Double Gauze and Luxe Cuddle from Shannon Fabrics, Janome Education Summit 2018

June 9th, 2018

Double Gauze top with fabric from Shannon Fabrics at the Janome Education Summit 2018

More fun stuff from the Janome Education Summit!   On Wednesday, we were given a choice of three kits by Shannon Fabrics…these are brilliant!   They come in a lovely box (link here to mine on Amazon…other kits are currently available, prices in the $32-39 range for all the fabric you need, click here to see Shannon Fabrics Cuddle Kits) with the exact amounts of different fabrics and faux fur to make a baby throw, about 30×40 inches.   I loved the arrow print in mine so was (once again) the disobedient child and opted to make an Infinity Scarf with one of the fabrics and the faux fur at the Summit, then make the blouse pictured above when  home.

The revelation was the incredible softness and quality of the faux fur.  It is LUXURIOUS–look for “Luxe Cuddle.”  You will want to pet it.  You will want to take it home.  One Janome Educator had made a throw of this “fur/minkee” with flannel that is so incredibly snuggly that it almost (but not quite) makes you wish winter would come sooner.  But when Winter does come I’ll be ready–I’ve already ordered 4 1/2 yards online!  Here are a bunch of photos I took of samples and items made with the Luxe Cuddle and furs.  Some are definitely more “city” than rural Maine, but I can still see some of these in fun stuff–that curly fur would be a totally fun throw pillow!   Price on the fabrics I ordered (from, not affiliated, just had a good selection) were about $16-26 a yard.  I don’t have a photo of the jacket one of the ladies from Shannon made for her daughter from a fur that looked like a baby spotted fawn…adorable.


Some great tips from Shannon Fabrics for working with Minkee, Cuddle and other fabrics that shed:

  • first cut from the back so you clip the backing fabric, not the hairs (thereby creating fewer shedding bits),
  • then run the cut pieces in the dryer — the loose bits will mostly end up in the lint filter (empty it!) and not all over you and your sewing room
  • choose a simple garment shape, boxy rather than fitted/many pieces/darts

There are great tips and tricks on Shannon’s website here.  And free patterns are here.  Including the one I used for this scarf which I made in class:

In my infinity scarf–the fleece matches my hair LOL! And boy is this COMFY!


I ordered some Faux Fox fur for another infinity scarf — a yard of $17 fabric (60″ wide) will make two long scarves 9″ wide x 60″ loop (can wear doubled as in this photo) or three shorter ones 9″ wide by 36″ loop.  Pretty quick and easy holiday gifts,  eh? And I am in LOVE with the Buffalo Check fleece, which is not in stores yet that I can find.  I want to make Christmas jammie pants for the family!  If you have wee ones, imagine making a plushie toy like the elephant and a matching nap blankie!

The double gauze has in the past been aimed at the children’s garment market, but they are starting to add not-juvenile prints and solid colors.  Some other double gauze I have used is a finer weave and softer to the hand, but costs about triple this fabric.  The fabric softens up when washed, and I know I will really like wearing my shirt.  Here is how I made it using two of the fabrics that came in my kit:

My kit showing some of the other kits available.

I used a simple vintage T shaped blouse pattern (see photo below with the pink shirt). Because the gauze is very loose and malleable, I used French seams. I sewed with wrong sides together using the Janome “M” overcast foot. Then, press the seam and turn inside out.

This is the overcast stitch I used. Your machine probably has one similar, or if you have a serger you could use that, too.

Turn the garment inside out and sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance, which totally encloses the overcast edges to create a clean finish on the seam that won’t ever ravel.

I didn’t have a lot of fabric, so I had to shorten the “sleeves” and length compared to the pattern. Even as a shell this would have been a nice top.

Here is was trying out various lengths for the addition of the dotted fabric to the hem and sleeves.

And trying it on. Those longer sleeves looked awful–needed to be shorter!

Here is my circa 1988 Vogue pattern which I used to make the pink shirt back in the late 80s or early 90s of Liberty Lawn (and I still wear it and it still looks good) and the slightly modified double-gauze top.

Double Gauze top with fabric from Shannon Fabrics at the Janome Education Summit 2018–and me, one more time.  I have on an aqua camisole underneath to show shadow-through–hardly any.  I could easily wear normal undergarments and be completely comfortable in this.  I have been thinking that this fabric would make really great pajama/lounge pants for hot summer weather.

It’s so much fun re-visiting this inspiring Summit.  In retrospect I can’t believe we packed in so much into just under 3 full days!  Thank you again Janome America for inviting me to participate, including me as a Janome Artisan, and supporting me and my art these past 15 years.  I think I’ve been affiliated with the company longer than many of their freelance educators!   And thanks to Shannon Fabric for this session, the kit, and yes, I’m totally gonna order more of that Faux Fur!




Janome Educational Summit 2018 – blog hop links

June 1st, 2018

I’m going to link to various blogposts by the participants in the Summit.  Other thank linking all of mine at the top, there will be no particular order, just as I come across them and add!  It’s really been fun to see what the others are doing and did during the summit.


Sarah’s posts:

Janome Education Summit 2018

Janome Education Summit, Post #2–overview and quilting with rulers

Everyone Else’s posts–not all of the previews are loading, so I have added numbers so that you know when a new link begins.

Janome Summit + Shannon Fabrics
Hi friends, This past week I was invited along with several other bloggers, educators and freelancers to attend the first ever Janome Education Summit in New Jersey. First of all ? wowser &#8?

Janome Education Summit



Tips for free motion quilting on a sewing machine; including ruler work: using rulers to guide free motion quilting, doodle quilting, & quilt design.


The 2018 Janome Education Summit















Janome Education Summit, Post #2–overview and quilting with rulers

June 1st, 2018

Quilting with Rulers with Amy Dreisbach Johnson of Sew Simple of Lynchburg (Va.) and Amy’s Quilting Adventures

So before I begin with our Tuesday afternoon session, let me set the stage:

Imagine: 2 1/2 plus days in a room with like minded sewing geeks on the best machines around doing what we love best, with a wide range of talents from garments to funky fabrics to quilting to Janome Educators

Upon reflection, the range of techniques and machines we covered in 2 1/2 days was remarkable! Kudos to Janome’s Education Coordinator Regena Carlevaro for a fantastic Summit with amazing sponsors and projects.  Our schedule was:

  • Monday evening:  arrival and welcome reception with munchies
  • Tuesday morning:  Kimberly Einmo, Welcome and Flying Geese on the 9400
  • Tuesday afternoon:  Amy Dreisbach Johnson and Ruler Work on the 9400, Janome David on Marketing Trends
  • Tuesday evening:  Pizza Pajama Party and more fun sewing and playing and seeing everyone’s quilt blocks, presentation on using the Binding Attachment with Liz Thompson
  • Wednesday morning:  Working with Double Gauze and Luxe Cuddle from Shannon Fabrics–OMG …WAIT until you see the furs…not cheesy fake stuff but feels like heaven fake stuff…bring on the winter snuggles AND  Build your Brand and Design your own custom Fabrics with Eileen Roche
  • Wednesday afternoon:  Exploring AcuSketch for Quilting with Tamara Kate
  • Wednesday evening:  a dream excursion:  dinner cruise on the Hudson at sunset!
  • Thursday morning:  More on Build your Brand with Custom Fabric, then Serge Forward with Heather Peterson of Girl Charlee and making a  knit pencil skirt (custom sized) on a Janome Serger and Cover stitch machine
  • Then, sigh, the buzz and comradeship drew to a close and we all spread to the corners of the continent going home.

Many of us are blogging so I’m going to set up a separate post with links to posts from the Summit, here.  I’ll add to this as more posts go up.

Back to Amy and Ruler work:

The day started out with a real boost–Amy came up to me and said my book, Threadwork Unraveled, was one of the ones she used to learn how to free-motion quilt and that I was part of how she got to where she is today…isn’t that kind and sweet and amazing?   Squee!  She certainly has learned…look at some of her her amazing quilting (more at the end of the post):

Some of Amy Johnson’s ruler-work quilting.  She does what I love:  combining linear with curvy designs to heighten the contrast and make a quilt top sing.

Many of the participants had never done ruler work.  The 9400 machines were equipped with the latest upgrade and the ruler-work foot.  WE were equipped with (Oh my!) a set of Janome rulers made by Westalee!  Amy gave each of us a quilt sandwich with a small square in a square design printed on fabric (done at sponsor, which we could quilt using the design she provided to teach using the various rulers in our kit.  Of course (this will be a recurring theme) I decided to do the quilting my way instead–sorry, I am SO not a hearts person!

I decided to start out combining ruler work (the pumpkin seed designs and the first shape in the orange) with free-motion work.  Compare this to how it looked when I was done:

Doing some fill work around the curvy-pointy-shape in the border to increase contrast. It’s hard to see in this photo but I’ve done bubbles in white in the background of the center square.  Straight line outlining done with ruler foot.  And notice that pull-out extra light on the 9400…LOVE IT! Use it all the time at home.

And some more delectables from Amy’s work:

Love the combination of swoopy grid and feathers and in each block the straight next to the curved.

Just WOWza!

And more swoon-worthy quilting by Amy Johnson

Even in-progress is gorgeous. Of course, I’m a sucker for curved cross-hatching. I wish I could get my round swirls to be so round and even!

Tune back in a couple days for more of the Janome Education Summit 2018.






Janome Education Summit 2018

May 30th, 2018

Many of you know I have been a Janome Girl for a long time.  I was beyond fortunate to be able to attend Janome-America’s first ever Education Summit last week in New Jersey.  It brought together Janome Educators–those wonderful folks who work in show booths for Janome, Janome dealers, in classrooms at quilt shows, around North America, the National Spokespersons for Janome for both the US, Kimberly Einmo, and Canada, Tamara Kate, as well as many Janome Artisans (like me) and Janome Makers.   As someone said at the start, I am in awe of the talent in that room, and my awe only increased as the week progressed.   I’ll share what we did over several blogposts because it was WAY to much fun and educational to fit into one post.  A bunch of us from the summit are blogging, so I will link to their posts at the end (and perhaps in a separate post, too).  A HUGE HUGE HUGE THANK YOU to Janome America–I think all of us are still floating on the collective energy and inspiration!

Our welcome and first session were from Janome’s new US Spokesperson, Kimberly Einmo. She’s well known for her many books on Jelly Roll quilts, great traditional piecing techniques, and being an all around nice person.

We began by working on the Janome 9400, the machine I have in my studio.  You will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.  I love what I can do on this machine. Stay tuned for different session work on it (as well as all my garment sewing and a lot of my quilting).

The swag that came from attending this Summit was unbelievable–thanks to ALL the donors.  Kimberly designed a ruler for flying geese and has a new line of fabric, Solid-ish which was one of our first delights. I had admired it on Facebook posts, but OMG it is SO much prettier in person!   And I am now a convert to specialized rulers.  This ruler makes it brainless and possible for even me to get perfect points (and I totally mean that, not just complimenting because we got a freebie, it really works).

Check with your local shop or online for solid-ish. There’s a warm pink and coral and yellow that I want some yardage! Well, the aquas too, and the greens…..

Even I can use a ruler like Kimberly’s Easy Flying Geese: the colors are pink and mint for breast and ovarian cancer awareness. If you can read the writing, in this case the pink, that makes the geese (notice the darkened triangle above the 3 1/2″ line?). If you can read the blue (flip the ruler over), it is for the background pieces. Easy peasy.

One of the first and most useful tips came at the start:  ya know how Jelly rolls and other precuts have pinked edges and shed bits of thread and lint like crazy?  Lint roller them FIRST, before you undo the package!!!!!   Brilliant!

If you lint roller your jelly roll, you end up with lots less floaty bits messing up your clothes and studio!

This shows my pieces laid out on my sewing machine table and a block in progress by Kimberly Coffin, my tablemate, whom you can find at her website Sweet Red Poppy.

I tend to stress in classroom situations and my brain freezes, so I don’t accomplish a lot.   But I do start thinking.  I totally want some play time to make more geese and maybe some placemats, a wall quilt of the modern persuasion…. I saw what Tamara Kate was doing and totally thought that I need to get out of my box and play.   Go check Tamara Kate’s website Kayajoy for inspiration.

My flying geese…. I need some new placemats for spring and summer, so think I’ll order some of my favorites…that magenta, and the bottle green, and the turquoise…oh dear…..

More soon!   Next post will be about ruler work with Amy Dreishbach Johnson of Sew Simple of Lynchburg VA.



Words –> Power –> Action

February 22nd, 2018

Two and a half weeks ago, I came across a Jimmy Fallon re-working of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ on Facebook and Youtube (hear it here–really LISTEN to the lyrics).  I was so moved by it that I wanted to create a quilt based on the song, but realized there were all those pesky copyright issues with using Fallon’s lyrics, so instead I created this quick piece to capture the spirit of the re-worked song. I pretty much never just drop everything and make a quilt this rapidly, but I just had to do it. I have titled it Words –> Power –> Action because, as our mothers told us, words have power.  Over the past two years, the election cycle, the results, and the first year of the current Presidency, have galvanized many so many of us. I have changed.  Legions of us have changed.

Words–>Power–>Action, © 2018 SarahAnn Smith


As a US Foreign Service Officer, I was not allowed to participate in partisan politics (federal regulations) because our job was (and should be) to serve ALL Americans.  I was used to keeping my mouth shut.  As a national level quilting teacher and artist, I felt it was better to keep politics and religion out of the classroom (and still do), so I kept my mouth shut.  But the past 20+ months have convinced me that I must speak out.  My quilt about the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017 was my first overtly political quilt.

Speak Up, Speak Out © Sarah Ann Smith 2017.

I’ve been so distressed about the polarization and apparent lack of civility, compassion and understanding, of tolerance for differing views, that the past two years have been pretty depressing.  Our political climate has made me angry and galvanized me to take action and speak out.  Inspired by Fallon’s lyrics I went in search of quotes.  I’ll share all of them after each detail photo in which they appear.

I began like our nation, with revolutionary words from the US Declaration of Independence, which are written at the top of my brick wall (yes, I have the Pink Floyd lyrics “another brick in the wall” running on loop in my head, along with the phrase “the writing is on the wall”–I resisted the temptation to use that as a title!).  I dyed fabric to be a wall, using cold wax (from ProChem, and can’t find it any more on their website!) to create a resist for the mortar.  The backing is dyed cement grey.  The edges are raw, like my nerves and emotions (and those of so many others), torn on both the top and backing, with a tiny bit of batting peeking out and scruffed up.

The top portion of Words–>Power–>Action . There are more visible bits of words and phrases, and longer quotes written in lighter ink behind, as if they were fading graffiti.

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Speak Up, Speak Out
  • get woke
  • We the People
  • Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.  Barack Obama

Background quotes:

  • Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governedwhenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  US Declaration of Independence
  • We did not come to fear the future.  We came here to shape it.  B. Obama

Closer view of the center of Words–>Power–>Action with quilting that I hope simulates the rough texture of brick.

Center portion of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Take a knee
  • Listen
  • Reach Out
  • #metoo
  • When they go low, we go high.  Michelle Obama

Background quote:

  • We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.  B. Obama

Center bottom of Words–>Power–>Action .

Bottom right of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.  Hillary Clinton
  • Vote!  Get Involved
  • Courage can be contagious.  Michelle Obama
  • e  Pluribus Unum (for non-US readers, this phrase comes from our Founding Fathers and means out of Many, One which represents who we are as a nation, a government of the people, by the people and for the people)

Background quote:

  • here in America we are waging a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.  Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thanks for reading this far.  I hope you like it.