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

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 1 - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success!

Join us as we embark on an adventure that I've named "21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success"!

Anyone can free motion quilt - it does takes practice - that's what we will be doing for the next 21 days! I have put together 21 exercises that will start you on your way to stippling and other fun free motion options! You can follow along and do each exercise on the day that it's posted, or you may want to practice at your own pace. You will find these lessons (titled Day # - 21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Success) under "Topics" on the left sidebar of this blog under Free Motion.

Let's get started:
  1. Prepare a 12" x 12" quilt sandwich (front, batting, backing secured with either basting spray or safety pins.
  2. Put your free motion foot on your sewing machine (consult your manual if you aren't sure which foot you should use).
  3. Drop your feed dogs.
  4. Reduce top tension slightly to start.
  5. Thread your machine with good quality thread.
  6. Install a new needle (let's use a Universal 80/12 needle to start).
  7. 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.

Here is your first assignment: Make rows of small (approximately 1/2" high) "hills and valleys" as shown on the right. The sample does not have to be beautiful (see my sample - definitely not perfect!). This exercise puts you in control of the machine and allows you to experience the feeling of free motion! Allow yourself to fill in approximately 1/4 of your quilt sandwich. Leave the rest of your sanwich for tomorrow! Tomorrow we will start looking at stitch quality and consistency.

-Keep quilting!

-Kris Poor

Sketchbook and Sew and Go - Part 1

As promised, here are two of the Sew and Go totes, done in the Sketchbook Butter colorway. This is a new line from Blank Quilting designed by Yolanda Fundora. As you can see, I adore the green paisley.
If you look closely at the tote on the left, you will see an appliqued monogram. I made the pattern for the applique using MSWord. I printed out the letter in black (Times New Roman Font=48) and cut it out. I then taped it (backwards) to my studio window and traced it onto the fusible backing. I zig-zagged it onto the block using a heavy narrow zig-zag. It's not quite a satin stitch, as I don't like that look.
Tomorrow is the debut of the "21 Days to Free Motion Quilting Comfort" - come back tomorrow to get your first "assignment"!
Until then -
keep quilting!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Friday Shop Hop - Salem MA!

Today we are going to Salem Massachusetts to visit Marketplace Quilts on a virtual shop hop! After we pass the House of Seven Gables, we come to the waterfront and park in the South Harbor Garage located at the corner of Derby Street and Congress Street. From there, it's only a short walk (click here for directions).

Maureen Clark started Marketplace Quilts 9 years ago with a friend. This quaint shop is located on Front Street in Salem MA.

Her shop carries a good mix of contemporary and traditional quilting fabrics, and an abundance of current books, patterns and pre-cuts. There are displays galore to inspire you.

Marketplace Quilts specializes in customer service. Maureen is friendly, energetic and ready to help you with all of your quilting projects! She has small classes in her shop so that everyone has one-on-one time with the teacher! My mother Jean and I really enjoyed meeting Maureen and we know we'll definitely be back!

If you are going to Salem, this shop is very close to all of the attractions. My kids and I have enjoyed re-enactments at the Town Hall, the Peabody Essex Museum and Pickering Wharf for ice cream! There is so much to do in Salem - do stop by Marketplace Quilts - we think you'll enjoy it!

Keep quilting!