Friday, March 1, 2019

INSPIRATION



Inspiration

Merriam-Webster's definitation states:

Inspiration:


1a: a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation 
b: the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions

c: the act of influencing or suggesting opinions

I found that the history of the word made more sense than the definition. Merriam-Webster goes on to state:

"The Inspirational History of Inspiration"


"Inspiration has an unusual history in that its figurative sense appears to predate its literal one. It comes from the Latin inspiratus (the past participle of inspirare, “to breathe into, inspire”) and in English has had the meaning “the drawing of air into the lungs” since the middle of the 16th century. This breathing sense is still in common use among doctors, as is expiration (“the act or process of releasing air from the lungs”). However, before inspiration was used to refer to breath it had a distinctly theological meaning in English, referring to a divine influence upon a person, from a divine entity; this sense dates back to the early 14th century. The sense of inspiration often found today (“someone or something that inspires”) is considerably newer than either of these two senses, dating from the 19th century."
We, Fabric artists, quilters, bag makers, small project creators, all have the same thing in common. A desire to create something of beauty and worth. In order to do this, not once, but over and over again, we must be inspired.

The history of Inspiration is, for me, very close to what I feel when I am struck with an idea. I feel the breath of inspiration when I am witnessing beauty in its many forms.  A live performance, be it music, dance, a play; the reading a poem, prose or a story; witnessing a life changing event.  All of these things can be the spark that ignites Inspiration.  

Some of us only need an event to move us forward.  The birth of a grandchild, the graduation of a niece or nephew, an upcoming trip, to inspire us to begin the process of creating in order to meet a need.  Others, the rising of the sun, or the quiet of winter's first snowfall.  

I am not an artist.  But, I am an artist.  I am a musician.  Classically trained.  What I find ironic is I am a Visual Learner.  Most would think a musician would learn differently than visually and I'm not sure why I am wired this way.  I do know that I have a tremendous desire to recreate what my heart sees.  Because of this I seek out ways to turn my visions into something tangible.  I take classes, go to museums, read stories, browse through fibre art publications, and contemplate.  I contemplate my stash, threads, embellishments and think through all of the things I could create.  Eventually, I gather the courage to start a project, all the while doubting my own abilities.  And doubt is our enemy.  So, this year and for as far into the future as I am granted to be here I promise myself and encourage you also to never, ever doubt your ability to create beauty.  Look around.  The inspiration is everywhere.

I once saw a painting in a Goodwill that sparked my interest and I plan on turning it into a raw edge quilt someday:



It's such a simple painting but it sparked joy because I loved the colors, the yellow flowers and orange wallpaper looked so cheerful.  I want to recreate this using the medium I am familiar and comfortable with.  

Here is a list of teachers, YouTube Chanels and publications that keep the embers of inspiration glowing:

Stitches by Julia - She began sewing and crafting 26 years ago.  She uses her sewing machine to create one of a kind wall hangings, journals, bags, and refashions clothing.  I love her aesthetic and she very generously shares her ideas and her inspiration.

A Fate So Twisted - The creator of this chanel is a wonderful artist, and a creative and passionate maker.  She recently began to make longer tutorials of her projects and I am really inspired by her story.

Joyce Hughes Originals - I consider Joyce Hughes to be a mentor.  I have taken her classes and not only are her creations works of art, she is one of the most sincere and amazing people I have ever met.  If you have an opportunity to meet her and listen to her story at a trunk show, run do not walk!!!

Art Quilting Studio


Sew Sommerset Magazine


Stampington & Company 


Thursday, February 28, 2019

UPDATED: A LIST OF MY FAVORITE SHOPS FOR FABRIC AND THREAD

Last year I posted on where I like to purchase fabric.  While I always purchase from my LQS, when I purchase on line, I like to make sure that I am supporting either a brick and mortar LQS somewhere or that I am supporting a small business owner, someone who is a visionary and entrepreneur with a creative spirit.

This posting has more details and a couple new shops that I really like to support and why.

Dragonflyquiltworks - Wonderful selection of modern fabric lines incuding Lotta Jansdotter, Vanessa Vargas Wilson, Carolyn Friedlander, Alison Glass and beautiful, modern blenders!  The owner Lora Douglas, is also gifted designer and quilter.  Her attention to detail is unmatched.  She also has bag making supplies, notions and patterns.  Great prices and wonderful Customer Service.

BobbielouFabric - What began as a hobby and sewing for baby showers grew into a family owned business and they have the most current, trendy, fun and modern fabrics.  They have a beautiful selection of modern, bright, fun and beautiful fabric.  BobbielouFabric also has a huge selection of double gauze!  I love using this fabric for Infinity scarves and receiving blankets and had no idea until I found her site that it came in so many colors and patterns.  Their site is full of eye candy and you will enjoy a visit to BobbielouFabric.

Stash Fabrics - This is a favorite of Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness.  I can definitely see why.  They offer a huge collection of modern fabrics by popular designers as well as lesser known but just as talented designers.  This is a family owned business.  Another reason to check out Stash Fabrics are the free patterns and the ability to pre-order the newest lines.  I have found some really difficult to find fabrics here as well.

Green Fairy Quilts - A wonderful Story.  This on-line shop offers mainly Moda pre-cuts but also yardage, patterns, notions, supplies and THREAD.  Beautiful, lovely, yummy thread!  And the prices are all discounted.    Sometimes up to 40%  They carry Aurifil and every Superior Thread made. Here is the "wonderful story" part.  Once a year Clint of Green Fairy Quilts travels to Romania to take donated quilts to orphans, and uses the donated money to buy food, school supplies, clothing, toys etc. for those in need. All of this is funded by their on-line quilt shop.  You can also add $1 to your order and all orders ship for free if they are at least $40.  Shop and Give.  It's really a win, win.  You can learn more about their Romania Mission by reading their story at Green Fairy Quilts.

Quilt Addicts Annonymous - I found this on-line fabric store when I came across a YouTube tutorial for paperpiecing by the owner, Stephanie Soebbing. She also just published her first book entitled Simple Quilts.  It is full of amazing quilts that range in order of easiest to most difficult.  Although the title implies simple, they are all interesting and unique.  One of the things that may set this resource aside from others is her Sit and Sew Radio Podcasts.  Instead of watching a video while sewing, you can listen to interviews with Sewlebrities.  It reminds me of my Dad listening to the Dodger Baseball game while working on an engine in the garage.  Of course she also has  a YouTube chanel, Blog, Free stuff and she is very generous as well, giving away a free pattern with on-line tutorial when you purchase her monthly Stash Club called Stashin' with Stephanie.  Included with this is a $10 off coupon of any purchase of $20 or more... every month.

So, that's all the new stuff I have for now.  I hope you find this informative and I hope you will post in the comments if you tried any of the resources I wrote about and your thoughts.

Until then, keep calm and quilt on.















Sunday, February 24, 2019

THE WAND CHOOSES THE WIZARD, AND THE MACHINE CHOOSES THE THREAD

Its true.  In the Wizarding world, a wand will choose it's wizarding mate.  After all, it's usually a lifetime commitment. As for Sewing and Embroidery machines... well, it's much the same.  Sure, machines will tolerate some fussy threads like metallic or shimmer threads but it will definitely let you know it's annoyed.  A friend recently told me that when using metalic thread she will place it on a spool belonging to an adjacent machine sitting a few feet away.  Using that spool holder she wil then bring it over to her machine and thread it.   This gives it time to unwind and "relax".  Honestly?  Yes.  It makes sense.  It's kind of like when the dentist hides the needle that he or she is about to stab into your gum!  Before you know it, you get a shot and begin to numb up and drool.
Image result for babylock Journey

Many machine manufactures recommend thread brands. Bernina recommends Mettler.  Viking Husqvarna recommends Gutterman for sewing and Robison-Anton and Sulky for Embroidery.   Babylock recommends Madeira.  I own a Babylock Journey, Sewing and Embroidery machine.  At this time I use Aurifil 50 and 40 wt., Superior Threads Masterpiece 50 wt. and Mettler 50 wt. for sewing.  For Embroidery... so far, it likes Isocord, and BFC.  I still haven't tried the recommended thread, Madeira, but I plan to in the near future.  One thread my machine doesn't like is Robison-Anton.  It's really a beautiful thread though and my friend, Pat from Twisted Stitchers Retreat Center uses it exclusively in in Elna.

You all know what I mean by "my machine doesn't like it."  It means it literally has a little fit when you try to sneak in that beautiful color of thread that you cannot find in it's preferred brand or it was too pricy so you found a less expensive one and SHAZAM!!!  The thread shreads or breaks, bells start ringing, buzzers go off and lights begin to flicker.  Your machine is really upset now.  You have to unplug it, maybe erase its memory of the whole incident and when you turn it back on, act like nothing happened and you're still best friends.

So, let's talk about thread for Sewing, Bag making, Quilting and Embroidery.  I'll share what I know to be true for me and I invite you to share in the comments what threads you have tried and your results.

Aurifil  -  Well, who doesn't like Aurifil?  It's lovely.  Beautifully and expertly crafted, practically lint free.  What I find interesting about Aurifil is that they are double ply, not triple ply like most of the threads that I've used or researched. The stitching is delicate, yet very strong because of the process Aurifil completes with the production of it's brand.  I use it for quilting, general sewing and ... Yes, bag making. It isn't as strong as polyester yet I have never had an issue with strength and love the results. You really need to explore their website.  Aurifil There you will find information on their threads, where to find it, FREE projects AND links to the Aurifil artist Blogs!  It's pricy but good deals can be found on massdrop and craftsy. Please share where you find a good deal.

Madeira - As I stated, I haven't really tried a lot of  Madeira   I do know that they make several types, including serging thread.  The serging spools are tall and slender opposed to shorter and wider such as Signture or Maxi-Lock.  In addition they make the following for embroidery:

Image result for madeira threadClassic Rayon - Lustrous finish
Polyneon - Shiny
Frosted Matt - Matte
Metallic - Smooth Metallic
Supertwist - Twisted Metallic
Burmilana - Wool Blend
Burmilana Co - Cotton Blend
Luna - Glow in the Dark
Monolon - Monofilament
Fire Fighter - Flame Resistant
Color Cards - Thread Charts

I have used  Madeira polyester thread specifically created for T-Shirt embroidery. It worked well in my machine and the stitching was lovely.  They have many, many colors and come in a variety of spool sizes so you're not having to purchase a large spool of a special color for smaller projects.

Floriani - High end threads for quilting and embroidery plus supplies.  Their site also has software support and an on-line learning center including tutorials and projects and if your LQS sells Floriani ask them when Floriani will be offering a class.  It's at the top of the price range but sometimes you have to spend a little more to get just the right color.   I have used both embroidery and quilting threads by Floriani and even though the quality is amazing and my machine loves the thread, I still favor Aurifil,  Signature Masterpiece, Isocord, and BFC.  I am accustomed to and prefer the softer, finer texture of those threads.

Sulky - I really like Sulky AND it is conveniently available at Joanns and the Viking Gallery located inside most Joanns.  Both Joann Fabrics and Viking Galleries offer discounts and coupons which can make Sulky  very affordable.  Don't forget that Sulky also makes a line of embroidery stabilizers that when purchaed with a Joann coupon make it one of the most affordable on the market.  In addition, Sulky also has Education and Events, Inspiration, Resources and Free Projects on their website, Sulky.  In fact, Sulky also offers a teaching certification course which could be the catalyst you need to boost your own dreams of becoming an educator in the textile world.   My favorite Sulky  products are Sulky 30 wt. Blendables which are Beautifully variegated colors that I love using for top stitching, decorative stitching and zig zag on top and in bobbin and Sulky Sticky which is perfect when you would prefer to float your embroidery fabric rather than hoop it.  You really need to check out their site because there is so much information and inspiration.  You will also find currated threads from sewlebrities such as Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction and The Crafty Gemini, including sets to accompany Frond and Cotton and Steel fabric lines.  You won't be disappointed.

Superior Threads  A beloved brand of many, I found Masterpiece by accident and fell head over scissors in love!  It sews and quilts so smoothly, like butter!  Also, Superior Threads has notions, tools, stabilizers, needles, clubs and EDUCATION!  My favorite Superior Threads Special is the "Try Me" special.  Sometimes they have it at a ridiculously low price.  The only catch is you cannot usually pick the color.  However, I ordered twice and each time I received Beautiful, yummy colors.  I wanted to try the silk thread, serger thread, Razzle Dazzle and their Metallic thread for serging and thread painting.  I received 10 spools, full size, for around $35.  And all of the colors were beautiful.

Connecting Threads  This thread is one of the MOST affordable threads on the market, and its a very good quality.  It is a little linty but honestly, every thread has lint.  Many quilters and bag makers use it and have wonderful success.  My machines like it very much.  It is three ply and too thick for my piecing aesthetic, however I love using it for bag making, miscellaneous projects, top stitching and decorative stitching. Connecting Threads  also caries fabric, precuts, their own brand and other famous quilting cottons, tools, books, patterns, downloads, etc.  They are a virtual on-line LQS!  The sets are an amazing value and first time shoppers receive a 15% discount!

BFC-Creations - This is a really unique machine embroidery design site.  While talking to the owner I learned that she and her son created the business, digitzing the designs and in the midst of this their main thread distributor stopped making the brand they recommended... so they created a line of thread that they could stand behind.  I bought a set to accompany an original embroidery design I purchased and I love it.  My machine does too.

I hope you have enjoyed my thread conversation.  It's certainly not even close to being over... so many more to talk about.  Please share your own thread experiences in the comments and remember... stay calm and sew on.

Friday, January 4, 2019

UPDATE ON "WAITING FOR THE RIGHT PROJECT"

It's Finished!  Actually, I finished it months ago... but a lot transpired between then and now.  I am extremely happy with the outcome, the tutorial was amazing and made the entire project so much easier.  I know I will make a few more.  Here is a picture of the finished result:

It is really big and fits so much stuff



I really love finishing projects.  As Angela Walters says, "Finished is better than Perfect."  Of course I made a few mistakes... well, design changes.  I would have to say that the only thing I am not really happy about is my binding abilities, but honestly, if anyone wants to look that closely, have at it!  

After finishing this project I began working furiously on the items I made for my wedding guests.  Oh, did I mention I got married in June?  Well, it was an epic time in New Orleans.   A lovely June wedding ceremony on the front porch of the Sully Mansion and a late supper at Muriels at Jackson Square.  Just family and a few close friends.  I highly recommend eloping in NOLA with a few loved ones by your side.  The atmosphere is festive, the food amazing and there is no better party on earth than in NOLA!  The Dirty Martinis are pretty amazing too!

Here are some pictures of the welcome totes I made for my guests:



I used an applique embroidery pattern from Designs by JuJu and the totes are a basic pattern.  In fact, I didn't use a pattern... just winged it.  

In the coming weeks I have several posts coming.  I'll be talking about Thread, Free Motion Quilting, Inspiration for quilting and sharing about a lovely retreat I attended in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.  Until then, keep calm and sew on!


Monday, April 2, 2018

WAITING FOR THE RIGHT PROJECT

Good Wonderful Easter Monday everyone and happy last day of my Spring Break.  Baltimore County Schools has taken away all of the traditional week of Spring Break and allowed us only Good Friday and Easter Monday now.  So, I made the best of it and have posted several things on my blog and have been working on several projects.

Last year when Vanessa Vargas Wilson aka The Crafty Gemini, released her second line of fabric I scooped up the entire line. It is a collection of black and white prints which can coordinate together or with other colors or just a lovely black and white project.  Well, as I said I purchased it last year... and waited... and .... waited... for the right project.  Have any of you done this?  I wish I were one of those quilters (and I don't think there are many of them) that have a project in mind and purchase the fabric, then make the project.  But I'm not so instaed, I purchase fabric that I love and pet it for a while as I wait for the inspiration, while also saying to myself, "I know I will use this."

I love black and white!  I knew I would use it.  But, I also didn't want to just use it willy nilly and then not have enough for something that really inspired me.  Well, lightening struck... in the form of "The All Rolled Up Bag" Tutorial from ........... Vanessa Vargas Wilson!  The pattern is written by one of The Crafty Gemini's Friends in the Industry, Color Me Quilted, and Vanessa chose it for part of her Organizer Club.  It's really a win, win.  We learn from Vanessa while making a wonderful product developed by another great sewist!  Plus we get all of the amazing Crafty Gemini Tricks and Tips.

Here is a picture of the fabric choices.


The two black and white selections are from her line and now that I have finally decided on the combination I will make ever project in the Organizer Club out of her fabric with a pop of color (proably pink, another favorite color).  I am super excited because it is the first time I will be making a series of things that coordinate together. 

Image result for The All Rolled Up Tote

It measures 15 " across, has four pockets and two removeable zipper pouches, plus a pocket in the bottom to hold a sizeable ruler!  The one in the above picture was made by the pattern writer.  The Crafty Gemini also has pictures of her own on her website, The Crafty Gemini Clubs.  

I hope you are inspired to get to work on something special and use that beautiful fabric that's been waiting for you to turn it into something amazing.  If you can't think of anything, hop over to The Crafty Gemini Clubs and one of her four clubs.  You'll be so busy you may have to go fabric shopping again!

Please post any pictures of your work in the comments below or on my facebook page, Vintagekindagirl.  

Happy Sewing!



Sunday, April 1, 2018

MY FAVORITE MACHINE EMBROIDERY SITES

Hello Amazing quilters, sewists, Machine Embroiders and Fabric artists!  And Happy Easter.   As I begin to write this post a thought crossed my mind.  And I actually remember what it was!  The whole reason I started writing this blog was because I felt like I was on an incredible journey and I wanted to share my experiences with likeminded people.  People who may or may not have the time they need to do the research, read reviews, shop around, or needed a little nudge in a direction to help them on their own journey.

When I first began sewing and quilting, it was all I could talk about.  Diane, my partner, was patient, but at a certain point she said to me "do you think you might be obsessing on quilting."  Wait... What?  Of course not.  Well... maybe a little.  But truly, I think I had exhausted the only ear I had at the time. Remember, I found sewing and quilting while temporarily living in Ohio during a very difficult time in our lives.  We both were living through our own personal nightmares and managed to grow closer through it all. Sewing and quilting saved my sanity and it wasn't until we moved back to Baltimore that Diane's began to feel like she was returning to normal.

With all of this said, I realize that we are all on a journey.  Sometimes it moves fast, somestimes slow, sometimes it feels like a merry-go-round and othertimes like a rollercoaster.  The important thing to remember is that the journey never ends.

This brings me to the gratitude I have for being able to share my adventures.  The latest adventure was the gifting of my Bernina to my Sister-in-law to make room for my new Sewing and Embroidery Machine, the Baby Lock Journey!  The Journey.  I never really thought about the name until this moment when I began writing this blog about Embroidery sites.  There really are no accidents in life.

Now, since I am now the proud owner of a sewing AND embroidery machine it makes sense that I would now peruse machine embroidery sites just as much as I do fabric and pattern sites.  If only our days were 36 hours long and not just 24 hours.  So many sites, so little time.

While searching and typing phrases into Google I happened upon a blog called Laurie's Place.  In her blog I found The List!  She had done all of the research.  The list is called Laurie's Giant List of Sites for Machine Embroidery.  It has probably 100 sites and I looked at every single one.  Whew!

Now, before I list my personal favorites, I encourage you to look at her list for yourself because your taste may differ from mine as we are all unique.  But to give you an idea of what I look for in Machine Embroidery Designs I will list my aesthetic style:
  • Shabby Chic
  • Rustic
  • Artistic
  • Fluid
  • Watercolor
  • Whimsical
  • Unique
  • Actual Drawings
 Designs by JuJu   With all of this said, I do have one Embroidery site that surprised me.  It has all of the usual sayings, quotes, appliqué, children's designs, etc., however, when I saw the sale they were having, which runs through April 2, I visited several times and ultimately purchased 60 sets!!!  Yes, 60 sets!  Why, because if you purchased 15 or more sets the prices was reduced to $1.00 per set in order to celeberate their 14 years in business.  Well I celebrated right along with them.  The company is Designs by JuJu and I hope you will check it out before you finish reading because the sale is over April 2.  Now, if you miss the sale, the sets are so reasonably priced you will still find that you are saving money.  And, if you wonder why I purchased over 60 sets, I believe in planning ahead.  Upcoming baby showers, birthdays, weddings, parties, etc.

Valley of Embroidery  At first site it looks a little bare by comparison to other sites, but don't be fooled.  They have some of the most interesting files I've found.  For instance, a lace bowl made from your own thread scraps!  It's Beautiful!  It's listed under Lace/Recycling Scraps.  They have bracelets, earrings, necklaces, cuffs and also bowls.  They also have Star Wars Key Fobs!  It's one of the more unique sites and definitely worth a look.  Even if you do not believe in the Force.

Embroidery Library  Releases new designs every week based on a theme.  This week the theme is Enchanted Storybook.  Suffice it to say that it fulfills my Whimsical aesthetic criteria.  The sale prices for individual designs is always $1.39.  No, that isn't a mistake.  One Dollar and Thirty-Nine Cents per design!  It's a huge bargain and I usually purchase something every week.  Sometimes I purchase the same design in every size so I can use it on multiple projects.  In addition to their amazing weekly release of new designs at amazing pricing, they have multiple categories and styles and post tutorials on their web site AND Youtube!  Just search for Embroidery Library.  

Urban Threads is a partner to Embroidery Library and sometimes they do tutorials together.  For instance they have a great tutorial on double sided Organza Embroidery that makes a mobile hanging.  Really elegant and beautiful.   Also, they release new designs weekly as well and have then priced at 50% off regular price.  As the name of the site would infer, they have really cutting edge designs.  Recently they released ultra-violet designs and last month an entire release based on Alice in Wonderland meets Steampunk.  Under design categories they list Styles and Sub-Cultures!  Not your Gramma's Machine Embroidery Site... that is for sure.  I love it!  Circus & Carnival, Gothic & Dark, Literary & Fairytales, Medieval & Rennaissance, Retro & Rockabilly, Steampunk & Victorian, and World Mythology.  I mean, really, who list sub-cultures?  I love this site!

Sew Swell Designs is a group of artists from around the world who are employed by Sew Swell Designs.  All of their artwork is digitized in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  They have a projects page and also projects by customer page.  In addition they offer free designs!  Many specialty categories, such as wine country and Photo Booth Props!  I'm definitely downloading those for an upcoming family reunion!


MACHINE EMBROIDRY WEB-MALLS

The next group of Machine Embroidery sites are all located within on-line Machine Embroidery Web-Malls.  I would imagine that the Web-malls manage the site and take a small percentage of the sales in order for the embroidery digitizers to focus on what they do best.  So, that's kind of a win win for everyone. 

The first site is called Oregon Patchworks and when you type what you're looking for into their search engine a bunch of different designs pop up meeting your criteria but sold by different digitizers.  From this list I have a few favorites:

The second site is Enchanting Designs and they have really unique and beautiful designs for large scale items such as pillows and totes.  In fact they have several of their own tote/embroidery designs and patterns for sale on their site.  Things like an Italian Balcony scene on a pillow or a parisian widow and bicycle Tote bag.  They also have some beautiful 3-D designs for pillows and totes.  You wont be disappointed.

A Vintage Touch has really pretty vintage and Victorian era designs.  My favorites are definitely in the Victorian Dreams collections.  Not steampunk but sweet with a little edge.

The second Web-Mall is Secrets of Embroidery and here are two of my favorites from this site.

Stitch Soup has a nice selection of cute and whimsical designs, such as animal bags, ITH baskets, snap tags, greeting cards, luminaries, Forest Gnomes, etc.  Very Unique and great gift making ideas.

A Stitch and a Half has a wonderful and unique collection.  Useful items made beautiful.  Also 3-D flowers, totes, babushka boxes.  I haven't purchased anything yet, but I am filling up my basket and saving it for a big haul.

TRULY UNIQUE, ARTIST OWNED SITES

You know I have a passion for purchasing from artisans as much as possible.  Here are a few of my favorite artist owned Machine Embroidery sites:

BFC Creations  In addition to truly beautiful and unique designs, BFC has a line of their own embroidery threads and if you like them you should definitely check out their thread club.  The link I provided takes you to their inspirational story and also ends with pictures of two of the most important employees; Duma and Bronko Billy.   Look over the entire site because they have a lot of information, sales and a new blog.  Their designs are original and artist inspired.  They have designs that when pieced together create a huge wall hanging.  I love their stained glass collection.  The colors are saturated and vibrant.  One of a kind.

Picture Stitch Unique Embroidery Designs.  The owner/artist, has digitized her own drawings and organized them into categories on her website.  They remind me of willow statues which are delicate and sweet.  I love how she celebrates all aspects of life through her drawing and it's very special to stitch out a truly original piece of art on your embroidery machine.  The pieces are frameable and look like real drawings.  Of couse you can make them uniquely yours by changing thread colors and maybe even adding shimmery or decorative thread.   She also has a blog and a purchasing club.  If you end up really liking her designs you might want to check out the club pricing.

I encourage you to check these sites and please post any pictures of your work.  We all love to ooo and aww over each other's creations as it also inspires and motivates us.  In addition, if you come across other truly unique sites please share with us.

I hope you found this read informative, interesting and entertaining.  Please share my blog with your friends.  The more the merrier.

Happy Stitching.









Friday, March 30, 2018

WHERE DO YOU PURCHASE FABRIC?

Its a question all quilters and fabric artists ask each other.  Why?  Well, I for one, might admire another artist's work and fabric selection, so naturally I want to know where they find their fabric.  Also, I find that when we cannot find what we want at our Local Quilt Shop (LQS) we'll go online and shop around.  Personally, I like to make sure that when I DO shop on line, that I am supporting either a brick and mortar LQS somewhere or that I am supporting a business run by a minority business owner and not a corporation.  Yes, it is wonderful to get discounts.  Let's face it, we all have to make our money stretch and being fabric lovers and quilting nuts, we all know it isn't cheap.  However, whenever I purchase from a big box or corporation, I am supporting stockholders and not a  visionary and entrepreneur with a creative spirit.  To this end I also feel that supporting any LQS also supports freedom of expression.

That's quite a statement I know, but here is the thing.  I will admit that I have supported a "daily deal" and still check out the 50% to 60% off coupons for expensive notions and embroidery stabilizers.  But when it comes to quality fabric, interesting and difficult to find patterns, cool, gotta have it notions, specialty trims and my favorite threads, I have list of favs that I always make sure to support first.  So, yes, I do use a coupon, and shop a daily deal, but not until I have exhausted my LQS, in my area and on line.  I also keep a list of shops I have visited out of State just in the off chance they might have something or know where to find it.  And just like Pinterest, Facebook and Youtube, every LQS has a unique eye for construction and design.  It's so fun to visit LQS when I travel because I am always filled with ideas!

For instance, when I was visiting my father and step mom in California last year I found an adoreable shop called QuiltnThings in Montrose, California.  That is a sweet little community in the foothills above Glendale, California.  They had a lot of vintage/modern fabrics, trims, and bag making supplies.  Nearly every kit they sold had a beautifully crafted sample on display and while I was there I saw the most beautiful fabric collage pieces and met the amazing artist, Mary Ellen Sakai.  She also teaches classes there.  If you're ever in Southern California, you won't regret a visit.  Plus, there are some really nice cafes and restaurants in the area.

So here is my list:

My Local Quilt Shop:  For fabrics and my Baby Lock Dealer is Glory Bees Sewing Center in Falston, Maryland.  They're also a Bernina and Janome dealer, which made it very easy for me to compare the three machines before deciding on my BabyLock Journey.  They carry traditional to modern fabrics and everything in between.  Glory Bees also offers quilting services and many classes and clubs as well.  Sewing, Serging and Embroidery clubs are free to those who purchased their machines there and $25.00 for everyone else, which is a bargain.  They also carry a wide selection of embroidery and sewing threads including, Robison-Anton, Signature, Maxi-lock, Wonderfil, and Aurifil.  They have patterns, trims, batting, interfacing, you name it.  Plus, the owner and staff are really nice, fun and encouraging.

When shopping on Etsy:

Etsy Shops - Dragonflyquiltworks.  Wonderful selection of modern fabric lines incuding Lotta Jansdotter, Vanessa Vargas Wilson, Carolyn Friedlander, and amazing modern blenders!  The owner Lora Douglas is also an amazing quilter and fabric artist.  Her attention to detail is unbelieveable.  She also has bag making supplies, notions and patterns.  Great prices and wonderful Customer Service.

I've also had good luck with BobbielouFabric, Needleinafabricstash and stitchstashdiva for fabrics that were not available in LQS any longer.

Also give CherylLynchQuilts a look.  She creates a line of Mosaic Fabric Patterns, has her own Curvalicious template and is a quilting instructor at Quilt Shows and for retreats.

Unique Fabric Online from the Creator:

Loralie Fabrics:  
If you are looking for something really unique and quirky, colorful and simply fun, then you have to take a look at Loralie Fabrics.  Her Fabrics make me smile from the inside out.  There are so many ways to use them.  Quilts, bags, small personal items, apron, even clothing!  Why not.

Out of State LQS:

The Confident Stitch:  In addition to Quiltnthings, I am affiliated with The Confident Stitch a LQS in Missoula, Montana.  I plan on shopping there today or tomorrow because they are having a 25% off all quilting cotton sale AND there is no sale tax in Montana!  Win Win!  Why am I affiliated with a LQS in Montana you ask?  Well, for one, they have fabric I haven't found anywhere else, on line or in person.  For instance, take a look at The Confident Stitch quilting fabric choices.  In addition to all of the top brand names The Confident Stitch  has a beautiful selection of Aboriginal prints and brands I don't see often like:

FROND Medusa Quilting Cotton in Beet Zylem & Phloem  



AMY BUTLER Forest Friends Quilting Cotton in Midnight      

and one of my new favorites

 BRANDON MABLY Baubles  

Brandon Mably is Kaffe Fasset's partner and Studio Manager, and obviously a gifted designer himself!

Another reason I shop there is the shop is an actual brick and motar LQS and is owned by a woman, (underrepresented in the business world).  The "no sales tax in Montana" is the icing on top.

Jordan Fabrics:  Matt and Donna Jordan have been handcutting fabric in the United States for over 30 years.  Their story is listed on their web site and it is fascinating... at least for quilters.  They sell hand cut log cabin quilt kits and others, have a huge selection of fabric, and have wonderful tutorials on YouTube, mentioned in another blog.  They began at the age of 18 and 19 and have stayed loyal to the business ever since.  It is truly a family business, all four of their kids are involved.  They are based in Grants Pass, Oregon and if I am not mistaken, there is no sales tax!

So, my fabric darlings, head on out to your LQS, in town, across town or find a great one on line and support our passion and artistic adventures by supporting them as well.

Happy Creating!





INSPIRATION

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