Monday, March 31, 2014

McTavishing Monday #5: A Free Motion Link Party

Today's post is the last of the McTavishing Monday series. I will continue with these link parties each Monday as "Free Motion Monday Quilt-along"


I finished my McTavishing sampler and shot another video. Yes, another video. On McTavishing. Is that overkill?


I did this McTavishing a bit different by making it smaller. I started off with the big swooshy lines at the same scale I had been doing, but then filled in with "micro-mctavishing".



Now I can add the sampler to my pile of "needs to be bound" projects. It will be part of my FMQ classes from now on.


All the quilting done in my favorite Glide thread.




[Edited to remove older obsolete content.]
I'm also giving my Free Motion Quilting Reference Guide to 3 folks who left comments that indicated they were beginners at FMQ.


This is a handout I created for my classes on free motion quilting. It's laminated and the back side is mostly blank so you can doodle designs on it with a dry-erase marker. It's a list of tips and ideas for FMQ that is easy to keep right at your machine. It's still a work in progress so I'd appreciate some feedback from those who get it.


If you've been wondering if we'll ever get to Spring, you'll enjoy our new design. I wanted to do something  that is approachable for both beginners and those that are more advanced. So let's explore ways to make flowers that work well as a filler and also as an all-over design.



I've got a few other ideas and possible giveaways to coordinate with the other designs that I mentioned last week. So a little extra time to plan that will be needed.

So next week I'll post a tutorial on the design and some examples. Then you'll have a week to link up, if you wish, with drawings or your own quilted versions.

I hope you've had a chance to do some McTavishing this week and are ready to link up your post featuring your work on this great design. Feel free to post a drawing if you are new to this design: drawing the design really helps! Post a sample piece or even a finished work. Treat last week as a base line and see if you've improved!

If this is your first McTavishing Monday, you can find the first of this series at Week One.

[Older obsolete content removed]

Don't forget to bookmark this blog, follow, or sign it up in your favorite feed reader. Like the facebook page (I do post some short things on it pretty regularly), or even check out my Pinterest boards. I'll be visiting you too!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Free Motion Quilting: Barn!

I'm building a barn this weekend, sort of. Or rather, I'm quilting a barn. Really! Still a work in progress...

free motion quilting a barn


And finishing up my McTavishing sampler and getting ready for our last McTavishing Monday post coming up this Monday.

free motion quilting McTavishing sampler

What will the design for the Free Motion Monday link party be? I haven't quite decided. You still have time to chime in with a design idea in the comments.

Speaking of comments: I've traded computers with my hubby so I no longer need to share a computer with the kids. But in the process, I'm pretty sure I have lost some recent emails. So if I was supposed to get back to you, I'm sorry. Also, I might not reply to as many comments while I'm getting everything set up. We had to move a bunch of files and programs around across different operating systems.

I was doing a video last week of my McTavishing, when my Janome 6600 began making chewing sounds in the bobbin case.


After checking the bobbin, I found that the thread had begun coming unwound from the other end and both threads were getting pulled into the stitches being formed. This caused the bobbin to stop turning. A good bobbin gone bad.

I have found that a nearly empty bobbin can give you problems, so if you are at a stopping point and you see you're nearly out of thread, go ahead and start with a full bobbin.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Doodling Quilting Designs

I've said it before, "Drawing the designs makes your free motion quilting so much better!"

Don't just take my word for it, FMQ teachers everywhere agree. Here's a great video of Longarm quilter and teacher Jamie Wallen saying the same thing. He says that you can't learn it by watching and looking, but by doing. (my paraphrase)


I really believe drawing the designs over and over while sitting with my hubby during his chemo is the main reason I've been able to learn to free motion so well so fast. That was a little less than 4 years ago!

free motion quilting doodles

Some of my drawings.


On the kids' magnadoodle and on my tablet too.


If you watch the second half of the video, he's making dragonflies. Guess what my daughter is dying for me to make for her? Yup. Dragonflies are in  my future. I might have to use a dragonfly project as a "carrot" for her keeping her room clean. Earlier this week, the chaos came to a head and I (!) cleaned her room, decluttering all the while. She's a crafty, creative girl and the room was full of bits of yarn, snippets of paper, and bits of other creative debris. The trash can was very clean though, since it was empty!

Monday, March 24, 2014

McTavishing Monday #4: A Free Motion Quilting Link Party

It's time to link up once again and show how our McTavishing is improving. I am certain that everyone here has been learning more about free motion quilting and this design during this series, including me!

free motion quilting design McTavishing

Saturday, I got a little ahead of myself and posted some videos of McTavishing Fun. One of them was an insanely fast time lapse video that still makes me giggle! If only I could quilt that fast in real life!


The regular speed video of some McTavishing practice is below:


I did some quilting with light peach colored thread on white fabric. I wanted it to be a little closer to matching thread and still visible to viewers on the video and in the still photos. McTavishing, says Karen McTavish, looks best in a thin, matching thread.

free motion quilting design McTavishing

I think one of the most important tips for McTavishing is knowing when you are backtracking or bouncing as illustrated below:

McTavishing tip


Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures

I've been working on my Glide sampler of McTavishing:


I think this bit is my favorite so far! I love the swooshiness! That's a word, right? Swooshiness!


Above, the arrow points at a tension issue. My top tension is just a smidge too tight and it's pulling the bottom thread up to the top, especially at points. The points magnify this tension issue, because the change in speed and direction of my hands affect the tension just enough to cause increased tension at those points. I also might have paused too long at that point.


I switched to Glide color Military Gold for the next section. I was excited to get this color as I had heard some longarm quilters mention that this color was a good substitute for metallic gold thread without the fiddliness of metallic thread.

The picture above, I had run out a foundation line of serious swooshiness. Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman hair, that is! One of the phrases Karen uses to describe these curves. Alas, these curves really need some extra speed to whip them out nice and smooth without the stitch length getting too long. The arrow points to where my machine was too slow for my hands.


I love how my "C's" are getting better and I also like this "S" curve thing I have going on at the left of the above picture.


I shot this picture with the flash to show the sheen of these Glide threads. Not too much, not too little!

Technically we still have one more week of McTavishing Monday, since there were 5 Mondays this month. You will still be able to link up your McTavishing work if you have some next week, but I will be doing a summary then and announcing the winners of the Glide thread giveaway.

I've enjoyed this quilt-along link party very much. It's been a challenge to get these up on Monday, but a good motivator. I will continue to do this linky every Monday, but I need your help to decide the next design!

It's important for you to realize that I don't consider myself an expert. I like working on improving my skills as much as I like teaching and sharing what I do know. I am a pretty good quilter and I'm not fishing for compliments. But I'm learning as I go too!

I'd love to do more ruler work as a linky, but that leaves some folks out as there are issues with getting a ruler toe for some brands of machines. So that's out for now.

Maybe an informal feather filler? Big swags of free form feathers? (I am not offering to lead with formal feathers as I am not comfortable with creating really uniform feathers. Somebody else can teach that much better than I!) Feather flowers? A swirly, spirally design?

Or maybe a few grid based designs?



I have a few more grid designs too, but no pictures handy.

Let me know in the comments! This is the last chance to link up or leave a comment on this series before I draw names for the Glide Thread Giveaway! (Sorry, you've got to live in the US so my shipping cost is affordable.)


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Visiting- Quilting style!

Sunday is a day that we tend to do some visiting; church, friends, family. Today, two of my kids are a bit sniffly with a cold, so we'll be staying put in the house. (Hubby and my oldest did make their escape.)

Free motion quilting mctavishing around a feather
What good is a post without pictures? McTavishing around my feather.

So I thought I'd share a few great places to visit online for some free motion quilting inspiration.

First is Angela Huffman's blog, A Quilted Joy. She's got a feast for the eyes with posts from the Mid Atlantic Quilt Show. Angela is also one of my "hero" quilters as she had to rise to some life challenges and made a career out of quilting and has really excelled.

I love quilting and sharing through my blog, but I also need to focus on making an income too, and Angela recently encouraged me by pointing out that my kids will do better with a mom who isn't freaked out by financial stress and they'll do fine switching to public school after being homeschooled.

And I visited Kimmy Brunner's blog last night and she so talented, focused, and is a total hoot to read! (Can I be like her when I grow up? But without the longarm?) Remember I mentioned in "Another Great Craftsy Sale" that you could watch Craftsy classes in 1.5x or 2x speed to save a little time? The down side is now when I read her blog, I "hear" her voice as the speeded up chipmunk version!

My need for speed lately might have contributed to my time lapse McTavishing video! It still makes me laugh!


Of course Sunday is a great time to visit Leslie at MarveLes Art Studios. She has a feast for the eyes and the spirit every time I visit. She has such a gift for encouragement too!

And Christa has sent me quite a few new readers lately, so I'm going to return the favor. She's a cute button of a gal with a passion for modern quilts. She's really doing some moving and shaking in the quilt biz side of things too!

And some of my new readers should be mentioned. There's a ton of you, so I can only do a few at a time.

Karen's Quilts, Crows, and Cardinals where you can find applique information galore! I'm starting to develop a passion for applique as that's a great way to use fine free motion quilting. The customer quilts I get from a few local longarmers are all applique.

Esther has been working on her McTavishing and on an amazing train pattern! If you've got little boy in your life, you have got to check it out!

And how about "What Comes Next"? She's always got something nifty in the works.

That will have to do for now so I can get some lunch on the table and get some quilting done. Then to finish up my post for tomorrow's McTavishing Monday! If you've missed any of the quilt along posts you can find them on the Free Motion Quilt-along page. I did an extra post on McTavishing yesterday too.

So do some visiting of your own, but make some time to do some quilting too!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Free Motion Quilting Video: McTavishing Fun

I set out to work on my McTavishing and learn more about my camera and video making and created two free motion quilting videos. One is more educational, so I'll post it first. The second turned out to be more entertaining and is near the bottom of this post. (I don't get out much....)


 I quilted a large feather and then began to McTavish all around it. There are 3 basic types of line styles with McTavishing: curve to a point (bounce), curve to a backtrack, and the "C" filler.

Free Motion Quilting Tip for McTavishing

Be consistent within a set of curve ends as to whether you are bouncing or backtracking.

free motion quilting McTavishing

I had fun trying to increase the speed of my quilting as I McTavished. I am normally a pretty slow quilter, but I also have a ton of projects that I want to get DONE!


Not too shabby. I chose a peach thread on white fabric so that you could still see it, but the reduced amount of contrast might hide some of my mistakes.

free motion quilting McTavishing detail

No doubt about it, when quilting on a sewing machine, our eyes are maybe 10-12 inches from our stitching and that can make us crazy, worrying about every little backtrack, bobble, and bump!

Now for some fun! I really sped up my quilting for this video! Wheeeeee!


It's the weekend and time for me to get some serious quilting time! So glad that my hubby's out-of-town work project is done. I missed the poor guy.

Hope you get to quilting too!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Free Motion Quilting Tip: Quilting Fullness

It happens to all of us at some point; when quilting, fullness develops. It can happen when we've been sitting too long at our machine and not getting enough exercise......Wait! Not that kind of fullness.

It can be from too much directional pressure from the presser foot. It can happen pretty easily by stitching towards an area that's already been quilted. Sometimes poor piecing or cheap flimsy fabrics can be the culprit, but I'm mostly addressing the fullness that can actually be caused by the quilting process. Insufficient basting can cause fullness, so make sure you're basting well and densely enough. Pressing your top well before basting and using starch or best press can help too.

Circles are your friend!

First of all, if you're having a bit of a fullness problem and are using an open-toe foot, switch to a closed-toe foot with a circular shape. The oval types that are straight across the front are not much more help, you want an actual, circular shaped, closed-toe foot.

It parts the wave of fullness and helps keep that fullness from riding right in front of the foot (or whichever direction you are travelling in).

Convertible FMQ foot with ruler toe attached and modified plastic foot (for couching) shown.
Of course, I rave about the Janome Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot Set, and two of the three toes are good and round. The bigger plastic one is probably best for fullness issues since it has a cup-shaped underside, but I've also seen a difference between the smaller, round, closed-toe versus the open-toe. Granted, the open toe gives you the best visibility, so choose accordingly. There's a high shank version of the set and a Janome FMQ Set for Low Shank Models too, which should fit many other brands of machine (especially Elna and Kenmore) if you are having trouble finding a good FMQ foot for your machine.

Plastic foot before I modified it. It's great for easing fullness and for quilting over embellishments or applique.

The ruler toe that can be used with the convertible set is also good at easing fullness. Visibility is definitely an issue though.

Making sure that your foot isn't pressing too hard on the quilt sandwich is important too. If you're using a higher loft batt, you'll usually need to raise the foot. The convertible set has an adjustible height, but you can also adjust the height of the presser foot through a presser foot pressure adjustment on the sewing machine. The method varies between machine makers, but it's usually a knob of some sort.

If you are using a spring loaded hopping foot, my condolences. Actually, these type of feet cam be raised with a rubber band wrapped around the shaft above the spring and below the arm that goes over the needle screw. Leah Day has a tutorial online that shows how you can modify this type of foot into a non-hopping foot and how to raise the height.

Then, circular motions and designs are excellent for easing in fullness. (If the fullness is in a border, then lines perpendicular to the edges of the quilt will help draw in fullness, but that's not really what I'm talking about here.

Pebbles are great, but the quilting doesn't have to be that round or even completely circular. Spirals and shell type designs work too. Thie circular motion keeps the fullness from being pushed in any one direction. I like to think of it as trapping and subdividing the fullness.

Had to re-stitch this corner area!

One thing is for certain, do not use your hands to stretch out the fullness and then quilt it out! Once the material is released from your hands, it will spring back, making wrinkles in between the stitching. This happens even easier if your stitch length might be a bit large. Occassionally you might need to manipulate the fabric this way to avoid an actual pucker, but otherwise don't stretch the fabric super taut. Plus it will make your hands ache! (Above is where I was so tense and stretched the quilt top to combat the fullness of a double batt and stitching into a corner. There are no actual puckers stitched, but when the fabric was released from the tension, it wrinkled between lines of stitching. I took this portion out and re-stitched!)


Using a ruler as you quilt can help stabilise the fullness as you stitch too, since the ruler will hold the fullness still and keep it from creeping into a pucker.

If you find your project is looking very full or wrinkly, do yourself a favor and spread it out flat first before deciding it looks horrible! When we shove a big quilt under our domestic machine and then have our eyes mere inches away, everything can look worse that it really is.

I hope these tips help when you find some fullness in your project. It happens to all of us from time to time.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

McTavishing Monday #3: A Free Motion Link Party

It's time for another free motion quilt-along featuring McTavishing here on Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures. As promised to a few readers, I have made a button for the link party.

Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures

I made one where you can copy the code to place the button on your own blog too! Look in the right sidebar for it. When the button is clicked, it will bring you to a new page on the blog I have created to list all of our quilt-along adventures.

Making the button wasn't too difficult, but getting the code to show so others could "grab it" and put it on their own blog was quite frustrating. Maybe it was the tutorials that google was dishing up for me, but they just weren't working. And then I found the sensible answer for this sort of thing and I was saved! It was the "Grab my Button" Code Generator!

Now on to the McTavishing!


Click to see more about Karen McTavish, McTavishing Monday Week #1, or last week's McTavishing Monday Week #2.

I've been subdividing the open space in my sampler with curvy lines first, then going back and filling in the smaller curves. This helps me get a more curvy, cohesive design. Not to mention, helps get my pins out of the way.


My method does lead to more backtracking, but it works for me. I do like how easy it is to travel from one area of this design to another. I never had to break thread to move to another spot.


I'm using Glide thread here. I hope you've either linked up or left a comment on any of these McTavishing Monday posts to qualify for the giveaway.Isn't this blue gorgeous on the black fabric?


Then I got started on another section in a lighter color thread. See how I go all over the area with a few bigger curves, then subdivide into smaller curves?


Then I start filling it in. Did you notice I'm using a black batting? Hobb's 80/20 in black. Nice stuff!


 I'll have finish up this section another day, so I can get this post live and then continue quilting on my commission quilt. It seems like this quilt is taking forever. Why must life get in the way of my quilting time?


This is the back of the quilt. Above is an area with a tree and curvy scroll fills. Below is part of the landscape scene, with mountains in the distance, clouds, and a fence below. The back isn't puckering, but it is wrinkly from being under my machine and in its "puddled" state.





I hope you've had a good chance to work on your McTavishing this week and will show us your results! Don't forget, if you are new to this design, drawings are perfectly fine to link up.

And the Craftsy sale is continuing until 11:59pm mountain time Tuesday! It's a great time to sign up for some fabulous classes.

Some quick rules:

  • Keep your post relevant to this quilt along please. Spammy posts will be deleted.
  • Make sure you link up to the individual post, not your home page as nobody wants to have to search around for the post if they're a little late to the party.
  • Link back to this post somewhere in your post. You've got to dance with the one who took you to the party, so make sure you link back.
  • Don't be a wall-flower. (Talking to myself here too. In person I am so stinking shy!) Visit the other links and leave comments.
  • Everyone who links or comments here will be entered in the drawing for the giveaway of Glide thread and possibly a few other things at the end of the month!
  • Please make sure you leave me a way to contact you if you are a no-reply commentor, especially if you ask a question.
Don't forget to bookmark this blog, follow, or sign it up in your favorite feed reader. Watch some free motion quilting videos on my Youtube channel. "Like" Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures on Facebook (I do post some short things on it pretty regularly), or even check out my Pinterest boards. I'll be visiting you too!

Linking up with Connie's Linky Tuesday.

Free Shows at the Quilt Show Today

Yesterday was National Quilting Day, and in honor of it, Alex and Ricky Tims have opened up all of their shows for viewing through tonight.

There's over 160 shows featuring some of the brightest stars in quilting available today at The Quilt Show. Guests include:
  • Bob Purcell
  • Libby Lehman
  • Jinny Beyer
  • Katie Pasquini Masopust
  • Sarah Vedeler
  • Sue Nickels
  • Eleanor Burns
  • David Taylor
  • and many more!
 So kick back on this restful Sunday and watch some great shows!My personal favorites are:

  • 1308 with Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry (Includes a studio tour!)
  • 1008 with Robbi Joy Eklow
  • 1009 with Laura Wasilowski
  • 606 with Phillipa Naylor
  • 604 with Linda Taylor
  • 301 with Jane Sassaman
Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Another Great Craftsy Sale!

Craftsy is doing another fabulous sale on their classes: up to 50% off! There are classes to interest everyone and anyone.

I've really enjoyed the classes I've taken, especially the Beginner Serging class since I started working one day a week at my local Janome dealership. Without it I would still be intimidated by those machines! I demo'd one a few weeks ago and felt so much more confidence! I ended up selling one too!

And it should be no surprise that since I love using ruler work on my quilts, I'm enjoying Kimmy Brunner's Online Quilting Class.

I have been incredibly busy lately (I hate whining about being busy.) so I am loving the speed feature on the tool bar of the videos. That's where you click on the "play" triangle. I'm not saying any of these videos are slow, but if you've ever found yourself saying, "Get to the point already, I need to stitch!" you can speed it up at 1.5x and still understand what the instructor is saying. I admit it's a bit funny!

Kimmy's class makes me want to get more rulers and templates! And she's got some great marking tips too!


There are also some great free classes on Craftsy too! These are great if you haven't tried a class before and you want to see the quality. Speaking of quality, if they play jerky for you, you can adjust the resolution of the videos so they play smoothly. This is affected by the speed of your connection, or in my case by whether the kids are watching streaming video from Netflix while I'm watching my class!

 I think I'll buy another class during this sale as it's a great one and the classes are awesome! How about you?


**yes, these are affiliate links and I get a tiny commission if you click and buy through them.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Free Motion Quilting Video: Quilting Motion on a Larger Quilt

I've been quilting up a storm on this commissioned piece as I should have done it a few months ago. I'm free motion quilting some sky in this video, but you can't see the design well where I am stitching. But if you are new to FMQ, this gives you a better idea of how to move the quilt than my videos done of small samples.


I'm doing the sky in layers, first little clouds, then windy wiggly lines. Next I'll put in some larger scale McTavishing. Then I'll move to the darker areas of applique and add details to the scene.

I'm really looking forward to the border because I'm going to do ruler work and feathers! Fun, fun, fun!

What have you been doing?

Any suggestions for my videos?

Monday, March 10, 2014

McTavishing Monday #2: A Free Motion Link Party

It's week 2 of our free motion link party featuring McTavishing for the month of March. I hope everybody got to learn more about this versatile free motion quilting design and did some practicing on paper and then stitching on their machines!

See week one of the free motion quilt-along, McTavishing Monday


Here's Karen with her daughter. Aren't they beautiful? If I'm not mistaken, since this picture was taken, she's had a son. Well, I know she's had a son, just not sure when this picture was taken, it's an older one. Chalk up another reason to like this lady, that baby is now a boy about the age of my oldest. Maybe we should start a club  for women who are considered young quilters, but older moms of little kids.

Karen's namesake design of McTavishing works great around applique and is wonderful for traditional designs.


And also for more modern quilts. I love how she's changed up her usual McTavishing so that the lines accentuate the contours of the woman below,


And the design can be more edgy and wild as used below in the zombie girl quilt below.


Here's my new McTavishing practice piece, below, in progress. I started with one very curvy line that went all the way across this circle.


free motion quilting design McTavishing

Here's the circle all done.

free motion quilting design McTavishing

And a close up.

free motion quilting design McTavishing

And a video:


 The spools of Glide thread arrived from FilTec for our give-away. Glide is a thread that many aren't familiar with unless you are a longarmer. Their website is at Bobbin Central, named for their prewound bobbins. I admit to a bit of selfishness in wanting to try the thread first as it is new to me and yet, I want to share all 5 1000M spools with some of my wonderful readers. So....I....am going to use a little bit of each one for my McTavishing sampler I am doing for this quilt-along.


I used the color, Cool Grey 3 for this center bit of stitching and it ran smooth as butter! I had to increase my top tension slightly as I was using Isacord in the bobbin and it was winning the typical tension tug-of-war as the Glide is a bit smoother thread. Not that I'm saying anything against either thread. Love them. But when you have two different threads in your machine, you will usually need to adjust your tension unless you have an automatic tensioning machine.


Above is a close up shot of 3 similar threads I had on hand for comparison. It's not perfectly focused, but it's a fair shot. In case you can't tell, I like a little shine to my threads. Isacord has just enough shine for me, and this Glide has just a bit more. The Floriani has even more shine, but I've decided it has too much shine for most of my projects. That's ok, as it is primarily a thread for machine embroidery. The Glide has a very smooth twist too! Very nice thread, you're gonna love it. Have I mentioned it is an affordable thread? Very.

I hope you've had a chance to do some McTavishing this week and are ready to link up your post featuring your work on this great design. Feel free to post a drawing if you are new to this design: drawing the design really helps! Post a sample piece or even a finished work. Treat last week as a base line and see if you've improved!

This linky is no longer valid.
Don't forget to bookmark this blog, follow, or sign it up in your favorite feed reader. Like the facebook page (I do post some short things on it pretty regularly), or even check out my Pinterest boards. I'll be visiting you too!

This is being linked with Connie's Linky Tuesday.