Craftsy Class Review – Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine

Over 24,000 students have taken the online Craftsy class, Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine so I figured I may as well join them and tell you all about it. :-)

Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine

Award winning quiltmaker Ann Petersen quilts her designs completely on her home machine (yay!) which is a Bernina (double yay!) and her class includes eight lessons which cover five different methods for quilting a big quilt. Total running time is approximately 4 1/2 hours and I enjoyed watching the class one or two sections at a time over the last week or so.

Reflections of a Rising Sun by Ann Petersen 2008 -40" x 40" Shared with Permission

Reflections of a Rising Sun by Ann Petersen 2008 -40″ x 40″
Shared with Permission

I quilt a lot of big quilts on my home machine and try to share the love of machine quilting with as many people as I can. I think the number one issue domestic machine quilters deal with is how to handle the bulk of the quilt under the arm of the quilt. Ann covers this and more in her fabulous class.

I think my favorite section was when Ann demonstrated how she sandwiches her quilts using basting spray and an iron to heat set the adhesive. I’ve never tried this method of basting before, but after watching this class, I’m definitely willing to give it a try!

Curves Again!-35" x 35" by Ann Petersen Shared with Permission

Curves Again!-35″ x 35″ by Ann Petersen
Shared with Permission

I thought it was very cool that during class, Ann actually demonstrates how to quilt using a real queen-sized quilt. You can see how she moves the large quilt under her little machine, and she shares a few hints on the order of her quilting. (She starts with stitching in the ditch on her borders first to keep them straight – genius!)

I learned a few new tips including why sharp (topstitch) needles are really preferred for machine quilting (rather than ball-point or universal needles). Ann confirmed my experience with polyester batting – it’s really too slippery to use when quilting on a home machine! I also appreciate that she validated another point that I love to teach – where possible, use a blending thread and match your top and bobbin colors to eliminate little “pokies” of thread showing through on either side of the quilt.

In addition to showing how she quilts a full quilt under the machine, Ann also covers several quilt as you go methods which I haven’t tried yet but have always wanted to.  I was very intrigued by Ann’s “split-batting” and “split-quilt” methods to deal with the bulk.

Modern Baby Quilt, 39" x 34" by Ann Petersen Shared with Permission

Modern Baby Quilt, 39″ x 34″ by Ann Petersen
Shared with Permission

Other valuable tutorials she covers include properly setting up your machine space for quilting, choosing the appropriate threads, and thinking about the quilting designs you’ll use before you begin.

Ann includes downloadable extra course materials as part of this class such as her step-by-step tips for spray basting, favorite tools for marking and steps for blocking a quilt.

Sunshine & Shadow - 2012 - 20" x 20" by Ann Petersen Shared with Permisssion

Sunshine & Shadow – 2012 – 20″ x 20″ by Ann Petersen
Shared with Permisssion

The questions that are asked during the class (listed on the sidebar while watching) are also very informative. There was a discussion on the best ways to handle quilting with clear polyester thread and I picked up quite a few tips from reading them.

The pictures above are just a few of Ann’s beautiful quilts, which she allowed me to share with you. To see more of her fabulous work and gain confidence with your machine quilting skills, I encourage you to register for Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine today. You’ll be glad you did. :-)

19 thoughts on “Craftsy Class Review – Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine

  1. Sandra says:

    I’ve planned, in my little blog, to write about “Quilting In Thirds” a method I have used for years and years and which saved me from tossing a bed-sized quilt along with my Bernina through a window! Found it in some library book…you cut the batting apart. Eleanor Burns shows a very similar, also great method, in her book, Pioneer Sampler, so you only deal with the entire bulk of a quilt for the final third, if that makes sense. And, Sullivan’s Quilt Basting Spray changed my life! I plan to write about that too. Pins, schmins. Craftsy is great! Great post; thank you for highlighting their classes, and for the tip to put all the free ones under one tab. :-)

  2. Ana Maria says:

    Ann Petersen’s craftsy course helped me overcome my problems with the poly batting. I learnt a lot, and since I took the course my handling of a quilt and my quilting have improved massively. I also tried the split batting technique with excellent results.

  3. CJ says:

    I’ve wondered about this class. Not one if the quilts you’ve shared is a big project though 😞. I don’t want to see demo on small pieces.

    • marthaeliza says:

      She does demonstrate on a big quilt — I think it may be a queen (I took it awhile ago, and it gave me the courage to do a queen on my home machine).

  4. treadlemusic says:

    Craftsy classes are wonderful!!! Always some little (or more!) tidbit that is so obvious but needs to be pointed out! Your eval is awesome….Thanks for all the encouraging posts you do to promote the “can do” idea of quilting on a DSM!!! Hugs……..

  5. Kandy says:

    I just watched this class last week too. She is one of my favorite Craftsy instructors! (I have too many classes to count) Splitting the batting and quilt was a new SCARY idea. She makes it seem easy and doable. I like the calm patient way she teaches her classes.

    • Christa says:

      Yes, Patsy Thompson is another amazing quilter, too!

      Polyester is slippery meaning that it shifts and bunches in between the quilt layers while quilting, more than other battings, even if pinned well. I’ve experienced a problem with this myself on a current quilt where it’s shifted too much, causing puckers and wrinkles and headaches! I’ll be blogging about that more in detail later.

  6. Vera says:

    Thanks for sharing. I would assume you with your amazing quilting don’t need to take any classes but you are great example of how important is to keep learning. Thanks for the reminder :-) All the best in 2014!

  7. Lizzie says:

    Thanks for once again enlightening the rest of us on something new to try! I admit, I enrolled int he class, but haven’t checked out the videos/clesses yet. I find it enormously daunting. Still, I’ll take the push and just start watching a little at a time!

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