machine quilting 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

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

 

More Grid Designs

Last time, we took our grid work to a new level by using more of the basic shapes. We followed the same path using the grid. It’s time for more grid designs! Using the S shape and the (mostly) same path.

I saved this shape  and the hook for last because they are a bit trickier to stitch and keep the grid going. But as always, I have hints and pro tips to make it fun and easy. More grid designs = more fun!

S shape

Remember the S shape?

Such a useful shape! If you’ve been following along with the Free Motion Quilting for Beginners Series you should be very familiar with it. If you’d like to start the series from the beginning, start here.

For this grid design we are going to modify the S shape a little. We need to exaggerate one side of the S and flatten out the other side. Like this:

I named the two parts of this S shape. You’ll see why in a bit. The exaggerated side is the “BUMP” and the flattened out side is the “SLIDE”.

The Path

Use the same 9-patch grid.

 

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

The Mantra

It is SUPER important that the shape is stitched the same each time. The BUMP first and then the SLIDE. So I use those words as my mantra.

Bump and Slide – Bump and Slide – Bump and Slide……

This mantra will be ever so helpful when you start changing directions.

Next, stitch down the side. Bump and Slide.

 

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

Can you see now why we need a mantra? The S shapes going across to the left are opposite of the ones we stitched across the top of the grid. It would be easy to get confused and turned around without the mantra.

Next stitch across the bottom of the horizontal grid line back to the right. Keep the mantra going! Bump and Slide.

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.

Are you noticing how the S-shapes are nesting together? Cool!

 

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!

I love the movement this design brings!

The name

This design is know as “Terry Twist”. It was named for the great quilter, author, and teacher, Sally Terry, who originated the design. You’ll want to check out her books and if you ever get a chance to take a class from her, DO NOT pass up the opportunity! You will learn a ton and have the most fun ever.

Here’s some real-life grid-work quilting. You can see a nice example of Continuous Curve (top right) and Terry Twist (bottom left). Notice the actual grid is not showing. I marked the grid on the fabric with blue water soluble marker. After quilting I rinsed the marks away. When we have seam lines on the quilt marking is not necessary. But where you have no seams, mark that grid. Sometimes you will want to stitch the grid and other times not.

The center circle is also grid work. A simple cross hatch is grid-work!

Next up, we will explore using swirls or hooks for more grid designs.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

UNCOVERED: The Ken Burns Collection and Handi Quilter

UNCOVERED: The Ken Burns Collection

Prolific film-maker and documentarian Ken Burns loves antique American quilts. “Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection” showcases 26 colorful historic American quilts, dating from the 1850s to the 1940s. The exhibit is on loan from the private collection of the legendary documentarian.

UNCOVERED, The Ken Burns Collection is at the Riverfront Museum in Peoria, Illinois from March 5th to June 5th.

Each of these textiles represents a moment in time and American history. A nexus of individuals and geography and culture that can never be fully recovered. But which is nevertheless represented in these strikingly graphic compositions.
— Ken Burns

The International Quilt Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln organized the exhibition.  The IQM owns the world’s largest publicly held quilt collection.   Peoria is one of just three cities to host the extraordinary collection. This is the last stop on the rare public tour of this amazing display of American history.

 

Uncovered and Handi Quilter

Handi Quilter retailers, Mike and Brenda Gelsinger, are owners of The Fabric Patch in Pana, IL.

 

They have been providing quilting services and supplies throughout their community since 2011. Their goal is for every customer to be completely satisfied with their purchase. Because they provide exceptional customer service and quality quilting supplies they are able to accomplish this goal.

Handi Quilter is proud to have Brenda and Mike as part of our network of dedicated retailers. They have earned the HQ Way Award and The HQ Top Sales Award.

Peoria Riverfront Museum partnered with expert area quilters to create programming around the exhibition. The museum officials and the local quilt guild asked Brenda and Mike to represent just how far quilting has come.

Mr. Burn’s documentary is about the history of quilting. Mike and Brenda set up a Handi Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher at the museum to demonstrate the future of quilting today.

 

They chose the perfect example. The state-of-the-art features of the Amara are on the cutting edge of quilting technology today.

The Pro-Stitcher Premium quilting system integrates world-class quilting machines with the latest computer technology.

 

So we want to say a big Thank You to the Gelsingers and The Fabric Patch for all they do to help their customers finish more quilts the 21st century way!

If you are in the area of Peoria, IL, do NOT miss this rare opportunity! Visit the museum. And while you’re at it, stop by and say “Hi!” to Mike and Brenda at The Fabric Patch in Pana. You’ll be glad you did.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

Grid Designs – Level Up

Now that you know how to complete a continuous curve design, it’s time to level up our grid work. And it will be simple to do! We started with a curve, one of the five basic shapes. We can use the other four shapes using the same stitch path as we did for continuous curve.

 

Pro tip: This is exactly how to expand your free-motion cache of designs. Take something you know and make a small change. Voila! New design!

Straight lines

We know the path to stitch. We will simply change the shape that we stitch. Let’s start with an easy one. Straight lines.

Start with the same grid.

 

 

Start in the upper left corner like we did with the curve. Quilt a V shape. Don’t drop down too far in to the space. You need to leave room for the other V’s that will be coming.

 

Continue on with the stitch path we used for continuous curves. Across the top and down the right side.

 

Serpentine across the first horizontal grid line.

 

And serpentine back to the right.

 

Pro Tip: Mark 4 dots with chalk or washable marker in each grid space to give yourself a goal. It will also help to keep your V’s a bit more uniform.

 

Continue on along the stitch path in the same manner as the continuous curve design from last week.  Work all your horizontal grid lines as you work your way down the right side.

Stitch the vertical grid lines using the serpentine method.

 

Keep going till you finish where you started.

To level up this design, make it as uniform as you can. Some tips that will make the design more uniform: use a ruler for quilting your straight lines and use a measuring tool to mark you guide dots so they are evenly spaced. Note, you don’t have to use these tips. The design still looks great stitched completely free motion and without the guide dots. Do what makes you happy!

More shapes

What about the other three of the five basic shapes?

Loops

Change the shape to a loop. Loops are easy and fun to quilt.

 

Use the trick of guide dots to keep your loops from going too far into the center of the grid space.

 

Let’s level up and start with a little different loop, and let them over lap in the center. Fun! It’s  an entirely different look.

For this design I put a guide dot in the very center of the grid spaces. Then I tried to just touch the dot with my loops.

 

This is where that 15 minutes of practice, I mean PLAY, every day, really becomes fun. Creating new designs for your stash.

Have some fun trying different ways to use the loops and straight lines and see what you come up with! Please share in the comments.

We will explore the other two shapes soon!

Happy gridding!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Grid Designs – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

Recently, there was an HQ Watch and Learn Show about quilting grid designs. Wait, what? You haven’t heard about HQ Watch and Learn?

HQ Watch and Learn Logo

Every Tuesday at noon Mountain time (2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, 11am Pacific, 7pm London, 5am Wednesday Melbourne, Australia) we present a video on our Facebook page. It’s entertaining, informative and inspirational! If you haven’t already, be sure to Like and Follow Handi Quilter on Facebook. That way you’ll get notified before the show. If you can’t be there during the live presentation, the show will remain on our Facebook page for later viewing.  The videos are also available on our YouTube Channel.

What’s even better,  you can ask questions in the comments on the Facebook page. And you’ll get expert answers from the Handi Quilter educators!

Watch the show on grid designs here. after you finish reading!

Grid Designs

So back to grid designs.

Q: What are they?

A: Any design you quilt that is based on an underlying grid.

Q: Where does the grid come from?

A: You can use the piecing seam lines on your quilt. Think about a nine-patch block.

Line drawing of 9 patch star block

It has an automatic grid.

line drawing of 9 patch star block with grid highlighted

Q: OK, I see the grid. Now what do I do with it?

A:  So many things!

If you have been following along with the Free Motion Quilting for Beginners posts, you know lots about the 5 basic shapes. If you are new to this, start reading here.

Start with a curve

Let’s start with a simple curve. I’ll walk you through the stitch path to quilt a design called Continuous Curve or Orange Peel. Let’s try it on the 9-patch block.

We will use the seam lines of the 9-patch as our grid.

Start in the upper left corner and stitch a curve. Remember to look ahead at the intersection of the grid to get a nice smooth curve. You want to hit that intersection as accurately as possible.

Stitch two more curves across the top of the grid, using the grid as your guide.

When you get to the end of the grid, stitch a curve down the right side.

Now you will quilt the first horizontal grid line. Stitch a curve to the left.

You may be tempted to continue on like this:

But don’t do it!

Photo by Monstera

Instead quilt in what we call

serpentine

Like this:

There’s a really good reason for this! When you stitch back to the right, you’ll want to create nice crisp crossovers at the grid intersections (red circles).

If you don’t serpentine, it’s up to you to be super accurate in hitting the points of the grid intersection. If you miss, the design doesn’t look so good.

SO, serpentine to get better results. When you crossover your first curves on the way back, the crossovers form the perfect crisp points!

 

Continue down the right side.

Then serpentine, across and back, on the next horizontal grid line.

Continue down the right side and start across the bottom. Stop when you get to the first vertical grid line.

Serpentine up that vertical grid line. With these curves you do need to give it your best effort to hit the crossovers that you stitched when you worked the horizontal lines. Remember the secret to curves!  Look ahead at your goal. Do not look at the needle as you stitch.

 

If you are more comfortable stitching one side on the way up and the other side on the way down, do what works for you. I prefer to continue with the serpentine path. Do what gives you the best results in hitting the points.

Travel across the bottom to the next vertical grid line.

Stitch up and down the vertical grid line.

Stitch to the left and start up the left side of the block.

Continue up the left side, remembering to look ahead and hit your points accurately,

When you get back to where you started, you’re finished!  The reason this design is called continuous curve is because it puts a curve on each grid line with only one start and one stop. When quilting, we really like to be as continuous as possible. So that we don’t have to waste time securing  thread ends.

I love how this design forms a secondary design of circles that appear to overlap.

The Finish!

Here is how the design will look on our block:

And another block:

Notice we skipped some of the seam lines and just used the ones that form a 9-patch.  But what if……………

What if we did a continuous curve using every seam line?

This creates a very different look. You can really see the overlapping circles on this one!

 

Stay tuned for more grid designs in our Free Motion for Beginners series. We will use some of the other basic shapes to create interesting designs that look a lot harder than they really are.

 

You can go watch the HQ Watch and Learn video now.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Gallery – Educator Challenge Quilts 2021

If you have ever been lucky enough to visit Handi Quilter, you know we have a gallery on the 2nd floor. There’s always a quilt show there! A new collection was recently hung, the 2021 Educator Challenge quilts.

The Challenge

A little history: most years the Handi Quilter national educators are issued a challenge of some sort. In 2021 we were given some fabrics and asked to make 12 identical 8″ blocks. We could choose any block to make. When we met, we saved one block and turned in the remaining eleven to be distributed among those who participated. That meant we received 11 different blocks made by our fellow educators. The real challenge came when we were told to include the blocks in a quilt, any size, any design, with, of course, FABULOUS quilting.

The Gallery

The gallery is open to the public most days when the Handi Quilter offices are open. If you would like to visit, just give us a call to let us know you’re coming. (You can also get a tour of the building if you wish.) Many of you cannot visit the HQ gallery in person, so I thought I’d share the quilts with you here. They are beautiful!

panorama of a portion of the Handi Quilter gallery

 

So without further ado…..

The Quilts

Waynna Kershner

Hopscotch With a Twist by Waynna Kershner

 

detail of Hopscotch With a Twist

 

Label for Hopscotch With a Twist

Vicki Kerkvliet

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends by Vicki Kerkvliet

 

label for I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

 

detail of I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Patty Kerns

Circle of Friends by Patty Kerns

 

Label from Circle of Friends

 

detail of Circle of Friends

Micki Chappelear

Friends by Micki Chappelear

 

label from Friends

 

Detail of Friends

Mary Yoder

Block Exchange 2021 by Mary Yoder

 

Label from Block Exchange 2021

 

Detail of Block Exchange 2021

Martha Higdon

HQ Challenge by Martha Higdon

 

Label for HQ Challenge

 

Detail of HQ Challenge

Linda Gosselin

A Walk Around the Block With Friends by Linda Gosselin

 

Label for A Walk Around the Block With Friends

 

Detail of A Walk Around the Block With Friends

 

Lana Russel

Handi Quilter Block Exchange Challenge by Lana Russel

 

Label for Handi Quilter Block Exchange Challenge

 

Detail of Handi Quilter Block Exchange Challenge

 

Kristina Whitney

 

Peachy Keen by Kristina Whitney

 

Label for Peachy Keen

 

Detail of Peachy Keen

 

Work or Play by Kristina Whitney

 

Label for Work or Play???

 

Detail of Work or Play???

Kimberly Flannagan

On-Point by Kimberly Flannagan

 

Label for On-Point

 

Detail of On-Point

Kim Sandberg

Connections by Kim Sandberg

 

Label for Connections

Detail of Connections

 

Kaye Collins

Every Which Way by Kaye Collins

 

Label for Every Which Way

 

Detail of Every Which Way

Karen Arnold

Traveling Quilting Circle by Karen Arnold

 

Label for Traveling Quilting Circle

 

Detail of Traveling Quilting Circle

 

Judy Hays

Finding Common Ground by Judy Hays

 

Label for Finding Common Ground

 

Detail of Finding Common Ground

Harriet Carpanini

Block Party by Harriet Carpanini

Label for Block Party

 

Gina Siembieda

Blocks By by Gina Siembieda

Label for Blocks By

 

Detail of Blocks By

 

Gail Berry-Graham

ICK by Gail Berry-Graham

 

Label for ICK

 

Detail of ICK

Diane Henry

Block Swap Challenge by Diane Henry

 

Label for Block Swap Challenge

 

Detail of Block Swap Challenge

 

Denise Dowdrick

Quilting with Friends by Denise Dowdrick

 

Label for Quilting with Friends

 

Detail of Quilting with Friends

Dee Maier-Adams

Handi Quilter Educator Challenge 2021 by Dee Maier-Adams

 

Label for Handi Quilter Educator Challenge 2021

 

Detail of Handi Quilter Educator Challenge 2021

 

Chris Davidson

Educator’s Block Swap Challenge Quilt by Chris Davidson

 

Label for Educator’s Block Swap Challenge Quilt

 

Detail of Educator’s Block Swap Challenge Quilt

 

Barb Tatera

Mid-Century Modern Meets Modern Quilting by Barb Tatera

Label for Mid-Century Modern Meets Modern Quilting

 

Detail of Mid-Century Modern Meets Modern Quilting

 

Amy VanGurp

Stolen Moments by Amy VanGurp

 

Label for Stolen Moments

 

Detail of Stolen Moments

 

Allison Spence

 

Block Swap Challenge by Allison Spence

 

Label for Block Swap Challenge

 

Detail of Block Swap Challenge

 

Aimee Losee

I Want to Play by Aimee Losee

 

Label for I Want to Play

 

Detail of I Want to Play

We hope someday you can visit the gallery. You never know what you might see but one thing is certain, it will be inspiring!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

Social Media Resources

After getting multiple questions from folks, I came to realize that not everyone is aware of the rich array of social media resources available to Handi Quilter owners and those interested in Handi Quilter. Here is what’s out there and where you can find it.

 

YouTube

Go to https://www.YouTube.com/HandiQuilter . You will see hundreds of videos on just about every Handi Quilter topic you can think of. Click on the Subscribe button and you’ll join 54,000 other quilting enthusiasts who watch these videos. Click on the little bell icon. Then you will get a notification from YouTube whenever there is a new Handi Quilter video posted.

 

If you’re a Pro-Stitcher quilter you’ll want to subscribe to the Pro-Stitcher channel too. It’s at https://www.youtube.com/prostitcher. 

HQ Live

HQ Live is a video presentation with special guests, tips tricks, trends and everything quilting. Each month when we present HQ Live, log into your YouTube account during the Live presentation. Then you will be able to ask questions and converse with other viewers in the comment section below the video. After the initial live stream, the video will remain on YouTube along with all the comments. You can continue to add comments at any time. It’s a great community, where you can connect with others who share your passion. HQ Live airs on the second Tuesday of each month at noon Mountain time.

HQ Watch and Learn Quilting Show

The HQ Watch and Learn Quilting Show airs every Tuesday at noon Mountain time. It is similar to HQ Live, but a little less formal. If you’re looking for inspiration and education, HQ Watch and Learn is perfect. You’ll find it live on our Facebook page and it will remain on the Facebook page for watching at any time. You can ask questions in the comments and get expert answers. HQ Watch and Learn presentations are also archived on our YouTube page.

How-to Guides and Getting Started Guides

If you’re just getting started or interested in learning what longarm quilting is all about or maybe you just need a refresher, the how-to guides and getting started guides are full of information. It’s a great place to learn while you are waiting for your machine to be delivered!

 

 

Instagram

We have 3 Instagram accounts that you can use to stay “in the know” and get inspired.

@HandiQuilter – Here you will get news about things going on at Handi Quilter, such as educational events and special sales on machines and products. You’ll also see lots of quilts, quilting designs and inspiration.

@prostitcherquilting – All things Pro-Stitcher will be seen on this Instagram account.

@prostitcherdesigner – You guessed it, Pro-Stitcher Designer inspiration will be here.

Be sure to follow us on Insta! and use the #handiquilter, #prostitcherquilting, and #prostitcherdesigner on your quilting posts to be a part of our community.

 

Facebook

You’ll get all the news direct from us to your Facebook news feed if you “LIKE” and “FOLLOW” our page.  Facebook.com/handiquilter,  You might have already known that.

 

 

But did you know we also have a Handi Quilter group page?

 

This is a wonderful community of HQ owners and those interested in learning about Handi Quilter. On the group page you can interact with other quilters. Ask questions, post pictures of your work in progress, pictures of your finishes, and get feedback from the group. You can get help when you are stumped. Maybe you’ve never used monofilament thread before and need a little encouragement before you give it a go? It’s a fun place, where you will learn so much.

Handi Quilter Academy

We also have another group page for those quilters interested in Handi Quilter’s Academy. Academy is the premier education event of the year held in Layton, UT.  The Handi Quilter Academy group page  will have announcements about Academy but it is also a place to interact with others. Many friendships are formed at Academy and forged on the Academy Facebook group.

 

 

Pro-Stitcher

For all you Pro-Stitcher quilters there’s an Official Pro-Stitcher page you’ll want to “LIKE” and “FOLLOW”.  You’ll see notification of new updates and enjoy inspirational posts and videos.

 

Pro-Stitcher Designer group

And for Pro-Stitcher Designer users there’s a PSD group page. Since Pro-Stitcher Designer is so new, I’m sure you’ll have questions as you start to learn it. This is a great place to ask those questions and get help from your mates and from the experts.

 

Pinterest

Be sure to check out our Pinterest page for fun inspiration!

 

TikTok

Yes, you can find us on TikTok too! @handiquilter

 

 

So there you have it. Go to the pages you are interested in by clicking on any of the links above. If it’s a group page, you’ll be asked some questions when you ask to join. Be sure to answer them! We try to keep the groups safe for our members. Remember on any groups you join, not just Handi Quilter, you are on a public forum.  So use your best kindergarten manners, follow the rules, and protect your private information.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Turning the Quilt Successfully

Turning the quilt to quilt the side borders is a great technique that’s used by most accomplished quilters. It is definitely the best way when you are using robotic quilting like Pro-Stitcher, if you are really into accuracy (like me). It’s also a good technique for free motion quilters. Quilting a border all in one go is just easier. Not to mention all the stops and starts you’d have along the sides if you don’t turn.

What am I talking about you ask?

 

Imagine this scenario: You decide to quilt the borders of the quilt differently than the rest of the quilt with a continuous design. An example of this might be a quilt with a feather vine along the border.

Silver Celebration by Mary BEth Krapil

Silver Celebration by Mary Beth Krapil

 

Or a border that does not turn the corners, like this one.

You quilt the top border all the way across and it turns out beautiful. But only a small portion of the side borders are showing in your throat space. If you quilt the side borders as you work your way through the quilt, you have to figure out a way to divide them up into manageable pieces that fit in your throat space. This is called “chunking the border”.

You will have to have tie-offs at each section. Tie-offs can sometimes be visible unless you knot and bury the tails. Visible tie-offs are not good. Knotting and burying takes lots of time, also not good! So how do you solve this problem? Turning the quilt!

MY process

Start by basting the top and sides raw edges within your first throat space. Whenever I quilt a separate design in the border, I will stitch-in-the-ditch the seam between the border and the body of the quilt. It makes a great difference in the look of the finished quilt and is well worth your time and effort. Stitch-in-the-ditch across the top seam and as far down on both side seams as you can go.

Quilt the top border. Don’t quilt the side borders, just the top. Baste the side borders. Either with long basting stitches or with pins placed horizontally.

Then quilt the interior of the the quilt (as much as you can within the throat space).

 

I usually use pins unless the border is very wide.  Be SURE to place the pins horizontally. This allows the pins to roll around the take-up pole without bending.

 

Advance the quilt, baste the side raw edges and stitch-in-the-ditch the seam between border and body as much as you can in that next throat space. Baste the borders. Quilt the interior.

Continue in this manner til you reach the bottom of the quilt.

In the last throat space, baste the sides and bottom raw edges. SID (Stitch-in-the-ditch). Then quilt the bottom border. Baste the side borders. Quilt the interior of the quilt.

Now everything is quilted except the side borders. They are basted in place.

Tips for turning successfully

Remove the quilt from the frame. Trim all excess batting away from the quilt top. Be careful not to cut the backing.

Handi Batting Scissors are ideal for this job.  Trim all four sides.

 

Measure the excess backing fabric from the edge of the quilt top on both un-quilted sides. Trim if needed so that it is even all the way across.

 

Attach one of the sides to the take-up leader. I pin to my leaders. Use whatever method you are comfortable with. Do NOT pin the other end to the backing bar. Drape the quilt over the backing bar and clamp in place with HQ Super Clamps.

 

Notice that I have not removed my basting pins. Wait until you are ready to quilt!

Remove your basting (pins or stitches) and quilt this border.

 

Then remove the quilt from the frame and turn 180 degrees. Attach the other border to the take-up leader. Secure the quilt to the backing bar. Remove your basting and quilt the final border.

 

Your side borders are quilted perfectly! With no stops and starts! All in one go!

I hope you give this a try. You’ll find it does not take any more time than chunking the border as-you-go and you will get much better results! If you do, let us know what you think of turning the quilt in the comments.

Happy Quilting!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

P.S. The designs you see on the patriotic quilt are available on Quiltable.com!

 

 

 

One More Echo – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

One more super easy and super fun echo quilting design and I promise to stop. (Maybe) But can you see how echoing is a essential skill for a free motion quilter? It is a must-have in your tool box.

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

 

This design was originated by my good friend and Handi Quilter Ambassador, Helen Godden. Helen quilts free-motion on the HQ Capri. If you don’t already follow her on social media, you should! She is a wealth of fabulous ideas and techniques. You can find her here:

Facebook:  Helen Godden Quilts
YouTube: Helen Godden Quilts
Website: www.helengodden.com

She calls this design “Roadmaps”. That’s an appropriate name since you create a roadmap for yourself and then echo quilt. It’s really that simple!

I love the look you get with swirls.

Here’s How:

Choose your favorite removable marking tool. Chalk, Handi Iron-Off Pencils, water soluble marker, air soluble marker….  There are lots to choose from. Just be sure to test, to make sure the marks will come out once you’re finished quilting.

Handi Iron Off Pencils

 

Create your roadmap

Draw a swirl.

 

Add another swirl. And one more.

Keep going until you fill up your space.

 

Now you have your roadmap.

Quilting

Start at the beginning with your first swirl. Echo quilt next to one side of the swirl. Which side you choose does not matter. Use the side of your machine’s foot to glide along your drawn line. This will give you even spacing.

 

When you come to the end of your first swirl, swing around the tip.

 

 

And start quilting the other side of your marked line. When you encounter another swirl, keep going next to that swirl.

Keep going and keep going and eventually you will wind up finishing back where you started. Once finished, you can remove your roadmap.

You are left with a beautiful echo quilting design!

 

So fun and so easy and so very beautiful! I like to use this design for all-over quilting, for background filling, or to fill busy blocks.

Here is one I quilted out.

 

Here’s a close-up, but it’s a little hard to see my blue water soluble marks. I was able to see them fine for quilting.

 

I quilted this piece of fabric to use for a bag project. Why buy pre-quilted fabric, when you can quilt your own?

I like using the foam headliner material in place of batting for bags.  Bosal In-R-Form and By Annie’s Soft and Stable are a couple of brand names for the product.  I load it just like I would load a backing fabric. Then baste the top fabric on, and quilt away. It creates beautiful texture and gives your bag nice form.

I’m planning to have some fun with my couching foot on this. So the echo design is perfect for some quilting and a backdrop for my couching.

I’ll share the rest of my process in another post.  For now, Have fun echoing one more!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

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