Inspiration Archives - Handi Quilter

Free Motion for Beginners – More Leaves

More leaves are falling here in North Carolina and the air is crisp and clear. Since leaves are such a popular quilting motif, I thought we might explore some more designs, using more leaves.

Vines

photo of green leafy vines

photo by nothing ahead on pexels

 

Meandering leafy vines make great edge-to-edge designs, or a fill design for any shape on your quilt.

You can use the familiar leaf shape, simply attaching them to a vine as you meander and fill your quilt. Alternate adding leaves to both sides of your meandering vine.

Try it with just single leaves attached to the vine.

line drawing of a meandering leafy vine

Pro Tip: Mark your meandering vine with a removable marker. Then stitch along the vine adding leaves as you go.

 

Or two together might be twice the fun:

line drawing of a meandering vine with 2 leaves

 

My favorite is a cluster of three together:

line drawing of a meandering vine with groups of 3 leaves attached

 

Make it fancy by adding in swirls here and there:

line drawing of vine with leaves and spirals

 

Ferns

photo of lush green ferns

Photo by Carolina Gusmund from Pexels

 

We can use the S shape to create lush ferns on our quilts. The creation of a fern-like leaf is a bit different from the leaves we have been stitching. Rather than stitching the S for one side of the leaf, then stitching a mirror image S to form the other side of the leaf, to create a fern leaf stitch an S shape then echo that same S for the 2nd side.

Let’s dive right in and stitch a fern frond.

First stitch your spine from top to bottom. It is a long and lazy S shape!

Pro Tip: When first getting started with any new design, it is a good idea to draw the design first. So substitute the word “draw” for the word “stitch” in these directions.

 

Then start adding in the leaves. Stitch a lazy S away from the spine and then echo that same S as you stitch back toward the spine.

fern leaves stitching path

 

Add more leaves up one side of the spine. At the top I like to make a little swirl or curl. You can get creative here and make any shape you like to make the transition to the other side of the spine. A tear drop or a leaf would work well.

stitching path for multiple fern leaves

 

Next start stitching leaves down the 2nd side.

 

And continue to add more leaves until you reach the bottom.

 

You don’t have to have the same number of leaves on both sides. Just fill the space and don’t worry about lining them up side to side.

Once again, you can get fancy and add in some swirls.

 

Pro Tip: When filling an area on your quilt with a fern frond extend the leaves as you need to, so that the space is filled. There are many shapes of ferns in nature so it will look fantastic no matter what shape results.

 

quilt by Mary Beth Krapil with quilted fern leaves

Daffodils by Mary Beth Krapil

Challenge

Can you come up with a way to use more leaves? We would all love to see your drawings or stitching in the comments! How about some leaf wreaths?

 

by Mary Beth Krapil, Handi Quilter National Educator

Free Motion for Beginners – Leaves

We are going to stick with our S shape again and keep creating new designs with it. It’s the perfect shape for quilting leaves. We all love to quilt organic designs on our quilts, flowers, leaves, etc.  Organic images are very forgiving. No two leaves in nature are exactly alike. So you don’t have to worry too much about making these designs uniform. Another walk in the park! Or maybe this week will be a walk in the forest, amongst the leaves?

path through the forest surrounded by leaves

Photo by Fstopper from Pexels

 

You can create a leaf shape with simple curves.

line drawing of leaf

 

It works, and looks even more like a leaf when you add a vein down the center.

line drawing of a leaf with a vein

 

But when you add the subtle curve of an S shape in place of the simple curves, it really says, “LEAF.”

line drawing of leaf with curvy sides and vein

 

Practice quilting leaves in all different orientations. Then you can start putting them together into usable quilting designs. One of my favorites is a border or sashing design where the leaves alternate pointing up and pointing down as they scamper across the border.

Stitch path for alternating leaves

Let’s break down the stitching path of this design. Start at the bottom of the first leaf and stitch up the right side with a lazy S.

beginning of stitchpath for leaves

Pause at the top to create a sharp point then stitch a mirror image lazy S down the left side of the leaf.

Stitch the vein up the center. You can make this a lazy S or a simple curve. Both those shapes look great as the vein. Stitch up and then backtrack back down to the bottom of the leaf. It doesn’t matter if your backtracking is not perfect. However this is a good opportunity to try to improve your backtracking skills. 😉

To connect to the next leaf stitch a lazy S that scoops under the leaf you just stitched and goes up and over. The mantra I use here is “under and over.”

That lazy S sets you up for stitching smoothly down the right side of the leaf that points down.

Once again pause in the point. If you need to remind yourself to pause, add it into your mantra. “Under and over, pause in the point …” Then stitch up the left side of the leaf.

Stitch the vein, in and out.

Another lazy S connects to the next leaf but this time you go over and under.

stitching path of leaves

Now just repeat as many times as you need to fill your border!

Pro Tip:   The stitching starts on the right side of every leaf. It doesn’t matter if it’s pointing up or down. Always go right. The S shape connectors set you up for a smooth transition into the next leaf if you go to the right.

This is the perfect design for fall quilts! Doesn’t this put you in the mood for some leaf peeping? Come to North Carolina for some spectacular views!

by valiphotos on pexels

pexels-by-kelly-lacy

by Mary Beth Krapil

Free Motion for Beginners – Lazy S

If you practiced the Red Hot Hearts design from last week, you worked really hard. So you deserve a break this week. That Red Hot Hearts design takes good control of your machine and lots of brain power and guidelines to keep the pattern going right. Did you think of a mantra to use to help you? If you’re not sure how mantras and quilting go together read this previous post. We will learn some easy, free-flowing, no-guidelines-needed designs this week, using a lazy S, rather than the very-good-penmanship S we used last week. It will be like a walk in the park!

woman walking in the park

Photo by Min An from Pexels

Grass

Speaking of parks, lets start with grass. This simple design works as an all-over texture design, or a background fill (when quilted smaller). It is especially nice in areas of quilts where you want to give the impression of grass. Like my elephant quilt, Don’t Forget Joe.

raw edge applique quilt depicting an elephant with lazy S quilting in the background

Don’t Forget Joe
by Mary Beth Krapil
Duncan, North Carolina

In the background toward the bottom of the quilt, I quilted grass. You might be able to see the stitching better on the back of the quilt.

Detail of back  Don’t Forget Joe quilt

 

I did use a contrasting thread (green) on the red fabric so the stitching shows there pretty well.

detail of front  Don’t Forget Joe quilt

 

Grass looks like this.

line drawing of grass quilting design

Pick out the S shape

Can you see the lazy S shapes? One of the things you might be learning from this series of posts is to pick out which of the 5 basic shapes make up a quilting design.

When you get good at picking out those shapes, you’ll be able to quilt just about any design you see.

two women high five-ing

SCORE!!!                                                                             Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels

Lazy S

Why lazy? Well as you can see, these S shapes do not stand up straight. The tops and bottoms are not the same curve or size. They have a much looser interpretation of the letter S.

Once again you start at the bottom, stitch up, to create the lazy S, then loosely echo it. Notice that, for grass, they are all different size “blades” and they lean in slightly different directions.

Also note that I left the top of the row of grass, not straight across, but undulating.

line drawing of grass quilting design

 

This allows for coming back and adding more rows of grass to fill in the area you want to quilt and creates a nice even distribution of texture.

Multi-purpose

This is a versatile design. If you were quilting something that featured this fabric:

fabric with hot peppers depicted

 

You can quilt the exact same design. Just change the name to “Flames

 

If you quilt the exact same design but do it sideways…

It can be “Wind” or “Water“.

Pro Tip:

Add in a swirl here or there, for either wind or water, to increase the movement.

This design also works to simulate wood grain.

Maybe there’s a tree appliqued on your quilt?  Bookshelf quilts are quite popular. This design would be great to quilt the wooden shelves!

What other uses can you think of for this design? Please share in the comments.

Relax and have fun quilting the lazy S!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Introducing New HQ Ambassador, Jane Hauprich

I’d like you to meet our newest HQ ambassador, Jane Hauprich. That name just might sound familiar to you since Jane was a Handi Quilter National Educator for five years.

Jane Hauprich HQ ambassador

To get to know Jane just a bit better, (we’ve been friends and co-workers for the last 5 years), I thought I’d do an interview and share it with all of you.

HQ: What does being an HQ Ambassador mean to you?

JH: Being a Handi Quilter Ambassador means a lot to me.  First and foremost, I love my Handi Quilter machines, and love telling people about them and how much having one has
changed my life.  I cannot even imagine my life without my longarm in it!!! Being able to represent a company that has such great machines, amazing education and fantastic customer support is truly a privilege.


HQ: How did you get started in quilting?

JH: I first learned how to piece quilts in 1998.  I was a single mom, so I didn’t have a ton of time to quilt, but as I did get projects done, I was not able to afford to send them out to be quilted by a professional, so I taught myself how to do the quilting myself.  First I did  straight line quilting. Then moved on to teaching myself to free motion quilt on my domestic machine.

Fast forward a few years to 2009, and I went to the AQS Lancaster Quilt Show, and kept on gravitating to the Handi Quilter booth and the HQ Sweet Sixteen stationary machine.  I ended up purchasing a machine and absolutely fell in love.

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen longarm stationary quilting machine

A few years later in 2012, I took a class on starting your own longarm business.  I decided at that point to sell my stationary machine and purchase my Handi Quilter Avanté, an 18-inch movable machine.

I did start quilting for others using all free motion.  For those of you just getting your longarms, I will tell you a story. When I first got my moveable longarm, my retailer came and set it up, gave me my lesson, and left.  I was so afraid of that machine, that I couldn’t even go in that room for two weeks. Once I got over that initial fear, I was good to go!!!


HQ: How would you describe your style of quilting?

JH: I have a love and passion for free motion quilting.  I now have a Pro-Stitcher, and while I do mostly free motion quilting, I do run my Pro-Stitcher for computerized edge-to-edge quilting, and sometimes like to mix things up by adding a computerized design and accentuate it with free motion quilting.  Sometimes that perfect design that I need lives right inside my Pro-Stitcher!!!

My personal style is usually something densely quilted.  I kind of feel like it’s a sickness…..the quilt is never quilted enough….lol!!  No worries though, as I do quilt every day quilts to be soft and snugly.

This was such a fun wall hanging to make. Pattern is by Debby Kratovil.


HQ: What is the most fun thing you have done as an Ambassador?

JH: Prior to being an Ambassador, I was a Handi Quilter Educator for five years.  During
that time, I was able to meet so many great quilters.  I was also able to travel and teach at two shows overseas…..Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe, Germany and Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England.

One of my favorite memories was in Karlsruhe.  There were students who took the classes because they didn’t know what a longarm was.  The joy that crossed their faces when they were able to quilt on the Handi Quilter machines was unforgettable!!!  I look forward to more experiences as an Ambassador and can’t wait to see what is in store for the
future.

Another fun quilt I did as one of my monthly Island Batik projects.


HQ: Of all your quilts, which is your favorite?

JH: Wow……this is a tough one.  Since I quilt for customers, I have many favorite
quilts.  Usually my most favorite quilt is the one that I am currently working on.

I love to design whole cloth quilts when I have time, so those are probably my favorite.

whole cloth quilt, purple

This wholecloth quilting pattern comes from Telene Jeffery. I copied the pattern onto the fabric and adjusted it to make it my own.

 

whole cloth quilt, gold

I love to design whole cloth quilts. This is my most recent one that is completed.

Along with quilting ice dyed fabric panels.

quilted ice dyed fabric

This is an Ice Dyed fabric by Debra Linker. It hangs in a Handi Quilter Exhibit of a whole group of quilted Ice Dyed pieces.


HQ: Do you still have your first quilt?

JH: My first quilt was from my class in 1998.  A combination of piecing, hand quilting, and
tying.  I truly get a kick out of looking at this quilt.  It really shows me how far I’ve come.  I wish you could see the binding on this closely.

 

Jane’s first quilt


Apparently, they didn’t teach mitered corners in this class!!! LOL!!!


HQ: What are your favorite tools that you use in your work?

JH: The tools I use most for my longarming, is probably rulers.  I love ruler work and typically pair it with my free motion.

This was designed by me. This was totally stitched and quilted on my longarm!!

HQ: What machine do you use for piecing?

JH: For Piecing, I have two machines, my HQ Stitch 510 and a Janome 6600.  I use the Stitch 510 most of the time, as it is a powerhouse of a machine.

HQ Stitch 510 sewing machine

HQ: What machine do you use for quilting?

JH: For my longarm, I have a Handi Quilter Capri (that love of pushing the fabric around never left since I started on a domestic machine),

Handi Quilter Capri machine

 

and a HQ Amara with Pro-Stitcher.

HQ Amara quarter view

quilted fabric panel (image of a crab)

Panels are a great way to practice. You don’t spend a lot of time piecing, and can just follow along and do what feels right. This one is so cool!!

 


HQ: Who is your inspiration/muse?

JH: A year or two after I purchased my longarm, I went to a quilting expo in Virginia, and was able to take classes with Jamie Wallen, Lisa Calle and Angela Walters.  This was such a memorable experience and helped to shape me into the quilter I am today.  A couple of
years later, when I was thinking about teaching at shows, Jamie Wallen was a key person in encouraging me to get on the quilt teaching circuit.  I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it if it hadn’t been for him.  I will forever be grateful for his guidance.

Tasked to make a quilt using half square triangles, I designed this quilt and actually published my first pattern.


HQ: Of all the “tasks” in creating a quilt, which is your fave and least favorite?

JH: My favorite part of the creating a quilt is the longarm quilting. I find that I can forget everything else that is going on in life and just quilt.  It’s a great stress reliever for me.  As far as the piecing goes, I do love knowing that I am creating something for someone.

I would say my least favorite thing is cutting out the fabric needed to piece the quilts.


HQ: Do you have any other hobbies / interests?

JH: My interests and hobbies are spending time with my family, cooking, and reading.  I am not a lover of handwork, so I have been attempting to hand applique simple blocks for a quilt. It may take me years to get it done though!!!

A quilt I made for a wedding gift. The couple loved it!!


HQ: Thanks Jane! We are so glad to have you remain a part of the Handi Quilter family in your new role as Ambassador. Jane currently teaches virtual classes, so if you are looking for some free motion quilting classes, please check out her website. She also posts free motion quilting videos on YouTube. Be sure to check that out also and LIKE and Subscribe so you don’t miss anything.  Jane says she is all about trying to get quilters to love free motion quilting just as much as she does.

You can find Jane here:

Website:  www.stitchbystitchcustomquilting.com
<http://www.stitchbystitchcustomquilting.com>
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/c/JaneHauprich
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JanesStitchByStitch
Instagram:  janestitchbystitch

Bye for now!

Quilted back of a jeans jacket

Quilting doesn’t always have to be on quilts. This is a favorite of mine to wear and I always get compliments on it!! Quilted right on my longarm frame!!!

by Mary Beth Krapil



Free Motion Quilting For Beginners – Backtrack Spiral

Last week we got started with the spiral, hook or swirl shape. This week we will talk about another kind of spiral. I call it the backtrack spiral. Instead of spiraling in, and then splitting the path you created to spiral out, you will backtrack spiral back out. Or in other words, you will stitch directly on top of the stitching you just did, only in the opposite direction. They look like this:

You start on the left and spiral in.

Then backtrack to spiral back out.

As you are backtracking, you can leave this spiral and start a new spiral.

The new spiral can swirl in the same direction.

Or it can swirl in the opposite direction.

Here’s an example where I took off from the backtracking in a different place.

I find this backtrack spiral to be easier to quilt than the spiral we did last week.

Wait, what?

woman questioning

Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

I know, right?  Backtracking is not easy. But with these backtrack spirals, if you don’t backtrack perfectly, they still look great.

Sometimes, when you change direction at the end of your spiraling in, you’ll get a little loop. I think that looks cute!

And you might not hit your backtracking at all.

As long as you are close, it still looks good. You can use these backtrack spirals as an opportunity to practice your backtracking skills.

All over or edge-to-edge quilting

all over backtrack spiral

 

Notice it’s not perfect but it still looks great quilted! The great thing about these spirals is that it is super easy to fill in any space on the quilt. You can start a new spiral wherever you need and you can make them different sizes. Not only does that make it easy to fill in spaces, it also adds interest to the design.

Borders

All in one direction.

If you look close you see the next spiral starts at about 5 o’clock. (red dots)

Keeping that in mind helps to keep the spirals consistent.

 

Or alternate direction of the swirls

 

alternating spiral border

For alternating spirals I like to try to start the next spiral at 3 o’clock-ish. (red dots)

Remember mantras? This is a good design to use a mantra to help keep the alternation going.

My mantra is: “up and over, down and around.”  I start with stitching up and over the top of the first spiral. Then I backtrack  to 3 o’clock and reverse direction, to go down and around the next spiral. Backtrack to 3 o’clock and go up and over. Rinse and repeat. (don’t rinse, just repeat).

If you have been keeping up with your 15 minutes of practice each day, you deserve a sticker!

free motion fabulous sticker

Happy quilting!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Spirals

Moving on in our series on free motion quilting this week to our next shape, spirals (or hooks). We can really have some fun with this shape. It works for so many quilts. Like a meander, depending on the scale you choose, it can create a fabulous all over edge-to-edge quilting design or a fantastic background fill. Spirals can be used in blocks and borders too. And they are great combined with other shapes to create gorgeous designs.

 

swirl line drawing

Looking good

Let’s think about what makes a spiral look good. That way, we will know what to strive for when we quilt them.

Round

When you look at this shape can you see why it was so important to practice stitching those circles? Spirals really look best when they are round.

Pro tip: If it has been a while since you quilted circles or round shapes, you can always go back to that practice fabric.

fabric with baseballs

Do your 15 minutes today quilting around the circle shapes to refresh your muscle memory. Be like the major league baseball pitcher and warm up in the bull pen.

baseball pitcher

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Consistent gaps

Spirals look really good when the gaps between the stitching lines are consistent.

Don’t get discouraged looking at these images. We are doing free motion quilting, not computerized quilting. What you stitch won’t ever be flawlessly perfect. And that’s perfectly OK.

That’s all you have to remember when stitching spirals. Round and consistent gaps. That’s it.

Getting started with spirals

Lets take it step by step.

Stitch a hook.

line drawing of hook with directional arrows

Continue on spiraling in a little.

Then turn around

Now follow the yellow brick road.

Split the path you created to go back out.

Continue by echoing around what you already quilted.

And you’ve got a spiral!

Using spirals

Fill a space, whether a block or a whole quilt.

When you hit an obstacle, like a seam line or another spiral, do some stitch-in-the-ditch or over-stitching to travel to where you want your next line of stitching. Sometimes you will have to imagine the path of your spiral outside of your boundary so that you will know where to pick up and continue the spiraling.

This may be enough for you to practice in your 15 minutes a day this week. We’ll pick up from here next week to explore more ways to spiral out of control!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Quilt Show Inspiration

Quilt shows are an awesome place to get inspiration for all sorts of quilty topics. Color combinations, piecing, applique, borders, new techniques, and my favorite: quilting designs.

Quilt show inspiration for you

I was working in the Handi Quilter booth at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo in Raleigh, NC at the beginning of August.

quilt show booth

It was wonderful to be at a quilt show again! I was able to snap some photos of quilts to share here, just so you could get some quilt show inspiration too. Click on any photo to see the full size image of any of the quilts.

Aloft

The show had a special exhibit, called Aloft. It is a collection of quilts from SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates.

The sign says:

See the world from a new perspective! Birds, insects, and even some mammals are able to fly and soar. Plant seeds and kites are carried on the breeze, and the perfect pass can float through the air. Humankind has dreamt of ways to fly from Icarus’ attempt to create his own wings to the advent of airplanes, satellites, and space exploration. This exhibit provides new perspectives through which to see our world.”

I found it genuinely fascinating to see the unique perspective each of these artists chose. These quilts are delightful, so let’s just jump in.

Squirrel Aloft

Squirrel Aloft
by Carla A White
South Burlington, VT

Raw-edge appliqued, hand dyed, thread painted. Cotton and felt.

 

Hong Kong Taxi

Hong Kong Taxi
by Jean Renli Jurgenson
Walnut Creek CA

Painted, machine paper pieced, machine and hand appliqued, inked, machine quilted. Cotton upholstery fabric, paint, ink.

 

On the Wing

On the Wing
by Betty Busby
Albuquerque, NM

Digitally cut, machine stitched, fused applique. Silk, non-wovens.

This is a close up view of a cicada wing!

 

Take Off

Take Off
by Jan Soules
Elk Grove, CA

Fused, machine pieced, machine quilted. Commercial and hand dyed cotton.

The view from an airplane window during takeoff.

 

Flight from Portland

Flight from Portland
by Lisa M Thorpe
Healdsburg, CA

Digitally designed, free motion stitched. Cotton sateen.

 

Ekko

Ekko
by Sara Bradshaw
Spencer, TN

Fused fabric collage, machine quilted. Cotton.

Ekko, the dog, is totally focused on that treat that’s flying through the air.

 

Mapforms #7

Mapforms #7
by Michele Hardy
Silverthorne, CO

Dyed, painted, drawn, screen printed, machine stitched. Cotton and silk, fiber reactive dyes, acrylic paints, markers, paint sticks, assorted thread.

 

Steampunk Selfie

Steampunk Selfie
by Kestrel Michaud
West Melbourne, FL

Free motion quilted, fused applique, digitally printed. Cotton, ink, liquid sealant, glue sealant.

Bungee jumping off the side of a steampunk airship with pet owl!

 

Night Owl

Night Owl
by Judith Roderick
Placitas, NM

Hand painted, waxed, dyed, machine quilted, embellished. Silk, beads, buttons.

 

Icarus II

Icarus II
by Victoria Carley
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Cut, assembled, overstitched. Fashion and upholstery fabrics, embroidery floss.

The story of Icarus is the mythological story of man’s first flight with wings made from wax and feathers.

 

Dezi’s Joy

Dezi’s Joy
by Julie A. Bohnsack
Carbondale, IL

Fused applique, thread painted.  Variety of fabric, denim, cork.

This little boy is “aloft” in more ways than one.

 

Milkweed and Hummingbirds

Milkweed and Hummingbirds
by Sara Sharp
Austin, TX

Fused raw edge, machine applique, thread painted, digitally printed, free motion machine embroidered, quilted, inked.  Cotton prints and batiks, inks, inkjet printed cotton.

 

A Perch Above

A Perch Above
by Sue Colozzi
Reading, MA

Raw edge fused applique, thread sketched, free motion stitched. Printed cotton, interfacings, upholstery fabric, fleece, tulle, dupioni silk, acetate, cording, colored pencils, fabric markers, fabric paint, matte medium, fusibles.

 

The Wind Beneath His Wings

The Wind Beneath His Wings
by Diane Powers-Harris
Ocala, FL

Fused raw edge applique, turned edge applique, digitally printed, image transferred, painted, machine quilted, machine couched.  Commercial and hand dyed cotton, cheesecloth, textured glitzy and sheer fabrics, bubble crepe, satin, clear vinyl, transfer paper, paint, gloss coating, gel medium.

It was a fun collection full of inspiration with just the materials used alone. Have you been to a quilt show recently?

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Curvy Designs

Now that you are very comfortable stitching curves, you’re ready to learn some curvy designs. We will put those curves to good use quilting designs you’ll use over and over.

Block Designs

Let’s start with some simple block designs.

Here’s the block we will quilt:

block

Continuous Curve

And here’s the design:

Notice that it is just 4 simple arcs or C-shapes or curves.  Here is what the design looks like on the block:

This design is known as Continuous Curve.

You will use the skills you gained from last week’s practice. Quilting nice round curves and using The Secret.

Start in the upper left corner of the block. Can you figure out where your goals will be on this block?

That’s right! you will use the intersecting seam lines of the piecing for your goals. If it helps, you can mark those spots with chalk or your favorite removable marker. I like to use the Handi Iron-Off Pencils. The marks easily iron away when you’re done quilting. If I’m quilting on white fabrics my go-to is Dritz Mark-be-Gone water soluble pens. Be sure to test any marking tool you use on your fabrics to be sure they will come out.

So, start in the upper left corner of the block and quilt a nice curve to your goal. The next goal is the upper right corner.

Then quilt the next curve moving clockwise around the block, as shown. You end up back where you started.

If you want to practice this design you will have to draw a block on your plain practice fabric. Simply use a small, square rotary cutting ruler and a pen or marker. Then add dots for your goals.

After quilting a few of these, try simply quilting a curve from corner to corner around the block without the dots as helpers.

Orange Peel

Let’s try another one. It’s called Orange Peel. Notice that the curves all meet in the center of the block.

Start in the upper left corner. Your goal is the center of the block.  Then to the upper right corner

– to the center – to the lower right corner – to the center – to the lower left – to the center – and back to the upper left corner.

 

Both Continuous Curve and Orange Peel can be used in many ways and we will explore those in the future. For now we will stick to blocks.

Big Flower

big flower design

This one  is much more freeing. There are no guidelines or goals to worry about. It fills any block with quilting and can be used anywhere. A good design to have in your stash!

Start with a “kind-of” circle in the center, but don’t close it. Leave it open.

Add some arcs or C-shapes around the center shape. Any size you like, and as many as it takes to go around the center.

Then keep going in a spiral, adding more arcs around your previous arcs until you have filled the space you need to fill.

Have fun with this one! You can make it as big as you like.

Happy (Practice) Quilting!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

Quilting for Healing

Warning: this blog post contains profanity and discusses serious topics such as death by shooting and mental health crises. Please read at your own discretion.

Marilyn Farquhar, from Ontario, Canada, is a member of the HQ Quilt Your Desire Inspiration Squad. Sadly, in late 2019 and early 2020  Marilyn lost her husband and father to cancer, then her brother, in a tragic shooting by police during a mental health crisis. In August 2020 Marilyn commenced a series of grief quilts, using quilting for healing to help her through the grieving process.

Quilting can be therapy in many ways and many quilters use quilting as a way to cope with difficult times in their lives. In August 2020 Marilyn commenced a series of grief quilts entitled Kairos – An Opportune Time for Action.  She has completed 3 quilts.

His Call For Help

Quilt titled His Cry for Help

His Call for Help – representing despair
Photo Credit The Abbotsford News

Marilyn’s artist statement:

On September 10, 2019, Barry shared his despair with me.  We sat on my back deck—he wore my pink jacket and smoked a joint while crying shamelessly.  He asked for his miracle—he pleaded for his miracle!  He stated “I’m such a piece of shit.”  “I’ve only caused heartache and sorrow.”  “The pain in my brain is unacceptable.”  I heard him, but I did not hear him!  I believed my strong brother would navigate his way through his struggles—I was wrong!  I am sharing this very personal story in the hopes that others, faced with this situation, will be able to recognize despair in loved ones during their darkest hours. Then find a way to get them help.

One Bullet

One Bullet – representing grief and loss Photo Credit Praveenraju909

Marilyn’s artist statement:

He asked to be shot six times—it only took one bullet to end his life.  There are many victims—not just Barry.  His friends, family, colleagues, and society have all been impacted by the loss of Barry.  Barry was a well known advocate for the homeless and marginalized.  The transformative effect of his work to change laws that impact the homeless will continue to be felt in the City of Abbotsford, BC, as well as across Canada.  Survivors left behind, despair at his loss, as much for a vital life cut short, as for the unnecessary circumstances of his death.

May Your Spirit Soar

May Your Spirit Soar – representing hope
Photo Credit Praveenraju909

Marilyn’s artist statement:

Barry’s spirit is now released from his earthly body—free to soar like the eagles.  My wish for all those impacted by poor mental health, grief, and the excessive use of force by police is that they will find within themselves the freedom to soar. May all the officers involved in this incident find peace.  If we are to be considered a civilized society, we need to find a better way of helping our fellow man.  This is the only way to pave the way to a more promising future we all deserve. 

Quilting for Healing

Marilyn’s goal in creating these quilts was not only to grieve her brother’s death and to heal herself, but also to make Barry’s life meaningful. She hopes these quilts will cause people pause and consider, and to talk about mental health, grief and changes in policing.

There is a documentary showing some of Marilyn’s process of making these quilts as well as more of the tragic story of her brother’s death.

When the Ontario and British Columbia travel restrictions are lifted, Marilyn will be taking the quilts across Canada. Her quilts will be on exhibit at various venues.

 

 

Please note: the series on free-motion quilting will resume next week.

 

 

Art or Math?

There is a whole bunch of math that goes into creating a quilt. Geometry too. Those are scary words to a lot of quilters. Some think MATH is a four-letter word. Others will go screaming from the room at the mention of the “M” word. So the question is: Is a quilt Art or Math?

Quilts are made for beauty. But it takes a lot of math to get to the artistry. Spaces are divided into smaller geometric patterns that interlock. Tessellations. Angles. Measurements. Formulas. Calculations. Ratios.

     

But, when all those little pieces come together, a quilt is much more than the sum of all those little pieces. All the fabrics that were painstakingly chosen, precisely measured and cut and sewn. That’s where ART takes over. That’s when emotion enters. Magically, art transforms those angles and measurements and geometry into something much more. Something that speaks to the heart and soul. And it matters not if it is perfect. Every quilt has that special quality, that harmony. Beauty.

The math is still there. Much of what the human eye / brain perceives as beautiful is based on some interesting math concepts. Just ask Mr Fibonacci.

So never fear the math, because it will take you to the art, if you let it.

Happy Quilting!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil, Handi Quilter

 

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