Blog - Page 2 of 39 - Handi Quilter

Turning the Quilt Successfully

Turning the quilt to quilt the side borders is a great technique that’s used by most accomplished quilters. It is definitely the best way when you are using robotic quilting like Pro-Stitcher, if you are really into accuracy (like me). It’s also a good technique for free motion quilters. Quilting a border all in one go is just easier. Not to mention all the stops and starts you’d have along the sides if you don’t turn.

What am I talking about you ask?

 

Imagine this scenario: You decide to quilt the borders of the quilt differently than the rest of the quilt with a continuous design. An example of this might be a quilt with a feather vine along the border.

Silver Celebration by Mary BEth Krapil

Silver Celebration by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Or a border that does not turn the corners, like this one.

You quilt the top border all the way across and it turns out beautiful. But only a small portion of the side borders are showing in your throat space. If you quilt the side borders as you work your way through the quilt, you have to figure out a way to divide them up into manageable pieces that fit in your throat space. This is called “chunking the border”.

You will have to have tie-offs at each section. Tie-offs can sometimes be visible unless you knot and bury the tails. Visible tie-offs are not good. Knotting and burying takes lots of time, also not good! So how do you solve this problem? Turning the quilt!

MY process

Start by basting the top and sides raw edges within your first throat space. Whenever I quilt a separate design in the border, I will stitch-in-the-ditch the seam between the border and the body of the quilt. It makes a great difference in the look of the finished quilt and is well worth your time and effort. Stitch-in-the-ditch across the top seam and as far down on both side seams as you can go.

Quilt the top border. Don’t quilt the side borders, just the top. Baste the side borders. Either with long basting stitches or with pins placed horizontally.

Then quilt the interior of the the quilt (as much as you can within the throat space).

 

I usually use pins unless the border is very wide.  Be SURE to place the pins horizontally. This allows the pins to roll around the take-up pole without bending.

 

Advance the quilt, baste the side raw edges and stitch-in-the-ditch the seam between border and body as much as you can in that next throat space. Baste the borders. Quilt the interior.

Continue in this manner til you reach the bottom of the quilt.

In the last throat space, baste the sides and bottom raw edges. SID (Stitch-in-the-ditch). Then quilt the bottom border. Baste the side borders. Quilt the interior of the quilt.

Now everything is quilted except the side borders. They are basted in place.

Tips for turning successfully

Remove the quilt from the frame. Trim all excess batting away from the quilt top. Be careful not to cut the backing.

Handi Batting Scissors are ideal for this job.  Trim all four sides.

 

Measure the excess backing fabric from the edge of the quilt top on both un-quilted sides. Trim if needed so that it is even all the way across.

 

Attach one of the sides to the take-up leader. I pin to my leaders. Use whatever method you are comfortable with. Do NOT pin the other end to the backing bar. Drape the quilt over the backing bar and clamp in place with HQ Super Clamps.

 

Notice that I have not removed my basting pins. Wait until you are ready to quilt!

Remove your basting (pins or stitches) and quilt this border.

 

Then remove the quilt from the frame and turn 180 degrees. Attach the other border to the take-up leader. Secure the quilt to the backing bar. Remove your basting and quilt the final border.

 

Your side borders are quilted perfectly! With no stops and starts! All in one go!

I hope you give this a try. You’ll find it does not take any more time than chunking the border as-you-go and you will get much better results! If you do, let us know what you think of turning the quilt in the comments.

Happy Quilting!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

P.S. The designs you see on the patriotic quilt are available on Quiltable.com!

 

 

 

Beginner’s Guide to a Quilt Show

The Spring Quilt show season is gearing up. Quilters are ready (especially this year!) to get out and go. We start looking for that next project, with happy spring color after a long cold winter. A quilt show is the ideal place for getting inspiration, buying supplies and learning new techniques. Chances are you’ll find a show in your neck of the woods during the next few months. Here’s a handy guide to help you enjoy the show to its fullest.

Gather information

  • Visit a local quilt shop.  Most shows, whether local or national, will have informational fliers available at local shops. You can also ask the staff about any shows coming up in the area. These folks are plugged into the latest in the quilting world. They can guide you to the best shows.
  • Check out the show’s website.  This is where you’ll find information about the venue, hours, class offerings, admission, contests, vendors, safety, and more.
  • Sign up for a class. Shows are a great place to learn the latest techniques from the experts. Handi Quilter is proud to sponsor hands-on longarm classrooms at many major shows throughout the country and the world. We provide Avante, Simply Sixteen or Sweet Sixteen machines for students to use during class. It’s a great opportunity to really get to know a machine!
  • Come Prepared!

    • Comfortable walking shoes are a must. You will put quite a large number on that step counter! Get some that will make you comfortable even when standing for longer periods of time than usual. A lot of options here if you are looking for some.
    • Dress in layers. The temperature at shows can never be predicted, it might be very chilly or it might be warm. It is always good to have a sweater or light jacket, just in case.
    • Be ready for crowds. especially at larger national shows.
    • Speaking of crowds, check the show’s information about guidelines for pandemic safety measures. You’ll want to come prepared.
    •  Bring a tote. Do you have a roomy bag that is comfortable to carry? That’s the perfect thing for carting all the treasures you will find at the vendors. If you come to Houston Quilt Festival this year in the fall, the first booth you want to hit is the Handi Quilter booth. We give away bags, large enough to hold a king-sized quilt, every day of the show. Come early, they go fast!
      • Camera. You will want to take photos of the quilts that inspire you. Maybe you love the color palette, or the piecing or appliqué, or the QUILTING! You’ll want to add those ideas to your inspiration stash.  If you use your phone as your camera, be sure it is charged.
      • Taking a class? A notebook and pen are a must. Be sure to check the supply list for your class to be sure you have all the items you’ll need, to learn the most.
      • Snacks. You’ve got to keep up your energy. Chocolate is my recommendation.

Important to do’s

  • Time Give yourself the gift of enough time to fully enjoy all the show has to offer. This might mean planning to come to the show for 2 or more days.
  • Come by the HQ booth and say “hello”! We love to meet quilters. Not part of the family yet? Give a machine a test drive!
  • Don’t forget to look for the truck. Take a photo of yourself by the HQ truck and share on social media. #handiquilter @handiquilter on Instagram.

Happy Quilt show season!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

One More Echo – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

One more super easy and super fun echo quilting design and I promise to stop. (Maybe) But can you see how echoing is a essential skill for a free motion quilter? It is a must-have in your tool box.

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

 

This design was originated by my good friend and Handi Quilter Ambassador, Helen Godden. Helen quilts free-motion on the HQ Capri. If you don’t already follow her on social media, you should! She is a wealth of fabulous ideas and techniques. You can find her here:

Facebook:  Helen Godden Quilts
YouTube: Helen Godden Quilts
Website: www.helengodden.com

She calls this design “Roadmaps”. That’s an appropriate name since you create a roadmap for yourself and then echo quilt. It’s really that simple!

I love the look you get with swirls.

Here’s How:

Choose your favorite removable marking tool. Chalk, Handi Iron-Off Pencils, water soluble marker, air soluble marker….  There are lots to choose from. Just be sure to test, to make sure the marks will come out once you’re finished quilting.

Handi Iron Off Pencils

 

Create your roadmap

Draw a swirl.

 

Add another swirl. And one more.

Keep going until you fill up your space.

 

Now you have your roadmap.

Quilting

Start at the beginning with your first swirl. Echo quilt next to one side of the swirl. Which side you choose does not matter. Use the side of your machine’s foot to glide along your drawn line. This will give you even spacing.

 

When you come to the end of your first swirl, swing around the tip.

 

 

And start quilting the other side of your marked line. When you encounter another swirl, keep going next to that swirl.

Keep going and keep going and eventually you will wind up finishing back where you started. Once finished, you can remove your roadmap.

You are left with a beautiful echo quilting design!

 

So fun and so easy and so very beautiful! I like to use this design for all-over quilting, for background filling, or to fill busy blocks.

Here is one I quilted out.

 

Here’s a close-up, but it’s a little hard to see my blue water soluble marks. I was able to see them fine for quilting.

 

I quilted this piece of fabric to use for a bag project. Why buy pre-quilted fabric, when you can quilt your own?

I like using the foam headliner material in place of batting for bags.  Bosal In-R-Form and By Annie’s Soft and Stable are a couple of brand names for the product.  I load it just like I would load a backing fabric. Then baste the top fabric on, and quilt away. It creates beautiful texture and gives your bag nice form.

I’m planning to have some fun with my couching foot on this. So the echo design is perfect for some quilting and a backdrop for my couching.

I’ll share the rest of my process in another post.  For now, Have fun echoing one more!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

More Easy Echo Designs – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

As promised, we’ll learn some more easy echo designs. How did you do with the peacock feathers? I’d love to see some pics in the comments!

We can modify the teardrop shape of the peacock feather to create a similar but very different looking design.

Leaves

Start with a leaf shape. You should be proficient at stitching leaves by now. If not, go back to this post for a review and more practice.

     OR   

 

Then just like the teardrop, echo it.

And echo again.

Start a new leaf and do it again to travel around your quilt.

Remember to travel in an undulating path to prevent the design from looking like “rows”.  You want to have your quilting be an all over texture and not rows.

This design is available on Quiltable.com, if you like to quilt with pantographs or robotic quilting systems. Pro-Stitcher is the robotic system that pairs with Handi Quilter, Janome, King Quilter, and Babylock longarm machines. The design’s name on Quiltable is “Flames”

Pro Tip: I called the initial shape for this design a leaf. It can just as easily be called a flame. Depending on the theme of the top you are quilting you can quilt echoed leaves or echoed flames. Only you will know it’s the exact same design.

 

Rainbows

Along the same lines, with a little twist, are rainbows.

 

Start by quilting an arc.

Don’t start your echo from the point where you finish your first arc.

 

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Instead, travel a bit away from where you ended.

Then quilt your echo.

Travel, and then quilt your second echo.

Start another arc.

Travel along the previous rainbow and echo the arc.

Travel away from your ending point and stitch your 2nd echo.

Notice that the echos go until you hit the rainbow already stitched.

Once you get going you will nestle your arcs between the rainbows you have already quilted.

Continue on in this matter to fill up your quilting space.

You can tell this one takes a bit more concentration and you will get more practice in over-stitching as you do your traveling.

The same tips apply to the leaves design and the rainbow design as we mentioned with the peacock feathers:

If you need to fill space, add another echo.

If you don’t have enough space for 2 echos, just do one. Or none! No one will ever know!

Also, where your first shape ends, will be the side you end on after 2 echos.

 

An even more challenging way to quilt the Rainbow design is the traditional Baptist Fan design. Where the rainbows are in rows and are uniform size.

The best way to accomplish Baptist Fan, if you are quilting free motion, is to use rulers. It’s a bit labor intensive but it is really beautiful when finished.

Remember, post pictures of your stitching in the comments!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

Quilters’ Survey

I want to encourage you to take the Quilters’ Survey. It starts on Monday, February 7, 2022. And runs through Friday, February 11,2022.

You can find it here.

quilters' Survey information

 

Not only is it a chance to have your voice heard by the innovators in the quilting industry. You can win prizes too!

Twenty-five $50 gift certificates will be given away from our sponsors.

Premier Needle Arts

Handi Quilter

Superior Threads

Connecting Threads

American Quilter’s Society

 

Grab this opportunity to make your wishes known. What tools do you wish were available to make quilting easier, more fun, quicker, more accessible?

Have ideas? Let us know and maybe they will become reality! Log on to the Quilters’ Survey website anytime next week to participate.

Good luck! I hope you are one of the lucky winners!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

2022-02-03T17:10:53-07:00February 5th, 2022|Categories: giveaway, Quilters' Survey|Tags: , |3 Comments

Echo Quilting Designs – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

Building on last week’s post about echo quilting, this week we will talk about creating designs with simple shapes and echoing. Now that you’ve practiced a bit and have that skill in your toolbox.  These echo quilting designs work well for both Edge-to-Edge and background fills. It just depends on how large or small you quilt the design.

Let’s dive right in!

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

 

Like I said, start with a simple shape (remember those 5 basic shapes?)

Peacock Feathers

There’s a design called Peacock Feathers. You start with a teardrop shape.

 

Then echo it.

 

Echo it again.

 

Right from where you end come out with another teardrop shape. Then echo it twice. My mantra for this design is teardrop-echo-echo-teardrop-echo-echo…… Read this post to find out how mantras can help while quilting.

Pro Tip: You can control the direction the design takes by which way you quilt that first teardrop. The side the first teardrop ends up on, is the side you will end on after two echos.

If I quilt the next teardrop the same way I quilted the first two, I will end on the right. When I switch directions, I will end on the left and I can travel in that direction to fill my space.

 

Continue with teardrop-echo-echo to fill up your space remembering to switch directions to get where you want to go.

 

If you get stuck in a corner (because you got distracted) simply add another echo.

 

When there is a small space to fill that will not accommodate the whole peacock feather, only do one echo.

 

Or just stitch a teardrop. No one will ever know!

 

You can do this large as an edge-to-edge design. Or small as a fill design behind appliques or larger quilting motifs. It is a fast and easy design to stitch.

And looks much nicer quilted.

 

Pro Tip: Do you see that blue line in the bottom right of the photo above?  That is blue chalk that has been washed 3-4 times with different concoctions. So the tip is: Only use white chalk for marking your quilts. Never use colored chalk! Or at the very least, test before you mark to make sure your marks will come out.

Can you think of other basic shapes that could make a nice echo quilting design? We’ll explore a few more next week!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

2022-01-26T15:34:03-07:00January 29th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

Can You Hear the Echo? Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

Another free motion skill you will want to master is echo quilting. It has so many uses! Echo quilting is uniformly distanced quilting lines that outline or echo a shape. This simple technique can have really big impact on your quilts.

If you want to showcase a patch or applique or a quilting motif, echoing is a great way to accomplish that.

A classic example of echo quilting is seen on Hawaiian quilts. The quilting echos a central applique and is repeated until the entire space (or quilt) is filled.

Image of a Hawaiian quilt Hiart, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hiart, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the above example, the quilter utilized echo quilting inside the applique as well. Notice how the echo quilting emphasizes the shape of the applique without distracting from it.

Hawaiian quilting is an extreme example. Sometimes you’ll just use a single echo line to

frame a particular element.

Like this mug rug.

 

Look at the difference when the shape is not echoed.

The echoing really accentuates the shape.

When you take the time to quilt a challenging or intricate design you want it to be noticed. Like feathers. Feathers always look better with an echo.

 

Create a frame around a particular element

Echoing on both sides of the string of pearls makes it stand out.

 

A double echo around the central octagon is very effective.

 

If two is good, three must be better! (PSA: this thinking does not apply to adult beverages or medications.)

Fill spaces

Concentric echos fill the center of this ring.

 

Try off-setting the echos for a completely different look.

 

It works for filling the space outside of the ring as well.

 

Multiple echos with varying spacing

can be quite interesting

These echos create faux borders which can be filled with any design of your choice.

 

The gentle wave that is on both sides of the small circles has an echo on the top and bottom with a deeper wave echo. Then at the top, a wide-spaced echo that is symmetrical with the wave below it sets the design apart. Below, a less-formal set of echos fills the space between the wave design and the larger circles.

By taking a simple shape and echoing it, I created a new cool design!

How to do it?

A great no-mark way to stitch a simple echo is to use the edge of your hopping foot as a guide for spacing. On our Handi Quilter machines the needle is 1/4 inch away from the edge of the foot. So, if you glide the edge of the foot along the edge of the thing you are echoing, you’ll get a nice 1/4th inch echo.

If you want different spacing you could give the Handi Echo Feet a try. They come in a set of three, for three different sizes of echos. The feet provide a fixed interval to use when echo quilting around a motif or using rulers. Sizes are a 3/8-inch interval, a 1/2-inch interval, and a 3/4-inch interval. These are compatible with all HQ machines with Interchangeable Foot Mount. If your machine is newer than November 2014 you have the correct foot mount. If not, there is a Conversion kit available to update your machine to be able to use all the cool feet available.

Remember you can always do less-formal free flowing echos too!

Join next week when I’ll show you some useful designs that incorporate echoing.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022-01-22T11:06:11-07:00January 22nd, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

Quilt From the Back – Free Motion for Beginners

When we talk about “quilt from the back”, most quilters think of pantographs or groovy boards. Handi Quilter sells the Quilt From the Back Kit for folks interested in quilting with pantographs. Pantographs are printed quilting designs that usually come on rolls. They are placed on the table at the back of the machine and you quilt by following along the pattern line with a laser light attached to the machine. You use the controls on the handlebars at the back. Can you see the little dot of laser light on the pattern in the photo?

HQ Amara with quilt from the back kit

But this post is about quilting from the back – free motion style! This technique draws on all the practice and skills we’ve gained so far in this free motion quilting for beginners series. One of the things we learned was to draw quilting inspiration from the fabrics in the quilt. But what about the backing fabric? What if it has a really cool quilting design? You could make a stencil using Golden Threads paper like in this post. Then mark the designs on the quilt top. But why mark, when you don’t have to?

An Example

I had this cute baby quilt top that needed quilting. This one will go to Quilts for Kids to bless a child in a local hospital.

 

With super cute backing fabric.

I was stumped about what design to quilt. Looking at the backing I thought those flowers would make a good design for this quilt.

So I decided to quilt from the back and use the flowers on the backing fabric as my guide. No mark quilting!

Here’s how I did it:

To quilt the back, the backing fabric needs to be on top. Since the quilt top is smaller than the backing that could be problematic. My solution was to load the quilt as I normally would. With the quilt backing on the bottom, and the quilt top on top, and the batting in between.

Then I basted the top and side (within the throat space). I also basted across the body of the quilt about every 4-5 inches. Using a long 1 inch basting stitch made it easy to remove the basting later. Als0, I chose a contrasting thread to do the basting.

 

I worked my way down, basting the sides and across the quilt. Then across the bottom edge.

Once the quilt was all basted, I cut away the excess batting using my Handi batting scissors. Love these scissors!

 

Then I unpinned from the leaders, flipped it over (so that the backing was facing up) and pinned it back on.

 

Now comes the fun part! I quilted around each flower connecting one to another with a short line of stitching. The basting around the outside edge of the quilt showed me where to quilt. I removed the interior basting little-by-little as I went.

quilting path

Start tracing around the petals:

quilt from the back quilting path

 

Complete all the petals and go into the flower to go around the center with a loop:

 

Travel out between two petals and stitch to the next flower:

 

Repeat!  This stitched really fast.

 

Some of the skills you will utilize with this technique are:

Quilting curves and loops – two of our basic shapes!

Tracing a design – remember those practice fabrics?

Looking ahead – Not only to get nice smooth curves, but also to know where to exit the flower and which flower you will stitch to next and where you will enter that next one.

It’s easy quilting, but you do have to have your brain engaged for all this looking ahead. Remember the secret!

And it’s so fun to unpin from the leaders and turn it over to see what it looks like on top.

 

I think the quilting looks so fun on the same fabric squares on the front. Like echoing.

Give it a try and let us know how it went for you in the comments. BTW this is easier to do on a stationary machine or a domestic machine. All you have to do is flip it over!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Welcome New Quilters!

Santa ordered a slew of HQ longarm quilting machines from us this year to be delivered all over the world. So I want to say, “welcome new quilters! to the Handi Quilter family.”  Families look after one another and help each other out. And that’s what Handi Quilter is all about.

Helping you finish your quilts

We do that in 3 ways.

1. Equip

We make great machines that will help you finish quilts quickly, easily, and professionally. Visit our website and clock on the machine tab to check out all the possibilities.

2. Educate

We provide the education you need to get the most from your machine. At the website, click on the Education, Events and Resources tabs to see the many opportunities available to you.

3. Inspire

We share inspiration to spark your creativity. You’ll find a Community tab on the website that shares some of the ways we endevor to inspire you.

This blog is all about #2 and #3.

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

At the end of May 2021 I started a series of posts on Free Motion Quilting for Beginners. It has become wildly popular! And I know you’ll want to join in. You’ll probably want to start from the very beginning. To make it easy for you I have compiled a list of the links to all the posts. This list is in order from first to most recent.

Pace Yourself

There are 20 posts and you’re going to want to pace yourself. I recommend reading one or two a week and practicing the techniques. Everyday practice/play is essential to becoming a good free motion quilter. Gift yourself the time to learn. And be kind to yourself. Some shapes will come easy to you and others you will find more challenging. It’s not that you cannot quilt those shapes, you just need more practice time.

Pro-Tip: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” The pro who said these words was Vincent VanGogh. Seems he should know.

portrait of Vincent VanGogh

 

Getting Started

Curves

Loops

Ready for a Real Quilt!

Stipple / Meander

 

Are you keeping up with your everyday quilting play? I hope that it becomes a life-long habit.

Spiral out of Control!

 

S Shapes

Leaves

Holiday designs

Edge to edge

Stay tuned!

More posts on free motion quilting are coming.  I hope this list is helpful for you. For those who have been following along, show us your best quilting with a pic in the comments to welcome new quilters. We are on the road to becoming Super Quilters!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

Happy New Year!

I want to wish each of you a happy new year! What a wonderful thought it is that some of our best quilts haven’t even happened yet. I hope some of what I write here will help you make your best quilt EVER!

My wish for you ……. that your seam ripper will collect dust in 2022. Enjoy every stitch!

Happy New Year photowith clock and holiday tree

 

With warmest wishes for health and happiness,

Mary Beth

P.S.  If there’s something you’d like to see discussed here on the blog this year, let me know in the comments.

2021-12-09T14:39:17-07:00January 1st, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments
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