Sunday, March 2, 2014

McTavishing Monday: A Free Motion Link Party


It's time for a free motion quilting adventure! It's McTavishing Monday and my very first link party! (Linky is no longer valid) I am so excited to share this quilt-along with you all and totally tickled to tell you that I've got some goodies for you in the next few weeks.


McTavishing is the namesake design of professional longarm quilter, Karen McTavish (below). She brings a certain unconventional flair to the quilting world and she does the most incredible traditional quilting, plus brings her own creative style to her work and influences the work of many other quilters. I think she's pretty awesome! I'll write more about Karen as we continue the quilt-along, but I thought we'd better dive on into this design.


Her book, Mastering the Art of McTavishing, has gone out of print, so snag yourself a copy if you can find it! But the design is also featured in her other books, most noticably The Secrets of Elemental Quilting.


She's got a new book coming out early this summer and I hope to have more on it later in the quilt-along. Of course, her book Custom Curves was the first book I snagged after finding the Janome ruler toe and finding that I could use longarm rulers when quilting on my sewing machine.


 

Some fairly recent McTavishing of Karen's. I love seeing the spiral curves in the picture below as I tend to throw in the spirals when I quilt this design.


Beautiful trapunto scroll work with McTavishing below. Karen loves to take the traditional and put just a little something new and wonderful into it.


Below is a drawing of a great design featuring McTavishing that Karen sent me for the quilt-along. You can really see the swirls of movement in this design. It's a repeated series of curved and curvy lines echoed 3-4 times. There's some back tracking required to move from line to line of stitching and also to move to a new area. Oddball spots are filled in with what Karen calls "C's".


Here's a series of videos with Karen teaching McTavishing:






She mentions "Wonder Woman hair" and the Yin and Yang symbol to describe the wild curves she is going for in this design.  Keeping the words in my mind help me to loosen up and swish around.



There are several other videos of Karen on YouTube and more on McTavishing by other folks too. Take a look if you'd like. I've even done my own video on it:


And you can see the difference between THE McTavishing and MY McTavishing! That's one reason for this quilt-along; I want to improve the 'swishy-ness' of my McTavishing! I recognize that some of the difference might just be the difference in the range of motion between the longarm and quilting on a domestic sewing machine. And then the machine does swoosh so smoothly over the quilt with a longarm....but I love the control I have with my sewing machine. Anybody else see the irony in me wanting to get away from my control freak self and get loose and swishy? I want to improve my McTavishing and I thought some of you might want to join me.


Some still shots from the piece from my video, above and below.


Here are two pictures from a quilt project I did over three years ago below. This must have been shortly after reading Karen's Mastering the Art of McTavishing.



And this last picture is my latest McTavishing practice piece. I tried really hard to get more swish to my curves. I found I had to increase my speed a lot more than I'm used to in order to keep my stitch length from getting too long as I swooshed and swished around. That made it harder to hit my backtracks. But it's somewhat better.


You can also visit the second Free Motion Quilting Quilt-along post featuring McTavishing.
Third week of McTavishing
Fourth Week of McTavishing
Fifth Week of McTavishing 
Free Motion Quilting video: McTavishing
BTW- I'm linking up this linky with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

54 comments:

  1. i am really looking forward to this series, hard for me to see where you can improve though Amy.

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    1. Why, thank you! But there is always room to learn and improve and it's so much fun to do it together!

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  2. I want to try this for the month of March even tho I am a true beginner when it comes to FM quilting. I can barely do leaves & hearts & even stippling is hard for me. My efforts this month will be on little practice pieces & I look forward to following along.

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    1. Well, I’m glad you’re joining us. Practice will build your skills, I promise! McTavishing looks complicated, but at its heart it is really just echoed S’s and C’s. So simplify it and work on echoing S’s and C’s. The really cool whippy, curly part can come later. I wish I had thought to add a simplified version in my post. I think I will work on that. Thanks!

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  3. This series is going to be fun. I'm a new quilter but I have the McTavishing books. Your close-ups make a lot of sense to me, so I'm going to screw up my courage and try to do a couple of blocks for practice. Thanks, Amy.

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  4. You've inspired me to give it a try. Your work is great.

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  5. i'm so excited about this series, as i've been dying to try mctavishing, but intimidated, too! i'm going to practice drawing on paper this week to get used to the design motion.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Don’t be intimidated, just keep practicing!

      (Gah! I don't know what I did with the earlier reply, seems my fingers get ahead of my brain.)

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  6. This is wonderful! I'm posting about it on my blog tomorrow :-)

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  7. I'm going to watch with great interest. McTavishing always reminds me of Peter Max's art... not sure why. :)

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    1. Note to self: Check out Peter Max’s art……

      Don’t just watch, join in!

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  8. I doodled on paper all afternoon! It actually got better. I'm hoping to try it at the machine tomorrow. We'll see how that goes! Will link up if it's good!

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    1. Rosemary, you better link up! Think of it as establishing a baseline for improvement!

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  9. What an awesome quilt along Amy! I heard about it from Christa! Looking forward to linking up some of my old stuff tomorrow... fun fun... Thanks a bunch!

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    1. Thanks for joining in! BTW- Love the appliqué on your blog!

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  10. I bought Karen's book "Mastering the Art of McTavishing" years ago but have only practiced McTavishing on paper. You have encouraged me to try some out on an actual quilt soon. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. This will be so inspiring and so fun. I can't wait to start practicing!

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    1. Thanks! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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  12. I am looking forward to practicing my freehand longarm quilting. I do a lot of digitizing and computerized quilting. I am not a "Doodler," so this is a challenge for me!

    If you need the "Mastering" book, I found it at www.heartbeatquilting.com.

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    1. Join right in and doodle away!

      And thanks for pointing me to heartbeatquilting.com! They not only have the McTavishing book, but a very good selection of books on machine quilting!

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  13. Perfect timing! I'm trying (and trying and trying!) to improve my fmq. I'm so happy I found your blog Amy....I had no idea I could use rulers on my dm. Working on changing my set-up. Love your work! Connie in California

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    1. Glad to have you find me! Isn't it fun to keep expanding our "quilting toolbox of techniques"?!

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  14. Your McTavishing is awesome. I have tried it and seem to get confused once I get about halfway into it and my backtracking is something that I really, really have to improve. Thanks for hosting the free motion adventure.

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    1. Well, maybe we can take some of the confusion out for you. Thanks for commenting.

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  15. So fun Amy! I have her book and was lucky to hear her speak a few years ago at the Hudson WI quilt show! Big fan and new fan of yours - Will be back to link up!

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    1. Glad to have you join us! I’d love to take a class in person with her. She sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks!

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  16. A super initiative!
    I love the style of Karen McTavish.

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  17. love her met her at a quilt show I bought the foot for my janome I also have 6600 and traded my 7700 in on the 8900 that the accufeed foot comes off I have been using rulers for a while and a few broken needles I just ordered these rulers and a couple more cant wait to get them thanks for your help this is my quilty blog if you care to stop by
    Diana-runswithdogs.blogspot.com

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    1. Visited your lovely blog. Keep it up! The 8900 is a fabulaous machine. Have fun with it!

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  18. I love this quilt along. I plan on linking up, and practicing when we come back from vacation.
    linsquilts.blogspot.com

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    1. I hope you will! Vacation? I want to go somewhere that’s actually having spring! Three inches of snow and sleet in southern VA.

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  19. I'm going to try to do my practicing for this Quilt Along on both my domestic machine & longarm. I haven't done much McTavishing on either so I think it would be interesting to see both

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    1. Please do! I suspect there’s a difference in the amount of ‘swoosh’ possible in this design depending on whether you move t machine or move the quilt. Love to see your results.

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  20. Just heard about this, I am so new to FMQ, but look forward to watching and maybe a little participating, it looks so fun.

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  21. Love McTavishing! Took a class from Karen a couple years ago...and love the ease and texture of this great filler! Need to do this more often!

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    1. Well, join us and stitch up some McTavishing!

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  22. Neat idea! This will be fun and good learning experience!

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  23. Tried to link up but it didn't seem to show up - in any case I love Karen - she is wonderful, and I McTavish all the time! ;)

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  24. I will try later in the month around appliqué. Beautiful inspirations.

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  25. I just discovered you yesterday and have been madly watchng your videos ever since! Thank you so much for teaching and sharing so freely! I will start catching up with these McTavishing videos ASAP. I am learning so much as a newbu to Free motion quilting!

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    1. Ooh! Love your comment! Makes it all worthwhile. Love your enthusiasm also.

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  26. McTavishing looks complicated but when you start it looks to me just like cream that is being whipped at the stiffening stage just keep those curls coming!

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