Amy is a guest on American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast

I'll be chatting it up today with Pat Sloan as one of the guests on the American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast, episode #392.

You can catch it LIVE here:

After the airing, you can listen later at the same link. Just look for episode #392. This is the second time to be a guest with the lovely, fun, and talented Pat Sloan. The first time was episode #298 back in April of 2016. So much has changed since then!

Owl Quilt-Along Panel Assembly Tutorial

There's a hurricane south of us and the school system is excessively cautious, so I lost quite a bit of my work day Friday to time with my kiddos. I could have let them do what they wanted while I tried to power through and work on this post, but instead we had some fun. I have to admit, with both parents working on a relatively new small business, sometimes fun family time is hard to come by.

We've just got a bit of rain and wind so far. No damage, but I still expect  lower areas here to get some flooding. Though it's been far more gentle of a rain than we had expected. My thoughts do go out to those closer to the coast in South and North Carolina.

On with the tutorial! First, remember this is a "relaxed quilt along," The main focus will be free motion quilting the actual owl panels, so if you are short on time, feel free to just use the panel as-is. If you want a bigger quilt, feel free to do your own arrangement of panel and other fabrics. I think the squares will make excellent pillows or bag sides as well, if you'd like a smaller project.

You will need:
one Boho Owl panel
1/2 yard each of two coordinating fabrics (actual fabric use is about 1/3 yard, but you will likely need a smidgen more for squaring up)
1/4 yard for cornerstones
Optional: outer border fabric

I wanted to make use of the print to the outsides of the blocks so I incorporated it as a border. 

First step is to cut carefully 1/4 inch to the outside of the magenta frame around the blocks on 3 sides, and 4-1/2 inches away from either the left or right sides to keep that outer print. You will have two blocks with the outer print to the right and two with it to the left.

From two coordinating prints, you will need to cut eight 2-1/2 inch strips by 16-1/2 inches. It is important to note that this is not the final length of these strips! The digitally printed squares are not 16 inches square, and vary in that measurement depending on horizontal or vertical. We'll trim them down later.

Next, cut nine 4-1/2 inch squares from a third fabric for the cornerstones. 

Sew your strips in pairs, long sides together. Press to the dark side. Then trim them down to match the actual length or width of the blocks.  Leaving them at 16 inches long and easing them to fit will yield in a wavy outer edge. I found them to measure 15-1/4" wide by 15-7/8" long. 

Sew a strip pair between the inner sides of each two pairs of blocks, keeping the outer 4-1/2" strip to the outside. To get the alternating placement of colors like I did, you'll want to alternate the colors between the two pairs of blocks. One will have the first color on the right, and the other pair will have it on the left. See diagram below.

Watch your quarter inch seam allowance to make sure you don't get a strip of the printed color from the seam allowance showing. You may find it best to keep the panel on top so you can see the line where the seam allowance meets the narrow magenta border. Press towards the strips.

Stitch 2 pairs of strips between 3 conerstone squares, paying attention to the color arrangement as shown below, to make the 3 sashing rows, alternating in color placement as shown.

Sew these horizontal sashing units between the pairs of blocks, making sure to align seam between the the outer corner stones and the strips with the printed line of the outer magenta border of the owl block and the outer fabric. Press towards the strips as you go. Double check your color placement before sewing!

I plan on adding a 6 inch border to this but ran out of the print I wanted to use. I am totally blown away by the response we got to this project and have ordered more of the coordinating fabrics for delivery next week. (Edited to add: The companion fabric is back in stock) Cut 6 inch strips by the length needed to attach them by the method of your choice. I will be using a mitered border for this and will do a post when I add it.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. I am still honing my graphic design and pattern writing skills, so forgive me if it's not as clear as it could be. I'm a work in progress!

Looking forward to next Wednesday and our quilt along video on the Amy's Quilting Adventures page on Facebook.

We have plenty of this line left if you want to sew and quilt along. Explore and place orders at

Quilt Along with Amy

Ever since I shot my first class with Craftsy and couldn't include as much information as I wanted to due to following their content format, I've wanted to do my own classes for free motion quilting and quilting with rulers.

I've been doing a lot of work in the background, prepping to do just that, but there are a lot of "ducks" to get into a row.  If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've been doing a lot more Facebook live videos there instead of my usual YouTube videos.

If you're lucky enough to catch me live, you can ask questions and I'll even "Quilt on Demand!"

Until I'm ready to launch my own classes, I'm getting more involved with these live videos as it's a great way to practice, learn the lighting and audio techniques I need, and yet, because it's done live, I don't have to do the very involved and time consuming editing work that my own actual classes will need.

I'm launching a little, informal, quilt along this Wednesday evening, approximately 7pm eastern time in the US, on my Facebook page. This is the first project that I'm selling the fabric I'm using and folks can follow along. If you haven't been watching my Facebook content or aren't on Facebook, I apologize for the short notice. I have been talking about it on Facebook and Instagram for the last 3 weeks, but neglected to put anything here.

As I said, it's informal. This is a good way to decide if you like my teaching style, before I launch my other classes this winter. I will be quilting up an adorable owl panel and discussing how I choose quilting designs for something like this. Unlike many quilt-alongs, there isn't a mandatory pattern to follow and pardon the pun, I will largely be "winging it" when it comes to quilting these adorable birds as that is the best way for me to share my thought process with you.

I will be cutting the 4 owl blocks apart and piecing some of the coordinating fabric in between and adding borders to get a final project that makes for a nice throw sized quilt. I will share that information here, but you can just watch if you want, quilt just the panel as-is, or piece up your own version. You can find the panel and coordinating fabrics at

 If you've watched my classes at Craftsy and my live videos, you'll see that there's a big difference in my delivery with highly scripted classes like with Craftsy. My upcoming classes will be more scripted and edited for clarity, but since they won't be shot in less than three days (like Craftsy) I can take my time and present more information in a more relaxed way.

I'm really looking forward to these classes and all this Facebook live video practice has been fun for me, informative for my followers and a good time for all. I hope to "see" you Wednesday evening live at Amy's Quilting Adventures Facebook page, but don't worry, the video replay will be available to watch at your convenience.

This is going to be sew FUN!

Binding Quilts with the Janome Quilt Binder Set

I love to free motion quilt my quilts, but once I get done quilting them, especially if I've gone a little over the top with ruler work and dense fills, I tend to stall out on the binding. So I finally got around to using the Janome Quilt Binder Set.

I am totally in love with the quilt binder set! It's perfect for just getting these quilts bound and done. And I'm a big fan of done over perfection any day.

People usually wonder, "What about the corners?" Well, I think my corners are possibly better than my usual traditional method. I've got a pictorial tutorial for you and I will hopefully follow up with a video at some point. (This is not the easiest process to get good video footage while still getting my hands where they need to be.)

turning the corner with the quilt binding attachment
Four fabulous corners and #2 is where I joined the beginning and end!
This is the Janome Quilt Binding Set, not to be confused with the simple binding foot, which can't handle the thickness of a quilt but does a great job with binding raw edges of garments or making thin straps. If you have something other than a Janome, check with your dealer as I would think some of the other brands would have a similar product.

Janome Quilt Binding Set
It attaches to the machine, in part, by replacing the bobbin cover door with the base of the binder set, so it's important to get the right one for your machine. It's only meant for the bigger machines as you've got to have some room to work.

feeds the binding onto the quilt

It does a half inch binding using a 2 inch strip of fabric. There are other binders that are compatible that do different sizes, but you need the base from this set to make them work with means another purchase, which can get spendy. So just stick with this one unless you've got your own sweat shop going.

I cut my strips 2 inches wide and join them with 45 degree seams, then press to one side. I've tried to press them open but the binder just pushes them to the right as it is fed through, so to one side they go. I also make sure to load it with the seam allowances going to the right.

 As you can see in the above picture, the attachment wraps the binding around the edges. That 90 degree positioning/fold of the binding really helps get the quilt fully into the binding. There are several adjustments that the various screws allow you to make, including angling it for a curved edge and making the bottom fold stick out further than the top fold of the binding.

It comes with a foot but I chose to use my narrow Acufeed Flex Foot (a built in walking foot that is perfectly synchronized to the regular feed dogs) for more even feeding of the quilt layers and binding. It works fabulously together.

You can use a straight stitch but using a decorative stitch ensures that you'll catch both edges of the binding for sure.  In these two samples, I used pretty wide stitches because they looked great with the quilts, but I have used a narrow serpentine stitch, blanket stitch, and straight stitch with great results.

When you get to a corner, you stitch right up to the edge. Then you lift the foot and pull the quilt straight back about 10-12 inches (away from you) and put the foot back down on top of the binding and finger press the folded binding hanging out the back of the machine. Don't skimp on how much you pull through the back or you won't have enough to comfortably work with.

turn the binding around the corner

Then you fold the mitered corner down in front and secure with pins or tape, then the same for the back.
Kimerbell tape to secure

I now prefer Kimberbell Tape to do this. I do not sew over pins and when using them, as soon as I took them out, it would shift. I can sew right through the tape and it picks out easily without gumming up my needle or fabric.

Kimberbell tape on the back

Then you pull the quilt towards the back and insert into the extra binding that was pulled out. Then you carefully pull the binding backwards through the binder attachment, moving the quilt backwards as you go, until you are at the corner ready to continue stitching.

Gently pull until the binding encases the edge and you are back at the corner

Since I use the Kimberbell tape, I don't have to futz with pins. Just start stitching again. For the record, I wouldn't use any other brand of tape for this even it it does look like paper bandage tape. It's been made for stitching through.

turning a corner with the Janome Quilt Binder Set

And how do I join the ends of binding? There are a couple of different methods, but I am now a fan of joining the ends at a corner! This means I can use the binder as much as possible. If I joined along a side, I'd have to wing it to secure the binding on either end of the join.

 So I just hand tuck the raw ends to make a nice mitered corner and stitch it down. If I stitch all four corners down at the miters, it would be super duper hard to tell the difference. My friend and one of my favorite customers, Ann, took a look at this quilt and totally approved.

Because the attachment covers the bobbin cover door, you'll want to start with a full bobbin. Learn from my experience! Also, I don't recommend using a super complicated decorative stitch for this reason; uses more thread.

I wouldn't use this for show quilts, but if you want something to help get quilt binding done, this is fabulous. Great for charity quilts, utility quilts, and in my case, shop samples. I know some will say they prefer to hand bind, that's it's relaxing. I actually agree, but I am strapped for time and this helps.

My daughter is certainly happy to finally have her first quilt done. She pieced these 10" squares together and then we split the quilting. We each quilted every other block, and then it sat....waiting for its binding. Now it's all done!

Now, it's not cheap. But time is priceless. Many dealers don't keep the binders in stock because of the price, but I do, now that I've seen how easy it is to use. You can find the Janome Quilt Binder Set over at in two versions for different machines.

Finally, yes, I'm back to blogging here. Turns out our online shop's blogging platform makes it difficult to format a decent article and more importantly, it didn't allow me to respond directly to comments! That's a total deal breaker, so this will become the blog for all of my sewing and quilting adventures.

Quilting Doesn't Happen without a Top

I've finished up another block of the Splendid Sampler 2 this week.

Working on these blocks and sharing them with you may seem outside of my usual work, but ultimately my aim is to encourage you to quilt your own quilts and that can't happen in a vacuum that doesn't consider the blocks and piecing that is being quilted.

Read the rest of this post at my new blog over on the site. Don't forget, this blog will be retired soon and left as an archive. Change your links so you don't miss a thing.   I am happy to announce that after a painful attempt to change my blogging platform, blogging will continue to happen right here.

Splendid Sampler 2 Block 1

Today is the launch of the new The Splendid Sampler™ Quilt Along! We begin with 20 Free blocks and then the book comes out and continue making blocks with it. Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson authored this series of books with help from numerous quilt designers and I am delighted to be one of them for the Splendid Sampler II.

Pat and I first crossed paths when she interviewed me for her American Patchwork and Quilting Podcast. You can listen to the episode by clicking through the above link. We later met in person earlier this year where we were both teaching at Quilt Weekend Maysville. She is a hoot and has such a heart for quilters.

The first block was contributed by Alex Veronelli, spokesperson for Aurifil Thread, so you know there's going to be a giveaway involved. Get the download by visiting the Splendid Sampler site as well as other fabulous links and instructions.

Check out his block and the Splendid Sampler Facebook Group! There's all kinds of inspiration there as well as a bit of guidance for fabric selection and how to manage a Quilt Along that releases weekly and continues for nearly a full year!

My version of Alex's block is below....

Alex's block is simple but constructed a little differently than expected so to give you these great angles without fancy rulers. It's a bit like a french braid quilt. These six inch blocks of the SS2 is a bit of a challenge for me as I like to do bigger blocks or wholecloth projects so I can get to the quilting, but it's good exercise for my piecing skills.

I pulled my fat quarters several times for this project! I wanted scrappy, but coordinated. I didn't want anything too matchy-matchy though! Then I kept adding to the project box.

The designers were encouraged to stylize the block background which was a little new for me as I'm prone to just snap a plain pic of a block on a table or design wall. I had to throw in this great charm I found.

I hope you will follow along with me as I work through these blocks. Of course, once I get the top done, I'll share my quilting plan with you. By then, I'm sure I will have switched over to our new website and blog. I have started with a redesign of my current site which you can find at You'll notice two blogs there as I have listed one short post on the blog already which will eventually replace this one.

How about you? Will you join in the Quilt Along? Have you done the first one? Maybe started once upon a time, but never completed it? Let me know in the comments.

Amy's Quilting Juggling Act

Hard on the heels of teaching at the Janome Education Summit, I've been dabbling in quite a few quilty projects, though only a few or them involved quilting with rulers or ruler work. Click on the above link to read about the summit and links from other fabulous participants.

Janome passed along some photos from the event, so I thought I'd share them with you too. The Summit was my biggest class yet in teaching free motion quilting with rulers. Thank goodness we all had the same machine (Janome 9400), ruler foot and the Janome Ruler Work Kit for our rulers.  That made it a lot easier even though some of our participants hadn't done free motion quilting before.

Here's a great shot of Sarah Ann Smith! It was an honor to have her in class as she's been an inspiration over the years. She totally did her own thing with the project and gave a fabulous write up on the quilting with rulers class segment on her blog.

Have you seen the Jelly Roll Rug yet? Just had to make one of these fun things. I used a jelly roll and two rolls of pre-cut batting strips, but it's an excellent project for using up scraps of batting.

The trick to getting a nice flat rug instead of a ruffled thing my husband said looked like a swimming flounder is to make sure to sew on a large flat surface (pattern gives a suggestion how to set up machine next to a table if you don't have a machine cabinet) and to ease the fabric around the curves. I loved using my Horn cabinet for this.

As soon as I returned from the Summit, I had to get cracking on my shop's Row by Row pattern and project. Row by Row (aka rxr) is like a giant shop hop, all across North America (possibly elsewhere? Unsure) where travelling quilters collect either free patterns or buy the kit from shops. If you are the first to show a finished "row" quilt with 8 patterns from row shops, to a participating shop, you will win a bunch of fabric. It's something really fun to add during your summer travels.

My "row" is actually an 18 inch block as they are allowing different pattern sizes this year. I played with my machine's decorative stitches and a couple of different weights of Aurifil thread on it. I'll write up more about Row by Row closer to the launch date of June 21st. 

I'm really excited about this fabric line by Hope Yoder that we've got in the shop, especially the panel. I decided to order two more bolts of the panel in the thoughts that this might be the basis of my first either Quilt-along, or a new online class. I've got kits for this quilt featuring the panel in the shop right now, but I'll let you know more about what I want to do with it soon. Need to get the additional panels in before I launch something online.

Speaking of hosting a Quilt-along or a new online class, I'm working on two big changes for you  and my business/teaching.

Ever since we bought our bricks and mortar shop, Sew Simple of Lynchburg, I've been neglecting this blog and my video making. I've been scattered in several places online too and it's been quite a juggling act. To make up for my lack of blogging and video making, I've been shooting more live Facebook videos and they certainly helped me feel more connected to you in my online audience, but I've really been spread thin. Live videos are fun and easy to do, but lacking when it comes to organized instruction.

I finally reached out to a pair of mentors of mine and asked them what to do with my websites. I was afraid to hear how bad my sites were as I'm the one who set them all up, so they're a bit amateurish, though fit for my tiny budget. Their advice? It was that I need to condense the various sites into one site if possible and shorten the url. If you've ever heard me struggle in a video to say "I'm Amy from Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures," you know they're right!

So....I'll be transitioning everything over to!

I'm excited about the change though it will take a lot of work and a bit of time to get everything moved. If you follow the blog via a feed reader like Bloglovin' or something else, I'll let you know when the blog makes the switch and you'll want to change your settings to the new blog. This blog will stay online, but I won't be adding to it once I make the switch.

Lastly, I'm looking at doing some of my own online classes! These will fit somewhere between the highly scripted classes I did with Craftsy and my very casual, informal Facebook live videos, or even my YouTube videos. This will give me better control over the content I teach and how I teach it. Some classes will be free, others will be paid. All will be full of great information and taught in my laid-back style.

I'm very excited about these changes and I hope you will be too! Let me know your thought in the comments.

Janome Education Summit 2018

Earlier this week I drove up to a lovely Marriot conference center in a wooded business park in the northern end of New Jersey. I was there to teach quilting with rulers and the use of rulers when quilting on the Janome 9400 to a huge room full of Janome Educators and Janome Artisans and influencers. In other words, I was teaching the folks who teach others about using Janome machines!

Kimberly Einmo, the new Janome spokesperson, kicked things off with a great presentation about her creative career and a class on making flying geese using her ruler, fabric and pattern. Y'all know I'm a bit challenged when it comes to piecing. Piecing in public? Well, let's just say, while it looked OK, I was slooooow compared to all the other quilters.

I did make pretty rainbow confetti!

She's so incredibly nice and she stuck around to take my class on quilting with rulers. Janome was giving out little pins throughout the event and this was the one given out for my class! LOVE it. So true.

It was fabulous teaching a class in ruler work in which everyone had the same machine, same ruler foot, and rulers. Probably eliminated about 40 minutes of my material on what foot and ruler thickness needed. Also, the ruler mode setting on the Janome 9400 (and the 15000) means I don't have to keep repeating "Remember, lower the foot before you lower the needle! Raise the needle before you raise the foot."

I had a custom panel created for the class as there were some 30+ people in the group. If you're quilting with rulers, you really need places to put the ruler against, so a printed/marked/pieced top is really the best to work on and this saved me a lot of time.

We used the new Janome Ruler Work Kit for our rulers too. This meant coming up with different shapes and designs than I usually use.

What was fabulous is that several of the educators and Janome Artisans were not quilters and so they were new to free motion and still did quite well. Being a group of educators and experienced quilters too, we had several folks take off and run with the technique, doing their own thing. Janome Educator based in Texas, Terry Mingee (below), was actually a "fan" of mine and it was so nice to meet him.

Nicole of Modern Handcraft took her rulers to the project she made in Kimberly's morning class. She was so enthusiastic and sweet. She was off and running with ruler work. She also may have inspired me to play with hexagons.....

One of these people was Sarah Ann Smith whose book, Threadwork Unravelled, I read and studied as I was first learning to free motion quilt, so I was pretty excited!She's an amazing quilter and has been a Janome Artisan for quite some time.

I was also excited to finally meet Liz Thompson of the Janome Canada blog, Janome Life. Her blog post on the Janome ruler foot combination has brought me quite a few new readers and followers over the years. We've come close at a few Janome events over the years, but it wasn't until now that we were able to meet. She also did a great (and hilarious) demo on the Janome Quilt Binder Set.

I wasn't able to attend the rest of the Summit and had to get back to Sew Simple, so I missed the rest of the activities. But my several of my fellow attendees and I are sharing links to each other's posts this week. Click through the links (more at the end of this post) to see more of the attendees and their take on the event.

It was truly an honor to be asked to teach the teachers for Janome and to meet and teach so many other wonderful folks who have also made it their business and calling to teach, encourage, and create.

Kimberly Einmo:
Nicole at Modern Handcraft
The Janome America blog has a post on the event. (Or will have it up soon)
Joanna at KustomKwilts has a great overview of the whole event!
Sarah Ann Smith is doing a series of posts on the event. I'll post the links as I get them.
        Part one

I'll continue to add links as they become listed.
Jessica VanDenburgh of  The Straight Stitch also posted and you should go see what she thinks of my class.

BTW, this is not what I expected to see out my room window in northern New Jersey! How nice and peaceful.

Shredded Thread? Four Things to Check

Today, I thought I'd share with you four tips for troubleshooting shredded threads, especially when quilting in free motion. Three are fairly straightforward, but the fourth can be a real challenge to describe well and I have yet to remember to take a picture when it has happened to me. But I have a graphic to help.

But first, let me mention a few other things that can cause thread shredding, particularly when stitching in free motion. Free motion is a real test of all the variables of your machine and set-up because you're doing things very differently than when regular sewing.

1) Bad thread. Obviously cheap, dirty, sun-damaged thread is pretty easy to check. Some of us don't keep any cheap thread in the house, others of us may find some works fine for some projects and purposes. Sometimes we grab an inferior thread without realizing it, because we were cooking for color only. Sometimes, good thread goes bad. There could be a manufacturer's defect or other issue. If new to free motion quilting, the jerky motion of our hands can be enough to cause some cotton and most rayon threads to break. Once the hand motion is smoother, a wide range of threads can be explored.

Does your machine chew up thread?

2) A problem with thread delivery. This covers a wide range of how the thread feeds off the spool and into the machine. I like to think of the thread content as the food for the machine and the spool as the plate or bowl for the "food." Figuring out how to best feed the thread (no junk food/thread!) off the spool or cone is much like deciding whether you need a spoon or a fork for a particular meal. I'll go into my food analogy in another post, but it's never a good idea to serve food on a cracked other words, check your spool, spool caps (you're using the proper spool cap for a horizontal spool pin, right?), cone or cone stand for snags and rough spots. Check any other area that the thread passes as it enters the machine. Also make sure you're serving up the thread in the correct manner. Some threads do not like the extra twist created by feeding off the top of the spool. Sometimes the extra twist causes the thread to break, while other times, it can cause the thread to get loopy, and make a weird stitch, usually in the bobbin case.

3)  You've fed your machine well, but it's having thready indigestion! It may have digestion issues. Check for snags, damage, stray threads in the thread path. This particularly important in regards to the needle, needle plate and bobbin case. Try a new needle in case the current one is damaged. Try a different size or type of needle to better suit the thread you're using. Inspect the needle plate for damage too. If a needle has broken or hit the plate, it may have caused damage in a place that was avoided in regular sewing. The same is true of the bobbin case and hook. Sometimes the needle passes too close to the edge of the needle plate. This may be a bent needle or it could be a needle bar that needs re-centering by a service tech. If using a non-hopping free motion foot, setting the foot too high over the project will also cause shredding as the fabric "flags" up the needle.

4) Finally the other thing that presents itself as shredded thread is actually something a little different. I've mentioned before that many machines do not like to free motion directly in reverse. It's always been a difficult thing to explain. It has to do with how a stitch is formed and where the needle thread travels. For one of my presentations while teaching at Quilt Weekend in Maysville KY, I made a graphic to show what can happen and why.

 You can see in the above image that the stitch basically has to "decide" which side of the needle it will lay as the needle goes into the fabric. In this case, the stitches are from an embroidery project, not free motion, which explains the slanted stitches (tighter bobbin tension). No shredding here, but it shows how while we can move in all directions, the needle is still set up for one direction sewing. Usually it does just like the above, going to one side or the other, but sometimes, the thread is directly under the needle as it goes down.

Essentially, the "working thread" that travels around the bobbin case as a stitch is formed gets pierced by the needle. This splits the thread and presents as shredded thread which breaks after a few stitches. It doesn't happen when backstitching with the machine in reverse while sewing regularly because the feed dogs are in better control of the movement and timing of the stitch formation and the slack is pulled more evenly.

There's not a lot one can do about this other than to avoid free motion quilting by pulling the quilt directly towards yourself. When doing circular motions, statistically there's a chance of this happening over just a few stitches. It's a pain, and some machines and thicker threads have more issues than others.

When it comes to quilting with rulers, this backwards motion can happen more often as it's really easy to run a ruler along the side of the foot. Try to set the project and ruler at a slight angle and this will help avoid that directly backwards action.

I hope you found this helpful. There are quite a few things that need to be checked when there's a thread issue beyond tension and this should help you troubleshoot things if you have this problem. I think we all do from time to time. Feed your machine well and it won't go to chewing.