The Clarity Ruler Foot for Home Sewing Machines

October 31st, 2016
Clarity Ruler Feet
If you read my blog, then you know that I love doing ruler work as a sit-down quilter!  It has totally rocked my quilting world and I have tons of new-found enthusiasm for free motion quilting since ruler work has opened many new design challenges.  The one thing about ruler work that frustrates me is the high collar that helps so much to keep ruler work safe also presents a big obstacle to good visibility.  I want to be able to do ruler work safely AND be able to clearly see where I am going.  Now. I. Can.
The Clarity Ruler foot is made of clear acrylic, so I can literally see right through it as I work.  TOTAL GAME CHANGER!!!  On top of that, you can purchase JUST THE FOOT, meaning you don’t have to pay extra to purchase a package deal that includes other items you may not want or need.  Depending on the size shank you need, the cost of the foot is only $24-$30, which seems like an incredible deal to me.    Here’s a shot of it mounted to my sewing machine:
As you can see, I was using it to do free motion “fill-in” work after my ruler work framework was completed.  In other words, I didn’t have to swap out to a regular free motion foot for my fill in work!  Another nice feature is that it comes with a small washer and this washer prevents the foot from vibrating loose while quilting.  Two big pluses from one little foot!  If you want to know more about it, here’s a short video we made about the Clarity foot:



You can find it in our online store by clicking here.

New Project!

October 28th, 2016
This was the beginning of a new block design as I was just starting the 2nd hooping.  Here’s what the 3 blocks looked like once they’d been completed:
It’s been so long since I worked on a black background that I’d forgotten how dramatic a backdrop it can be.  I added a corner triangle into each corner, and this block shows the squares pinned on, before they’d been sewn in place and then trimmed:
This next shot shows the table runner once it’s been sewn together.  I like how it came out:
I outlined each applique shape with invisible thread and did my SID work.  I used 2 of the PTD arc rulers to create a small frame in the center of each  floral quartet:
…and then stitched a featherette in the center.  If you view each featherette as 4 equal parts, it’s pretty easy to do this:
(Do you see that clear acrylic ruler foot?  That’s the Clarity ruler foot and it’s available in our store here.)  This last shot shows the completed featherette:
I haven’t gone any further than this, but I have plans!

Flowers and Swirls and a Product Update

October 24th, 2016
It seems like some motifs just always go well together and I learned that again as I played around with a new floral machine embroidery applique design.  Here is what one of them looks like in reds/pinks:
I love how much those embroidered details add to the overall “feel” of the flower.  Here’s one that was stitched in oranges:
Ooh-la-la!  I made this to use as a short border design for a quilt.  Here’s how the whole border came out:
I think I’m in love!
In completely other news that has nothing to do with the design above, I need to announce a large price increase in both of our suspension systems that will occur beginning 11/1/16.  Our costs have risen and there is no way around this.  If you have been thinking about purchasing one of these systems (what a great Hanukkah or Christmas present that would be!), I would make that purchase before 11/1/16.
#1 suspension system (pictured above) will rise from $74.99 to $94.99…
and suspension system #2 (above) will rise from $94.99 to $109.99.  We apologize for the price increase and hope you will take advantage of the current prices.

On Feathers and Featherettes

October 21st, 2016


Feathers come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and conformations.  In essence, they are structures where the plumes all flow from a spine:








…and sometimes, the spine is very fancy-schmancy and filled with decorative elements:




…or sometimes the plumes emanate from an “implied spine,” as in the free-form feathers below:



A featherette is a relative of a feather, but instead of the plumes flowing from the spine, the plumes of a featherette flow from a single point as in the photo below:



(There are actually 3 different types of featherettes in the picture above.  Can you find them all?)  Or as in this photo:



Featherettes can also be formed by plumes that emanate from a structure other than a spine, like:



(The featherette in the above photos is the crescent or “football” shaped structure in the corner.  Notice that in this case, we’ve used the featherette as the base point from which to flow 2 feathers!)

The key to creating featherettes that are “believable” is:

1.  They are always highly symmetric and

2.  If you go into the task understanding that the goal is to fill the bounded space to the max and you must do it in a symmetric way, it’s very hard to screw it up.  The best way to approach it is to subdivide that available space (that must be filled) using a temporary marker.  Once you begin stitching, your goal will be to stretch or contract the stitched line so that it reaches the marked boundary line.

This post began because a student in one of my Craftsy classes asked the following question:

Hi Patsy. I love the featherettes with the different shapes. I have a problem with rectangles for instance 3″ x 6″ or 3″ x 18″. Any suggestions?

In this case, we’re going into this exercise with the knowledge that we need to fill a 3 in x 6 in rectangle.  This concept will be easier to understand if we start by filling it with a symmetric feather.  The first thing I would do is mark temporary lines at the midpoint of the rectangle and then mark mirror image curves that flow from that center base point:



Next up, I add a central plume in the dead center.  Notice that it reaches all the way up to the upper boundary of the space I need to fill:




The final step is to add the plumes onto that lightly marked spine guideline.  As I do this, my goal is again to fill all available space with my plumes.  Once I complete the first side, I go and do the 2nd side.  These are not really mirror image sides to the feather, but they are close enough that they are to be mirror images, and this is therefore a “believable” motif:



(Notice that I used the freeform feather technique as I drew this.  I point that out because the feather would look quite different if I’d used the bump-back feather method to add those plumes.  There will be a teeny bit more on that later but if you aren’t familiar with these terms, then you need to take my Craftsy Class called Ultimate Free Motion Feathers!)

Now, let’s take those same principles and apply them to a featherette to fill the same space.  First up, I subdivide that space that we need to fill.  I’m subdividing it differently because I want you to know you can subdivide space in many different ways:



Now look what happens if I throw in a featherette in the center triangle section and then 2 smaller featherettes into the upper side sections:



Completely different look!  Now let’s see a couple other ideas.  If you’ve started playing with rulers, then you know the power of basic arc rulers:



Again, totally different look, but we’re filling the exact same space!  Here’s one more, and remember, all of these are filling that same 3 in x 6 in rectangular space:



Can you see how this last one is fairly similar to an earlier one, but we’ve used arcs to subdivide instead of straight lines, and that really “softens” the look of the design.  For the 2nd part of the question, what should one do with a 3 in x 18 in rectangle, the answer is basically the same answer.  Each of the designs above would work in a “serial format” to fill that space, and the end design would look quite rich.  Alternately, one could subdivide it into 2 sides, then fill it quickly with 2 mirror image feathers.  In the photo below, I’ve filled in the first side with a feather and if I did the same with the right side, they would appear as mirror image feathers.  (My paper is only 11.5 in wide, so this box is 3 in x 11.5 inches.  If it were filling an 18 in wide space, I’d just have started with a spine guideline that had additional curves.) Note that in this example, I created the feather using the bump-back technique, and you can see how very different that feather looks:



So, what I’ve done above is explain my approach to filling empty, defined spaces with feathers and featherettes.  For me, the spaces I need to fill are usually not rectangles, but are odd spaces between applique shapes.  In this case, I am generally filling spaces that don’t necessarily resemble anything.  The good news here is that if you follow the strategies I’ve outlined above, you can fill these oddball shapes with symmetric appearing feather structures, and it will pretty much always be “believable.”  For example, here’s a space created by neighboring applique shapes that I needed to fill recently:



Kind of an odd one, n’est pas?  I subdivided it with a sliver of soap:



…then stitched a featherette on the first side of it:




…and here’s how it came out once the second side was done:



Doesn’t it look like that featherette was “born” in that space?  That’s what I mean…it’s a lot easier than you think!  Here’s another weirdo space to fill:




…and here’s how it came out at the end:




Now it’s YOUR turn!  Learn how to do all this and more as Craftsy is offering a great deal on classes through October 31, 2016.  Save 50% off the full retail price of both of my classes.  This offer  cannot be combined with other coupons or discounts. Expires October 31,2016. Click here  to get the discount on my Ultmate Free Motion Quilting Class and click here to get the discount on my Ultimate Free Motion Feathers Class.




Beautiful Free Motion Quilting

October 3rd, 2016
If you are looking for some free motion quilting inspiration, check out Jana Dohnalov’s blog.  You can translate it into the language of your choice, but her beautiful flowing quilted lines speak to quilters of all languages.  You can find her blog by clicking here.