Favorite Tools #10 – Machingers Quilting Gloves

Machingers Quilt GlovesProbably one of the most important tools I own that has improved my quilting is Machingers Quilting Gloves.

I first heard about them when I took a series of quilting lectures from Joanie Poole. She highly recommended them so I bought a pair, but then I quickly shoved them in a drawer and soon forgot all about them.

About a year later I discovered the Free Motion Quilting Project and they were again recommended by Leah Day. So I bought another pair and this time I finally used them!

The reason they work so well is that they give your hands some extra grip while quilting.

The hardest thing to deal with when quilting is the drag on the quilt. I have drop-in table and also use a Free-Motion Slider whenever doing FMQ (free-motion quilting). However, the quilt gloves give that little bit of extra friction that is needed while pushing and shoving my quilt around underneath the needle.

And yes, I highly recommend the push & shove, pull & scrunch method of quilting –  no quilt clips for me! Machingers work wonders when doing lots of intricate free-motion work like on my Busy Hands quilt below. I sure kept my gloved hands busy when quilting this quilt!

Busy Hands Quilt

I use the gloves even when I am stitching in the ditch with a walking foot, or quilting straight lines, like on  my Charming Chevrons quilt below.

Machingers Stitch in the Ditch

The tips of the gloves do seem to yellow and get dirty after a lot of use, but they are safe to throw in the washing machine and I’ve washed mine several times. Sometimes I feel a little bit like a white glove lady or like I’m all dressed up for a party with my fancy gloves, but I have found that they make all the difference in the world when quilting.

Holy Cow I Finished!

I finished quilting my Busy Hands quilt this weekend. I feel like it was quite an accomplishment because I quilted the heck out of it! This quilt is my first official “Modern Quilt” and I have to say, I enjoyed it immensely.

Busy Hands Quilt

(My poor little chevron blocks are just piled up in the corner, patiently waiting their turn on the design wall so they can get turned into my next modern quilt.)

I tend to be a little more “organized” with my piecing rather than embracing the “wonkiness” that is also a hallmark of this quilt genre. But I love modern quilts because of their bright, clear colors, bold geometric shapes and clean lines, with lots of negative space for machine quilting.

Busy Hands Quilt Detail

My favorite part about this quilt is all of the different free-motion designs that I tried. I originally was going to stick to one background fill but after quilting a few blocks I got bored very quickly.

FMQ Detai

One of the things I love about modern quilting is that there are no hard and fast rules, so I was free to switch up the designs whenever I felt like it. I can’t tell you how liberating that was!  I didn’t plan them ahead of time but quilted them serendipitously. I counted a total of 53 different quilting designs when all was said and done!

FMQ Detail

I still have to soak the quilt to remove all of the blue lines around the hands, then block it and bind it. I’m really toying around with the idea of trying to enter it at QuiltCon if I can complete these final steps in time. It’s a juried show and they are accepting entries through November 30th. I’ve never entered a quilt in a “big show” before so I don’t even know if it would get in, but what the heck – I might as well try. It can’t hurt, right??

FMQ Detail

Favorite Tools #9 Supreme Slider

I am in love with free-motion quilting. To me, it’s the best part of making a quilt! I find myself hurrying through the piecing process just so I can get to the quilting. So of course I love tools that make the job even easier. I first heard about the Supreme Slider when I attended a lecture on free-motion quilting from Joanie Zeier Poole nearly 2 years ago. Leah Day from The Free Motion Quilting Project highly recommends them, too!

It took me about a year to finally buy my first Supreme Slider, but I have been using it ever since for all of my free-motion quilting. It’s a piece of slick teflon plastic that rests on the bed of my sewing machine. Because it is so slick, the quilt glides over the surface of my sewing table and there is less resistance and drag on the quilt. That means less tension issues for both me and the sewing machine!

Original Supreme SliderQueen Supreme SliderI started with the regular size slider which measures 8″ x 11.5″.

This size has worked well and was a good size to start with to see if I liked it.

Once I became hooked, I upgraded to the larger 11.5″ x 17″ Queen size. This covers more surface area and is perfect for use on my drop-in table. You can see a comparison of the two sizes shown with my sewing machine below.

Supreme Slider 2 Sizes

I only use the Supreme Slider when I am doing free-motion quilting. It covers the feed-dogs so I can either drop them or leave them up, depending on the type of thread I’m using and how my machine is sewing on any particular day. However, I remove it when stitching in the ditch since the feed dogs are engaged and I don’t need to slide the quilt around as much.

When the bottom (pink side) of the Supreme Slider gets dusty (usually while waiting for me to use it again), I just rinse it off underneath the sink and pat it down dry. Then it adheres again easily to the bed of my machine.

Supreme Slider Scar

Here’s one word of caution – be sure the slider is completely “stuck” down before you begin FMQ so it doesn’t move around while quilting. I accidentally stitched through my smaller version right after I got it. It still works but it now has a permanent “scar!”

Modern Quilt Musings and QuiltCon

I have recently jumped on the Modern Quilting wagon big-time! I was trying to figure out why this latest quilting movement is so appealing to me and here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. I love all the negative space! Machine quilting is my first love (even more than piecing) and with modern quilts, there is more room to show off intricate FMQ. Plus, it’s easy to add texture with lots of simple geometric quilting.

Modern Free-Motion Quilting

2. Many modern quilts are based on traditional patterns with a twist. Have you seen wonky log cabins and not-your-grandmother’s flower garden hexagons? How about pinwheel remix? To me, modern quilting is different than abstract art quilting (though of course it can include that, too!) I love the traditional roots with an anything goes attitude of modern creativity.

Modern Quilt Blocks

3. Fresh, clear colors with simple designs are very appealing to me. Much of the modern aesthetic is inspired by fashion trends and home decorating. That means most modern quilts are made to be used and loved but that doesn’t mean they are just slapped together. Good workmanship is still an essential part of the quilt-making process.

Simple Modern Quilt

4. Can we say solids??? There are so many tutorials and inspirational photos out there using solids by themselves or in tandem with other fabulous designer prints.  And I love the flexibility of combining different lines of fabric from different manufacturers. Modern quilting is all about getting away from being too “matchy-matchy” and instead, pursuing more eclectic combinations that actually work.

Moda Bella SolidsKona Cotton Solids

These are just a few things I like about modern quilting; I’m sure I will discover many more.

QuiltConThis weekend I signed up to attend QuiltCon, the first international modern quilting conference, presented by the Modern Quilt Guild in Austin, Texas next February. It’s a little out of my comfort zone to travel that far by myself but I know it will be worth it.

I will be taking Angela Walters “Quilting Negative Space” class and am looking forward to lots of informative lectures like “Publishing Your First Book” and “Publishing Your Work in Magazines”. I am excited to meet many of the modern quilting “celebrities” that have made a name for themselves in this industry.

Bungle Jungle Quilt – Making Progress

I am slowly but surely making progress quilting my Bungle Jungle quilt. This is my first attempt at a modern quilt. I discovered the whole modern quilting movement just a few months ago and have truly been smitten!

Pebble Quilting

I started with just one Bungle Jungle charm pack and surrounded the charms with lots of  “negative” space so I could practice my free-motion quilting skills. I used Kona Cotton Solids in white for the background.

Cucumber Vines QuiltingI love how the pebbling turned out and I’m now learning how to quilt some swirling vines. My vines look a little more like hooks, but it’s still fun to vary the motifs.

LinesI like the textural element that quilting gives to a quilt!

Curlie-Cue SwirlsAt first I thought I would surround the little hands entirely with just one quilting motif, little curlie-cue’s.

However, after I quilted a few squares, that got old very quickly!

So to keep things fun, I’m switching quilting motifs throughout the quilt. Not only will every charm square be quilted differently, the background fills will change, too.

I’ve only finished about 4 rows of quilting so far (out of 15!) but I am enjoying the process. The key is not to rush it. I only quilt a couple of squares per day. This gives me daily FQM practice so I won’t get bored. This will be a long-term process and I won’t even attempt to record how many hours the quilting takes. But I am having fun and that’s what’s important!

Bungle Jungle Charm QuiltI think I will call this quilt “Busy Hands” not only for the cute little quilted hands, but because I am keeping my hands quite busy quilting this baby!