Monday, October 12, 2015

Free Motion Quilting with Rulers Video: Baptist Fan Template Demo

Last week I shot a video demonstration of the TopAnchor Baptist Fan Rotating Template for the maker of these templates at their request. It's a bit of a tricky template for those of us who move the quilt instead of the machine to free motion quilt, but they were getting questions about using it with sit down long arms and since they use the frame mounted variety when developing their templates, they asked me to demo it.

I've told the company that I find it tricky, thus I wasn't sure I'd recommend the template for use with stationary machines, since this design can be done with other methods, but if you did a lot of this design, which is great for a cuddly quilt, you might find it an excellent help.

The closer to the center anchor point, the harder it is to use, but being able to use one template for this design is pretty awesome. If I were to use it, I'd start farther out from the center and if need be, use a different design to fill in the center.

For a frame mounted long arm, I bet this thing is awesome!

Now I'm off to go quilt on my ruler work sampler. I even have the new TopAnchor Celtic Knot template prototypes to play with. I can't wait to get these listed in the shop! I may offer them as a pre-sale option. I started this sampler for my Craftsy class, Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine (25% off discount link there) and it is just ridiculous that I have yet to finish it!

By the way, I totally revamped the shop for easier navigation last week. I'd love to hear what you think of the new design.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Celtic Knot Templates!

I am so excited about these Celting Knot Templates from TopAnchor! I'm going to tease you with this picture until later this week as it's such a beautiful day here that we're taking the kids up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for some hiking and fun.

quilting with rulers celtic knot rotation template from TopAnchor

The bigger size is one I used in my Craftsy class (25% off discount link!) and it will be available towards the end of the month. You can't see it in this picture, but there are 1/4 inch markings along the straight side and the half circle, so it is very versatile!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Free Motion Quilting Practice: Feathers Top to Bottom

Yesterday I shot a video demo for the folks at TopAnchor Quilting Tools. They make these incredible rotating specialty templates for quilting with a long arm. Since I started using and teaching about using rulers and templates to quilt with stationary machines, many of their products have also been sold to users of (mostly high shank) sewing machines and sit-down long arms.

I showed how to use their Baptist Fan template. It's a very tricky template to use on a stationary machine, but they tell me that there have been plenty of quilters curious about how to use it on a stationary machine, so a video is one of the best ways to show it.

I'll be uploading that video to YouTube shortly, but in the meantime, I used the sample to do a bit of free motion quilting practice. I got home from work dead-dog tired. I love working at the Janome dealership, and am full of enthusiasm when I'm there, but I am an introvert and I kinda crash after a full day there.

free motion quilting feather practice
Those arcs are made with the Baptist Fan template

Doing some completely free quilting, no need for a finished project, helps fill my batteries! I grabbed the sample and began to use the stitched arcs as feather spines.

Free motion quilting practice feathers
Feathers, made from bottom to the top.

It wasn't long before I reached the top of a feather and decided I really need to practice stitching feathers from the top down. I always, always stitch my feathers from the bottom to the top. It means planning ahead to how you will get from the top of a plume to the bottom to finish out the other side. But I know there are talented quilters who can do feathers 'backwards' so I decided to give it a try.

practicing stitching feathers from top to bottom
First run of 'backwards' feathers, going from top to bottom of the spine.
In the picture above, my seam ripper is pointing down the feather in the direction I stitched. (No cute pointer hand this time; my son took it with him to Grandma's house!) The first plume wasn't bad as there was no other plume to fit it against. Then I was committed. It was a bit wonky after that, but like everything, it got better (mostly) with practice.

practice free motion quilting designs feather plumes
Not too bad. Everything gets better with practice.
The last two rows of plumes were stitched backwards as well. Some were pretty wonky, but it wasn't too horrible. I tried to picture in my mind what the whole plume looked like as I stitched. It was hard to keep from over-doing the lower curve of each plume and to get the area where the plume met the spine from being to wide and straight. But it was good practice.

I like to think of such practice as good exercise for my brain. I wrote about how quilting is good for preserving the gray matter in my newsletter that came out this past Tuesday. You are signed up for my newsletter, aren't you? You can sign up over on the right sidebar.

I'm sure some of you will wonder if I will carry the Baptist Fan template in my shop at Amy's Quilting Adventures. While I aim to provide a great collection of rulers and templates for ruler work, right now I'm not carrying it. As I said, it is very tricky and probably best suited to long arm systems (sit down or regular) but you can certainly buy it through TopAnchor.

My question to you is: What ways are you challenging yourself in your quilting practice? Are you trying new shapes, threads, designs? Maybe you are wanting to try ruler work (You should check out my class at Craftsy- Quilting with Rulers on a Home Machine!) or even try a new piecing technique.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing to stretch yourself when it comes to quilting or creativity.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Frame Quilting Foot Set, aka Ruler Foot

Something came across my desk at work this week from Janome that made my day. So many of my Janome (or Janome foot) using friends have still been running into Janome dealers who tell them the Ruler Foot in the Frame Quilting Foot Set is only for the 1600P. Not so! I did get official word of approval from Janome on the use of the ruler foot about 18 months ago with all the Janome Convertible Free Motion Foot Sets, but there were still dealers that didn't know.

This week, Janome released a new document to showcase all the Janome accessories and this picture above was part of it! Yay! We're legit! This should make getting a foot from a dealer unfamiliar with the ruler work technique a bit easier. Or you could order from my shop....

frame quilting foot set- aka ruler foot for free motion quilting with rulers

In case you are wondering, that second foot is fabulous if you put your machine into a frame system, or get creative and decide to do your free motion quilting from the end of your machine. Otherwise, it's not much use.

I'm getting some quilting done today, so that's all I've got for now. Stitch on!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman with a Sewing Machine, Revisited

You might remember this project from a post published last November. It's been needing a little something more and this weekend I finished it off. If you didn't see that post and I know there are a bunch of new readers here, go check it out and watch the two related videos, one is a speedy time-lapse number. We'll be here when you're done!

 The stitching was great but just not dense enough for the letters to pop out and be readable from a distance. Since this has been my battle-cry of sorts this past year, I wanted to see those words.

Using a technique I learned from Irena Bluhm several years ago (from her QNN videos), I used Dewent Inktense pencils and textile medium to carefully paint inside the stitching of the letters. It's kind of hard to get the shading just right without adding so much water that the color bleeds, but I really like the results.

never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine

I think it's a lot better now that the words are colored. This is hanging in my studio directly across from the front door, so I can see it often and if it serves as a little reminder to those coming in the house that I'm not just sitting around eating bon-bons, I'm OK with that.

I'm working on getting my newsletter ready to send out this week. If you haven't subscribed to it, there's time. Just enter your first and last name as well as your email address in the short form along the right sidebar.

Hope you've made some time for creativity in your life this weekend!