About Lana

I learned to sew at age 11 at my local Singer store. I was so intrigued by all of the supplies in my friend's sewing tote box I spotted while playing at her house that I rode my bicycle home and told my mom I wanted to take sewing lessons. I found my niche. I made most of my clothes through high school and even made room for my sewing machine (in cabinet) in my tiny college dorm room. I bought my first quilt book when in my early 20"s at the St. Louis arch gift shop. It was a book about the Cathedral Window and I was intrigued with how that was put together. I played around with it, but continued to sew garments for my kids while they were young. I got back into quilting when my son and daughter were in middle school, feeding my need for continued creativity. I took various classes locally, and eventually made my way to Syracuse, NY for Quilting by the Lake, and Carmel, CA for Empty Spools. It wasn't until I took Betty Cotton's Cotton Theory Class at Camp Cotton in Osseo, WI, in July, 2012, that I found what I was looking for. Everything just clicked for me and I felt like I now knew this "secret" that made everything so much easier and more fun and had to share it with other quilters. "Quilt first, then assemble" means no more getting down on my hands and knees on the living room floor and pinning the quilt back, batting and pieced quilt top together and then trying to get it through my machine's throat area or, worse, paying someone big bucks to do it for you. And no handwork. I'm in.

Day 3 at Handi Quilter

Day 3 was our photo shoot day.  Photographers Jared and Heidi escorted us to the State Capitol Building.

Utah State Capitol Building

Beautiful marble everywhere. Adam, Diana, Rhonda, and I were in this small group together. It was a surreal experience to have photographers trying to make you laugh, look natural, and clicking away.  I did not have one inkling that this would be my experience from entering my 3 minute video online.

Fabulous lunch at Buca di Beppo and then off to a shop hop with money in hand to spend!!  Could this get any better??

Our last dinner was at Brenda’s (head of marketing) favorite Chinese restaurant.  The next day we would be flying home soon to be joined by our new play toys that HQ would be shipping.  Three full days and two half days/travel days at HQ came to a close.  I couldn’t have dreamed it any better.

Day 2 at Handi Quilter

Day two was a day of learning, rulers in the morning and stencils in the afternoon.  Sprinkle in playing with different feet and other goodies.  Every few hours we were gifted thread, rulers, stencils, scissors, bobbins, DVDs, you name it!  Craziness!!  All goodies to try out and to help up us with our quilting.

Marie gifting us!

Commotion in the hallway and someone closing the classroom doors cued me that something was going to happen during lunchtime.  Soon enough we were called to lunch.  Jared, the photographer, was on hand, as was Darrin, the CEO.  Hummm.

We were met with a beautifully decorated cake and discovered our name was going to be the Quilt Your Desire Inspiration Squad.  Love that!

Placemats with our group photo shoot from 2:00 yesterday afternoon were on the tables.  Marilyn, my roommate, is on the far left.  We are pictured with vintage quilts the studio educators quilted.

Quilt Your Desire Inspiration Squad

Darrin again welcomed us to the HQ family and said we had birthdays to celebrate.  Five of us (yes, I was one) have birthdays in January.  The closest to that day’s date would win a prize.  Becky’s was the closest and they brought out a very large white box with gorgeous purple metallic ribbon.  It was a sewing machine!!  But then Vicki said, “Wait, we all have birthdays!” and they wheeled out those fabulous boxes for each one of us!!

A new sewing machine!?!!!

Darrin with the machine we received.  It’s an HQ 210 Stitch 8 pound travel machine!!

Back to the classroom for more hands on practice on the wonderful Avantes.  And more swag!  Did I say more swag?  Yes, more swag!  We learned they would be shipping it home for us!

At this time I just have to introduce you to Jace, the13th member of our squad.  He is the 12 year old grandson of Helen Kay.  She mentioned in her application video that she had taught him to quilt and showed a quilt he had made, so HQ invited him, too.  He was a perfect addition!  He carried his new sewing machine and thread home on the plane with him because he couldn’t wait for it to be shipped!  Here he is hard at work micro quilting after trying his hand at couching.

Jace

At 5:00 we were taken by a luxurious shuttle bus to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for a fabulous gourmet buffet at the Roof Restaurant overlooking Temple Square. This is a view from the restaurant.

Temple Square

The Tabernacle

What an experience this was!

Tune in to my next post for Day 3 at Handi Quilter!

Handi Quilter Quilt Your Desire 2017

In December, Handi Quilter announced their Quilt Your Desire campaign for 2017.  Quilters were invited to send a 1 – 3 minute video of themselves with their HQ longarm telling how they quilt their desire. From these entries, HQ would select 12 quilters to become a part of their marketing campaign for 2017.  Included was an all expense paid trip to the Salt Lake City HQ headquarters in Utah for a week of training, including a photo and video shoot!  The quilters would then, in return, send in video updates regularly during 2017 showing just how they were quilting their desire.

As you’ve probably surmised, I was one lucky girl!!  Things happened rather quickly after being notified. I had only had my Simply for a week and I was off and running.  The trip to Utah was the second week of January and we were to bring a quilt we wanted to speak about in our video shoot!  I had about a dozen quilt tops ready to be quilted, so that part was easy, but I had only quilted one quilt on my Simply and that was just a meandering pattern on my least favorite top, so I sure didn’t want to talk about that one in my video.  I chose my favorite top which lended itself to fun, organic shapes and just had fun playing with it.  I quilted a different design in each block, sometimes using the fabric design for inspiration.  I quilted cursive L’s in the sashing (my maiden name initials were LL so I used to doodle those all the time in school), and a wonky Greek Key in the border.

Park City by Crazy Old Ladies

 

Full speed ahead!

We were treated like royalty from the moment we landed in Salt Lake City and were in Handi Quilter’s care.  We were adopted into the HQ family, treated to the best restaurants, and showered with swag!!!

HUGE chocolate bar waiting for us in our hotel rooms!

The next day when the 12 of us arrived at Handi Quilter headquarters, the four studio educators in their matching bright pink blouses greeted us outside the doors with applause.  I was giddy with excitement; they were the famous educators from the HQ videos we had all watched: Vicki, Cheryl, Marie, and Kerri.

Cheryl, Vick, Kerri, and Marie the following day in their matching orange shirts!

Stepping through the front door, we were showered with confetti, horns, popping balloons, and cheering.  It was the most amazing welcome I could ever imagine.  I don’t think I’ve ever cried tears of joy before!  Every employee was on hand and holding signs with our names on them.  Wowsa!!

After catching our breath, we were ushered upstairs to the classroom.

Classroom full of longarms

CEO Darren spoke to us and took us on a tour of the entire building, including the manufacturing area.

Next we were shuffled off to our video shoots!  No wasting time here!  We were all so nervous!  We were each others’ audience and supported each other.

Here I am with my quilt during my video shoot.

Happy to have that behind us, we lunched together and then began some classroom learning about TNT – thread, needle, and tension.  About 2:00, Jared, the photographer, came to get us for a photo shoot!  More on that in my next post.  We finished our classroom time and were whisked off to Mandarin, a most excellent Chinese restaurant.  Arriving back at the hotel emotionally exhausted, it was an early bedtime for my roomie, Marilyn, and I.

Stay tuned for my next post – Day 2 at Handi Quilter!

TWIST

Time to TWIST – This Week in Studio Time ~

Renewed excitement in my studio this week.  Sorting my dozen or so finished quilt tops into those needing pieced backings and those needed front borders as well as pieced backings.  Getting ready to roll on that Handi Quilter Simply Sixteen!

img_0218

First up was this Ugly Duckling. Just not a fan of 30s fabric. Pieced this in a class to learn the “twosy-foursy” method of putting squares together. The striped border helped brighten it up immensely.

img_0223

I’ve practiced for a week. Time for the real thing. Take a deep breath and go for it!

img_0224

Meandering is a good pattern for this first quilt. Squeals of delight! SO fun!

Merry Christmas to Me!

My wish for each individual is to live in harmony and be in good health.  Those are the big two for me.  Wouldn’t that be amazing if everyone had those two things?  So I remind myself to live in the moment, be mindful, and do what I can to control my good health.

 

Quilting, sewing, and creating make my heart happy.  Simply said, it is my thing.  Now that I’m retired, I get to spend even more time doing my thing.  I began sewing garments at age 12 and progressed to counted cross stitch, general crafting, and finally discovered quilting 15 years ago.  I just love playing with fabric!!  I have pieced many, many quilt tops and started many more (Hello, UFOs!).  I discovered and fell in love with Cotton Theory, which allowed me a way to finish my own quilts (quilt first, then assemble) using my domestic machine.  But I still have at least a dozen quilt tops sewn before I learned about Cotton Theory.  How am I going to finish those?  I just could not look forward to trying to wrestle them under my sewing machine needle.  I didn’t want to send them to a longarmer to finish; I want to do it myself.  I want to put my final signature on my work.

 

My new baby

My new baby

Enter the Handi Quilter Simply Sixteen (cue singing choir of angels!).  I first laid eyes on her at the Houston Quilt Show 2015 when she was introduced.  A smaller 6′ frame and certainly more affordable than the larger models.  I came very close to adopting her right then and there, but decided to give it some more thought.  Then a couple weeks ago, my LQS, Always in Stitches, dangled a sprig of mistletoe over her and I welcomed her with open arms.  Merry Christmas to me!

New Class added

Beginning next week is a class featuring the Dancing Stars Cotton Theory quilt.

IMG_1971This is a beginner Cotton Theory quilt and uses both of the two main joining methods – the Highway and the One Way.  It’s 52″ x 52″ so it would make a nice baby quilt, lap, or throw.  If you live locally, and would like to join us, please email me (lanarussel@gmail.com) for current openings and project materials list. Classes are on the first Monday and Wednesday of every month in my home studio. I have room for 6 in each session.  Dates for this project are June 1 and 6, July 6 and 11, August 1 and 3, and September 7 and 12.  Mondays are 1:00 pm – 4 pm, Wednesdays are either 9:00 am – noon or 1:30 pm- 4:30 pm.  Cost is $10 per 3 hour session.  Pattern is $12.

This is an easy one to cut out; I was able to get all pieces cut out, labeled, sandwiched, and pressed in one day.  Lots of same sized pieces makes it super easy.  I’m ready to sew!

 If you come in June with all pieces cut and labeled, we can get right to the quilting because you piece and quilt at the same time!!  If you are unable to get it cut out before then, please bring a mat and rotary cutter, so you won’t have to wait for the cutting table.
Hope you can join us to learn this fun way to quilt!

Quilt of Valor

After hearing a presentation about Quilts of Valor at our local Quit Guild, I signed up to be a presenter.  My first presentation was a triple one – to a father and his two sons.  I was very moved by the experience.  I knew I wanted to start making some of these quilts for donation.  But, the first one needed to be for my 95 year old father.  I found the idea for this quilt on the Accuquilt website.  I revised the Celebration Table Runner by adding three rows and continuing the flying geese as the border.  I also modified it to make it using the Cotton Theory method.

Dad's Quilt of Valor front

Dad’s Quilt of Valor front

IMG_1985

Dad’s Quilt of Valor back

And I was able to present it to him when I visited him in Florida in February.

Dad's Quilt of Valor

Dad’s Quilt of Valor

I’m so happy to be involved with this organization.  www.qovf.org

 

Hexies on the move

My project of choice during road trips (and there have been many lately!) is English paper pieced hexies.  My bag is always full of a ready supply of precut card stock backings and precut hexie shapes from my scrap bag using my Accuquilt GO BIG.  I use my cutting/ironing board for stability on my lap, my Sewline Glue Stick, Superior Bottom Line thread, and my sewing snips.  Everything is small and portable and easy to keep by me in the front seat.

My mobile set up

My mobile set up

I love creating these little lovelies from pieces of scraps.

I really wish I could read in the car, but I am prone to car sickness, so that’s not an option for me. This suits me just fine.

Time for TWIST

TWIST = This Week In Studio Time

Last week I was able to finish a Quilt of Valor for my father, who is 95 and served in WWII. It is based on an Accuquilt pattern, Celebration Table Runner.  I modified the pattern not only to make it quilt size, but also to construct it using the Cotton Theory method. Finished size is 60″ x 70.”

Dad's Quilt of Valor front

Dad’s Quilt of Valor front

IMG_1985

Dad’s Quilt of Valor back

I will be able to present it to him on Valentine’s Day.  Can’t wait!  He has NO idea!!

I upgraded from an Accuquilt Go to an Accuquilt GO Big recently and am loving it!  I am appreciating the speed and accuracy of the cuts.

Happy Sewing!

Lana

 

Bossa Nova Tutorial

Interested in seeing a tutorial of just how a Cotton Theory Quilt is assembled, step by step?  Here we go…

Step One -cut and label front pieces according to the directions.  This is Bossa Nova.

Step One -cut and label front pieces according to the directions. This is Bossa Nova.

Cut and label back pieces

Cut and label back pieces

Cut and label batting pieces.  Hobbs 80/20 batting is recommended.  Cotton Theory makes great use of batting scraps.

Cut and label batting pieces. Hobbs 80/20 batting is recommended. Cotton Theory makes great use of batting scraps.

Piece the blocks as usual

Piece the blocks as usual

Steam quilt sandwiches front and back.  The poly in the 80/20 batting adheres to the cotton fiber in the quilt pieces reducing the need for pinning.

Steam quilt sandwiches front and back. The poly in the 80/20 batting adheres to the cotton fiber in the quilt pieces reducing the need for pinning. In this case the back piece is 3/4″ larger all the way around to allow for the 1″ seam allowance.

Quilt pieces as desired

Quilt pieces as desired

IMG_1531

All pieces quilted – crosshatching, outlined, straight line quilting using wobble stitch

 

IMG_1585

Sew pieces together using 1″ seam allowances

IMG_1586

For One Way finish, cut one side’s seam allowance to 1/4″

IMG_1587

Seam allowance trimmed to 1/4″

IMG_1590

Double fold 1″ seam allowance over the 1/4″ seam allowance and decorative stitch

 

Since the quilt is reversible, the label goes on the binding.

Since the quilt is reversible, the label goes on the binding.

The binding is sewn on to the back side first and then decorative stitched on the front. side.

The binding is sewn on to the back side first and then decorative stitched on the front. side.

 

IMG_1715

Completed Bossa Nova front. When you are finished, it’s already quilted!!

IMG_1716

Bossa Nova back

 

Hope this helps you understand the process a little better. Please don’t hesitate to comment and ask if you have any questions.

Take Care til next time,

Lana