quilting life Archives - Handi Quilter

Introducing New HQ Ambassador, Jane Hauprich

I’d like you to meet our newest HQ ambassador, Jane Hauprich. That name just might sound familiar to you since Jane was a Handi Quilter National Educator for five years.

Jane Hauprich HQ ambassador

To get to know Jane just a bit better, (we’ve been friends and co-workers for the last 5 years), I thought I’d do an interview and share it with all of you.

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

JH: Being a Handi Quilter Ambassador means a lot to me.  First and foremost, I love my Handi Quilter machines, and love telling people about them and how much having one has
changed my life.  I cannot even imagine my life without my longarm in it!!! Being able to represent a company that has such great machines, amazing education and fantastic customer support is truly a privilege.


HQ: How did you get started in quilting?

JH: I first learned how to piece quilts in 1998.  I was a single mom, so I didn’t have a ton of time to quilt, but as I did get projects done, I was not able to afford to send them out to be quilted by a professional, so I taught myself how to do the quilting myself.  First I did  straight line quilting. Then moved on to teaching myself to free motion quilt on my domestic machine.

Fast forward a few years to 2009, and I went to the AQS Lancaster Quilt Show, and kept on gravitating to the Handi Quilter booth and the HQ Sweet Sixteen stationary machine.  I ended up purchasing a machine and absolutely fell in love.

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen longarm stationary quilting machine

A few years later in 2012, I took a class on starting your own longarm business.  I decided at that point to sell my stationary machine and purchase my Handi Quilter Avanté, an 18-inch movable machine.

I did start quilting for others using all free motion.  For those of you just getting your longarms, I will tell you a story. When I first got my moveable longarm, my retailer came and set it up, gave me my lesson, and left.  I was so afraid of that machine, that I couldn’t even go in that room for two weeks. Once I got over that initial fear, I was good to go!!!


HQ: How would you describe your style of quilting?

JH: I have a love and passion for free motion quilting.  I now have a Pro-Stitcher, and while I do mostly free motion quilting, I do run my Pro-Stitcher for computerized edge-to-edge quilting, and sometimes like to mix things up by adding a computerized design and accentuate it with free motion quilting.  Sometimes that perfect design that I need lives right inside my Pro-Stitcher!!!

My personal style is usually something densely quilted.  I kind of feel like it’s a sickness…..the quilt is never quilted enough….lol!!  No worries though, as I do quilt every day quilts to be soft and snugly.

This was such a fun wall hanging to make. Pattern is by Debby Kratovil.


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

JH: Prior to being an Ambassador, I was a Handi Quilter Educator for five years.  During
that time, I was able to meet so many great quilters.  I was also able to travel and teach at two shows overseas…..Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe, Germany and Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England.

One of my favorite memories was in Karlsruhe.  There were students who took the classes because they didn’t know what a longarm was.  The joy that crossed their faces when they were able to quilt on the Handi Quilter machines was unforgettable!!!  I look forward to more experiences as an Ambassador and can’t wait to see what is in store for the
future.

Another fun quilt I did as one of my monthly Island Batik projects.


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

JH: Wow……this is a tough one.  Since I quilt for customers, I have many favorite
quilts.  Usually my most favorite quilt is the one that I am currently working on.

I love to design whole cloth quilts when I have time, so those are probably my favorite.

whole cloth quilt, purple

This wholecloth quilting pattern comes from Telene Jeffery. I copied the pattern onto the fabric and adjusted it to make it my own.

 

whole cloth quilt, gold

I love to design whole cloth quilts. This is my most recent one that is completed.

Along with quilting ice dyed fabric panels.

quilted ice dyed fabric

This is an Ice Dyed fabric by Debra Linker. It hangs in a Handi Quilter Exhibit of a whole group of quilted Ice Dyed pieces.


HQ: Do you still have your first quilt?

JH: My first quilt was from my class in 1998.  A combination of piecing, hand quilting, and
tying.  I truly get a kick out of looking at this quilt.  It really shows me how far I’ve come.  I wish you could see the binding on this closely.

 

Jane’s first quilt


Apparently, they didn’t teach mitered corners in this class!!! LOL!!!


HQ: What are your favorite tools that you use in your work?

JH: The tools I use most for my longarming, is probably rulers.  I love ruler work and typically pair it with my free motion.

This was designed by me. This was totally stitched and quilted on my longarm!!

HQ: What machine do you use for piecing?

JH: For Piecing, I have two machines, my HQ Stitch 510 and a Janome 6600.  I use the Stitch 510 most of the time, as it is a powerhouse of a machine.

HQ Stitch 510 sewing machine

HQ: What machine do you use for quilting?

JH: For my longarm, I have a Handi Quilter Capri (that love of pushing the fabric around never left since I started on a domestic machine),

Handi Quilter Capri machine

 

and a HQ Amara with Pro-Stitcher.

HQ Amara quarter view

quilted fabric panel (image of a crab)

Panels are a great way to practice. You don’t spend a lot of time piecing, and can just follow along and do what feels right. This one is so cool!!

 


HQ: Who is your inspiration/muse?

JH: A year or two after I purchased my longarm, I went to a quilting expo in Virginia, and was able to take classes with Jamie Wallen, Lisa Calle and Angela Walters.  This was such a memorable experience and helped to shape me into the quilter I am today.  A couple of
years later, when I was thinking about teaching at shows, Jamie Wallen was a key person in encouraging me to get on the quilt teaching circuit.  I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it if it hadn’t been for him.  I will forever be grateful for his guidance.

Tasked to make a quilt using half square triangles, I designed this quilt and actually published my first pattern.


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

JH: My favorite part of the creating a quilt is the longarm quilting. I find that I can forget everything else that is going on in life and just quilt.  It’s a great stress reliever for me.  As far as the piecing goes, I do love knowing that I am creating something for someone.

I would say my least favorite thing is cutting out the fabric needed to piece the quilts.


HQ: Do you have any other hobbies / interests?

JH: My interests and hobbies are spending time with my family, cooking, and reading.  I am not a lover of handwork, so I have been attempting to hand applique simple blocks for a quilt. It may take me years to get it done though!!!

A quilt I made for a wedding gift. The couple loved it!!


HQ: Thanks Jane! We are so glad to have you remain a part of the Handi Quilter family in your new role as Ambassador. Jane currently teaches virtual classes, so if you are looking for some free motion quilting classes, please check out her website. She also posts free motion quilting videos on YouTube. Be sure to check that out also and LIKE and Subscribe so you don’t miss anything.  Jane says she is all about trying to get quilters to love free motion quilting just as much as she does.

You can find Jane here:

Website:  www.stitchbystitchcustomquilting.com
<http://www.stitchbystitchcustomquilting.com>
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/c/JaneHauprich
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JanesStitchByStitch
Instagram:  janestitchbystitch

Bye for now!

Quilted back of a jeans jacket

Quilting doesn’t always have to be on quilts. This is a favorite of mine to wear and I always get compliments on it!! Quilted right on my longarm frame!!!

by Mary Beth Krapil



Quilt Show Inspiration

Quilt shows are an awesome place to get inspiration for all sorts of quilty topics. Color combinations, piecing, applique, borders, new techniques, and my favorite: quilting designs.

Quilt show inspiration for you

I was working in the Handi Quilter booth at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo in Raleigh, NC at the beginning of August.

quilt show booth

It was wonderful to be at a quilt show again! I was able to snap some photos of quilts to share here, just so you could get some quilt show inspiration too. Click on any photo to see the full size image of any of the quilts.

Aloft

The show had a special exhibit, called Aloft. It is a collection of quilts from SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates.

The sign says:

See the world from a new perspective! Birds, insects, and even some mammals are able to fly and soar. Plant seeds and kites are carried on the breeze, and the perfect pass can float through the air. Humankind has dreamt of ways to fly from Icarus’ attempt to create his own wings to the advent of airplanes, satellites, and space exploration. This exhibit provides new perspectives through which to see our world.”

I found it genuinely fascinating to see the unique perspective each of these artists chose. These quilts are delightful, so let’s just jump in.

Squirrel Aloft

Squirrel Aloft
by Carla A White
South Burlington, VT

Raw-edge appliqued, hand dyed, thread painted. Cotton and felt.

 

Hong Kong Taxi

Hong Kong Taxi
by Jean Renli Jurgenson
Walnut Creek CA

Painted, machine paper pieced, machine and hand appliqued, inked, machine quilted. Cotton upholstery fabric, paint, ink.

 

On the Wing

On the Wing
by Betty Busby
Albuquerque, NM

Digitally cut, machine stitched, fused applique. Silk, non-wovens.

This is a close up view of a cicada wing!

 

Take Off

Take Off
by Jan Soules
Elk Grove, CA

Fused, machine pieced, machine quilted. Commercial and hand dyed cotton.

The view from an airplane window during takeoff.

 

Flight from Portland

Flight from Portland
by Lisa M Thorpe
Healdsburg, CA

Digitally designed, free motion stitched. Cotton sateen.

 

Ekko

Ekko
by Sara Bradshaw
Spencer, TN

Fused fabric collage, machine quilted. Cotton.

Ekko, the dog, is totally focused on that treat that’s flying through the air.

 

Mapforms #7

Mapforms #7
by Michele Hardy
Silverthorne, CO

Dyed, painted, drawn, screen printed, machine stitched. Cotton and silk, fiber reactive dyes, acrylic paints, markers, paint sticks, assorted thread.

 

Steampunk Selfie

Steampunk Selfie
by Kestrel Michaud
West Melbourne, FL

Free motion quilted, fused applique, digitally printed. Cotton, ink, liquid sealant, glue sealant.

Bungee jumping off the side of a steampunk airship with pet owl!

 

Night Owl

Night Owl
by Judith Roderick
Placitas, NM

Hand painted, waxed, dyed, machine quilted, embellished. Silk, beads, buttons.

 

Icarus II

Icarus II
by Victoria Carley
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Cut, assembled, overstitched. Fashion and upholstery fabrics, embroidery floss.

The story of Icarus is the mythological story of man’s first flight with wings made from wax and feathers.

 

Dezi’s Joy

Dezi’s Joy
by Julie A. Bohnsack
Carbondale, IL

Fused applique, thread painted.  Variety of fabric, denim, cork.

This little boy is “aloft” in more ways than one.

 

Milkweed and Hummingbirds

Milkweed and Hummingbirds
by Sara Sharp
Austin, TX

Fused raw edge, machine applique, thread painted, digitally printed, free motion machine embroidered, quilted, inked.  Cotton prints and batiks, inks, inkjet printed cotton.

 

A Perch Above

A Perch Above
by Sue Colozzi
Reading, MA

Raw edge fused applique, thread sketched, free motion stitched. Printed cotton, interfacings, upholstery fabric, fleece, tulle, dupioni silk, acetate, cording, colored pencils, fabric markers, fabric paint, matte medium, fusibles.

 

The Wind Beneath His Wings

The Wind Beneath His Wings
by Diane Powers-Harris
Ocala, FL

Fused raw edge applique, turned edge applique, digitally printed, image transferred, painted, machine quilted, machine couched.  Commercial and hand dyed cotton, cheesecloth, textured glitzy and sheer fabrics, bubble crepe, satin, clear vinyl, transfer paper, paint, gloss coating, gel medium.

It was a fun collection full of inspiration with just the materials used alone. Have you been to a quilt show recently?

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Motion Quilting for Beginners – For Real

I know you have been practicing every day for 15 minutes. You raised your right hand and made that promise. I saw you. I’m getting lots of comments from folks who are finding it to be very effective in improving their skills and it makes me so happy to hear that! It’s super easy to fit that 15 minutes a day into your schedule, when you always have your frame loaded with practice fabric. But what happens when you want to quilt something for real?

 

Switching from practice to for real

When your confidence swells and you think you’re ready to quilt that top that’s waiting to be finished. It’s time to remove your practice piece to make room for your for real piece. If you haven’t filled it up, you’ll want to be sure you can put it back on easily. So I have a few hints to help you.

Basting

Set your machine to the longest stitch you can. On our Handi Quilter machines we have basting stitches. They go from 1/4 inch to 4 inch stitches! I like to do this basting at 1 inch stitches.

  1. Baste horizontally across the bottom of your quilting area that is showing right now.
  2. Advance your quilt to expose new un-quilted fabric.
  3. Baste down the sides of the fabric and again baste horizontally across the bottom of the quilting area.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you get to the end of your fabric.
  5. Baste across the bottom of your fabric sandwich.

Now you are ready to remove your practice piece. It is no longer 3 separate pieces; backing, batting and top. It is a single basted quilt. This is important for when you finish your for real quilting and want to, NEED to, put your practice piece back on.

 No fear, for real

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

You’ve been practicing for weeks now. You are ready for this! You’ve come a long way, baby! So go for it, just jump right in and get that quilt quilted.

You are going to do great! After all, you know the SECRET to free motion quilting.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Reward: For real quilting counts as your 15 minute a day practice quilting. (But just for today)

Getting ready for tomorrow’s practice

As soon as you take your for real quilt off the frame, put your practice piece back on and you’ll be ready for tomorrow.  Never leave your frame looking like this:

empty quilting frame Bare, naked, devoid of any inviting quilting fabric. Shame!

You can attach your practice piece any way you like, but I’ll share the quick and easy way I do it.

I use HQ Super clamps. They are C-shaped clamps that fit over the poles.

Handi Quilter Super Clamps end view

I simply put the top of my piece over the take up pole and put the Super Clamp over it.

Then I put the bottom edge of my piece over the belly bar (the one that holds your backing) and place the Super Clamp over that.

And roll the quilt up on the belly bar.

That’s it! Done! Took all of 10 seconds. If needed, you would roll to the place where you have available un-quilted territory.

Pro Tip: Super Clamps come in 2 sizes (soon to be 3). The large are for the Gallery, Gallery2, and Fusion frames. The smaller clamps are for the Studio and Studio2, and LittleFoot frames. A new size will become available soon for the Loft frame. They are all 23.5 inches long. I have 6 clamps so that I can load wider practice pieces, Using 2 or 3 clamps at each end.

You stationary machine quilters? You have no problem. All you need to do is move your stack of sandwiches to make room for your for real quilt. And then move it back when you are done.

One more thing: Do NOT remove your practice piece until you have your quilt top and backing and batting ready to go. Really, a naked frame is not a pretty thing. I’m sorry for posting a picture of mine but we are all adults here and I hope it helped you.

Happy practicing!

 

 

 

Quilting for Healing

Warning: this blog post contains profanity and discusses serious topics such as death by shooting and mental health crises. Please read at your own discretion.

Marilyn Farquhar, from Ontario, Canada, is a member of the HQ Quilt Your Desire Inspiration Squad. Sadly, in late 2019 and early 2020  Marilyn lost her husband and father to cancer, then her brother, in a tragic shooting by police during a mental health crisis. In August 2020 Marilyn commenced a series of grief quilts, using quilting for healing to help her through the grieving process.

Quilting can be therapy in many ways and many quilters use quilting as a way to cope with difficult times in their lives. In August 2020 Marilyn commenced a series of grief quilts entitled Kairos – An Opportune Time for Action.  She has completed 3 quilts.

His Call For Help

Quilt titled His Cry for Help

His Call for Help – representing despair
Photo Credit The Abbotsford News

Marilyn’s artist statement:

On September 10, 2019, Barry shared his despair with me.  We sat on my back deck—he wore my pink jacket and smoked a joint while crying shamelessly.  He asked for his miracle—he pleaded for his miracle!  He stated “I’m such a piece of shit.”  “I’ve only caused heartache and sorrow.”  “The pain in my brain is unacceptable.”  I heard him, but I did not hear him!  I believed my strong brother would navigate his way through his struggles—I was wrong!  I am sharing this very personal story in the hopes that others, faced with this situation, will be able to recognize despair in loved ones during their darkest hours. Then find a way to get them help.

One Bullet

One Bullet – representing grief and loss Photo Credit Praveenraju909

Marilyn’s artist statement:

He asked to be shot six times—it only took one bullet to end his life.  There are many victims—not just Barry.  His friends, family, colleagues, and society have all been impacted by the loss of Barry.  Barry was a well known advocate for the homeless and marginalized.  The transformative effect of his work to change laws that impact the homeless will continue to be felt in the City of Abbotsford, BC, as well as across Canada.  Survivors left behind, despair at his loss, as much for a vital life cut short, as for the unnecessary circumstances of his death.

May Your Spirit Soar

May Your Spirit Soar – representing hope
Photo Credit Praveenraju909

Marilyn’s artist statement:

Barry’s spirit is now released from his earthly body—free to soar like the eagles.  My wish for all those impacted by poor mental health, grief, and the excessive use of force by police is that they will find within themselves the freedom to soar. May all the officers involved in this incident find peace.  If we are to be considered a civilized society, we need to find a better way of helping our fellow man.  This is the only way to pave the way to a more promising future we all deserve. 

Quilting for Healing

Marilyn’s goal in creating these quilts was not only to grieve her brother’s death and to heal herself, but also to make Barry’s life meaningful. She hopes these quilts will cause people pause and consider, and to talk about mental health, grief and changes in policing.

There is a documentary showing some of Marilyn’s process of making these quilts as well as more of the tragic story of her brother’s death.

When the Ontario and British Columbia travel restrictions are lifted, Marilyn will be taking the quilts across Canada. Her quilts will be on exhibit at various venues.

 

 

Please note: the series on free-motion quilting will resume next week.

 

 

Art or Math?

There is a whole bunch of math that goes into creating a quilt. Geometry too. Those are scary words to a lot of quilters. Some think MATH is a four-letter word. Others will go screaming from the room at the mention of the “M” word. So the question is: Is a quilt Art or Math?

Quilts are made for beauty. But it takes a lot of math to get to the artistry. Spaces are divided into smaller geometric patterns that interlock. Tessellations. Angles. Measurements. Formulas. Calculations. Ratios.

     

But, when all those little pieces come together, a quilt is much more than the sum of all those little pieces. All the fabrics that were painstakingly chosen, precisely measured and cut and sewn. That’s where ART takes over. That’s when emotion enters. Magically, art transforms those angles and measurements and geometry into something much more. Something that speaks to the heart and soul. And it matters not if it is perfect. Every quilt has that special quality, that harmony. Beauty.

The math is still there. Much of what the human eye / brain perceives as beautiful is based on some interesting math concepts. Just ask Mr Fibonacci.

So never fear the math, because it will take you to the art, if you let it.

Happy Quilting!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil, Handi Quilter

 

Texture

There’s a lot of talk on quilting social media these days about texture. Just try a search on #TextureTuesday and you’ll see what I mean. What is texture, anyway? Dictionary.com says this:

Texture was what drew me to quilting.

I have no quilters in my family. My mother taught me to sew at a young age. But the intention was garment construction. She made our clothes, (my sister and I), until we were old enough to make them ourselves.

We had no quilts in the house as I was growing up. (Sad, I know). My grandmother knitted and crocheted. We had afghans, from dictionary.com: afghan: a soft woolen blanket, crocheted or knitted, usually in a geometric pattern. They were scratchy to this little, allergic to wool, girl. I kind of hated them, but oh, what I would give to have one of them today. I had no appreciation of my Gramma’s artistry.

afghan, wikipedia

Every year at Christmastime, we would get a card from a woman that worked with my Dad. They were the most imaginative cards with moving parts and they were embossed. I was enchanted by them. The Christmas tree branches had needles and the little girl’s sweater had knitted stitches. They were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. The design elements of not only image and color, but texture. And I thought the lady who sent them must be some kind of princess artist with the best taste in things ever.

Later in life, I really can’t remember when, I saw a wholecloth quilt. The emotions and thoughts I had about those Christmas cards came flooding back. A practical item with gorgeous texture that you could enjoy every single day of the year and it wasn’t scratchy! I was in love!

Making quilts

When I started to make my own quilts, my greatest goal was to make a wholecloth. I started hand quilting my tops, I quilted two. However, that was taking way too long, so I tried machine quilting on my domestic machine. That was hard, and uncomfortable, and not very much fun. Then I discovered longarm machines. And when I bought my first Handi Quilter I knew my goal might be in reach, someday, after lots and lots of practice.

And that’s my story about how I ended up here, writing to you about quilting. Texture drew me in and never let go.

Here’s some quilt texture eye candy for you. Next week I’ll write more about how to achieve great texture on your quilts.

texture quilt

Kim Sandberg

 

Mary Beth Krapil

 

Debby Brown

 

Mary Beth Krapil

 

Telene Jeffrey

 

Mary Beth Krapil

 

Kelly Ashton

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

National Quilting Month

March is National Quilting Month. It’s our favorite month of the year here at Handi Quilter.

national quilting month handi quilter

What are you going to do to celebrate? Here are TEN great ideas to help get you started.

Finish a UFO

If you have been a quilter for a while (a year? a month? a day!) you probably have a project (or 3) that isn’t quite finished and got put aside when you started something new. Maybe you ran into a problem that you couldn’t figure out how to solve. Or maybe you just lost interest. Perhaps you tried to finish before the new class you signed up for started, but you had to set it aside to concentrate on class. Whatever the reason, National Quilting Month can be your incentive to pull it out and get ‘er done.

Here are some of mine. Some. There isn’t enough room to show you all of them!

Plan a reward for finishing. Maybe a trip to the quilt shop, once the binding and label are on?

Start a new quilt

Nothing revs the quilting juices more than starting a new project. Pull out that pattern you bought and get busy picking fabrics for it.  Buy that fat quarter stack of luscious new fabrics and decide which quilt pattern will show them off the best.

Grab your sketch book to draw out the quilting design you’ve had in the back of your brain. Take the time to do what you love.

Organize your quilting space

American Patchwork and Quilting is hosting a fun 31 days to an organized sewing space challenge.

They give one task per day for each day in the month of March. This one-task-at-a-time approach seems very achievable. The challenge for me, when straightening up my studio, is resisting the urge to play with just about every item I touch.

I’m going to give this a try. Then I’ll let you know how it went. It’s not too late for you to try too! Just double up the tasks for a few days. Just think how great it will feel to play in a clean and organized studio. Wonder how long it will last? 🙂

 

Visit a Quilt Museum

You will be in awe, inspired and delighted by what you see at any and all of these places:

National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY

International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Lincoln, NE

Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden, CO

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts, Cedarburg, WI

Texas Quilt Museum, La Grange, TX

This is by no measure a complete list. You may find one in your neck of the woods! Check out your local history museum. My little town has a wonderful history museum that has a few quilts on display.

Take a class

Handi Quilter in-store events are starting to happen again, all over the country! We have worked with healthcare experts and our retailers to devise a way to hold in-person longarm quilting classes in a safe manner. Some are hands-on classes!

 

We are also offering virtual classes. These are such a great opportunity to take a class from an expert Handi Quilter National educator from the comfort of your own home. Check out what is available here.

Share your skills

Offer to teach a friend a new quilting skill that you know, but she hasn’t tried yet.

Or spend a day teaching a child a simple sewing/quilting project.

This little girl is hooked for life!

Join a guild

It multiplies the fun of quilting when you can meet with like-minded people who share your love of fabric and thread and color and pattern. Although we can’t really meet in person for a little while longer, many guilds are meeting virtually these days. Sharing knowledge and quilts and tips and tricks only adds to the joy of quilting. Find a guild near you. You can ask at your local quilt shop for recommendations. If that doesn’t get you results, try this website. Your new quilting friends are waiting for you.

Make a community quilt

Many organizations offer opportunities for making quilts for those who need the comfort only a quilt can provide. Knowing you’re helping others multiplies the fun of making quilts. An example of one of those organizations is Quilts for Kids. Quilts for Kids is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming fabrics into patchwork quilts to comfort children facing serious illness, trauma, abuse, and natural disasters.

There are many more. Once again a good place to inquire is your local quilt shop or guild.

Join a social media group

Handi Quilter oversees 3 Facebook groups. The Handi Quilter group is for all machine owners and folks who are interested in Handi Quilter or longarm quilting. At almost 11,000 members there is plenty of friendly help for all your longarm questions. It’s also a great place to share what you are working on.

If you’re interested in attending Academy, (the premier annual education event held by Handi Quilter), you might want to join the HQ Academy group. Alumni and future attendees share experiences and fun in this group. The excitement grows as the date for Academy draws near!

Are you a Pro-Stitcher Designer user? There’s a group for that! Help in learning the design and digitizing program is right at your fingertips. Share your achievements and projects, ask questions, this group is just getting started so all questions are welcome.

Watch a quilting video

Handi Quilter offers a bunch of options for this! We have a YouTube channel dedicated to helping you learn to use your Handi Quilter machine. Don’t forget to subscribe and click the bell to be notified when a new video is available.

You can also catch a video once a month on the 2nd Thursday called HQ Live. We present on a variety of quilting related topics. You want to mark your calendar for HQ Live. 2nd Thursday, 11am Mountain time.

 

Or get a quick dose of quilty fun every Tuesday on our Facebook page with HQ Watch and Learn. The studio educators share tips, tricks and how-to’s. It’s quick and fun and you’re sure to learn something each week. Tuesday at high Noon Mountain time.

Don’t forget to do something extra-quilty on National Quilting Day! March 20, 2021.

by Mary Beth Krapil

Learn

In reflecting back on 2020, one thing is certain, it’s been a year full of change. We had to learn new ways of living. From the way we work, to the way we shop and even the way we learn. And learn we did!

Learning

We learned how to cook at home, everyday, we learned how to share with our neighbors (toilet paper), we learned how to be together, without actually being together. And we learned how to make sour dough bread.

We learned to Zoom.

And we rallied together (but apart) to take on the unique realities and challenges of this year.

Change?

Many things changed in 2020, forcing us to adapt. Change is stressful. So we used quilting to find calm amid the stress. That’s one thing that didn’t change.

HQ is renowned for supporting and educating our machine owners. That’s another thing that didn’t change.

As a company, we at Handi Quilter devoted ourselves to finding new ways to bring you the quality education you have come to expect from us.

Our celebrated hands-on learning opportunities had to be put on hold, for a bit, while we devised a way to safely hold these events at Handi Quilter headquarters and at shops near you.

Handi Quilter University

We consulted with heath and government experts to devise a way to safely hold classes in the Handi Quilter studio. Now we have a safe event, complete with masks and social distancing and hand sanitizer and handlebar covers, to go along with all the excellent information and fun.

Handi Quilter Academy

The premier annual event, that brings together quilters and world-class instructors from all over the world, was impossible to hold as an in-person event. 300 quilters, (as delightful as that sounds), learning and laughing and eating all in one place just could not happen this year. So we found a way to bring those classes to you in a virtual format. HQ Academy 2020 Virtual Sneak Peek presented classes to ticket holders that they can go back and watch as many times as they would like. It was a hit!

Watch and Learn

Wanting to give everyone the opportunity to grow and learn inspired us to start our weekly video program on Facebook called Watch and Learn. It’s a little mini-class that covers all sorts of topics from ruler quilting, to Pro-Stitcher, to free-motion, to how to use various gadgets for quilting. It’s fun and it’s free. You can find it on our Facebook page every Tuesday at noon Mountain time. Post a question in the comments and you’ll get an answer from one of the HQ experts! You can watch recordings of previous shows on our YouTube channel. And be sure to LIKE and Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. As a bonus, each week a HQ product is featured at a special discount.

What’s next?

It is your drive to keep learning that motivates us – and in 2021 we will continue to think big and create innovations to keep you learning and finishing quilts.

For now, thanks for learning with us.

There are many things we’d like to forget about this year. But hopefully we will never forget all we learned.

We wish you and your families all the best of health, happiness and quilty-ness in the new year.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

When to Frog Machine Quilting – and When to Resist

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

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

Definition

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

The Quilt

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

Imperfections?

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

Diane’s first example is this block:

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

Ask an honest friend

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

Ease up

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

Some designs require more accuracy

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

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

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

When to Frog Machine Quilting – and When to Resist

The ultimate question

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

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

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

Can you live with it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and add this sign too:

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

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Win a Moxie

Yes, you read that right. You can get a chance to win a Moxie longarm quilting machine of your very own! Just by attending a quilt show. It’s a win-win!

Houston International Quilt Festival is going virtual this year (thanks 2020). The biggest, and one of the best quilt shows of the year will host a virtual on-line show, so that we can get our fix of quilt viewing and vendor shopping and learning in classes. You can get the details here.

Win a Moxie™ Longarm Quilting Machine

Every person who purchases a ticket to Virtual Quilt Festival will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a FREE HQ Moxie™ Longarm Quilting Machine. One random lucky winner will be chosen from all the VQF attendees and class participants.

The show will run Dec 3 thru Dec 5, 2020. Classes begin Dec 3, 2020.  Ticket Sales and Class/Lecture/Forum Enrollment is open now. Tickets are $10.

Your show pass will include:

  • Quilts on Display – Hundreds of quilts in Special Exhibits and Quilt Contest
  • Vendor Mall – Shopping and special promotions in one venue
  • Open Studios™ – 15-minute product demos
  • Games, voting in the Quilt Contest Viewer’s Choice, and other events
  • Interaction among virtual show participants including attendees, instructors, and vendors
  • Special Live Lecture, December 3, 2020, 6:00– 7:00pm CST – Jenny Lyon’s Quilting is a Contact Sport

Classes, Lectures and Forums will be available for an extra fee.

Purchase your ticket today! Who knows? You might just win a Moxie.

Good Luck!

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

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