Why I Love Common Threads

The first week in June, I spent 3 days in Fenton, Missouri at Baby Lock’s headquarters for their Common Threads event.

I can’t wait to tell you more about my time there! But first, a cute baby…

Common Threads

This adorable little gal belongs to another Lindsay. It was fun to see her squishy cheeks every day, since I was away from my own cuddly little guy.

 Common Threads

What is Common Threads?

Baby Lock invited a group of bloggers (me!), designers, visionaries and industry experts together for a few days of fun, networking and learning together. It was an incredible group of people, and I honestly wondered several times, “Am I in the right place?”

Bottom line: I am thankful and humbled to be among this group of fellow creatives to hear about their lives and passions, and try to take some of that home with me. Because “what I do for a living” crosses over into a lot of different worlds (writing blog posts and books, editing travel guides, writing marketing copy), I hope that I was able to teach and encourage others by adding my voice to the conversation.

The theme of Baby Lock is “For the love of sewing,” and that’s what I took away from the weekend. Whether you’d been sewing 2 years or 20 years, There was a definite spirit of being in this together, sharing in something we all love…sewing!

Common Threads

Sewing and Learning

I used a crazy awesome sewing machine, the Baby Lock Destiny. This thing shoots a laser to show you how to sew a straight line, which makes for easy topstitching and half-square triangles with no marking.

(It also has a touchscreen and full-color screensaver. Yeah, no biggie.)

Common Threads

With a little more practice, I bet I’d really get the hang of it!
Luckily help was never far away, with the generous Baby Lock staff there
to teach us. This was especially helpful on the sergers and long arm.

For our three hands-on sewing sessions, we spent time:

1. Sewing bow baskets with Kimberbell Designs
2. Serging skirts for charity with Simple Simon and Co. (more on that in a future post)
3. Long arm quilting with Amy Ellis

Knot Baskets

Here’s Kelly, my road trip buddy, with her finished knot basket! Baby Lock set up all of our finished projects around the room on beautiful displays so we could be inspired all weekend.

All of the fabric we sewed with was donated for us to work with…how amazing! Mind Your Mummy is pictured above. We also got to sew with Patty Young’s Knits for Riley Blake and Amy Ellis’s new collection for Moda.

Common Threads

Here’s Jennifer Keltner, Publisher of Martingale and Co., trying her hand at the longarm.

I really loved hearing from Jennifer over the weekend about her vision for publishing, and the “magic” of a printed book, and how different that is from magazines or other formats. A book, she explains, holds the hopes and dreams of the projects you want to sew, and although some people collect magazines with the same fervor, there’s something special about a sewing book that you love and having it in your hands.

Jina Barney, Design Director of Riley Blake, was equally passionate about the way she discussed fabric, and the hard work and love that is poured into making it. I was looking forward to hearing more about how she founded her company, but time ran out on us!

Common Threads

Eating Together and Hanging Out

The staff at Baby Lock was so welcoming to us the whole weekend, which
began with a tour of the offices and warehouse, followed by dinner and
mini cupcakes! It was so awesome to be able to eat all of our meals onsite, and I ended up chatting with someone different just about every time.


Among the attendees (clockwise from top left): Liz and Liz, Kate and Dana, Amy, Mary and Marianne, Heather, and our amazing family at Baby Lock

Common Threads

Networking (But in the Nicest Possible Way)

I loved the activity we did on Thursday morning. It was called “Getting to Know You,” and was a cool way to get just enough time to chat with industry professionals (book and magazine editors, video personalities, celebrated teachers, company founders). Similar to speed dating, we’d each take a turn chatting it up with someone until the bell rang, and then it was time to move along.

Although it sounds like it could be a little intimidating, I really enjoyed it and found that everyone who is further along than me was so willing to share their advice. I just wanted to soak it all in!

We also played a fun game called “Name that Notion” and I realized that I am way behind the times. I didn’t know hardly any of the answers, so I volunteered to be Vanna for my team and write the answers on the board. The best surprise… everybody won a bag of fun sewing tools!

For the swag bags, each attendee got the chance to donate an item (45 of them) to go in each of the bags. I shared my fabric button earrings, and it was super fun to look through my bag and get to take home a little something from everyone’s world.

How about those cupcakes? You can check out more photos of the Baby Lock Common Threads 2015 event on my Flickr.


I’m Lindsay Conner, and welcome to my sewing home! I am a modern quilter, author, editor, pattern designer, wife, and mom. I use this space to share my latest projects, tutorials, and patterns!