quilting practice Archives - Handi Quilter

Skill Sets

If you have been following along with our Free Motion Quilting for Beginners series, you already know the importance of practice for gaining FMQ skills. I like to think of practice time as play time. It’s stress-free quilting time. Time to bond with your machine. No worries about making mistakes. No worries about getting out the seam ripper. And that practice time just got even better with something new from Handi Quilter. The very first Skill Sets is available exclusively at your local HQ retailer.

The skinny on Skill Sets

It’s a box full of items that will give you some direction for your practice time. And give you some ideas for new designs to use in specific areas on your quilts.

What’s in it?

 

Practice with Purpose Notebook

First you’ll see a small notebook that contains design ideas and space for drawing practice as well as outlines for the Skill Sets panel. You can plan which designs you will quilt in which spaces on the Skill Sets panel.

Pro tip: Having a plan is one of the skills you should make into a habit!

On the front and back inside cover of the notebook are some great reference guides that are valuable tools to always have in your studio.

HQ Curvy Template

 

I really like the Curvy with its 2 different curves and angle markings, plus straight edges. You can learn some cool designs using the Curvy by watching the video at this link. This template has a retail value of  $34.95! After you see all the things that are included in the skill sets, you’ll see, it is a really good deal.

Fabric Panels

Two fabric Panels are included.

The smaller one is meant for you to practice the designs. It has areas marked off for practice and it also has two mini quilts for even more practice.

Pro-tip: Use water soluble thread in your bobbin and you can use the panel over and over. A quick dip in some warm water will remove your stitching. After it’s dry, you can try again!

Vanish Lite by Superior Threads is the water soluble thread that I like.

 

Super Pro-Tip:  Keep this thread in a zip-top bag and LABEL it. You don’t want to accidentally get it wet and you sure don’t want to use it to repair your bathing suit. :O

You will also get a larger panel. It is approximately 2 yards. The idea is for you to practice your designs on the smaller piece. Then, when you feel confident, quilt the larger one to use as a throw or a wall hanging. This is just a little sneak peek:

Official Handi Quilter pencil

And of course you’ll want to do your drawing practice with the official Handi Quilter Pencil! Because it has the FMQ mojo.

Unboxing Video

If you’d like to see an unboxing video, you can watch here.

Where can you get one?

They are ONLY sold by Handi Quilter retailers. You cannot find Skill Sets on our website. Find a retailer near you here.

Pro-tip: If you don’t have a retailer that’s a reasonable distance from you, give the closest one a call. Many retailers would be happy to mail your Skill Set.

More to come!

While you’re waiting for your Skill Sets box to arrive read this post, Practice with a Purpose.

This is just the first in a series of Skill Sets. Stay tuned for more great practice opportunities brought to you by the great folks at Handi Quilter.

 

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

 

 

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

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