Modern Logs QAL Part 6: Free Motion Stipple Quilting

I love it when we get to the machine quilting part of a Quilt Along! I’ve just finished my fourth book on machine quilting so I feel like that is one of my specialties. I’m excited for you to try free motion stipple quilting like I did on my Modern Logs, or another quilting design of your choice.

I made a video with all my best tips and tricks for quilting Modern Logs. Just nine minutes but it’s packed full of help and guidance! Click play below to watch.

 

If you’ve never tried free motion quilting or a stipple (also called a meander), layer up a couple of fat quarters with batting and practice there before you start on your real quilt. You can quilt on this practice sandwich many times over, using it as a warm-up if you like.

I can’t wait to see how you decide to quilt your Modern Logs!

Click here for links to the Modern Logs quilt along.
Click here to get the Modern Logs quilt kit while supplies last.
Click here to purchase Modern Logs quilt pattern – paper version.
Click here to purchase the Modern Logs quilt pattern – PDF version.

Click here to see other people’s Modern Logs and how different and exciting they are!

99 Machine-Quilting Designs – Preorder Now!

99 Machine Quilting Designs Today I’m excited to share a sneak peek of a several designs included in my upcoming book, 99 Machine Quilting Designs.  There are still few of days left pre-order my new book and get all the bonus premiums as well as reduced shipping.

When I teach in person, students stitch a series of practice samples to try out different walking foot and free motion designs. Now you can see 99 of those “in the cloth” along with a quilting diagram and instructions on how to quilt it. 

Click here to preorder now!

It was so much fun to dream up all these combinations and then to quilt the samples. The fabrics are Superior Solids from Benartex, the batting is from Hobbs and the thread is from my Aurifil thread kits. The samples were made on my Bernina 770 QE.

Just imagine me cheering you on as you try out these designs on your next project! Delivery is February 2021. I know the time will fly and it will be here before you know it!!

Grab these Bonuses with Your Preorder by 10/20/20

If you pre-order my book by Oct. 20, you’ll get a complimentary fat quarter of my fabric from one of my 6 fabrics lines, chosen at random. (Don’t you love surprises?!)

Good Vibes Fat Quarters

You also get one of my patterns so that you can practice your favorite designs from the book!

I’ll also sign it for you – which I promise will be a good luck charm as you quilt!!

Click here to pre-order 99 Machine-Quilting Designs for just $25.95 (regular retail price is $28.95). I can’t wait to quilt with you!

Pre-Order My New Book: 99 Machine-Quilting Designs

I am beyond excited to introduce my new book today! I’m really proud of 99 Machine-Quilting Designs. It’s full of ideas and options for walking-foot and free-motion quilting!

99 Machine Quilting Designs

Click here to pre-order your signed copy of 99 Machine Quilting Deigns 

This book is for you if:

  • You want to try machine quilting
  • You’re afraid to try machine quilting
  • You want to expand your skill set
  • You know quite a bit but you want fresh ideas

Pre-orders open today with early bird bonuses!


Order my new book by Oct. 10 to a free mystery fat quarter and other bonus items!

I’m super excited to offer special bonus premiums to people who place orders now. If you pre-order 99 Machine-Quilting Designs directly from me now through Oct. 10, you’ll get it at the lowest price of  just $25.95 plus FREE US SHIPPING with no coupon required on your end.

After that date, the free shipping offer goes away.

The early bird gets the worm, so here’s the list of bonuses that will also be included in your package when it ships early next year:

Free Surprise Pattern with Purchase for a Limited Time

Christa Quilts Patterns

One of my paper quilt patterns will be included as a bonus when you pre-order
99 Machine Quilting Designs.

That’s three bonus items, a reduced price, AND free shipping when you pre-order by Oct. 10.  Oh yeah, it also includes a signed copy  the book, LOL!!! The books have gone to print now and are slated to arrive February 1st. It will be here before you know it!!  

You’ll be able to start practicing new machine quilting skills as soon as the book arrives because we’ll have special events planned at that time.

Free Mystery FQ with Purchase for a Limited Time

Order 99 Machine-Quilting Designs by Oct. 10 to get a free fat quarter and other bonus items!

extra Bonuses are for a Limited Time Only

Here’s the fun part: This first 10 days of pre-orders is the only time free US shipping is included as a bonus. And we all love free shipping! (For my international friends, the shipping has been reduced for you for a limited time).

I will be offering pre-order bonuses for a limited time.  Every 10 days, one of the freebies will go away, and the price of the book will increase, so act now for the lowest price with the highest level of perks!!

Click here to pre-order 99 Machine-Quilting Designs and get all of the bonus items. The pre-order price is $25.95 through Oct. 10.

99 Machine Quilting Designs

Click here to pre-order 99 Machine Quilting Deigns and claim your bonus freebies!!

If you are still on the fence about pre-ordering my new book, Here’s a video so you can see how I make machine quilting accessible to anyone with a sewing machine. Watch for more indepth quilting videos next year after the book arrives!!

Get the whole set!!

While you are waiting for book #4 to arrive, be sure to stock up on my three previous machine quilting books while supplies last. If you’re looking to round out your machine quilting library, this is the perfect time to grab them at a reduced price of just $19.95 each!

I can’t wait to tell you more about 99 Machine-Quilting Designs! It’s the best one yet!

99 Machine Quilting Designs

Click here to pre-order 99 Machine-Quilting Designs for $25.95 and get all the bonuses.

Save the Date: QuiltCon Together Registration Opens July 15

I’m so excited to be a part of this! The Modern Quilt Guild took early steps to reimagine QuiltCon as a virtual event February 18–22, 2021, and it’s going to be great!

QuiltCon Together 2021

I think that more people will actually get to participate this way. I love that The MQG made lemonade out of lemons! I’ll miss seeing everyone in person, but this is the next best thing!

I didn’t originally apply to teach for QuiltCon 2021 because we were supposed to be out of the country. But of course the pandemic changed all that.

 

QuiltCon Catalog

Click here to download the QuiltCon Together Catalog.

I’ll be teaching two machine quilting classes: Carefree Walking Foot Quilting and Carefree Free-Motion Quilting.

What is carefree quilting?

It’s an attitude that aims for texture over perfection and leans into the slight flaws and irregularities that occur with any handmade craft. After all, they are part of the charm!

Walking Foot Quilting

The continuous spiral is just one of the many quilting motifs we’ll learn in Carefree Walking Foot Quilting. This is a detail shot from my Sparkling Stars quilt. (Pattern available here.)

Carefree Walking Foot Quilting

Learn to stitch beyond the ditch and unleash the power of your walking foot to quilt modern or traditional designs. Walking foot motifs to be taught include wavy lines, decorative stitches, irregular grids, large continuous spirals, several straight line variations and more! You’ll leave class armed with the confidence that yes, you can quilt your own quilts!

 

Carefree Free-Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting

Here’s a detail from my Block Chain quilt. All of my patterns include machine quilting suggestions!

Embrace perfectly imperfect quilting! That means little to no marking and a whole lot of gorgeous texture. Ease into free-motion quilting with asymmetrical wavy lines, then move onto loops, traditional and modern stippling, plus curvy fillers like wishbones and cursive l’s that can expand to fit any space. Finish it off with several swirl variations, and you’ve got a toolbox of motifs to try on your next quilt!

Students should be comfortable with their sewing machines, and will practice on their own pre-basted fabric and batting samples. The best part is that it will be a pre-recorded video that you can watch all through the event!

Books by Christa Watson

Both classes are based on ideas presented in my machine quilting books. Each book includes full patterns for each quilt (10–12 per book) along with detailed step-by-step machine quilting instructions. All three books include walking foot techniques and free-motion motifs.

Get a signed copy of any of my books for just $19.95 from my shop. 

Both of my classes are “Mini Workshops,” which means they will focus on technique, allow you to learn a new technique, practice a technique that needs work, or just gain tips and tricks from a technique expert. Each Mini Workshop consists of at least 35 minutes of video content in segments of on-demand education, as well as at least one homework assignment to help you practice your new skills. Each Mini Workshop will allow students the ability to type questions to their instructors in the online platform as they work through the class.

You will also have the option to upgrade your Mini Workshop to spend one 45-minute session live with me to ask for help or feedback on your project in a small group setting.

LECTURE/TRUNK SHOW: HOW DO I QUILT IT?

The secret to successful quilting is in the planning and preparation. I’ll guide you through the steps I take to make each quilting experience fun and stress free.

Christa Watson Trunk Show

Once you see my methods, you’ll feel empowered to quilt your own quilts! Learn how I baste my quilts, make a quilting plan, choose thread colors, divide and conquer each task, and apply rich texture with little to no marking of the quilt. I’m also excited to share my quilts and answer any questions you may have.

 

LE 17 Quilting perspectives

I’m also excited to be part of a machine quilting panel about our quilting plans and processes, and how we approach a finished top. Hand quilting, machine quilting, and long arm quilting will all be represented on the panel from me, Tia Curtis, Sandra Johnson, and Riane Menardi Morrison. It will take place online live at 11 AM on Saturday, February 20.

I would be honored to have you in my classes and lecture at QuiltCon Together.

Registration for members opens July 15 at 10 am Eastern. 

Click here to Learn more about The Modern Quilt Guild! 

Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 7 – Machine Quilting Part 2: Double Zig-Zags

It’s time to embellish our quilts with some fun machine quilting this week! In my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts, I’ve shared 18 different quilting ideas that you can mix and match along with the 11 projects in the book. We are going to do a little bit of mixing and matching of motifs this week!

(By the way, If you are a little unsure of your free-motion quilting skills, be sure to check out my machine quilting class on Craftsy for my best machine quilting tips and tricks!)

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Original Dot N Dash Quilting

Here’s how I quilted the original Dot ‘n’ Dash quilt. I quilted “crazy 8’s” in the background areas, and wavy lines in the print strips. I followed a similar quilting plan to what we are doing today, but with different designs. If you’d like to follow this quilting plan, see pages 50-55 of the book.

Free-Motion Quilting Dot n Dash

Original quilting plan for Dot ‘n’ Dash – from the book.

For this week’s quilting “assignment,” we are going to play with one of the walking foot designs from another project in the book to  come up with a really fun variation. Take a look at the “Frequency” quilt on page 28 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts. You can create amazing texture by quilting “sort of” straight lines, zigging and zagging from side to side across each strip.

Quilting Modern Zig-Zags

Notice the random irregularities. Not only do they add interest to the quilt, they are fast and easy to do because there’s no marking involved and you don’t have to measure any spacing. This is MY kind of perfectly imperfect quilting!!

Frequency Quilting

See page 28 of Piece and Quilt with Precuts to practice this design.

quilting with your walking foot/dual feed

Rotate the quilt so that you are quilting each strip row from the top to bottom. Quilt a short line by eye and stop with the needle down when you get to the side of your strip. Lift the foot up and slightly rotate the quilt so that you can angle the line in the opposite direction. Keep going, quilting the irregular lines from side to side. If you have a knee-lift or hover feature on your machine, use it so that you can leave your hands on the quilt the entire time.

To prevent whiskering (wrinkles) or puckers on your quilt, quilt each row starting at the top of the quilt and working your way to the bottom each time. Just like when I stitched in the ditch last week, I’ll start on the right side of the quilt and work my way towards the center, then rotate the quilt and keep going from the center out.

Alternate Method: Free-Motion Quilting the Zig-Zags

To get started free-motion quilting, I recommend using a Supreme Slider – a slick sheet that clings to the bed of your sewing machine, and a pair of Machingers gloves that will give you a better grip on your quilt. Just remember to only use the Supreme Slider while FMQ, not walking foot quilting, so that you don’t accidentally stitch through it! (Ask me how I know….)

Tools for free motion quilting: open toe foot, gloves, supreme slider

The gloves and slider will help me control the quilt with less strain on my hands.

I’ve lowered my feed dogs and I’m quilting with an open toe free motion foot so I can better see what I’m doing. Although my machine does come with a stitch regulator, I actually prefer quilting without it. I learned without a regulator so that’s the movement I’m most comfortable with.

However, if you have a stitch regularot, give it a try and see which feels more comfortable to you – with or without. Here’s another tip I picked up from my good buddy Leah Day: try quilting both with your feed dogs up and down to see which gives you a better stitch. The nice thing about using a Supreme Slider is that it covers the feed dogs, keeping them out of the way if you decide to keep them up!

Free Motion Quilting Zig-Zags

Free-motion quilting is faster, but requires more control and lots of practice.

Did you know you can free-motion quilt short straight lines without a ruler? If they are done in short bursts, you can eyeball a straight line if you look ahead and pick a point you are trying to get to.

The reason I’m quilting this design free-motion instead of with a walking foot is that it’s faster, since I don’t have to stop and turn the quilt for each zig and zag. However, it requires more muscle control, so practice both ways first on a scrap of batting and fabric and then decide which technique is easier for you to master.

Free Motion Modern Zig-Zag Design

First pass across the quilt – zig-zags in all the gray areas.

Notice that I’m quilting modern, random zig-zags in the gray strips between each print strip (not including the small gray squares). To quilt one long continuous line without breaking thread, zig or zag over to the next gray section to quilt. If needed, it’s okay to backtrack (or quilt over a precious quilting line) in the seam to get to where you need to go.

After quilting one pass of zig-zags, I decided that I wanted to quilt another set of lines, intersecting what I had already done. I’m using the same method to quilt the random short lines, but crossing over each previous line as shown below:

Double Zig-Zags fmq

Notice how I’m quilting each row from the top of the quilt to the bottom.
I will rotate the quilt as needed to find a comfortable quilting position.

Machine Quilting Homework

Quilt all of the gray areas with a blending thread. I used the same Aurifil 50 weight gray that I used for stitching in the ditch last week. Quilt one pass across the quilt like the pictures I showed above. Then quilt a second pass across the quilt to give it more random texture.

We will tackle the print strips next week, using another free-motion motif from a different quilt in the book. It’s been fun to mix and match the designs to show how versatile they can be!

Free Motion Quilting Double Zig-zags

Divide and Conquer – quilt all of one design first before moving on to the next.

It’s Not to Late to Start!

Remember – you can jump in and make this quilt any time. Just grab a copy of the book and your favorite fabrics (strips, scraps, or stash).

Click here for the supply list and links to all of the previous posts.
Then share your progress on instagram #dotndashqal or in my Christa Quilts facebook group.

Free motion quilting double zig zags

I love yummy machine quilting texture!! Next week I’ll show you how to quilt the rest.

Finished Quilts – Surplus Strips in Warm and Cool

Click here to get the Surplus Strips quilt pattern – print version.
Click here to get the Surplus Strips quilt pattern – PDF version.

Surplus Strips quilts made from Fandangle by Christa WatsonThis pattern is perfect for using up leftover jelly roll strips, or color-coordinated scraps!

I made two versions of Surplus Strips to showcase the warm and cool colorways of Fandangle, but this pattern would look great in any fabrics! The name of the pattern is a play on words. I’ve been enjoying seeing lots of plus quilts with a modern vibe and I wanted to design a pattern that could be easily made with 2 1/2″ precut strips.

Surplus Strips Warm by Christa Watson

Click here to purchase Fandangle fabric to make your own version of Surplus Strips.

You could use all new fabric like I did, or you could use your leftovers or the “surplus” from your scrap bin. The easiest way to pull fabrics is to select a couple of colors you like and pair them with a high-contrast background fabric.

Surplus Strips Cool by Christa WatsonIt only takes 9 different 1/3 yard cuts + background, but you can go as scrappy as you like!
One 2 1/2″ x 40″ strip will be enough for 2 blocks.

The inspiration for Surplus Strips came from some really cool looking hotel carpet I saw during one of my many travels last year. Whenever I see a great textural image or architectural design, I always snap a pic because you never know when inspiration is going to strike!

I love the asymmetrical plus shapes shown below. When I saw that, I immediately knew I wanted to make a quilt based on this design. Of course it took awhile to figure out the math and get the proportions and colors right, but it was a fun challenge to figure out!

Inspiration for my desing - hotel carpet

Some worn hotel carpet was the inspiration behind the design of my Surplus Strips quilts.

I quilted both versions of Surplus Strips with a different allover free-motion design similar to designs in the fabric line. On the warm colorway, I quilted “jagged stipple” which inspired the “Paper Cuts” design in the collection.

Free Motion Quilting on Surplus Strips Warm

My jagged stipple quilting motif inspired the “Paper Cuts” print, above, in orange and yellow.

Because I had a limited amount of fabric while making these quilts, I didn’t have enough of any one fabric for the backing of the warm version, so I created an interesting secondary composition, or “back art” instead!

I sewed a few extra plus blocks and used nice big leftover chunks of coordinating prints. I love making pieced backings when I have enough time, and it’s a great way to add interest to the quilt.

Surplus Strips Warm Pieced backingPieced backings are my favorite!! It’s almost like a two -sided quilt!

When quilting the cool colorway, I used another favorite free-motion motif which inspired another one of the prints in the collection:

Free Motion quilting detail on Surplus strips by Christa WatsonBe sure to click any of the images in this post to enlarge and see more details.

My arrowheads quilting design is a really dense echo triangle shape which is fun to quilt and adds tons of texture. It inspired the “Triangle Trinkets” print which you can see peeking out on the back and in the blue/green print above and below.

free-motion detail by Christa Watson

Don’t you love the refreshing ocean colors of blue and green??

I had so much fun making these quilts and now I want to make them in a rainbow of colors!! The quilt pattern makes it super easy to do and is written for both yardage or precut strips.

Surplus Strips Quilt PatternClick here to view all of my quilt patterns – print versions.
Click here to view all of my quilt patterns – PDF versions.

Surplus Strips Finished Stats

  • Designed and made by Christa Watson
  • Completed May, 2018
  • Finished sizes 67″ x 82″
  • Pieced and quilted on my BERNINA 770 QE
  • Quilt design: free motion jagged stipple (warm) and arrowheads (cool)
  • Fabric is Fandangle by Christa Watson for Benartex Contempo Studio
  • Quilting thread: Aurifil 50 wt #3660 Bubble Gum (warm) and #4662 Creme De Menthe (cool)
  • Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Silk (warm) Tuscany 100% Cotton (cool)

Surplus Strips quilts in warm and cool, made with Fandangle fabric by Christa WatsonClick here to get yardage of Fandangle for a limited time.

More About the Making of Surplus Strips

The Making of Surplus Strips Part 3 – Machine Quilting and Binding

Although machine quilting is my favorite part of making any quilt, I really enjoy the entire process from start to finish. Even though I’m on a tight deadline, it’s been fun to document my progress on Surplus Strips as I go. Be sure to check out my last post for tips on piecing the quilt top and basting it.

Choosing Thread Color

Aurifil Thread Variegated Pink

Audition thread to see which color blends in best. For multicolor quilts, go with a lighter thread on a darker fabric, rather than darker thread on lighter fabric.

I’ve been playing around lately with Aurifil variegated thread, so I chose a pink (#3660 Bubble Gum) for the warm colorway of Surplus Strips. I wasn’t sure how much thread I’d end up using, and since I only had one spool on hand, I chose a 50 weight thread in a similar color for the bobbin. I always try to use the same or similar color in top and bobbin so that I don’t get “pokies” – dots of thread on the top or bottom of the quilt.

Aurifil Creme De Menthe on Surplus Strips

The teal colored thread has a more pronounced color change than the pink.

For the cool colorway, I went with Creme De Menthe #4662. No matter which color thread you use, the more quilting you add, the less you’ll notice the thread and the more you’ll just see the overall texture.

Free-Motion Quilting Surplus Strips

Machine Quilting Surplus Strips

I scrunch and smoosh the quilt under the machine any way I can.

Whenever I quilt, I always start on the right side of the quilt and work my way towards the center. When I reach the middle, I rotate the quilt and keep on going. For an allover/meander type block, I just focus on one are of the quilt so that I don’t get overwhelmed.

Free Motion Quilting Jagged Stipple

I love the slight color change with the pink variegated thread!

Because many of the fabric prints I design are based on some of my favorite machine quilting motifs, I really wanted to play that up with these quilts. For the warm colorway, I quilted “jagged stipple” which is one of the quilt designs I love to teach in my workshops. Can you see how it’s basically the same motif as the “Paper Cuts” print from Fandangle?

Free Motion quilting jagged stipple

Jagged stipple is one of the motifs included in my book Piece and Quilt with Precuts.

When quilting an allover design, sometimes it will show up on some fabrics and blend into others. But that’s okay. I love the overall texture that it gives to the quilt!

For the cool colorway, I quilted triangles that are similar to the “Triangle Trinkets” print from Fandangle. Any of the designs I quilt can be quilted on a smaller or larger scale. My rule of thumb is that if it’s an allover design, I’ll quilt it larger to fill more space quickly. For smaller, custom areas of the quilt, I’ll usually scale down the quilting motifs.

Free Motion Quilting Triangles

I love how the variegated thread gives depth and dimension to the quilt!
I also teach this quilting motif in my latest quilting book.

In my workshops, I always stress the point that I don’t worry too much about making my designs perfect. I like the irregular overall texture you can get from free-hand doodling with your machine. Besides, the best way to hide imperfect stitches is to surround them with more imperfect stitches!!

Triangle Trinkets from Fandangle

I chose Triangle Trinkets in turquoise for the backing.
Click here to see larger images of each fabric from Fandangle.

Binding the Quilt

Click here for my step by step binding tutorial from a previous quilt.

Press the binding

After I attach the binding to the quilt by machine, I press it away from the quilt. This makes it easier to wrap around the back of the quilt to ensure a nice flat binding.

Attaching the binding

The BERNINA Dual Feed acts just like a walking foot, but I can use any specialty “D” foot.

When I first started binding my quilts, I used 2 1/4″ strips, However, lately, I’ve cut them 2″ and I attach them using my BERNINA dual feed and 1/4 patchwork foot. This allows me to get an even quarter inch binding on both sides of the quilt.

Binding Surplus Strips

It was fun to make some extra blocks and throw them on the back of the quilt!

Once I wrap the binding to the back, I secure in place with Clover Wonder Clips. I like to secure the entire edge so that it’s ready to hand-finish without interruption. It usually takes about 3 boxes of Wonder Clips to go around the entire edge, but you could definitely use fewer if you like.

Binding with Wonder Clips

I quilted triangles on the front to match the triangles on the back!

Even though I’m on a tight deadline to finish these quilts, I still enjoy binding by hand. I was able to finish the warm colorway on an airplane trip last week, and I finished the cool colorway while watching a movie with my family.

Surplus Strips Quilt Pattern by Christa Watson

Click here to preorder Surplus Strips quilt pattern – ships on or before June 1.

Now all that’s left is to photograph these quilts, swap out the digital pattern cover above with the actual quilts and get them off to the printer! The PDF pattern will be coming soon, and you can pre-order the print version of Surplus Strips now.

Surplus Strips Quilt Warm Colorway

I had a whole row to myself on a recent flight and was able to finish this quilt on the plane!

Click here to pre-order bundles of Fandangle Fabric.
Click here to see all Fandangle quilt patterns.

Now I have one more quilt to finish up, and then it’s time to pack for quilt market. More about that soon, I promise!!

Free-Motion Quilting Idea Blog Hop

New to my website? Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter and get a free pattern!

You all know I’m a sucker for machine quilting and I love it when others helps spread the message, that yes, you CAN quilt your own quilts! 🙂 Prolific quilter and author Amanda Murphy has just released her latest project, The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book.

coverIt’s chock full of ideas on how you can apply specific motifs to actual blocks. It includes over 150 step-by-step designs that are sure to jump start your creativity! Just take a look at these two ideas from the book:

fmqmotif_1fmqmotif_2

I love it that the book is organized so that you can look up the motifs by quilt element or design family. But what makes the book extra special is that you can apply these ideas to your quilts whether you are a stand up long arm quilter, or a sit-down machine quilter. Amanda started off as a domestic machine quilter (like me) and she’s now the spokesperson for the new BERNINA long arm, so of course I think she has great taste in machines!

Here’s Amanda, in her own words, describing why she wrote The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book:

“I wanted to write an idea book to help people figure out how to quilt their quilts by breaking them down into a series of steps.  Each quilt element featured in the book has multiple designs but all are based on the same basic allover designs featured in the front of the book – so it is easy to create a cohesive look.  For instance, there are several designs for quilting flying geese, and they work well with other designs that feature the same families.  There are also coordinating borders, sashing, and stand alone designs.  There is a simple table runner design included to get you started.”

FMQIdeaSampler_Cover_SM

As an added bonus, Amanda and her publisher have teamed up to offer a companion to The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book. It’s called the Free-Motion Quilting Idea Sampler and is available as a PDF download which gives you loads of block patterns to piece and practice on!

FMQIdeaSampler_1318_SMSampler Quilt for Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book

Giveaway

Leave a comment telling me your favorite free-motion quilting motif. (Mine is swirls!) Contest is open to everyone through the end of the week. US winners will receive a hard copy of the book; international winners will receive an e-copy.

Blog Tour

Check out the rest of the stops on the hop for more inspiration, and your chance to win a copy of The Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book:

Yes, You Can Quilt With Rulers on a Home Machine

Have you guys ever tried ruler work on your domestic sewing machines? I’m just getting started on this new-to-me machine quilting technique. However, today, I’m going to share a few words from my friend Amy Johnson who blogs over at Amy’s Free-Motion Quilting Adventures. She’s an expert on quilting with rulers and has a brand new Craftsy Class out. But before I do, I have to share a funny story of how we “met”.

Craftsy_class

I stumbled upon Amy’s blog about 2 years ago and was immediately in awe of her amazing free-motion skills. In fact, she went back and found the first comment I ever left on her blog:

“Oh my gosh – you are like my long lost kindred spirit/free-motion quilter friend! Ruler work on a domestic machine – who ever heard of such a thing? Tell me more!! I would love to be able to do this on my BERNINA. Please find out whatever you can. I’m on a mission to convince more and more quilters that they can do amazing fmq on their domestic machines and this is like the missing link.”

Ok, so maybe I was a bit over-excited about the idea of using ruler work on a domestic machine. In fact, once Amy realized that I wasn’t an internet stalker, we began to get to know each other a bit better online. Hopefully one day, we’ll even be able to met in person.

Now here’s Amy, in her own words (photos courtesy of Amy and Craftsy):

So what exactly is ruler work? Actually, it’s not a new technique. What is new is my adaptation of this long arm technique for use on a stationary machine, whether that’s a regular sewing machine or a sit-down long arm. A thick, usually acrylic ruler is laid down on the quilt top and the free motion stitches are laid down by pressing the foot, a special ruler foot, alongside the edge and letting that ruler guide the stitches for straight lines and smooth curves.

Ruler work in progress

The main difference is that a long arm quilter moves the machine’s foot over the quilt to run alongside the edge of the ruler and with a stationary machine, we have to move the quilt and ruler as a unit alongside the foot. Trust me, it’s easier than it sounds!

In fact, you don’t have to be an expert at free motion quilting in order to use rulers. You can use this technique as long as you are comfortable moving the quilt sandwich under the needle. Some FMQ novices like how the ruler ‘tells’ them where to go next and there are some fancy rulers available that can help make more complex quilting motifs by just following the edge of the ruler.

stitching with ruler

One thing you do really need is a “ruler foot” for your machine. This is a high edged free motion foot that safety guides the ruler without allowing it to slide over or under the foot. Not all machine brands have such a foot available yet, but there are at least two “after market” manufacturers of ruler feet that make feet to fit nearly every brand machine out there. Additionally, the Janome ruler foot that I use fits on many other makes and model of machine.

Ruler feet

Then there are the rulers. We all joke about our fabric stash, followed by a thing for threads, especially if you do a lot of your own quilting or are an art quilter. But rulers are a new addiction for me and anyone who messes with ruler work will start eyeing these pretty pieces of acrylic. Thankfully, they don’t get used up or worn out!

Why would someone want to use rulers in quilting? Well, for one, they yield straight lines and smooth curves without a bunch of marking, or with the use of a walking foot which can be tricky if there’s much turning of a large quilt needed. The use of rulers by long arm quilters aids the quilter in making designs that were common with hand quilting, in a time efficient manner: stitch in the ditch, crosshatching, swags, piano keys, and even spines on feathers. So adapting the use of rulers on stationary machines helps us with these designs. Not to mention that the use of rulers can give a nice structure to a quilt from which to then fill in with regular free motion quilting. It’s also a great way of making a cohesive design with great impact, without a lot of dense stitching. Though ruler work looks great with dense fillers worked between it, too.

feathered frame border

Is ruler work just for traditional designs then? Absolutely not! Take a look at some of the quilting by Angela Walters and Judy Madsen for starters. They’re long arm quilters, but they do pretty modern style work and they both use rulers for a lot of their designs. Rulers can help give a great geometric structure to the negative space commonly found in modern quilts.

Lines and Loops sampler block

Then there’s my work. My quilting style runs a wide swath across genres of quilting, from art, modern, and traditional. I like to just say I’m an artistic quilter. The improvisational vibe and large amounts of negative space in many modern quilts speak to me. I’m currently working on a sampler quilt that shows a more modern feel, and the majority of the quilting design work is done with rulers followed by some dense fills of FMQ.

Amy Johnson on set at Craftsy

I am so excited to have this technique turned into a class with Craftsy, Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine. I’ve shared ruler work on my blog and even made videos on YouTube  but nothing compares to the in depth instruction on the Craftsy platform. Students can ask me questions and get answers quickly. We can all share projects on the platform, too, and their camera guys are miles ahead of my own photography skills. I’m so tickled to hear back from my students and they are loving the class.

Thanks to Christa for allowing me space on her fabulous blog to tell you about quilting with rulers and my new Craftsy class. I am so glad she turned out to be a fabulous quilting teacher, blogger, and hard working business woman!

You are welcome Amy! I do what I can to help spread the word about other amazing domestic machine quilters. After all, everyone has their own style and I highly recommend learning from as many different instructors as you can. 🙂

Don’t you think Amy’s class sounds fabulous? It’s on my to-watch list for sure. I just checked, and Quilting With Rulers on a Home Machine is on sale at Craftsy now, so be sure to grab it while you can!

Christa’s SoapBox – Hallmarks of Modern Machine Quilting

There’s been a lot of buzz about modern quilts since the debut of QuiltCon in 2013. And with my recent announcement that I’m part of the QuiltCon 2016 faculty, I thought I’d throw more of my voice into the mix. It thrills me to no end to see so many quilters embracing the modern style as they learn how to design and piece modern quilts. When I returned to QuiltCon in 2015, I noticed that elements of modernism had now been applied to the hand or machine quilting process, too.

Since machine quilting is my favorite technique, I’ll share 5 trends I’ve noticed in today’s machine quilted modern quilts:

1. Functional quilting enhances the design of the quilt without overpowering it.

straightline_hst

Closeup of my HST quilt, which was recently featured in Make Modern Magazine.

Quilting stitches serve a functional purpose by holding the three layers of a quilt together. Over time, sophisticated quilters have learned to add an extra layer of decoration to their quilts by quilting intricate motifs onto the surface. With modern quilts, decorative quilting can be used to make the pieced design come alive, but the quilting is usually a little bit more subdued and is not the star of the show. Because many modern quilts emphasize clean lines and minimalist designs, over-the-top ornate quilting is not often seen on modern quilts.

2. Quilting motifs are often inspired by elements of graphic design.

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Closeup of Optical Illusion, included as part of QuiltCon 2015

The seven basic elements of graphic design are line, color, texture, shape, size, value and space. These elements can be incorporated into modern machine quilting design motifs, too. Modern quilts often emphasize linear quilting because it adds such a textural quality to the quilt. Think irregular grids, tightly spaced lines (often known as matchstick quilting), and evenly spaced parallel lines. Thread colors, simple shapes, contrasting motif sizes and even the amount of negative space in between the quilting can all play a role in creating a successful modern composition.

Although my new book is not exclusively written to a modern audience, it does include a healthy portion of geometric quilting motifs. It’s what I’m drawn to, and what I love to quilt!

3. Asymmetrical quilting designs add depth and dimension.

Asymmetrical, “off the grid” piecing is one of the hallmarks of modern design. This idea can be incorporated into machine quilting as well. When you can see the hand of the maker in his or her quilt, I’m sure you’ll agree that a quilt doesn’t have to be computer perfect to be both functional and beautiful. Ditch the stencils and embrace irregularity to create perfectly imperfect quilts!

4. The walking foot has been reclaimed.

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Spiral Quilting with a walking foot, part of my full day class on Modern Machine Quilting

No longer relegated to “stitch-in-the-ditch,” walking foot quilting is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Using a walking foot, or built-in dual feed, quilters can do more than quilt simple straight lines. Think of gently flowing waves, organic, angular textures and continuous large-scale spirals. And don’t forget the possibilities of decorative stitches. Continuous zigzags and undulating serpentines can add drape and body to a quilt, just begging to be snuggled with!

5. Dense free-motion quilting adds incredible texture.

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Detail of Swirls and Pearls free-motion quilting with geometric spirals in String of Pearls

From pebbles and swirls, to shattered lines and echoed spaces, dense free-motion work adds character to a quilt with an extra layer of composition just waiting to be explored. Contrary to popular belief, a densely quilted quilt can be soft and cuddly. Since most modern quilts are meant to be loved and used, they tend to soften up wash after wash. So don’t be afraid to quilt your own quilts, and when in doubt, add more quilting!

 So – what are your thoughts about the “quilting” part of modern quilting? I’d love to know!