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Stitchy Goal Setting for 2016 January 06 2016 1 Comment

Gracie's Quilt Top

As we kick off the new year, I wanted to put my stitching related goals for 2016 down on the proverbial paper.  This seemingly simple exercise forces me to think about what is important to me and to map out the big things that will make a difference before I launch into my daily chaos.  

As I sat down to write my goals for 2016, I first reflected on my accomplishments as well as bumps in the road over the course of 2015.  I am amazed at all of the things that I was able to accomplish and to learn from launching an online business.  I also feel blessed thinking about all of the people I have met along the way.  

Moving into 2016, my word for the year is CREATE.  I want to continue the momentum that I built this past year, but I also want to allow myself more time to create and not get bogged down in administrative tasks.  

So, here are my 'Stitchy' goals (in no particular order) for 2016 to help me keep making things and inspiring others along the way.

  • Host a quilt along or stitch along or both.  I have some ideas but would also love hearing from you!
  • Create and launch at least one new Block of the Month.
  • Create at least six project tutorials and six product tutorials.
  • Bring in another national teacher.
  • Teach not only at guild meetings but also create workshops for beginners (English paper piecing, hand embroidery and Sashiko) for local Moms and their daughters as well as for the South Florida Girl Scouts.
  • Discover more Indie designers, especially from outside the United States.
  • And some personal quilting and stitching goals:  
    • Quilt my daughter's quilt top.
    • Learn and master at least ten new embroidery stitches.
    • Explore Kantha embroidery.
    • Start and make consistent progress on a hand pieced quilt top.
    • Make my sister's wedding quilt (as a point of reference, her wedding was in November 2015!)
    • Make a memory quilt for a dear friend who lost his son in late 2014 to Barth Syndrome.  You can learn more about this rare but serious genetic disorder at the Barth Syndrome Foundation.
    • Piece my very own quilt top that my grandma will hand quilt!  My grandma is hand quilting a quilt for each of the grandkids.  She is not crazy about piecing quilt tops so she purchased one for everyone but me.

Jen's 2016 Goals

And, an important note to self:  I can make the loftiest of goals, but I also need to be grounded and remember that life with two young kids can be hectic.  I will need to be flexible and open to change.  As Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

What is your word for the year?  Do you have any goals for what quilting or stitching related projects you want to get done in 2016?

Jen Kingwell Workshop November 12 2015 2 Comments

And after much anticipation, the two day workshop with Jen Kingwell over Halloween weekend had arrived!

It proved to be a beautiful day on the farm for a workshop with Jen.  On occasion, we would hear the roar of jets and planes overhead as they practiced for the Stuart Air Show which was also that weekend.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

Jen kicked off the workshop with an overview of the class pattern The Circle Game which consists of 16 circle blocks that can be hand or machine pieced.

I am so proud of the class.  All 20 students were open to hand piecing at least the first block.

The Circle Game Workshop

First up, the 'Whirlgig' block.  We put Jen's The Circle Game quilt in front of the window overlooking the garden to not only diffuse the morning light into the room but also to highlight the seams with an almost stained glass effect.

Jen showing us how to line up the individual pieces before beginning to stitch.

The day felt like one big sewing bee.

 Jen Kingwell Workshop

By the end of day one, we had some beautiful whirlgigs to put up on the design wall.

Design Wall

Jen also shared her technique and useful tips for hand appliqué.

Jen Kingwell Workshop

As well as a discussion on color and fabric choice.

Jen Kingwell Workshop

By day two, outer boarders were being added.

 Whirlgig Block

Whirlgig Block

Jen Kingwell Workshop

And students were spending some one on one time with Jen.

 Jen Kingwell Workshop

Day two was also the day we explored hand quilting with Jen.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

Unfortunately, not all of the students were well behaved.  Our guest student was a little sassy.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

And the day was not complete without lots of Halloween candy and festivities.   We played a handful of games including a pumpkin decorating contest and bocce pumpkin.

Jen Kingwell Workshop

Jen Kingwell Workshop

Winner of decorating contest - Luscious Lips by Bonnie L!

Jen Kingwell Workshop

And Linda S. cleaned up during Bocce Pumpkin!

Jen Kingwell Workshop

Of course, a Halloween party is not complete without dressing up!  This was my attempt to get in on the vampire mania.

 Jen Kingwell Workshop

Anyway, I know I had a blast and I think the workshop participants did too.  Stay tuned for an inside look at some of the tips that Jen shared with us.

Until then, it's a wrap.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 


2015 Fall Market Review November 10 2015

A bit of a lag in reporting to you on the 2015 Fall Market in Houston this October, but hopefully worth the wait.

Quilt Market is a bi-annual trade show for the quilting industry that is not open to the general public.  On the show floor, you will find shop owners, fabric and pattern designers, fabric companies, distributors, media, publishers among other industry professionals.

 2015 Fall Market Houston

With 28 aisles of vendors to explore and only 8.5 hours to do it in, I can truly say that I was on a mission!  I was in search of new color trends and new ideas for quilters on the go, and I can say that I was not disappointed.

Here are the trends that I saw on my whirlwind tour:

Blue hues are heading this way

While there were plenty of bright, modern rainbow colors on display, blue was a dominating theme this Fall.  Whether it be denim, indigo or hues leaning toward aqua and sea glass, you could find examples at nearly every fabric company.  

My mind is swimming of the possibilities for quilting and certainly a modern take on Sashiko!

Left:  Cotton and Steel booth highlighting the new collaborative line BlueBird.

Right: Art Gallery Fabric's new denim line.

 Blue Hues

Left: Boomerang quilt in Kona Designer Palette by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts.

Middle:  Handcrafted Indigo and Sunprints by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

Right: Firelights Lane by Sassafras Lane Designs in sea glass.

Blue Hues

Sea creatures and coastal themes join the ranks of elephants and woodland creatures

Perhaps because I am a Florida gal and because of the growing trend of toward blue, the sea life and beachy themes resonated with me this year.  Maybe the harsh winter last year left us dreaming of warmer days.

Top:  Into the Deep by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller Fabrics.

Middle left: Coastline by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Middle right: Surf's Up by Dear Stella.

Bottom: Mendocino by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics.

Sea Creatures and Coastal Themes

Sea Creatures and Coastal Themes

Handwork like embroidery and English paper piecing continue as the comeback kids

This is probably the most exciting trend for me since I personally love handwork and it caters to my Mommy-on-the-go lifestyle.   I also enjoyed seeing all of the texture and new specialty threads.

Left: From Katja Merak's book The New Hexagon

Right:  Adapted from Katja's book, The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt Along

English Paper Piecing

Top Left:  Samples made using Sue Spargo's Eleganza collection.

Top Right: Thread eye candy at the Aurifil booth.

Bottom Left: Surface embroidery on her new fabric line Abacus by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

Bottom Right: More surface embroidery using Cosmo thread on First of Infinity also by Lecien.

Texture and Surface Embellishment

And finally, just because this was a jaw dropper.  An amazing quilt showcasing Mostly Manor by Victoria Findlay Wolfe for Marcus Fabrics. 

Mostly Manor

What quilting, stitching or fabric trends are you loving?

Jen Kingwell Trunk Show November 09 2015

Two years ago, little did I know that my red threads would lead me to an amazing pattern and fabric designer from Australia, Jen Kingwell.  You also would not have convinced me that I would have the opportunity to bring Jen Kingwell to South Florida to share her knowledge and experience with the local (and not so local!) quilting community.  It was a dream come true!

We kicked off the weekend with a trunk show on Thursday, October 29th at Ground Floor Farm, an urban farm and community space. Jen delighted us with 17 of her own quilts and one designed by her daughter Lucy.

Jen Kingwell Trunk Show

She shared her personal quilting journey in three phases:  Pre-book (Quilt Lovely), Book and Post-book.

Here are a few quilts from her pre-book phase.

Steam Punk

Steam Punk

Bring Me Flowers

 Bring Me Flowers

Georgetown on My Mind

Georgetown on My Mind

My favorites from Jen's book Quilt Lovely.

Daisy Do

Daisy Do



And some recent designs since writing her book.

I'm a Farmer's Daughter

I'm a Farmer's Daughter

My Small World which was first released in the Spring 2015 edition of Quilt Mania and is now a stand alone pattern.  Me to Jen, "Are those one inch squares?  And a hand embroidered Eiffel Tower?"  "Yes," she replied.  "527 one inch squares!"

 My Small World

At the end of the trunk show, we had some time to get up close and personal.

What's your favorite Jen Kingwell pattern?

In the meantime, stay tuned for part II of our Jen Kingwell visit when I share photos and stories from the two day workshop.