Farmer’s Wife Progress

I’ve #overgrammed this Farmer’s Wife quilt like crazy on my Instagram account, so I’ll try to keep it brief over here.

I was excited to quilt this quilt before it even got to me, but I didn’t think too far ahead for how I wanted to quilt it. I find that I usually do better picking quilting designs when the quilt is actually right in front of me. This one was so fun because every block is different, but I didn’t want the quilt to end up looking too chaotic or crazy, or just overwhelming to look at in a bad way. What I noticed immediately when I spread it out on my frame is that the blocks alternate in shape: diamond and square:

FullSizeRender I decided to frame all the diamonds with corner shells, and all the squares with curls. First, because it makes a cool secondary design, and second, because it gives the quilt cohesion. Even though that negative space is quilted distinctly, because it repeats over the whole quilt, it doesn’t overwhelm you because your brain expects it. That’s my theory, anyway.

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farmer2 When it came time to quilt the actual blocks, I went with the same idea. There are a handful of quilting designs that I used throughout the whole quilt. I used them in different ways in different blocks, but there really aren’t a huge variety of designs at play in this quilt. Sampler quilts are by nature busy, but by using the same fabric line throughout and keeping the number of quilting designs minimal, it makes the quilt feel cohesive. It feels like everything belongs and goes.

That’s a little peak into my head, and my rationale for the quilting of this quilt. It’s nearly done now- only the borders remain! I will update with finished pictures soon.

Farmer’s Wife Start!

My dear friend Lindsey sent me her gorgeous Farmer’s Wife to quilt:

farmer'swife Isn’t it so cute? I love all the little blocks, and of course I’m obsessed with the fabric as a Bonnie & Camille superfan. ;)

My batting order arrived from Quilter’s Dream yesterday, so I just got it loaded up last night, but I couldn’t resist quilting a little bit before I had to go to bed.

IMG_2061 Oodles and oodles more pictures to come, believe me.

Odds and Ends Round-Up

I thought I’d do a quick round-up of all the little quilty things that I have going on, since none of them are really suited to an entire blog post all on their lonesome. So, without further ado:

Bed Quilt

star I finally, finally, finally have started working on a quilt for our bed! It’s a miracle, y’all. Backstory: in early 2014 I bought a Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille fat quarter bundle, intending to use it for our bed quilt. I got busy, and didn’t get around to it, and when I started to really think about it in the fall I decided that while I really, really love that line, the colors weren’t exactly what I had in mind for our bedroom. (New house, remember? I’m planning my painting around my quilt, of course!) So, I decided to destash it and thought that Miss Kate would be a perfect line instead. So I logged that plan away and figured I’d get to it eventually. I don’t know if I mentioned it here, but I mentioned on Instagram that shortly after changing my mind and destashing the Scrumptious, I won a Miss Kate fat quarter bundle from Fat Quarter Shop! Serendipity! My friend just finished a quilty stitches cross stitch, and one of the blocks she cross stitched totally inspired me, so a pattern was born, and a test block was made. I love it!

Schnitzelandboo Mini Quilt Swap

IMG_1990 I’m participating in my very first swap! This is the top to the mini quilt I’ve created for my partner. I wouldn’t call myself a “modern quilter”. I consider myself more of a “contemporary quilter”. Is that a term? I like traditional quilt blocks, but I like to make them in modern, bright fabrics. Anyway, with this one I went more modern than I’ve ever gone before, to try to meet my partner’s aesthetic. I have to say, I really like this. I like the contrast of the black and white, and the pops of color are fun, I think. Hopefully my partner feels the same! #makeaquiltmakeafriend

2014 Farewell Video

This is a little video I made for Instagram showcasing some of my favorite shots and favorite memories from 2014. A new house, a new longarm, new quilting adventures, and another fun year watching my kids grow and play. This was a year I will always remember with warm, fuzzy feelings. Enjoy!

2014: you were a great year! #newyear

A video posted by Andrea Champ (@thechamplife) on

Buying a Used Longarm Off the Internet

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If you find yourself wondering “Should I buy a longarm?”, that’s a good question, and perhaps a post for a future day. If you find yourself wondering, “Should I buy a used longarm quilting machine off of the internet?”, then this post is for you!

I am far from an expert on longarms or longarm purchasing, but I thought I’d take a minute to address the topic of buying a used longarm quilting machine off of the internet, and my experiences related to that.

A little background: I purchased my used Gammill Premier back in April off of ebay of all places. I was regularly trolling many different sites and tracking longarms that were for sale, trying to find a machine that had what I wanted in my price range (which was not very large, by the way. We had just purchased a new home and had a lot of moving and home improvement expenses). I didn’t actually expect to find one that would magically accomplish that; that would be one that I could afford and would have features that were important to me (reputable brand, all-metal head, all-metal frame). But lo! One day, I found exactly that. The price was so unreal, I thought, “Buy now, ask questions later.” And so, the following weekend, my husband and I drove 5 hours away to pick this thing up (after picking up a U-Haul trailer), and lugged it back.

Us on the road!

Us on the road!

I was half-afraid that this thing wouldn’t work when we got it home, but that wasn’t the case at all. The seller was actually the granddaughter of the previous owner, and she gave me an invoice showing when the machine was last serviced, along with the manual and some nice extras, but she wasn’t a quilter herself, so she couldn’t give me much information really. Thankfully, the machine runs like a champ.

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Which is to say, it worked fine and the motor ran, but it wasn’t immediate quilting bliss. I don’t want to make it sound like I didn’t have growing pains with it. Because for sure, I did. And this brings me to my overall thesis in this story of buying a used longarm off of the internet. To answer the question of whether or not I think someone should, I say: maybe.

I didn’t buy from a dealer, so I didn’t get any beginner’s lessons or classes. No one showed me how to load quilts onto the frame, or told me how to maintain my machine, or how to deal with tension issues (which is huge with a longarm), etc. It was me with my manual, the Internet, and YouTube. I mean, even above and beyond how to use and keep up the machine, no one showed me how to assemble it. The manual showed a frame different than the one I have because it’s not the original manual, so you can bet that was a super good time to figure out.

Buying a longarm quilting machine off of the internet literally means buying one with no support and no guarantees. It ended up being one of the best purchases I have ever made, but it might not be for everyone. So, if you’re thinking about it, here’s some questions I think would be helpful to ask yourself first:

  • Are you a patient person, not easily frustrated or if frustrated, not prone to giving up?
  • Do you do well teaching yourself how to do things?
  • Can you generally make things/learn how to do things from pictures or reading?

If I had to guess, and I could be wrong, I’d guess that most people who are looking at purchasing a used longarm online are doing so because they’re passionate about quilting but don’t have the money to buy a new one from a dealer. I understand! Even so, no matter how passionate you are about quilting, I just hope that this little glimpse of my experience helps prepare you for what you might expect, because even used longarms are a lot of money, and it would be terrible (not to mention inconvenient- these things are huge!) to have buyer’s remorse.

If you’re not someone who thinks that they could assemble a frame by yourself or learn all of this by yourself, take heart. If you are patient and thorough in your search, you may find a seller who is willing to help you somehow- either with assembly or with lessons or who will help show you the ropes. Also, I happen to live near a Gammill dealer who also services Gammill machines- so even though I didn’t purchase from them, I have recourse for repairs that I can’t do myself, which is a comfort! It couldn’t hurt to find out if there is a dealer near you who could repair your machine should the need arise. Additionally, many dealers sell used machines themselves.

In short: buying a used longarm off of the internet was worth it for me (so far, knock on wood!), and if you have a certain personality and realistic expectations, it might be worth it for you, too! The best advice I can think of if you’re taking up the search is: Look carefully and thoroughly, don’t settle, but strike while the iron is hot.

I hope this was helpful, and good luck!

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Finishing 2014, and a couple more finishes

I wasn’t sure if my Christmas deadline would be met, but it was! All of the family quilting (and binding!) was completed in time to gift.

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I know I say this every time, but I really did have a lot of fun quilting these! It’s just the greatest thing ever to be able to go in and enhance a top that I didn’t have to piece with quilting. I love what I do!

And so, with these finishes, my quilting for 2014 has come to an end. It ended up being a pretty spectacular year for me, quilting-wise. We bought a house that has a space for me to have a studio (I was in the corner of the dining room at our old house!). Because we had the space, I was able to purchase a longarm quilting machine. That has been an amazing adventure, and I am so excited to keep with it and see where 2015 takes me.

I longarm quilted 12 quilts on my Gammill this year. Considering that we didn’t get the machine assembled until summertime, I’d say 12 quilts in the last half of 2014 is not too shabby at all! I always had something on my frame, and it feels very strange to walk into my studio and see my frame completely empty.

From start to finish, I only made two quilts this year. That number is way, way down from what I did last year. It was necessary though for me to be able to do all of the quilting that I did, but I do plan on taking a major chunk of time after the new year to do some selfish sewing. Mark’s parents built me a gorgeous quilt ladder, and I have no quilts to fill it with! I am really looking forward to taking the time to finally make some quilts for myself. It’s long overdue! I think it will also really refresh me creatively.

So! That is that. There were some ups and downs for us in 2014, but looking back on it I can say that what really sticks out to me are all the good things that we experienced. I will see you all in 2015- and I hope you have a very happy New Year!

Swoon Finish!!

Swoon is finished, and I am just ecstatic with how it turned out!

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While I was quilting it, I couldn’t wait until it  was done and I could finally unroll it to see everything. The blocks are so big that I could really only see one row at a time while it was loaded on the frame. That moment of seeing the whole thing quilted and done was so exciting!

Now I’m on to the next one- pics to come!

Swoon Quilting

First of all, a big thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Inspiration Palooza! I had a lot of fun looking through the pictures and reading everyone’s goals. Unfortunately, my laptop charger has died, so I haven’t been able to get on here to say this sooner! The winner of the Bonnie & Camille charm packs was Melanie C. Congrats again, Melanie!

I’ve started quilting a Swoon quilt top that my mother-in-law made, and I won’t lie- I’ve been having a blast with it!

swoon

I am so, so happy with how it’s turning out and I have to say that I’m pretty sure this is my favorite quilting that I’ve ever done (I say that every time :P ). This will be a Christmas gift for my husband’s grandma, and I’m so pleased to see how it’s coming together. I hope she loves it! I will definitely be posting better pictures of this as the progress moves forward and when I get my MacBook up and running again. Right now I’m posting from my husband’s desktop, and I’m so used to the flat Mac keys that this keyboard feels like a typewriter. Anyway, in the meantime you can follow the Swoon progress on my Instagram.

2014 Inspiration Palooza + GIVEAWAY

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If you’re just joining us now, check out the rules here!

So, last year my quilt goals were:

  • Try trapunto
  • Do some appliqué. Try different methods.
  • Make something with hexies
  • Get a sketchbook and sketch out some FMQ designs, and practice them
  • Make a binder of FMQ design samples that I like and can do
  • Donate a quilt to Project Linus
  • Make a quilt for our bed
  • Make quilts for family & friends

2014 ended up being a super busy, super crazy year for me. I did make quilts for family and friends, but I only made (from start to finish) two quilts all year! I did get a sketchbook, which I filled up with sketching and practice FMQ designs. I did mess around with appliqué a little, but not much. What I couldn’t have predicted last year when I wrote those goals was that I would buy a longarm quilting machine in 2014. So while I did do a lot of quilting this year, I quilted for other quilters. Next year I want to:

  • Make my bed quilt
  • Make time to do some quilting for me
  • Keep quilting for other quilters

Shorter list, huh? But, I think it’s more well thought out. In the years I’ve been quilting, I still haven’t made a quilt for myself. I started a Christmas top for my couch a few weeks ago with great intentions, but I’m booked up on quilting others’ tops until Christmas. It’s a good problem to have and I’m not complaining, but I need to work on finding a balance between doing what I love as a job/for others, and doing what I love for me to feed my creativity. It’s hard!

So, out of the two quilts I made this year, I think my favorite is the one I made for Natalie’s bed:

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I just love the colors, and I really enjoyed quilting it.

Can I share some of my favorite shots of longarm quilting I did for other quilters?

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It’s been a good year!

Now I want to hear yours! 

Someone will be winning these Bonnie & Camille charm packs:

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Here’s what you need to do next: add the link to your Inspiration Palooza blog post in the link-up below, then follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget to make sure you’ve entered to win. You can earn additional entries as well by participating on Instagram, or you are welcome to participate on Instagram only if you don’t have a blog (although linking up with a blog post is worth the most entries!). Just post a picture of your favorite quilt from 2014, share at least one quilt goal for 2015, and hashtag it with #inspirationpalooza. Please, oh please, if you participate on Instagram, do not forget to come back and enter through the Rafflecopter widget. I will be using Rafflecopter to randomly draw the winner of the giveaway, so if you haven’t entered it in, that would be a very sad thing.

The link-up and giveaway will be open until December 7th at midnight. The winner will be announced on Monday the 8th, and you will have 48 hours to email me back with your shipping information. If you do not reply within that time, a new winner will be selected.

Thanks for participating, and good luck! I can’t wait to read your posts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


2014 Inspiration Palooza!

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Are you ready?! It’s time for my second annual Inspiration Palooza + Giveaway! If you missed it last year, this is how it works:

  • Make a blog post listing all of the quilting goals that you have for 2015, whether it’s a new pattern or technique you’d like to try, to finish all of your UFOs, or a set number of quilts you’d like to finish. Whatever your goals are, make a list!
  • Pick a favorite quilt that you’ve made in 2014 and share a picture. Tell us why it’s your favorite. (If 2014 was an off-year for you and you didn’t get any quilts done, don’t worry! Just share a favorite quilt from a different year.)
  • Add your link to the link-up, browse through everyone else’s, and enjoy!
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter widget for the giveaway!

If you don’t have a blog, you can participate through Instagram as well (and if you do have a blog- you can do both to earn more entries!).

  • Share a picture of your favorite quilt you’ve made in the last year.
  • Tell us at least one quilt goal for 2015.
  • Hashtag it with #inspirationpalooza so I can follow along and keep track of everything
  • After you’ve done this, come back and enter via the Rafflecopter widget to let me know that you’ve shared on IG. 

That last step is EXTREMELY important. I will be doing the drawing through Rafflecopter, so if you share on Instagram and don’t come enter here afterwards, it won’t be in the drawing. Make sense?

I’m really excited about this year’s giveaway. I think it’s pretty awesome, and I hope you do, too! It is:

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  • Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie & Camille charm pack
  • Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille charm pack
  • April Showers by Bonnie & Camille charm pack
  • Miss Kate by Bonnie & Camille charm pack

It’s a fun way to look back on our quilting year and set our sights on the new year to come! The link-up will start on Monday, December 1st and will close Sunday, December 7th at midnight. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 8th.

So get thinking, and get ready! I can’t wait to see everyone’s posts!

The Mad Dash to the Holidays

Even my studio is overwhelmed.

Even my studio is overwhelmed.

The holidays are breathing down my neck, people. For the past couple of weeks the pressure has been mounting for me to get everything on my to-do list done by the times I need everything to be done. I finally sat down today with my calendar to plan everything out. The results are… stressful. Let’s put it that way. Doable, but it’s going to be a crunch. I need to:

  • Finish Meagan’s blue & white quilt which is currently on my frame (thankfully almost done!)
  • Finish piecing my giant Christmas star quilt, load it up and quilt it, then bind it. (This is not to mention coordinating pillows I have ready to finish as well)
  • I have 3 other tops that need to get loaded and quilted in time to bind by Christmas, because they’re gifts.
  • I have someone sending me a Christmas top
  • I have a Valentine’s Day pattern I need to demo so it can be released by the first of the year in advance of Valentine’s Day.

It’s a lot, but to throw another kink into the whole picture, I have family coming out to visit on back-to-back weekends, which I’m so, so excited about, but it knocks out about a week for me as far as quilting time goes. And on top of all of this is the daily grind with two little kids and normal life stuff. Whew. Time-management is going to be a resolution of mine. ;)

I do find that I work better with a deadline, though. If I have a timeframe to work in and I know I need to get something done, I find a way to make it happen. So I’m hoping that holds true again this year. Last year, I was finishing up a binding on Christmas morning! Looks like this year isn’t deviating too much from that norm.

Oh, and PS- remember last year’s Inspiration Palooza? We’re doing it again! I’ve been working on ideas for the giveaway, and I think I’ve settled on something so stay tuned for that!