Friday, August 26, 2016

Quilting with Rulers: Feather Template

I've had several requests from students in my Craftsy classes asking about using templates to make feathers. I kept meaning to do a post and a video on the subject and finally got it done.

feather template for ruler work

It's hard to give a good unbiased review of using this template or others like it as I prefer to make my feathers free hand. I definitely think that a quilter should continue to work on learning to stitch feathers without a template, but the template could be a good tool to help make them in the meantime.

I only have one size of feather template though Westalee makes them in at least 4 sizes. Having multiple sizes could help give the needed range of sizes and shapes needed for quilting feathers with templates, though spendy. A single size can be manipulated to create some variation in the size and shape.

Using a straight spine can make it much easier to place the template evenly. I used a curved spine and that made it much more difficult to place the template and make the plumes meet the spine in an elegant way.

I think I'm on the fence about this template. As I stated in the video, if I couldn't make feathers free hand, I might love it. I do like the Feather Wreath template I sell from TopAnchor as it makes a perfectly spaced and shaped round feather wreath and has an anchoring system that I prefer over that of similar rotating templates from the maker of this feather template, but it's only suitable for high shank machines and long arms of all types.

I used the Janome foot with this template and based on some comments I've gotten recently on a few of my videos, some may give me flak for this. The Janome foot works just fine with these templates. I think there are some 'marketing' factors playing into some of those put it kindly without mentioning details. (To put it bluntly....don't come into "my house" to bash my efforts in order to promote your own classes, products, or those of someone else even if you're a very happy customer....use your own platform, blog, site.)

I don't have this template listed in my shop, though I do have maybe 2 of them in the 4.5mm thickness that I can sell as a custom order if somebody wants these and can order more. This is definitely a shape that those using low shank machines need to get in the 3mm thickness.

I hope this video helps those who have been wondering about this template. Let me know in the comments if you've tried it or want to try it. Got quilting friends that would like this? Feel free to share, pin, etc. giving credit where credit is due.

Keep on quilting.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was a pretty big milestone for me. It was the one year anniversary of the release of my first Craftsy class; Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine.

Amy Johnson Craftsy instructor
Image courtesy of

My world has changed so much in this past year, that I can hardly believe it's only been a year. The week before the class came out, I was in San Antonio, Texas at Janome Institute. I was there as Mr. Heckman's representative, who had been the owner of Sew Simple until I bought it just this past June. I set myself a goal to be an actual Janome dealer before returning to the next Institute to be held in August of 2017. Goal achieved.

Shortly after the class came out, I opened my online shop to serve as a one-stop shop for all the different rulers I liked to use plus other tools I found helpful for my quilting. My goal was to provide the kind of expert knowledge of ruler work and customer service that would be nearly impossible for others to provide. Goal achieved.

Another goal was to create a follow-up class with Craftsy. Creative Quilting with Rulers; More Techniques and Motifs was released in April this year. Goal achieved.

So three big goals accomplished, but there's so much on my to-do list that it's hard to remember that I am doing pretty cool work. So I'm celebrating by writing these items down and sharing them with you.

You all have been very instrumental to my success. I just checked my first class and it has a staggering 12,209 students enrolled! That's an average of 33.4 people each day and that is absolutely amazing.

If you've enjoyed my class(es) and have other quilting friends who you think would enjoy them, don't forget to share this instructor affiliate link that will allow them to see the trailers for the classes but to also get them at half price anytime: Amy's classes.

One of the things I get asked in my class is questions about using feather templates to make feathers. I worked on a video for this yesterday and hope to have it edited and posted soon.

I know I haven't been posting as regularly and I do want to get back to it because not only do I love sharing here, but also not blogging is a good indicator that I haven't been doing much quilting.

So back to achieving goals: What goals have you achieved that you tend to forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Feel free to share them here if you'd like.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sanity Stitching: Paisleys

What a week! I had a rocky start early Monday morning, with a visit to the ER. I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst and to add insult to injury, a stress induced episode of swollen hands much like an allergy response.

Monday was also my eldest son's first day at a new school. Poor kid was sent off by a wonderful neighbor instead of his mom. Praise God for good neighbors! He did fine though and is liking his new school.

paisley quilting design

Tuesday I resolved to try to take better care of myself and try to reduce my stress levels. I started off with some walking. Having the kids all in school has helped too.

Then I did some selfish sewing, or as I call it, sanity stitching. No rules, no plans, just some pretty fabric and a nice thread combination.

I played around with my camera settings while I stitched, and ended up with another time-lapse video to share. It's very fast. Too fast, but it was still fun. BTW, you can slow the video play yourself, by clicking the gear icon towards the bottom right corner. It may affect the quality though.

I guess it's fitting that a health issue made me get back to more free motion just for the heck of it. I started quilting in earnest while my hubby was going through cancer treatments. Quilting keeps me sane and it's cheaper than therapy (not the mention the ER).

By the way, Craftsy is having a big sale this weekend on their kits and supplies! Since Black Friday sales aren't all that handy for those of us who like to make presents for the holidays, they're calling it their Black Friday for Makers. Check it out through my instructor's affiliate link and if you buy something, it'll help support my work here.

That includes Craftsy's new line of fabric, Boundless. I've been playing around with a few fat quarter stacks of this fabric and it's pretty nice, affordable too. I hope to show you some of it soon.

Don't miss out on getting my classes on quilting with rulers for sewing and sit down quilting machines at 50% off anytime by visiting my Craftsy Instructor page.