Archive for the ‘Favorite Products’ Category

Inspiration in the Ordinary, links and sites

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Hi everyone!   Thanks so much to those of you who were able to attend my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary.  Thank you so much to the many guest artists who allowed me to share their work in my lecture.  You’ll find them below, along with links to a couple apps that I mentioned in the lecture as well as website links to two exhibits and several books, including The Art of Sarah Ann Smith…so far.  

Street shots from Lowell, Massachusetts. All images (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Inspiration in the Ordinary                   A lecture by Sarah Ann Smith

 

Guest artists, apps and websites

 

Deborah Boschert

http://deborahsstudio.com

 

Kathy (Kate) Daniels

 

Louisa Enright

http://louisaenright.com

 

Bonnie K Hunter

http://www.quiltville.com

 

Kristin La Flamme

http://kristinlaflamme.com

 

Heather Pregger

http://www.heatherquiltz.com

 

Wendy Caton

http://theconstantquilter.blogspot.com

 

Teri Sontra

Purple Moose Designs  https://www.purplemoosedesigns.com

  • Sandy Toes pattern is here https://www.purplemoosedesigns.com/product/sandy-toes/

 

Timna Tarr

http://www.timnatarr.com

 

Jim Vander Noot

https://www.jimvandernoot.com

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TidewaterStudio?ref=search_shop_redirect

 

Angela Walters

http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com

 

Websites and apps:

 

Pantone  app

Pic-Collage app

PicStitch app

 

The Art of Sarah Ann Smith, so far

http://www.blurb.com/b/8193077-the-art-of-sarah-ann-smith

 

Inspired by the National Parks

http://www.npscentennialquilts.com

https://www.amazon.com/Inspired-National-Parks-Landscapes-Perspectives/dp/0764351192/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1445953799&sr=8-5&keywords=inspired+by+the+national+parks

 

Threads of Resistance

http://threadsofresistance.org/home.html

http://threadsofresistance.blogspot.com

 

Here’s a downloadable Inspiration in the Ordinary PDF of the information above.  Thanks again to all my visiting artists!

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Birdie Bernina takes her first drive….

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Imagine that…working on a quilt, and not an art quilt! AND it’s a UFO! Here I’m trying out various design options.

We moved to Maine in 2004.   This top pre-dates that move by at least a year–I made it as a local quilt group mystery quilt (design by Debbie Caffrey but don’t remember the name).  I only made four blocks, made it into a small top, and it has sat in a basket mocking me lo these many years.

Fast forward:  I SPLURGED.  I ***seriously*** splurged.  I bought a Bernina Q20 sit down.  Yes, it costs as much as a nice used car.   And Oh. My. Yes. it is worth it…what a DREAM!  I figured you only live once, quilting is my favorite thing, so I’m gonna just go for it.   And yes, I am beyond grateful that I have been able to earn enough by writing, teaching and selling my art quilts to be able to afford this indulgence!  To each and every person who has ever read an article or my book, watched my DVD, or taken a class or bought an artwork, THANK YOU!

But that means  need to learn to use it and not be a tad intimidated.  Light Bulb Moment!!! Take those two UFO mystery quilts (yep, there’s another larger one) and use them to test-drive the new Bernina, named Birdie because of the beautiful bird’s eye maple cabinet (yes, I splurged a little more and upgraded to the cabinet…pics below).  So I got the somewhat soiled, tired, not particularly well pieced tops out, ironed them, and decided to go for it.

You can see some of my quilting design. I planned to do some straight line work with a ruler and ruler foot in the green. I wanted to do more ruler work and curved cross hatching in the white spaces. And since I’m adept at free-motion, some of that using a leaf motif from the navy print in the corners and small squares. I’m not positive yet what I’ll do in the navy floral, but may just use navy and outline the flowers.

Here I’ve completed the straight line work on the green (not perfectly, but not bad for a first attempt as I get used to using the stitch regulator with the rulers. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE curved cross hatching! And then I began on the free-motion for the leaves. I plan to go back in with a lighter weight thread–I’m using 40 wt Superior trilobal poly here–to to a background dense fill around the leaves. There is a half inch outlined space between the leaves and the cross hatching.

I have to say the included-with-the-machine video was great, although I have no clue WHY Bernina doesn’t make it able to play on a DVD player–only a PC or a Mac.  Have they not noticed that computers don’t come with disc drives any more?????  Luckily, separate disc drives are cheap (about $30 or less) and I had planned on buying one for other reasons (moving CD music to the laptop).  But still.   The disc ought to be able to be played on a DVD player!   Anyway, it is well done, as is the manual.

The Q20 comes with a bobbin tension gauge and the manual says (yes, I read manuals! you should, too) you should test every bobbin.   So for now at least, I am.  That helped me get my combination of thread–40 wt. trilobal poly in the needle and 60-wt very fine Bottom Line poly in the bobbin–adjusted with a minimum of fuss.  The stitch balance is simply fan-flipping’-tastic.  I DO match needle and bobbin thread always, though, just in case!

And here’s my beautiful Birdie Bernina on her maiden quilt. Contented SIGH.

I need to thank three people:  Barb Black and Karen Miller are friends who have the Q20 (Barb’s is a sit-down like mine, Karen’s on rails) and Jeanie Cook-Delpit of Bernina for their advice, rave reviews and, from Jeannie, help.  When I saw Barb at Quilt Festival I got a great big laugh out of her when I greeted here with “Thank you for leading me into temptation!”  It’s totally true.  And Jeanie — you helped make this possible.  THANK YOU!  You are the creme de la creme of Bernina Ambassadors.  I’ll post more pics when done.   Let’s hope the power doesn’t go out tomorrow during the incoming storm, which is supposed to be heavy, wet snow.  I wanna quilt!

Christmas Quilts, Christmas Memories

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Christmas may be over officially for 2016, but it will come around again.  And now that the recipients (except for Kate C.–don’t read this post Kate!) have received and opened their gifts, I can share.   I’d love for you all to know about Christmas Quilts, Christmas Memories, edited by Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes, the cousins who were half of the four (along with their mothers) who founded quilter’s Mecca, the International Quilt Festival.   This petite square book (my iPhone 6plus is a tiny bit taller) is a holiday gem of antique quilts and Christmas memories — and to my utter astonishment, including yours truly!

Christmas Quilts, Christmas Memories, Ed. Karey P. Bresenhan and Nancy O’B. Puentes, available from the Texas Quilt Museum

As a contributor, we received a complimentary copy at Quilt Festival this year.  I **devoured** the book on my flight home–literally read it cover to cover between Houston and Boston.  Well known folks from the quilt community and members of Karey and Nancy’s families shared special Christmas Memories with an antique quilt on the left page.   I was astonished that I know of or actually know most of the quilty folks in the book, and I just cherish that they shared their memories.  I knew I would order many copies to give before I got off the flight!  I gave copies to my sons hoping that they will eventually read the book and maybe find traditions they would like to start for their families and lives.

Here’s the start of my memory, about collecting ornaments from around the world, first as gifts for my parents, then as an annual tradition. What’s this year’s ornament going to be?

As I read through the book, I was more and more astounded that I was selected to have my memory included given who else is in the book.   As I read, I felt closer to those I know for their quilt pursuits, loved the glimpse into their every day lives and memories.   Here’s the stories and the contributors:

The Christmas Memories table of contents

and the contributors to the book

This book is small but delightful beyond all proportion to its size.  It is beautifully printed, fits nicely in your hands, and I’m so happy to have it, and still a bit gobsmacked to be in it!  You can order it from the Texas Quilt Museum website, here.

And what was this year’s ornament?  Well, one of the reasons our tree is groaning with stuff is that we added FOUR this year.  In my defense, the two blown glass ones were gifts for the boys to be taken to their own places when they are settled.   I am actually looking forward to sharing the bounty with them and not having quite so much to put on (and take off and put away) each year, but love sharing the story that goes with every ornament on the tree.

After Eli was accepted to F&M, we went on a college visit and took the long way home via Vermont and the requisite trip to Ben & Jerry’s factory (the original one) and tour. Of course I had to add an ornament–I navigate the world by ice cream stores!

To commemorate Eli’s first year in college, a Franklin & Marshall ornament. Thanks to Eli for adding it to the tree.

When Eli and I visited England 2 years ago, we went to St. Tiggywinkle’s hedgehog (and now other wildlife too) rescue, about an hour west of London. This one is for him.

When we lived on San Juan Island when the boys were little, a great horned owl would perch in the fir tree beside our driveway, silhouetted against the night sky. Joshua remembers the owl and we were talking about it not long ago, so this one is for him.

And here’s the groaning tree….honestly, I just LOVE IT!   And this year was beyond delightful because all three of the kids, Joshua & Ashley and Eli, helped trim the tree!

The tree on Christmas Eve after Santa arrived.  It was a particularly bountiful year!

 

 

Janome 9400 review

Monday, December 5th, 2016

As many of you know, I’ve been fortunate to be affiliated with Janome America for many years and sew on their great machines.   They’ve come out with a new top-of-the-line NON-embroidery machine, the 9400.  And as I have come to expect, they take something that is already really good and make it even better.  We’re getting close to perfect!   To see the machine on the Janome site, go here.

My newest sewing love, the Janome 9400!

My newest sewing love, the Janome 9400!  Notice the FABULOUS lighting?  I love the pull-out light, too!

Over the past few months I’ve been able to put the machine through its paces, making a knit top, finishing a set of quilted placemats, finishing a small bag with zipper, and (who me?) piecing several quilt tops.   The machine excelled at everything I threw at it!  The 9400 has taken many features from the top of the line embroidery and sewing 15000 machine, including that awesome light on the top left that slides out.  I think the design of it  on the 9400 is even better than on the 15000, as it curves a bit.

One of the first things I did was some class samples for my Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag….including installing a zipper.

Zipper insertion for my Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag class sample.   Notice how the zipper foot fits PERFECTLY, allowing me to use the zipper coil as a guide and getting the stitching **perfect** ?  I used plum stitching as a decorative accent on the right side of the zipper, and am now stitching the second side of the left half of the zipper.

Zipper insertion for my Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag class sample. Notice how the zipper foot fits PERFECTLY, allowing me to use the zipper coil as a guide and getting the stitching **perfect** ? I used plum stitching as a decorative accent on the right side of the zipper, and am now stitching the second side of the zipper.

A bigger challenge, for both me and the machine, was to make a new top.  I fell in love with the plum knit and bought it a year or so ago.   I also love the aqua top, which is showing its age.  I did a “rub off” which is where you make your own pattern using an existing garment.  You can trace (with garment on top of paper) or rub (with garment under paper) to feel the edges and create pattern pieces.  I extended the sleeves from 3/4 to full length, and am delighted at the machine and the results.

Success!  I actually made a KNIT garment.  The original shirt (purchased) is on the left. After making the pattern from that shirt, I made the plum one on the right.  I'll do a separate blogpost later this week with more info on how I did it and which stitches used.

Success! I actually made a KNIT garment. The original shirt (purchased) is on the left. After making the pattern from that shirt, I made the plum one on the right. I’ll do a separate blogpost later this week with more info on how I did it and which stitches used.

I also have done quite a lot of piecing.  I used the P foot which comes with the machine for my quarter inch seams, but decided to use the optional Clearview foot which I prefer.   In a second project (which I can’t share yet because it is a Christmas surprise) I was astounded at how accurate my results were; I am NOT a piecer, and the feed on the machine worked very well (until my attention wandered, at which point I simply cut the threads, went back to my oops and fixed it).

Using the ClearView foot for piecing

Using the ClearView foot for piecing.  I really like the red 1/8 and 1/4″ markings. This foot is available for both Janome’s  7mm and 9mm machines (the 7 and 9 refer to the maximum stitch width–you need to be sure you get the correct one to fit the “ankle” for your machine). Have I said how much I love it?

I also have been able to do both free-motion and walking foot quilting, though not as much yet as I would have liked.   I finished a set of placemats and table runner called Modern Winter, which I prepared for Janome’s blog.  You can find the pattern and information here.

Modern Winter placemats and table runner.

Modern Winter placemats and table runner. Instructions/pattern on the Janome site at the link.  

The one thing I keep trying to convince Janome to do is to create feet for the top of the line machines that is similar to the convertible FMQ (free motion quilting)  feet for the Janome 8900/8200 and similar which I think are the best quilting feet Janome makes.   In addition to the traditional “hopping” or darning foot used for free-motion quilting, the 9400, 15000, 12000 all have the QO and QC skimming FMQ feet which snap on to the ankle (which is really quick and easy).  However, these feet are clear plastic and not round.   They work great for most people’s purposes, but if you look at pretty much ALL quilting machines, the preferred and nearly universally available feet are metal CIRCLES.  The metal is stronger and can, therefore, be thinner, which affords greater visibility.  And by being a circle, you can echo quilt around (for example) an appliqué, then  continue with free motion without having to change feet.  This is a small quibble but one that is important to me.

The foot on the left is the Ruler Foot for the 8900, and the two bits on the right are the optional bottoms for FMQ, the open U (as Janome made it) and the circle (which Janome made closed, but I used my Dremel to open up a tiny bit)

The foot on the left is the Ruler Foot for the 8900, and the two bits on the right are the optional bottoms for FMQ, the open U (as Janome made it) and the circle (which Janome made closed, but I used my Dremel to open up a tiny bit).  I would LOVE these options for the top of the line Janome machines (9400, 12000 and 15000).

One of the

One of the really cool things about the 9400 (which came down to it from the 15000) is the snap on feature for some of the quilting feet.  In this image, you can see the echo quilting foot, the clear disc with red circles/lines, for the 9400 on the lower left.  It just pops on and off the ankle like regular feet–fast, easy and effective.  The other three in this image are from the bottom of the convertible FMQ foot for the 8900; you have to screw them on to the holder which is a small fuss.  

I was MOST impressed at International Quilt Festival, Houston, this year.  I introduced myself to the president of Janome America to say thank you for Janome’s continued support for the past decade-plus, and to ask about developing these feet for the 9400 and 15000 (and 12000).  He whipped out a notebook and took notes!   So as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to follow up with him with details I’ve been mulling over on how best to meet ALL needs for quilting–both hopping and skimming. Love Janome’s responsiveness!  He said he’d send the info to headquarters in Japan–can’t do more than that!

Although you can read it on Janome’s site, I’m adding some info about the features and accessories included on this machine.  Best of all, a lot of stores are offering “Holiday Incentives” on the price!

Janome 9400 Stitch Chart

Janome 9400 Stitch Chart…hooray, my favorite stitches are still here!

Key Features:

  • Top Loading Full Rotary Hook Bobbin System
  • 350 Built-In Stitches and 4 Alphabets
  • Superior Needle Threader
  • Cloth Guide Included
  • One-Step Needle Plate Conversion with 3 Included Plates
  • Detachable AcuFeed Flex Layered Fabric Feeding System
  • USB Port and Direct PC Connection
  • Stitch Composer Stitch Creation Software
  • Variable Zig Zag for Free Motion Quilting
  • Straight Stitch Needle Plate with Left Needle Position for 1/4″ Seam Foot
  • Professional HP Needle Plate and Foot
  • Advanced Plate Markings
  • Full Color LCD Touchscreen (4.4″ x 2.5″)
  • Sewing Applications On-Screen Support
  • Maximum Sewing Speed: 1,060 SPM
  • Full Intensity Lighting System with 9 White LED Lamps in 4 Locations
  • 11″ to the Right of the Needle
  • Retractable High Light

Included Accessories:

  • 1/4 Inch Seam Foot O
  • AcuFeed Flex™ Dual Feed Holder with AD Foot
  • Automatic Buttonhole Foot
  • Blind Hem Foot G
  • Button Sewing Foot
  • Cloth Guide
  • Darning Foot
  • Extra Large Foot Controller
  • Free Motion Quilting Closed Toe Foot
  • HP Plate and Foot Set
  • Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot
  • Overedge Foot M
  • Remote Thread Cutter Switch
  • Rolled Hem Foot
  • Satin Stitch Foot
  • Seam Ripper
  • Straight Stitch Needle Plate
  • Zig-Zag Foot
  • Zipper Foot E

So that’s my recap!  I’ll do a couple follow-up posts on the placemats and shirt projects.  Stay tuned!

Sweet Sixteen for sale…nearly new!

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Update:  machine is sold.  About a year ago I took delivery of a wonderful machine:  the HQ Sweet 16 sit-down quilting machine.  It has both regular and ruler feet, all the regular parts.  In outstanding working order, well maintained, clean.  I’ve got all the original packing materials for transporting it to you.   I’m also including 14 M-class bobbins (empty) and a bunch of appropriate machine needles.  I will say the HQ dealer and tech support is OUTSTANDING.  I’ve decided to upgrade, and need to sell this one to make way for the next beastie.  MSRP is $5,599. For sale for $3750 plus shipping.  If you live within a 4 1/2 hour drive of Camden, Maine, I’ll deliver to your driveway free of charge!

Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.  You can also find more information about this beauty on the Handiquilter site here and here.

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition

HQ Sweet Sixteen for Sale (Sept 2016), just under one year old, mint condition.  Cat not included. This is the most recent version of the Sweet 16 and has the thread tension information (so it’s not a guessing game).  Does not have a stitch regulator, but it can easily be added (consult with your local Handiquilter dealer). Contact Sarah here, sarahannsmith.com/contact.php

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com for more info.

Straight on view of HQ Sweet Sixteen for sale. Leave a comment or use the contact me page at SarahAnnSmith.com if you are seriously interested and have questions.  More pictures at end of blogpost.

Here are three quilts I have quilted on this beauty, so you can see the quality of the stitching:

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale.

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, quilted on the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine for sale.

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne's Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

Detail showing quality of stitching, Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1, (c) Sarah Ann Smith.com

My most recent project, Peony, done on the Sweet 16. ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

Milkweed No. 1, ©SarahAnnSmith.com. Quilted on the Sweet 16 that is for sale.

My most recent

My most recent work, Peony, quilted on the Sweet 16.  ©SarahAnnSmith.com

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45x55 I think.....depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Working on the lighter petals on the big peony quilt. It will finish about 45×55 I think…..depends on how much I trim off and/or turn to the back.

Side view

Side view.

HQ Sweet Sixteen, less than a year old, for sale! Contact Sarah at the Contact Me page or comment on this post.