Quilting Fun Archives - Handi Quilter

Practice with Purpose

If you’ve been following along our free motion quilting for beginners series, you know how important practice is.  And you probably have a pile of quilted fabric that you’re not quite sure what to do with. Some of them you’ll want to toss. Maybe you breathed new life into a piece by adding a second or third top layer and re-used the batting and backing. That’s a great $$ saver! Maybe your tension was so bad, the back looks like a nest. Go ahead and toss those!  They served their purpose!  You learned, you gained skills, you grew as a quilter.

Some might make a good liner for the cargo area of your car. They keep everything clean and are easily washable! Note: I did not add a binding, I just tuck the raw edges under. No one will ever know!

NEVER toss your first practice piece. It’s purpose is to remind you how far you’ve come. Put a binding on it! Hang it up! (maybe somewhere only you will see it :). Or just keep it in a drawer and pull it out if (when) you get frustrated in trying to learn a new design.  It’s good to see just how much you can accomplish with practice.

Now that you have had lots of practice, the next time you want to learn a design, you might want to think about how you could use the practice piece. Then choose your fabric accordingly.

Do you remember the echo quilting design from Helen Godden called Roadmaps?

When I stitched out a sample of that design, I thought about how I might use it.  I was wanting to do some couching with the HQ Couching feet. It’s just so addicting!

I wanted to try quilting the fabric first, then couching a design over the background quilting. My background quilting needed to be simple but interesting. Roadmaps checked all the boxes!

I thought I would make a bag out of the finished piece, so I quilted two roadmaps. One for the front and one for the back of the bag. I chose my fabric with all of those criteria in mind. The batting was also a consideration for the project.  I like using foam for my bags. It gives them good structure and crispness, while still being soft. And quilting foam really shows the quilting texture! There are many brands out there. Just Google foam batting for sewing to see what is available.

I loaded the foam just like I would normally load a backing. Then basted my top fabric in place. Using blue water soluble marker, I marked my swirls and then quilted the echos.  Go back and read the post on Roadmaps to see how to do it.

 

There was not enough of the fabric I chose, so I used a coordinating fabric and quilted the other piece in the same way, for the back of the bag.

Then life and other commitments happened. The quilted pieces rested and waited til I had some time to do the couching.

I marked a rough outline of what I wanted to couch and gathered my yarns. You can visit our YouTube channel and search for couching to learn how it’s done and get even more inspiration for projects.

 

I used several different yarns to create interesting texture.

 

Once I was happy with my couching, I trimmed the pieces and cut some lining as well.

 

You can use your quilted pieces to make just about any bag pattern of your choice. I didn’t use a pattern. I’ve made so many bags over the years, I just winged it!

 

It was a fun project that started out with a “practice with purpose”. And now I have a new summer tote!

What is your favorite way to use or re-purpose quilting practice pieces?

We’d LOVE to hear! Let us know in the comments.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

How Many Quilts?

I had the pleasure of being at the Quiltfest show in Greenville, SC. I was working with one of Handi Quilter‘s lovely retailers, Sew Suite Studios. There wasn’t much time to look at the many quilts on display, but one of the special exhibits really caught my interest. The Hoffman Challenge 2020, Garden State of Mind. As I walked up to the exhibit I wondered, “How many quilts could possibly be made using one fabric?”  That’s how little I knew about the Hoffman Challenge! I thought the participants made a quilt using the fabric of the year from Hoffman.  It turns out that it’s not just one fabric!

I googled the challenge to learn a little more about it. The 32nd Annual Hoffman Challenge for 2020, used the “Garden State of Mind” digital print collection.

For the first time ever, Hoffman Challenge participants were required to use a minimum of 3 out of 6 fabrics from the collection in their artwork entry.

The quilts are all beautiful and each one is unique. So I took lots of pix to share with you. Here they are. (my apologies, I was not able to get a photo of every one that was hanging at the show)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many quilts?

So it turns out that the answer to the question “How many quilts?” is: as many as you have quilters.  Plus one.

Such variety! And each one is stunning! It made me marvel at the creativity in the quilting world.

 

But wait, there’s more!

The challenge is not only open to quilts, but also garments and accessories. Check these out:

 

 

 

 

 

 

How fun is that?  I thoroughly enjoyed this special exhibit at the show! Hope you enjoyed seeing the photos.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swirly Grid Design

We have used all the shapes to make continuous grid designs except for the swirl (or hook). So today we will dive deep into the swirly grid design.

The Swirl

Remember the swirl or hook for the 5 basic shapes?

Like the S shape from last week, we need to make some modifications to the shape. To make our path continuous, the shape must start on the left and end on the right. I accomplished this by extending the line leading into the swirl and the line leading out. Then I spread them apart like this:

Notice that I also closed the swirl, or over-stitched the swirly part.  I did this is because this design is a lot of quilting in each grid space. If your grid is large, feel free to leave the open swirl with the double lines, like the original shape. Make it your own!

My quilting starts at the green dot on the left and arcs down slightly.

When I get about half-way across the grid space, I start my swirl.

Backtrack along the swirl.

Then arc up towards the grid intersection.

One thing to keep in mind while you are quilting this shape is that you cannot go too deep into the grid space. You have to allow room for a swirl on each of the four sides of the space. You can add a chalked dot or circle to the center of the space as a reminder, like we did when we used the loop shape.

The Path

To keep things consistent, let’s use the same grid.

 

Start in the upper left corner and stitch the shape across the top. Just like all the other shapes before.

 

The Mantra

Like the S-shape, it is SUPER important that the shape is stitched the same each time. In this case, the swirl has to go in the same direction. I chose to stitch the swirl swirling back towards where I started.

 

To help me keep the swirls going in the correct direction, I use the mantra “SWIRL BACK”.  And just like the S-shape, this mantra will be helpful when you you have to change the orientation of the shape to fill the grid.

 

Next stitch down the side. SWIRL BACK.

 

Keep the path going

As we did before we will work across the horizontal grid line. But for this design, like the Terry Twist, the serpentine path will not work. You will simply stitch across the top of the line. Keep the mantra going!

You can see how the swirl is opposite of the ones going across the top of the grid. It’s easy to get confused and turned around without the mantra, but the mantra will keep your shapes going the way they should. SWIRL BACK.

Next, stitch across the bottom of the horizontal grid line back towards the right. Keep the mantra going!

Without the mantra, you’ll be sure to get confused on this step. With the mantra you’ll just go along easy-peasy.

Continue on down the right side, and across and back on the next horizontal grid line. Keep the mantra going!

Stitching down the right side brings you to the bottom of the grid. Begin to stitch across.

 

Just as before, work the vertical grid line up.

 

Can you see now how using a chalked dot in the center of the grid space will help?

Next, work your way back down the vertical line. Keeping the mantra? Of course you are! If you don’t, you’ll be getting out the seam ripper.

 

Move across the bottom to the next vertical line and stitch up and down. Then across the bottom to the left side. Then all that’s left to do is stitch up the left side, back to where you started!

 

This swirly grid is great for larger grids. There is a lot of quilting in each grid space!

Did you notice that this intricate design used the skills we acquired when we learned the simpler shapes grid designs? We used the path that gets us from start to finish with just one start and one stop. We used a guideline (dot), we modified the shape slightly, we used a mantra to keep the pattern going correctly.  When you come up with your own new designs be sure to remember your skills and put them to work for you!

 

The Name

I have not named this one. Will you help me give it a cool name? Add your name suggestion in the comments. I can’t wait to see what you creatives come up with!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Free Motion for Beginners – More Holiday Fun

Stuffed like a turkey with Thanksgiving treats? Ready to get to work on more holiday fun designs? This time around let’s learn a useful technique that can be used on any quilt, anywhere, anytime. It’s so versatile, and yet allows you to personalize the quilt. It’s simple, but maybe something you’ve never thought about doing. Let’s call it, “Anything E2E”.

E2E

E2E is quilt code for edge-to-edge.

Edge to edge quilting utilizes a continuous line design that is stitched all over the quilt from one edge to the other without regard to piecing, blocks or borders.

It’s the best way to quilt quilts made with busy fabrics where the quilting will not readily show.

If you want to finish a quilt fast, E2E is the way to go.

Anything E2E

It’s fun to incorporate motifs into your quilting. Anything E2E uses motifs and connecting shapes. Let’s start with something we already know: holly leaves. If you don’t know, check out this post to learn about quilting holly leaves.

We made strings of holly leaves to fill borders and sashings and to meander around on our quilts. Often we see holly leaves in clusters of 2 or 3 combined with berries.

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We can use this motif in our Anything E2E technique. It’s simple. Stitch the motif then choose a flowing continuous line shape to connect it to another of the same motif. And keep going filling the quilt from edge to edge.

Let’s try it with holly clusters and loops. It might look something like this:

line drawing of holly e2e

I can meander all over my quilt with this design and fill the whole thing Edge to Edge, side to side, top to bottom.

Take note

There are a few things to notice about this design.

1. The motif (holly) is facing in different directions.

2. The motif is many different sizes.

3. The loops face in  different directions.

4. The loops are different sizes.

These things are intentional!  This way I can fill in spaces as needed and it won’t look funny if I have to make a loop bigger or a holly smaller to fill the space. If I made them all the same and one was different, it would stand out like a sore thumb. Making them different sizes and directions not only adds interest to the design, it makes it easier to quilt. You don’t have to worry about uniformity. No stress!

Quilting the motif

Anytime you want to quilt a Anything E2E you have to start with knowing how to quilt the motif. You also need to pick a spot where you will enter and exit the motif.

Here’s how to quilt the holly cluster. I chose the berries as my enter/exit point.

Start by stitching 3 circles. (The green line is where you would stitch if coming from a previous holly cluster)

stitchpath for holly berries

 

 

Travel along the edge of the circles to stitch 3 holly leaves (notice there are no veins this time).

Travel along the edge of the circles to come out and head towards some loops and your next holly cluster. (red line).

stitch path for holly leaves

 

Use your loops (you know how to quilt loops) to move the design in the direction you want to go to fill up the quilt.

line drawing of holly e2e

More ideas

photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels

Gingerbread men are a nice simple shape to quilt! And those little guys are full of holiday fun.

Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com from Pexels

Candy Canes!

 

photo of Christmas Star ornaments

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

And stars!

There are plenty of simple shapes that inspire thoughts of holiday fun.

holiday fun cookies

Photo by Jonathan Meyer from Pexels

Come back next week to learn some pro tips for quilting Anything E2E designs.

In the meantime Happy Quilting!

Free Motion for Beginners – Holiday Fun

I think I have recovered from teaching and working at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. So now we can throw ourselves into full holiday preparedness mode.

Are you ready for this? Now is the time for finishing up those gift quilts and making holiday decorations and last minute quilty gifts. Put your newly gained skills quilting the 5 basic shapes to good use and try out some holiday themed motifs for free motion quilting.

Holiday Leaves

We have been creating lots of leaves on our quilts lately and there’s no reason to stop. There are some special holiday leaves that are fun and easy to quilt.

photo of holly

photo by lum3n on pexels

Holly

Holly can be quilted with simple curves. Like this:

Start with a slightly curved line. Make it the length you want your holly leaf to be.

start of holly quilting design

 

Add 3 curves going back toward the start.

part 2 of holly quilting design

 

Cross over the original curved line and add 3 more curves, ending at the right side of the original line.

part 3 of holly quilting design

You have a holly leaf!

Note that this design starts on the left and ends on the right. That means it is repeatable! Why is that so exciting?  You can do lots of things with a repeatable motif like this.

Make a string of holly leaves and you can fill a border or sashing. Simply start with one holly leaf and repeat the motif as many times as you need to fill your space.

line drawing of continuous string of holly leaves

Pro Tip: Holly leaves, just like all leaves, are organic. No two are alike! They can be different sizes and shapes and they all look great! No stress here! Notice the center lines are not perfectly straight, they are just a very slight curve. Vary the way that curve turns (up or down) randomly along your string of leaves.

 

To make your holly extra jolly, add in some circles here and there for berries. You can place two or three berries in a cluster between leaves. Make it random.

Line drawing of holly leaves with berries

 

Another idea is to mark a large meandering line over your quilt and add holly leaves to it for an all-over edge-to-edge design. Like we did in this blog post. Use the meandering line as the center vein of your leaves. But don’t quilt the line first, quilt it as you quilt each leaf.

line drawing of meandering holly leaves with berries

 

Mistletoe

Another iconic holiday leaf is mistletoe.

photo of christmas poppers with mistletoe painted one them

Photo by Nick Fewings on Pexels

Notice the shape of the mistletoe leaf, an elongated teardrop. A teardrop is like a long tall loop with a narrow base and a wider head. Quilt this like a vine, adding in berries (circles) randomly. The berries are usually in clusters, two or three together work well for a quilting design. Remember, quilting designs are not literal depictions of an image or thing, but rather a simplified version.

line drawing of holiday misletoe with berries

Just like holly, you can make the mistletoe meander to fill areas of your quilt or quilt an all-over edge-to-edge pattern.

 

Poinsettia

photo of poinsetta flowers

photo by kstankss on pexels

This popular holiday flower is a great design for blocks. It uses the lazy S shape.

Start with a swirl for the center and add leaves around it made with the lazy S shape. I find that five leaves is a good number for the first round. But there are no rules! If your flower has less, or more, it’s all good!

line drawing of the start of a poinsettia flower

 

Then add more leaves (or bracts is the real name) around that first round. You might have to do a little over-stitching, traveling along the leaves you already quilted.

line drawing of holiday poinsettia

You can keep going adding as many rounds as you like, or need, to fill in your space.

 

Stay tuned for more holiday fun designs!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

International Quilt Festival, Houston

Last week we were at International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. It is the big show that we look forward to every year. (Except last year (2020)). But nothing could keep us back this year! We love connecting with old friends, making new friends, and introducing new products to help quilters finish more quilts. This year was no exception. Attendees were so glad to be at a show, to see quilts, shop, and take classes that they happily followed all safety measures in place.

birds eye view of the International Quilt Festival show floor Houston, TX

Handi Quilter Bags!

We start each day off by giving away our giant, iconic, quilt-sized tote bags. We have a different color each year and quilters look forward to seeing what the color will be for this year!  Since Moxie is the run-away hit this year, we had to go with Moxie green.

HQ empoyees handing out lime green tote bags to show goers

Introducing!

Pro-Stitcher Lite was the star of the show. This is the robotic quilting system specially designed for our smaller, lighter longarm machines on our smaller frame systems and we were so pleased to introduce it at the show.

Classrooms full of Handi Quilters

Two classrooms filled with Handi Quilter longarm machines featured world-renowned quilting instructors. The HQ Amara classroom and the HQ Capri classroom. Lucky students enjoyed hands-on quilting education at its finest.

Classroom filled with HQ Amara longarm machines at INternational Quilt Festival Classroom filled with HQ Capri longarm machines at International Quilt Festival

Best of Show Award

The International Quilt Festival Best of Show award, sponsored by Handi Quilter is a $12,500 prize. This year’s winner was stunning!  Sachiko Chiba of Japan created this lovely quilt using multiple techniques.

 

best of show award winning quilt at International Quilt Festival 2021

 

 

MY favorite quilt of the show was this heartwarming quilt by Handi Quilter Ambassador, David Taylor. David quilts on the HQ Capri stationary machine to create his amazing art quilts. He based the quilt on a photo from another Handi Quilter owner, Margo Clabo.

Welcome Home
by David Taylor
Ft Collins, CO

Apparently many show goers liked this quilt best as well. It won the Viewer’s Choice Award!

Join us next year!

Quilt Festival Houston

NOVEMBER 3 THRU 6 – 2022

George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, Texas 77010

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – S shape

Continuing the series on free motion quilting for beginners, this week we will explore the S shape. You remember the shape of the letter S from kindergarten, right?

Elementary school Alphabet with the S circled

The perfect S with the nice, perfect, counter-clockwise curve at the top that transitions smoothly into the nice, perfect, clockwise curve at the bottom. That perfect shape works as a classic quilting design just as it is. It’s called by many names. One name is

“Red Hot Hearts”

because it looks like hearts flipping along a border or sashing.

image of red hot hearts quilting motif repeated 3 times

Red Hot Hearts

If you’re looking for a quick sashing or border design, look no further!

It starts with an S shape just like you learned in kindergarten. Shown here in red:

Then immediately a mirror-image S (in green). Repeat as often as you need to fill your border.

There is one difference from that kindergarten S. You’ll start at the bottom, rather than the top like you first learned in school.

image showing start point of red hot hearts design with an arrow point the direction of the stitching path

Starting at the bottom is simple. The tricky part, the part that needs practice, is stitching the mirror-image S. Nobody learned that in kindergarten!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

First practice this design by drawing on a white board, paper and pencil, or electronic tablet. You might want to print out the first image in this post and slip it into a page protector to trace with a dry erase, just to get that muscle memory started in the right direction. Remember we want GOOD muscle memory.

Pro Tips

If you’ve been following along with this series, you might be guessing what I’m going to say next.

You may have noticed how symmetrical this design is. So when quilting, it would be super helpful to have guidelines to help you achieve or come close to that symmetry.

This shows my quilt border with the guidelines I like. I don’t want my design to touch the seam lines so I mark a straight line 1/4 inch away from the seam lines. That will tell me how tall to make my S shape. I use a ruler and a chalk marker. You can use any removable marking device you like, (just as long as you know you will be able to remove it when you finish quilting!)

The other guidelines I like are the straight vertical lines that tell me how wide to make my S shape. These need to be evenly spaced. The easiest way I have found to mark these is to use a line stencil and a pounce pad.

various sizes of straight line stencils

The line stencils come in many different widths. I find stencils from many sources. Here are a couple that I like: The Stencil Company and  Full Line Stencils.

You can also accomplish this using a ruler and chalk. It will just take a whole lot longer. I’d rather be quilting than marking!

 

You know, quilts have vertical borders as well as horizontal borders. So I need to give you a

Practice assignment

Once you have the hang of drawing and stitching Red Hot Hearts horizontally, practice drawing, then stitching the same design vertically.

And you might run across a sashing that is on an angle, if you have a quilt with blocks on-point. So move on to 45 degree Red Hot Hearts.

If you have any practice time left you can practice quilting the S shape at random angles. Next week we will explore more S shape design possibilities.

by Mary Beth Krapil

Handi Quilter

 

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