Blog - Handi Quilter

Landscape Quilts

At the Quilters Unlimited show in Chantilly, VA this May I noticed quite a few lovely landscape quilts. It’s interesting to me how a theme just forms naturally at some shows.  This time there were numerous landscape quilts. I was taken by the quilter’s abilities to create dimension with their color choices and their quilting patterns. At Handi Quilter we are all about quilting patterns.

 

Of course I want to share some of them with you!

 

Landscape Quilts

Maratea Morning
by Kerry O Britton
of Arlington, VA

I love the soft colors and peacefulness  of this quilt.

 

Landscape Quilts

The Path Well Traveled: Santorini
by Kerry O Britton
of Arlington, VA

This quilt demonstrates amazing depth.

 

 

Landscape Quilts

The Scrap Bag….Was a Challenge
by Jennifer Thorp
of Arlington, VA

These cute little houses and their background is a place I want to go for a tropical vacation.

 

 

Landscape Quilts

Sail the USA
by Rosemary Ryan
of Centreville, VA

Can’t you just feel the sea breezes?

 

 

 

Landscape Quilts

Planting the Fields
by Dottie McQueenie
of Haymarket, VA

Great perspective and lovely little details make this a wonderful quilt.

 

 

Landscape Quilts

Choose your Horizon
by Ginny Mayes
of Mt Vernon, VA

The Modern take on landscapes. Very cool!

 

I’m putting a landscape quilt on my quilting bucket list. How about you? Have you made a landscape quilt? What was your inspiration?

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

2019-06-17T18:05:09-06:00July 13th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|3 Comments

Handi Quilter Academy 2019

Handi Quilter Academy 2019 is in the books. It was bigger and better than all the Academies that have gone before. But the spirit was the same as it has been from the very first Academy. Everyone there, staff, teachers and attendees alike, were excited to share their passion. We all love to finish quilts and love exploring new and beautiful ways to accomplish that. We all filled our cups with inspiration from each other.

Hester Helen (Telene) Jeffrey, our keynote speaker, reminded us that inspiration is not going to just fall into our laps. We have to go out and look for it. And she gave us a great visual representation of what happens in our brains when we find inspiration in our world. She said we have to be open to new ideas, willing to try, and to believe in ourselves. You can do all those things at HQ Academy. And more.

At Academy you will laugh,

you will never go hungry,

you will make new friends,

and reunite with old friends who live far away.

You will share ideas,

and learn more than you ever thought was possible.

And let’s not forget the opportunity to shop!

Save the date for Handi Quilter Academy 2020. We would love to see YOU there!

 

 

 

2019-07-07T17:24:27-06:00July 6th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Modern Goes Colorful!

I’ve struggled with a succinct definition of “Modern Quilt” ever since I heard the term several years ago. What exactly makes a quilt modern? Since I talk to lots of quilters in my travels and teaching, I asked them to help me define it. Gathering answers from all over the globe there were a few terms that stood out: Geometric, non-symmetrical, lots of white. I agree with those 3 attributes but I think there’s more to it than that. While I was at the Quilters Unlimited show in Chantilly, VA, I spotted a few quilts that I thought could be considered “Modern” but they did not align with the “lots of white” stipulation. So maybe there’s a new trend in the modern quilting world? Modern goes Colorful?

Examples of colorful modern

L-Gamma
by Nancy Hoskins
of Annandale, VA

Nancy’s background is grey! And it is not a solid and it is pieced. Loved the softness of this quilt.

Fireworks
by Robin Tilsworth
of Arlington, VA

Robin’s negative space (background) is quite dark but very effective at showing off the colors of the piecing.

 

Intersections With Attitude!!!
by Bonnie Anderson
of Haymarket, VA

Bonnie used grey as well, am I sensing a trend here? I really love that she quilted with red thread. (Sorry I didn’t get a close-up)

 

Gypsy Wife
by Martha Bush
of Annandale, VA
quilted by Cindy Luby

Martha’s quilt is on the borderline of Modern vs Traditional with all those traditional blocks, but I think her unusual choice for background pushes it into the Modern camp.

 

Lemon Lime Pop
by Emily Mickelwait
of Haymarket, VA

Now we’ve got the Modern Goes Colorful vibe really going on with this quilt. Some of my favorite modern quilts have the blocks start out as traditional but then seemingly fall apart and scatter. I loved Emily’s color choice! It was much brighter in person, the photo toned it down some.

 

Eclipse
by Bonnie Rhoby
of Reston, VA

Bonnie’s hand-dyed background is fabulous. Definitely Modern Goes Colorful!

If you are interested in a comprehensive explanation of Modern Quilting, the Modern Quilt Guild has a great read on their website. A recent HQ Live showcased some modern improv quilting, too.

Are you a modern quilter, and what is your definition?

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

2019-06-27T09:32:26-06:00June 29th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

Gifting Quilts

Weddings, graduations, baby showers, and Father’s Day are all great occasions for gifting quilts! Quilters show our love and affection to family and friends through our passion. We put tons of time, thought and money into making a quilt gift. As we stitch it together, we think loving thoughts of the recipient.  It’s sharing a small part of our soul, when we give a quilt.

I’ve heard from quite a few quilters in the last weeks about how upset they are about how their gift is being treated or how it is not being used as intended.

“I can’t believe they put in in a closet!”

“They keep it in their car!”

“It went on a picnic!”

“The dogs (cats, hamsters, lizards) lay on it!”

“They washed it in bleach (hot water, with their blue jeans)!”

The Solution

In my mind, there is only one way to remedy this situation. Tell them!

Do you want the baby quilt to get used and washed and spit up on and washed and loved and washed? Tell Them.

Is the quilt meant to be used on the couch for snuggling and movie watching and reading? Tell Them.

Did you intend the quilt to be used carefully on a guest bed or to be hung on the wall? Tell Them.

Quilts can also be heirlooms meant to be handed down through generations. No one will ever know, unless you Tell Them.

Often times the person who receives your quilt has no idea how much time, money and love went into making it. These are the people who call quilts (shudder) “blankets” and it’s up to you to educate them. They may not know the best way to care for a quilt. Include a card with instructions. The Quilting Company has put together a printable Quilt Care PDF that you can download and print. Here’s another one: (its got all of those hieroglyphics that no one knows what they mean, but will make you seem sophisticated).

On the other hand, they may know how dedicated you are and how much of your energy goes into the quilts you make and my not want to “spoil” the quilt by using it. Be sure to talk with the recipient and say something like, “Please use this quilt. I made it for baby to be loved and comforted. It is not an heirloom. Use it and wash it. Put it on the floor for baby to play. If it wears out, I can make another. ”  Here’s a cute poem (sorry I do not know the author, it’s been used by me for many years):

Your Baby Quilt

This quilt is made of cloth and thread

To place upon your little bed.

It’s not an heirloom just to keep,

But to lay upon as you count sheep.

Or perhaps the floor’s the perfect place

For a doll and teddy picnic space.

This quilt can be anything you dream

From Superman’s cape to the robe of a Queen.

Pretend it’s a raft adrift at sea,

Or just cuddle up and watch TV.

So use it up and wear it out.

I promise I won’t yell or pout.

Just tell me when it’s days are through,

And I’ll make another, just for YOU.

 

When gifting quilts, Tell Them or you are not allowed to complain!

How do you convey this information?  Does anyone know who wrote that poem? I would love to give credit. Tell us in the comments.

by Mary Beth Krapil, Handi Quilter National Educator

2019-06-17T09:24:54-06:00June 22nd, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|8 Comments

New Tools!

Handi Quilter introduced two fantastic new tools that we can use to finish more quilts! I love how Handi Quilter is always innovating and coming up with ways to make our quilting faster, easier, more fun and better.

If you are a Little Foot frame quilter you’re going to love this:

HQ Little Buddy

The Little Buddy includes special brackets and poles which allow the quilt to be rolled and advanced to simplify quilting small quilts on your space-saving Little Foot Frame. You can quilt up to 48 inch wide quilts using the Little Buddy and you can still quilt larger quilts in the usual manner on the Little Foot frame. The package includes appropriately sized leaders. You can get it now for a special introductory price!

The other new tools are for sit down quilters, and not just Sweet Sixteen quilters. Maybe you quilt on your HQ Stitch 710 or your domestic machine? These will be great for you as well!

HQ Sweet Spots and HQ Paddles

Both the Sweet Spots and the Paddles offer a non-slip grip to help you keep the quilting area flat and to easily move the quilt sandwich. The two control knobs on the paddles provide a comfortable free-motion quilting experience. Place the Sweet Spots or the Paddles on either side of the machine needle while applying light downward pressure. The special non-slip material on the base ensures that the fabric moves without the layers shifting. You can quilt for hours without hand fatigue. Maintain the non-slippiness (I made that word up) by cleaning lint and threads from the bottom with sticky tape. Yay!

Be sure to keep up to date with all the new products and tools from Handi Quilter by subscribing to our newsletter. You’ll be glad you did!

by Mary Beth Krapil

2019-06-12T09:52:30-06:00June 15th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|3 Comments

Quilting Out of the Box

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a quilt show. (TWO months!), so I was happy to be at the Quilter’s Unlimited Show in Chantilly, VA with Handi Quilter retailer, The Quilter’s Studio of Fairfax, VA. The Quilters Unlimited Guild hosts the show each year. It’s a wonderful show with LOTS of quilts on display and plenty of great vendors. I noticed a few quilts that caught my eye because they were great examples of quilting out of the box. Something unexpected, something totally unique. And I love that!

I love house quilts and this one is really sweet.

Going Uptown
by Mary Ellen Simmons
of Fairfax, VA
quilting by Amy Steigerwalt

It was created in response to a guild challenge.

Right next to it was the “out of the box” version.

There’s a Storm Brewing Outside My Town
by Susan J Sladek
of McLean, VA
Quilting by The Quilting Cellar

Susan stepped out and chose to create a stormy, nighttime house quilt. It’s delightful! Some windows are darkened (early to bed?) and some show lights shining. The little church is quiet, but you can still see the darkened stained glass windows. The border fabric really speaks to the title of the quilt. It’s just a small change from the usual daytime house quilt but made me say, “Wow, what a great idea!”

 

Then I saw this giant leap out of the box.

Celebrate
by Linda Jamrogowicz
of Haymarket, VA
Quilting by Linda Jamrogowicz

 

detail of Celebrate

 

To quote Linda, “This quilt explodes with all the things needed to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, good grades, winning a game, quilting, and more.” It is 3-dimensional with pennants that can be changed for different occasions. Look at the dimension-ality in the 2nd photo. How fun!

I always expect to be inspired when I go to a quilt show and this show did not disappoint!

by Mary Beth Krapil

2019-06-04T16:03:38-06:00June 8th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

All About Needles

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter on social media lately about needles. How to choose the right one? How to choose the right size? How to insert them into your machine properly? I thought it a good time to explain all about needles.

The question I hear most often is:

How often should I change my needle?

A good rule of thumb is “every quilt deserves a new needle.” Needles are inexpensive compared to the damage a worn or bent needle can do to a quilt or to your machine. Not to mention the frustration and time suck of breaking thread, shredding thread, batting pokeys, poor tension, or skipped stitches because of a worn needle.

Why is the top (shaft) of the needle round on my longarm needle?

Longarm needles need to be super strong to withstand all the flexing that happens when we quilt. Think about it; you are moving that machine (or the fabric in the case of sit-down quilters) all the time, whether the needle is down in the quilt or up out of the quilt. On your domestic machine, the movement of the feed-dogs and the cycle of the needle are timed such that when the needle is up, the fabric moves. But when the needle is down, the fabric is stationary. Not so on a longarm machine. When the needle is down and you move the machine, the needle has to flex, so that it does not break. Flattening the side of the shaft slightly weakens the needle. We don’t want weak needles!

 

But that makes it hard to know I’ve got the needle in correctly!

All you need to know to make sure your needle is in right are three parts of a needle.  Let’s start with the eye. That’s the hole that the thread goes through. (I’m sure you knew that one. See you’re 1/3rd the way there!) Then there’s the groove. If you take a needle and look at it closely, you’ll see a long groove down one side. That’s the front of the needle. On the opposite side to the groove, you’ll see a scooped out part right above the eye. That’s called the scarf. The scarf is in the back.

Stand directly in front of your machine. Place the needle into your machine so that the scarf is in the back and the groove is in the front (facing you). The eye should be lined up so that you can see directly through it.  You can use a small pin placed through the eye of the needle and line it up so that the pin is pointing straight at you. Make sure you have pushed the needle all the way up. There is a sight hole where the needle goes in and you can see when the needle is all the way to the top. Tighten the thumb screw securely.

 

What kind of needle should I use?

First and foremost, be sure to purchase the correct needle system for your machine.  The easiest thing to do to ensure you’re getting the correct needle system is to simply purchase your needles from Handi Quilter or a Handi Quilter retailer. That way you can’t go wrong. If you purchase needles from another vendor, verify the needle system. All Handi Quilter longarm machines use needle system 134. You will find the number right on the front of the package.

Handi Quilter offers 3 different options.

Standard Needles

These needles have a sharp point which penetrates the layers effectively and should be used for most quilting. You will find the designation R on the package indicating sharp point.

Ball Point needles

These needles have a rounded or ball point. They can be used on knits like the plush fabrics that are popular for quilt backs or T-shirt quilts. If your T-shirts have a lot of coated images on them however, you may want to stick with sharps to penetrate the coating and avoid skipped stitches. The letters FG or FFG will be on ball point needle packages.

High-speed Needles

These needles have a different scarf configuration that makes them especially suited to high speed quilting. If you quilt fast and find that you break a lot of needles, switch to a high-speed needle and it may solve your problem. The designation for high-speed needles is MR on the package.

Broken needles

While we are talking about needles breaking….

It can happen for lots of reasons. When it does, make sure you find all the pieces of the broken needle. If a small piece is wedged in your bobbin race it can do a lot of expensive damage.

And dispose of broken or used needles safely. I use this small Tums container. It is just a bit taller than a needle and it has an easy flip top and a small opening to put the needles in.

Once it is full, I will tape it shut securely and toss it in the trash. It’s also a good place for bent or damaged pins.

You cannot un-bend a pin!

What about size? Does size matter?

On the front of the package in the upper right corner you will see the size.

The needles in the photo above are Needle system 134 MR, which means I can use them in my Handi Quilter longarms and they are High- Speed (MR). They are size 80/12.

Yes, size matters. You should match the needle size to the thread you are using. Superior Threads has a great Thread Reference Guide that will match the thread you are using to the right size needle.

The reason it matters, is that the groove (remember the groove, in the front) guides the thread to the eye and protects the thread as it passes through the layers of the quilt. Thread will pass through the sandwich multiple times before it forms a stitch.

The thread has to lie IN the groove in order for it to be protected. If the needle is too small for the thread, the groove cannot do its job and you will get shredding and breakage. When the needle is too big for the thread, the thread wobbles around in the groove and although is is protected, it is not guided straight to the eye and you will get poorly formed stitches.

Handi Quilter Needle sizes

Handi Quilter needles sizes are 80/12, 90/14, 100/16, 110/18, and 120/20. The bigger the number, the bigger the needle. We in the US usually refer to the second number when we talk about needle sizes. Size 16 and 18 will be the ones you use most often. Size 12 and 14 are for finer threads like 100 wt silk or 100 wt MicroQuilter thread.  20’s would be used for a thicker 12 wt thread. Check the size of your thread on the spool or cone label, then refer to the Thread Reference Guide. Pretty soon you’ll get to know your needle sizes without looking at the chart.

Any other questions?

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

2019-05-29T12:04:40-06:00June 1st, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|11 Comments

Quilting Tips

Did you know that Handi Quilter contributes quilting tips to American Patchwork and Quilting magazine? Each month APQ magazine includes a “Tip” page and every other month Handi Quilter contributes a machine quilting tip. Sometimes there is an associated video!

Here is an example of  Education Coordinator Vicki Hoth sharing tips on quilting feathers.

As a Handi Quilter National Educator, I’m all about quilters being aware of and accessing all the great, free educational material Handi Quilter provides to our owner family and the quilting world. I think a big part of the fun of quilting is learning new things, new techniques, and new tools, all the time.

So let me share a few more places to find great tips for quilting.

YouTube

Subscribe to our channel so you will get notified when any new content is published. If it will be the first time you visit, be sure to be in a nice comfy chair and have your favorite beverage at hand. You will be there a while with the hundreds of videos to choose from.

Handi Tips

 

Every other week Handi Quilter posts a video Handi Tip. They are on a variety of quilting related topics. Small tips to make your quilting faster, easier, more effective, or more fun.

 

Minute Motifs

 

 

Every other week (in between the Handi Tips) we post a Minute Motif. It’s a great free motion quilting design that you can add to your design stash. Who doesn’t want a bigger design stash? And for you Pro-Stitcher users, a special bonus: sometimes (not always) there is a digitized version of the design to add to your digital design stash!

If you want a nice reminder in your email in-box about these things and more, go to the Handi Quilter website and register for the newsletter. If you “LIKE” and follow our Facebook page, we remind you there as well.

Register for the newsletter and LIKE us on Facebook. You’ll be glad you did!

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

2019-05-22T15:08:43-06:00May 25th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|4 Comments

Improv Quilting

 

Did you catch the last HQ Live, Improv Quilting with Kim Sandberg? It was a fun show where Kim shared the improvisation-ally pieced quilt tops she created in response to her guild challenge and then proceeded to quilt one of them. Right there, LIVE.

Kim is our newest studio educator. If you come to a retreat at our facilities in Salt Lake City, or to Handi Quilter Academy, you’ll get to meet her.

Here’s some of the things you can learn if you watch this show:

1. New words! Like intentionally improvisational –  straightish –  facing

2. New use of threads

3. Watch Vicki Hoth step WAY out of her box and have fun doing it. If she can do it and not die from it, maybe we all can try something new?

4. New way to utilize Pro-Stitcher that you may have never thought of.

 

The good news is you can watch this show and all of our previous HQ-Live presentations on demand! Go to our YouTube channel here and be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss any of our great videos.

Here’s Kim’s finished quilt from the show.

Are you ready to try a little intentional improv quilting?

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

2019-05-14T14:38:46-06:00May 18th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

Do you struggle with FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)?  This is an actual word that was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013. It means a feeling of anxiety or insecurity over the possibility of missing out on something, as an event or an opportunity. Well, suffer no more because I have some tips that will help you overcome FOMO (at least when it comes to your quilting life).

I am going to share some of the ways you can be “In the Know” about all things Handi Quilter and never miss out again!

1. Register for the newsletter

It’s easy! Go to our webpage HandiQuilter.com. Click on the purple tab at the top right that says “Register”. Fill out the information requested and choose your preferences.  Once you do that, you will receive the weekly newsletter in your inbox every Monday. It is packed with information about upcoming events and sales. You’ll see the Minute Motif or Handi Tip for the week, learn about new displays in the HQ Gallery, be notified about HQ Live presentations, have a list of upcoming education events, and more.

2. Subscribe to our YouTube channel

This one is easy too! Go to YouTube. Type Handi Quilter in the search box and once on our channel click on the “Subscribe” button. You will be notified anytime we post a new video. Be sure to watch some videos while you are there. There are hundreds to choose from with a wide range of topics. It’s a great way to learn more about longarm quilting, from the basics, to fun and interesting new techniques.

3. “LIKE” our Facebook page or Follow Handi Quilter on Instagram

If you are on Facebook, be sure to “LIKE” the Handi Quilter page. You’ll be up-to-date with all the news from Handi Quilter and see some fabulous quilting and quilts as well.  You can also join the Handi Quilter group page where you can be a part of the community that shares what they are working on, asks and answers quilting related questions and enjoys learning from each other.

Follow @HandiQuilter on Instagram too!

4. Explore our website.

The website is full of information. Do you want to: Find your closest retailer? Learn about Ruler of the Month Club? See a comprehensive list of upcoming Education events being held all across the US? Get to know Handi Quilter Educators and Ambassadors? Down load quilt patterns and quilting designs? Take part in our discussion forum? Find out about Handi Quilter retreats and Handi Quilter Academy?All that and lots more can be found on our website.

Follow  these steps and you’ll never miss out on anything ever again!  FOMO, Fear of Missing Out cured!

Let me know what your favorite source of HQ info is.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

2019-05-10T11:23:50-06:00May 11th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments