Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Quilter 47: Melissa Shields - The Quilting Room with Mel

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited to be here at 52 Quilters this week.  I love to meet new quilters!  So are you ready to learn a little more about me?


The Quilting Room with Mel is my blog and quickly becoming my life.  The Quilting Room was the name of my mom's business.  She did longarm quilting and custom quilts for people.  Mel is a nickname that I was given in college by a friend's little sister.  It has stuck and I'm OK with it.  I'm more likely to answer to Mel than I am Melissa nowadays.

The other day on Twitter a friend asked me when did I start sewing.  It took me almost two days to form that response.  Some of my earliest memories are of sewing.  My mom or grandma would give me fabric scraps to sew together.  They would also give me plastic canvas and yarn to work on even hand stitching.  I hate hand stitching today.  After my mom passed away I didn't do any more quilts.   Quilting didn't leave my life though.  My uncle and aunt ran a quilt shop and both grandmas were still quilting.  I still sewed garments for 4-H and made home decor items but nothing quilted. I think I knew deep down that I was a quilter but I tried to silence that inner voice.  I took a Craftsy class on how to turn a picture into a quilt a few years ago.  I decided I would make a quilt for a breast cancer, what my mom died from, fundraiser we were doing.  We had taken photographs of the dancers for the first couple of years.  I posted the picture on my old blog and the response was overwhelming.  My email was flooded with questions on how to do it.


This is the quilt that birthed The Quilting Room with Mel.  I knew quilting was more than my craft and cooking blog could handle.  I didn't know how right I was.  I have since stopped blogging about general crafts and recipes and am focused on quilting.  My husband joins me on the blog with posts about maintaining and fixing vintage sewing machines.  We currently have close to 125 sewing machines ranging in age from 1882 to 1982 plus a modern sewing machine, a modern serger, and an embroidery machine.

Click on photo to learn more about vintage sewing machines.

I like to share how to make individual quilt blocks so that quilters can design their own quilts based on those blocks.  I also share a lot of tips to help make your quilting easier.

Click on photo for tutorial

I haven't completely left my love of home decor either.  I like incorporating quilting into my home decor because at some point I know I will run out of beds for quilts.

Click on photo for tutorial 

 Don't forget to follow along on Instagram this week so you can see what I am up to this week!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Quilter #46: Halloween Fun!

Happy Halloween, quilty friends! I am sew excited that I get to post on Halloween! I have been hoarding this quilt for weeks, waiting to share it with the world on the 31st! I was in love with this quilt pattern (Pattern is Sweetly Scalloped by Carried Away Quilting) from the moment I first saw it. 


Then, somewhere on the interwebs (possibly even the designer's Instagram, my memory is a little foggy), I saw this quilt made with Halloween colors, and I was SOLD! I began stockpiling Halloween prints, and any fabric remotely Halloween-esque for use in this quilt. Aren't those Alexander Henry kitties and webs (outer border) just to die for?!!



Then, I found the absolute softest minky for the backing. It was seriously meant to be, because this gorgeous polka dot minky was just wide enough so that I didn't have to piece my backing. Normally piecing backing fabric isn't a huge deal...but if you've never worked with minky, well. It has a nap to it. And somehow I always manage to piece it with the nap going in opposite directions. And that is just the worst.


I wish you could reach through your screen and feel how soft this backing is. For reals.


Isn't this quilt just the absolute cutest? Between the super soft backing, and the fabulous prints, I'm tempted to leave this quilt out year round.


The 2.5" strips used in this quilt made it ideal for practicing my longarm skills. (FYI, autocorrect on my MacBook Pro really hates the words "longarm" and "minky." It's changed them every. single. time. SUPER annoying.) Anyway, I really went to town quilting this. The interlocking swirls in the border are one of my favorite designs to quilt (only because I'm good at them), but I managed to quilt pumpkin patches, fall leaves, spider webs, and even ribbon candy, which has long been my quilting nemesis. Lastly, I repeated prints from the quilt and made a scrappy binding, and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. It really adds to the fun of this quilt.





Well, thanks for stopping by! Hope y'all have a safe and happy Halloween! Until next time!!!!!


Monday, October 30, 2017

2017 Quilter #46: Pamela Morgan, Sweet Little Stitches

Hello there, quilty friends!

I'm so excited to be here and to share a week of my life with you! I'm Pamela Morgan, and I run a lovely home-based business called Sweet Little Stitches.


I live in Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA. I have a background in photography and art, and I originally started this business selling small quilts to be used as photography props after seeing antique hexie quilts (EEK!) being cut and stuffed in baskets as props. I had always intended on having a business that revolved around quilting, and even in my art school days, I had big dreams of designing modern quilting fabric. However, a scholarship that awarded me my first DSLR and a desire to have beautifully photographed memories left me bit by the photography bug, and so I pursued that career for several years.

Making quilts as props ended up being an epic failure, as the trend in newborn photography is naked babies, and well...I was creating heirloom quality quilts that were being used as baby poop catchers! Even though I failed at selling props, it left me aware that I was able to draft my own patterns and bring them to life. So after a cross-country move (related to my husband's career change), I turned toward selling my own patterns.

My love for sewing began as a young girl, and one of my first Christmas memories is receiving my own sewing machine and creating my own doll clothes. I got married the summer after my freshman year of college, promptly got pregnant, and needed a creative outlet. I discovered quilting and was instantly hooked. My first attempts were absolutely horrible, but I didn't let it hold me back. I was also determined to learn to machine quilt these horribly constructed first attempts, and wore out the bobbin cases in multiple cheap sewing machines before I finally was able to purchase a machine capable of withstanding my desire for free-motion quilting. Fifteen years later, my love for quilting hasn't waned, and I'm so fortunate as to have an in-home studio, complete with an APQS Millennium longarm, where I custom quilt mine and others' quilts. In the coming weeks, I actually plan on adding a second computerized longarm to my arsenal to allow me to take on more customer quilts, while still leaving me time to design. In short, I pretty much spend my days in a caffeine-fueled frenzy (I am a Diet Dew addict!!!), working on all things quilt related.

When I'm not occupied with quilty things, I'm busy playing chauffeur to four crazy kiddos (ages 13 to 4), and wife to one hot hunk of man meat. They're my whole world. I'm also a sucker for furry things, and so I'm the proud mom of four fur babies as well (3 cats and 1 dog).




My quilting style falls somewhere in between modern and traditional. I love antiques and vintage, so I initially started quilting with 1800's repros, but the artist in me quickly grew tired of everything being brown. My current quilts are awash with color and texture, and tend to include a variety of substrates and techniques.

If I had to choose a favorite quilt, it would be my Bee-utiful Quilt, which was a quilt along I designed for Moda Bake Shop (free pattern series can be found here).




When I'm not here at 52 Quilters, my happenings can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and the Blogosphere. Until next time, 

Happy Stitching!




Sunday, October 15, 2017

HollyAnne-- Signing Off!


Hello again, my friends!

Thank you so much for a wonderful week! I've loved sharing with you, and I hope some of the tips and patterns I've shared have been helpful to you!

If you haven't already, please be sure to visit www.stringandstory.com/52quilters to find free quilting tips, two free patterns, and more resources.

 You can find me on Instagram @stringandstory -- I hope you'll follow along because my goal is to guide you to quilt with confidence!

Happy quilting!
HollyAnne Knight, quilter 43


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quilts for Cure-- Posted by 2017 Quilter 43, HollyAnne Knight of String and Story


Hello again, Quilty Friends!

I have a story to tell you, but first let's take a few moments to look at some sobering facts: 46 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer today. The National Cancer Institute only gives about 4% of their annual funding toward researching childhood cancers, and as a result there has been almost no progress on treatment options since the 1980s. At least 3 children will DIE today because of the lack of new drugs and therapies. Some cancers, like the brain cancer DIPG have a 0% survival rate. Children diagnosed with DIPG are sent home on hospice for whatever time they have left. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children, and even those who survive are left with lifelong complications and health risks—complications and risks that often claim their lives sooner rather than later.

Two and a half years ago, a beautiful girl named Kylie Myers died from bone cancer. She was 12 years old, and she was one of the most beautiful people I’d ever had the privilege to know. Three years before that, her best friend Bailey Moody had a rotationplasty amputation to survive a very similar bone cancer. Two girls in a small class of about 60 at their school. Cancer is more common than we realize. And its effects are so devastating that they are hard to look at straight on. Have you thought about that? When it comes to really hard things, sometimes the best we can do is kind of scooch up and give them the side-eye before backing away again. We “go gold” in September and donate a dollar at the grocery store, and then we try to forget that something as horrible as childhood cancer exists in our world.

I refuse to forget.
Kylie’s dying charge to her family was to kill cancer. I don’t have to be her flesh and blood to accept that challenge.
Bailey lived—but she lost her leg and her best friend. Those are devastating losses nonetheless.
I taped Kylie’s picture above my ironing board. I make myself look the reality of cancer full in the face every day.
It’s hard.
Somedays I’m not so good at it.
But I try my hardest—for Kylie, for Bailey, for their mamas, daddies, siblings, and for a bunch of other kiddos and families who have captured my heart. Trucker. Abri. Kate. Grant. Katharine. Gayle. And more… Too many more. Too many.
I do my best at staring cancer in the face when I’m quilting. Like the very act of my own love and creativity can somehow beat back the evil of cancer. I’m not a scientist, but I wage my own war against cancer in my sewing room, a war that pushes back against the cold, the fear, the despair, the loneliness, the ugliness of cancer—quilt after quilt. Quilts for children to keep them warm while needles pump poison in the their veins—our pitiful attempts to rid their little bodies of a horrific disease. Quilts to hide under when the big world is so scary. Quilts to bring beauty, color, and cheer to yet another hospital room. Quilts with love in every fiber—love that I truly believe gets passed from me to these children and their families. Through quilting, I fight evil with love.


Bailey and Kylie

I know a lot of other quilters who fight evil with love, too, so I created Quilts for Cure so we can fight together. We aren’t hunting for a pharmaceutical cure—we leave that to Kylie’s Daddy (Mark Myers) and the AMAZING team at CURE Childhood Cancer. Our love and our quilts enter the fray to encourage children and families who are emotionally exhausted by the turmoil of cancer. We are cheerleaders. Our quilts tell a child and his or her family, “WE SEE YOU!” While so many people only give childhood cancer the side eye once a year during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we stare that devil in the face every. single. day and say, “No! You do not belong here, and we are going to KILL YOU!” And our love and our courage gains a little ground in this war.



When I told him about Quilts for Cure, Kylie’s Daddy said that it is good, and it is important for the emotional encouragement of families in the fight. “When your child has cancer, you’re in the fight because you HAVE to be,” he told me. “We’re so tired from our own fight. We need people like [Quilts for Cure] who CHOOSE to be in the fight because you bring fresh energy and hope.”

What will you choose?

Will you CHOOSE to enter the fight?
Will you CHOOSE to stare childhood cancer in the face and fight back, rotary cutter in hand, with love, joy, and quilting?
Will you CHOOSE to use your hobby and passion to comfort a child who is fighting his or her life?

Fight with me. Fight with us. Together, we will KILL CANCER for Kylie and for every child so that they can live happy, healthy, long, cancer-free lives!

GIVE A QUILT              GIVEFUNDS               GIVE YOUR UFO


(Quilts for Cure is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations are tax deductible)

Gold Forever,

HollyAnne

Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 Quilter 43: HollyAnne Knight @stringandstory

Hello New Friends!

Welcome back to the 52 Quilters blog! My name is HollyAnne Knight, and I’ll be your “hostess” this week. I’m going to take a few minutes to introduce myself, then I have a couple of action items for you so that you don’t miss out on any of the week’s excitement!

I’m a 25 year old wife to the Hubster (John), mama to two toddlers (Jem and Ian), and pet mama to three absurd cats (Moby, Monte, and Felicia) and a 30 gallon aquarium of angelfish and other Amazon tropical fish. I’ve been creative my whole life, and I have a background in painting, knitting, and preprofessional ballet. I’ve only been quilting about two and a half years, but I’ve jumped in whole heartedly, and I feel like I’ve finally found where all of my creative bliss meets—color, texture, and movement. Most of our mornings are spent at the park, and I love to do the monkey bars and jump off the swings. Two little boys have a lot of energy, so it takes good sunshine and fresh air to wear them out for naps! While they nap/rest/create chaos together in their room in the afternoon, I sew, and I head to the sewing room again at night after they go to bed.



Now, I have some super important links for you so that you can have all the FUN and get all the FREEBIES that I have planned for you this week.
  1. Follow me on Instagram @stringandstory. I’ll be posting different stuff over there all week, plus, you want to be all squared away to stay in touch after this week!
  2. Hop over to www.stringandstory.com/52quilters and sign up to receive your FREE copy of “3 Easy Tips to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting.” This PDF takes you back to some foundational principles for succeeding when you quilt.
  3. While you’re on my website, go ahead and poke around, especially my blog at www.stringandstory.com/blog. I post several times each week, and I love giving tips and inspiring your creativity! Quilting should make us feel confident and joyful, and bringing you closer to or deeper into those feelings is always my goal.


Now, I’ll post more about this in a couple of days, but there’s one more thing you should know about me. I’m also the President and co-founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Quilts for Cure. We raise awareness about childhood cancer and provide quilts to kids currently in treatment for pediatric cancers to comfort and encourage them. You can find out more about us at www.quiltsforcure.org. And, as I said, I’ll post LOTS more in a couple of days.



Okee Dokee, friends! I’m so excited to be with you today! Be sure to check out those action items—especially “3 Easy Tips to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting”!

Happy quilting,
HollyAnne

PS If you would like to get to know me a little better while you’re stitching away, hop over to Modern Sewciety by clicking here and listen to my interview.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What an Opportunity!

I have enjoyed my week with you!  I love that the internet enables me to visit and be creative with quilters from around the world. I am honored to have had this opportunity.  A special thanks to Chris who organizes everything and keeps it interesting.






It has been an active week for me. I believe that my husband feels that I am glued to the keyboard right now. It was great to share with you some of the highlights from MQX Midwest in Springfield, Ill.




Be sure to check out the 52 Quilters Instagram account to see the quilts and exhibits that I found fascinating.

Also feel free to follow me on my Instagram account @linda_bratten

This week I was also able to share with you an original pattern, Sew Very Sketchy Pumpkins.  Just a reminder that today is the last day to download the pattern for free.  The instructions to use the pattern are in a 2 part blog post and can be found here: Part 1  & Part 2

Be sure to subscribe to the 52 Quilters blog and follow them on social media.  Inspiration is abundant here. 

If you enjoyed the week with me and would like to keep up with my sewing and quilting adventures, check out my website, www.LindaBrattenCreations.com

On it you will find links to my social media accounts, my blog, and will be able to subscribe to my free monthly newsletter, Linda B Creative.

And one last thing before I go....


Your name was drawn to win the Craftsy class that I was giving away on the Instagram accounts.   I will send you a message on how to redeem your prize.

May your bobbins be full,

Linda Bratten