machine quilting Archives - Handi Quilter

What’s New

We have introduced a lot of new things lately here at Handi Quilter, so I thought I’d fill you in on what’s new. I wouldn’t want you to miss anything!

I’ll start with storage solutions.

Purple Bobbins

whats new

These beautiful bobbins are a gorgeous shade of Handi Quilter purple. You get 30 bobbins packaged in a storage case with an insert that keeps all your bobbins neat and tidy. They are EZ-wind slotted M class bobbins perfect for all Handi Quilter longarm machines and the height of bobbin fashion!

Bobbin Tree

what's new

The HQ Bobbin Tree provides stacked storage for M-class bobbins. You can see all your thread colors and know right away if you have a filled bobbin with the right thread. This is a Handi Quilter exclusive!

HQ InSight Table Drawer

Add extra storage for all your essential quilting tools. The drawer can be added to one or both sides of your InSight table.  All your stuff will be right at your fingertips.

Speaking of the InSight table…..

HQ InSight Table Extension

It’s important when quilting with a stationary machine (like the Capri) to keep your quilt supported by the table. That avoids drag and makes it easier to move the quilt under the needle.  You can add 18 inches of space to your InSight table with a table extension. They have the same slick surface as your InSight table, pop up when you need them and fold down for storage. You can add one to each side of the table!

Speaking of the InSight table, there’s great news for Sweet Sixteen owners!

HQ InSight Table for the HQ Sweet Sixteen

If your Sweet is Tru-Stitch ready, (find out by calling your HQ retailer), you can upgrade your stitch regulation by adding the InSight table. It has built-in stitch regulation! The new table has an insert that is custom sized for your HQ Sweet Sixteen and has the stitch regulation sensors built in. They sense the motion of the fabric as you move the quilt sandwich.  If your Sweet is a little older, some can become compatible with an upgrade.

There’s also a couple of new tools.

Handi Iron-Off Pencils

I love these for marking on darker fabrics! They make a nice, easily seen mark that will not dust off like chalk. But once you want it to go away just touch with a hot iron and the mark is gone. We all need guidelines every now and then.

Here’s something you probably haven’t seen yet:

Handi Felting Foot Kit

The Handi Felting Foot Kit puts a modern twist on an old way of creating embellished fabric by meshing fibers together so they interlock and become one. The kit includes a needle body that holds 5 barbed needles that will punch through the fibers and mesh them together and a special foot that will protect your fingers and hold the fibers in place as you work. Felting is a ton of fun! The possibilties of what you can create are endless.

We also have some new on-line fun. I’m sure your familiar with weekly Handi Tips and monthly HQ Live, ways HQ provides learning and inspiration. Here’s some new ones:

Shop@Home LIVE

Join us on Facebook Live every Tuesday at 12 Noon Mountain Time. We’ll be sharing quilting tips, showing you live demonstrations of Handi Quilter products AND offering tremendous deals, just like you’d see at a quilt show! We even have giveaways, extra limited-time offers, and free shipping in the continental US. Ask Kelly and our Studio Educators questions and we’ll answer them live. HQ Shop@Home – tune in, learn something new, and save big! You might even win a prize. It airs right on our Facebook fan page, Facebook.com/HandiQuilter

If you don’t follow us yet, be sure to click the “LIKE” button so that you’ll be in the know about all things Handi Quilter.

Here’s a little sneak peak, something that hasn’t been announced yet but will be coming soon.

HQ Learn@Home

HQ Learn@Home will be an in-depth set of classes on a particular topic. You will purchase a ticket and get access to some of the best educators teaching inspiring classes. You will have a chance to watch the classes on-line and then on a designated day you can participate in a live Q&A session with the instructors. Your ticket gives you lifetime access to your purchased classes. Learn@Home will start in September, so watch social media and your HQ newsletter for more information.

So that’s what’s new around HQ, what’s new with you?

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Get It Done

Last week we saw Diane’s Vintage Zigzag quilt and I made some suggestions about how she might quilt it. She made some choices and she is having a great time using her Capri to get it done.  Whenever you are repeating a motif in several places on a quilt it’s really nice to have them look similar. It’s almost impossible with free-motion quilting to make the motifs identical but some consistency is a good thing. So I like to use some tricks and some tools to help me get it done, the way I want it done.

vintage zigzag

One of the suggestions I made was a flower motif for alternate blocks.

For a design like this, I like the flowers to all be nearly the same size. I like for them all to have the same size center. If some have small centers with big petals and some have large centers with small petals, that can really draw the eye (not in a good way).

Get It Done

Here is what I do. I mark the size of my block on Golden Threads Quilting paper.

get it done

Notice, I place a piece of white paper under the Golden Threads paper. This helps me to see when I draw with pencil on my dark cutting board.

Next I draw my design, keeping my pencil down on the paper so that I create a continuous line without stops and starts. Try thinking as if you were quilting the design. Where would you start to be able to make it through the entire design without stopping? When creating a block design it’s best to fill as much of the block as you can. Use a pencil with an eraser so you can make adjustments as you go.

I know some of you may be thinking, “But Mary Beth, I can’t draw!”. No worries! Find a design you like in a book or magazine or trace a flower on your fabric. Golden Threads Paper is easy to see through for tracing. This quality also makes it possible to place your drawing on top of your quilt top to audition what the design will look like on the quilt.  You’ll know before you stitch!

Make it the right size

If you choose to trace a design, it might not be the right size for your block. Again, no worries! The Quilter’s Assistant Proportional Scale is my go-to tool for this task.

get it done

Measure your design. Line up the measurement of the design on the inner ring with the new size measurement (I usually use 1/2 inch smaller than my block) on the outside ring. The percentage of increase or reduction will appear in the window opening under the arrow. Resize on copy machine or scanner. Easy Peasy.

Once you have the print out of the right-sized design trace it on to your Golden Threads paper. When I am happy with the design I go over it with a bolder marker. I indicate the start point with a dot and the end point with a square.

During this process, I have drawn over this several times so I developed muscle memory for the design. It’s going to be easy for me to quilt! I need to mark this on each of the blocks on the quilt where I want to stitch it. A stencil of the design would be the perfect tool!

Making a stencil

I take my GT paper drawing to my machine. You can do this on your longarm or your domestic machine. My HQ Stitch 710 is perfect for this, I can drop the feed dogs and free motion quilt easily. I take the thread out of my needle and I stitch along my lines just like I would quilt it. This needle punches the paper.

Now I can take my needle-punched paper to my quilt top and mark the blocks for quilting. I use it just like I would use a stencil.

The chalk creates a nice line that I can follow while I quilt.

I don’t worry if I’m not stitching exactly on the lines, but each of my flowers will be just about the same size and very similar in appearance because I have my stenciled guide. Just what I needed to get it done!

 

 

 

 

Vintage Zigzag

Our friend, Diane Harris, has been busy finishing UFO’s during her time at home. Her most recent finish is this vintage zigzag quilt.

vintage zigzag

It’s from the Fons and Porter Love of Quilting magazine May/June 2007 issue.

Diane says, “I had all of the printed units with yellow bits made when it became a UFO. Why did I put it away when the bulk of the work was behind me? I made myself stick with it. I knew if I put it away again I would never EVER finish it. There was a lot of easing and pinning and even some swearing because of the miles and miles of bias edges, but I love the finished product and I even have an idea for quilting it. Wouldn’t it be fun to fill each of those green squares with a different quilting design? I must talk to my machine quilting coach Mary Beth Krapil, to see if she thinks that would work. Mary Beth is a Handi Quilter National Educator and a longarm whiz with years of experience in machine quilting, and I count on her to guide me.”

Quilting Ideas

The first thing I thought when I heard Diane’s quilting plan was, how many green squares is that, exactly? So I counted, and there are 33 squares. That’s a lot of designs to come up with and it totals 53 if you want to include the green triangles!  It makes me tired just thinking about it.

That could be because I’m quilting a Jacqueline de Jonge Dream Flight quilt for a friend and I am trying to do different designs in the “moons”.  I’m challenged to come up with lots of variety that will work to create good texture. I’m just getting started.

I also think different designs in all the green squares will just be too busy. But that is my aesthetic showing. I like symmetry and cohesiveness; I like to tie things together with repetition. Diane is a lot more free spirited  than I am when it comes to her quilts. On the other hand I don’t want to discourage her from doing all those designs because, what great practice that would be for someone new to longarm machine quilting! If you haven’t read previous posts, Diane just recently got a HQ Capri stationary longarm machine and is having a blast quilting up her UFO’s and learning about longarm quilting.

So, how about a compromise? Quilt the same design in every other block and in the alternate blocks quilt different designs. I think the same design in alternating blocks would unify the quilt but still give the opportunity for fun, creativity, and Practice.

Examples

This vintage zigzag is really neither feminine or masculine. But we can sway it with the quilting.
Something on the feminine side:
or something a little more geometric:
With the geometric choice you will get plenty of ruler work practice! And if you do the other blocks in curvy free form quilting it will add contrast, which adds interest.

Some things to keep in mind

  • When adding your varied designs try to keep the density of quilting as close as possible to the other blocks. This will help keep the quilt flat.
  • The busy colorful zigzags only need something simple because the quilting will not show as much. I’m thinking some free form squiggly lines. That will be quick to quilt and make up for all the time spent on the blocks.
  • If you want a place to practice feathers, these zigzags are ideal! They won’t show your bobbles much.
  • Decide how confident you are with what you quilt in the green squares. If you are feeling bold then go with a contrasting thread so that the quilting will really show! Perhaps feeling a little more timid? Choose a matching thread.
I can’t wait to see what you choose, Diane! Of course I will share the finish here so we can all admire Diane’s work on this vintage zigzag. Stay tuned! And follow Diane’s blog over on the HQ Stitch site.

And I Quilt Personality, Kelsey Cooley

I am pleased to have And I Quilt personality, Kelsey Cooley, join us on the blog this week. Kelsey is a CPA, a daughter, and she QUILTS! Her Mom, Janie, introduced her to the art, and now the two are regular quilting buddies.

and i quilt Kelsey cooley

Kelsey joins us from Dallas, Texas, and she shares just why she quilts. And she has some very good whys!

The Reason Why I Quilt

I became a quilter while I was in college and what began as a pastime soon became more. I am now a part of a unique community of quilters, I discovered an outlet for my creative side, and quilting brings a soothing comfort to my soul.

Community

Quilting allows me to be able to share something special with others. Growing up, I always knew that Mrs. Susan, my mom’s dear friend, was a quilter, but I had not yet discovered that I would also enjoy putting together different fabrics and piecing them together with a pattern. When Mrs. Susan, my mom, and I put together a quilt in a weekend, I was hooked. Not only did I learn the process of piecing a quilt top, I was able to laugh and spend precious time with my loved ones.

Soon after, Mrs. Susan introduced my mom and me to a bi-annual retreat where I soon realized that age disappears when you share something so unique. I was able to meet many different women with many different styles. These women have been quilting for many years and it is so much fun to sit and sew all weekend and share stories with each other. We give input to each other about different fabric choices and quilting techniques. We also keep up with each other and our families throughout the year in our private Facebook group. I never anticipated that I would have a community with this group of people. It is one thing that I cherish every day.

Kelsey Cooley

Interwoven by Lo & Behold Stitchery

Creativity

Spending hours selecting the perfect fabric and pattern, piecing a top, quilting the final product, and finally seeing the recipient’s face when they open your gift is the main reason why I do what I do. By nature, I am a task-oriented and analytical person whose favorite subject is math. Recently, I realized that while growing up I was always searching for a more creative outlet, but never was able to find my craft until I discovered quilting. Picking out fabrics allowed me to flex my creative muscles. By learning more about color theory, I have been able to push myself to use different color ways to create unique quilt tops.n

creative people quilt Happy Together by Sew Kind of Wonderful

Quilting breathes life into the quilt. At first, I solely pieced tops and paid to have them quilted. At times, I still consider having other people contribute to a specific quilt’s journey, but I wanted to learn how to do it as well. I started with ruler work on the Avanté and graduated to the Pro-Stitcher (highly recommended). Whether it is a subtle pattern that lets the quilt top shine or something more intricate that brings the quilt to life, quilting can bring out the beauty of a pieced top. I have enjoyed picking out quilting patterns just as much as picking out coordinating fabrics. What is even better is that my mom and I share an HQ machine, so we get to put our heads together and come up with a final masterpiece. It is so satisfying to see the finished product and know that I completed it from beginning to end.

Comfort

Living in the Texas climate, a quilt is not used for physical warmth very often. However, I find wrapping myself in a quilt warms my soul. When my favorite season, fall, does finally appear, I enjoy sipping warm coffee on a crisp fall morning with a quilt wrapped around me while watching Gilmore Girls.

Quilting is personal. It allows me to be a part of a unique, treasured community, where I can broaden my creativity; and I find comfort in it whether I’m physically wrapped in a quilt or shared moments that I can wrap myself in.

Thanks so much Kelsey! It’s so fun getting to know our And I Quilt personality and all quilters. What are your WHYS for quilting? Please share in the comments. And be sure to watch Kelsey’s full length video. You can find it here.

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

Adventures in Learning to Longarm Quilt

It has been a few weeks since we visited with Diane and the HQ Stitch blog. We are following my friend, Diane’s adventures in learning to longarm quilt on her new HQ Capri. If you haven’t read the prior posts you can catch up here. Look on the right side and you will see Previous Blog Posts. We started back on April 11, 2020 with the post titled Getting Started with Longarm Quilting.

Diane has come along way in her quest. She overcame her fear and she has experimented with many types of quilting. She’s gotten familiar with her seam ripper, but learned to either stop before the point of no return if what you are quilting doesn’t look right, or Let It Go. In other words, accept the minor imperfections and know that you will get better the more you quilt. She has adopted the slogan:

Finished is Better than Perfect

So here is what Diane has to say a few months into her adventure:

DH: I’m in the habit of keeping something always going on the HQ Capri, so that when I have a few minutes here or there, I can sit down and quilt! Of course the InSight table can be adjusted for standing, but recently I’ve been sitting.

Adventures in longarm Capri

MBK: Yeah Diane! The absolute BEST way to improve at anything (quilting) is to do a little bit every day. You will build your skills and not lose progress like you would if you only quilted once in whenever. Out of all the things I say when I teach a class, this is probably the MOST important thing and probably the statement that is most ignored. Big sigh.

DH: I was on a roll when I finished the peachy-pink, green and gray baby quilt, so I put another similar baby quilt under the needle next. See Diane’s post about the pink baby quilt here.

DH: This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when I made it I was just playing around with half-square triangles and using up stash fabric for the borders. I like the idea that all four sides of a border don’t have to be from the same fabric.

And I’m okay with making a weird quilt. I’d much rather make a weird quilt that’s a little off than make a boring or ho-hum quilt. So this one’s weirdness made it perfect for practice.

Perfect for practice

MBK: When first getting started it really takes the pressure off to quilt quilts that you are not heavily invested in. It’s good to quilt REAL quilts rather than practicing on a piece of muslin. You will try harder on a real quilt.  But don’t choose that quilt top that you spent 1000 hours piecing and you want to put on the bed in your guest room. You’ll be way to invested and it will add stress and make you hunch up your shoulders. No one can quilt well with hunched shoulders. Save that one for later when you’re more confident.

DH: I started off with the solid gray areas by quilting connected squares and rectangles with straight(ish) lines. I used a ruler for a few lines but decided I preferred the organic look with less perfection.

MBK: This is a really good call! Ruler work, although precise, is slow. When quilting we have to weigh a lot of choices. One of those is how much time do I want to invest in this quilt? Once you have an idea about that, you can choose designs accordingly.

DH: I slowed my hands down and focused on making straight lines. And guess what?! Before long, my straight lines got a little straighter. And with that my confidence grew. 

DH: One thing I noticed is that the scale of my squares and rectangles changed noticeably between my first gray area and my last. I’ll tuck that away for future quilts:

The scale for any one motif should be consistent from one area to another.

MBK: A tip for straight patterns with corners: pause in the points. To make things like boxes look good, always pause your hands for a second at the point where you are changing direction. Set your stitch regulator in cruise mode and the machine will take a stitch right in the point making a nice sharp transition.

Consistency in motif size is what makes for nice uniform texture. If some of your motifs are large and open the quilt will poof forward in that area. And if others are small and tight the quilt will be flattened there.

An example of consistency

Let’s say you are doing an all-over meander on a quilt. The spaces in a meander are kind of circular. Notice the red circles placed in the spaces.

adventures in longarm stipple

When I quilt a meander or stipple (name depends on size) I like to think of a round object that I know the size of, like a pea or a quarter or a golf ball. I keep that image in my brain while I quilt. I imagine going around those oranges with my quilting lines. This does 2 things for me.

1. It keeps my meander consistent so that I get uniform texture.

2. It keeps my meander nice and round and I like a nice round meander.

Here’s what happens: you start out quilting a orange sized meander on a quick project and you get bored or in a hurry. The next thing you know your meander is basketball sized! This won’t happen if you keep picturing an orange in your mind’s eye.

This trick works for other shapes as well, like squares! Think dice or diamond ring boxes. 🙂

I hope you are enjoying following Diane’s adventures in learning to longarm quilt along with tips and tricks to help her improve. What have you struggled with? Let me know in the comments.

by Mary Beth Krapil and Diane Harris

 

 

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