Thursday, November 2, 2017

Quilting with Rulers: an Update

I taught another Quilting with Rulers class this week and it gave me an opportunity to get out my samples from my Craftsy classes. While my local students get to see samples and designs from both of my classes, the actual class they take only covers the basics of ruler work, which equates to about half of similar material from my first Craftsy class, Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine. (Coupon Details: Get 50% off the full retail price of select Craftsy classes taught by Amy Johnson. Cannot be combined with any other coupons. Expires January 31, 2018.)

This student was really new to free motion quilting, but she loved using rulers.

So many designs from just a few basic rulers.
If you look at the designs I created over the past few years, both in my classes and in my other projects, and you'll see that I keep the rulers simple. So many designs from just a handful of rulers. There are a lot of rulers being released into the marketplace these days and if one speaks to you, or many, that's great, but you don't have to load up with a ton of rulers.


I really love the new ruler foot from Janome for the MC15000. A similar version will eventually be available for other Janomes with the automatic presser foot lift. Other Janomes will still use the convertible free motion foot set and the ruler foot combination. Janome has really set the bar when it comes to quilting with rulers on sewing machines.


As I mentioned in a previous post, I had mentioned the need for this foot at a Janome training about 18 months ago to the president of Janome America and while I don't think my comment was the origin of the development of the foot, they saw the interest growing in ruler work and made it happen.

They went beyond just a new ruler foot, but an actual ruler work mode! It makes it really easy to set up for ruler work and adjust the foot in the menu for the perfect height for your project. This feature will be added to the machines that will be getting this foot upgrade.

Janome also got a set of rulers made up to go with this new foot and I have a set of them. I haven't had time lately to play with them, but I will soon. They are made by Westalee/Sew Steady and lean a bit toward specialized shapes on the smaller side. I hope to give a review as soon as possible.

I have several tops ready for quilting, so I'm hoping to show you something more interesting soon. Being a shop owner sure fills your days with a lot of admin stuff. Not fun. But I'm loving the chance to be a cheerful shop where folks can be encouraged and educated in their creative sewing adventures.

I hope you are having your own quilting adventures as well!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Free Motion Quilting Tip: The One Stitch Switch

In my last post, I shared how I was free motion quilting around a lovely laser cut applique Christmas scene using McTavishing as my main design of choice. You can see there's a lot of interlocking applique.



I also mentioned a little trick I have to move between small areas of background between the appliques without having to cut my thread with each move and bring up the bobbin thread with each new spot.

I'm sure I'm not the only one doing this to move around, but I'm gonna name it the "One Stitch Switch." Will the name catch on? I doubt it, but it makes a decent blog title, don't you think?

Here I'm quilting on the left side of the ornament and going over to the right side with my single stitch before returning to another area on the left.

Basically, you raise your needle and foot and move about 4-5 inches away, and take a single stitch. I use my needle down button twice. Then move to the next area to be quilted.

If you are trying off your threads, this will leave you enough to work with to knot and bury. I'f you are just using a few stitches in place to secure your threads and then will snip them close to the surface, this make it a little more efficient.

Good planning will keep the threads out of the way of your quilting. It's never fun to realize you had a thread tail on the backside and you stitched over it repeatedly, and now need to trim it off, especially if you've stitched into the thread a bunch.

Friday, October 6, 2017

McTavishing Revisited

A while back I was asked to quilt a piece for Laser Cut Quilts, a wholesale only laser cutting company. I rarely take in pieces for me to quilt for others, but occasionally I am persuaded and I knew this piece would be a nice one to show some swirly, whirly, McTavishing. I was told I could take my time, but I did leave it be for longer than I should have. So I've been stitching away at it and if you follow me on Instagram or maybe Facebook, you've likely seen some of my progress.

First I outlined all the applique with FilTec's monofilament thread, Essence. This clear, super fine nylon thread is soft, flexible, and works great. It has been mistaken for blond hair here before. If I accidentally popped onto the applique, you can't tell and it allowed me to travel over some of the applique to get to other small areas of background.  I did a video of part of this step.


This video may look familiar, Janome shared it out in an email last month. Then I switched to Aurifil 50 weight thread in white as I wanted the quilting to give texture and movement, but not take away from the intricate applique. Even though all the applique was done by someone else, I can really appreciate the time saved by using this laser cut kit. The detail boggles my mind!


I decided that I wanted to mimic the pine branches (spruce? I dunno.) with some of my quilting. With the intricacies of the applique, I knew I was either going to have to quilt loosely enough to not quilt into every nook and cranny, or I'd have to quilt densely to get into all the little spots. Since it's a wall hanging, I had no qualms about going dense.


I used my trusty purple pen of disappearing ink to mark wedges of three lines. The wedges represented the branch stem down the center and the outer edges of my 'branch.' My branches had to be a little bigger than the appliqued version or I would have had to microquilt in order for them to stand out from the background.


Then it was time to swish and shwoosh my way all over the place with McTavishing. The design is named after Karen McTavish and I did a month-long series on it back in 2014. McTavishing Monday Series


Check out the series to learn more about this design. Look at the texture! I still struggle with my McTavishing a bit, but it's getting there.



I've just got a few more tiny bits left. Small spots that are enclosed with appliqued pine needles, so there's a lot of stops and starts. Hopefully, it will be done this weekend and I'll share a tip I use when I need to move between small parts of quilting without having to break thread each time I stop and bring up the bobbin thread each time I start.

Have you done any laser cut quilt kits before? I know many shops use them in their Row by Row kits.