Sewing Summit 2013 Day 3

Sewing Summit was such a fun sewing retreat/blogging conference and it’s so sad that it was over so quickly. However, I will be attending another retreat this coming weekend with my local guild, so I look forward to that, even though it will be another busy week!

Sewing Summit

Lunchtime at Sewing Summit

You can read my earlier posts about Sewing Summit Day 1 and Sewing Summit Day 2.

On Saturday, I took business development classes all day. I came away more focused than I have been in a long time and I can’t wait to tell you more about my upcoming plans in future blog posts.

Branding and Berninas

Branding and Berninas

I listened to a presentation put on by Bernina called “Bloggers, Brands and Bernina.” The moderators were Amy Gutierrez, the director of marketing for Bernina USA and Alice Voss-Kantor, Bernina’s social media manager.

They let us know how as bloggers, we can reach out to Bernina and other companies whose products we like to use. Many companies are willing to trade their products in exchange for content like blog posts, tutorials and general publicity to get the word out about them.

The Bernina gals had to be sure and state that while they don’t give away their machines, they are willing to loan them out if certain criteria are met. I will definitely have to think about that, seeing as how I already promote their brand for free anyway, LOL!

Blogging and Social Media

Blogging and Social Media

Sorry for the bad pics, but the lighting was not ideal for picture taking!

Next, I listed to Tauni Everett’s excellent presentation on blogging and social media. Here a few tips I picked up:

  • A self-hosted WordPress site is the best platform for blogging.
  • Purchase your name URL for several years into the future – this helps with SEO (seach engine optimization).
  • Be sure to include a descriptive tag under your blog name to describe it better.
  • Do what you promise on your blog – if you promise to host an event, be sure to follow through in a timely manner.
  • Being who you are is good, but be wary of TMI (too much information!)
  • My favorite – Be real, be kind, be charitable, be consistent, build others up. 🙂

She also mentioned that while being on Facebook and Pinterest are also good, Instagram doesn’t yet have a way to refer people back to their blogs so it may not be worth the effort as far as trying to promote your blog that way. That made me feel better because so far I have resisted jumping on the Instagram bandwagon!

Building Your Creative Business

Building Your Creative Business

After lunch I attended the best class of the whole weekend, Building Your Creative Business with Alicia Dirago. She’s a successful 33 year old entrepreneur who built her business, WhimseyBox from the ground up by being bold and courageous and in her words, “by moving quickly and not being afraid to break things.”

She spoke in a warm, humorous way while giving advice. This picture speaks for itself:

What NOT to do!

What NOT to do!

I was overcome by emotion when Alicia had us write down on paper what our dreams really were and what is standing in the way of our success. She encouraged those of us who were brave enough to share it aloud with the rest of the class.

Here’s what I finally admitted:

“I want to share my love of machine quilting with as many people as possible. I want to teach people that they can finish their own quilts and take pride in doing so. And I want to write books about it.”

And what is standing in my way?

“The fear of failure and thinking that if people don’t like my quilts, that means they won’t like me.” Silly, I know, but when Alicia asked the entire class if anyone else felt the same way, they all raised their hands in support. It was a pretty powerful experience.

Later that night at dinner, a fellow blogger from that class came up to me and said, “I have a friend I know that would buy your book.” I guess I’d better get on it then.

The Creative Business Process

The Creative Business Process

Above is another excellent slide from the class. Alica also put up a graphic that I wasn’t able to get a picture of. It basically showed a straight line as people’s idea of how success worked. Then another scribbly line that twisted and turned and doubled back on itself before reaching the end as how success actually happens. Thanks Alicia – for keeping it real!

The final class of the day was about improving photography by Melissa Esplin. While much of the technical details were over my head (I’m still learning what ISO is), I did pick up a few pointers on lighting and still shooting.

Lighting Props

Lighting Props

Melissa recommends a tri-pod with a ball head that gives flexibility with camera positioning. She also said you can get a car sunshade with foil on one side as a cheaper alternative to a professional diffuser. And by wrapping a couple of cheap lights in tinfoil with a home-made cloth covering, you can set up an inexpensive lighting system.

Finally, to cap off the evening, we got to hear Heather Bailey’s success story. She originally started off wanting to become a surgeon while taking creative classes on the side. She eventually came to the conclusion that having a creative career would allow her more flexibility and time to be a mom.

Heather Bailey Keynote Address

Heather Bailey Keynote Address

Heather was one of the early influencers driving the designer fabric market. Her “a-ha” moment was when she realized she could design fabrics and products that would appeal to her peers, and use the internet to communicate her ideas. Followers would then flock to fabric designer’s blogs to see what they were creating and be inspired. Do any of you do that? I know I do!

Heather left us with some sage words of wisdom: now that we are all excited and ready to take on the world of creative business, we need to pause and take a bit of time for calm, quiet reflection before we dive in.

Sounds like a plan to me. 🙂

Sewing Summit 2013 Day 2

Here’s my report on Sewing Summit Day 2 – food, friends, fun, and fantastic classes! You can read about Day 1 here.

Friday was spent in classes – 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon after lunch. My lectures and classes were awesome as you can see from the pics below.

Book Publishing LectureFirst up I attended an excellent lecture on getting a book published, given by literary agent Kate McKean. I learned you won’t get rich from writing quilting books, but if you are tenacious enough and willing to do the hard work, it can have an enormous impact on one’s quilting career.

I hung on her every word and jotted down a few notes that I’ll need to include when it comes time for me to start that part of my quilting journey. It can take nearly 2 years to get a book to market once a proposal is written, so I’ve got lots of homework to do! (Hmm… I wonder if Chevrons will still be popular then?)

Ellen MarchPublishing Seminar

That lecture was followed up by a fabulous seminar on getting work published in magazines, by Ellen March, editor-in-chief of several sewing magazines.

This one I was a little more comfortable with since my first published magazine pattern will be coming out soon.

Ellen reminded us of several key points – know your stuff, know your audience, and write content relevant to the magazine you are seeking to submit to. And, remember to say thank you if they decide to choose your work.

After a fabulous lunch, it was time for a bit of afternoon sewing. I took Angela Pingel’s curves class which I really enjoyed.

Angela Pingel CurvesAngela Pingel Curves

We sewed together a fun block which was a modern take on a drunkard’s path block. She taught us the key to sewing curves – use pins and sew half the curve at a time. For more specifics, be sure to watch Angela’s blog for her announcement about her forthcoming book on the subject!

Curves Block

My Curves Block – Sew Fun!

This enjoyable class was followed up by a quick and easy piecing class taught by Amy Smart on how to make basic HST’s from oversized squares. Though she told me I could probably teach the class myself, it was a an enjoyable afternoon of stress-free sewing and I still learned a few tricks!HST ClassIt was inspiring to see some of the students’ layouts. Fun stuff!


Hotel flooring makes a great design space!

The evening was capped off by another fun night of open sewing and I got a jump start on my Modern Trees QAL.

TreesI even met up with one of my customers, Katy from Canada, along with her buddy. They were working on some fun pajama pants, adding in a little bit of fabric they got from me. It was fun to make so many new friends in person!

Pajama PantsI probably got more sewing done this weekend than I usually do in a week. My final Sewing Summit wrap up post will be tomorrow so you won’t want to miss it!

Sewing Summit 2013 – Day 1

I’m having an awesome weekend at Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah! Here’s part 1 of 3 of my quilting retreat adventures.

I drove to Salt Lake on Thursday and stopped by Melissa Corry’s on the way up. We sat and chatted for a solid 2 hours about quilting, kids, life, etc. She gave me a tour of her home all decked out in quilts, and we took turns showing each other sneak peaks of our upcoming quilting projects and ideas. It’s so fun to speak with like-minded souls!

Happy Quilting

Love that room – and those fabric stacks!

I got to see her MIL again (who lives just two doors down) and their brand new long arm machine. Melissa’s MIL then showed her gorgeous version of Melissa’s Star Surround QAL and I was beginning to feel a bit tempted to jump in and make one myself!

Star Surround

Gigantic Star Surround – Isn’t it great?

When I arrived at Sewing Summit, I hooked up with my fabulous friend Denise Clason who’s a prolific quilter, crafter and blogger. She has authored several books on sewing and quilting during our nearly 20 year friendship and is now starting to mentor me on how to write one myself.

Christa and Denise

Christa and Denise – yeah, we both like orange!

I was in heaven when we walked into a room full of Berninas for open sewing! I found my exact model and got to work stitching the night away.

Just when I was about to call it a night, the lovely Heather Bailey popped in for a bit of chat. She will be our keynote speaker on Saturday night, and she gave me a little background into her sewing life and creative journey. She’s a great talker (and a night owl, too) so it made for a fun evening.

Heather Bailey

Heather Bailey – yes, she’s tall and has great taste in clothes and jewelry!

Whenever I attend a retreat or quilting event, I call them “go away and come back and be a better Mommy weekends!” I’ll post again on Monday with the second installment of Sewing Summit 2013!

Wip Wednesday – Fabric Stacks and Yummy Quilt Projects

Yesterday I spent most of the day playing with fabric and it was quite delightful! I pulled and prepped (wash with color catchers, damp dry, iron with starch) all of my fabrics for several upcoming projects. First up is my Modern Trees QAL which starts next week.

Modern Trees

Modern Trees Fabric Pull

I chose mostly Kona Solids with one Moda Bella Solids Aqua. I decided to go with a cream solid from Free Spirit as the background because I had several yards leftover after cutting out all the Turning Cartwheels kits. It’s a nice yellowy cream and looks great with the teals and greens.

Cut Squares

Cut Squares for Double Chevrons Quilt

Next up, I cut and marked all the squares for the Double Chevron quilt I’m making for my son. I was having quite a zen moment getting lost in the calm repetitiveness of this task.

Finally, I pulled fabric for Angela Pingel’s curved mini class that I’ll be taking at Sewing Summit this weekend. I chose an older Amy Butler print from my stash along with a coordinating solid. (Surprising that I didn’t go with all solids –  I know!)

Fabric for Curves Mini

Fabric for Curves Mini

The solid will be my focal point with the print as background. It will be a modern take on a drunkard’s path block so I hope my fabric choices will work well.

I’m bringing all of these projects with me this weekend to Sewing Summit in the hopes of getting quite a bit done. I am way excited that there is lots of open sewing time during the retreat. If you are looking for me – I’ll be the one under a pile of fabric trees and HST’s!

Prepping for Sewing Summit and a New Project Start

I’m so excited that I’ll be leaving for Sewing Summit in Salt Lake in just a couple of days. I spent the weekend gathering my supplies and making a list of what to work on so I will be prepared for non-stop sewing fun!

Ryan's ChevronsFirst up on the agenda is this new chevron quilt that I’m going to make for my 13 year old son.  It’s very similar in construction to my Charming Chevrons quilt, with different color placement and larger finished HST’s so it should be pretty simple to sew. I might tweak it a little to fit his twin-sized bed. I’ll probably end up calling it “Double Chevrons.”

We recently cleaned up my son’s room and put up new shelving as part of my sewing space redo. Since I moved his Legos out of my sewing loft, I had to give him more space to store his stuff! He has an electronic drum set that takes up most of his room (yes – I’m that kind of mom!) so we really need to cozy it up a little.

Room decor

DrumsI decided he needs a new quilt that matched the color scheme of his room. He’s into Yugioh, drums, space, and Tron. Fortunately, the furniture and decor in his room blend together in a nice palette of black, blue, grey, and cheddar. I told him that I get to design the front, but he gets to choose the back.

Kona Fabric PullSince I created the design in EQ7 I was able to print it off in color and pull matching Kona Solids to match (one of the perks of having a fabric store in the house).

Yugioh Be SheetI found this fabulous Yugioh sheet online for a song that I will use for the backing (thanks to a bit of google searching).

He was way excited about that.  I get to make a fun quilt and he’s happy with the backing and colors so it’s a win-win!

Next up, I’m going to try my best to finish up my Sunday Sling bag that I started in a class over 2 years ago! Each time I go to a retreat or quilting event I’m so jealous of all the cute hand-made bags everyone is wearing. This is how far I’ve gotten in 2 years, LOL!

Sunday SlingI’m just not into 3-D sewing – I’d rather make nice, flat quilts. But, I decided I better buckle down and finish this UFO so I have something to strut. And besides, if it turns out to be a disaster, I’m sure I can just buy one on etsy! 🙂

So wish me luck as I frantically try to get ready this week. I’ve posted a list of classes I’m taking here and I’ve already heard from a few other blogger friends who are going – it’s going to be great!

Sewing Summit 2013 – My Schedule of Classes

I’m very excited for the 3rd Annual Sewing Summit which is coming up in just a few short weeks. 🙂 Already, I’ve heard from a few other bloggers I know that are planning on attending. It’s going to be such fun!

Sewing Summit 2013

I thought I would post the classes I’ve signed up for below, in the hopes that any of you out there may be in my same classes. Plus, if I post my schedule here, I won’t lose it, LOL!

Friday, September 20th, 2013

  • 9:00 – 10:15 Publishing a Book with Kate McKean
  • 10:30 – 11:45 Getting Published in a Magazine with Ellen March
  • 1:15 – 3:15 Curves Mini Quilt with Angela Pingel
  • 3:30 – 5:30 HST Quilt Top with Amy Smart

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

  • 9:00 – 10:15 Brands and Bloggers with Bernina
  • 10:30 – 11:45 Social Media with Tauni Everett
  • 1:15 – 3:15 Building your Creative Business with Alicia DiRago
  • 3:30 – 5:30 Photography with Melissa Esplin

Let me know if you are attending and let’s get excited together!

Sewing Summit Anyone?

I’m way excited – I just found out there is going to be another Sewing Summit for 2013.

Sewing Summit 2013

For anyone who hasn’t heard, this is a weekend long modern sewing retreat. After attending QuiltCon earlier in the year but being too far away to attend Sew South, I’m thrilled to join up with other modern sewists for Sewing Summit later this year.

Here’s what I know so far – it runs from September 19th-21st in Salt Lake City, Utah and as of today, registration is still open. I didn’t attend the previous 2 years but I’ve heard from a few other blogger friends that it was a blast, so this year I signed up right away!

Angela Pingel, Cut to Pieces

Angela Pingel, Cut to Pieces

Jeni Baker, In Color Order

Jeni Baker, In Color Order

Two of the blogs that I sponsor, Angela Pingel from Cut to Pieces, and Jeni Baker from In Color Order are going to be among many of the amazing teachers! Whoo-hoo this is going to be fun! So, who else is going??