Wednesday, March 3, 2021
PATCH PARTY BLOCK OF THE MONTH
Thursday, January 28, 2021
We are very excited to introduce you to our last 2021 Brand Ambassador Lindsay Chieco. Her fresh take on quilting and bold color choices are inspiring. We are grateful to have her as part of the Michael Miller Family and can't wait for you to see all of her beautiful creations. Read more about her below!
My name is Lindsay Chieco. I'm a 37 year old stay at home mother of 3, and also a military spouse. My husband is Active Duty in the Navy. I got into crafting right after we first got married. We moved to Italy a year after we married and I learned to crochet from a friend's mom so I would have something to do on the long plane ride. I loved it and through the years I taught myself (with the help of YouTube videos) to knit and then how to hand embroider. I loved having a creative outlet. It was much needed for me with 3 little kids at home! One Mother's Day I told my husband I really wanted a sewing machine. I had always wanted to learn to sew. My grandmother was an avid sewer, and I always wished I had learned from her when she was still alive. Once I got my first sewing machine it was all trial and error! I taught myself to use it, my first projects were capes for my older 2 kids. I loved sewing and quickly realized I had a growing addiction to fabric! Sarah Jane Studios’ Wee Wander line had just come out and that is still a favorite of mine today. I started off slow, eventually learning to quilt and foundation paper piece. I love how precise paper piecing projects are. I was completely intimidated by it at first, but once I learned I was hooked! I started making some paper piecing patterns of my own and sell them in my etsy shop.
I soon discovered Instagram and the amazing sewing community within it. I was brave enough to post some of my makes, and started joining sew-alongs and swaps. It felt wonderful to be able to share the things I've made and be encouraged by others who share the same interests. Being a military spouse and moving every 3 years sometimes makes it difficult to find people around me who share my love of sewing. I've made some amazing friends along the way from all over the world (shoutout to my Instagram bestie @sew_nat in Australia!), and even had the opportunity to become a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador through it as well.
My sewing space is a small office in our house. It is full of makes from friends and myself. My favorite thing in my sewing room is my wall of hoopart. I love embroidery, so a lot of the hoops are from me mixed with some from my Instagram friends. It is right above my sewing table. Looking at it gives me inspiration everyday. As you can see, my sewing room is a little cluttered and cramped, but it is my absolute favorite space! Having a full house I will take any space I can get!
Some of my favorite makes include some embroidery, pillow covers, and quilts. I usually like more instant gratification projects. I love making quilts, but sometimes I need a quick make. I love making pouches and quilted pillow covers in those cases. I love fussy cutting in my sewing and using all kinds of fabric for one quilt block. I love the organized chaos of scrappy sewing. Somehow it all works together to make something beautiful. I love all kinds of sewing, so using as much of it as I can in one project is really appealing to me. I love how interesting it looks when finished. I am excited to embark on this journey with Michael Miller fabrics!
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Little girls who grow up in Haiti learn how to sew, but it’s not fun sewing. Hemming pants and stitching tears is practical, but I definitely didn’t see it as my calling. Can you blame me??
So, I moved on with life and got a degree in pre-med in the United States. Some crazy American guy asked me to marry him and move to a frozen wasteland called ‘Utah’. How different could it be from Haiti or Miami, FL? Well, very different...cold...snowy...icy...and cold. But I made new friends who loved to create! It started with scrapbooking, moved to hair bows, then sewing dresses, then sewing more dresses, and finally sewing dresses. Okay, I’m kidding. I love to create anything that involves fabric. Dresses (did I mention that one?), shirts, pants, doll clothes, home decorations, etc. I love the beauty and expression from sewing. That has followed me through life since that time.
I am currently in Tucson, AZ with another group of beautiful, creative friends. We have ventured heavily into crafts like tumblers, embroidery, team t-shirts (gymnastics community), medal holders, wreaths, and general home décor and also found a love for quilting. It is new adventure, and I’m loving it.
My family also benefits from my creations. I have two sons and two daughters who have all been forced to model my creations. Not my husband yet though...hmm...I’ll get him eventually! Creating, and being inspired to create, bring warmth and excitement to my life. Please join me on this journey!
Here a few of my favorite makes and you can check www.instagram.com/beralusvintondesign and https://www.facebook.com/beralusvintondesign-106056387760557 for more.
Here is my creative space and I actually build the cutting table last Spring and added my kids finger sprints to it.
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Facebook - @TheSewingLoftFB
Group - Scrap Happy Community
Instagram - @TheSewingLoft
YouTube -The Sewing Loft
Heather Valentine is the voice behind The Sewing Loft. This self-proclaimed fabric hoarder likes to stitch the night away and dreams of one day discovering a better way to detangle her thread collection.
After earning a degree in fashion design and pattern making from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Heather took her talent to some of the top name brands in the apparel industry. She worked hand in hand with factories to develop new products, achieve the perfect fit, and produce quality garments.
After 20-plus years in the industry, Heather created The Sewing Loft, an online sewing community filled with sewing enthusiasts of every skill level, from the small-business owner to the occasional stitcher. Her main goal is to promote awareness, provide education, and above all, encourage the community to move the needle forward.
These days, you can find Heather teaching at local shops and sharing her talent in online video classes. Her designs have graced the pages of many printed publications, including Fat Quarter Projects, Fun-Size Quilts, Stitching Kitchen, and Crafts ‘n Things, and can be found in a store near you with the Simplicity Creative Group.
Through the years her sewing interests have changed. In the beginning, she was focused mainly on clothing. There was something special about wearing something no one else had that thrilled her.
These days, she tends to bounce back and forth between quick hitter, scrap happy projects, and quilt making. It really just depends on how much time she has to dedicate to a project. But no matter what type of project it is, you can bet that it’s scrappy! Her goal is to stitch every last inch of her stash.
her skills have grown and her creativity thrived.
Her style is pretty straight forward, she likes to create picture blocks using a simple patchwork
construction. The technique is something that she believes every skill level can achieve. As
always, no special tools, rulers, or templates are needed to complete her blocks. The blocks can be grouped together to make themed designs or used in a repetitive pattern allowing the fabrics to shine.
What she loves most about sewing is the creative community! There is something special about being able to connect with someone halfway around the world through a simple stitch. This small act makes her heart happy.
Be Sure to follow her with the links below to see all the Michael Miller fun she'll be sharing!
Facebook - @TheSewingLoftFB
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Our next 2021 Brand Ambassador is the wonderful and creative sister duo Missy and Kimie. Their creations are inspiring and we are delighted to be sharing their designs with you.
Learn more about Missy and Kimie here and make sure to follow them and their Michael Miller projects.
Missy & Kimie's mom taught them how to sew when they were old enough to reach the pedal of the sewing machine. Missy was heavily involved in 4H and had a 4H teacher that taught her how to sew clothes and tailoring. Kimie sewed a lot of clothing items and did a little quilting, blocks only, and home décor sewing in her high school home economics class.
They remember tying quilts at a young age. Their mom would set quilts up on the giant wooden frames. The first one Missy remembers doing is a panel quilt with Dresden plates printed on it. She helped to tie it when she was 12 and it was on her bed for a long time. After that she started hand quilting baby quilt panels. Her first pieced quilt was about 20 years ago. It was an applique quilt, with large appliques that she designed.
Kimie’s real first quilt was when she got pregnant with her first baby just over 16 years ago. She found out she was having a girl and wanted to make her a quilt. She dove in headfirst, took a photo she found online and turned it into an applique. After doing a little bit of research she proceeded to hand applique and hand quilt it. It took her about two and a half years, and she has done little applique and no hand quilting since, but it was enough to get her hooked and she completely fell in love with the process.
The more time they spent quilting, the more time they spent creating their own designs. As they talked about quilting, they often discussed starting a business together. In 2013, life changes prompted Kimie to go back to school to finally get her degree. In 2014 she took a class and part of it was to start an actual business and create a website for it. She called Missy and asked her if she was ready to make their dream finally happen. Missy took a month sabbatical from work and came to Phoenix so they could get started and they have been working together ever since.
Missy and Kimie have very different tastes. When they first started designing patterns, Missy used lots of prints and it drove Kimie crazy. Kimie preferred to use lots of solids. Missy also loves florals; Kimie only really needs flowers if they are in a vase. They have rubbed off on each other and have found that melted pot that is the two of them. Kimie even finds herself adding more prints into designs and Missy really enjoys working with solids. They are also working to push each other to really find who they are and what makes them different. They want to be able to add something to the quilting community and share their unique vision. They have enjoyed helping each other move outside their comfort zones. They work together through each step of the design process. Even if an idea comes mostly from one person they go back and forth on details and color choices to get ideas from each other, so each design has little pieces of each of them.
Missy and Kimie have similar personalities, but they also have some very distinct differences. Missy is incredibly organized and keeps everything tidy, Kimie works in organized chaos. If they had to work in the same sewing room, they might not be successful. However, they both really enjoy various parts of the process, Missy does the piecing and applique and is amazing at the tiny pieces and precision. Kimie does not have the patience for that and has adopted the philosophy finished is better than perfect. She really loves the quilting and happily finishes all the quilts. She is incredibly talented at finding what will work best to highlight the design.
They have both discovered a love of teaching quilting to others and have dedicated a portion of their time to creating videos and tutorials to help others learn. They want to help others find their own voice in quilting and be able to create something that is unique to them.
Be Sure to follow them with the links below to see all the Michael Miller fun they'll be sharing!
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Our next Brand Ambassador for 2021 is the incredible Tara Sinclair. Her love of fabric and crafting is infectious and we're so excited to have her on board. Learn more about Tara's journey here and make sure to follow her and her Michael Miller projects.
In 2014 I took a beginner quilting class for myself. I was so caught up in being stepmom and working that I needed to find an outlet for myself. I registered for a class, bought a simple sewing machine and fabric, and completed my first quilt in 2 months. I am still exceptionally proud of the quilts I have made to date, but when they started taking months, I looked for little kits to try. I made my first bag from a kit using jelly roll strips, a button on the front and no hardware, which spurred me on to more and more. I have never turned back!
I started taking on the odd custom bag request, but rather preferred making my own versions of patterns I found. Combining unique fabrics, learning different stabilizers and interfacings, and sharing in a community of people eager for knowledge and eye-candy, spurred me on to try more and more projects. It wasn’t long before a bag pattern designer reached out to me to help test her pattern before it was released publicly. I jumped at this amazing opportunity! In my day job, one of the items I do regularly is software testing and documentation, so the pattern testing process was something that came naturally to me. This led to many more pattern designers also requesting my help which introduced me to so many new techniques and pattern styles. I started sharing creations on a weekly basis, which was the birth of UhOh Creations. Bright fabrics, and new patterns were the soul of my new Facebook Page as I created bag after bag (my husband is still hoping I will find new homes for them all).
As I started to get to know my quilting community locally and gained experience with bag patterns, I became the local bag-lady (never meant in a mean or negative way). I loved sharing my experience and knowledge with anyone who had questions and Tracy from Purple KATZ Quilting (my local quilt shop) invited to me to do that at her upcoming retreat. I had never attended a retreat before, so had no clue what to expect – and wow was it incredible! At that retreat I taught 38 women how to make the Emmaline Bags Retreat Bag with zipper and frames. All 38 finished their bags successfully and had a great time in the process! Since then, I have shared my bag making experience openly through Facebook, in-person classes and trunk shows for guilds, introducing garment sewers and quilters to the unique world of Bagineering.
Because of my pattern testing and social sharing, I was publicized on a blog for Andrie Designers in a “Meet the Maker” series. I was also lucky enough to have bags displayed at Houston Quilt Market in 2018 to showcase new patterns and fabric lines being released that year. I also collaborated with a talented pattern designer to create the Charlie Holster Bag – my very first pattern! I could never have done it without help, but I got the pattern making bug. The following year, in 2019 I got the kick in the butt that I needed to launch my website and new patterns with a brand-new fabric line being released by a friend of mine. I even got to see Houston Quilt Market myself with my bag patterns featured in that new fabric. What an experience! That was also the year that I co-hosted the Great Alberta Bagineer Getaway – a retreat for 40 bagineers in Calgary, AB. What an incredible experience! In 2020 I was even invited to be a designer with the Bag of the Month Club, which was an incredible honor as I’ve always been a club member and loved every minute of the community and unique designs.
As I learned to sew, I dabbled in some stretchy fabrics for garments, and of course upgraded my sewing machine to play with embroidery. I also invested in an industrial machine to create leather bags and make unique items like the blacksmithing apron for my brother-in-law and sew patches on leather vests for our anti-bullying biker organizations. And with the inspiring quilt designs out there, I’ve come back to my sewing origin by working on a number of bright and vibrant quilts. I also have just learned about diamond dot painting over my recent holidays and how relaxing a project like that can be as I let the creativity percolate.
I currently have an incredibly talented group of testers that I work with on my pattern designs and continue to pattern test for designers that I consider good friends. I do plan to continue to host retreats (once public gatherings are allowed again of course) and continue to share my experiences and knowledge through my website, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Hopefully, I will be able to continue teaching quilters and sewists as I share future designs.
Be Sure to follow her with the links below to see all the Michael Miller fun she'll be sharing!