HQ Ambassador Archives - Handi Quilter

When to Frog Machine Quilting – and When to Resist

My friend, HQ Stitch Ambassador, Diane Harris is quilting her scrappy Gypsy Wife on her HQ Capri stationary longarm machine. She’s fairly new to machine quilting. And she is chronicling her adventures with her new machine over on the HQ Stitch blog. This week she asks the question, “when to frog machine quilting – and when to resist?”. Diane says. “I know that ripping out machine quilting doesn’t make you a better machine quilter. It’s practice that makes you better! Nevertheless, I want my quilts to be reasonably well made and that includes the quilting.”

How do you find the balance? Let’s talk.

Definition

Frog: [frawg] verb – to remove stitches, usually with the help of a sharp implement, such as a seam ripper and the occasional un-lady-like word or phrase. Origin: from the sound emitted by the amphibian known as a frog, i.e. rip-it, rip-it.  Synonyms: rip, unstitch, unpick, unsew.

The Quilt

The Gypsy Wife is a sampler design by Jen Kingwell with many blocks in many sizes and lots of long, skinny strips. Don’t you love Diane’s amazing, riotous use of color?

Imperfections?

Diane thought the busy fabrics might hide her wobbles and bobbles that are a normal part of the quilting learning curve. And she was right! Busy fabrics on the quilt top and the backing will certainly hide many imperfections. The trick is to use a thread that will blend with all the colors in the quilt. With all those colors, Diane had a really difficult task!

Diane’s first example is this block:

She was happy with the quilting in the center square except for the long curve at the bottom. I think what made her unhappy is that the long curve is way more visible than the rest of the quilting. The medium colored thread she chose, (a good choice in my opinion), stands out much more on the black fabric where that curve is stitched. I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Ask an honest friend

Before you pull out the seam ripper, ask a friend, preferably a quilter friend, for an honest assessment. You both need to trust each other completely for this to work. Your friend needs to know that if she tells you to rip, that you won’t be offended. And you need to truly value her opinion when it comes to quilting and quality. Finding two people who can manage this type of interaction is hard and probably close to impossible. Quilters tend to be really nice people who would rather eat live bugs than hurt a friend’s feelings.

Ease up

The problem with making the assessment yourself is that you are too close. You spent hours piecing the top and so you want the quilting to be spectacular, to make the quilt look its very best. Looking at each and every stitch and expecting that the hours of practice you put in should be paying off by now, clouds your judgement. Take a few steps back. Wait a few days, then look at the overall quilt. Can you still see what you thought might be a mistake? Chances are, you won’t even be able to find it.

Some designs require more accuracy

Here’s my OCD showing!  Diane thought this block was one of the most problematic.

I agree with her. Straight lines need to be straight. Using a quilting ruler can help a bunch to improve the look.

This block is quilted with straight line designs and looks great. I’m pretty sure Diane used a ruler for what she quilted in the green and gray pointy parts. In her blog she says, “This sharply-pointed star isn’t perfect but it’s good enough. Consider it finished.”  I think she’s right!

When to Frog Machine Quilting – and When to Resist

The ultimate question

Diane asks, “How do you decide when it’s bad enough to take out and when it can be left in without utterly destroying your credibility?”

In other (less dramatic) words: when to frog machine quilting – and when to resist.

I think that question can best be answered with a few of questions.

Can you live with it?

Will you cringe every time you look at the quilt and that awful quilting will just scream at you? Then start frogging.

But before you do, give it some time. You may just forget and be unable to find the spot again. Then resist.

Do you think you can do better if you try again?

Maybe a different design will work better in the block? Maybe you can practice quilt a bit on a scrap and then give it another go? Start frogging.

If the design adds texture and does not look messy. Resist.

Do you want to spend the time it takes to frog and re-quilt?

What takes 10 minutes to quilt takes 3 hours to pick out. Is the quilt that important that you will invest your time? Yes? Start frogging.

If you’d rather quilt something else and try other designs, or the quilt is for your sister-in-law and you don’t like her much anyway. Resist.

I suppose it all comes down to the expectations you place on your level of expertise. If you know you can do better and you care about the quilt, then parent yourself. Make yourself take it out and try again. Study, if you have to, by practicing.

Here are some of Diane’s blocks that look just fine. Some she agrees with me, and others not.

Print out this sign and hang it on your quilting room door:

and add this sign too:

Rip or resist? How do you decide? Let us know in the comments.

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Quilt Stories

 

At Handi Quilter we love to hear quilt stories. How a quilt came to be, what techniques were used, how the maker came to quilting. This curiosity is the inspiration for our And I Quilt campaign. Getting to know quilters is fun and fascinating!

quilt stories with Lisa Walton

Lisa Walton is a textile artist living in Sydney, Australia and she is doing a series of YouTube videos called Quilt Stories. In this series Lisa is interviewing accomplished quilters from around the world. I’d like to highlight two of the quilters here. Both of them quilt on Handi Quilter longarm machines.

Birgit Schueller

Birgit Schueller is a Handi Quilter Ambassador from Germany, and she quilts on an HQ Infinity with Pro-Stitcher.   She’s an award-winning quilter who discovered piecing, patchwork and quilting by accident in 2001. She has been operating her successful longarm machine quilting business with an international customer base since 2005. Lisa talked with Birgit about her quilt The Sprinter.

Birgit quilted The Sprinter with her Pro-Stitcher. She digitized her own designs for this wonderful quilt. Check out the fabulous quilting!

quilt stories the sprinter

You can watch Lisa and Birgit here.

 

Margaret Solomon Gunn

quilt stories MS Gunn

Margaret Solomon Gunn is an award-winning quilter who quilts on an HQ Fusion. All of her work is hand-guided. Margaret’s studio is in Gorham, Maine. She has degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering, and nearly 20 years of professional engineering experience.  Her quilting is amazingly detailed and I’m sure her background in engineering plays a role. Margaret has been providing machine quilting services to clients for 10 years and somehow finds time to create stunning show quilts. Lisa talked with Margaret about her quilt, The Value of Violet.

Margaret combines template work with free motion quilting. Enjoy these photos of her quilt.

You can watch Lisa and Margaret here.

Lisa shares the stories of other quilters in her Quilt Stories series, so be sure to check them all out. They are delightful and I confess to binge watching!

by Mary Beth Krapil

Getting to know Telene Jeffrey, Handi Quilter’s newest International Ambassador

by Mary Beth Krapil

We would like to welcome our newest International Ambassador, Telene (Hester Helena) Jeffrey! Telene lives in Krugersdorp, Gauteng, South Africa. She is an amazing quilter, teacher and artist. She is an SAQG (South African Quilters Guild) Accredited Quilt Teacher after successfully completing the Teachers Accreditation Course.  Telene has won numerous prizes for her quilts and attained Master Quilter Status from the SAQG. She has proudly had a quilt juried into the IQA Houston Quilt Show 2016 where it was displayed in the exhibition.

Free motion quilting is Telene’s absolute passion, and she is a firm believer that everybody can quilt. Her goal is to inspire students to simply try, as she knows they will never look back!

We sat down with Telene and asked a few questions to get to know her a little better.

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

TJ: Simply put it means 2 immensely important things to me. Firstly, to be able to represent a phenomenal brand and fantastic products on an international level. Secondly, that this international organization recognizes my work as good enough to represent their brand.

It is an incredible privilege for me to work with Handi Quilter.  I specifically appreciate and admire their focus on education and training of quilters and not just the sales numbers. When I started quilting, I never ever thought, for one single moment, that I would venture into teaching quilting. Yet I now feel like it is part of my purpose on this earth. Sharing my gifts and skills and spreading inspiration is what I enjoy doing daily and to be recognized for those skills and gifts is extremely gratifying but also very humbling. Little me, way down here in South Africa…

For me to spread the quilting love, I need to work with a reliable product. One that can do what I want to do. One that does not fail me when it’s Sunday evening and the quilt is due on Monday morning. A brand that provides incredible back-up service should I run into a problem. A brand that listens to the needs of the consumer and happily develops products to suit those needs. A brand that constantly seeks to improve and provide the latest in technology.

Being a HQ Ambassador means I would hopefully be able to reach more people; Inspiring quilters of all walks of life, styles and places! I love it when a quilter has the ‘ah-ha!’ moment or as I call it: when-the-penny-drops-moment.

Of course, the HQ people are just incredible. I have been welcomed with open arms from the first day I met the South African Importer and Distributor, Claire Wallace, and the first time I had direct contact with Handi Quilter head office personnel at Houston Market 2017! I cannot wait to see what the future holds!

HQ: How did you get started in quilting?

TJ: I have been sewing since 1986 with my mother and because of a problematic overlocker, my parents ended up buying a sewing machine dealership instead of just a new overlocker! My mother discovered the world of quilting and subsequently arranged for 2 of South Africa’s top teachers, Wendy Burtenshaw and Susan Bornman, to teach a beginner sampler quilt in her shop back in 2000. I joined the workshop and that was that! I fell in love! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make many quilts during my time in the corporate world, 2001 – 2009. In January of 2011 I took over the quilt teacher role at my parents’ shop and fully immersed myself in the quilting world.

HQ: How would you describe your style of quilting?

TJ: Feathered! Don’t you think we should start a new style called Feathered? 😊 I’m addicted to feathers. I think I would place my style as sometimes contemporary, not really modern nor completely traditional. Although I am happy to be called an artist, I don’t think I’m an art quilter. Well, maybe not yet! Certainly ornamental. Certainly NOT minimalistic. I struggle hard with quilting just a little bit. See, I think we need a new style name! So maybe the style “Ornamental” would be most appropriate to me.

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

TJ: Meeting my quilting idols and sharing silly moments of laughter with quilters from all over the world. It is in those moments that we discover the power of the global quilting community and share a common love of all things pretty.

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

TJ: My current favorite is my Dream Big quilt called ‘Ode to Kelly’. I initially wanted to do something completely different with my Dream Big panel and I designed 5 or 6 different options, but when it came down to picking my favorite design I kept going back to this feathered option in Kelly Ashton’s style of feathers in the petals. It just didn’t feel right to me to do something dramatically different. Kelly has inspired so many quilters across the world to have a go at the fabulous Dream Big Hoffman panel and I thought it fitting to dedicate my quilt to her. I also don’t get very many opportunities to quilt for myself and so this quilt is mine, ALL MINE! I do, however, have drastic plans for the next panel.

HQ: Do you still have your first quilt?

TJ: Yes, I do! It was the quilt I made in the sampler quilt class taught in my mother’s shop in 2000. My son loves to use it in winter time. I have wondered several times if I should put it on the frame and quilt some more, but then I won’t have a visual reminder of how far I have come.

HQ: Who is your inspiration/muse?

TJ: Everything. Everywhere. I have learned to really look at my surroundings, where ever I go, because inspiration is everywhere! I do however have several quilting idols that I look up to and continue to be inspired by;  Kimmy Brunner, Ricky Tims, Judi Madsen, Karen McTavish, Kathryn Harmer-Fox, Debra Linker, Carol Selepec, Sophie Standing, my 2 best friends Claire Wallace and Jane Renton, there’s too many to name them all.

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

TJ: I totally LOVE free motion quilting! I LOVE machine work! I don’t particularly love piecing, not anymore. I don’t like handwork and I especially despise sewing/working away thread tails. Does that make me a bad person? 😊 But did I mention that I LOVE free motion quilting?

HQ: Do you have any other hobbies / interests?

TJ: Yes! Several actually!

I’m interested in quilting and sewing machines. I’m fascinated by quilting history. Creating quilting designs to free motion is one of my favorite down-time things to do. I really love taking photographs for quilting design or quilting project references and inspiration. Researching and experimenting with new techniques for quilt creations are also top of the list. Oh, and I like to read…fiction.

HQ: How can our readers get in touch with you?

TJ: You can find evidence of my quilting lifestyle on my:

website – www.ladyjanequilting.co.za 

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ladyjanequiltingshop/ 

Instagram – @teleneljq

HQ: Thank you Telene! We are proud to announce that Telene will be our keynote speaker and guest teacher at Handi Quilter Academy in June 2019. What a great opportunity to take classes from this awesome teacher.

2018-11-27T13:03:03-07:00December 7th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |3 Comments
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