quilting Archives - Handi Quilter

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!

What’s New

We have introduced a lot of new things lately here at Handi Quilter, so I thought I’d fill you in on what’s new. I wouldn’t want you to miss anything!

I’ll start with storage solutions.

Purple Bobbins

whats new

These beautiful bobbins are a gorgeous shade of Handi Quilter purple. You get 30 bobbins packaged in a storage case with an insert that keeps all your bobbins neat and tidy. They are EZ-wind slotted M class bobbins perfect for all Handi Quilter longarm machines and the height of bobbin fashion!

Bobbin Tree

what's new

The HQ Bobbin Tree provides stacked storage for M-class bobbins. You can see all your thread colors and know right away if you have a filled bobbin with the right thread. This is a Handi Quilter exclusive!

HQ InSight Table Drawer

Add extra storage for all your essential quilting tools. The drawer can be added to one or both sides of your InSight table.  All your stuff will be right at your fingertips.

Speaking of the InSight table…..

HQ InSight Table Extension

It’s important when quilting with a stationary machine (like the Capri) to keep your quilt supported by the table. That avoids drag and makes it easier to move the quilt under the needle.  You can add 18 inches of space to your InSight table with a table extension. They have the same slick surface as your InSight table, pop up when you need them and fold down for storage. You can add one to each side of the table!

Speaking of the InSight table, there’s great news for Sweet Sixteen owners!

HQ InSight Table for the HQ Sweet Sixteen

If your Sweet is Tru-Stitch ready, (find out by calling your HQ retailer), you can upgrade your stitch regulation by adding the InSight table. It has built-in stitch regulation! The new table has an insert that is custom sized for your HQ Sweet Sixteen and has the stitch regulation sensors built in. They sense the motion of the fabric as you move the quilt sandwich.  If your Sweet is a little older, some can become compatible with an upgrade.

There’s also a couple of new tools.

Handi Iron-Off Pencils

I love these for marking on darker fabrics! They make a nice, easily seen mark that will not dust off like chalk. But once you want it to go away just touch with a hot iron and the mark is gone. We all need guidelines every now and then.

Here’s something you probably haven’t seen yet:

Handi Felting Foot Kit

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 through the fibers and mesh them together and a special foot that will protect your fingers and hold the fibers in place as you work. Felting is a ton of fun! The possibilties of what you can create are endless.

We also have some new on-line fun. I’m sure your familiar with weekly Handi Tips and monthly HQ Live, ways HQ provides learning and inspiration. Here’s some new ones:

Shop@Home LIVE

Join us on Facebook Live every Tuesday at 12 Noon Mountain Time. We’ll be sharing quilting tips, showing you live demonstrations of Handi Quilter products AND offering tremendous deals, just like you’d see at a quilt show! We even have giveaways, extra limited-time offers, and free shipping in the continental US. Ask Kelly and our Studio Educators questions and we’ll answer them live. HQ Shop@Home – tune in, learn something new, and save big! You might even win a prize. It airs right on our Facebook fan page, Facebook.com/HandiQuilter

If you don’t follow us yet, be sure to click the “LIKE” button so that you’ll be in the know about all things Handi Quilter.

Here’s a little sneak peak, something that hasn’t been announced yet but will be coming soon.

HQ Learn@Home

HQ Learn@Home will be an in-depth set of classes on a particular topic. You will purchase a ticket and get access to some of the best educators teaching inspiring classes. You will have a chance to watch the classes on-line and then on a designated day you can participate in a live Q&A session with the instructors. Your ticket gives you lifetime access to your purchased classes. Learn@Home will start in September, so watch social media and your HQ newsletter for more information.

So that’s what’s new around HQ, what’s new with you?

by Mary Beth Krapil

 

 

Get It Done

Last week we saw Diane’s Vintage Zigzag quilt and I made some suggestions about how she might quilt it. She made some choices and she is having a great time using her Capri to get it done.  Whenever you are repeating a motif in several places on a quilt it’s really nice to have them look similar. It’s almost impossible with free-motion quilting to make the motifs identical but some consistency is a good thing. So I like to use some tricks and some tools to help me get it done, the way I want it done.

vintage zigzag

One of the suggestions I made was a flower motif for alternate blocks.

For a design like this, I like the flowers to all be nearly the same size. I like for them all to have the same size center. If some have small centers with big petals and some have large centers with small petals, that can really draw the eye (not in a good way).

Get It Done

Here is what I do. I mark the size of my block on Golden Threads Quilting paper.

get it done

Notice, I place a piece of white paper under the Golden Threads paper. This helps me to see when I draw with pencil on my dark cutting board.

Next I draw my design, keeping my pencil down on the paper so that I create a continuous line without stops and starts. Try thinking as if you were quilting the design. Where would you start to be able to make it through the entire design without stopping? When creating a block design it’s best to fill as much of the block as you can. Use a pencil with an eraser so you can make adjustments as you go.

I know some of you may be thinking, “But Mary Beth, I can’t draw!”. No worries! Find a design you like in a book or magazine or trace a flower on your fabric. Golden Threads Paper is easy to see through for tracing. This quality also makes it possible to place your drawing on top of your quilt top to audition what the design will look like on the quilt.  You’ll know before you stitch!

Make it the right size

If you choose to trace a design, it might not be the right size for your block. Again, no worries! The Quilter’s Assistant Proportional Scale is my go-to tool for this task.

get it done

Measure your design. Line up the measurement of the design on the inner ring with the new size measurement (I usually use 1/2 inch smaller than my block) on the outside ring. The percentage of increase or reduction will appear in the window opening under the arrow. Resize on copy machine or scanner. Easy Peasy.

Once you have the print out of the right-sized design trace it on to your Golden Threads paper. When I am happy with the design I go over it with a bolder marker. I indicate the start point with a dot and the end point with a square.

During this process, I have drawn over this several times so I developed muscle memory for the design. It’s going to be easy for me to quilt! I need to mark this on each of the blocks on the quilt where I want to stitch it. A stencil of the design would be the perfect tool!

Making a stencil

I take my GT paper drawing to my machine. You can do this on your longarm or your domestic machine. My HQ Stitch 710 is perfect for this, I can drop the feed dogs and free motion quilt easily. I take the thread out of my needle and I stitch along my lines just like I would quilt it. This needle punches the paper.

Now I can take my needle-punched paper to my quilt top and mark the blocks for quilting. I use it just like I would use a stencil.

The chalk creates a nice line that I can follow while I quilt.

I don’t worry if I’m not stitching exactly on the lines, but each of my flowers will be just about the same size and very similar in appearance because I have my stenciled guide. Just what I needed to get it done!

 

 

 

 

Vintage Zigzag

Our friend, Diane Harris, has been busy finishing UFO’s during her time at home. Her most recent finish is this vintage zigzag quilt.

vintage zigzag

It’s from the Fons and Porter Love of Quilting magazine May/June 2007 issue.

Diane says, “I had all of the printed units with yellow bits made when it became a UFO. Why did I put it away when the bulk of the work was behind me? I made myself stick with it. I knew if I put it away again I would never EVER finish it. There was a lot of easing and pinning and even some swearing because of the miles and miles of bias edges, but I love the finished product and I even have an idea for quilting it. Wouldn’t it be fun to fill each of those green squares with a different quilting design? I must talk to my machine quilting coach Mary Beth Krapil, to see if she thinks that would work. Mary Beth is a Handi Quilter National Educator and a longarm whiz with years of experience in machine quilting, and I count on her to guide me.”

Quilting Ideas

The first thing I thought when I heard Diane’s quilting plan was, how many green squares is that, exactly? So I counted, and there are 33 squares. That’s a lot of designs to come up with and it totals 53 if you want to include the green triangles!  It makes me tired just thinking about it.

That could be because I’m quilting a Jacqueline de Jonge Dream Flight quilt for a friend and I am trying to do different designs in the “moons”.  I’m challenged to come up with lots of variety that will work to create good texture. I’m just getting started.

I also think different designs in all the green squares will just be too busy. But that is my aesthetic showing. I like symmetry and cohesiveness; I like to tie things together with repetition. Diane is a lot more free spirited  than I am when it comes to her quilts. On the other hand I don’t want to discourage her from doing all those designs because, what great practice that would be for someone new to longarm machine quilting! If you haven’t read previous posts, Diane just recently got a HQ Capri stationary longarm machine and is having a blast quilting up her UFO’s and learning about longarm quilting.

So, how about a compromise? Quilt the same design in every other block and in the alternate blocks quilt different designs. I think the same design in alternating blocks would unify the quilt but still give the opportunity for fun, creativity, and Practice.

Examples

This vintage zigzag is really neither feminine or masculine. But we can sway it with the quilting.
Something on the feminine side:
or something a little more geometric:
With the geometric choice you will get plenty of ruler work practice! And if you do the other blocks in curvy free form quilting it will add contrast, which adds interest.

Some things to keep in mind

  • When adding your varied designs try to keep the density of quilting as close as possible to the other blocks. This will help keep the quilt flat.
  • The busy colorful zigzags only need something simple because the quilting will not show as much. I’m thinking some free form squiggly lines. That will be quick to quilt and make up for all the time spent on the blocks.
  • If you want a place to practice feathers, these zigzags are ideal! They won’t show your bobbles much.
  • Decide how confident you are with what you quilt in the green squares. If you are feeling bold then go with a contrasting thread so that the quilting will really show! Perhaps feeling a little more timid? Choose a matching thread.
I can’t wait to see what you choose, Diane! Of course I will share the finish here so we can all admire Diane’s work on this vintage zigzag. Stay tuned! And follow Diane’s blog over on the HQ Stitch site.
Go to Top