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Why I Love to Teach/Learn


Photo Credit: Cel Lisboa


School is back in session; seems like a perfect time to share my love of education.

I have always loved the process of learning and I am fortunate to be able to teach. For over a year now, I have been hosting the Quilt as You Go Sampler Quilt designed by Leonie West of Westalee Designs. In this course, students learn Ruler Work on their domestic sewing machines by using 7 different templates. Currently, I am conducting the course on-line.  Leonie’s husband, Bill, filmed while she quilted every block. In these videos, she guides the students with her extensive knowledge of the products she invented. The two of them are an amazing team. The brilliance behind their collections of quilting ruler templates is beyond compare. They are so perfectly engineered and paired with their true 1/2″ ruler foot, a quilter will never lack for inspiration.

Why do I teach online? Ruler Work requires a flat surface and many quilters have their machines in a cabinet.  The bigger machines that so many of us love, are too cumbersome to transport. Then there are those who either don’t live close to a local quilt shop or lack the means to get to one. I provide a place for them to go.

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Oh Sew Digital!

mobile device

I have embraced the digital world for a long time now. I am computer literate, internet savvy, and working on my social media skills.  I own a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop. I had desktop computers back in the day: floppy drives, towers, etc. Whew…..I am connected.

The laptop is my only “traditional” computer now.  I do all activities on it that most people do on their computers including writing this blog. When it comes to sewing, I have a number of software programs. But what I want to focus on here are mobile devices and how you can include them in your creations.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 edition. I love love love this tablet.  I can doodle quilting designs, run all my android apps, write my blog, read other’s blogs, take photos and videos.  One way I use it in my sewing studio is as a PDF reader.  I have all my machine and software manuals on it.  I love that I can search for a subject and poof go right to that section.  The convenience of having a digital manual right beside my computer is priceless.  In the past, I would have to jump back and forth between the digital manual and the software windows when working on my computer. I also take pictures of my quilt layout and then if I have a question when piecing my blocks together, I have a photo to reference. Recently, I had to repurchase the pattern for a bag I really like.  Now it has been scanned and saved to my tablet. I might misplace the pattern again, but at least now I have a backup.

Then there’s my smartphone.  The camera is invaluable to me.  Again, it’s a Samsung Galaxy. (Yes, I’m an Android person, but those of you that are dedicated to IOS will find similar functions and apps.) In addition to taking pictures of my work in progress, I use it to take pictures of all sorts of things.  You know the cardboard that most sewing notions are attached to, with the directions on them?  Take a picture.  That way when you go to use it again, the directions are right there…on your phone or even your tablet. No more storing the instructions; let alone the time wasted looking for them.  I do, however, strongly suggest that you store that information in an additional location. I also take pics of the fabric requirements for patterns.  That way, when I’m out if I run across the perfect fabric, I can look at the pic and buy the right amount. I could devote an entire blog post how to use your camera.

And then we have all those mobile device apps.  Just put the words “sew” or “quilt” in the search area of your app store and explore what comes up.  My favorite is the Robert Kaufman Quilting Calculators. There are also inventory and bookshelf apps that let you store a listing of all the sewing books you own and even your patterns.  This is also a great way to keep track of all your threads.  Again, think about what you might have ever double purchased.  Another great one is  My Bernina App .  You can enter all the feet and accessories you own and or want.  Plus you can look at videos on how to use some of the most popular accessories. (Even if you don’t own a Bernina, the videos are useful)  I haven’t even begun to tap into everything that is available. Think about what would make your sewing world easier or more organized and look for an app that can help. Be sure to let me know what you find.

If you haven’t embraced these digital assistants yet, give them a try.


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Spooky Table Runners…just because

Spooky Table Runner
Spooky Table Runner

Have you ever seen something that you just had to try? Perhaps a recipe, a patio table, or even a new route to a familiar place. For me, it’s almost always a fabric thing and if I don’t jump on in right away, it ends up in the forgotten, “Someday” file. That file exists in my head, but I’m working on getting it out of there and into a digital format. This table runner was one of those things.

The pattern is called, Triangle Frenzy™ Swirl.  I love the simplicity of cutting only one fabric and ending up with an eye-catching design. I chose Halloween themed fabric, well cause it’s that time of year and it was on sale. I made the larger one first and had enough fabric to make the smaller one. They will find homes with my two daughters.

I considered a few quilting options, but I’m really practicing not over thinking things and not making them more difficult than they need to be. I pulled out my walking foot and went to work.  I used a very narrow zig-zag stitch; perfect for the Halloween theme and much more forgiving than a straight stitch. I now have a few go to table runner projects for when the mood strikes.

quilting up close
quilting up close