Let’s Talk Machine Quilting (and a Giveaway!)

I treated myself today, and spent a little while machine quilting on a small quilt. Many of my projects these days are small-ish, and I’m really enjoying the machine quilting breaks that come along every few days. (If you’ve been following along, you’ll probably be able to figure out why most of my projects these days are on the small side… 🙂 ) I’ve spent years making these huge, long and involved show quilts, where they take forever to piece, then forever to mark for quilting, and then when I finally get to the quilting part, it’s just so huge that it’s daunting. That’s not to say that it’s not enjoyable (mostly), but making smaller projects, where I can piece a little, mark a little, and then quilt the thing is just a really nice change.

And I do mean “treat myself” when I talk about machine quilting. It’s my favorite part of quilting, hands down. It’s just so cool to see a flat piece of fabric take on texture and dimension and life when it’s quilted. I love playing with all the cool threads I’ve collected over the years, like this variegated one:

Rainbows thread from Superior Threads

Which looks like this when quilted:

Quilted with Superior Threads Rainbows Thread

How fun is this? For the curious, the thread is Superior Threads Rainbows, which is a Trilobal Polyester, 40wt., color #801, with 50 wt. Mettler Silk Finish in a blue that matches the fabric in the bobbin; the fabric is an old Nancy Crow design that looks like crushed suede, with a scene from a Laurel Burch Fanciful Felines panel; batting is Quilter’s Dream Poly Request Loft; the quilting stencil is the continuous line 4″ Dancing Flowers by Judy Allen.

Quilted with Superior Threads Rainbows Thread

Another thing I like about small quilts is that I can quickly pin-baste on the cutting table with flower head pins and they don’t get caught up in the free motion foot since the heads are flat against the quilt. With large quilts, I spend hours crawling around on the floor basting with the basting gun, and then I’m just wiped out for the rest of the day when it’s done. You can pin-baste just about anything up to a certain size, as long as it’s not so big that you become a human pincushion while trying to push it through the machine. Heck, if you’ve been sewing all your life and a few pinpricks don’t even faze you anymore, you could pin-baste even larger quilts this way. 😉

I realize that not everyone feels this way about machine quilting, and some folks don’t find free motion quilting to be relaxing at all. So let’s have a chat about that, shall we? What don’t you like about machine quilting? What’s the part that you feel like you just can’t get right? If you do like machine quilting, and you have wisdom or a fabulous tip to share, let’s hear about that too!

I’m going to send a copy of the Machine Quilting—Master the Basics Workshop on CD to one lucky reader. To enter the drawing leave a comment on this post and share some of your machine quilting wisdom and great tips, or if you need help with machine quilting, leave a question that you’d like me to discuss in a future post. A winner will be chosen by random drawing this Saturday. Luck to all!

National Quilting Day

It’s National Quilting Day on Saturday, March 17th! What will you do to celebrate? Here are a few ideas:

Visit the National Quilting Association website to find out more about National Quilting Day. Visit the Virginia Consortium of Quilters for a list of Games for National Quilting Day (these would be great for a quilt retreat too!).

Go to a quilt show! Check out the Dallas Quilt Celebration, The Cabin Branch and Stone House Quilters Quilt Show, The Glendale Quilt Guild Quilt Show, The Broward Quilt Expo, The Seaway Trail Foundation’s Quilt Show, or The Quilters Anonymous Quilt Show, just for starters. If you’re in my area, check out the Gussy Goose Craft Shop’s Quilt Show! Yes, despite the fact that the big spring bazaar is going full steam this weekend and the parking situation is madness (more than the usual madness at Patch Barracks!), the Gussy Goose is open, and presenting their annual Quilt Show.

Can’t get there? Grab some friends and have a Quilting Bee! Visit your LQS and buy fabric to start a new quilt project, then spend the rest of the weekend quilting! Or, get out a UFO or WISP (I know you have them!) and quilt all weekend so you can make some progress.

At the very least, snuggle up under a quilt and watch a movie like How to Make an American Quilt or read a book like The Quiltmaker’s Gift with your child.

Irish Chain Quilting

What will I be doing? Hangin’ out at the Gussy Goose, presenting machine quilting demonstrations, signing books and CDs, and then later, hosting a Quilt ’til You Wilt with my quilting buddies until the wee hours on Sunday! I’ll also be machine quilting a UFO: an Irish Chain quilt that I pieced for a class a few years ago, and I marked it and started the quilting while I was in the States with Dawn for the Gaudynski workshop (I’m showing a sneak peek of the quilting that I already have done here). Whatever you do for the day, stop back by and share!

A mostly quiet day

I did go to the Gussy Goose Craft Bazaar, though I thought I might not when I woke up this morning feeling worse than I did yesterday. Still fighting the cold! I talked with many nice people at the bazaar about the Machine Quilting CD Workshop, and quilting and machines in general. There’s a chance I may be teaching a beginning machine quilting class at the Gussy Goose in the near future, so if you’ve been waiting for that give them a call.

I asked my oldest DD to go with me to the bazaar, and we had a nice outing together. She looked around a bit at the bazaar and bought a sweet smelling candle, and we did a bit of quick shopping together after. It was good to get out of the house and away from my computer which has eaten up a lot of my quilting time lately, and of course, drive my new toy, which is always fun!

I’ve been doing some quilting blog surfing this evening and ran across one by another quilter in Germany, Kristen LaFlamme. I enjoyed the time I spent there reading and looking at her quilts. I like her writing style, and her posts are interesting as well. Her quilt, Quiltstadt, is just wonderful, and inspires me to make a house quilt someday. Have a visit!

CD Signing at the Fall Craft Bazaar on Patch Barracks

Machine Quilting - Master the Basics CD Workshop

The Gussy Goose has invited me to the Fall Craft Bazaar this weekend in the Patch Barracks Gymnasium. The Bazaar is open from 10:00 to 18:00 Saturday and Sunday, and I’ll be there from 11:00 to 1:00 on Saturday, with the new Machine Quilting—Master the Basics Workshop on CD loaded on the laptop and ready to preview. I’ll also have my latest quilt, Grasping Reality: Fifteen on display. See you there!

Things that keep me from quilting #6: Editing the Machine Quilting CD Workshop

Machine Quilting-Master the Basics CD Workshop

Not that this is a bad thing, but I’m in the middle of the final editing for the Machine Quilting—Master the Basics CD Workshop. There hasn’t been much time for real quilting ’round here this last week. My review and beta testing team has finished their work, and suggested some valuable improvements to the program. I had hoped to have this ready for release in August, but you just can’t rush these things, so I’m looking at October 1 as the release date now. You can find out more about the Workshop on CD, see a preview of the workshop, then check back in October to order. Sign up for the DreamWeaver’s Quilts Newsletter to be the first to know when the CD is ready to order!