Fast and Free Volume 2 Now Available for purchase!

April 30th, 2007

Sorry about the delay…we are attempting to upgrade the shopping cart so it has more flexibility, and that has been what delayed getting the “click to buy” button available for the new DVD. The new DVD is now available for retail purchasers. The button for wholesale purchasing is not ready yet, but if you are a domestic wholesale buyer who is already registered with us and in a hurry to get the new DVD’s, email me and I’ll work you through how we can get an order to you expediently. If you are an international vendor who has been trying to register with us for wholesale purchases, once we get this upgrade completed, we should be able to accommodate you. Again, sorry for the delay and hope you all enjoy the new DVD!

Sneak Peek!

April 28th, 2007

I’m working on another quilt, (I really DO finish things, I just like to have many projects going at once; I guess it keeps me stimulated), and I thought I’d give you a preview. It’s another Amish quilt:

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This feathered heart is in the center block and is surrounded by the irregular swirl quilting motif. I am totally IN LOVE with this quilting design! A partial view of the next borders:

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Sorry the pictures aren’t great…I’ll take some good pictures once it’s been bound.

I got some great news today…My “Free Motion Fun…With Feathers!” DVD will be featured in the July/August issue of Fons and Porter’s “Love of Quilting” magazine. It sure is nice to get that kind of positive review! One more thing…I didn’t expect them yet, but guess what was on my front porch this afternoon…

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Yup! 39 cases of DVD’s arrived here today, even earlier than we thought! We can hopefully get the website updated over the weekend and have them available fo sale on Monday!

Fast and Free, Volume 2 Update

April 25th, 2007

I heard from the DVD replicator yesterday, and the next DVD, “Fast and Free, Volume II,” will be here and available for sale this coming Monday, 4/30/07. This DVD is a continuation of the last one and covers many new free motion quilting designs, none of which require any premarking of the quilt sandwich! There are 5 families of designs that are covered, and the pictures are below:

#1-”The Innies and Outies” Family

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Family #2 – “The Innies and Outies Meet the Grid” Family

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Family #3- “Water, Fire, and Wood” Family

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Family #4 – “Seashells, Candlelight, and Who Knows What!” Family

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Family #5 – “The Loop-D-Loop Family Revisited”

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My fingers are ready to drop off, I just uploaded 29 pictures! Ouch! Look for free downloadable line drawings that correspond with the designs over the next several days…once I get the feeling in my fingers back!

New Class!

April 16th, 2007

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I have been working on a new class, and the wall hanging above is what I’ve come up with to learn some techniques that I’m frequently asked about. It is always a challenge to me to come up with a project that a student can either complete in a day long class or at least get far enough along in to learn all the necessary techniques. My goal is to pass along techniques that I’ve learned and I’ve found that most students seem to want something tangible that they can take home with them, rather than a bunch of “practice” samples that ultimately end up in a waste basket.

We cover a few techniques in this class…we start off with fusible applique and cut away applique; these are really just a means to an end. Then we move to free motion machine embroidery and we learn some decorative stitching that we use to embellish these leaves:

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You may be able to notice the decorative stitching on the fern better in this shot:

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The stitching in the oak leaf is a bit different:

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Here’s a better close-up; notice how using free motion machine embroidery rather than quilting this type of decoration makes the leaf pop forward rather than recede:

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And here’s the decorative stitching on the maple leaves:

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We’ll also learn how to use monofilament threads to change the textures of some of our embroidered shapes, some interesting free motion machine quilting designs and how to make them more interesting by going back over them with “hyper-quilting,” (see the quilted vines and the highlighting with a contrasting thread), and also how to do the escape hatch finish, immortalized by Melody Johnson! For those of you unfamiliar with the escape hatch finish, it allows you to finish the quilt edges without applying binding, and this is sometimes necessary to preserve the artistry of your piece. Lots to cover, but all VERY fun!

The Ongoing Debate of Frame System vs. Traditional Push-Through Quilting

April 10th, 2007

Almost daily, I hear someone raise the question of whether or not he/she could free motion quilt better if using a longarm or midarm machine on a frame system. I think a lot of people believe that a frame system will relieve them of having to work on and develop good free motion skills…this is a misunderstanding! A frame system will require you to learn a whole new set of skills-these skills will be easier for some people and harder for others. So, the question of whether to move to a frame is a very individual one and because it is an expensive and time consuming venture, (remember, it will take you time to learn these new long arm skills), this is a question to consider thoughtfully before making a move.
I would like to propose another option that most people don’t realize exists. Check out the picture below to see a 3rd alternative:

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This is an HQ16, (mid-arm machine with a 16 inch extension from the throat of the machine), that is not set up in a frame system but rather, has a Plexiglas extension table, (this measures 24 in x 48 in), that fits right up against the throat of the machine, thereby giving me a nice, large, level surface on which to push around my quilt. It cost under $45 to build the table and this compares to several thousands of dollars to purchase a frame system. You could do this for any mid-arm machine or long-arm machine. What I want you to see is that in addition to the extended area from the throat of the machine, notice how HIGH that space is…can you see how much additional room there is in which to cram a quilt? I can easily move a king sized quilt through this area WITH EASE. For me, a frame system just doesn’t seem right. As silly as it sounds, I always felt too far away from the quilt and I really missed the intimacy of being close to my quilt and moving it around. Each person needs to make a decision on this for him/herself, but if you enjoy push-through free motion work and are frustrated by having to cram your quilt through a small space, you may want to consider a system like this.
One more thing…if you’re interested in trying to make a system like this, I believe that you can buy an extension table like this commercially for your machine, but if you can’t find one or want to save even more money, my husband has a step-by-step tutorial on how to build one that is on the 3rd DVD, which should be available in the next 3-4 weeks. (It’s at the replicator now!)