Are you Looking to Hone Your Free Motion Quilting Skills?

January 10th, 2020

If you are looking to advance your free motion quilting skills, then you’ve got to check out Blueprint’s new campaign called 28 Days to Better Free Motion Quilting.

Blueprint has taken lessons from 11 of its top free motion quilting instructors and organized these lessons into a 28 day program designed to advance your skills and provide you with fresh and new free motion quilting design challenges!  Isn’t this an incredible idea?!!  The lessons begin with easier designs and then build your skills to more complex designs.

Here’s the breakdown of lessons by week:

Week 1: Lines and Curves  (Days 1-7)

Kick things off with simple designs that get you comfortable moving fabric around your machine. Start with simple scribbles, then move through a series of lines and curves to build a foundation for more complex designs.

Week 2: Meandering Designs  (Days 8-14)

Get comfortable filling up all that blank space by practicing meandering motifs, including the infamous stipple. Then see what else you can do with all-over stitching to create swirls, flowers and more.

Week 3: Between the Lines  (Days 15-21)

Leave behind your meandering motifs and focus on being a little more precise. From arcs and serpentine curves to hearts and more, this lesson is all about practicing motifs between a set of lines. They’re perfect for borders and sashing.

Week 4: Feature Motifs  (Days 22-28)

Feature motifs are meant to be showstoppers — we’re talking feathers and flowers. Get tips for combining these gorgeous motifs with other designs from previous lessons. Then go forth and quilt all the quilts!

In case you’re wondering, you’ll find 2 lessons by me during the 4th week…I’ll let you guess what those lessons might be about!  You can find this series of lessons by clicking here, and feel free to browse through all the other great Blueprint classes while you’re there!

A Quilt for One of my Brothers

January 8th, 2020


My brother’s favorite color is black, and I literally pieced 3 different tops that featured black but this is the only one I like.  I LOVE how black makes other colors more dramatic, but I do not find it an easy color to use in large amounts.  I’m really happy with how this lap quilt turned out, though.  The center is a giant Dresden plate that I made using the template from Missouri Star:

Here’s a close up of how those blades/fans are quilted.  I had drawn a soap line down the center of each fan and just stitched an “Aztec feather” inside each one:

I used a 4 in circle template to create an arc that ran from each fan blade to the next, then went back in with the Westalee Corner marking oval template to add a channel.  The area around the ruler work is quilted using the rudimentary “Plumify It” quilt design:

The striped border has a long straight feather stitched across it on all 4 sides:

The outermost border is quilted with feathers that are curling intensely that spring from one another.  I really love that effect and it makes me feel so great to stitch those that I literally think I could do it all day long:

One last shot…sure hope he likes it!

A Not Very “Patsy” Quilt

December 5th, 2019

I am on a mission to finish up old projects as I’m no spring chicken anymore.   I keep meeting quilters who’ve developed joint issues, etc that have impaired their ability to quilt or make quilts.  This has me thinking that if I don’t get focused on getting some of these projects finished and out the door, they might never get done.  Below is a perfect example:

If you are thinking that this quilt doesn’t look anything like my normal work, you would be 100% correct.  The colors, fabrics,  and style are not me at all; that may be why this project has not been touched in so long.  I started quilting this 15 years ago with the goal of it being an example of flowing feathers with elongated, thin plumes.  I remember picking it back up to finish it, but it’s been at least another 10 years since the last time I laid my hands on it.  I’ve been plugging away on it the past couple of days and am committed to handing it in as a hospice donation quilt by the end of January at the latest.  For the time being, that seems very do-able to me.

These feathers are made by “springing” a feather from between 2 plumes of an already stitched feather.  The photo above shows the curve that will determine the curve of the spine of the next feather.  (The line is white on the red fabric and blue on the cream fabric.)  If you can’t see it well, this next shot might show it better:

You will notice that the plumes are deliberately stretched out to come close to nearby feathers.  By taking up most of the available space with more plumes, it adds to the drama of the swirling feathers.  I have to “honor” the way I started quilting this quilt, and that’s kind of weird.  For reasons unknown to me, I did not do any stitch-in-the-ditch quilting before I started throwing in feathers.  (I know, I am aghast at myself!)  There isn’t even any stitching around the perimeter of the whole star!  What was I thinking…who knows?!  It all begins with a feather that springs from the very center of each of the 8 diamonds that make up the star:

(If you look closely, you can see a white soap line that is the curve this new feather will follow.)  I start stitching from that center, and then fill each individual diamond with 2 feathers.  Once done, I move to the outlying cream colored fabric zones. For now, tough, this is my vantage point:


I’ll post photos once it’s all quilted and bound.  Posting this on my blog will make me even more accountable to getting this quilt finally finished!

Black Friday Week

November 26th, 2019

Missouri Star is having a Black Friday week from 11/26-12/1/19 and they are featuring their education academy.  That means that this week, my new Missouri Star ruler work class is 50% off!!!

This class was an incredible deal at its everyday price, but now it’s literally a STEAL!  You’ll be able to finish all kinds of projects in time for holiday gift-giving once you learn how to do ruler work!  If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can get the bargain price by clicking here!

In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving!

Online Ruler Work Class

November 22nd, 2019

I know…this is the second time I am plugging my new ruler work class with Missouri Star, but it’s REALLY, REALLY good!  You will be surprised by how quickly you’ll be able to pick up the basics and then move on to complex design work using rulers.  The video is so clear, so well lit, and so well shot that I don’t think the instructions could be any clearer than they are.  This class is a bargain at $14.99 and it is money well spent.  I would take it myself if I didn’t already know how to do it!

Even basic straight line ruler work can be transformative to a quilt, and it’s an easy way to highlight a special portion of your quilt and draw the viewer’s eye to exactly where you want it to be!  Don’t even get me started about ruler work curves:

Need I say more?!!  What are you waiting for?!! You can sign up for the class by clicking here.