This month I interviewed Chris Batten of Looped Quilting Studio and Erin Case of Birch Tree Creative to talk about the process and benefits of working with a Virtual Assistant as a small business owner. Beginning as quilty friends in real life, Chris and Erin also started to work together professionally when Chris hired Erin as a virtual assistant to help with some of the administrative side of her business so that she could focus more on what she loves - quilting!
We talked about the types of virtual assistants, the ins and outs of hiring and working with one, the costs involved, and the benefits Chris has seen in her business. I loved learning about the virtual assistant world and discussing all the ways a virtual assistant can help and support a business owner, and while the full discussion replay is available for League members, I'm excited to share a few takeaways here on the blog and help you get to know our guests a little better.
Always is a new digital pantograph design that is a breeze to stitch out. The curvy contours of this shape work so well in providing a pleasant contrast with the straight lines and angles of most patchwork.
There's a retro feel to this design, too, but will fit the "mood" of many contemporary or modern quilts.
You might know from reading my previous blog posts that I often use a working title for designs before they get released and need a "real" name. Well, the working title for this one was Lightdays because of the shape resembling a pad. And well, growing up I could count on that particular brand being tucked away in the bathroom cupboards, so that's what my mind went to. My sister thought this was hysterical when I texted her the design with the name, and that's all that really matters.
But obviously I couldn't actually use Lightdays as a name. I didn't want it to be THAT obvious or cause anyone to avoid using the...
Each month in the Longarm League, we hold a coaching call with one of our members to talk about their business. This month I sat down with Francine Blake of Buffalo Flatts Quilt Company. We talked about her amazing time management and organizational skills, getting a consistent workload of quilts while teaching full time, and making plans for Quiltcon!
While League members have full access to the recording of the call, we asked Francine to share a little more about herself and her business with our blog readers.
Without further ado, let's meet Francine...
Located: Roselle, IL (Chicago)
In business: 1.5 years
Machine and software: Handi Quilter Amara with Prostitcher
In the Longarm League: 2 years!
When I was designing quilting patterns for my Threaded Quilting Studio site, I had a major infatuation with feathered star blocks and quilts. I wrote a foundation paper piecing pattern for the No Y Seam Feathered Star block.
I also wrote the Fierce Feathered Star block which uses the principles of the No Y Seam Feathered Star but uses ordinary sewing methods with no paper piecing.
I loved the idea of making a two-tone version of the Fierce Feathered Star block and quilt and so I designed and made this lap quilt you see pictured throughout this blog post. Back in 2018, I wrote a tutorial for adding setting triangles and borders to the single large (36" square block) Fierce Feathered Star block here.
At the time, I had been offering my edge-to-edge computerized quilting service for just over a year. I decided to use the pantograph Woven Wind from Apricot Moon Designs for the quilting. I don't know if I'd ever used the digital...
If you're a member of the Longarm League or have been following us on Instagram or our through our mailing list, you've no doubt seen several mentions of our pal Shelly Moore of Ma Tante Quilting. Shelly has been a member of the League since day one (literally) and was the very first coaching call that we published in our membership content. Since then, it has been incredible to see her growth as a longarm quilter and business owner in her own right.
We've recorded several conversations in the last few years in order to share Shelly's insights as she's grown her business. If you are a member, these links will take you to the following lessons:
She's also been featured in our previous blog post that you might want to check out if you've been thinking about using Sew Tites Magnums for loading...
This is Sketch! Up until very recently, I'd planned to name it Cottonwood but when I discovered that's already another designer's pantograph name (with a related hashtag). I decided to go off-script and name it something unique.
The only trouble with having a really abstract design that could look like one hundred things and also nothing? Naming was hard. Why does it seem that I either have great name right away or I'm stress-listing stream of consciousness options and calling on friends and family for help? There's no in-between!
What I like about this design is that it's much more abstract and off-kilter than designs I normally create. There's a fun energy to this design—a bit folksy and quirky. I'm ordinarily not one to use negative space when it comes to pantograph designs, but I have to say that I like the organic-looking spacing of the motifs between the rows with this design. It looks more free-flowin', like a sketch!
Each month in the Longarm League, we hold a coaching call with one of our members to talk about their business. This month I sat down with Melonie Morrow of Quilty Lab Creations. We talked about her journey getting started with longarming, balancing working outside the home and running a small business, carving out time to take care of the admin side of things, starting an email newsletter, the joy of helping new quilters finish their first quilts, and more!
While League members have full access to the recording of the call, we asked Melonie to share a little more about herself and her business with our blog readers.
Without further ado, let's meet Melonie...
Located: Fort Worth, TX
In business: 1 year
Machine and software: Handiquilter Forte with Prostitcher
In the Longarm League: 1 year
This month I hosted a roundtable discussion with three Longarm League members to discuss the challenges and rewards of being visible in your business as a small business owner. It was such a fun and motivating discussion, and while the full discussion replay is available for League members, I'm excited to share a few takeaways here on the blog and help you get to know our roundtable participants a little better.
My guests (left to right) were Jenn Giesbrecht of Jenn G. Quilt Co., Michelle Ramsay of Quilts Made With Love, and Susan Smith of Stitched by Susan. Each of these women has not only worked at becoming increasingly more visible in their business since I first met or became aware of them, they also have a great way of being themselves on social media and I loved being able to chat with them about their insights and perspectives. Let me introduce you to them!
Located: near Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada
I'm glad the time has come to release Pretty Petals into the world! As a designer, I can't help but have varying levels of excitement about the designs I work on. I'm sure this is totally normal with any creative job. I can't say this is my favorite design ever, but it's up there because of the overall texture it creates!
What I like about the design is the relative uniformity of the lines and spacing throughout the top. It just makes my heart happy. I like that it produces interesting texture that you don't have to think too much about. I like that it creates a background of pleasant arc-shapes that'll allow the focus to be on the piecing.
Floral themes are common in quilting in both the fabric selections available and in the quilt patterns themselves, so I like that this digital pantograph has a floral element that should compliment a floral top.
I also like that this design would pass as an interesting geometric...
Volunteer is a simple, uncomplicated edge-to-edge quilting design meant to create an interesting and bold texture.
In fact, 'Bold' was the working title of this design as I was saving and re-saving different options along the way. I also briefly considered naming it Lots of Love, but thought that might be too confusing. It looks a bit like LOL, and in the early days of the Internet, people on message boards couldn't decide if LOL stood for Laugh Out Loud or Lots Of Love.
In the end, I thought Volunteer works as a name because it looks like a person raising their hand. And I like one word names that haven't already been used for other E2E designs.
I think this quilting design would be great for modern-looking, geometric or graphically bold quilt patterns or fabrics. Or perhaps a child's quilt!
Here are the specifications for how I set up this design using my Intelliquilter on a baby-sized quilt sample (40" x 50" quilt...
We'd love to share a little bit about how we support longarm quilters through education and community. Updates typically go out on Wednesdays - we'd love to stay in touch with you!