Hats!

I finished Teapot’s hat yesterday & have a picture of the hat for my friend’s baby:

hats

It’s a free pattern from Gros.  I used Fortissima Socka for my friend’s hat & Dream in Color Smooshy (colorway Go Go Grassy) for Teapot’s & size US 1.5 & 2 needles.  I made the 6 month size for my friend & 2 years for Teapot.  (I knit quite tightly & she must knit very loosely.  Or Teapot just has a huge head.  She probably just has a huge head.)

Here it is on Teapot.  It’s even cuter in person.  (But isn’t it crazy how well the 2 years old size hits her!  I guess I could check the gauge…..)

Megan hat Megan Aldi

It was very addictive to knit.  I could make another.  But all my yarn is at the new house & it’s really cold out.

Ok, well it’s not as cold as some parts of the country (-30 wind chill!  Yikes!), but it’s pretty cold for Virginia so we’re going to be lazy & stay home.

And once I’ve finished knitting the dress for Teapot I’ve got started, perhaps I should pack the kitchen.  Sheesh I hate packing kitchens.  They’re the worst.  Worse than studios full of fabric & yarn.  Fabric & yarn can just be thrown in boxes & you don’t have to worry about anything breaking.  Kitchen stuff is breakable & oddly shaped.

Random Thoughts on Tuesday Morning

- We’re in the middle of moving to our new house & my studio is now at the other house.
– It’s snowing & generally nasty today.  Since NOVA folks aren’t the most adept at winter driving, we’re staying in today.  This means I’m knitting (& apparently blogging.)
– I’ve almost finished a cute hat for Teapot.  I first made one for a friend’s baby & it was so addictive, I had to cast on a second immediately.

– Back to moving, I really dislike moving
– After moving the studio twice in 18 months I’ve realized…
– I have a lot of quilts that need to be quilted
– I have a lot of quilts I’m in the middle of piecing
– I have a lot of sewing projects (this one surprised me.  I didn’t think I was much of a sewer.  Clearly there’s disconnect between my thoughts & reality.)
– In general I have too much stuff
– Therefore things are quickly leaving the studio

Would anyone be interested in a giveaway of some patterns & threads?

VAT and All That Stuff

Stacks of coins with the letters VAT isolated on white background

So I’m assuming you’ve heard the news about the new VAT rules that go into effect on Jan 1.

Oh, you haven’t heard?  Well let me do a quick recap.

The EU says all EU citizens must pay VAT on all digital downloads.  This includes quilt patterns that little ole designers like me sell through Craftsy & Etsy.

We must collect this VAT & file it quarterly with each individual country at their rate & keep those documents for 10 years.

If we don’t do that we can risk not being able to visit those countries in the future.

Plainly speaking, this sucks.

I tried to ignore it, but you know, there’s the reality that I really would like to visit London & the Black Forest & Rome & Vienna one day & I like to consider myself a law abiding person.

I *think* I may have attempted to sit down & research this to see even how to do this, but honestly folks I have an 8 month old & this is truly a small business.  It honestly doesn’t make business sense for me to file/keep records/take the risk when such a small portion of my business sells to the EU.

So this is what’s going to happen.  As of now I’m only selling my digital patterns to US folks through Craftsy.  If you are a non-EU citizen & you’d like to purchase my patterns, contact me & I can charge your credit card & send you the electronic file.  If you’re an EU citizen & you really want my patterns, contact me & so far (as of 12/31/14) I can charge your credit card & mail you a hard copy.

I hope this will work for all my non-US customers & hope that Paypal/Craftsy/EU Governments quickly come to an agreement that enables small indie sellers like myself to easily & legally sell digital downloads to EU citizens.

In the meantime, may you never run out of bobbin thread!

2014

What an amazing year this was!

  • I had a baby
  • I started selling my patterns
  • I started teaching kids how to sew through collage & improv sewing…
  • We bought a house…
  • I grew my longarming business…
  • We started moving…
  • I think somewhere in there I quilted 3 personal UFOs… (make that 4 actually.  Yeah, I’ll blog about the other 2 eventually!)

Whew!  That was a lot!

I’m very excited about 2015!

  • We’ll finish moving (yay!!!!)
  • I’ll have a new studio space (it’s be-oooo-tiful!)
  • A mobile baby (yikes!)
  • New patterns to publish (exciting!)
  • Will begin teaching private lessons (yay!  One long term goal finally achieved!)
  • Will continue teaching kids thru Art at the Center (this makes my heart happy)

I can’t thank you enough for all your support this year- new clients who trusted me with their quilts, those who purchased patterns from me and those who kept reading this blog even while I posted intermittently.  Your support means so much to me & I can’t wait for what 2015 brings!

happy-new-year-2015-20286

 

5 Reasons Kids Should Learn How to Sew

5 Reasons why kids should learn how to sew with Ormond Beach Quilts

I love to teach sewing to kids and truly believe it should be a part of every child’s curriculum.  But since they aren’t part of an elementary students course at school, these are some of the reasons why I think parents should take the time to seek out sewing classes.

1. It’s a life skill.  Sewing is one of those skills similar to cooking that if you know it- you’re better off.  Eventually they’ll have a situation where they’ll need to sew on a button or sew a seam.  Give them the gift of knowing how to do this themselves.

2. They improve their focus.  At first it may seem daunting for an eight-year-old to press a foot pedal at just the right speed while guiding fabric through the machine all while making sure they sew a straight line, but folks they can do it- I see it in every class.  At the beginning I’ve got chatty kids who can’t wait to get started and in the end I have a room full of quiet focused sewers.  Why is this important?  Because this huge study showed that kids who can focus are more likely to have a higher degree of self control which directly impacts their future success.

3. They become empowered through learning self control.  In my classes kids use full size sewing machines- not the kid sized machines.  I don’t like these small pieces of plastic junk machines (please don’t buy these- save your $25 & go buy everyone ice cream- you’ll all have a much better experience).  However before we begin, we have a thorough safety discussion.  Most kids are nervous when they begin, so I spend time talking about self control.  I remind them that they are in control of the foot pedal & thus how fast the machine sews.  I can’t stop the machine- that’s their job, so as soon as they feel nervous at the machine, they need to stop pressing the foot pedal.  In every class I’m continually amazed at how these words empower them to be aware while they are learning to become comfortable with the sewing machine.

4. They get to make something real that’s useful.  I have two different classes that I use to introduce kids to the sewing machine- a t-shirt bag & bookmarks.  At the end of each class I can’t begin to explain to you the joy on their faces that they made something!  And then I hear about how they’re going to use that item!  The really energetic students tell me how they’re going to make more of these for their friends & give them as gifts.  For several of my students this is the first time they’ve made something they could have bought in a store & they are overwhelmed with excitement about becoming a maker.

5. They use math in real life.  This is the “sneaky” part of my classes.  We discuss measurements and fractions and area and shapes- I try very hard to use the same language they hear in math class & apply it in sewing class.  With all the testing that’s required, many teachers don’t have the time to teach how math is used, but that’s something I can teach in these classes.  One day a student looked at me & said “I kinda remember learning about this in math- so we really need to use it?”  The math nerd in my was overjoyed to be able to show her how important fractions are in life!

Convinced your child should learn to sew?  There’s still room in my classes that begin next week at Art at the Center!

Sewing Classes for Kids

Teapot & I have been sick all week, so I don’t have any quilty stuff to show you (we’ve been napping & knitting…)

But I can tell you about the sewing classes I’ll be teaching this fall at Art at the Center in Alexandria, Virginia!

Intro to Sewing Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the Intro to Sewing Class we’ll be making bookmarks while learning about the sewing machine and the basics of operating the machine.

Sewn Fabric Collage Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the Sewn Fabric Collage Class kids will use a piece of fabric as the “canvas” & use fabric pieces to create a design of their choosing.  Then they will sew the pieces & embellish as desired.  By the end of class they will have several of these pieces they can put on a ring & build upon later at home.

3-D Creation Sewing Class with Ormond Beach Quilts
In the 3-D Creations Class kids will learn how to take an idea from a sketch & turn it into a reality.  There are no limits on what they can make in this class! 

This is my third semester to be teaching at Art at the Center & I’ve never been so excited about these classes!  I’ve changed the format greatly to incorporate more play & more room for individual creativity.  I want to write on this is more depth, (once my head clears from this sick fogginess), but know that I think play learning benefits more than just toddlers- that elementary kids *need* to play with sewing machines!

I can’t wait to see your kids in my classes!

 

Big Chalk Draw

One of the advantages of moving around is that I’m constantly meeting people smarter than myself that challenge my thinking in ways I never imagined.

This move back to Virginia led me to met Kathryn who runs Art at the Center.  Aside from teaching me the wonders of process art & inspiring me creatively in innumerable ways, I admire her pursuit of community art.

Last Friday she hosted the “Big Chalk Draw” & Teapot & I walked down to join them at the insanely early hour of 8am (we take mornings easy around here.)  We discovered the parking lot empty of cars & filled with buckets of sidewalk chalk.  Parents & kids had already started drawing and the parking lot was slowly being remade into a giant canvas.

Here’s a labyrinth (they’re nuts about labyrinths at A@TC!  You should really read Kathryn’s musings on them):

Chalk Labyrinth at the Big Chalk Draw

I added a chalk quilt- a simple sampler quilt with nine different basic quilt blocks:

Chalk Quilt at the Big Chalk Draw

Before we left though, I noticed that someone/someone’s had added to my quilt:

Chalk Quilt After at the Big Chalk Draw

I love their blocks!  See that middle block on the third row from the top?  I envision enlarging that & turning it into a baby quilt!

On the way home I was thinking about the morning & here are my thoughts:
– Art was built upon art.  I may have started a drawing, but it was fair game to be added upon & become something new.  This didn’t ruin my work- just changed it.  I wonder what new things we would discover if we approached more situations like this in our lives.

– You can always start something if you’re willing to move to a new place in the parking lot.  I’m guilty of this- I get in my comfort zone & I don’t want to move, but if I just scooted 2 feet, I’d find the opportunity to work on a new project in a new light.

– Most drawings start with a line.  A LINE people!  A simple little line.  You don’t need some impressive plan in your head, you just need to start with a line.  We can take this into the quilting world too- what if we just started a quilt with a block & looked to see where it can take us?

– Draw with your kids.  I noticed striking moments of bonding when kids & parents worked together on a drawing.  The art connected them together in a new way.  They both contributed to the final piece.  They were both makers for something that wouldn’t have been without both of them.

Finally, here’s a time lapse video of the entire morning in 2 1/2 minutes!

Improv Tea Cozy

Around week 39 of pregnancy I suddenly couldn’t stand coffee.  I tried for about two days to choke down the stuff, but I finally gave up & made some tea- I’ve been drinking tea ever since.

I’ll give everyone a moment to process that- I’m not drinking coffee anymore!  (And I haven’t completely lost my marbles!)

I realized a tea cozy would be helpful to keep my tea from going cold in the mornings & a few weeks ago I had the sudden need to do some improv piecing, so I decided to finally make the cozy.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I used the template and basic directions from Lily’s Quilts.   Which was an excellent tutorial!  (Although it I were to make this again I’d tweak the template to fit my teapot better.)  For the piecing I used a foundation piecing technique with my scrap batiks.  (I keep all my batik scraps, no matter how small- batiks are far too expensive to be throwing away the remnants.)

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
There was little planning involved with the piecing, I just pulled fabric out of the scrap bin & looked to see how I could incorporate it into the design.  It came together quickly & was just the freeing type of creativity I needed that day.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
I knew I wanted tight quilting & I threw the pieces onto the longarm with some Warm & Natural batting scraps & did some straight line quilting approx. 1/4″ apart using Bottom Line thread in silver/gray.  Some lines are closer than others, basically I just winged it, wanting the same freeing quilting experience.

For the lining I used some old teapot fabric from my mom’s stash that was a Mary Engelbreit or Debbie Mumm design from the 90s.  Not my favorite & doesn’t match in the least, but hey, it’s a tea cozy lining- let’s not get too uptight about things.

For the binding I used some leftovers from some project I can’t remember but I made waaaaay too much for!  I used a machine binding technique since my hand sewing time is precious.

Tea Cozy by Ormond Beach Quilts
Overall I’m incredibly pleased with how this turned out- I love coming into the kitchen in the mornings & looking at my beautiful tea cozy!  And it’s been very effective in keeping my tea warm so three cheers for my idea working out in reality!

 

Camera Case & A Little Story About Me

J recently got me a new camera.  Nothing big & fancy, just a small point & shoot, perfect for tossing in the diaper bag or my back pocket.

Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

Obviously it needed a case with my tendency to toss things in the bag of the day, & I’m never quite happy with the selection of cases, & there’s my “be a maker not a consumer” philosophy, so last weekend I dug through my stash & drafted a nifty pattern.

Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

I’m pretty pleased with how it came out.  I’ve never made a zipper pull like that before & while it was a bugger to make (note to self, leave 2″ of zipper at end, not 1″), it adds the professional touch I wanted.
Camera Case by Ormond Beach Quilts

I pre-quilted the pieces with straight line quilting on my domestic machine.  Normally I would have done the quilting on my longarm, but the pieces were so small it wasn’t worth the time.

Speaking of my domestic machine, here’s a story you might find humorous.  Do you know I have a degree in Economics?  Even studied it in grad school.  At one time I wanted to research Labor Economics, but I decided to move to Alaska (yeah, that’s another story.)  Anyways, the point is that I’m from the business/finance world & I never even took Home Ec in high school.  So when I decided to leave that & become a longarmer, let’s just say there were some transitions to be made.  I remember coming home from my first longarming convention & telling J “these people kept talking about their domestic machine & I don’t get it.”  He gave me an appropriate stare.  I went on to say “I can’t think of any sewing machines that’s made in America anymore- they’re manufactured overseas.  Any anyways, I have a Pfaff, it’s German.” (Well *mine* was made in Germany, but let’s not get into that discussion right now).  He then burst out laughing.  I still didn’t get it.  (You do of course, right?)  Yes, he had to explain to me that it’s not an issue of foreign/domestic, it’s an issue of a machine made for commercial versus domestic use.

Yeah.  I know.  I love quilting & longarming life, but there’s still a part of me that thinks like an economist!

 

Civil War Quilt

I recently got a new laptop & so I’ve been going through files & came across a trove of pictures of quilts I’ve longarmed that never made it onto the blog.  So over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting some of these great quilts I’ve worked on for customers & charities.

Civil War Quilt longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts

Today’s quilt is a great civil war reproduction quilt my customer made for an auction at the Micah House in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Civil War Quilt longarmed by Ormond Beach Quilts

She chose the Arabesque panto & it was the perfect choice!   Arabesque is a fairly dense small scale design which complemented the small blocks beautifully.

Arabesque by Patricia Ritter, 9″

It was impeccably pieced and a joy to quilt!

I hope whomever won this quilt is enjoying the talents of this piecer!