Tuesday, October 12, 2021

It's all about LEARNING

 It's a challenging world out there. What is more important? Making money? or having more likes? 

It's a tough choice for a lot of designers, makers, doers! Really - how do people decide how to distribute their content? And how do you choose whether you want to watch the free stuff or the paid stuff? I will say that you need to be careful whether the content is free or not. Just because someone has a video camera does NOT mean that what they put online is good information. Some of what I've seen is terrible. 

Not only the quality of the video, but in some instances, the content is not appropriate, not reasonable, not practical, and undoubtedly not correct. Sadly, some people flock to this kind of stuff and think it's the best thing since sliced bread - they get caught up in the hype and the "personality." So the next time you watch a "great" video, and you're about to do what they do, think about it -- is it really the best way to do something? Just because a "celebrity" quilter says "do it this way." there are often much easier ways when you think about it. They are trying HARD to make it work, and sometimes -- it's just too much. 

All this means there is a TON of free information on the internet and all we have to do is search it out. And there are some excellent resources out there. 

The best thing is that we can be entertained for HOURS and never run out of stuff to watch. Now I'm not talking about entertainment -- I MEAN education stuff. 

I've been spending HOURS and HOURS downloading information (well - that's not free information for you) but relates to my job. And I learn stuff; I'll be sharing what I can with my students. 

However, here are some places to go and get information. 

Should you have a Husqvarna Viking or PFAFF sewing/embroidery machine and have no idea what all those functions are all about - check out Sewingnastery. It's a fantastic site -- it's actually a sewing machine dealer in the US, and she has hundreds of videos on her site for many brands of sewing and embroidery machines. 

And be sure to read the story about how that site came to be. It's pretty funny. 

Yes -- even I direct people to this site as they can't learn everything in a class I offer. Other dealers refer people to this site! Check it out. 

I found two good Youtube channels if you want to watch sewing/embroidery/quilting in FRENCH. One of them is a quilt designer - Claire Haillot, and the other is a sewing machine dealer in Quebec

Once a week, the full-time US educators run a Facebook live for one hour. This is for Husqvarna Viking and PFAFF. Nancy, Karen, and Mickey are doing a fabulous job of showing how-to videos for various techniques. Loads of learning!! And it's all FREE. 

If you're into long-arm quilting and want some info, Tracey from Whirls and Swirls is now doing Facebook live, and the little bit I saw yesterday was excellent. 

I know there are tons of other sites as well, and if you have a favorite - I'd love to see it. I'm all about education rather than entertainment, and those sites have been filling my free moments. If you check out any sewing machine or long arm brand on Youtube, I bet they also have tons of FREE information, and when it comes directly from an official source (company or dealer), you can bet that it's the BEST there is to offer. 

Let's not forget the amount of FREE stuff out there - manuals, tutorials, quilting motifs, and gosh knows what else. With all the free stuff, it amazes me that people still want to sign up for courses! I LOE having access to any sewing machine manual, accessory guides, all FREE to download. My DAd is exactly like me -- he watches Youtube all the time, and is constantly downloading manuals, except his manuals and videos have to do with engines and CNC, not sewing machines!

We had our All in a Row Quilt class this past weekend. I'll share my quilt with you. It's super cute, and I'm happy to say that all of what you see is together! I have part of a second quilt done and working on a third, but those will have to wait. This has been a learning experience, even for me! I must say that I struggled a bit with value. 

All in a Row quilt minus the inner border sides and the outer border

I really wanted blue skies, and my blues were probably a bit too dark as some of my greens bled into the blue. Look at the trees above the camper row -- we can't see all of the treetops -- I could have used darker greens to avoid that. The same thing in the row near the bottom with the colored cross blocks -- there are green flying geese between them, and they don't show. 

And then this happened when I was trimming my applique. 

Usually, when trimming applique, you want to have at least ¼"  beyond the applique for the seam allowances. 

Seam allowance

I was very focused on getting this row to the correct height WITHOUT checking all the parts. So I had to whack off the tip of the owl's ear. I had already sliced into the background when I realized what was going to happen. 

Off with his ear

I put this in here not so you can feel badly about my owl or my green fabrics, but to realize that these are NOT mistakes and not to be lamented or worried about. I was a wee bit disappointed in the owl, but seriously people -- this is a quilt. It's a learning experience - even after 20+ years of quilting, I still make mistakes, and I'm still learning. When I have assimilated everything, that's it -- game over. Time to find a new hobby.  

No one got hurt, no blood was shed - only the tip of that owl's ear got nipped. A hawk bit the end of the ear off - that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. 

The values in the trees? Yep -- real-life learning lesson. I'm so beyond worrying about whether something is right or wrong. This is a HOBBY, and it's supposed to be fun. 

I know some students are PARALYZED about doing something for fear of choosing the wrong colors or making a cutting mistake. That doesn't sound like fun to me. Nope -- I just go for it, and if it doesn't work out -- that's a learning experience, and well - I can poke fun at myself for making such a silly mistake. 

The owls are whimsical, and in the grand scheme of things, if I didn't tell you his ear got nipped, you can't see that in the quilt. I mean -- really -- what does it matter? 

A wee nip!

Trust me -- when I started to quilt, EVERYTHING had to be perfect. I drove myself nuts. But I gradually realized that this is fabric and this is a hobby. NOTHING is perfect, and the more mistakes you make, the freer you become in what you do and the more fun it becomes. Make things like the pattern? I hardly ever do - I barely read the instructions - even when teaching a pattern. I teach it the way I think it should be done, not how the author wrote the pattern. Otherwise, what's the point of me teaching it? You may as well read the instructions and follow them!!!

Yep -- I'm a rebel, and I LOVE it. I relish it and hate to make my quilts like the book or pattern. What's the point? Everyone will have the same quilt. Nope -- I like to go out on a limb, and if my ear gets nipped, it's gets nipped. Put a bandaid on it and move on! 

It's going to be a busy day. Software club and two presentations. I'm almost ready for the software club. I think I need to change my laptop back to English. Or I move the second computer downstairs where I know the software is English. Or I bring up a backdrop and do the class from here. That might be way easier! Working in two languages can be a hassle since I can't have an English and a French version of the software simultaneously. It needs to be ONE or the other. That's a hassle. But I'll cope with it!

WAIT a minute  -- my computer desk is on wheels. I can rotate it and get a lovely backdrop. OK --- so I just tested it, and it works. Only to realize that the software club is NEXT week, not today!!! No wonder I couldn't find the link this morning. But it's there - NEXT week. I have some extra time this morning, and I'm all prepped for the club NEXT week. 

I got a LOT of sewing done on Monday, and I'll share the pictures later this week.  I think the groups I sewed the projects for should get to see them FIRST, and then you get to see it! 

On that note, I"m out of here! More videos to watch, more free stuff to enjoy!

Have a super day!!!



  1. I bought a new Bernina in June, 2020. The height of everything being closed or canceled for Covid. The sewing mastery videos were recommended by Alex Anderson in one of her live presentations (although I watch the recorded versions).
    I have watched all the videos for my model and I learned A LOT! Especially since I did not get a class with my machine because of Covid. I have ear-marked some of the videos to go back to because I want to watch them again.
    Another suggestion for your machines is to make a "stitch out" book. I saw one that a blogger did that she made 8 x 11 sheets of fabric and stitched out each decorative stitch and then wrote on the fabric with a Sharpie pen what stitch number it was. She stitched out every decorative stitch that her machine had. When all the pieces of fabric were done, she actually sewed them into a fabric book. Now she can look at each stitch actually stitched out on fabric. Genius! I need to do this one day (or many days actually).

    1. WOW --- that's fabulous. Sara gets pretty excited about EVERYTHING! And she has a short video on stitchouts on the Husvqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2. I'm torn for the format of this book. Check out the video and great idea to earmark some of the videos as there are some that I want to go back and rewatch. Despite having the machine for several years, I learned a few things!!