quilting fun 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

How Many Quilts?

I had the pleasure of being at the Quiltfest show in Greenville, SC. I was working with one of Handi Quilter‘s lovely retailers, Sew Suite Studios. There wasn’t much time to look at the many quilts on display, but one of the special exhibits really caught my interest. The Hoffman Challenge 2020, Garden State of Mind. As I walked up to the exhibit I wondered, “How many quilts could possibly be made using one fabric?”  That’s how little I knew about the Hoffman Challenge! I thought the participants made a quilt using the fabric of the year from Hoffman.  It turns out that it’s not just one fabric!

I googled the challenge to learn a little more about it. The 32nd Annual Hoffman Challenge for 2020, used the “Garden State of Mind” digital print collection.

For the first time ever, Hoffman Challenge participants were required to use a minimum of 3 out of 6 fabrics from the collection in their artwork entry.

The quilts are all beautiful and each one is unique. So I took lots of pix to share with you. Here they are. (my apologies, I was not able to get a photo of every one that was hanging at the show)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many quilts?

So it turns out that the answer to the question “How many quilts?” is: as many as you have quilters.  Plus one.

Such variety! And each one is stunning! It made me marvel at the creativity in the quilting world.

 

But wait, there’s more!

The challenge is not only open to quilts, but also garments and accessories. Check these out:

 

 

 

 

 

 

How fun is that?  I thoroughly enjoyed this special exhibit at the show! Hope you enjoyed seeing the photos.

 

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

 

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

Beginner’s Guide to a Quilt Show

The Spring Quilt show season is gearing up. Quilters are ready (especially this year!) to get out and go. We start looking for that next project, with happy spring color after a long cold winter. A quilt show is the ideal place for getting inspiration, buying supplies and learning new techniques. Chances are you’ll find a show in your neck of the woods during the next few months. Here’s a handy guide to help you enjoy the show to its fullest.

Gather information

  • Visit a local quilt shop.  Most shows, whether local or national, will have informational fliers available at local shops. You can also ask the staff about any shows coming up in the area. These folks are plugged into the latest in the quilting world. They can guide you to the best shows.
  • Check out the show’s website.  This is where you’ll find information about the venue, hours, class offerings, admission, contests, vendors, safety, and more.
  • Sign up for a class. Shows are a great place to learn the latest techniques from the experts. Handi Quilter is proud to sponsor hands-on longarm classrooms at many major shows throughout the country and the world. We provide Avante, Simply Sixteen or Sweet Sixteen machines for students to use during class. It’s a great opportunity to really get to know a machine!
  • Come Prepared!

    • Comfortable walking shoes are a must. You will put quite a large number on that step counter! Get some that will make you comfortable even when standing for longer periods of time than usual. A lot of options here if you are looking for some.
    • Dress in layers. The temperature at shows can never be predicted, it might be very chilly or it might be warm. It is always good to have a sweater or light jacket, just in case.
    • Be ready for crowds. especially at larger national shows.
    • Speaking of crowds, check the show’s information about guidelines for pandemic safety measures. You’ll want to come prepared.
    •  Bring a tote. Do you have a roomy bag that is comfortable to carry? That’s the perfect thing for carting all the treasures you will find at the vendors. If you come to Houston Quilt Festival this year in the fall, the first booth you want to hit is the Handi Quilter booth. We give away bags, large enough to hold a king-sized quilt, every day of the show. Come early, they go fast!
      • Camera. You will want to take photos of the quilts that inspire you. Maybe you love the color palette, or the piecing or appliqué, or the QUILTING! You’ll want to add those ideas to your inspiration stash.  If you use your phone as your camera, be sure it is charged.
      • Taking a class? A notebook and pen are a must. Be sure to check the supply list for your class to be sure you have all the items you’ll need, to learn the most.
      • Snacks. You’ve got to keep up your energy. Chocolate is my recommendation.

Important to do’s

  • Time Give yourself the gift of enough time to fully enjoy all the show has to offer. This might mean planning to come to the show for 2 or more days.
  • Come by the HQ booth and say “hello”! We love to meet quilters. Not part of the family yet? Give a machine a test drive!
  • Don’t forget to look for the truck. Take a photo of yourself by the HQ truck and share on social media. #handiquilter @handiquilter on Instagram.

Happy Quilt show season!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

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

 

 

 

 

 

More Easy Echo Designs – Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

As promised, we’ll learn some more easy echo designs. How did you do with the peacock feathers? I’d love to see some pics in the comments!

We can modify the teardrop shape of the peacock feather to create a similar but very different looking design.

Leaves

Start with a leaf shape. You should be proficient at stitching leaves by now. If not, go back to this post for a review and more practice.

     OR   

 

Then just like the teardrop, echo it.

And echo again.

Start a new leaf and do it again to travel around your quilt.

Remember to travel in an undulating path to prevent the design from looking like “rows”.  You want to have your quilting be an all over texture and not rows.

This design is available on Quiltable.com, if you like to quilt with pantographs or robotic quilting systems. Pro-Stitcher is the robotic system that pairs with Handi Quilter, Janome, King Quilter, and Babylock longarm machines. The design’s name on Quiltable is “Flames”

Pro Tip: I called the initial shape for this design a leaf. It can just as easily be called a flame. Depending on the theme of the top you are quilting you can quilt echoed leaves or echoed flames. Only you will know it’s the exact same design.

 

Rainbows

Along the same lines, with a little twist, are rainbows.

 

Start by quilting an arc.

Don’t start your echo from the point where you finish your first arc.

 

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Instead, travel a bit away from where you ended.

Then quilt your echo.

Travel, and then quilt your second echo.

Start another arc.

Travel along the previous rainbow and echo the arc.

Travel away from your ending point and stitch your 2nd echo.

Notice that the echos go until you hit the rainbow already stitched.

Once you get going you will nestle your arcs between the rainbows you have already quilted.

Continue on in this matter to fill up your quilting space.

You can tell this one takes a bit more concentration and you will get more practice in over-stitching as you do your traveling.

The same tips apply to the leaves design and the rainbow design as we mentioned with the peacock feathers:

If you need to fill space, add another echo.

If you don’t have enough space for 2 echos, just do one. Or none! No one will ever know!

Also, where your first shape ends, will be the side you end on after 2 echos.

 

An even more challenging way to quilt the Rainbow design is the traditional Baptist Fan design. Where the rainbows are in rows and are uniform size.

The best way to accomplish Baptist Fan, if you are quilting free motion, is to use rulers. It’s a bit labor intensive but it is really beautiful when finished.

Remember, post pictures of your stitching in the comments!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

Quilt From the Back – Free Motion for Beginners

When we talk about “quilt from the back”, most quilters think of pantographs or groovy boards. Handi Quilter sells the Quilt From the Back Kit for folks interested in quilting with pantographs. Pantographs are printed quilting designs that usually come on rolls. They are placed on the table at the back of the machine and you quilt by following along the pattern line with a laser light attached to the machine. You use the controls on the handlebars at the back. Can you see the little dot of laser light on the pattern in the photo?

HQ Amara with quilt from the back kit

But this post is about quilting from the back – free motion style! This technique draws on all the practice and skills we’ve gained so far in this free motion quilting for beginners series. One of the things we learned was to draw quilting inspiration from the fabrics in the quilt. But what about the backing fabric? What if it has a really cool quilting design? You could make a stencil using Golden Threads paper like in this post. Then mark the designs on the quilt top. But why mark, when you don’t have to?

An Example

I had this cute baby quilt top that needed quilting. This one will go to Quilts for Kids to bless a child in a local hospital.

 

With super cute backing fabric.

I was stumped about what design to quilt. Looking at the backing I thought those flowers would make a good design for this quilt.

So I decided to quilt from the back and use the flowers on the backing fabric as my guide. No mark quilting!

Here’s how I did it:

To quilt the back, the backing fabric needs to be on top. Since the quilt top is smaller than the backing that could be problematic. My solution was to load the quilt as I normally would. With the quilt backing on the bottom, and the quilt top on top, and the batting in between.

Then I basted the top and side (within the throat space). I also basted across the body of the quilt about every 4-5 inches. Using a long 1 inch basting stitch made it easy to remove the basting later. Als0, I chose a contrasting thread to do the basting.

 

I worked my way down, basting the sides and across the quilt. Then across the bottom edge.

Once the quilt was all basted, I cut away the excess batting using my Handi batting scissors. Love these scissors!

 

Then I unpinned from the leaders, flipped it over (so that the backing was facing up) and pinned it back on.

 

Now comes the fun part! I quilted around each flower connecting one to another with a short line of stitching. The basting around the outside edge of the quilt showed me where to quilt. I removed the interior basting little-by-little as I went.

quilting path

Start tracing around the petals:

quilt from the back quilting path

 

Complete all the petals and go into the flower to go around the center with a loop:

 

Travel out between two petals and stitch to the next flower:

 

Repeat!  This stitched really fast.

 

Some of the skills you will utilize with this technique are:

Quilting curves and loops – two of our basic shapes!

Tracing a design – remember those practice fabrics?

Looking ahead – Not only to get nice smooth curves, but also to know where to exit the flower and which flower you will stitch to next and where you will enter that next one.

It’s easy quilting, but you do have to have your brain engaged for all this looking ahead. Remember the secret!

And it’s so fun to unpin from the leaders and turn it over to see what it looks like on top.

 

I think the quilting looks so fun on the same fabric squares on the front. Like echoing.

Give it a try and let us know how it went for you in the comments. BTW this is easier to do on a stationary machine or a domestic machine. All you have to do is flip it over!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

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