Check Out The Feathers on Another Quilter’s Work!

December 29th, 2006

A friend of mine, McKenna Linn, sent me this photo of some feathering on a quilt she recently made:

McKenna Feathers

This is the second quilt she has made with feathers since watching the “Free Motion Fun…With Feathers!” DVD. I am partial to purple so I would have liked this quilt regardless, but notice how those feathers really bring it to life! Way to go, McKenna! To see more of McKenna’s work, visit her website at

Burn, Baby, Burn!

December 18th, 2006

I’ve just recently started playing around with burning fabric to try and create a distressed or weathered or aged look. I need to learn a lot more, but wanted to share my early experiences because it’s pretty fun and it’s always nice to be able to achieve new effects on our quilts. Look below to see the tool I used today:

creative tool

You can buy this tool at Joanne Fabrics and there’s one called the “Creative Textile Tool” at Michaels that’s also good. They go for about $29.95, so make sure you take your coupon with you! As far as I can tell, they all get VERY hot and simply vary in the tips available for each tool.

I started by fusing Wonder Under fusible web to the wrong side of a few pieces of very cheap organza fabric. This fabric is a very thin synthetic which MELTS if it gets too hot, so cover the fabric with a teflon pressing sheet so your iron doesn’t touch it directly. (Would you like to guess how I know this?!) Once fused, cut out the precise leaf shape and remove the backing paper. I remove the paper ahead of the burning process because otherwise, I think some of the paper will fuse itself permanently into the leaf edge. Now you are ready to indulge your pyromaniac fantasies!

burning process

The burning happens very easily and VERY fast, so stay alert and be ready to move quickly! (Also, you can see that I did this at a bathroom counter so I had water nearby in case I needed to throw any flaming fabric in!) I burned the leaf edges by just gently touching my tool to the edges of the leaves-be careful because you’ll melt away large sections FAST if you aren’t careful! I burned holes within the leaves the same way. In many places, the burning left a cool black shadow afterward and I LOVE this effect! Can you see that off to the side there is a batik leaf with some focal burn marks? This was a pre-fused batik leaf that burned VERY DIFFERENTLY than the organza. It was a tough burn and I need to play with this some more. The take home message is that it’s an entirely different animal than the organza.


This last photo shows the burned leaves fused to a background fabric. I then did free motion quilting within the leaves to create veins, as well as some quilting outside the leaves. I like the effect of the weathered look of the leaves and I also like the shadows created by the overlapping organza. The edges of this will be finished and then it will be a fabric postcard for some lucky friend. It sure is fun to play with new ways to handle fabrics and threads!

The Way to Download the Designs…

December 17th, 2006

If you’re trying to download any quilting designs, the way to do it is to scroll down the lefthand column on the home page and click on “free downloads.” Once this page comes up, the newest designs can be found under the “Fast and Free” section. They are the last 4 groups mentioned and they are arranged in order from the easiest designs to the hardest designs. I’ve gotten a few emails from kind folks who alerted me to the fact that the title link about the designs downloads isn’t working, so use this way to work around it!

Check out This Student’s Beautiful Feather Work!

December 13th, 2006

Look at this great picture I got in the mail last week! This quilt was made by Cecelia Hosford and represents her very first attempt at stitching feathers:

Chong Flower by Cecelia Hosford

Notice how she was able to stitch these feathers in some very tight spaces-check out the center area. This is very tight but with the basic freeform feather, YOU get to decide where you want to put your feathers and you can always make them fit! Great job Cecelia!!!!


December 7th, 2006

“Fast and Free, Volume I” has taken us much longer to edit than we thought, but I finally got the 4 families of designs we cover in it upoaded into the “Free Downloads” section of the website. They are organized from the easiest designs, (the loop-D-loop family) to the hardest designs, (golden arches, igloos, and court jester hats). If you’ve ever taken one of my classes, you know that the whole premise of the fast and free way of thinking is that if you can learn the first baseline design in a family, each subsequent design is formed merely by making a slight change in the baseline design. So…start with the first design in each family. Once you’ve learned to stitch it, look at the drawing for the next design and just determine what the change is from the base design. This will make it easier to learn to stitch each member of the series. Sorry the DVD is not debuting today as well…we are ACTIVELY working on the editing and I will post as soon as I have a clearer date of release.

One more thing…to find the starting point for each design, look for the * and this is your take-off point.