Addendum to Perfection

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

I recently wrote a post about the pursuit of perfection. If you missed it you can read it here.

Today, I read this quote and it is perfect!

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good. – John Steinbeck

See what I mean? Perfect!

Happy quilting!

 

2018-06-29T15:26:47-06:00June 30th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

Ruler of the Month Club

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Have you checked out the Handi Quilter Ruler of the Month Club yet? If you like to quilt with rulers, or even if you are just getting started with ruler quilting then this is the club for you. You get a new ruler each month that is exclusive for club members only. Along with that comes access to a great tutorial on how to use the ruler and design ideas. The Ruler of the Month Club is a great opportunity to expand your quilting skills and grow your confidence in ruler quilting.

I love ruler work because of its precision. It can really make a quilt shine. I think my favorite in the ROMC3 is going to be the 6″ x 1/4″ Line Grid Ruler.

Each month in the six-month series a new ruler will make its debut. As a club member you purchase it at a discounted price. If you participate at your local shop you can learn new techniques and designs and make new friends. At the end of the 6 months you will receive a special club member exclusive gift.

A new series ROMC3 is starting July 1. These are the rulers that will be featured:

If your local shop does not offer the club or you are too far away to participate in-shop, many of the HQ retailers offer the club by mail. You will still have access to the exclusive educational video each month. Find a participating retailer here.

2018-06-10T16:18:48-06:00June 22nd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|12 Comments

HQ Academy 2018 – it just keeps getting better

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Another HQ Academy is in the history books. As someone who has taught at Academy every year since the very beginning, I can say, it just keeps getting better and better. It’s a mystery how we manage to top ourselves year after year, but amazingly, it happens.

So much planning goes into this event. The logistical planning, the venue, the menu, getting all the machines to Layton and set up, getting the fabric loaded on the machines and the sandwiches cut for the Sweet classes, collecting and staging all the supplies needed for classes, the technical work of class catalog and on-line sign ups, the signage, the quilts to hang, the name tags, the class schedules, the class hand-outs, co-coordinating teachers and classes, the projectors and screens and microphones, the extension cords! (you would not believe how many extension cords), the goodie bags, the speakers, the teachers, the HQ store, the vendors, the travel and the snacks. Just to name a few. And it is done twice! once for the HQ Retailers, and once for the HQ owners.

But the real magic happens when everyone starts to arrive, excited and happy and expectant. Greeting old friends and meeting new ones. Sharing common bonds – love of quilting and an eagerness to learn. It truly is magic.

A first time attendee, Marilyn Switzer, said it so nicely, “Last week I attended my first HQ Academy. I’m new to the whole long arm quilting experience. I signed up for classes I thought would benefit me, but really had no idea what to expect. I was blown away. Class instructors were amazing! I felt no matter the skill set, each student took something away from every class. Educators encouraged all questions and were eager to make sure everyone got the experience they were after. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. The HQ staff really know how to put on a teaching event. Every detail was covered, the event went so smoothly, at least from my perspective. I learned more from this one event that I could have ever imagined. Thanks so much for taking care of your customers! I look forward to attending another year!” 

Thank you Marilyn, that is exactly what we strive for. We look forward to seeing you again, in the mean time, Happy Quilting!

I’m going to show you some of the photos from this year and let you share in some of the magic.

Everyone got to know this smiling face. Heidi did a wonderful job helping everyone at the front desk!

   

We are already working on next year. Will we see you there?

In the mean time join the HQAcademy Facebook group. There you will hear stories from this years attendees and you will be in the know about all things HQ Academy.

 

2018-06-13T14:56:12-06:00June 15th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

The Pursuit of Perfection

by Mary Beth Krapil

A friend sent me this:

I don’t know where it originated, so I can’t give credit; my apologies. But it really got me to thinking. About perfection and our different attitudes about perfection. I come from my background as a pharmacist, where perfection is pretty important. After all, really bad things can happen if your pharmacist makes a mistake. But as a quilter, I have a much more relaxed attitude about perfection. I sort of follow these rules:

So I guess you could say we can have differing levels of perfectionism in different pursuits. Let’s not talk about housework. Like Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” We will stick to the subject of quilting.

I recently read The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. And this passage just works for me as a quilter: 

“In 99 percent of the stuff we do, perfection is superfluous. It’s not necessary, not expected, and likely won’t be noticed or appreciated. So here we are, devoting extra time and effort to making everything just so – and nobody cares. It’s actually a wonderful realization; because when we stop striving for perfection, we get our stuff done faster, and with greater ease.”

Here’s my suggestion: take pride in your work; put forth your best effort; strive to improve, but don’t let the pursuit of perfection stop you from finishing projects. Be proud of where you are right now. Do the best you can and improve when you can.

Keep learning, take classes, use the tools available to help in your work (like rulers or stencils or Pro-Stitcher, sometimes, even the seam ripper).

Listen to people like Scott Adams, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

If you are happy with it, leave it. If it bothers you, fix it. It’s really that easy. Sometimes I have to get out that seam ripper and I have an assortment to choose from.

It kind of scared me and at the same time amused me when I started to collect them all for the photo. Maybe I’m more a perfectionist than I admit to? Each one of those seam rippers has gotten a workout from time to time. My favorite is the carved wooden one with the bumps. I call him Jack (the ripper). The wood one next to Jack actually belongs to my husband. He won it as a door prize at a quilt show. He rents it out to me. I haven’t seen the bill yet, but I’m sure it has added up over the years. Everytime he sees me using it he says, “Ka-ching!”.

But sometimes, it’s OK. Sometimes I can live with a little imperfection. And Jack gets the day off. Other times, not so much.

That’s the way I look at it. How far do you go in the pursuit of quilting perfection?

 

2018-05-31T18:20:09-06:00June 8th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|8 Comments

Summer Fun

by Mary Beth Krapil

Summer is almost here. The kids will soon be out of school and a couple of days after that, they will be BORED. Isn’t that how it goes?

If you have kids in your life, be it your own, your grandies, your neighbors, maybe you might want to take the opportunity to share your fun. Teach them to sew. I had a blast with my grand kids over Spring break. I have two beautiful grandies, a 6 year old girl, Natalie, and an 8 year old boy, Shane. They spent several days at our house and Natalie wanted to learn to sew. Shane preferred to spend his time with Papa out in the garage.

Natalie and I started with making a pillow. We chose fabric from my stash and set to work. Gramma cut the pieces, She wasn’t brave enough to let Natalie use the rotary cutter just yet.

We learned about seams and wrong sides together (sometimes I still have a problem with that). We pinned.

 

We learned about using the sewing machine. The speed control on the HQ Stitch 210 machine is perfect for keeping beginners from getting carried away!

We turned and we stuffed. I think this was Natalie’s favorite part!

We sewed the opening shut and we had a pretty pillow and a proud new sewer!

When brother saw the pillow, he wanted one too. Well then, you’ll just have to make it yourself. “Haha!” I thought, “he has fallen into my web!” 😉  Natalie was a natural follower of the See one, Do one, Teach one concept. It was really fun for her to show her big brother all the steps.

Of course they both wanted to give the HQ Infinity a try. Before we could quilt, we had to make quilt tops. Out came my box of 5 inch charm squares. They chose the colors and laid them out in the order they wanted. Natalie chose multi-colors while Shane stuck with a blue/teal palette. We learned about sewing rows and the importance of keeping seams straight and of a consistent size.

 

 

 

We set about sewing and pressing seams. Using the iron was fascinating.

 

 

 

 

They both learned that it takes some time to put a quilt top together. I think it instilled a deeper appreciation of the quilts I had given them over the years. Natalie stuck to it and enjoyed the process, especially the pressing (that was a surprise!). Shane tired of the repetitiveness and gave up to go hang with Papa some more.

Soon Natalie was ready to quilt. I loaded the frame in the evening after they had gone home so we would be ready to go in the morning. I loaded enough backing to do both quilts just in case Shane would be inspired to finish when he saw Natalie quilting.

I basted the edges of the quilt top and let Natalie do what ever she wanted. I suggested loops and zig-zags and she happily quilted away. Just as I had suspected, Shane wanted to get his hands on that big machine too; so he finished sewing his top while Natalie quilted. Gramma was a little frazzled trying to keep eyes on all of those little fingers and flying needles! Shane got his turn with the Infinity under Natalie’s watchful eye.

I knew Natalie was hooked when the next morning I heard, “What are we going to sew today, Gramma?”  So we made a bag to carry her iPad. We quilted the fabric and cut pieces and assembled them into a bag. Sew much fun! And Shane made another pillow; one for his Dad!

Of course we also made time for fresh air and exercise. And baking cookies.

Who will you share your love of quilting with this summer?

2018-05-18T09:25:57-06:00May 25th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|8 Comments

Quilt Facing with Curved Corners

by Mary Beth Krapil

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about some of the numerous ways to finish the edges of quilts. If you missed it, you can find it here. One of the ways is facing a quilt.

There are times when you don’t want any binding to show on the front of the quilt, but you want the durability and security of an actual binding. Facing is the answer here. Facing strips are sewn to the front of the quilt and then turned to the back, rolling the seam, such that none of the facing is visible on the front of the quilt. Then the facing is hand stitched in place on the back of the quilt. I included this picture of a faced quilt.

There were some inquiries about how to make the curved corner on the facing. So I thought I would show you how I do it.  I applied facings to two of the Hoffman Dream Big panels that I quilted.  Have you seen these? They are amazing panels to quilt designs in each of the petals! So much fun to quilt! Watch for an upcoming article in Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine, featuring the panels quilted by several of the Handi Quilter National Educators. You won’t want to miss it!

On to facing instructions…..

First trim the quilted and blocked quilt.

Carefully measure the width and length of the quilt.

Cut the facing. You can make it as wide as you wish. I like it to finish at about 1.5 to 2 inches. I first cut 2 pieces that are U shaped.

I planned to cut the facing at 2 inches, so I started by cutting two 5 inch strips the exact width of the quilt to make the U shaped pieces. I am going to trim away the center of these to form the U. I want the curves on all four corners to be uniform, so I am going to make a template using freezer paper.

Freezer paper is an awesome tool in your studio! Useful for so many things. Here is one of them.

Press 3 sheets of freezer paper together by placing 3 sheets on top of each other, shiny side down and ironing. This creates a thicker piece. Using a rotary cutter and ruler square up the piece. Draw a line 2 inches from one side and another line 2 inches from the adjacent side. Use a circle template (a mug works great) to draw a curve where the 2 lines intersect. Cut on the line to create a template that looks like this:

Place this template on the 5 inch strip at one end, (as shown above) and trace the curve shape. Place it at the other end of the strip and trace. Cut on the drawn line and cut at 2 inches between the ends.  The piece you see on the right below is scrap. the U shaped piece is on the left.

Cut 2 strips 2 inches wide. These need to be a bit shorter than the length of the quilt. You will trim them later.

Take all 4 strips to the iron. You will press 1/4 inch to the wrong side on one side of both straight strips.

Press 1/4 inch to the wrong side on the inside of the U of the U shaped strips. The freezer paper template comes in handy for this step. Place it 1/4 inch away from the raw edge. Before pressing snip almost to the template in the curve. Snip about 5 places around the curve.

Pull the raw edge up over the template and press. Using the template creates a nice smooth curve. Remove the template.

Press 1/4 inch to the wrong side along the long edge between the curves. Press 1/4 inch on the short ends (top of the U, see below). Once all the pieces have been pressed, pin them to the right side of the quilt (right sides together). Start with the U shaped pieces, matching the corners and raw edges as shown. Pin in place.

Add the straight strips to the sides of the quilt, overlapping the U shaped strips where they meet. You may have to trim these pieces. I like them to overlap the U shaped strip by about an inch.

Once all the strips are pinned on, sew 1/4 inch from the raw edge on all four sides of the quilt.

Before turning the facing to the back of the quilt trim the corners as shown. Cut close to, but not into, the stitching lines.

Turn the facing to the back side of the quilt, carefully poking out the corners. Use a point turner or chopstick if desired.

Pull the facing to the back and roll the seam allowance to the back so that the facing is not visible from the front of the quilt.

I like to start in the center of each of the sides and work my way to the corners. Press and pin in place. I like to use steam to make a nice sharp knife edge. The goal is to not see any facing on the front and not see any of the quilt top on the back. I use a lot of pins. Take your time on this step. It is the most time consuming of the whole process. And you will get a wonderful facial from all the steam!

All that is left to do is hand stitch the facing to the back. Did I say the pinning was the most time consuming? Just put on a good movie and get comfy in your chair with your needle and thread. You’ll have a finished quilt before you know it!

 

 

2018-04-28T18:44:20-06:00May 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|5 Comments

The Quilt Show in Paducah was a Zoo!

by Mary Beth Krapil

Springtime in Paducah means one thing.  AQS Quilt Week! Quilts! Classes! Shopping! Food! Quilty friends! Paducah is know as the mecca for quilters. And they come in droves.

This year Paducah was a zoo!

I’m talking about the quilts on display. As I walked through, enjoying all the quilts, I noticed there were several animals looking back at me. Let me take  you to the zoo.

First up, is the winner of the Best Wall Quilt ribbon.

Endangered – The Lemur’s Tail by Maria Ferri Cousins and SB Walsh of Great River, NY

 

Another award winner took the Best Wall Movable Machine Workmanship ribbon, sponsored by Handi Quilter. There are several animals hidden in this quilt. Can you spy the mouse?

detail of I Spy a Mouse

I Spy a Mouse by Cristina Arcenegui Bono of Alcala de Guadaira, Spain

And so my journey through the zoo began. You’ll spy some more of them are sporting ribbons too!

 

My Feathered Friends by Laura Ruiz of Malabar, FL

 

Ally’s Apps by Pauline Salzman of Gulfport, FL

 

Here’s Lookin’ at You by Wendy Knight of El Cajon, CA

 

Flora and Feline by Karen Ponischil of Charlotte, NC

 

Daddy’s Boy by Kay Donges of Suches, GA

 

Just Another Day in Turtle Bay by Carol Aittaniemi of East Sandwich, MA

 

LaBelle Nell by Ann Peterson of Olga Washington

 

Gossip Girls by Mary Arnold of Vancouver, WA

 

Gentle Soul by Lise Belanger of Trois-Pistoles, Quebec, Canada

 

Sailing Under Watchful Eyes by Suzette Coppage ofBel Air, MD

 

OR-7 by Christina McCann of Depoe Bay, OR

 

Patagonian High by Barbara Barrick McKie of Lyme, CT

 

A Conjugal Crane Flying into the Rising Sun by Keiko Morita of Toyama, Toyama, Japan

 

Saw Whet Owl by Yvette Sullivan of Lasalle, Ontario, Canada

 

Potpourri by Adele Niblack of Manchester, MO

 

Great Blue Heron by Kathy Koch and Allison Payette

 

Toco Toucan by Becky Billman of St Joseph, IL

 

Majestic Flight by Joanne Baeth of Bonanza, OR

 

A Lot to Crow About by Kathleen Melikian of Fresno, CA

 

Coral Paradise by Mutsuko and 11 Friends of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

 

Deceptive Markings by Sue de Vanny of Greenvale, Victoria, Australia

 

Bee in Lavender by Karen Duling of Laingsburg, MI

 

Dazzle by Linda Sullivan of Palms Springs, CA

 

detail of Spells and Potions by Pam Hadfield of Laguna Niguel, CA quilted by Heidi Stagno

 

Quilted fish and fowl and beasts galore! Even insects joined the parade. It was a great day at the zoo!

 

 

 

2018-04-29T12:52:50-06:00May 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|4 Comments

Machine Quilting the Modern Way

by Mary Beth Krapil

Machine Quilting Exhibition (MQX) East was held in Manchester, New Hampshire April 11-14, 2018. It was an honor and a privilege for Handi Quilter to sponsor the prizes for the category entitled Machine Quilting the Modern Way.

Congratulations to the winners! The quilts are wonderfully creative. Here are the quilts with the artists’ statements.

Honorable Mention

Ice Bubbles – Quilted by Kathleen Riggins – Pieced by Jess Frost and Katherine Jones

Ice Bubbles is inspired by the ice bubbles that form in Abraham Lake in Alberta, Canada. In Australia, Jess pieced the aqua improv panels, before Kat added curves using her bias applique techniques. Then they worked together on the background before shipping it to Canada for Kathleen to quilt and finish. The quilting is all hand guided.

 

Third Place

Nesting Squares – Quilted and pieced by Patricia Washburn of Massachusetts

Nesting Squares is a pattern from the book Improvising Tradition by Alexandra Ledgerwood. I was interested in learning a new technique for me, modern strata, the piecing together of bits of fabric to create a new piece of fabric. The machine quilting is 100% hand guided.

 

Second Place

Wrinkly / Irony – Quilted and pieced by Connie Griner of North Carolina

This quilt was inspired by an internet post that defined the word “irony” as the opposite of “wrinkly”. I have converted this idea into a visual format. Improvisational piecing sets the mood for the disorder of the “wrinkly” universe, while uniform white tiles maintain order on the “irony” side. Can you find the seeds of imperfection that have been planted? The machine quilting is 60% computerized, 40% hand guided.

 

First Place

United – Quilted and pieced by Inger Blood of California

People of the world are different but still connected by Love, Compassion, Kindness, Patience, Wisdom, Graciousness, and Respect. The machine quilting is 100% hand guided.

Well done!

 

Machine Quilting the Modern Way  Sponsored by Handi Quilter
HM                   Ice Bubbles by Katherine Jones & Jess Frost
3rd Place          Nesting Squares by Patricia Washburn
2nd Place         Wrinkly / Irony by Constance Griner
1st Place           United by Inger Blood

2018-04-19T12:36:26-06:00April 20th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

Introducing the new HQ Forte

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

We are so proud to introduce you to the newest member of our HQ family! The new HQ Forte is a 24 inch, feature packed, beauty of a machine.  It’s sure to fit your style of quilting to a T.

Here are some of my favorite features:

  • 24″ of brightly-lit throat space – so much light! and you can adjust it to just what you need for the project you are working on. I love having the ability to change things up to suit my needs.

  • Pinpoint Needle Laser – shows me right where my needle will drop. I can be super precise with this feature.

  • Easy-Set Tension™ – adjusting my upper thread tension has never been easier!

  • 7-inch color touchscreen (add the Pro-Stitcher® and the machine screen is integrated into the Pro-Stitcher tablet) – all my controls are right at my fingertips!

  • Menu-controlled QuiltMaster™ LED Lighting Package: throat, needlebar, and bobbin – I love having light in the bobbin area. I can keep it all clean and dusted out and place the drop of oil exactly where it belongs.

  • QuiltMaster™ front handlebars: Independently adjustable, ergonomic with integrated micro handles – I adjust the handlebars to my own comfortable position and I can quilt for hours with no fatigue. I change it up when I do ruler-work, or free-motion, or micro-quilting.

  • QuiltMaster™ servo-controlled stitch regulation – all my stitches are always perfect! Couldn’t ask for anything more!

  • Programmable handlebar buttons – I love having a 3rd button and controlling what that button does. I think my favorite is using them for horizontal and vertical channel lock. It makes straight line quilting a breeze!

  • Stitching speeds up to 2,500 stitches per minute – can you say “FAST!”?

  • Consistent stitch quality from 4-24 stitches per inch – I choose the perfect stitch size for my project.

  • Two modes of stitch regulation: Precision or Cruise – I love Precision for ruler work and for really precise stitching, for instance going around applique. I love Cruise for all the rest of the kinds of quilting I do, free-motion, micro-quilting, Pro-Stitcher. If I used Pantographs or Groovy boards I’d use Cruise for that too.

  • Five convenient built-in tie-off stitches – can you say “luxury”?

  • High-speed rotary hook with large-capacity M-class bobbin – wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s all fun and games ’til the bobbin runs out!

  • Pro-Stitcher ready! All necessary cabling is pre-installed inside – such a sleek and nice looking appearance!

  • Handi Feet®-compatible; includes Ruler foot and Open-toe foot – can’t live without all those Happy Feet!

  • On-screen hand wheel – it’s perfect. I mean, really, who can reach all the way back there?

  • Magnetic Tool Minder Collar – I want to thank the person who thought of this. Genius!

  • Bobbin-use estimator – so great when using Pro-Stitcher. I never run out of bobbin in the middle of a stitch out.

  • Front power switch – yes! But my Fitbit isn’t sure about this feature.

  • Thread-break sensor and alarm – a must have for Pro-Stitcher users.

  • Stitch counter – always good to know your important numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, stitch count….

  • Easy needle change – every quilt deserves a new needle!

  • Five basting stitches – perfect for when I am custom quilting. I can baste and come back to sections of my quilt. I can also baste for my hand quilting friends and my sit-down quilting friends. They love me for it!

You can learn more and see a video about the HQ Forte here.  Check it out!

 

2018-04-03T19:20:56-06:00April 13th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

Korean Quilt Exhibit – AQS Daytona

by Mary Beth Krapil

There was a wonderful collection of Korean Quilts at the American Quilter’s Society show in Daytona, FL in February.

 

 

 

“The Studio Art Quilt Associates of the Republic of Korea was founded in 2010. This exhibit features a variety of art quilt techniques that the group studied over the last several years. Through their artwork, these quilters incorporate unusual and interesting interpretations of the world that surrounds them. Sometimes finding joy, and sometimes, turmoil.”

 

 

 

They struck me as very serene and calm. Here is a sampling. What do you think?

 

Where I Live

 

 

In the Dream

 

 

Green Village

detail Green Village

 

 

Scenery on Dano Day

 

 

Indigo Pond

 

 

Memory

 

 

My Spring is “Beginning”

 

2018-03-28T18:55:31-06:00April 6th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments