Please Join Me at the Road to California Show in January 2014!

July 17th, 2013


Do you remember last year when I blogged about the process of creating the quilt called “Year of the Never Ending Spring?”  Here is the entire finished quilt, although this photo doesn’t quite capture the colors accurately and it’s a bit blurry:
This quilt is made of multiple different bird block designs, like:
…and another one:
…and another one:
and another bird block that I don’t have a photo for.  Of course, there are also some wreath blocks:
All the blocks in this quilt were created using machine embroidery applique and they have incredible texture because of all the luscious thread work!  This quilt is way too much to create in a workshop but I’ll be teaching an abbreviated form of it at the  Road to California Show in January.  This will be a 2-day workshop where you’ll learn how easy it is to create complex MEA blocks like this one (4 hoopings  for the center block) and we’ll finish this into the Love Birds Wall hanging which is pictured below:
Yep, you’ll get to work with some intricate feather shapes as well, and what quilter doesn’t love feathers?!  Here’s  a close up of some of the embroidery to get you interested:
As complex as this wall hanging MEA is, you will be able to complete it in this workshop, even if you’ve never done machine embroidery applique before and you will be provided a fabulous Brother embroidery machine to use in class!  (Can you beat this?!)  If you’re scratching your head, wondering how this is all done, here’s a video that will show you just how easy it is to create the center block:
If you’re looking for a shorter class, I’ll also be teaching a 1-day class in creating a machine embroidery applique feathered wreath block like this one:
This block can be used to make a tote bag, table runner, pillow, or whatever you’d like!  I’ve got to throw in a close up shot to entice you…check out that texture:
Ooh-la-la!  I’m also teaching a 1-day class on free motion quilting feather designs but that one is full, so I won’t tell you how much fun it is or how much you’ll learn!  Please join me in CA for one or 2 days (or even 3!) of machine embroidery applique-I promise that you’ll enjoy every minute of the class!  I am a quilter at heart and never dreamed that I would get into embroidery, but this is totally addictive and the perfect way to blend quilting and embroidery.  If you’d like to join in on the fun and sign up, you can register for classes here.
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Did Someone say "SALE?!!"

July 15th, 2013


It’s hotter than Hades and we’re offering some relief with a SALE!!  Until 9:00 EST am on Friday, July 19, all retail purchases of PTD DVDs, books, stencils, Appli-K-Kutz dies and patterns are 20% off the normal price!  This is the time to stock up!  If you’re a beginning machine quilter, then Fast and Free Volume 0.5 DVD is a great place to get started!  If you’re looking for great feather instruction and lots of inspiration on feather motifs/embellishments, then pick up one of our 4 Free Motion Fun with Feathers DVDs!  Interested in vine and leaf quilting motifs?  Then you may want to watch one of our 2 Free Motion Fun with Vines and Leaves DVDs!  Remember, all of our DVDs have free preview video clips in the web store, so you’ll know exactly what to expect on the DVD.  To obtain the 20% discount off you retail purchase, enter the discount code July 2013 in the discount code box during checkout!

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Borders on the Chrismas Wall hanging

July 14th, 2013


The outermost border on this wall hanging was different than normal borders for me.  I say that because it was made up of multiple “zones,” so I felt like it might be fun to do something different inside each zone.  I started in the dark green center zones and these went very fast as I subdivided the section into 4 quadrants and then stitched figure 8’s in opposite orientations:
The narrow inner border and the 2 short gold sections were made by stitching an inch worm in one direction and then going back in and stitching an inchworm in the opposite orientation:
The light green sections were the largest and the places where I had fun experimenting.  I created this section by using acrylic templates that are used with long arm quilting on a  frame system, except that I used them on my HDSM using the push-through method.  I started by drawing 2 design  options on paper:
I decided to go with the top drawing only because it seemed more unexpected.  The tool I used to push my foot against as I worked is called the 6 1/2 inch Fine Line Continuous Curve Template.  The design is created in 3 steps and this is the first step:
In this next shot, I’m creating the channel and you can see how this system works.  Notice that the free motion foot is right up against the template:
(That template is not there in order to trace a line.  It is literally held up against the free motion foot as the quilt is being moved and it allows you to create a very smooth curve.)  This curve comes in 3 sizes and this is by far my favorite size.  Here’s a shot of what it looks like once all the channels are done:
…and here’s shot of them after they’ve been “filled in” with some stippling.  I really like the texture this created:
I’ll do a more thorough blog post on this technique sometime down the road when i have more samples to show.  This is not as hard as it might seem and I think it will open up lots of new design opportunities for the sitdown/push through quilter.

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Part II-Creating a Feathered Frame for an Important Quilt Block

July 6th, 2013
We finished part I of this tutorial by marking the spine guidelines for the feathers that would flow from each corner of the block.  In the next step, we’ll stitch out those feathers.  I chose a corner and stitched my first feather as shown below.  Notice that the only constraints on the feather is that it cannot cross the take off line or the kissing line as it flows, and as I approach the kissing line, I am tying to draw my tip toward it.  (This is because it will later “kiss” the feather approaching from the opposite side.)
Next, I stitched the remaining 3 feathers that flow in that same orientation.  I work this way because they are more likely to appear somewhat alike if I work in this way.  (From my standpoint, I’d like them to resemble one another mostly in the takeoff and kissing zones.  So, this means I want all my take off zone areas to have 3 plumes that extend toward the marked  take off line and I want 1 plume at the tip that is reaching for the kissing line.  The rest of the plumes can pretty much do what they want, as long as they follow the curve of the spine guideline.)  Once those first 4 feathers are stitched, I stitch the remaining 4 that flow in the opposite direction.  As the last four are stitched, I’m trying to roughly “mirror” the plumes already stitched nearly at the respective take off and kissing zones.  Here is a shot where uou can see what I mean about mirroring in these areas:
…and here is a shot that shows all 8 feathers stitched.  You can see that the curves created by the feathers have created a very interesting frame around the center appliqued wreath:
Next, I wanted to accentuate the curves (and therefore crank up the framing effect) by hyperquilting.  Once the first pair had been stitched, you could begin to see how the lines were more evident:
…and here’s a shot of that center block once all 8 feathers had been hyperquilted:
(In person, this is really much more striking than the photos show.  Red is a hard color to photograph well.)  One more thing on this center block that needs some quilting is the center of that wreath.  I used one of our stencils that is part of a set of interchangeable centers designed for our square wreaths.  Here’s what it looked like chalked in:
It’s hard to see in the photo above, but this is the bicycle chain design and it’s stitched in 3 separate thread lines.  I did it in 2 colors because it looks cool and it fits the other quilting better this way:
Do you notice the “halo of color” surrounding the center circular design?  This effect is easy to create merely by echoing the curves of the bicycle chain that was stitched.  The “spider web effect” is created by binging each thread line of each arc back to its most “plunging” point. Here’s what the whole center block looks like once it’s been quilted:
If you’d like to see how easy it is to use those interchangeable stencils and how to stitch out the bicycle chain design, here’s a video showing just how to do it: viagra paypal