

As we approach the end of the year, I want to share with you some changes that I’m looking forward to in the coming months.  As with any journey in life, my quilting journey has taken yet another turn, and I’ve made the decision to sell my HQ Amara and purchase a Gammill Statler Stitcher.

Just thought I’d get that out right in the first paragraph and then give you a bit of information! LOL

I’ve made a video that you can link to below, explaining about the changes, and also expressing the importance for me of telling people who follow my blog, Facebook page, or Youtube channel, that my decision was based on personal needs and preference, and not on any bad experience with my HQ dealer.  There was nothing wrong with my machine itself, it just turned out to not be the best fit for me.

Perhaps in future I will share some hints that might be helpful for others in choosing a machine of their own, but for now I’m just wanting to get the update out there, because we’re on the internet following each other and watching projects, tools, listening to suggestions etc. While I can’t control how everyone receives my news, I can at least be up front about my decision!  That’s how I roll 🙂

I’ll be very happy to get my new longarm machine in January and get started on learning how to combine the computerized stitching with my own for a special kind of custom result!  As well, I will now be able to offer edge to edge quilting services for clients who prefer that option.  It’s another “open door” for me (we’ve talked about this type of thing before!) and I’m jumping through.  At the very least, it will challenge my brain going forward and give me lots of opportunity for growth, while allowing me to continue to design my own custom work and do hand guided quilting.

I’d like to take this moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for reading, following, and commenting to let me know you are there.  Bye for now!

My mom is a celebrity!

Well guess what?  When I did my interview with Leah Day and she found out my mom has been a hand quilter since 1981 – when she made her first quilt as a gift for her brother – Leah wanted to chat with my mom about her perspective on the evolution of quilting over the years.  So my mom is on Leah’s podcast this week!  She was pretty thrilled to get a chance to talk to Leah personally as she has followed her a long time, and it was my mom who first pointed out Leah’s web site to me when I started free motion quilting 🙂

I remember mom making that first quilt, having it spread out over the ping pong table in our basement while she appliquéd all the pieces to create a turkey dinner table setting complete with cutlery and wine glasses (my uncle made his own wine), and desserts in each corner.  Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t do it justice – it was a polaroid instant camera photo from 37 years ago so the details are kind of cloudy, and I no longer have access to the quilt to get a better one! – I tried to photoshop it into 2018, but there’s only so much you can do with those things 🙂  The borders look black and they are actually brown gingham (it’s important to mom that you know that).

I wanted to share this with all of you because it was my mom who taught me to sew when I was a child and it has been one of the best skills she passed on to me (I did not inherit her interest in cooking!).  I’ve used it extensively and happily throughout my life and of course it eventually led me to where I am now, machine quilting.

This also ties in with Leah’s new book, Mally the Maker, which she wrote as quilt fiction with the hope that it would inspire readers of all ages to appreciate the value of learning to sew/quilt and passing that on to others.

Thanks, Mom!

Check out their chat at the link below!

Interviewed by Leah Day

I had a super fun time being interviewed by Leah Day on her Quilting Friends podcast last week, and it went public today so I wanted to share the link and the experience with you!  We had a great conversation about quilting, creativity, passion and balancing things in our crafty lives.  Some of it was practical and some of it was philosophical.  All of it was a surreal experience for me 🙂  She is just as sweet in person (well, on video call!) as she appears to be and I’m happy to have met her and made a new quilting friend!

You can go straight to the podcast on her Youtube channel by clicking the image below, and you can read more about the podcast in the show notes here: Be Open to Your Creativity

Majesty – the silk quilt

I’m not good at naming quilts (we’ve been down this path before) but when I started this project and decided it was going to be something quite different than other things I’ve made I knew it needed a special name.  The fabric itself inspired me to come up with a name befitting the luxury that comes to mind when I think of silk, so this quilt was  called “Majesty” before the first stitch.  I was thinking of the things I’ve seen in movies about royalty; you know, those huge carved headboards and canopies with the fancy bedding? You admire it and then wonder who launders it!

I did a little planning ahead of time, only in the sense that I “planned” to do more of a traditional style whole cloth quilt (medallion in the centre, fancy borders, symmetry etc.) so it was more of an overall concept than a calculated design.  We know that for me, the plan evolves along the way!  Certainly that’s what happened here.

I started at the top centre, where I wanted to make a statement, and of course there were always going to be lots and lots of feathers, so that part flowed nicely.  I didn’t really have to do a lot of measuring until I happily finished one side and realized that I would then have to duplicate it to the best of my ability on the other! LOL  It was a challenge.  After laying down the foundation I went back in and added fillers, and then used this process throughout.

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For most of the quilt, I just picked one area at a time to focus on, keeping in mind that I was going for the illusion of a plan 🙂 I generally baste the whole quilt at the beginning so I can later roll it back and forth whenever I want to, and for this one that method proved very helpful, especially if I couldn’t quite remember something I had already stitched and wanted to repeat HAHA

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I built the structure I wanted in each area, stitched it out and filled it in, and eventually it all came together.  Not without a few mistakes and ripped stitches, mind you, but overall it was a very satisfying finish.

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And yes, I did have a little bit of that “do I keep this one or not?” going on in my head.  I designed this quilt for a couple of specific purposes, neither of which was to adorn something in my own house.  But again, as I worked on it and later held it in my lap while hand stitching the binding I wondered about whether or not I should keep it.  It is so soft and feels luxurious!

The truth is that this is probably the best work I’ve done in my quilting thus far.  I’m both very proud of it as an achievement of my goal, and humbled by it as a reminder that I’m blessed to have found this thing called machine quilting – or did it find me? – that brings me so much joy and gives me so many opportunities to grow and share.  This quilt represents some important things to me.

But aside from the philosophical aspects, it also made more clear to me the truth about what “makes my soul shine”: my process, what I do and why I do it, and the importance of knowing those things in my art and crafting life.

When I finished the binding, still feeling just a little bit of doubt as to whether or not I would part with it, I spread it out on my bed and stood back to look at it.  I was immediately detached from it.  I saw it for what it was and appreciated all of it, and at the same time I knew it was just fine to let it go because the process was over.

I know I mention it often, but I feel I cannot stress enough the value of knowing what your personal process is and allowing yourself to appreciate it!

If you would like a serious peek into some of the work I did on this one, check out the first video below.

If you would like a peek into what happens when things don’t go the way you hope they will, check out the second video below.

If you would like a peek into my real life goofy fun, check out the third video with my Happy Dance!

Wishing you all a great weekend!

 

 

I’m officially a bag lady

Yes, it’s a thing.  Bag Lady has a whole new meaning since Sara Lawson began drawing so many people into the art of bag making and inspiring the use of this nickname!  Check her out on Youtube, Facebook, and on her web site, all by the same name “Sew Sweetness”.

Things have been happening in my sewing room even though you haven’t heard from me in a while!  To be honest, I’ve been working on a lot of techie stuff for my online shop and trying to learn (UGH!) about things like SEO (search engine optimization) keywords, marketing etc. and my brain hurts.  It is kind of disheartening for a maker to have to keep up with all these things, but that is the online world and my shop is online so….

In between webinars and headaches, I’ve been getting ready for our local Christmas craft market.  This year I’m going to be displaying more than just quilts; I’m having fun putting together some smaller items for my table, like pouches and tote bags, so I can offer a variety of options and leave some of my bigger quilts at home.  It takes a lot of time and energy to pack up all my quilts and safely transport them back and forth and because we live in a small town and most people know where to find me, I’m taking a different approach to make my own life easier and to keep them guessing LOL

I’ve enjoyed making a bag here and there in the past and pouches are often a good small project in between bigger quilting ones, but I’ve really been on a bag kick the past month or so and I thought I’d update you.  Of course these are just quick glimpses because I’m not revealing all the details too early, but at least you can see what I’ve been up to!

(the 3rd pouch down is a Sew Sweetness pattern)

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The tote bag extravaganza began when a friend asked me about a custom order for totes she wants for gifts.  I sewed up a prototype and then caught the bug.  I’m using a pattern from my own head and skills I’ve learned along the way from other patterns, and using up lots of smaller pieces of fabric I have leftover from quilts (OK I’ll admit I have bought a few pieces just for the bags!)  and while several of them are similar in size and style, the prints make them unique.

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Then I decided to try some faux leather because I thought it would make a lovely bag if I quilted a cool design on it, and got myself hooked on that look!

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Most recently, I put together a quilt sandwich to sample some batting for a silk whole cloth quilt I’m starting and once it was all stitched and looking beautiful – batting test passed! – I decided to turn it into a silk handbag.  Ooh-lah-lah!

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So there you have it.  At the time of this post, some have already been sold, but there are more in the making.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had been experimenting with having some of my own designs printed on fabric.  The first samples arrived and everything looked just fine, so I’m pretty excited about that!  The two panels have been made into wall quilts that I can’t quite share yet, but stay tuned…

 

Simply Sweet

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I finished the second panel from Art Gallery fabrics and because much of the stitching is similar to the sheep quilt I recently posted, I won’t fill this up with a lot of photos!

Just wanted you to see it all done, and share a short video clip at the bottom of some stitching I did that was notably different on this one; I used an idea from Natalia Bonner for the narrow border framing the centre section.

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I was all set to try it, then suddenly had second thoughts about whether or not I could get it “right”.  But I tossed my doubt aside and went for it!  It wasn’t really hard at all – another good reminder to ignore the darn negative voice in my head that likes to bother me when I’m trying to be creative LOL

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I love the way this turned out.  Those large pebbles added great texture to that frame, and I love that simply drawn teddy bear in the middle reminding me that the simplest things can turn into the most beautiful things 🙂

 

 

Baa Baa Black Sheep

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Soooo…

I wanted to stray from the woodland animals baby quilt theme for a bit and do something fancier with more of a custom heirloom look and, of course, lots of white solid space.  This minimalist style panel is one of three I found in the “Nest” collection from Art Gallery Fabrics.  I love the simple print, the black & white color scheme, and the space to play and really make the quilting show 🙂

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There were only printed borders on two sides of the panel so I found another print to add to the top and bottom, making it relatively square.  I marked off the centre square frame I knew I wanted, planned for a feathered frame around that, and the rest of it happened as I went along.  I cannot say often enough how much I love white stitching on white fabric.  Even as I’m quilting it there is just something so serene and elegant about it.

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And the back is solid white.  I know, who wants a nearly all white baby quilt, right?  LOL but this one was sold before the binding went on…

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Once it was laundered and cuddly, the stitching really popped.  I’m working on another which will have similar stitching; maybe that one will make it into my shop! haha

The short video at the bottom show me stitching some of the filler inside the centre frame, just for fun.

A Personal Perspective

When my Facebook page hit 500 likes recently, I did a video over there with some personal insights and a lot of gratitude.  While the giveaway mentioned is now closed, the rest of the video does have material that might be of general interest to others who follow my quilting life, so I wanted to share it with you as well.

A little goofiness, a little philosophy, and hopefully some perspective that will be helpful all around.  Enjoy!  And thanks for tagging along on this wonderful ride…