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Lessons in Machine Quilting

My friend, Diane Harris, is learning how to quilt with a stationary longarm machine, her HQ Capri.  Diane is an ambassador for HQ Stitch sewing machines and writes the blog over on the HQ Stitch page. In recent posts she has been sharing her lessons in machine quilting, and I have been sharing her posts with you. She is learning some wonderful lessons!

This week she writes about figuring out what to quilt and about getting stuck. I’ll share her thoughts and my words of wisdom as a seasoned quilter.

Lessons in Machine Quilting

By Diane Harris, HQ Stitch brand ambassador

Comments by Mary Beth Krapil, Handi Quilter National Educator (MB)

I’m learning so much about machine quilting each day. The lessons apply whether you’re quilting on a domestic like HQ Stitch or on a stationary longarm like the HQ Capri. Some of them would also be useful if you’re longarm quilting with a machine on a movable carriage.

Diane Harris lessons Christmas Album quilt

I wrote about quilting My Christmas Album in the last post, and today I want to dive deeper into some big lessons I learned on this quilt and talk about how hard it can be to know what you should quilt.

In other words, do you need geometric shapes or should you outline the patches, can you quilt right on top of the applique, should the quilting be dense or sparse, and so on.

diane Harris lessons pointsettias

As I considered the blocks, there didn’t seem to be a lot of space for quilting. I stippled a couple of the blocks but I wanted to be more creative on the rest.

diane Harris lessons gingerbread

The gingerbread men got outlined loosely.

diane Harris lessons trees

I meandered a large stipple over the trees.

diane Harris lessons pointsettias

A smaller meander worked between the poinsettias.

Diane Harris lessons snow flakes

I curled in and out of the snowflakes. These ideas aren’t horrible but they’re not great, either. I am hoping that knowing what to quilt will improve with practice.

MB: Knowing what to quilt is a HUGE topic. Of course personal preference plays a big role, but how does a person know what their preference is if they are only just getting started? The answer, my friend, is STUDY. Study is a word that carries memories of forced memorization and poring over boring books. Luckily, the type of study you will be doing is nothing like that! Here’s how you study: you will look at quilts and pay particular attention to the quilting. Go to shows (someday soon I hope), open Pinterest, look on Facebook, browse Instagram, page through quilting books. Find quilts that appeal to you and make note of how they are quilted. You will soon develop personal preference. It might be modern, geometric, angular, flowing, flowery, feathery; there’s really a lot of styles. So first of all…

#1 Know what you like

Then, think about the quilt you are about to quilt and ask some important questions. These will help determine a lot about the quilting.

How is the quilt going to be used? – I will quilt a wall hanging much more densely than a bed quilt. A wall quilt must be stable to keep it square as it hangs and resist sagging of the fabrics. A bed quilt, on the other hand, needs to be soft and drape-able so that it will be cuddly and lay nicely over the edges of the mattress.

What kind of batting will I use? – The package of batting will have a suggested minimum distance for spacing of quilting lines. It’s important to follow these guidelines if you plan to wash the quilt and want it to hold up.

Who is the quilt for? – Man, woman, child, someone playful, someone more formal, modern, traditional? This will be important for the tone of the quilting design. You might put dinosaurs on a kid’s quilt, but might want to stick with feathers on a quilt for the Queen.

 

Second of all…..

#2 Consider the Quilt

Once you know what you like and have figured out what the quilt needs, it is time to choose a design.  

We are quilters. We all have a stash. Don’t even try to deny it; I know you do. You have more fabric than you could ever hope to use. And when you become a quilter (as opposed to a topper), you will also develop a thread stash. Those of you who have been quilting for a while are nodding your heads. You need one more stash: a design stash. A place to go when you are trying to come up with some idea of what to quilt on your quilt. I started my design stash with books of quilting designs. I have a few. This is only a small portion.

Mary Beth Krapil lessons books

I suggest taking photos of quilting that you especially like. Sketch designs that you have seen on quilts. Add these to a notebook. As you study quilting on social media, save photos to a special file on your computer or tablet. All of this becomes your design stash. Then when you are stumped as to what to quilt, browse your stash and the ideas will start to flow.

Thirdly….

#3 Keep a design stash and know how to use it.

Let’s go back and see what other lessons Diane learned.

One other problem presented itself. I made a plan for quilting loosely around the gingerbread men.

Diane Harris lessons gingerbread

However, I hadn’t planned for how to travel from one to the next. You can see on the left above my wiggly line as I tried to travel. And under his arm, you can almost feel the panic as I ran into a roadblock and didn’t know where to go.

MB: Once you’ve settled on a design choice, figure out your path. One way of doing this is to use your Quilter’s Preview Paper and draw the design without lifting your pen. You can also simply finger trace the design over your block as if you were stitching it. It is great practice for when you are actually quilting, and you’ll find your quilting looks nicer when you take the time to finger trace before actually stitching.

Lesson 4

Trouble comes when I don’t know where I’m going.

I must have a plan for what to quilt, but also for how to travel around the quilt.

And that leads into another lesson.

Lesson 5

Stop. STOP! Sooner, not later.

I tend to blunder forward, adding bad quilting and making the problem worse. The more I blunder, the more quilting there is to remove later. I’m learning to stop as soon as I sense trouble.

MB: This is very common. Quilting is a continuous line, so we want to keep going, continuously. I always tell my students that when you get in a bind and are not sure where to go next, remember: the machine has an OFF switch as well as an ON switch. Take your foot off the pedal, or in the case of a moveable machine, hit the stop button, then take a breath and figure out your next path. No one likes to get that seam ripper out, and what is it about removing stitches? What takes 3 minutes to quilt takes an hour and a half to pick out. So stop before you get into trouble and let the dust accumulate on that seam ripper.

Diane Harris lessons Christmas Album quilt

As for this little quilt, while I struggled mightily, it is finished. And in my book,

Finished is better than perfect!

MB: That is a good attitude to have, Diane! We are our own worst critics. We are so close to our work that it is sometimes hard to stand back and just take it in as a whole and appreciate the quilt. You enjoyed the process of making it and you learned a few things along the way. What could be better?

And now because machine quilting is finally FUN, I’m off to quilt the next one!

MB: I can’t wait to see what you tackle next, Diane. There is one more question you have to ask when you are deciding how to quilt something:

What is my skill level? – Maybe you really want to quilt feathers on a quilt, but you’ve never quilted a feather. There are 2 paths here: practice your feathers until you feel ready, then proceed; OR pick a different design.

Remember how you all committed to practicing 15 minutes EVERY day? You did! You raised your right hands and promised! Here is what you will practice: the design you want on your next quilt. Whatever that may be—feathers, ribbon candy, stipple—practice until you feel confident. Then GO FOR IT.

 

2020-04-24T11:05:43-06:00April 25th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

Teaching Children How to Sew

We are so lucky to have a second guest post from And I Quilt personality, Vanessa Clark. She’s a Grandmother, she’s a volunteer, and she Quilts!  She loves to interact with her grandchildren and what better way than to share her love of sewing and quilting? Vanessa is sharing her method of teaching young children how to sew.

Teaching Children How to Sew

A common question frequently asked is, “How soon can children sew?” Well with an aid from this product that I found, it may be sooner than what you would think. I first saw this product used in kids camp at my favorite quilt shop. Perfect for children in first through third grades. My first grand son, Hudson and I love doing crafty things together. One day when I was watching him while his mom and dad were out of town, we went to the sewing room to make a project.

childrens sewing interfacing

The product we used is from HelloSewingWorld.com. It is printed fusible interfacing for making a nine patch block.

child cutting interfacing

Using scissors, Hudson cuts out the nine patch block. We really enjoyed selecting the fabrics for his project since Halloween was just around the corner, we were able to find the perfect selection of fabrics. Hudson finds my stash of fabrics fascinating.

Next was cutting our fabrics into 2 1/2 inch squares and with the Accuquilt fabric cutting system the squares were cut accurately.

child cutting with Accuquilt

Finding the right placement of squares for our nine patch was lots of fun too. We placed our fabric squares with the wrong sides on the fusible side of the interfacing and ironed them into place. Next we were off to the sewing machine using the Handi Quilter Stitch 210. The Stitch 210 is the perfect first sewing machine for beginners but also perfect for travel and to take to sewing retreat.

child sewing on HQ Stitch 210

By folding the fabric with right sides together, you can see the stitch lines marked for the 1/4 inch seams. Do all the vertical and then all the horizontal. It looks so good when finished. We added solid color fabric for the back, placing front and back with right sides together, stitched and turned inside out.

finished child's project

It was sensational, a mug rug for mommy. Hudson was so proud of himself and even more so when he presented his gift to his mom.

proud grandmother

Hudson is eight years old. Loves to play baseball and games with the family.

I love being a grandmother, making cherished sweet memories that I do not take for granted.

Thank you Vanessa! It’s so important to pass along our sewing skills to the next generation.

If you would like to learn more about Vanessa and meet our other And I Quilt personalities please visit here.

2020-04-06T11:04:34-06:00April 18th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Getting Started with HQ Capri

Last week we had a guest post from Diane Harris, HQ Stitch Ambassador. She is dipping her toe into longarm quilting. I’m sharing her second post about getting started with her HQ Capri. This time I’m going to add in my own comments with tips and hints for Diane and for your benefit as well. If you are new to longarm quilting too, this series of posts (Diane is just bursting with ideas!) will be a must-read for you. If you’re more experienced, who knows? You might just pick up a trick or two and if you are thinking about getting a longarm, this will be perfect for you to know what to expect. So I hope you will follow along on this adventure.

Getting Started with HQ Capri

A few weeks ago, my HQ Capri stationary longarm arrived in two boxes. I had been concerned about setup because I am new to longarm quilting and I have a lot to learn.

Handi Quilter Capri box

I kind of love the boxes. “Happy Quilting!”

So I thought I’d share how everything came together and some of the things you should know in order to get started using the HQ Capri.

HQ Capri footprint

The Handi Quilter website has a diagram like the one above for every longarm quilting machine they offer. This is critically important information because it helps you determine if you have the space you need.

(MB: I think EVERYONE has the space. Just get creative! Who needs a couch? Replace it with your heart’s desire, a longarm machine! 😉

Capri empty room

I have a former bedroom that has been used most recently for storage, so I cleared out the junk to make way for the Capri.

(Way to go Diane!)

Capri table

There is plenty of room for the table even if I add the 18-inch by 32-inch table extensions to each side, which I plan to do soon. They will help support the weight of larger quilts and I’m excited to get the extensions.

The table went together without a hitch. Only one tool was needed and my husband located it easily because he’s organized! But even if I had been on my own, I could have assembled the table without problems.

Capri machine and table standing height

Above you can see that I made a warmup sandwich for a couple of test runs, just to get the feel of the machine. Always a good idea! I will keep this quilt sandwich nearby and use it over and over.

(MB: Here’s my recommendation: Practice, or as I like to think of it, Play, everyday. I know you are thinking, “But who has time for that?”  I suggest only 15 minutes every day and here’s why: if you practice everyday, you will build your skills gradually and consistently. If you save it up and do an hour and a half on Saturday you will “forget” what you learned last Saturday. It’s like taking 2 steps forward and one step back. Who can get anywhere doing that? Give yourself that gift of spending at least a tiny bit of time doing what you love, everyday. It will make you a better quilter and a happier person! And Diane’s practice piece is perfect! Make up a few sandwiches to keep at the ready.)

I lifted the machine into place according to the instructions and attached all of the cords and hookups. Easy peasy. I started out with the table adjusted for standing, but after a few days I lowered it for sitting and I have been enjoying that a lot. It’s really nice that you have both standing and sitting as options for your quilting.

(MB: When you quilt while sitting, choose a chair that allows your feet to be flat on the floor and sit back all the way into the chair so that your back is supported by the back of the chair. You will want to quilt for hours and good posture is important to make that possible.)

Capri videos

Handi Quilter is known for its education, so I put my feet up and prepared to watch the YouTube videos from Handi Quilter on the Capri. Everything I needed was covered in short, clear videos and before long I was ready to go.

xmas album un-quilted

Ready, Set, GO!

For my first real quilting on the Capri, I decided on a little Christmas quilt called My Christmas Album. It was designed by Tina Curran, and while I love it, I have had a devil of a time getting it quilted.

I’ve had machine quilting in it no fewer than three times (all done on a domestic machine) and have taken it all out for different reasons. It is time to get this one finished and off my plate.

xmas album 5

The problem is that I don’t know what to quilt. Applique isn’t my strong suit and I have zero ideas for how to quilt it.

xmas album 3

I have already anchored everything down by stitching a grid around the blocks on my HQ Stitch 710. It’s the free-motion part that has me flummoxed.

(I love Diane. The fact that she uses the word flummoxed makes me love her even more! )

xmas-album-4

Not long ago I was introduced to Quilter’s Preview Paper, a clear film on which you can draw with a dry-erase marker.

(MB: Quilter’s Preview Paper comes on a roll and has black lines on the sides. This is a warning so you don’t accidentally mark off the paper and onto your quilt top. When you cut a length of preview paper, take some painter’s tape and mark the top and bottom edge too. Dry erase marker is permanent on fabric so you really don’t want to make a mistake and go off the paper. Also, write “TOP” on the paper. If you take the paper away then bring it back over the quilt top you don’t want to place it writing side down. Those marks will rub off onto your fabric.)

xmas-album-6

It’s helpful to try out ideas before you commit with thread, and to practice any motifs you’re unsure of.

xmas-album-7

You can plan your stitch patch and feel confident before you start quilting.

xmas-album-8

Sometimes it becomes evident what you do not want to do. There is no harm in trying out every idea you have.

xmas-album-9

Block by block, I got the Christmas album done. I ripped some quilting out here and there but it was always because I got lost. There’s a blog post coming on that.

my-christmas-album-flat

It isn’t perfect but it is finished. I learned one big lesson that I’ll share down the road. And continuing with the theme of the last post, here is:

Lesson #2

Audition and practice quilting designs on Quilter’s Preview Paper.

Doing this one thing has totally changed my machine quilting experience. I can’t wait to share with you what came next!

Thanks for sharing your adventures in getting started with your HQ Capri, Diane! We look forward to your future posts and future lessons.

Comments by Mary Beth Krapil (MB)

 

 

 

2020-04-08T17:34:03-06:00April 14th, 2020|Categories: Capri|1 Comment

Getting Started with Longarm Quilting

Getting started with longarm quilting can be fun, intimidating, exciting, and scary all at once. There is a LOT to learn. Even if you have been sewing and using sewing machines all your life, there’s something a bit different when it comes to quilting.

My friend and colleague, Diane Harris, is the brand ambassador for HQ Stitch, Handi Quilter‘s line of domestic sewing machines. (Yes! Handi Quilter has sewing machines too!) There are 3 models for all kinds of sewists. You can check them out here. I do my piecing on a HQ Stitch 510 machine. I thought I was a good piecer before I got this machine, but it has made a marked improvement in my piecing. It sews SO straight and FAST!

Diane and I have had lots of conversations about quilting. She has struggled with machine quilting on domestic machines, with all the usual complaints: hard to maneuver a quilt in a small throat space, hard to keep stitches consistent, etc. I have finally convinced her to join the ranks of longarm quilters. She wanted a stationary machine, so the HQ Capri was perfect for her. Diane writes the blog over at HQStitch.com and she will be sharing her adventures in longarm quilting on her blog. I thought it would be fun to share some of her posts here. If you’re new to quilting you can empathize with her learning curve and if you’re more experienced you can share your tips with Diane.

 

Drinking From A Fire Hose by Diane Harris

For the past few years, I’ve been using Handi Quilter’s HQ Stitch sewing machines, and loving every minute. I share what I learn, make and explore with you here and on other social platforms. It’s always great fun.

Now I’m adding another Handi Quilter tool to my studio: The HQ Capri stationary longarm. I’ve only had it for a few weeks and I am learning so much. It feels like I’m drinking from a fire hose.

HQ Capri

I am new to longarm quilting, so I have all the questions that any beginner would have. Together in this space we will answer those questions. We’ll learn from experience and also from seasoned Handi Quilter educators. I’m excited about both.

We’ll get into the nuts and bolts of machine setup and getting started in another post, but today I want to whet your appetite with the quilts I’ve worked on.

My Christmas Album by Diane Harris

My Christmas Album is a Tina Curran design on which I used fusible raw-edge applique because I wanted it done quickly. The patch edges are secured with a machine straight stitch and matching or neutral thread. I used my HQ Stitch 710 and it was especially handy because I could automatically secure the beginning and ending stitches—a great timesaver.

Everything went smoothly—until I got to the quilting—a couple of years back. I couldn’t figure out what to quilt around all that applique.

I’ve had machine quilting on this quilt no fewer than three times, and I ripped it out each time. I was pretty frustrated with it, and it’s been sitting in timeout for a long while.

Lesson #1

Learning what to quilt is as challenging and as important
as learning how to quilt it.

What to quilt has been the stumbling block for My Christmas Album. I’ve rarely done applique and I didn’t have many ideas for how to quilt it. We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post.

Wild Garden by Diane Harris

Now I’ve moved on to quilting Wild Garden. I started this quilt at a retreat with Mary Lou Weidman. We learned improvisational piecing techniques and it was so much fun. Later I added more flowers and leaves with fusible applique.

detail of Wild Garden by Diane Harris

Are you getting excited to learn with me all about machine quilting and the HQ Capri? I have a hundred questions, have run into a few roadblocks, and I’ve made some major mess-ups.

Diane Harris ooops

You just haven’t lived until you’ve quilted a corner of the quilt to the back of the quilt by accident.

 

Lesson #2

Check regularly to be sure there is nothing extra under the needle.

In addition to the many lessons I’m learning, I’m going to start a list of

Things I Love

1. 18″ of throat space  (Note from Mary Beth: I TOLD you!)

 

It is such a luxury to have this much room for the quilt. I knew it would be more generous than a domestic sewing machine, but I am blown away every day by how roomy that throat space actually is.

HQ Capri in table

Read more about the HQ Capri stationary longarm. I’ll be back soon.

Diane Harris, HQ Stitch AmbassadorDiane

 

 

2020-04-01T12:49:04-06:00April 11th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|3 Comments

The Finishing Touch

Here at Handi Quilter we are all about finishing more quilts. Our And I Quilt personality, Vanessa Clark, has written a guest post about an important finishing touch, the label. Take it away Vanessa…

And I Quilt personality Vanessa Clark

The Finishing Touch

The label

The one thing most of us forget to do is put labels on our quilts. We work so hard and are so anxious to finish our quilts we forget all about the label. Let’s face it, by the time the cutting and piecing is done, all we want to do is get that quilt top on the longarm and do what we really love doing.  I like to plan the back of the quilts. Sometimes I use a coordinating fabric for the back or a solid colored back so I can really see the quilting motif. With a solid back, it is a perfect opportunity to label the quilt with some embroidery as seen here:

embroidered label

I often embroider the butterfly, which is like my logo (or identity) for me, and the year I made the quilt. You can also add other sweet labels like the ones here:

woven labels

I got them while attending Handi Quilter Academy.

And hey, if you forgot and have completely finished the quilt, just hand sew a label on the back.

Watch the HQ Live video on memory quilts for some awesome ideas. Oh, and be sure to note how my fellow And I Quilt inspiration squad members made labels for the back of our memory quilt. The back of the quilt was just as special as the front. Yay squad! I just love our team.

Now, my quilt is ready to be gifted. For this tip I give credit to my daughter, Lori, who has the gift of hospitality and always makes things so special. It is linen spray.

Olivia Blake, Anjou Pear and Jasmine linen spray

I lightly spray some linen spray to give the quilt a fresh clean smell. This product is Olivia Blake, Anjou Pear and Jasmine. Check your boutiques or home goods store for linen sprays.

Close your eyes, inhale, awe, cozy!

Tie your quilt up with a bow, write a sentimental note and this gift is off to my Aunt. Making her feel special is important to me. Giving a quilt is like giving a great big hug.

 quilt hug

I hope I have given you some ideas for your next gifted quilt.

Until next time,

I am Vanessa Clark.

A grandmother of four little cuties.

A volunteer.

And I Quilt!

Thanks Vanessa! We all need to remember that all important label, it’s like signing your artwork. Keep finishing more quilts and stay healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020-03-27T15:40:53-06:00April 4th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Cyber Quilt Show

I love going to quilt shows. I love getting inspired by looking at the quilts. I love shopping the vendors and I love to take classes to learn a new thing or three. I’ll bet you do too! Right now we need to keep our distance from one another, so quilt shows have had to cancel or re-schedule. In an effort to keep our quilting community close (is that a bad word?) and keep the inspiration flowing, Handi Quilter is hosting the Cyber Quilt Show.

At the Cyber Quilt Show we can do all the things we love doing at a quilt show and still keep ourselves healthy and do our part in keeping our country and the world safe.  Join us for a special online event complete with show discounts*, education events, and inspiration galore! It’s the next best place to find great show deals and longarm education. Looking for inspiration or have questions about our longarm machines or accessories? Just ask. We’re here to help you find the tools and resources you need to create beautiful quilts finished with craftsmanship and care.

Learn

Mary Beth Krapil teaching class

Take advantage of the FREE classes available on the website with more to come during the month of the show, great quilting education provided by our talented Handi Quilter educators.

Spark

AQS QuiltWeek – Fall Paducah 2018, Janome America Best of Show Winner, FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS by Kathy K. Wylie

AQS QuiltWeek – Fall Paducah 2018, Janome America Best of Show Winner, FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS by Kathy K. Wylie

Looking for some quilty inspiration? Scroll down on the home page to see the quilts in the show, then post your quilts on social media with the hashtag #cyberquiltshow and you just might see your quilt “hanging” in the show on the website. What a great way to inspire one another!

Save

cyber show specials

 

If you’ve been wanting to purchase a longarm machine and have been waiting for a show to take advantage of show special pricing, now is the time to act. During the Cyber Quilt Show we not only have super special prices* but you get FREE shipping* as well! All Handi Quilter longarm purchases come with the assurance of local training, education, and support. We will connect you to your local authorized HQ retailer and that retailer will get credit for the sale, just as if you walked into their shop and bought your machine there. They will train you on the operation of the machine to make sure you will know your machine and have fun finishing your quilts. That training and education is the hallmark of Handi Quilter’s outstanding customer service reputation.

“See” you at the quilt show!

by Mary Beth Krapil

* Show pricing valid through April 25, 2020 only. Discount available for new orders only. Offer is valid only at participating U.S. and Canada Handi Quilter retailers and on the Handi Quilter website. Contact your local retailer for participation details. Free shipping on select machine packages for the 48 contiguous states only. Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii receive a discount toward the total cost of freight charges. May not be combined with any other offers, discounts, or promotions.
2020-03-26T12:34:40-06:00March 27th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

More Fill Designs

Last week we saw some great examples for stipple and pebbles on the quilts at the AQS Quiltweek Show in Daytona Beach, FL. This week we’ll explore even more fill designs and get an idea how they can be used effectively. So let’s dive right in.

Straight Lines

I think the next most popular fill design is simple straight lines. These create great contrast with anything curvy and it is easy to get the right size contrast with straight lines by their spacing. This quilt by Claudia Scheja uses straight lines in multiple places for a great effect of contrast with the circular applique and curved piecing.

In the border:

Spring Thinng by Claudia Scheja of Werne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany AQS Daytona 2020

Spring Thing
by Claudia Scheja
of Werne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

And within the piecing:

Spring Thinng by Claudia Scheja of Werne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany AQS Daytona 2020

detail Spring Thinng
by Claudia Scheja
of Werne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Spring Thinng by Claudia Scheja of Werne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany AQS Daytona 2020

Congratulations!

Varied spacing of straight lines can create some quite interesting texture.

Sheer Joy by Shirley Gisi of Colorado Springs, CO AQS Daytona 2020

detail Sheer Joy
by Shirley Gisi
of Colorado Springs, CO

Sheer Joy by Shirley Gisi of Colorado Springs, CO AQS Daytona 2020

Sheer Joy
by Shirley Gisi
of Colorado Springs, CO

Straight lines create a beautiful contrast and make the trapuntoed quilting motifs really pop.

Paradise of Flowers and Fountains by Naomi Ootomo of Todashi, Saitama, Japan AQS Daytona 2020

detail Paradise of Flowers and Fountains
by Naomi Ootomo
of Todashi, Saitama, Japan

Paradise of Flowers and Fountains by Naomi Ootomo of Todashi, Saitama, Japan AQS Dayton 2020

detail Paradise of Flowers and Fountains
by Naomi Ootomo
of Todashi, Saitama, Japan

Paradise of Flowers and Fountains by Naomi Ootomo of Todashi, Saitama, Japan AQS Daytona 2020

Paradise of Flowers and Fountains
by Naomi Ootomo
of Todashi, Saitama, Japan

Paradise of Flowers and Fountains by Naomi Ootomo of Todashi, Saitama, Japan AQS Daytona 2020

Congratulations!

Hatch

Straight lines can also create hatch fill designs. Hatch fills are a classic fill. Think of all the Sun Bonnet Sue quilts you have seen. What is quilted behind Sue? Cross hatch. This triptych quilt is much more modern but uses hatch fills to great advantage.

Respite by Sandy Curran of Newport News, VA AQS Daytona 2020

detail Respite
by Sandy Curran
of Newport News, VA

Respite by Sandy Curran of Newport News, VA AQS Daytona 2020

Respite
by Sandy Curran
of Newport News, VA

The double lines of this hatch fill makes for nice texture.

Chocolate Fantasy by Linda Fleschner of North Fon du Lac, WI AQS Daytona 2020

Chocolate Fantasy
by Linda Fleschner
of North Fon du Lac, WI

Chocolate Fantasy by Linda Fleschner of North Fon du Lac, WI AQS Daytona 2020

Chocolate Fantasy
by Linda Fleschner
of North Fon du Lac, WI

You saw this quilt by Marilyn Badger last week. It has some nice cross hatching that follows the lines of the plaid fabric. A very nice quiet design choice for a kind of loud fabric. There’s contrast!

detail of Christmas in St Andrews by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

detail Christmas in St Andrews
by Marilyn Badger
of St George, UT

detail of Christmas in St Andrews by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

Christmas in St Andrews
by Marilyn Badger
of St George, UT

Basket Weave

A bit of a take-off on hatch designs are basket weave fill designs. Basket weave can create interest in an otherwise dull part of a quilt. This is another gorgeous Marilyn Badger quilt.

Midnight in Morocco by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

detail Midnight in Morocco
by Marilyn Badger
of St George, UT

 

Midnight in Morocco by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

Midnight in Morocco
by Marilyn Badger
of St George, UT

Midnight in Morocco by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

Congratulations Again!

This design looks kind of like a basket weave to me. Maybe a “modern” basket weave? This quilt was one of my favorites of the whole show. I love how Cindy used circles to create her self-portrait.

My Big Face by Cindy Stohn of Chandler, AZ AQS Daytona 2020

detail My Big Face
by Cindy Stohn
of Chandler, AZ

My Big Face by Cindy Stohn of Chandler, AZ AQS Daytona 2020

My Big Face
by Cindy Stohn
of Chandler, AZ

My Big Face by Cindy Stohn of Chandler, AZ AQS Daytona 2020

detail My Big Face
by Cindy Stohn
of Chandler, AZ

Geometric Grids

Some of my favorite fill designs are grid designs. I love the symmetry and the texture. This one creates an almost optical illusion.

Venus by Rosani Ganc of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil AQS Daytona 2020

detail Venus
by Rosani Ganc
of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Venus by Rosani Ganc of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil AQS Daytona 2020

Venus
by Rosani Ganc
of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

A unique combination of grid design and stipple. Love! I’m sorry to say I do not know the name of this quilt nor the maker. My apologies!

maker unknown AQS Daytona 2020

maker unknown

The diamond geometric grid fill pattern has the spaces filled with radiator fill. A fill in a fill, how about that?

Dangerous Liaisons by Cristina Arcenegui Bono of Alcala de Guadaira, Spain

detail Dangerous Liaisons
by Cristina Arcenegui Bono
of Alcala de Guadaira, Spain

Dangerous Liaisons by Cristina Arcenegui Bono of Alcala de Guadaira, Spain AQS Daytona 2020

Dangerous Liaisons
by Cristina Arcenegui Bono
of Alcala de Guadaira, Spain

Random Geometric

The variegated thread color and random geometric fill adds so much to the background of this fun quilt.

15 Warthogs by Marilyn Smith of Columbia, MO AQS Daytona 2020

detail 15 Warthogs
by Marilyn Smith
of Columbia, MO

 

15 Warthogs by Marilyn Smith of Columbia, MO AQS Daytona 2020

15 Warthogs
by Marilyn Smith
of Columbia, MO

Margaret Solomon Gunn is the master of fill designs. She combines them artistically to create her wonderful quilts.

The Value of Violet by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona 2020

The Value of Violet
by Margaret Solomon Gunn
of Gorham, ME

 

The Value of Violet by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona2020

detail The Value of Violet
by Margaret Solomon Gunn
of Gorham, ME

 

The Value of Violet by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona 2020

detail The Value of Violet
by Margaret Solomon Gunn
of Gorham, ME

 

The Value of Violet by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona

detail The Value of Violet
by Margaret Solomon Gunn
of Gorham, ME

 

The Value of Violet by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona 2020

Congratulations Again!

 

Which fill design is your favorite? There are so many to choose from!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

2020-03-19T10:38:55-06:00March 21st, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

Fill designs

I had the pleasure of attending the AQS Quiltweek Show in Daytona Beach, FL a few weeks back. The weather was a little chilly this year but the sun was bright and a welcome change from our rainy weather at home. Daytona Beach is a fantastic place for a quilt show in February. The beach, sunshine, quilts and vendors, what could be better? As I enjoy the quilts, I love to check out the quilting. I noticed some amazing fill designs this year. I took a lot of pictures so I could share with you.

 

AQS Quilt show Daytona 2020

Fill designs serve a couple of distinct purposes on quilts. They add interesting texture and serve to emphasize the more major elements. That might be applique or embroidery, or pop a quilting motif forward while smashing down the background.  There were plenty good examples of fill designs at the Daytona show.

Stipple

In days gone by, everyone used a stipple to emphasize a motif or applique. And stipple still works today. Here is a masterful example by Caryl Bryer Fallert on her quilt Electric Ellipses.

Electric Ellipses carol Bryer Fallert AQS Daytona 2020

detail Electric Ellipses
by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry of Port Townsend, WA

Electric Ellipses by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry of Port Townsend, WA AQS Daytona 2020

Electric Ellipses
by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry of Port Townsend, WA

The name of the game is contrast when it comes to fill designs. Notice Caryl used a contrasting color thread and the size of her stipple is smaller than the wiggly line design. The wiggly line pops thanks to the stipple and the thread color creates extra texture and interest. Almost suggesting piecing where there is none.

Here’s an an example of a different kind of stipple that is accomplished with hand quilting. Wow! Can you even imagine how much time went into this quilt?

The Crossing by Linda Roy of Knoxville, TN AQS Daytona 2020

detail The Crossing
by Linda Roy
of Knoxville, TN

The Crossing by Linda Roy of Knoxville, TN AQS Daytona 2020

The Crossing
by Linda Roy
of Knoxville, TN

Congratulations!

Another example of contrasting thread paired with a stipple fill design in Marilyn Badger’s quilt Christmas in St. Andrews.

detail of Christmas in St Andrews by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

detail of Christmas in St Andrews
by Marilyn Badger
of St George, UT

detail of Christmas in St Andrews by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

detail of Christmas in St Andrews
by Marilyn Badger
of St George, UT

detail of Christmas in St Andrews by Marilyn Badger of St George, UT AQS Daytona 2020

Congratulations!

Stipple is that wiggly pattern that never crosses over itself. Sometimes the stipple is so tiny that you can’t help but cross over. I refer to that fill design as a sand stipple or a scribble. Here’s an example by Margaret Solomon Gunn, who quilts on a HQ Fusion.

My Secret Garden by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona 2020

detail My Secret Garden
by Margaret Solomon Gunn
of Gorham, ME

My Secret Garden by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona

My Secret Garden
by Margaret Solomon Gunn
of Gorham, ME

My Secret Garden by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME AQS Daytona

Congratulations!

Pebbles

With the advent of movable longarm quilting machines, more and more show quilts were being machine quilted. The judges got bored with stipple and asked contestants to step up their game with unique fill designs and the pebble (bubble, circles) became wildly popular. So much so, that I think we see more pebbles at a quilt show than stipple.

Remember contrast is important in a fill design so pebbles work well with straight lines. The pebbles on Jodi Robinson’s quilt Plain and Simple really set off the geometric design.

Plain and Simple by Jodi Robinson of Enon Valley, PA AQS Daytona 2020

detail Plain and Simple
by Jodi Robinson
of Enon Valley, PA

Plain and Simple by Jodi Robinson of Enon Valley, PA AQS Daytona 2020

Plain and Simple
by Jodi Robinson
of Enon Valley, PA

Plain and Simple by Jodi Robinson of Enon Valley, PA AQS Daytona 2020

Congratulations!

These pebbles are a nice contrast in shape and size from the straight lines.

Tribal Dance by Jackie Van Houten of Monroe, MI AQS Daytona 2020

detail Tribal Dance
by Jackie Van Houten
of Monroe, MI

Tribal Dance by Jackie Van Houten of Monroe, MI AQS Daytona 2020

Tribal Dance
by Jackie Van Houten
of Monroe, MI

Did I mention size? Size matters when you are going for contrast. Generally, the fill design should be 1/3 or less the size of what it is meant to enhance. Look at these teeny, tiny pebbles! (finger in photo for size reference).

Princess Rose Garden by Naomi Iida of Tokyo, Japan AQS Daytona 2020

detail Princess Rose Garden
by Naomi Iida
of Tokyo, Japan

Princess Rose Garden by Naomi Iida of Tokyo, Japan AQS Daytona 2020

Princess Rose Garden
by Naomi Iida
of Tokyo, Japan

I have photos of other fill designs that I’ll save for next week. In the meantime, practice those stipples and pebbles!

by Mary Beth Krapil

2020-03-04T15:20:01-07:00March 14th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|6 Comments

A guest post from And I Quilt personality Sarah McNary

This week we are so lucky to have a guest post from And I Quilt personality Sarah McNary. Sarah is a pilot, a camper, and she quilts! You can learn more about Sarah and get inspired by watching her And I Quilt video. Here, Sarah is sharing her sources of inspiration when it comes to quilting the quilt and takes the fear out of the words “quilt as desired” Take it away Sarah…..

Sarah McNary And I Quilt

Why Not Take a Chance? Try Something New?: Tips and Lessons Learned from a Wall-Hanging

 

The words “Quilt as desired” may inspire some to let their creativity run free like wild horses; but my creative horses seem more inclined to trot back to the barn for an early dinner and bed. Somehow I always feel that the generous instructor who so thoughtfully detailed each and every step of my quilt pattern has suddenly abandoned me with those ominous words. Then I’m left with the quilter’s equivalent of “writer’s block.”

 

This is when the voices start…my lazy voice argues that, “Edge to edge is good enough.” When I hesitate, she reminds me, “There are no quilt police!”

 

My clever voice advises copying the quilting from the pattern picture. She says, “After all, you liked it well enough to buy it in the first place…maybe that’s why.”

 

But there’s another small voice in amongst the louder ones, and it’s her I’ve come to listen to more and more. She’s the one who whispers, “Why not take a chance? Try something new?”

 

“That’s all fine and well,” I tell her, “but I’m stumped.” And so she begins her sage advice:

Tip #1: Look to the Pattern of the Quilt Itself

In this case, my quilt top is a Marti Mitchell “Hexi Puzzler” pattern, pieced from her templates. I see a nice geometric 6 pointed star that would make a nice ghost pattern of the main motif.

Marti Michell ahexie Puzzler pattern

Tip #2: Look to the Pattern of the Fabrics

In this case, most of my fabrics are from a hand-dyed class I took years ago so don’t have much of a pattern. The background white fabric has white on white dots. They remind me of bubbles which is a fill pattern I’m working on improving. A wall quilt is the perfect place to practice.  It’s not so large that it’s overwhelming but enough space to improve (hopefully).

Tip #3: Look to Contrast Shapes for Visual Balance

Since there are so many straight lines and geometric shapes in this quilt top, it has a more “yang” or masculine feel. Introducing a few curves with more organic, feminine  or “yin” lines may help balance things and what is more suited than a free-motion feather?

 

Tip #4: Choose Color Contrast Based on Your Confidence Level

For this wall-hanging, I know I’ll be stitching scaled stars in the white hexagons (imprecise at best) and the tiny feathers I have planned for the star points present their own challenges in the irregular shape so I’m going with matching thread. White for the white areas and I’m going to commit to all six color changes in every star (all those stops and starts…gulp) to disguise any goofs. I did get lazy and stick with a white bobbin the whole way – full disclosure.

 

Tip #5: Always Ask for Help from Friends

Sometimes, I can’t see the forest for the trees and so I called a fellow quilter to help me decide between two border options. I’d used a sharpie on my preview plastic to help her see what my options looked like full scale on the actual quilt. It didn’t take her more than a minute to decide what I’d been deliberating over for hours.

 

Lessons Learned:

 

I’m not a professional quilter. I quilt for love, for family, for friends and charity on occasion. I’ve won a few ribbons and even had one of my quilts on exhibit in that National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, but can best be classified as an enthusiastic hobbyist. I do teach classes at a local quilt shop so I like to share what I learn from each quilt I complete.

 

Lesson #1: Always Stitch a Test Pattern when Changing Thread.

 

Check out the lovely green test pattern here – looks pretty good doesn’t it? Now check out the back!!! My green thread was a heavier weight than my white and I didn’t get it fully “flossed” through my tension discs. So glad I caught that before I stitched on my quilt.

Lesson #2: Always Check that Your Method of Marking Comes Out Easily

 

I used my favorite blue, water-erase marker to mark up all my ghost star shapes. It worked great right up until I spritzed water on to check how it was going to look in white on white. The marker disappeared instantly but so did my crisp white background as the nearby green, hand-dyed fabric started to bleed.

marking quilt

 

Side note: it was a great fabric dying class but I am not a natural dyer. Even after multiple rinses and Retayne, my fabrics continue to bleed when wet making them only suitable for wall-hangings which won’t get washed…which I forgot in this case.

 

Luckily, my sister suggested a small paintbrush and a careful hand and although it took far longer and I felt like an amatuer restoration artist, it worked!

 

Lesson #3: Audition Your Thread Choices with Unwound Piles of Thread or Actual Stitching Rather than Whole Spools

 

My favorite blue turned out to be way too dark. Then my next choice was way too light. Feeling a little like Goldilocks I settled on my third choice in order to find the best fit.

thread choices

Lesson #4: It’s Never Too Late to Go Back to Your Longarm

 

After I had squared and trimmed the quilt (I’d even threaded my domestic machine with matching thread to attach the binding), I discovered an un-quilted section of the wall-hanging that hadn’t seemed like much of an issue previously but puffed out haughtily now (I used a double batting on this quilt – Warm and Natural on the bottom, wool batting on top to enhance the definition of my quilting). So I loaded it back on the frame using my Easy Grasp Clamps and quilted the poufs down.

easy grasp clamps

Finally done and ready for our local quilt show!

finished quilt

 

Thanks Sarah! Hopefully we won’t fear those 3 little words at the end of the quilt pattern anymore!

Be sure to catch Sarah’s And I Quilt video and take advantage of the 20% off on all feet during Sarah’s campaign.

AIQ Sarah McNary

2020-03-06T15:34:05-07:00March 6th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|3 Comments

Even more new features of Pro-Stitcher Premium

I’m glad you’ve come back for even more new features of Pro-Stitcher Premium! The Pro-Stitcher Premium Beta software release was made available February 3, 2020. Click here for more information and to download the release. I have saved the best for last. We now have the ability to skew to triangles! I know, right? I can hear your shouts of joy all the way from here!  If you missed the previous posts you can read them here and here.

Three Skew Options

To access the skew function choose the Modify tab and the Skew button. On the sidebar you will see four options: No Skew, Skew, Border Skew and Triangle skew.

3 skew options

1. Skew

This equates to Skew 1 in previous versions. It’s great for 4 cornered, straight block areas. It is the one to use for 4 point area shapes that have fairly straight sides.

skewed block

2. Border Skew

Border Skew works for areas with 4 or more points. The reason it is called border skew is that it is really useful for those wonky borders. If you have been in my classes, you probably remember my sister-in-law, Judy. Judy has a bit of difficulty with sewing a straight, even seam and she also struggles with her rotary cutter. Here is an example of one of her borders.

border skew

You can see the bottom (seam between border and quilt) is pretty wobbly and the top (raw edge of border) shows her deficient fabric cutting skills. Poor Judy! And poor me, because I quilt her quilt tops. But Border Skew comes to my rescue! It will make the design fit between those undulations perfectly and makes me look like a really good quilter. Judy just needs more practice…..a lot more. 😉 If you reading this, Love you Judy!

3. Triangle Skew

With older versions it was a bit of a challenge to skew triangle designs into triangular shaped spaces on our quilts. Now it is a snap!

Here is an example of a design and the triangular area where I want to quilt that design.

plump feathers

Simply touch the Triangle skew button in the side bar and voila! Please note: Triangle Skew will only be an option when the area on your workspace consists of 3 points; otherwise it is greyed out.

skewed plump feathers

It could not be any easier!

Here’s another example with a straight line design.

straight triangle design

Triangle Skew activated.

straight skewed

Looks so good!

Sometimes the design needs to be rotated to look it’s best in the area. Triangle Skew first, and then Modify > Rotate.

curly feathers

Triangle Skew

feather curl skewed

Rotated 45 degrees clock-wise.

feather curls rotated 45

Rotated 90 degrees clock-wise

feather curls 90 degree rotation

Very fast, very easy, and so very cool!

Hope you enjoyed learning about the even more new features of Pro-Stitcher Premium over the last few posts. Is this your favorite, like it is mine? Let me know in the comments.

If you run into any issues on your Pro-Stitcher system with these features of the new Pro-Stitcher beta version we would love to hear your feedback.

Happy (Triangle skew) quilting!

by Mary Beth Krapil

2020-03-06T11:06:39-07:00February 29th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|6 Comments