Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to 2010...

...let's make it happy and healthy!

Skoal! -Kris

P.S. This postcard is from my grandmother Dolly Smith's collection.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Have yourself a merry little Christmas! -Kris

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We have a Winner!

Thanks to all of you for entering and I'll be sending the On a Whim Fat Quarter Bundle to debbiekl! Thanks to all who entered and look for another giveaway soon! Happy Snow Day (we're having one here in NH!)!! -Kris

Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Giveaway…On a Whim!

Good morning all!
Here is another giveaway for you – I will draw one name next Wednesday, December 9th. I have 7 fat quarters of “On a Whim”, by Amy Schimler! They are pictured at right – cute owls, birds, flowers and leaves. All you have to do is comment on my blog (if you are anonymous, please email me so I have your email contact information). Let your quilting friends know about this giveaway- who knows? You may have an early Christmas present! Thanks for following!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

We have Winners!

The winners of our first giveaway are Cathy B and Jacky P - thanks for entering! You will get your issue of Quick Quilts in the mail, soon!

Our next giveaway starts tomorrow and here's a hint: it involves fat quarters....stay tuned! -Kris

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Rush!

Here it is, December 1st....and I just want to remind all about our giveaway of one issue - make that two!! I am giving away two issues of the Winter issue of Quick Quilt Magazine. It has in it.... drum roll please.... a laptop bag project designed by me! If you comment, and I draw your name, you'll receive it in the mail! I will be drawing this issue tomorrow December 2nd at 10:00 am. Comments, please!
Stay tuned - tomorrow I'll show you my scrappy tote! -Kris

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Happy Thanksgiving to all and I hope you enjoy your family and friends on this special day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Poorhouse's First Give Away!

I've been away for a while but I hope I can lure you back with this give away!

Happy news! Quick Quilts (Harris Publications, has published a project designed by moi in their Winter 2010 issue! And I just happen to have an extra which I'd like to share with one of you!

The project that I did for this magazine is a laptop bag which would be a great gift for your favorite college student! There are also 18 other projects that would surely make your holiday gift making list! And, as indicated by the name of the magazine, the projects are quick!

If you'd like to get this copy, please comment on this blog and I will enter you into the drawing. The drawing will take place Wednesday December 2nd by 10 am. If you are anonymous, please include your email in the comment so I can contact you if you win!

Please let your friends know about this too - you will enjoy this issue of Quick Quilts!

Happy quilting! -Kris

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

“Seams” Excellent!

Piping adds dimension, personality and strength to your tote or bag seams. You can quickly create custom piping with these instructions; it’s inexpensive and adds some unexpected” pop”!

In order for your piping to easily follow seams and curves without wrinkling and twisting, you will be cutting the piping fabric on the bias (or at a 45 degree angle); find a ruler that has this angle included on it.

You will need Rayon Rat Tail Cording (2 mm) (from your local craft store) and your piping fabric. (This cording is a narrow diameter perfect for smaller accessories; piping for pillows requires a heavier, thicker cording).

Make piping:

Cut strips of the piping fabric 1” wide at a 45 degree angle. Piece strips together to make one long strip, joining at a 45 degree angle.
Place the cording in the center of strip. Wrap the bias strip around the cording, matching the edges.
Attach zipper foot*. Align the zipper foot so the edge of it is against the cording. Sew the seam allowances together to enclose the cording. The needle should be positioned as close to the cording as possible. You should now have piping with a ¼” “carrier” on the side.
*If you have a piping foot for your sewing machine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for attaching and needle position.

How to use piping? Piping is placed between pieces in the seamline. Position piping along seamline (right side), so that the raw edges match the raw edges of seam. Sew along the seamline; place opposing piece over and follow previous stitching. If you need to sew around a curve, pin the piping in place and clip along piping raw edges – this will relieve the strain on the piping, and create the smooth curve that you want. Be careful not to cut through the original piping stitching.

Use striped fabric for piping – after cutting on the bias, you will have diagonal stripes on the piping.
Use a mottled or small polka dot for piping – everyone will know it’s custom made!
You can add your custom piping on quilts (on right side) before you bind, then place binding at this seam for a different look.

Have fun with piping and send along pics of your results! Enjoy! -Kris

Monday, October 26, 2009

Friday Shop Hop - Kingston, NH!

OK, it's Monday - I am a little late with this post! (More on that later!)

Destination: Kingston, NH. An idyllic spot for a quilt shop – beautiful town common, antique shops, state park. Are you in the mood to browse, unhurried, through fabric, quilt patterns, books, and tools and to have a good laugh at the same time? Your hosts, Tammy and Glen Rommel will ensure that you have a grand time!

Stop by Stitched in Stone, located at the Carriage Town plaza, off Rt 125 – you will not be disappointed! In this spacious shop you will find great lighting (I crave good lighting in Quilt Shops!), loads of space for classes, and a selection of fabrics that just keeps getting better and better! Tammy stocks batiks in every color, fun fabric collections, traditional solids in every color, specialty threads, tools, you name it, they have it.

Did I mention yarn? They stock some yummy if only I could knit......

They are also experts in sewing machine repair and Elna and Babylock Dealer. There - I think I've covered it all! No I haven't - go visit!

Wishing you a quilty day-


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Friday Bag Options Chapter 1

The new Friday Bag pattern includes instructions for a reversible bag.

I chose "Gobble Gobble" from Sandy Gervais for my reversible option. It's a perfect fall choice. This is the bag I wore in Houston and it received rave reviews! I stitched a decorative strip along the Midpanel to seams on each side (a 1" strip folded in half- line up raw edges with seam line and baste along seamline). Then place the Side Panel over the strip and stitch. Voila! Instant seam definition! (I use the flowered side out right now!) Have a quilty day and stay tuned for more Friday bag options! -Kris

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meet our girl Friday or the Friday Bag!

It's NEW! It's comfortable! Best of all - it's quick!

It will be ready for you on November 1st...let me introduce you to the Friday Bag!

Here is a new bag that is relaxed enough for Friday, but sophisticated enough for a walk in your urban jungle. The fabric here is called "Garden Party" - it's a riot of spring color - it is now being offered by Blank Quilting. the fabric is designed by textile designer Yolanda Fundora. Kits will be available on Yolanda's website for the versions shown here!!

With this bag, you have options! You can quilt the panels, you can make it reversible, you can embellish or piece. The choice is yours!

Feature your lastest fabric find! Coming soon...more options with our girl Friday!

Until then, have fun with your sewing machine - go on, give it a hug!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Shop Hop - Plaistow, NH

I recently visited The Sewing Basket which opened this past July at 86 Main Street in Plaistow, NH. How could I have missed that?

If you happen to be in Southern NH (maybe doing a little leaf peeping?), don't miss this great little quilt shop! Patty, the owner, has a delightful collection of fabrics, gifts and sewing notions all tucked into a charming Victorian.
Are you ready for the tour? When you enter The Sewing Basket, you will find an entryway filled with seasonal gift items.

The front window, as you can see at left, is filled with pretty batiks.

There are vignettes of fabric, wreaths, quilts all around you, yet the shop does not feel crowded. The fabric collection is a nice mix of seasonal fabrics and traditional to modern fabrics. The colors are bright and cheerful.
For those not inclined to sew, there are aprons, doll clothes and other handmade crafts for purchase.
If you'd like to spend a pleasant morning shopping for fabric, head for The Sewing Basket. Say hello to Patty!
Keep quilting! -Kris
P.S. The center of Plaistow is very pretty this time of year; check out the clock tower on the town hall!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fall Facts with Leaf Project

Here are some fun Fall facts that I found at

Fall colors are best when late summer is dry & autumn has bright sunny days & cool nights below 40 °F.
Fall days become shorter & many plants stop making food. That is when the green chlorophyll starts to disappear from the leaves.
Most leaves fall from trees because the ends of the branch are sealed off near the leaf stem to protect the tree through the long winter months.

At left is a birch leaf (approximately 10" high) I made using my stash - I am going to make this into an art quilt/wall hanging and I will share the final product with you.

How to do this:

  1. Take a digital picture of a single leaf using your driveway or sidewalk as a contrasting background. Pick a leaf with a shape that you like - the color is not important.
  2. Load the photo into your computer and open your photo editing software. Crop close to the leaf.
  3. Resize the image to the size that you like.
  4. Print out a picture of the leaf in black and white.
  5. With a sharpie, outline then divide the leaf into different sections along natural divisions, such as the veins of the leaf. Use the different gradations of gray to determine where you will use darker and lighter colors. Number each section.
  6. Now trace each section onto paper backed fusible web, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for prepping and fusing.
  7. Zig-zag onto backing and have fun!
  8. I used ribbon floss for a stem.

Have fun with this! -Kris

Friday, September 4, 2009

Color from a Sketchbook - Part 1

The mornings are brisk here in NH, but the days still warm up nicely. I think a last day at the beach is in order! I am packing a Bongo Bag and a Crafty Tote done in Sketchbook Teal Blue by Blank Quilting, designed by Yolanda Fundora.

I have to admit: Blue is never my first choice. However, this collection made a believer out of me! This is an analogous color scheme, using blues/green inspired by nature.

My personal favorite of the Teal Blue colorway is the Arabesque Turquoise. It's a timeless floral - perfect for a bag, front porch quilt, or a wearable!

The lime paisley really makes this collection pop - it is also a very versatile fabric. It can be paired with so many fabrics in my stash- I would bet you'd find it a good addition to your collection.

Stay tuned for more Sew and Go Totes done up in Sketchbook!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I love September! The kids are in school, the weather is cooling off and there is a hint of Fall in the air!

Did you know that September is also National Sewing Month? You can find out the details here! There is a Sewing Green Contest that is going on now until September 30th. What a great way to entice a crafty teen!

I hope you are enjoying the first day of September! -Kris

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Interview with Karen Dumont

Now and then, Quilting at the Poorhouse would like to introduce you to "movers and shakers" in the quilting world.

This morning, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine and fellow quilt pattern designer, Karen Dumont. She’s the creative mind behind Karie Patch Designs; a pattern company specializing in whimsical designs for the young at heart! Karen and I met at Quilt Market in 2007 and she has been an inspiration to me ever since! Karen's quilts have been featured in Harris Publications' Quilts, Quick Quilts and McCall's Quilting Magazines. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s meet Karen:

Karen, how did you get started designing quilt patterns?
I would visit the local quilt shop frequently and take my quilts to show to my friends there. The owner, Sheddy Reese encouraged me to publish patterns of my work. I did not have a clue how to go about doing that but eventually became friends with another quilter, Susan Emory, who was also a graphic designer. She was willing to do the computer work that was needed to produce the patterns. The rest is history. Susan now owns the quilt shop that Sheddy sold to her 3 years ago and I have another friend do my patterns for me.

Where do you get your inspiration for new designs?
Usually ideas pop into my head in the middle of the night, friends suggests things they would like me to make but most of the time it is the fabric that inspires me.

How would you describe your company’s style?
Bright, whimsical, and cheerful quilts that make people happy when they see them. I want my quilts to give a warm and inviting feeling to a room.

What is your favorite quilting “process”? (For example, I really like free motion quilting…)
Applique. I feel that I can express myself in my applique designs more so than pieced.

Which pattern is your current favorite?
Sweet Caroline and Dolly Claire, they run neck and neck as being my favorites. Of course, there is a reason for that. Both patterns are named after our two granddaughters, Caroline and Claire!
My daughter calls Caroline and Claire, Sass One and Sass Two so I told Caroline at dinner just this evening that my next pattern will be named Sassy Girls!

Karen, I know you teach. What do you enjoy most about teaching? Do you have a message for beginners?
I love being with others who share the same interests that I do. It is fun teaching other quilters most of the techniques and shortcuts that I have taught myself over the past 12 years.
My advice to beginners, only make the type of quilts that you find pleasure in sewing. Start out making simple things and don’t get into complicated patterns that will frustrate you because you will never finish them. Change any pattern you make to meet your likes and experiment with choosing your own fabric not the same as the pattern designer.

What would quilters like to know about you?
That I am one wild and crazy Grandma!!!!!! Seriously, I love life and like to find humor in everything I do.

Thanks so much Karen, for spending your time with us and we will be watching to see what’s new at Karie Patch Designs! Please check out Karen’s website at ; you can also email Karen on her contact page there.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Turning Leaves Tote - Options!

Kits! We have kits!

Turning Leaves Tote fabric kits are available at the Urban-Amish website by Yolanda Fundora. What? you haven't been to her site? Why not jump over now? This is a great website if you are loofing for creative inspiration!

The Turning Leaves Tote is a truly comfortable medium sized bag that you can whip up in a day! And, I especially like the fact that you can buy a kit with all of the fabrics ready for you to sew. A little rotary cutting and you are ready to start your sewing machine humming!

Features of the Turning Leaves Tote:
  • Easy cutting - strips only;
  • Quilt as you go - this project can be as easy as you want it to be;
  • Applique options - use the leaf patterns provided or add your own;
  • Easy strap - fuse and topstitch - no turning of bulky tubes
  • Simple Zippered pocket inside - quick application!

Give this tote a try and email me a picture! I would especially like to hear from you about the zipper application - let me know what you think! Have a successful sewing day! -Kris

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's been such a long time....

Good morning all!

I am back! Blogging took a backseat during our vacation. I had good intentions and even had free wi-fi so I have no excuse!

We took a trip to Hershey PA this year - my husband and two boys love rollercoasters. Notice that I do not include myself in that group. I am the holder of everything not allowed on the coaster - hats, cameras, backpacks, etc. I am happy to be the holder! The picture on your right is "Fahrenheit", a rollercoaster with a 97 degree drop (not kidding)! Wouldn't you want to be the holder? Please note: I did enjoy Chocolate World!

I did go to Quilt Odyssey which was being held in Hershey. What a nice show! I had a great time admiring all of the beautiful quilts. I am showing just a section of Arabesque by Karen Kay Buckley, of Carlisle, PA. This is a stunning quilt in person. You can view this awardwinning quilt here.
Quilt shows are so inspirational - I really missed my sewing machine after attending that show!
Keep quilting! -Kris
(P.S. In case you are wondering, the post title does refer to a song by Boston!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Color Theory

Contemplating your preferences...

As a quilter, I am always thinking about color and it's never-ending combinations. I found a great website called Worqx (dedicated to web design, actually) which has an interesting tutorial on Color Theory. Even though this tutorial contains references to html, the ideas are applicable to our art! I found that am attracted to split complementary color combinations. Take your time with the tutorial to discover your preferences and what other possibilities you may be missing! And..don't forget to try out Peter Piper's Pallet Picker!

Happy quilting! -Kris

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 21 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

You made it! Twenty one days! Here is your last exercise:

This one is fun - write, then echo! Have fun with this last exercise and keep in mind that you are better at free motion than you were 21 days ago (OK give or take a few days!!).

I will continue to post fun free motion exercises for you - please send me links or pics of your successes! I'd love to post them!

Have a great weekend and happy quilting! -Kris

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 20 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

There may be a song in there, but I can't find it! I wanted to demonstrate my practice piece. I started with a staff and added notes, I didn't like that. So I changed to a heavier thread - again I wasn't comfortable with the result. How about adding loops and words, without the staff? OK - that looks better but I still feel its not quite there! Time to walk away and let the idea simmer. If you want to, make some music and email me a pic!

Take it easy and keep quilting! -Kris

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 19 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning, Quilters! This morning we have a very practical exercise for you. Can you believe it is Day 19? Remember our loop-de-loops that we did on day 6? We are going to expand on that idea. This is a great stipple that I saw in Dawn Ramirez’s Pajama Quilter Workbook. She has many ideas and I particularly love that she uses a white board to draw out her designs first – genius! You may want to check out her DVD!
So – let’s get to it! Start with a small loop and don’t stop there! Go around once more and add another larger loop! Have fun and hope you are feeling loopy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 18 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning, Quilters!

Wow - is it really Day 18 of this exercise? This morning we are deep sea diving and creating a seascape with shells, stars and swirls. This takes some control, but you have it! I think it would be a good idea to draw this one out on a piece of paper first. For the shell – I created the outline of the shell first, then came back and added the ridges. For the star, I created the outer then the inner star. Wouldn’t this be great on a summer placemat?

Happy Quilting-


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tidal Totes by the Sea

I heard from Kathy Stanley of Sew Maine yesterday. She owns two lovely shops in Maine, one in Portland (Sew Portland) and Trenton (Sewing by the Sea). We chatted for a few minutes about the Tidal Totes pattern; she and a group of 8 other women ventured to Lily's Cafe in Stonington, Maine and enjoyed a day of sewing and eating. (Now that's a perfect day!)

Click here to read Kathy's blog and see her beautiful embroidered Tidal Tote. You will also be inspired by all of the color choices. Check it out!

Keep quilting!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 17 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning, Quilters!

We are almost done with our 21 day experiment – I hope you are having fun with this! Our next exercise is my take on a hibiscus – but it can be any flower you’d like to draw! I started with a petal, then added the center, then added the subsequent petals. After that, I just kept echoing. Echo quilting requires that you pick a thickness that you’ll “keep” when stitching around a shape. I used the relative distance between the edge of my darning foot and outermost row of stitching. You can determine the distance you’d like and just be consistent and have fun!

Happy Quilting-


Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 16 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning, Quilters!
I’d like to take a walk with you down the street with your sewing machine. You are going to take it slow making (approximately 1”) houses and trees. There is no perfect house or tree. You are smiling, enjoying the sunshine, and walking along at an even pace. Also remember, this is not a race – this is a perfect lazy summer day free motion exercise – keep it even and consistent. Are you getting the hang of this now? (Go easy on yourself - this is fun!)
Email me a pic of your houses!

Happy Quilting-


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sewing Macine Maintenance

I am interrupting this program for a brief annual maintenance of my sewing machine!

This morning, I brought my machine to Portsmouth Fabric Company for its annual tune-up. If you’re in the Seacoast area of NH – don’t miss it! It’s a great place for color inspiration and art quilt fabrics. Here is a great article on the store.

Clipart from:
©2000 Denise Van Patten - Doll Collecting at
Happy quilting!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July to all!!

Happy 4th of July!

Here's a patriotic Tidal Tote, done by my mother, Jean Johnson! Isn't it cute?
Have a great day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 15 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning Quilters!
Here in the Granite State, we have rocks. So we have many rock walls. This is ours!(OK - an old pic!)
Today, let's make them on our machines! We are practicing circles today. This exercise forces you to slow down and take control of your quilting. You will start with one "rock" and carefully fit other rocks around it - you may want to fill in row by row or more randomly. I find that I sometimes have to go around the rocks more than once to achieve the shape that I want - go ahead and have fun with this!
Keep practicing!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 14 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good afternoon Quilters! I apologize for yesterday's absence - rainy days are getting me down! Here we are again with our quilt sandwiches and I needed sunshine and flowers on this July 2nd! So here we go! I decided on a flower. I came "in "on the left hand side and made the center, giving myself room to come "out" between the previous stitching lines. I added petals around the final flower center. You can go on and add more petals.
I'd like to share this morning's experience with you regarding quilting - I did not have the correct needle/thread combination in my machine this morning and started skipping stitches. I changed things - first tension, then needle, then finally thread and once I changed to a different spool of thread, I fixed the problem. Try to remember to systematically change things and test your changes one at a time, so that you know what the problem is. Needless to say, I threw away the thread!
Happy Quilting! -Kris

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 13 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning, quilters! It's a dreary day here in NH (again) - I'll definitely need some sewing to get through this!

To add to your repertoire and instill more confidence, we will work today on a common shape - the 5 pointed star! Like the last exercise, I combined it with loops - but it would also look nice with hearts. This is a good meander for a child's quilt, by the way. You may want to draw the 5 pointed star first. This should be a large meander.
For fun - attend this on-line quilt show!

Keep Quilting! -Kris

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 12 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!


Good afternoon wherever you are! You've probably already come to this conclusion, but it really helps to draw out your designs before you quilt them. Here is my doodle I and the resulting quilting. Try the hearts and loops - I think you'll have fun!
Happy Quilting! -Kris

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 11 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning Quilters! Summer is a great time to attend quilt shows - they are an invaluable resource of inspiration and ideas! Research what is coming up at your vacation destination - this year we are taking the kids to Hershey/Gettysburgh area. I am taking one day to attend Quilt Oddyssey 2009 (gee....hubby and kids don't want to go)!

Our exercise today is easy and fun - we are going to make clamshells. Start with a small "hill" and build on it by increasing size and changing directions until you have a mollusk of some sort. You can build colonies of these shells by adding "hills" as you go. As you can see, they don't have to be perfect - it's just practice!
Have fun and keep quilting! -Kris

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 10 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Tonight's exercise is easy! This reminds me of Laverne and Shirley ("Schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated!") - just start with a capital L and keep going. Fill up a section of your sandwich and you've practiced for the day (You're about halfway there!)!

Keep quilting! -Kris

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 9 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning all! My sincerest apologies for not posting yesterday! My husband and I ran the 5th grade cookout yesterday, as well as attended my oldest's 8th grade promotion! When it rains, it pours!

Let's get back to free motion quilting! Before we start on a new exercise, here's a tip that I have found extremely helpful: When you need to take a break, stop with your your needle down. When you start again, stitch in the same place and then keep going. In the past, I tried to move right away from my stopping point, but that would result in long uneven stitches at that point. But now, I take a few stitches in place and then get going again and this seems to have eliminated the problem. Try it!

Today we'll work on a shape that is so versatile: leaves! We'll be sewing these along in row, but they are easy to do in a meanering fashion also. So, let's get started!

Do this vertically to start.

Make one leaf shape, going up one side and down the other.

Add one vein in the middle.

Travel down from here and add a leaf out to the right and add a vein, then repeat to the alternating left and right.

You have a leafy vine! I find this is a nice border treatment. You can expand this by using more intricate shapes for your leaves and adding more veins. The choices are endless!

Happy quilting! -Kris

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 8 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

I think the moon is in the 7th we are taking an easy shape (peace sign, dudes) and incorporating it into a stipple. I think this would be groovy scattered (sparsely) on a teen quilt!
Tip: If you are going to put identical shapes into a stipple (ex: stars, snowflakes, hearts...), practice on a throw away sandwich and determine a repetitive process. For the peace signs, I made a circle perpendicular to where I was in the stipple, from the top, I came straight down, added 2 bird legs, then up and out the top. I did this for every one.
Peace out quilters! Have a great weekend and day 9 begins on Monday! -Kris

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 7 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning! Today's exercise is quick and easy - let's try "weaving". Start with a few vertical "hills" then add horizontal "hills", repeat until you have a row of a size you like, then maneuver to the next row. Your hills should be of a somewhat consistent size to achieve the basketweave.
Tip: Try this on paper before you quilt. Have fun! Smile! Keep quilting! -Kris

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 6 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Good morning - Hope you are ready to get sewing!

We are going to get loopy again today. Stipple as you did yesterday, but intermittently add loops. If you add loops consistently, it'll look great. This is a good fill in baby quilts. Make an entier loopy sample sandwich and let me know if you like this stipple. You can also add hearts instead of loops, if you dare!!

Just a word on starts and stops. I like to keep my needle in the same position and first pull my thread to the top, then gradually increase stitch length for my starts and reverse that for my stops. I don't like to try to reverse, as I think it creates a "bobble" at these points. See what you like for starting and stopping.
Check this out: Here is a general website for quilting - check out Diane's tips -- she's one of the great machine quilters!
Have a quilty day! -Kris

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 5 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

By now, you must be thinking "Let's just stipple already!!". I'd like you to start today with a fresh quilt sandwich (8" square is fine). As you can see from the grainy photos, I'd like you to get a feel for making lumpy stipply (is that a word?) shapes. So, instead of trying to make the familiar puzzle shape pieces, let's start with smooth round "hills" randomly placed around each other. So:

  • Look at the photo top left and start with making hills in the middle of your sandwich.

  • Without rotating your sandwich, follow around your "hills", with more "hills"(top right)

  • Continue around and around your sandwich with these "hills" until it is completely filled (bottom right then bottom left).

Your sample may look like a frilly flower. Again, don't worry too much right now about spacing between hills but instead, try for smooth, consistent motion. Also take a look at what you've done to determine if you need to slow down or speed up your hands (see Day 4).

Tip: I hold my hands about 6" apart and they act as a frame to my work. I complete the work "inside" my hands, stop (needle down), reposition, and start again.

Here is a list of my all-time favorite Machine Quilting Books (they may be at your library):

  • Machine Quilting: A Primer of Techniques by Sue Nickels (pub by American Quilters Society)

  • Guide to Machine Quilting by Diane Gaudynski (pub by American Quilters Society)

  • Easy Machine Quilting edited by Jane Townswick (pub by Rodale Press)

Enjoy the process!! Keep Quilting!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 4 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

I'm baaaaack! Let's try something a little more challenging today! Today, we'll make some waves. Start on the left, go smoothly up and over the wave, then come back and scoop under. Let's make a multitude of waves, some rows to the right, then switch to rows going to the left (I started on the right for these rows). I am right-handed - I felt more control when traveling to the right.

This time, try to look for consistent stitch length - adjust your speed as you go along. If you find your stitch length is too long, you may need to run your machine faster. If you find that your stitches are too small, move your hands faster. Consistent stitch length takes time to achieve - practice and you'll be rewarded!!

Don't forget to:
  • Drop your feed dogs.
  • Reduce top tension slightly to start.
  • Thread your machine with good quality thread.
  • Install a new needle (let's use a Universal 80/12 needle to start).
  • With your practice quilt sandwich under the presser foot, lower the needle and raise it to bring bobbin thread to the top of the sandwich. As you start sewing, hold onto both threads to start.

Smile and keep quilting!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 3 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Here we go Loop - di - loop! Let's just enjoy the process today~
give yourself permission to make loops - here are the rules:
  • No particular size;
  • No required direction;
  • Keep your motion smooth;
  • Turn on some great music;
  • Smile!

Try fill in at least 1/4 of your quilt sandwich! If you have a quilt sandwich that you'd like to share, send me a photo and I'd love to!

Our adventure resumes next Monday!

Keep Quilting! -Kris

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 2 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Stitch Quality.... Let's talk tension!

When you are free motion quilting, you may find that your stitch tension is not what it should be. You may see that your top thread appears to be "laying" on top of the fabric , and you may see loops of bobbin thread on the top . This indicates that your top tension needs to be decreased. Decrease the tension one number at a time and continue to sew.

What if the back side of the quilting is loopy? Try increasing the top tension to eliminate those loops. You'll find a setting that works for you if you work at it. This is also a good time to check your manual for tips to help you balance your tension.

Now - your assignment for today is: Write your name in free motion. This exercise is to be done in cursive. Here is what I did:
Because you have written your signature so many times, this will be an easy exercise to familiarize your hands with moving in all directions. This is fun - use your quilt sandwich and the "get started list" from yesterday. You may want to try quilting gloves also!

Keep quilting!

-Kris Poor