My Stop on the New Quilt Bloggers Hop

Welcome to my stop on the New Quilt Blogger’s blog hop!   If you didn’t know already, this hop is all about meeting quilters that are new to the blogging universe.  I’m Rachel – thanks for visiting my site!

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Beth at Plum and June asked us to share a bit about ourselves.  As I sat here thinking about what I wanted to share with you, I couldn’t help but think about a recent conversation I had with my sister and parents.  We were discussing how our recent life events had made us temporarily jobless, and how maybe that should leave us unfulfilled or lacking.  But it doesn’t, we have great new marriages with successful husbands that love us and provide for our needs, we love Jesus, and we have time for those things that matter to us.  So maybe that’s what you should know about me:  I’m happy, I’m loved, I’m thankful, and I am so so blessed.  Oh, and I quilt. A lot.

Photo Opp

That brings us to why I’m here, and why you’re (hopefully) still reading along.  I started quilting at a very young age and its grown into a full-blown addiction.  While in elementary school, My mom enrolled me in a sewing class  at a little mom-and-pop sewing and vacuum shop, and that is where I learned most of the sewing basics. I made two small quilts those early years, and looking back, both were horrible choices for a young beginner.  Can you believe my first quilt was a detailed wall hanging combining paper piecing, appliqué and 3D pieces.  It’s a wonder I stuck with it.

Here it is.  Don’t get too scared.  I promise my quilting skills have improved!
My First Quilt

I can’t believe this thing has survived, even though its looking a bit rough around the edges!

Things got a little bit busier as I got older, and I only made a few things through high school and college. I moved to Pittsburgh in 2007 to study bioengineering at U Pitt.  As an escape from the overly stressful life I was leading, my roommate and I joined a charity quilting group at my local church. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. We were a good 40 years younger than most of the other ladies, and I learned so much from those amazing women.  Not only did it rekindle my passion for quilting, but also inspired me to be a better woman.  I owe a lot to those ladies.

Right after undergrad, my husband, Mike, and I got married and moved to Oklahoma where we were both attending the University of Oklahoma. I worked full-time as a grad student, but this time around, I made quilting a priority, investing lots of time into my hobby.  A year after we were married, Mike commissioned into the Air Force with the opportunity to be a pilot and was soon relocated to Columbus, Mississippi. After wrapping up my Masters, I moved out to MS with him. Since then, we’ve moved a few more times, all for continued pilot training.  He is now training to be an F16 Viper pilot and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

Mike's F16 Solo

I love being a military spouse.  We just celebrated our third anniversary, and in that time we’ve lived in five different states.  The opportunities to visit new areas and meet new people has been truly life changing.  However, frequent relocations makes finding and keeping full-time jobs difficult, even with a strong educational background.  So for now, I’m putting aside my bioengineering hat and picking up my quiltineering one.

I started blogging as a way to have quilting friends despite my many moves. I have found that reading blogs is one of the best ways to learn new techniques and be inspired. Both the blogging and the added free time have allowed me to grow as a quilter.
Quilts

I really like to do something different with each new project.  That could be anything from trying a new technique, or exploring a new color palette.  You’ll see a lot of different styles on this blog!

Here are a few of my recent favorites:

This swoon quilt was a wedding gift to my sister and her new husband!  I used Camille Roskelley’s famous swoon pattern with Downton Abbey prints. Want to know more about it?  See my previous posts on the finished top, and completed quilt.

Swoon Quilt

This is my version of Jaybird Quilt’s Disco pattern.  My Dad asked me to make him this one for his office wall. I machine quilted this one myself using a different pattern in each color’s prism.  You can read about it here, here and here.

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I’ve made this quilt three times, this version being my most recent which I made for a family friend.  It’s an advent calendar where each little house serves as a little pocket for goodies or notes.  So cute!

Christmas Advent Calendar Quilt

Blogging has especially challenged me to start creating my own designs.  I made a goal this year of designing and writing patterns for a few original quilts, and so far, I have three available.

Bubblegum is a very modern quilt made with basic strip piecing techniques. It’s especially bubblicious when made with hot pink!

Bubblegum

Ma’am Cave is my favorite of the three.  It’s a fun take on a ‘Man Cave’ sign and its great for embellishing a sewing space.  I have mine right above my sewing desk!

Ma'am Cave Finished Quilt

My most recent pattern is a free mini quilt called Envy.  I love the new mini craze and I wanted to make an original one too! You can download it for free on Craftsy hereEnvy

If you choose to make any of those quilts, I’d love to see pictures!

So now you know who I am, why I quilt, and what I’ve been working on this year, as well as a taste of what my blog is like so now its my turn to pay it forward!  As part of this blog hop, we’ve been asked to share a blogging tip with our readers.  The biggest tip that I have is to be involved in the community. Get out there and read what other people are doing.  Comment on posts, try new techniques and make new quilting friends.  You never know what will happen.  This applies to other social media outlets beyond just the blogospere too.  I wrote a post a few weeks with my thoughts on why quilter’s should use social media, so if you’re curious – check it out!

You can never have too many helpful tips, so I’m going to give you one more – this one about quilting! Every time you start a new project, make a practice block.  I heard one woman call it the “pancake block” since the first pancake is always the least pretty.  Use up scrap fabrics from your stash and work out all the kinks first.  That way, you wont waste any of your project’s dedicated fabric and you’ll feel more confident as you go on.  If you do your own machine quilting, I recommend keeping your test block for some quilting practice too.  Win-win!

I’m going to leave you with one question.  Do you use the Electric Quilt software? As I’ve been moving forward with more original designs I’m curious if its worth the money and how people like it? Have you used the new mac version? Let me know!

Me with Quilts
Phew!  Long post.  I hope I haven’t worn you out.  Be sure to check out all the other great blogger’s on the hop and if you feel so inclined, pick a few new bloggers to follow.  You just might find that we’re a pretty cool group!

Love social media? Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Follow on Bloglovin

Jenn @ Sew Crafty Jenn
Heather @ QA Creations

Cornelia @ Pieced with Love

  • Rachel, that advent calendar is darling – what a neat design! I hear you about career. I rushed to finish my teaching certification right before my husband commissioned, and five years later it’s expired and I have yet to set foot in a classroom. But the moving gets addicting – we did five states in five years, and then last spring when we didn’t move, I suggested packing up and moving across town because I was so itching for a change!

  • Very nice to meet you! I love your blog. I also feel so blessed to be able to quilt and blog.

  • oh im totally in love with all your quilts, and the one you made your dad is so great totally love it

  • Hi Rachel. What a photo – you and your man in front of that jet fighter!! All those Top Gun memories have come flooding back to me – skipping class at University to watch Top Gun at the movies, and a friend taking a selfie with Tom Cruise on the big screen behind her before selfies were even a thing! You must be very proud of your husband serving your country in the military.

    I love your pink bubblegum quilt. At first I saw it as pink crosses, but it changed in front of my eyes. What a clever design you’ve come up with. You clearly put a lot of time into your quilts and they are all beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.

  • Hee hee Ma’am Cave is hilarious; and looks great in Tula fabric!! Your advent calendar is super cute too!

  • Rachel, your quilts are beautiful! I especially love your dad’s Disco quilt! I think it is great that your projects are so varied – I do the same thing 🙂

    I have EQ7 and like it. I do not have the Mac version. I find that when I am playing with it I totally get lost in it and an hour (OK, it’s really more time than that) passes and I have gone from my original thoughts to about 10 others. It is great for getting those creative juices flowing and to actually see what a project might look like in the end.

  • I am the youngest in my quilt group (and in my dog-walking group too, but that’s another story) and I love learning from the ladies. If nothing else, I hope to follow the example of a few of them and age gracefully while enjoying life.
    I haven’t tried EQ7, but it seems fabulous.

  • Pam

    I do some in EQ7, not as much as I should takes some time figuring it all out. Love that it prints yardage needed for a quilt, that reason for me it was worth it. Great learning a little about you, bless you I HATE moving.

  • Hi Rachel, it was great getting to know you a little better! I just found an old version of EQ5 and installed it (it works on Windows 7, who knew!) and have fuddled around with it a bit. I bet that EQ7 is a lot more modern and user friendly, but EQ5 sure beats the pants off of Microsoft Paint (my previous tool of choice – ha!). I think you would pick it up easily and really enjoy it. Your first quilt is amazing! Wow, what a lot of detail in those paper piecing blocks!

  • I loved seeing your quilts and how they are different styles. My style is simple. There is a lot of variation in that! I have never used design software. Graph paper works for me!

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  • Oh, Rachel…I need a Ma’am Cave sign, too. That is such a cute idea! I do not use fancy quilting software, but I have dabbled on a free iPad app called Quiltography. It’s pretty useful and I’ve been able to get a better sense of what a design will look like with my fabrics. It’s not as versatile at the software, but it’s free so I can’t complain. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your projects on here and on Instagram. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in the future!

  • I use EQ7 on the Mac and it works just great. I don’t like the way you build a quilt on it but I do like the block design part of it and it calculating yardage automatically! I love it for paper piecing!

  • Shauna

    Awesome quilts, I love the disco one, the colors are awesome. I have EQ7 and do use it. I struggle sometimes, but I think it is more me than the software. If I take the time to figure out how to do what I want it always works. I’ve not used the mac version, so I can’t say anything about it.

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  • Love your look back at your first quilt. Mine is SO ugly!
    I like the bubble gum quilt. Sure is pink!

  • Hi Rachel, it’s nice to meet you. You have so many nice projects, I love the advent calendar–my mom loves Christmas decorations. I also really like your swoon quilt, what a perfect wedding quilt. Thanks for the quilting tip, I normally get too excited to make a practice block, and I’m impatient. But, I want to practice quilting, so maybe if I made practice blocks, I’d be able to practice both with just one project, winner!

  • I too wonder if I should get the EQ7 for Mac. I have an old EQ5 but never really used it, so wonder if I would now. You sure used every technique there is for your first quilt and good for you to keep at it! Thanks for letting us get to know you.

  • I think it’s so cool that you have your first quilt! Im fortunate to be able to stay home for now and quilt, and garden, and spend time with my family. I’m loving every minute of it!

  • I like how you have all the quilts lined up on the stairs to show the fun variety that you infuse into your quilting. Even with a few wrinkles, I’m super impressed by your first quilt! It was fun to see.

  • I love your attitude towards moving so many times, it really is a great way to meet new people and see new places. The quilting community will always be here, no matter where you move 🙂 I haven’t used any EQ software, I tend to use Autocad to work out my blocks 🙂

  • Lovely to meet you, your work is gorgeous. Thanks for that tip about the pancake block – makes perfect sense though i’ve never thought to do it before.

  • This is an amazing post, Rachel! I am proud to call you my friend! <3

  • Glad to meet you! I love your pictures of all your quilts hanging out together! That is such a good idea…I might have to do something like that soon. I have moved a ton too but we are not a military family. It is def. has its good and hard points! Thank you for what your family does for our country! God Bless!

  • I don’t use the EQ stuff. I dabble in some Photoshop and Illustrator, but I don’t really do much designing. Your work is gorgeous! I also anticipate moving a bit in the future, and have struggled to find peace with setting aside all my education and be jobless until we finally get to settle in one place for a bit! It’s nice to know there are others!

  • Your quilts are lovely and I love that you are branching out into pattern making. I’ve never used EQ, but hear good things from it. I’ve heard goo things though.

  • Liz

    Beautiful quilts, and great patterns! I loved learning more about you. I don’t use EQ7, but I have used EQ5. It’s ok, but I tend more towards graph paper and pencils!

  • I love your Ma’am Cave quilt! What a great idea! I use EQ7, though I’m sure I’m not using it to its full potential yet. It’s fun though.

  • Hi Rachel! Your first quilt is really amazing and ambitious! I love your Ma’am cave sign. Too cute!

  • Nice to meet you Rachel. I like your Disco quilt and the other too. I don’t use any software as I’m mostly just twisting someone elses patterns 🙂

  • Great post – it was fun to read more about you. I love your swoon and Disco quilts – gorgeous colour choices.

  • Jen

    I love all your projects, and it was so nice to learn more about you.

    I have EQ7 and I like it very much, but I would highly recommend one of the books sold in the EQ store. I have Pieced Drawing and Applique Drawing. I haven’t gotten to Applique Drawing yet, but the Pieced Drawing book is fabulous. It has really cleared up several of the confusing things about the program and saved me a bunch of headaches. I assume the Applique book is just as well done, and was recommended to me by another blogger.

  • Great quilts! You are lucky to be able to devote to your hobby now.

  • Hi Rachel, so great learning more about you. I love your Disco quilt and that advent calendar is adorable! I got EQ7 for Christmas this past year and I’ve not done too much on it yet, but I think it’s worth it, especially since you’re a seasoned quilter (I’ve only been quilting for 2 years). I’ve already designed a few projects on it and what I LOVE is that it calculates yardage and cutting for you. That is invaluable to me. We are a household of Mac users but I have the Windows version (my husband has windows parallels on our desktop computer).

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  • I have EQ7 and use it frequently. The Mac version is the same as the PC version, as far as I can tell from using both. It’s not without glitches. When I do complex designs, it often gives me a “converting to polygons” message when it’s supposed to save. This continues until I force my computer to restart and lose everything since the last time I saved. I think this is because lines might not be connected (which you can’t see without repeated zooming in) or resizing caused points to not be anchored to the grid. I do think it’s worth the money since other programs like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw will run you a lot more. If JoAnn’s ships to you, you might wait until they have a major sale on it.

  • Hi! I’m the last one to the blog hop party it seems.. Have you already gotten EQ? I love EQ7 and use it on my Mac. Like Afton said, there are still a few glitches but none so far that have made me want to chuck the laptop out the window.. 🙂 Also, I’ve been all over Japan and loved it. I wish you the best on your new adventure, and I can’t wait to read about what you’re up to!