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Can You Hear the Echo? Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

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

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

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

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

Hiart, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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

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

frame a particular element.

Like this mug rug.

 

Look at the difference when the shape is not echoed.

The echoing really accentuates the shape.

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

 

Create a frame around a particular element

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

 

A double echo around the central octagon is very effective.

 

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

Fill spaces

Concentric echos fill the center of this ring.

 

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

 

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

 

Multiple echos with varying spacing

can be quite interesting

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

 

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

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

How to do it?

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

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

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

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

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Happy New Year!

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

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

Happy New Year photowith clock and holiday tree

 

With warmest wishes for health and happiness,

Mary Beth

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

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

Happy Holidays!

I hope your holidays are filled with warmth, cheerful celebration and a little magic. The love and laughter of family and friends, good food and treasured traditions.

holidays tree with ornaments

Thanks for joining me here on the Handi Quilter blog!

With warmest wishes,

Mary Beth

 

2021-12-09T14:19:18-07:00December 25th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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 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 quilting for beginners – Start from the beginning

We have come a long way from the beginning of this series about free motion quilting. I sure hope you have learned a thing or two along the way. Are you keeping up with your everyday quilting play? I hope that it becomes a life-long habit.

Previous Posts

I’ve heard from several folks who have joined us along the way and missed out on the earlier posts. The list of previous blog posts, shown on the right side of the page, only goes back 5 posts. So I’m going to post some links to previous posts in the series in case you’d like to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). Bonus points if you are singing the song now. Let me know in the comments.

Here they are. You’ll find the first post at the very bottom.

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Stipple

click here

 

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – For Real

click here

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Getting Loopy

click here

 

 

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Curvy Designs

click here

big flower design

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – the Secret to Curves

click here

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Muscle

click here

photo of tracing a quilting design

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Putting it Together – Straight

https://handiquilter.com/free-motion-putting-it-together/

click here

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners, Theory

click here

curve quilting

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – Part 1 (this one is the beginning)

click here

woman making a promise

Check them out! If for nothing else than to see what that picture has to do with quilting.

 

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 – Advanced Meander

Last time we talked about the ubiquitous stipple. I said if the stipple is larger, we often call it a meander. Meander works for quilting entire quilts, edge-to-edge style. It creates good texture, holds the 3 layers together well and is fast and easy. On some quilts it is the perfect choice because the fabrics or piecing carry the design. Like this adorable license plate quilt made by my good friend, Jean Chapman. Jean quilted it on her HQ Sweet Sixteen, stationary machine with an edge-to-edge meander.

License plate quilt by Jean Chapman of North Carolina

detail of license plate quilt

But it can be boring.

When I first started longarm quilting, I started doing an all-over meander on my quilts. I was self-taught and I thought that was where everyone started. I soon became bored and wanted to branch out and do some other designs I had seen. (the truth is, I showed my friends yet another quilt I had finished and they all said in unison,” You NEED to learn a new design.”) The problem was, I didn’t have the skill I needed yet.

Now that you have some experience with meander, I want to share some ideas about how you can stretch and do some designs that look more special on your quilt. But these don’t take a heap more skill than a simple meander takes. So you will be very successful!

Ribbon

Start with a meander.

As far as size goes, think about how dense you want the quilting to be. If it’s a quilt that will be used on a bed or snuggled with on the couch, choose a loose density. For example a softball sized meander. For Ribbon quilting I start with a meander a little larger than I would normally choose, because I’m going to add more stitching.  Stitch this meander (as  much as you can  within the exposed throat space).

When you get to the end, reverse direction and echo your original stitched line, crossing over every now and then. Like this red line:

When you’re done it looks like a floating ribbon that’s swirling, twisting and turning.

Pro Tip: I find that it looks best when you try to cross over on the “sides” rather than at the top of the hill or bottom of the valley. Crossovers are shown in the yellow circles:

 

 

Get creative

Now just let your imagination take over and let’s come up with some new designs. What if we quilt a meander, then reverse and quilt a simple shape just next to it on the way back?

 

Here’s one with simple C shapes.

You could also reverse again and put C shapes on the other side of the meander too! Or try stitching the C’s in the opposite orientation.

 

Change it up and use straight lines that cross over your meander.

What if you just mark the meander with a removable marker and stitch the zig-zag?

Looks complicated doesn’t it? Shhh! Don’t tell anyone how easy it was!

Play time

What can you come up with? A good starting point for ideas are those 5 basic shapes.

 

 

 

 

Some of the designs in this post were inspired by phenomenal quilter and Handi Quilter educator, Megan Best. For more inspiration check out her book, Spinal Twist.  You can find it in digital format on her website.

Add your photos to the comments on this post to share with our Free Motion community. The more the merrier!

Who knew that simple meander could be so much fun?

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.

 

 

Quilting a Vintage Quilt Top

In last week’s blog post I explained how I prepared a not-so-flat vintage quilt top for finishing. If you didn’t catch it, be sure to read it first. No worries, I’ll wait.

detail of vintage quilt top quilted

 

Basic plan

Now that I had a nice flat quilt top, I could start thinking about the quilting. I wanted to ignore the seam lines in an effort to hide all the added sashing. This would make the tulips come forward and float on the background.

I planned to stitch-in-the-ditch around each set of tulips and do minimal quilting within the tulips so that they would puff forward. To accomplish the puff, there had to be some tighter background quilting behind them. And using two layers of batting, 80/20 on the bottom and wool on top is essential.

Design ideas

Drawing design ideas on Quilter’s Preview Paper  over the quilt top with a dry erase marker is a good way to start letting the ideas become real.

preview paper over vintage quilt top

Creating designs

Using Pro-Stitcher Designer, my digitizing software, I created some designs that would go over the seams and hopefully distract from them.
I start the design process by tracing the major elements of the top on Golden Threads Quilting Paper. Then I can place a 2nd piece of Golden Threads paper over that and start sketching. If I don’t like what I have drawn, I discard the paper and take fresh piece on top. I still have my major elements underneath.


After I settle on the designs, I transfer them to my Pro-Stitcher Designer software to create the digital designs for my Pro-Stitcher robotic system on my HQ Infinity.

vintage quilt top digital design

This design will be available for purchase on Quiltable.com soon!

Quilting!

Next comes the fun of quilting and seeing the quilt top come to life. I employed a combination of Pro-Stitcher robotics, ruler-work and free-motion quilting.  I wonder what Mrs. Gibson and Ora Tyler would think of their quilt today?

detail of vintage quilt top quilted

Of course a quilt is not finished until there’s a label. I chose to use one of the spare blocks as the label. Turning the corner of the block back so that the penciled name and hand stitching is visible. I think that is such a charming aspect of this vintage top.

You can also see how the block does not lay flat.

I printed the list of names of all the contributors to the quilt, along with the quilter’s name (me) and date it was finished. Now I proudly consider myself part of this group of ladies. I have 13 new friends! And I wonder if I’m young enough to go by just Mary Beth? I know I’m not old enough to be known as Mrs. Krapil! Mary Beth Krapil will do I guess. 🙂

Have you ever quilted a vintage quilt top? Please share your experience in the comments. We’d love to see pictures!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

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