“Free Motion Fun…With Feathers! Volume 2″ is here!!

April 23rd, 2009

Wow! It’s been a long time in the making, but the second volume of feathers is now here and available for purchase! This baby is HOT and covers more than 28 different feather designs, spread out over 2 discs! With a total play time of 4 hours and 5 minutes, this 2-disc set will keep you busy learning all kinds of fun and innovative feather designs! Here’s what is covered:

We begin with a short chapter discussing and illustrating different types of feathers and the various features you can add to a feather to set different tones to your quilt. The goal of this chapter is to help you organize different feather designs so you can appreciate the predictable effects they will have on the viewer. This will enable you to make effective choices about each and every feather you decide to stitch on your quilt!

From there, we move to a chapter on one-sided freeform feathers; these feathers will be the groundwork for stitching more complex feathers in chapters to come. Examples of this include the basic one-sided freeform feather:

…and the one-sided softened heart feather:

…and the one-sided curved heart feather:

…and the one-sided whimsical feather:

…and the one-sided freeform feather with a true spine:

…and the one-sided freeform feather with a scroll spine:

And in the next chapter, the fun really begins as we take our one-sided feathers and convert them into asymmetric feathers, or feathers with one design on one side and a different design on the opposite side! We begin with an asymmetric whimsical feather:

…and then an asymmetric freeform feather where we’ve melded plumes in with our swirls:

…and then we start to play with asymmetric feathers stitched in more than one thread color:

…and then we look at asymmetric feathers in 2 threads adding some garden elements:

…and then we look at an asymmetric softened heart feather in 2 threads that is also hyperquilted:

Next, we move to creating asymmetric feathers in feathers with a true spine:

…and asymmetric feathers with a true spine using 2 different threads:

Next, we change gears and move to learning new hyperquilting designs for feathers! We start off with inlined hearts:

…and then to loopy heart inlining:

…and the to the serrated frond embellishment:

…and the the single curly cue embellishment:

…and then the double curly cue embellishment:

…and then we move to splayed inlining:

…and then to the splayed serrated frond embellishment:

…and then to the splayed frond embellishment:

…and then to the splayed hearts embellishment:

From there, we move to a chapter called “Hyperquilting Special Effects,” where we learn how to take our new hyperquilting skills and manipulate them to alter our hyperquilted feathers just a bit further. An example of that is asymmetric hyperquilting, where a different design is stitched inside each side of a feather’s plumes:

…and then we move to what I call “double-triple hyperquilting,” where different components of a complex hyperquilting design are stitched in more than one color of thread:

…and then we move to the “motherload embellishment,” where we just throw in pretty much everything except the kitchen sink:

From there, we’ll move to something much calmer as we learn 4 different feather explosion designs. These are all different methods of using feathers as a background fill design:

As you can see, this 2-disc set is overflowing with fun and innovative design ideas for feathers! On top of that, we’ve got some new thread packs available in the store…I’m calling these my “free motion fun thread packs,” as they are a collection of some of my favorite threads for free motion quilting and embroidery! Each pack contains (1) mini-cone spool of 5 different subtly variegated threads from the YLI “Variations” line of trilobal polyester threads, as well as one mini-cone spool of “24-karat gold” rayon thread by Robison-Anton, my favorite thread for hyperquilting feathers:

We also have our 3 thread packs from Superior threads, and because they have raised their prices, the current prices on these 3 packs will only be good through 4/30/09, so check them out if you’re looking for some great threads!

So, if you’re interested in learning some new feather designs, check out the free preview video clip to get a snapshot of what’s on the DVD and start stitching!
(Note:the free downloads are up, but they are password-protected and the password is on the DVD).

Another Amish Hyperquilting Sampler Quilt Finished!!

April 16th, 2009

Man, my sewing machine has been smokin’! Actually, I have been spending any time I can with my machine because I’ve just got so much stuff to finish in time for spring quilt market in a few weeks! Here’s the second Amish quilt, now fully quilted and bound!

Sometimes, when I’m up against a deadline, quilting can feel kind of obligatory rather than the fun experience that it normally is for me. By the time I had stitched that border feather, I was kind of feeling that way, so I was viewing the hyperquilting phase of it feeling kind of “put out” about the whole thing. Well, let me tell you, this was a great example of how hyperquilting can breath new life into a quilt! As I started to stitch it out, man, did my heart start to beat! Here’s a shot of just a bit of it as I was still working on the machine:

You can see how much that gold threadwork adds! Fortunately, the excitement of this really “juiced me up,” so stitching the remainder was thrilling for me! Here’s a shot of a corner of it closeup:

OOOOOH-LA-LA!! Once I had finished quilting it, I grabbed that quilt and ran into my husband’s workshop to show him! He’s really supportive of my quilting, but sometimes, he must think I’m just a bit nuts!
Next, I started on a wholecloth quilt that will eventually be hyperquilted with an easy all-over pattern. Here’s the “base design:”

Here’s a close up shot of part of it:

My plan is to color in all the quilted design once it’s been hyperquilted, just as an example of how many different ways you can “play” with your quilt through free motion work. I’ll post more as it develops. For now, I’m sitting at an airport terminal and it looks like my flight is going to depart on time, so I’ve got to sign off!

Plugging Away on a New Quilt and Book Give-Away Winner Announced!

April 9th, 2009

I’ve been plugging away on 2 Amish quilts that I made during the filming of the next DVD on feathers. All of the really intricate stuff on them has been done for several weeks, but I realized that I never went back and quilted the outer 2 borders. Yikes! This stuff needs to be completely done for spring quilt market next month, so I need to get myself focused! Here’s a shot of the first one; it’s totally done and bound:

I like this one because it’s got a number of interesting hyperquilting designs, but I was in a huge rush to quilt the borders and I didn’t do as neat of a job as I would have liked. Here’s a shot of part of the second quilt:

This one has 5 other hyperquilting designs in those wreaths, but I threw in a jazzy spine design for the inner border. This design is what I call the “bicycle chain spine.” That name really doesn’t do it justice because it’s a lovely, flowing, intricate design. You can stitch it using the same color thread as the plumes like this one:

…or you can use one thread for the spine and a different thread for the plumes, which is what I did in this quilt’s border.

Either way, you begin by marking a nice curve for the spine guideline and in the first phase, you stitch out your bicycle chain spine:

(This part is actually easier than it looks, as long as you keep honoring the curve of that chalk line). In the next step, you begin stitching at the base of one side and you throw on the plumes on that side, including that very last plume at the tip:

Can you tell that the challenge in this design is stitching your plumes up against an irregular spine edge? When I first started doing this design and others like it, that really threw me, but somehow, it gets easier the more I do it. Once that first side is done, you go back to the base and throw the plumes along the opposite side. I think this makes for a very showy feather!

I just started the outer border today, so it’s not done yet. This is a free-form feather but I’ve taken the spine guideline totally to the edge of the border on both sides. (It’s hard to tell now, but the space on the outer edge isn’t really there as it will be consumed by binding).

When you stitch a feather border in this fashion, it alters the look of the feather because there are places where one side will have no plumes. It’s an interesting look. I’ll probably go back and hyperquilt this once I’m done…I mean I kind of HAVE to, since it’s a hyperquilting sampler and all! Here’s one last shot-this is one of the corners:

And now for that drumroll moment…the winner of the Applique book giveaway is:

THEARICA BURROWS from Henderson, NC! Congrats, Thearica, and I hope you enjoy it!

April Sale!

April 5th, 2009

Spring is just around the corner and we are celebrating with a Spring sale! Effective now through midnight on April 12, 2009, we’ll have the following items on sale in our webstore:

Bendable Bright Lights
These will light up your work so you can actually SEE what you’re stitching! Normally $49.95, on sale for $39.95. If you haven’t yet seen just how bright this light is, be sure to watch the bendable bright light video to see this light in action!

40-inch Flexible Curve Ruler

This ruler is long enough to mark intensely curled feathers and it will make the work of marking feather spine guidelines along borders a snap! Normally $19.50, now on sale for $15.95!

Pansy Greetings Art Quilt Pattern
Learn the fun of trapunto as you put together this beautiful quilt! Pattern contains instructions, diagrams, and suggestions for different designs to use for background quilting! Normally priced at $11.99, now on sale for $10.00!

Hearts ‘N Swirls Wall Hanging Pattern
Learn the fun of trapunto and free motion machine embroidery as you create this wall hanging! Pattern contains instructions, diagrams, and suggestions for different designs to use for background quilting! Normally priced at $11.99, now on sale for $10.00!

The Scoop on Asymmetric Feathers and a Give-Away!

April 2nd, 2009

Gosh, it has been so long since my last post! I have been in 8 cities in the last 2 1/2 weeks, and I am still unpacking and trying to get caught up with my life. Since I posted the most recent pictures of the “Making a Splash!” fish quilt, I received a number of emails asking me for more info on asymmetric feathers. These look complicated but I have learned that the secret is to break them down in your head into “stages of stitching.” Here’s a shot of the most basic form I know of an asymmetric feather:

On the right side of this feather is a one-sided freeform whimsical feather-that should sound familiar, so we’re still on safe ground here, right?! On the left side are a series of skinny scrolls or skinny curly-cues that are stitched freehand as one travels up that “implied spine” edge. Stay with me here, and we’ll get a bit more complicated with our next asymmetric feather:

Don’t panic yet, because you can do this! On the right side is a one-sided freeform feather and what we’ve done is switched to a high contrast decorative thread (“24-karat gold” rayon thread by Robison Anton) and I’ve stitched those skinny scrolls or curly cues up BOTH sides of the implied spine. What I’ve learned is that when you want to use more than 1 thread in an asymmetric feather, you need to take some special steps to ensure that you don’t accidentally visually bisect your feather into 2 unrelated parts. The way I did that here was to “marry” the 2 sides of my feather by bringing that second thread color back over into the first side…pretty tricky, n’est pas?! The other thing I’ve learned is that when you emerge from between 2 plumes on the original side, you want to make sure the curve of that first skinny curly cue seems like it would be a curve that would flow naturally from that spot. Now, let’s say you want to “marry” the 2 sides of a feather with a second thread color, but you don’t really want to stitch those curly cues on both sides…can you do that? Of course you can! Here’s just one example:

Woo-hoo! That baby is on fire!! I love how that one came out! This feather was created by stitching a one-sided softened heart freeform feather on the right side and then I switched to gold thread and simultaneously stitched skinny curly cues on the left side while I hyperquilted the feather on the right side! Wow, is all I can say about that one! Now, we’re playing around here with freeform feather variations that have no true stitched in spine-does that mean we can’t make an asymmetric feather using a feather with a strue stitched in spine? Nope, of course we can!

This began as a one-sided whimsical feather with a stitched-in spine and then skinny curly cues were stitched up the edge of the spine. The key here is to stitch very carefully as you move up that spine because if your work is messy, it will blow the whole design. Now, could we do this in 2 threads? Of course!

We’ve simply switched thread colors and stitched curly cues (carefully) traveling up both sides of the stitched in spine. Just like before, you could also marry the 2 sides through hyperquilting. Here’s a stage-by-stage photo tutorial, where you begin with some type of one-sided feather w/a stitched-in spine:

In the next phase, you switch colors and stitch curly cues on the left side of the spine:

…and in this last phase, we move up the right side of the spine with a simple inlining embellishment. In this way, we’ve used that second thread color on both sides of the spine and married our feather into one cohesive design:

In all of the designs above, the skinny curly cues were stitched freehand but what do you do if you’ve got a BIG space you want to fill with that part of the design? It’s easy! You get out your flexible curve ruler (this is where the LONG ruler comes in handy!), and you mark off 1-2 REALLY big skinny curves coming off the feather. As you stitch your way backward from the final curves of these, you just start adding all your skinny curly cues freehand, and you’ll end up with some really cool complex scroll designs. That’s how I quilted the asymmetric feather in “Making a Splash!”

All of this feather work will be covered in the 2nd volume of Free Motuion Fun…With Feathers!” We actually ran out of space on that volume so a whole bunch of really cool feather spine material will be in a 3rd volume of feathers!

In a totally unrelated note, I won a copy of “Adventure & Applique,” by Suzanne Marshall.

This is a really nice book, but I already own a copy, so I’ve got a copy to give away! Anyone who posts a comment to this post or sends me an email titled “Applique Book Give Away” between now and 9 am EST on 3/8/09 will be entered into the drawing! Good luck!