machine quilting Archives - Handi Quilter

Handi Felting Foot Kit

I’ve been having a blast creating new fabrics and projects using my felting foot on my Amara. The Handi Felting Foot Kit transforms your HQ longarm into a felting machine with infinite possibilities! It creates new fun you can have with your Handi Quilter machine. I must give you the Sewing Surgeon General’s warning: felting is addictive.

Handi Felting Foot

 

What is Felting?

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 the fibers and mesh them together and a special foot that will protect your fingers and hold the fibers in place as you work.

Select your fibers

Needle felted cloth is fun, easy and quick to create. All that is need is a base fiber and bits of other fibers to add to the base. The fibers can be anything that can be penetrated by a needle: silk, yarn, wool or silk roving, tulle, cheese cloth, ribbons, fleece, lace, felt, burlap, sheers batting. Some fibers work better than others for this technique; experimentation is key. At least one of the 2 fibers you wish to combine needs to be fibrous, like felt or wool. Trying to felt 2 layers of a smooth finish fiber like quilting cotton or 2 layers of sheers doesn’t work well. You must play with your yummy fibers and textiles and see what you get!

Machine Prep

Once you have your assortment of fibers, refer to the Handi Felting Foot Instruction Manual to get the needles and foot attached to your machine. You can also watch the video to see how to get set up.

If you quilt on a movable machine it is helpful to attach your ruler base to provide a flat surface for laying out your fibers.
Remove the bobbin case from the machine and set it aside. Felting creates huge quantities of lint.

Be sure to clean the bobbin area frequently while felting and when finished clean thoroughly and oil the bobbin race before starting a quilting project.

 

 

 

 

 

Machine Settings

Set the machine to manual mode. Go slow when first starting until you have a feel for how it goes. I like the machine speed to be about 500 SPM. This allows me to move at a nice moderate pace. You want to keep moving, staying in one place too long can create a hole or can push all the fibers to the back of the piece. Different fibers require different amounts of felting to meld the fibers together.
Set your needle to stop in the up position so that you can move away and add more fibers without having to raise the needles.

Mounting the base fabric

If you needle felt with a movable machine, (Amara, Forte, Simply Sixteen, Avante, Fusion), you can mount your base fabric by attaching it to the leaders. If the piece is not large enough, simply baste some muslin or scrap fabric to the edges and attach that fabric to the leaders. Mounting to the leaders is not necessary however, you can always use channel locks to keep your machine stationary and use the ruler base to give a surface to support the fabric. That allows you to move your fabric under the needles just like you would do on a stationary machine. It works well for  smaller pieces. If you needle felt on your Sweet Sixteen or Capri, you are ready to go.

Getting started felting

Start simple with two layers of craft felt. Use one piece for the base and cut out a simple shape from another piece. Lay the shape where you’d like it on the base fabric. Move the machine over the shape and start by lightly going over the entire shape to tack it down starting in the center and moving out to the edges. Once tacked in place go back and felt securely. You will quickly see how fast or slow you need to move to get the desired results.

Next try some yarn. Use caution so as to not get your fingers near the needles. Needle felting is a very organic technique so don’t be too worried about being exact. Try felting the yarn as it comes from the skein and also try separating the fibers.

 

Now you’re hooked

Add as much or as little you’d like. Once you take it off the frame you can trim it and add a piece of felt or cotton batting to the back, running a line of stitches down the center. Fold over on the stitch line and you’ve got a fancy little needle book to use for those hand stitching projects.

Felting: You’ve got this

Learning to needle felt is an easy transition from free motion quilting. Since you are already a longarm quilter, you already have the feel for free-motion quilting and needle felting is very much the same motion. You might not be accustomed to running your machine in manual mode. Since there are no “stitches” to show and no thread, it doesn’t matter and the smooth sound of the machine at a constant speed helps you to move smoothly. One thing you want to remember is to have the machine set at a faster speed and you should move the fabric (or the machine) at a slower rate. This will help prevent breaking needles. Also remember to have the needle stop set for UP. Learn more by watching the HQ Watch and Learn show about the Felting foot.

What will you felt first?

by Mary Beth Krapil

Thoughts on Batting

The top is finished and the backing has been pulled together. Now we’re ready for the best part, the quilting. But we have to have something in the middle to make it into a quilt. I have some thoughts on batting that I’d like to share. It’s the least appreciated part of the quilt. But it does most of the work of making a quilt either soft and warm and cuddly, or wall hanging worthy. So you have to choose wisely.

What is batting?

Batting is the material used between the top and backing layers of fabric in a quilt. This material provides dimension, texture and loft to your quilt as well as providing an insulting layer of warmth.

Batting can be made from many different fibers. The most popular among quilters are cotton, wool, silk, polyester, bamboo, and various blends.  You can find a nice description of the different fibers at the Connecting Threads website.

There are a lot of choices on the market and it may seem overwhelming, but it really boils down to two things: 1. how the quilt will be used and 2. your personal preferences. I’m going to share my preferences and give my reasons. You should experiment and decide on your own personal preferences with some of what you read here in mind.

How will this quilt be used?

We make all sorts of quilted items, wall hangings, art quilts, table runners, place mats, baby quilts, kid’s quilts, couch quilts, bed quilts, lap quilts, heirloom quilts, guest bed quilts,  don’t-you-dare-nap-on this-quilt quilts, picnic quilts, car quilts, dog bed quilts. I’m starting to feel like Forrest Gump’s friend, Bubba, listing the uses for shrimp, but I’m sure you’re getting the picture.

I divide up my projects into 2 categories:

1. Flat and stable

Wall Hanging

In this category I include any quilt that needs to remain flat and square, so that it hangs nicely, and will very seldom (if ever) get washed. This type of quilt requires a stable batting that will not sag if hung on the wall, that doesn’t stretch as much as some other batts, and that provides stability. My choices are cotton, or an 80/20 cotton/polyester blend.

There’s only one problem with those choices, they don’t usually have much loft. I’m a quilter and I want my quilting texture to show. For that you need loft.  Loft refers to the thickness or puffiness of batting. So to add that loft with out giving up stability, I add another layer, of wool or polyester, on top of my flat stable layer. It lets my quilting texture sing while the cotton layer against the backing keeps everything flat and square. Win-win!

Table runners and Place Mats

These are things that will get washed. And they need to lay flat so that you can place dishes and glasses and such on them and not have anything tip over. My choice for these is fusible fleece. I position the fusible side to the backing so that I can get a small degree of texture from the quilting on the top. After quilting and binding I give the item a good press (according to fleece package directions) to fuse the fleece to the backing. This batting also helps keep the item looking crisp and flat after washing.

2. Drape-able and cuddly

These quilts are ones that will get used for sleeping, watching TV, napping, building forts, making super hero capes, having picnics, swaddling babies. They get washed. Soft and cuddly is the name of the game.

Bed Quilts

I prefer natural fibers for sleeping. My favorite bed quilts are made with wool batting. They are lightweight, breathable, warm in the winter (especially with a cotton batted quilt on top), and cool in the summer (all by itself). Most all wool batts on the market today are pre-shrunk so they are machine washable on gentle in cool water and dry-able in a low drier. You will get a small amount of shrinkage to give that classic crinkled quilty look. The loft shows my quilting texture (a big plus!).

Kid’s Quilts

If the quilt is for a child, then I might opt for cotton or 80/20. Kid quilts get washed much more often than most grown-up quilts. I prefer a more stable batting to hold up to all the play and trips through the laundry. I want the outer fabrics to wear out before the batting does.

Winter Quilts

Did you notice earlier I said I put a cotton quilt over my wool quilt in the winter? A cotton batting has a heavier weight and although it’s breathable, it’s a little less so than wool. It provides a nice layer of insulation in the winter. Where I live it’s not always super cold all winter long, we have some weeks of milder temps between the freezes. So I keep my cotton batted quilt nearby for the really cold nights.

These have got to be the most boring photos ever. The beauty of batting is the job it does to make your quilts work the way you want them to.

 

Batting Tips

  • Always follow the directions on the package when it comes to care and also the density of quilting. The package will always tell you how close your quilting lines need to be to keep the batting from shifting and bunching in the wash. Follow the rules!
  • I like to buy batting on the bolt or by the yard rather than the packaged batts. It has less wrinkles and fold lines.
  • Speaking of wrinkles and folds, I like to load my quilts on my longarm frame the night before I plan to quilt. Then I can drape the batting over the poles and give it a light spritz with a water bottle. During the night the ironing fairies come and get all the wrinkles out and I’m ready to put the batting in and start quilting.
  • Batting stretches very easily, so treat it gently while you are quilting and be super careful not to stretch it.
  • Handi Quilter machines can easily stitch any commercial battings, so no worries about that. If you’re hand quilting, be sure to choose one that is easy to needle.

These are my thoughts on batting and are in no way comprehensive. The only way to learn your own preferences is to experiment and learn as much as you can by reading and talking with other quilters. Let us know what your favorites are and be sure to tell us why in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

More Adventures in Longarm Quilting

Last week we checked in on Diane Harris to see how she was coming along. Seems she is having more adventures in longarm quilting and learning a lot while having fun. We looked at her recent blog post, Hugs and Kisses: What I Learned. If you didn’t read it, do it now. If you missed the post on the Handi Quilter blog last week, you can read it here, to get caught up. This week we will talk about Diane’s other lessons and I’ll share my thoughts and a tip or two.

Diane says, “The next one is a problem and question that came up but I don’t yet know the answer. I’m counting on Mary Beth Krapil, my machine quilting coach and a Handi Quilter National Educator, to help me.”

4. Should the motifs in different parts of the quilt be related in some way?

Wow, Diane! That’s a huge question.

Here’s what she was thinking:

I had this thought when I started the loops above in the first border, and again when I started the straight lines in the outer border.

I like the loops and the lines a lot because they’re easy and forgiving. But they don’t seem related in any way to the motifs (fingers and leaves) I quilted in the blocks.

The answer to that question is a big matter of opinion.  I like to try to use some principles of design when choosing quilting motifs.

Rhythm and Repetition

Rhythm is created by repetition of line, form, and texture to create a visual link that the eye follows. It invites viewer’s eye to move from one part of the quilt to another.  And what does this mean to a quilter? When you choose a motif, like a leaf, you should repeat that shape in different parts of the quilt and Diane did that expertly by repeating the leaf form in all the dark squares of her X blocks and in each of her X blocks.

Contrast

I like to introduce contrast with the quilting. For lots of straight lines in the piecing, I use curved quilting lines. If there are curved lines in the piecing (or definitely for applique quilts) straight line quilting is the way I lean,  Diane’s “fingers” have a nice element of curve to an essentially straight design that creates that contrast to the straight-line piecing. She also created contrast with the scale of the fingers v.s. the leaf shapes. The fingers are tighter quilting that pushes down the batting in the background of the X and lets the X come forward with the looser leaf motifs. Contrast can also be achieved with thread color. You have to be brave or confident in your quilting abilities, because your quilting will really show with contrasting thread.

Balance

First and foremost the placement and scale of your motifs have to be balanced so that you end up with a nice flat square quilt. Diane used the straight lines in her border. Piano key-like designs are always a good choice for the border. Because of it’s back and forth quilting path, a piano-key design can tame a bit of fullness if needed. And as long as it’s quilted with fairly even spacing it really helps a quilt lie flat.

As to Diane’s concern that the straight lines are not related to the other motifs, it’s my opinion that straight lines always work, no matter what else is happening with the quilting.

Her loops are similar enough to the fingers that I think they work just fine too. She quilted them in the narrow pink stop border. I think a simple design like loops or zigzags or arcs are the perfect motif for narrow borders. Now, if she had chosen to quilt fish….that would be a stretch. Keep the quilting in narrow borders simple and you will always come out ahead.

There are many more principles of design and I would recommend researching and learning as much as you can about them. It will really help you to achieve better quilting.

5. Use a similar color in the bobbin as on the top

Yes, that is an excellent rule! It eliminates tension headaches. Starkly contrasting thread in the top and bobbin will show even the tiniest variations in tension. Diane used hot pink and dark blue threads on top, but didn’t think they would look that great on her light blue backing fabric. It’s always a dilemma when choosing threads, but if you stick with the same thread top and bobbin, it is much more forgiving. If you are a beginner and are afraid that your quilting won’t look nice on the back, choose a busy patterned backing fabric to disguise your quilting till you gain more confidence.

Diane’s next lesson was:

6. Your bobbles won’t show to the average viewer.

Amen. The people who will see your quilt will love it, simply because you made it. They don’t know anything about quilting and they don’t care! You made it, and it is beautiful. Even other quilters who DO know a thing or two about quilting will applaud you. You FINISHED a quilt. That is cause for celebration in and of itself. Not to mention the things you learned along the way.

Diane says, “Have you ever noticed that no matter how ugly a quilt might be during show and tell, people still appreciate the maker’s efforts?

And if it’s an early effort, even more so. We all start somewhere, and later we remember how much we appreciated the encouragement of others who understood.”

Wise words my friend! Quilt on!

by Mary Beth Krapil, Handi Quilter National Educator

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Longarm Quilting

It’s been a while since we checked in on Diane Harris and her adventures in longarm quilting on her HQ Capri. She’s getting nice and comfortable using her Capri now. With that relaxation about the mechanics, comes an opportunity to notice finer nuances about her quilting that give her ideas to make the task easier and faster, or fine tune her technique to make her designs sharper.

Let’s take a look at her recent blog post, Hugs and Kisses: What I Learned.  (Kinda sounds like a dating advice blog? Haha! Just kidding! It’s about quilting, I promise.)

Her lessons:

1. Plan your route

So important! When free motion quilting we want to have as few stops and starts as possible. Not only will it save time, it also saves having to secure your thread tails. Be sure to go over to Diane’s blog and watch her video, it’s an excellent demonstration of how planning can help. Really, go watch it, click here. I’ll wait here.

She came up with a brilliant way to move through the block with her design. I have one tip. When she fills most of the block and she gets here:

She continues on to fill the bottom right corner, the way she did the two top corners, and then goes back to finish in the center, as she had been doing. If she had filled the bottom right of the blue 4 patch in the center, then did her two circles and then the bottom right corner, she would have finished at the outside corner, where she could move on to the next block.

Tip: Think globally

Think about how to travel through the block. But also think about how to travel from block to block continuously, as well.

2. Varied motifs are easier than matched motifs

Absolutely! If you choose a motif that has a regular repeat and uniform size, such as the finger like shapes Diane chose, you need to be confident about quilting them all the same.

A viewer’s eye can easily pick out the finger that’s not the same width or the same height as all the others. But if you vary them in some way, it’s much more forgiving and many times more interesting.

I’m a lover of symmetry though, so I practice a motif that needs to be uniform until I get really good at it. If you are too, it’s worth the effort. Often times you need a place for the eyes to rest and symmetrical designs, like cross hatch for example, create that place of rest.

Tip: Varied motifs fool the eye, but symmetry relaxes the eye.

3. Give yourself targets

Diane chose to quilt loops in her border. Great choice! It’s a classic design element and is fairly easy to quilt. Until you realize, that it is one of those designs that look best when they are uniform. That brings in a degree of difficulty. Diane came up with a shrewd way to help her make them more uniform. She gave herself targets, small tick marks made using a ruler for spacing.

              

When I want evenly spaced, even sized design elements I use line or grid stencils. They are available from many companies and in many sizes and configurations, even circles. Some have angle lines to help align diagonal designs. I use my pounce pad or water soluble markers to mark my quilts. Always test whatever product you choose to make sure it will come out when you want it to. Diane could have saved time and increased accuracy by using a line stencil. One swipe of the pounce pad and you’re done! For loops like Diane was quilting it not only helps with spacing, it also helps you keep the loops standing up nice and straight. (Although Diane did a great job of that all on her own.)

Tip: Use the tools you have available to make the job easier.

Bonus tip: Buy the tools you need to make the job easier.

Diane’s well on her way to becoming the quilter she wants to be! It just all takes time. Remember to give yourself the time to play and learn. Diane has been doing that and it has paid off. Be easy on yourself with your beginnings and know that in time you will get to where you want to be.

Tip: Practice, practice, play

Ha! you thought that 3rd word would be practice didn’t you? Quilting is something we love to do. If it wasn’t you would not be reading this. So our practice time is really play. Have your own adventures in longarm quilting. Diane has really enjoyed her practice time. She has been quilting actual quilts and has been very lenient with herself. She only pulled out the seam ripper a few times. Diane says,

“Unless you’re entering your quilt in a judged show, those who view it will not criticize it and will likely think it’s beautiful. Out in the wide, wide world, there aren’t many people who can make a quilt, so others will admire the colors, the shapes and the sheer skill it took you to create such a wonder. ”

And I agree 100%.

We will continue to follow Diane’s adventures in longarm quilting. There were a couple lessons in Diane’s post I didn’t speak to yet. Stay tuned.

 

 

And I Quilt Personality, Dorien Keusseyan

This week we hear from And I Quilt personality, Dorien Keusseyan. Dorien is a hockey player, a mom, and she quilts. Before COVID, Dorien led an active, busy life as an athlete and mother, but always found time for quilting.

A pandemic has a way of changing what everyday life looks like. But it didn’t change Dorian’s love of quilting and giving. She dug deep into her favorite endeavor to find a place of peace. And she found a way to comfort a friend along the way. Here’s her story:

 

My COVID escape

Quilting keeps me going, especially in these most recent times of uncertainty. My hours used to be filled with a part-time job and sports, both playing and watching. When COVID-19 hit, and hit hard, it turned so many people’s worlds around, including mine. These freed-up hours left me with less of an identity in a way, too, and with no real good news on the news, unrest started to overtake me. I needed an escape. My Handi Quilter Amara did just this for me.

Dorian Kuesseyan and her Amara

Making masks

It was during those first few months that I, like so many of us with the gift of sewing talent, turned to my machines for mask-making. Making masks for friends, family, and donation kept my mind busy and made me feel like I was making a difference. I did make a difference. We all made a difference, a very important difference. I am thankful for keeping my family safe and share that with others.

Quilting

Once I made a few hundred masks, I turned to my quilting, a more artistic outlet. I have always been a better person when busy, so that’s what I did, I kept busy with Ms. Amara. Since the COVID shut down I pieced and gave away 9 quilts, most of them queen sized! Imagine, my husband thought I’d never use all the fabric I had. I continue to sew and quilt several hours each day. I also quilted many benefit quilts for my guild. I try to do ten each month.

I managed to quilt for hire a bunch of tops for some folks near me too. Quilting and spreading love and happiness puts me in my happy place. Buying my Handi Quilter was perhaps one of the best and most fulfilling things I have ever done. Not only is my studio my favorite place in the house, it makes me feel complete. I am part of a community, the Handi Quilter community, and feel like we are all family.

Focus

Quilting demands attention to detail and focus, which clears my head. This escape is amazing. I love creating and showing off the finished product, social media is a great forum for this. Cruising social media groups is also a great place for collecting ideas for projects. Often when I am stumped for an idea for a place to start with a top, I turn to the internet.

Bringing the community together

One of those nine quilts that I made during the early part of COVID really brought my community together when we needed it most. The school nurse at Arlington High School, Sarah Lee Bolt, who is a friend and neighbor, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I happened to be at the gym, where I worked as a personal trainer, with another friend and neighbor who informed me of this. This client at the gym mentioned to me that the signup genie was all full, so I thought, there’s gotta be something I can do for her, as she has done so much for our community and my sons in particular. I’m betting you can guess what I did? Yup, made a quilt.

It was a community effort though! I ironed muslin onto freezer paper. Thankfully, I had it on hand since all the shops were closed. And started an email and texting effort to get other friends and neighbors of hers to write inspiration and healing messages on these squares with fabric markers. I planned to put them together into a quilt.

A parade!

After a few weeks and lots of coordination, I had 48 blocks! I can’t tell you how many people who got the bag with the blocks were in tears after reading the finished blocks. It still brings goose pimples to me just typing this. Once complete, we neighbors organized a car parade that actually made the local news!

This quilt was incredibly uplifting for her and got me thru that first month, when I wasn’t sure how long things were going to be like they are – this new normal. My new normal includes escaping with everything quilting!

Thanks, Dorien! I think so many of us quilters can relate to your story. Keep on quilting, it’s a life safer!

 

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. So this week I’m going to let you know 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 42,000 other quilting enthusiasts who watch these videos. Click on the little bell icon and you will get a notification from YouTube whenever there is a new Handi Quilter video posted.

HQ Live

Each month when we present HQ Live, if you are logged into your YouTube account during the Live presentation, you are 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.

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.

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?

HQ Facebook group

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. 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 have been 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

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.

So there you have it. Click on any of the links above to take you to the pages you are interested in. If it’s a group page, you’ll be asked some questions when you ask to join. We try to keep the groups safe. Remember on any groups you join, not just Handi Quilter, you are on a public forum, so use your best kindergarten manners and protect your private information.

 

 

Do You See What I See?

New HQ Gallery Collection, Do You See What I See? by Handi Quilter National Educators

Pareidolia – noun – the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features. That’s the definition according to dictionary.com.  The Handi Quilter National Educators were issued a fun pareidolia quilting challenge. We were given a piece of ice-dyed fabric created by the fabulous hand dyer, Debra Linker. Our goal was to bring out what we “saw” in the pattern and colors of the fabric using quilting. That is how the new collection of quilts, Do You See What I See?, hanging in the Handi Quilter Gallery, came to be. Kind of a fiber arts Rorschach inkblot test.

The HQ gallery displays collections of quilts from various quilt artists throughout the year. You are welcome to come view the quilts if you are going to be in the Salt Lake City area. I am going to share them with you here, so you can see from the comfort of your favorite chair.

Ray D Ology by Mary Beth Krapil

Do you see what I see Ray D Ology

As soon as I saw my fabric I saw a ring of skulls. I had so much fun drawing the friendly skeletons and other designs, digitizing my drawings with Pro-Stitcher Designer, and stitching with my HQ Infinity. When stitching the background rays I really got a workout using the Crop feature in Pro-Stitcher, and it performed beautifully!

For the center design I chose to quilt a stylized version of the radiation symbol.

Aliens Around by Waynna Kershner

Waynna from Pennsylvania saw Aliens!  Her quilting is amazing.

Bug Out by Patty Kerns

Patty from Virginia saw bugs.

And she quilted some fabulous background designs.

Hidden Scourge by Adam Rateliff

Adam from Ohio saw fire breathing dragons.

He really made great use of his thread! and did some awesomely detailed quilting.

I The Beeholder by Denise Dowdrick

I think the colors in this fabric informed Denise from Utah as to what she saw.

Her bee is very detailed and the honeycomb background quilting brings it all home.

Laugh Kookaburra Laugh by Gina Siembieda

I can’t help but smile when I see Gina from California’s quilt with the googly eyes. Can you see those bird heads? The center must be filled with the best Kookaburro bird seed.

Monkey See Monkey Do by Judy Hays

Gorgeous quilting by Judy of Colorado and wait til you see her cute monkeys.

 

Night Owls by Julie Elliott

Julie from Colorado saw owls in the night.

Her center quilting design is pretty spectacular!

Pack by Megan Best

Megan from Washington State saw wolves. I had to really concentrate to see them in the fabric but once I saw her quilting, WoW! there they were.

Peacocks Primping their Plumes by Linda Gosselin

Try saying that 5 times fast! Linda from Massachusetts captured those feather plumes perfectly.

Regeneration Station by Lana Russel

Lana from Indiana saw some aliens powering up, hopefully for the long ride home.

Sweet Seraphim by Barb Tatera

Barb from Arizona got a little heavenly inspiration for her amazing quilting.

The Mothman by Martha Higdon

Martha from Indiana picked out some moths eating her fabric.

Hope you enjoyed this gallery tour. Did you see what we saw?

 

Quilting For a Special Little Boy

Jeresther Thorpe, And I Quilt personality, Principal, Mom, and Quilter, joins us again this week with her story of quilting for a special little boy. She shared a couple of weeks ago just what quilting means to her and what she gets from quilting. Sometimes we are called to do something hard, something big, something important. Quilters have what it takes! Here is Jeresther’s story:

Quilting For a Special Little Boy

As I shared, I find healing, peace, joy, celebration, and life in quilting, which is why most of my quilting (completed quilts) are done and gifted to others. This summer, I was honored to participate in a “Dream Come True” room makeover project for a special little boy.

Earlier in the school year, I nominated a student from my school for this special project. He had lost both of his parents to gun violence, most recently his mother this past October. This little guy, six years old, had now lost both of his parents. Of course, he was struggling with sleeping at night, and he spent many days and weeks following his mom’s death in my office, curled up in one of my blankets or quilts for a short nap, a safe place to rest.

A service project for teen leaders

In my nomination, I wrote, if we could give K.S. a room or space specifically designed to provide him with a place to rest, dream, and hope, it would be life-changing. He needed to feel warmth, love, and security again; then, he could rest and begin to dream again. Needless to say, he was selected, and the project theme was formed. The “Dream Come True” Room Makeover Edition of the Southeastern Regional Teen Conference Service Project of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Teen leaders from 5 States raised over $4000 for K.S.’s room make-over.

Due to the pandemic, there were many delays with product and material deliveries. But it didn’t stop a determined mom, principal, and designer fueled by a group of teens wanting to make this happen!

Quilt for a specail little boy

Making it special

As we were getting to know K.S. and gain a better understanding of his home life, the sadness and loss was woven in the very fabric of their lives, his little brother, his grandmother now caretaker, and his life and living space. Even though we had connected K.S. to a special program and summer camp designed to support his grief and healing, as well as family counseling, the family was struggling with moving forward and managing his mother’s personal items and things. So the designer and I were asked to find a healthy way to honor his mother’s memory within his room design.

The designer created a memory box to house and display small keepsakes. I was asked to make a memory quilt for K.S. His grandmother had gathered a few of his mom’s clothing items; her favorite pajama shirt, a work shirt, a t-shirt, and her favorite comfy dress.

As a mom, principal, and quilter, my heart was overwhelmed with the honor of this request and the need to make it as special as humanly possible.  And then I had a quilter’s panic attack.

An important quilt

Oh, my goodness did I!  Now, remember, I find life and healing in quilting, and it was time to bring those energies forward. But all I could do was pray. For a moment, I was so afraid that I could not do it.

This quilt was so special and the fabric of his mother’s memories. At age six, he doesn’t fully understand his grandmother’s request.  To have these special fabrics, a shirt, PJs, and a dress, made into a quilt, but one day he will. And I thought, “Can I do it justice?” I am a newbie in so many ways; this quilt deserves a world-famous, highly experienced quilter. I started looking for my rolodex. And then I saw his little face. All those weeks he spent curled up with a quilt or blanket in my office trying to find a few minutes of escape from his sadness and loss.

 

I remembered why I quilt, and I knew I had to make him this quilt. More importantly, I knew it would be perfectly wonderful. Because in the many nights to come, K.S. would be able to wrap himself in a quilt that would bring him warmth, sweet memories, and dreams. Each stitch, pieced and quilted, was a prayer for K.S. that all of his dreams will come true.

With hope for a better tomorrow.

Thank you Jeresther for summoning your quilter super powers and rising to the task of quilting for a special little boy. And thank you for sharing your story. I know it will inspire our readers.

Target Practice

Diane has been busy quilting away on her HQ Capri. She shared a tip on her HQ Stitch blog about target practice.

There are many times when you need to know exactly where the needle of your sewing machine is going to enter the fabric. It’s true with a domestic machine like HQ Stitch and it’s true with a longarm quilting machine. These times call for target practice!

I love sewing machines and I own more than one. On the machines I know well, I’m confident that I can get a bullseye where that needle is concerned. But on a machine that I haven’t been using for long, target practice makes me a better “shooter” and I’m happier with the results of my sewing.

Diane goes on to show a nice method of target practice so that you get better at knowing where your needle will drop. You can read her entire post at the HQ Stitch blog. I want to share something that longarm machine quilters can use to know exactly where the needle will drop.

Target Practice no more

This is a necessary skill for longarm quilting! And there’s no need for target practice. We have a tool that we can use, the Pinpoint Needle Laser is standard on the Infinity, the Forte and the Amara. If you have an older machine, an Avante, a Fusion, a Sweet Sixteen, or an HQ Capri you can use this great tool too, because it’s available to be added to any machine.

 

The laser creates a pinpoint of light on the surface of the quilt telling you exactly where the needle will penetrate the fabric. Target bullseye!

The laser light is adjustable for precise alignment with the machine needle. Compatible with most longarm machines with USB ports at the front of the machine. If no port is available at the front of the machine, this accessory can also be installed on other longarm or domestic machines with the addition of a USB 2.0 wall charger and USB 2.0 Type-A male to female extender cable (not included).

Yes, you can even add it to a domestic machine! No more target anxiety and no need for target practice. Just get quilting and finish more quilts!

Handi Quilter has the best tools to finish the best quilts.

by Mary Beth Krapil

And I Quilt Personality, Jeresther Thorpe

This week we hear from And I Quilt Personality, Jeresther Thorpe. Jeresther is a school principal, a mom, and she quilts. All of us who quilt know the process of starting a project, bringing the fabrics together and and having the pieces fall into place to create that warm, comforting thing of beauty that we know as a quilt. It takes a lot of thought, effort, and time but in the end it’s all worth it. A lot of things in life are like that. Jeresther knows this very well……

And I Quilt

In the midst of the pandemic, like everyone, my life was turned upside down. As public school elementary teachers and principals, it went against the very fibers of our beings not to be in school. For educators, the spring semester is like the biggest Quilt Festival & Show all in one. All of our students’ excellent work and growth are on display. The pieces are coming together to make this beautiful quilt. We adjusted the pattern and dimensions along the way to make it “just-the-right fit.” Now it’s quilted with these beautiful designs, some strategic and some totally wild and free, but beautifully made. It’s a true celebration of accomplishment; we share our techniques and strategies as we begin planning for next year’s design.

Quilting for Healing

Just imagine the loss of not being together in person. Not celebrating the school year’s successes or closing traditions of one school year while planning for the next. In the midst of it all, we kept learning and moving forward. We changed our platforms and learned to navigate this new frontier of remote learning in a virtual world. As passionate and committed educators, we rose the occasion. At the end of many long days, I found myself in my sewing studio in front of my Sweet Sixteen, releasing and receiving energy through free motion quilting.

Jeresther thorpe

Allowing my mind to relax and wonder while learning new techniques and creating new designs. Thinking of the next steps for work. I have always valued Arts in Education. I genuinely believe it enhances students thinking and problem-solving skill development and supports cross-curriculum concept development. As a quilter, I see pattern pieces in curriculum development and design. You have to have foundational techniques to move to the complex-piecing, from a simple four-patch to the disappearing nine patch to a paper pieced hexagon-star quilt. We start at the necessary foundation, and we build the top, add in the supports, batting, and backing. Then we quilt the design, bringing the top, middle, and backing together to create something substantial and lasting. The thought and process is a healing experience that leads to the next design, to dream, to hope.

Thank you Jeresther!

I think many of us dove deep into our quilting as we navigated our way to deal with what is going on in the world. And you have inspired us to learn from our quilting experiences and apply them to the very fiber of our lives.

Please take a few minutes to watch Jeresther’s And I Quilt video which we are featuring this month. You’ll be even more inspired!

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