Private FMQ Lesson Info

I am now teaching private free motion quilting lessons in my home studio so that I can share my love of quilting with others who want to learn 🙂  My passion runneth over (if you’d like to see just how far, check out the promo video below!)

FMQ lesson ad

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Happiness (and a sigh of relief…)

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This is what happens when I’ve been piecing for a few days and just can’t stand it anymore …

I grab any random fabric on my shelf that isn’t already earmarked for a quilt (and, of course, because I’m not a big stasher, that’s a challenge!), throw together a small quilt sandwich (about 32″ X 34″), crank up my tunes and just quilt, quilt, quilt.  I added the word “happiness” to my project because that is exactly what I experience when I’m doing it 🙂

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I can’t even describe to you in words what a relief it was to just QUILT.  The struggle is real, my friends.  I joke about it lots, but it’s seriously a challenge for me.  I’m constantly trying to get things pieced together so I can quilt because my quilting time is like a drug.  A good drug, though, like laughter or big long hugs 🙂  I’m not sure which chemicals free motion quilting releases in my brain, but whatever they are, I NEED THEM!  And while the open edge-to-edge designs can be fun for a bit, it’s the crazy detailed intricate stuff that takes me from zero to a hundred in sixty seconds …

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This just under two hour period was a totally spontaneous stitching time and it definitely got me to the other side of my piecing malaise.  Of course, I wouldn’t put this much detail onto a printed fabric for a “real” quilt, but this was the biggest small piece I could find in a pinch so I just chose orange thread that would show up for me as I worked.

I even went a little hippie in one section!

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Look closely and you will see my initial.

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I’m almost finished piecing a quilt top that seemed like a good idea when I started, it’s bright and pretty, it’s made from a fabric line I really like, and I’m going to have lots of fun quilting it (it has several solid white sections for me to play in) but WOW it’s just one of “those”.  I did one of “those” a while back and apparently my memory is very short because the first one took me down too!

Funny thing:  you piecers out there who have to renovate to make room for more fabric and patterns, spend days putting together little triangles that make me cross-eyed, and sometimes pile up quilt tops because you’d rather sew them together than actually quilt them, will see it when it’s done and think it’s hardly anything at all.

And that, my quilting friends, is what makes each of us unique.

While I’m over the piecing gloom that threatened my serenity today, I think I still need to go back to my machine and stitch out a few more ideas because even talking about this much piecing is giving me a headache …  LOL

 

How would you like that quilted?

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Some of my customers who bring or send me projects to quilt ask me to just “do my thing”, be creative, and stitch whichever designs I think will look good.  These people get what I like to call “Ann Quilting” 🙂

Some have decided ahead of time that they just want a simple edge to edge design as their main goal is to get their project finished as quickly and as economically as possible.

Others have no particular idea in mind when they bring their projects and they want my input to help them figure out which way to go.

Whenever I’m making suggestions, I try to determine the end result they desire by discussing the intended use of the quilt and what is most important to them in their project: the fabric, the piecing, or the actual quilting.  Here are some suggestions I make that I thought I’d share here in case they’re helpful to others:

Fabric is most important: a stitching pattern that will provide texture and dimension and a thread that will, for the most part, blend in rather than stand out so as not to take the focus away from the fabric itself (and you don’t want to be paying for detailed stitching that you won’t really see if the prints are busy)

Piecing is most important: a stitching pattern that follows the piecing lines, or at least accents the piecing pattern, in either a blending or contrasting thread, depending on their personal preference of color and weight

Quilting is most important: a detailed stitching pattern that will become an “extra” design layer on top of the pieced design, rather than blending in with design elements already present in the quilt top

Intended use is important because, for example, if it’s going to be a baby quilt, most often a more open stitching pattern is desired to keep the quilt fluffier, softer, and lighter overall.  Dense quilting uses a lot of thread and that does add a surprising amount of weight.  Batting choice can also determine overall softness.  More intricate and detailed designs are usually desirable on heirloom quilts, whole cloth quilts, or wall hangings where the quilting and even thread painting enhances the artistic elements of the project.  Of course, the detailed designs are also desirable on any quilt if the customer is a real fan of the actual quilting and wants it to be fancier than a simple edge to edge design.

Obviously, each of these choices also determines the cost of having a project quilted, and sometimes budget is the main deciding factor.

Hopefully that gives you some ideas about making quilting decisions either for your own work or for quilts you send out.

If you’ve been reading my posts at all you’ll know by now that my favourite part is the quilting process, my favourite part of the finished quilt is the actual quilting, and I’m never overly excited about any quilt top – including the ones I make myself – until it’s quilted!  So when I’m doing my own quilts, most often it’s all about the quilting and the thread.  I sometimes lose interest in whatever piecing work I’ve done because I like to just run my hand over the finished quilt to appreciate all the texture and the various shapes and motifs in the stitching!  We all get our kicks in different ways … LOL

Occasionally I do an edge-to-edge-let’s-just-give-it-some-texture design in blending thread if I’m working on baby quilts or others that have a lot of printed fabric where detailed quilting won’t really show up anyway.  But give me some solid fabrics and my Magnifico thread and I will play happily for hours!

The baby quilt pictured above is an example of me playing in a wide open field of negative space with a simple all over plume stitching pattern that has nothing at all to do with the piecing.  It’s a completely new layer on top of the modern style color-blocked quilt top and it’s curvy design contrasts with the geometric square blocks.  I could have chosen a brighter coloured thread to give it even more pop.

Possibilities = endless!  Had I wanted the inner squares and the sashing as my main focus, the stitching would be completely different 🙂

 

Retro Camper Quilt

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I’m going to put it politely in as few words as possible:  I don’t like camping.  It’s an understatement, usually accompanied by various facial expressions, but the point is that regardless of my own camping aversion, I totally love this fabric line!  The cute little retro campers, the color scheme, and the sentiments (except the one about life being better in the camper…) grabbed me and I couldn’t resist.  I knew some camper somewhere would like this one!

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The centre is a panel; the half square triangle and strip borders are made from coordinating fabrics belonging to the same “On the Road Again” fabric line.

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I custom quilted the panel by stitching around the various items featured in each block, filled in the areas between blocks with both whimsical and border designs.  The inner border has ruler work and the outer border has a serpentine line design all the way around.  I did a short video showing how I stitch that border around a corner and how quickly it fills in.  Check out the link below!

Reflections

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After spending time getting my free motion quilting lesson format planned out and testing it on my daughter over the weekend to prepare for advertising, I looked back on a few parts of my quilting journey thus far.  I found a post that I had uploaded to a personal journalling blog in 2015 and thought I would share it here today.

Not only does it explain how I went quite suddenly from never having quilted to becoming completely immersed in the craft, it also shows what can happen when you take a trip down the Pinterest rabbit hole:  you really never know what you will find or where you will finally come up for air and how your life might just be about to change when you do.  Go ahead and click the link if you’re interested in where it all started 🙂

You see, I really just wanted to braid a rug …………….

It all started with a jelly roll …

FMQ lessons – My Test Student

I’ve just started offering private free motion quilting lessons, and I wanted to do a test run, so my daughter agreed to help me out.

She’s not a sewer and has never quilted before and while she conceded to go through the process, I know it wasn’t something she wanted to learn.

Enter the perfect test student to really make me work on my approach.

We started on the regular sewing machine, but by the end of it, she was rocking on my big machine and pretty proud of her progress!  I think she even had fun 🙂

 

Here’s what happened when she moved to the big one …

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Butterflies for a friend

 

IMG_1847Once in a while we come across a fabric that just reminds us specifically of a person in our lives and the only thing to do with it is to make them a quilt! haha

This lovely blue butterfly fabric was the perfect choice for a friend of mine who loves butterflies and – although I wasn’t aware of it – also loves blue 🙂  They look like they were hand painted.

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I treated the main fabric like a panel, so it’s kind of an easy whole cloth project with a crisp white border (easy piecing is my thing, of course!) and really, why would you want to cut up this great artistic looking large print?  Well, OK, I can see that some quilters might have a good reason to do so and would likely do it in a very effective way, but for me it was just right in its natural state.  I quilted the butterfly section with a simple plume and flower stitching pattern and then dug out my ruler for the border.

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There are actually nice even lines around the whole border, but the lighting in the photo of the whole quilt makes it look like the sides are different.  I love the ruler work, even though it was just straight lines on this one – there’s just something about those on the white that gets me!

Custom Book Bag

 

IMG_1787I was going to include this bag at the bottom of yesterday’s quilting post, and then I thought “save it for tomorrow so you’ll have an extra one ready to go.”  This way y’all get two posts in two days!  You’re welcome.

I wanted a book bag for myself – in a bit of a hurry because I was getting ready for a weekend road trip – and I didn’t want a big tote bag.  I love using the Soft & Stable from Byannie.com, and I wanted it to be sturdy but on the smallish side.  So I mulled over a few ideas, getting a little discouraged because I didn’t really want to spend time designing a whole new bag and then figuring out what size, how much fabric I needed etc.  Sometimes I’m in the mood for that, but not this time!

Then I looked up to the top of my shelf where I store the finished bags that are for sale in my Etsy shop, and I wondered how the largest of the Open Wide bags (pattern from Byannie.com) would suit my books.  It turned out to be just the right size for what I wanted, but I needed handles to carry books around.

Here’s a picture of the bags made according to the pattern:

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It didn’t take long to see that I could simply add a handle which could be secured underneath the already called for contrasting border strip on the front and then add a similar border strip on the back side for the other handle. I was able to use a pattern I already had – and have made several times so it’s kind of a no brainer now! – with measurements already calculated and just get to work.

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I love how it turned out; I’ve already used it a few times and it’s working really well for me.  So I wanted to share it here to give you an idea but also to remind you that sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get something new; you might have just the right pattern sitting there and all it needs is an add-on to turn it into just what you need 🙂

Boundless Flower Shoppe

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As much as I like the look of modern quilts, every once in a while I am attracted to a pretty patchwork design, and this fabric from Craftsy.com sucked me in! haha  I wasn’t a sucker immediately though; when I first saw the photo of the fabric bundle I was thinking “meh…” but then I saw some completed projects and decided I liked the patchwork combination.

Often when I see a bundle or a set of pre-cuts there are a few individual pieces that I don’t care for on their own, but then when they are all mixed together in a project they don’t bother me.  Which is what happened in this quilt.  I guess that’s why I’m not a fabric designer myself and I’m just better off as a buyer!

I made this quilt using a 10″ square bundle of Boundless Flower Shoppe, and I ordered a bigger piece of the one floral print for the border.  It’s all half square triangles, which I made by stacking two squares right sides together, marking a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner, stitching a 1/4″ seam on either side of that line and then cutting on the marked line to separate my two finished blocks.  If you like the blocks smaller, you can just sew a 1/4″ seam all around the outside edge of your two square stack and then cut on two diagonal lines which will give you four smaller blocks.

Just for you, I’m including some very detailed and technical sketches below to explain what I’m talking about; do you appreciate that the pink marker coordinates with the pink in the quilt?  I thought you would.  The left one shows what I did; the right one shows the four smaller block version.

I like the bigger ones myself because, obviously, the quilt top goes together faster!  On occasion I’ve used the smaller version – they’re great for making chevron quilts – but I draw the line (haha) at anything smaller than those.  I’ve seen smaller in many quilts, but those people must either live to piece or have stronger medications than I do …

I ended up quilting it with an overall scalloped kind of flower design that looks really nice, fills in quickly, and gives it a lovely crinkled up look when it’s all done and laundered.  Once again, this quilt was intended for my shop but is currently making its way into my own living space so the jury is still out on whether or not it will be for sale …

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I like the photos of the crumpled quilt because it just looks so cuddly!

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