Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Adventures in Review

What happened last year? Geesh, sometimes I'm not sure what happened yesterday. But through the magic of Blogger, I know what my top posts are for the year.

It's no surprise that my How to Free Motion Quilt Series got the most reader views. If you missed them or are a bit forgetful like me, you can click on the tab above or click below:

How to Free Motion Quilt: The Set up

How to free motion quilt series.

How to Free Motion Quilt: The Basic Motion and Tension

Free motion quilting how-to on tension

How to Free Motion Quilt: The Designs


Next was my post on How to Quilt with Rulers on a Domestic Sewing Machine

free motion quilting feet

Then my How to Make a Sewing Machine Table post got a whole lot of eyes on it.


And my simple trick for Keeping Rulers from Slipping was pretty popular too.


And the last of the super popular posts, though there were many others that got great traffic, was my post on New Rulers for Free Motion Quilting, a review of the Fine Line Rulers that I like so much.


So if you haven't checked them out, you might want to! And do a hard working quilting blogger a favor and share, subscribe, pin, whatever and I will be very grateful.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Adventures in the New Year

 Another year is right around the corner! Is it time to make resolutions? I rarely keep them, but I am trying to lay out a framework for several goals. I want to continue my blog of course and make more videos, and teach more classes. I also want to try to sell a few of my designs.

free motion quilting design in process

So I've been working on getting my paper designs into the computer. Not too hard as long as you don't mind clicking the mouse a few billion times. About half of the clicks are on the "Undo" button! I scanned in the paper designs and then "trace" over them in the graphics program.

detail free motion quilting design in process

Things will get changed in the process too. Now that I've used the computer to tweak several of my designs, it's starting to get easier than pencil, paper, rulers, stencils, and erasers.

One of my projects is really super big if it works out, but I'm not sure it will yet. So there are also contingency plans in the works. My brain is so overloaded right now, that I don't know if I'm coming or going sometimes. Big, BIG! But not the typical blogger-writes-a-book or teaches an online class, though that would be great too.....

I've got two customer projects to work on. Both really should have been done before Christmas, but I just couldn't get them done. Good thing these customers are super-awesome friends too.

I want to do more videos too. Maybe shorter but more frequent ones. I'd love to get better with my camera skills, but there are only so many hours in the day! If I have to chose between photography and quilting, quilting wins every time.

Then there are the typical goals for me: lose weight (I actually lost weight over the holidays!), pay off debt (stupid cancer and layoffs), get organized, yell less at the kids..... (Did I admit that online? Yes. Real life here.)

OK, moving on...... This is not a mommy blog.

I can't wait to see what's in store for me this year and where I'll be going on my adventures! (Really. I can not wait! Hurry up already.)  ;-)

How about you? What's going on in your world? Anything you'd like to see me tackle on the blog?


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Video: Feathered Flower

I did a little free motion quilting practice yesterday on a quilt sandwich left over from last week's class. I went ahead and video'd some of it. Here's the first one with a feathered flower.


This feather can be used small for a filler or made much larger and used as an all-over design.

I noticed yesterday that I got a bunch of subscribers to my Youtube channel all of a sudden. I have absolutely no idea why. Maybe somebody shared it on a site? It could be dumb luck, but I'd love to know if there's somebody I could thank!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Video: A Quilty Christmas Thank You!


Just a quick video to say Merry Christmas and to thank you all for reading, commenting, and encouraging me as I share my free motion quilting adventures.


A special thank you to my latest class of free motion quilting students! These gals were a complete joy to work with and we laughed a lot!


Now off I go to do some Christmas baking and present wrapping. Thank you all so much and I hope you all have a joyous and merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Demo

 I worked at my Janome dealer's shop last week for their annual open house and was kept busy with free motion quilting demos.

free motion quilting feather table runner

I used a gradient fabric and cut out teardrop shapes with an Accuquilt die on my Sizzix cutter. I fused them down on the gradient fabric, with the light parts going on the dark side of the fabric and vice versa.

free motion quilting feather center table runner

 A circle was die cut and applied for the center where several points came together. And then I stitched away, off and on throughout the day!


I had another sandwich prepared for showing ruler work and any other customer requests. Some of the customers even sat down and took the Janome 8900 I was using for a little "test drive".


I had a great time and met some very nice people. Three ladies signed up for my free motion quilting class (which is today!) and I am very happy to have another chance to teach quilters.

When I'm working at the shop, I am utterly useless if a customer asks about the sergers. So I bought a Craftsy class and plan to watch it on my tablet in the shop while using their sergers.

Craftsy is having another great sale on their classes (see the ad on the top right sidebar above) and you can also "gift" classes! Or you can click this affiliate link: Save up to 50% on Craftsy Classes 12/21-12/24

I cannot believe that Christmas is almost here! Because I have been so busy with my quilting for customers and working one day a week, I had resolved to not make any gifts this year. This is to keep me from going into a last-minute gift making frenzy/panic. But (at the last minute) I feel my resolve storting to slip!

Are you almost done with preparations? My husband has been working out of town during the week for the last 4 weeks so I still need to brave the aisles of Walmart for a few gifts for the kids!

I'm linking this belatedly, again, on Leah Day's Free Motion Friday and Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Video: Diamond Sashing

I took another video while working on this customer's quilt. I was doing some ruler work in the sashing to make a diamond pattern. Turned out pretty good. Not as perfect as I'd like, but I'm a perfectionist.


As usual, I had a lot of fun quilting it, once I decided what I wanted to do with it. Sometimes I do a little too much "Sit and Stare" time.


In process above, the full quilt below. It's a fairly small quilt.


I played off the holly and swirls design in the blocks and made a holly, swirl, and feather thing up the sides. It was a bit too much, but once I started, it was either keep going or rip out a LOT of stitches. I kept going.


 But at the top and bottom I came up with a swag design that I love!



As I said in the video above, I marked off segments with small marks along the sashing roughly 3 inches apart. and then used the ruler to stitch the diamonds.





And the back looks pretty spectacular if I do say so myself. Way better than this photo shows.





So now to move to the next project! And get ready for Christmas, and.....whew. There's a lot on my To Do list!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Video: Holly and Swirls

I shot a little video while working on my current customer quilt. I'm stitching holly leaves and swirls in the pieced portion of the embroidered blocks.


I wasn't sure if it would be visible via the video, since usually I stick to contrasting thread and fabric for videos. I'm so glad to be able to kill two birds with one stone, so to say!


A still pic of the quilting above and remember this guy, below? He and his friends have been all stitched up.


The puckers around the embroidery disappeared easily as I quilted around these cool cats. I used monopoly to stitch around the embroidery so I could stitch right over the whiskers and little claws.

free motion quilting

I'm stitching a little floor for each kitty, using a few different designs. I do hope this first time customer likes what I've done!


 Are you in need of a little gag gift for your quilt guild's Christmas meeting? I saw this up at my local Janome dealer's shop! Embroidered toilet paper! I wonder if I could quilt some toilet paper with the same method? It involves several layers of TP plus some good tear-away stabilizer.


The count down to Christmas has begun! I hope I can get everything done that really needs to be done on my list without becoming too busy to enjoy the meaning behind Christmas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas

We have a snug little cottage full of kids and quilty goodness. That is to say, it's small and full! So we choose to have a small tree.


With a Playmobil Nativity. I did mention kids, right? Look at tiny baby Jesus! Too funny.


The manger is resting on last year's free motion quilted table topper featuring lights made with my kids' thumb prints.


On the wall is a wall hanging I created and quilted 2 or 3 years ago.  There's even pearle cotton 'hay' in the manger bed!


And a customer quilt is getting pin basted to get done asap! A Christmas quilt of course. Note to Self: Buy more basting pins!


Last year, my daughter helped me make this garland. I cut various sized circles with my Sizzix die cutter and she sewed them into one long strand herself. Of course, she is the one to hang it up on the staircase this year.


Christmas cats, anyone? Cute embroidery, but some puckers from a snafu with the stabilizer, so I'll be trying to work some quilting magic.


How's your holiday time shaping up? Any special quilts to hang or use this time of year? Last minute project craziness begun? I solemnly swear I'm not sewing for gifts this year, but my daughter wants to make skirts for all of her friends and has also asked for a mama-made dress.......

I'm linking late with Connie at Free Motion by the River for Linky Tuesday. Come check it out.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Video: Free Motion Quilt a Simple Feather


Finally a new video! I was working on the same purse I showed in the Adding Color to a Free Motion Quilter Doodle post of last month, and doing some quilting on the purse's side and bottom piece. Just a nice simple feather.


Some of you have asked how I shoot my videos and while I can't take a picture with the camera in place, here's a shot of the camera mount my handy husband set up for me. The camera mounts on the flat part of that metal plate closest to my machine. The mount is simply clamped onto my sewing table.


Above is a shot of a large part of the purse piece. And below is a shot of the front (or back) of the purse.


And in case you missed it, here is the video I did showing how to fill in the leaf with color.


I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pennies From Heaven Done

I have been working on a customer quilt for quite some time and I finally returned it to the owner. She seemed to really like the quilting, and I am looking forward to doing more quilting for her.

free motion quilting with ruler work by Amy K Johnson

I did some free motion ruler work around the center block and then feathered around it. I nearly went blind trying to see what I was stitching on that black with black thread, but I am very pleased with it.


Despite my reasons to Ditch the Stipple, I did do some stippling on this quilt.


 I kept the stitching in the black wool scalloped pieces pretty simple with an outline roughly 1/4 inch around with a little loop-de-loop in the scallop. I used my straight fine line ruler along the the pieced edge with my wonderful Janome ruler toe.

free motion quilting with rulers on a domestic sewing machine

A little swirl in the bear paw and continuous curves, plus curved crosshatching in the corner blocks.

curved crosshatching

 Detail of the crosshatching, below. This quilt was a bit difficult because of all the blanket stitching and embellishments I had to work around, but I enjoyed the creative opportunities it gave me.


Now, on to the next project; working on some quilted purses I started a while ago and another customer quilt, this time with embroidery. I am waiting on an order of thread from Superior for the customer quilt. And I ordered some new threads to try.

I am linking this post up with Leah Day's Free Motion Friday and Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday. Check out the link parties for some great free motion and quilty inspiration.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Adventures Q &A

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend if you are in the US and if not, I hope you have still had a great weekend. I'm pretty sure I've put on a few pounds, but I'll work them off soon.

I feel like I should write a fabulously interesting and tip filled post but I just don't know what to write. I ought to shoot a video for my Youtube followers, but what to quilt for the video? It is totally amazing, but I've got 136 subscribers om my youtube channel! For my silly little videos? Really?

I've got quite a few customer projects that need to be done before or shortly after Christmas and I've also got a few other irons in the fire here at home. It's all very, very good, but a little overwhelming. Plus taking care of my kiddos and the hubby has an out of town project for work.

I did quilt more on a customer purse today and that was fun. Now to assemble the thing. Not so much fun.

And I have a pattern drawn up for another special customer quilt for a friend of a friend. Below is the preliminary drawing. Think of a two color, silhouette scheme.


Speaking of patterns, I saw that Craftsy has a pattern market place. I've had a few readers ask if I had a pattern available for a few things I have done. Do you think I should offer a few of my designs on there? I was thinking a simplified version of Poured Out 2 and a new version of the wedding wholecloth which I did finish.

Yesterday, my very creative daughter decorated her room. (Craft supplies are her love language. Now to convince her that neatness is part of mine.) When I saw the yarn taped all over her wall I nearly blew my top. But then I took a second look and saw that she had written with the yarn, "Jesus Lives". What could I say? I tucked her in and gave her a kiss. Christmas is very important to us and it's nice to know that the message that it's not all about presents has gotten through.

So in a spirit of thanks-giving, just after Thanksgiving, leave me a comment with a question you'd like answered and I will do my best to give you an answer.

Please don't leave me listening to the proverbial crickets chirping!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Slippin' and a Slidin'

Remember when I showed my Supreme Slider all taped up? Word to the wise; be very careful if you stitch right up to the edge when using something really stiff like Peltex. If it catches the edge of the Slider, it will tear it.


 I finally ordered a new Queen Size Supreme Slider and put it on my machine. I think I've had the old one for around 3 years and maybe they've changed the product slightly since then, but I was really glad I had replaced it.


 It seemed more supple and stuck so much better to the machine and table top! I didn't even use tape. Also I had seen that the custom-cut slider at the sewing machine shop on their Janome 8900 had a hole cut for the bobbin case. Up until this point, I had never even thought to cut a hole. I didn't do the greatest job of it, but I love having better access and sight into my bobbin case when free motion quilting.


Another thing I did that involved sliding this week was to take advantage of the felt pads under the legs of my sewing table and to move it where the ceiling light wasn't blocked by me when quilting. Not only did I get better lighting, but it made a visible block to keep the kids from going to the right when they come down the stairs when I am quilting, which puts them close enough to bump me in mid-stitch. Now when I am quilting and slide the table this way, they go through the door on the left. I do slide the table back when I don't need the extra light.

I'm belatedly linking this with Leah Day's Free Motion Friday. Leah's reminding us to check out Craftsy's sale too. Craftsy Class Sale up to 66% off from 11/29-12/2!