Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Chat with Grandma Loop de Loop stitching and a GIVEAWAY!!

I promised I would be back this Friday to chat about Loop de Loop style quilting and how very versatile it is.  I will confess, that when I began quilting this wasn't a stitch I used very often.  I just didn't see much to it, I mean I like the look of it, but it wasn't too challenging and it just didn't excite me like some of the other designs.  I then came to a quilt I wanted to quilt daisy flowers on, and it wouldn't have worked to do them everywhere, I wanted them scattered and natural looking.  I decided to try combining the loop de loop stitch with my daisy flower and that combination worked so well, that I have been using loop de loop pretty frequently since as a part of a combination with something else.  I have had much luck combining words with it, which I show you in the book, and this past weekend I even quilted snow flakes in combination with loop de loop.  It is the type of design that once sketched a few time in a sketch book, typically is a pretty easy one to add a design to, and it makes it so much more fun.  Here are some close ups of the quilting on my Christmas theme pillows. 

and here are some pictures of my loop de loop section in the book 
and of course it wouldn't be Friday without hearing from Grandma, so here she is

Like most beginners, when I first started free motion quilting I learned how to stipple and I used that pattern for a long time because I was afraid I would not be able to do the more intricate designs and have them look good. When you have spent a lot of time creating a pretty quilt top you don’t want it spoiled by a poor job of quilting. Eventually you realize that stippling is not the answer for every project. The loop de loop was my next design attempt. From stippling I had learned how important having a smooth rhythm was, and that is also true for loop de loop. The transition from stippling to loop de loop went very smoothly because they both use the curvy flow to their patterns. This step also gave me now two different patterns to work with in my projects.
The loop de loop is a great design as a filler when you have small spaces. For small spaces it is much more attractive than to use stippling. To me it looks like you gave some thought to the design and were not just trying to fill in space. I often use the loop de loop in borders as it does work so well for narrow spaces.  It is also a great design to use if you need to travel from one area to another.
What I didn’t realize about learning the loop de loop was that it is a precursor to learning how to quilt using cursive writing. When I first saw a project done by Molly for her father where she used all cursive writing for the quilting I was in awe. I am still not really good at it, but when I want to use the cursive pattern in my project I always start with a sample piece and practice the loop de loop and then progress to the cursive. By doing this practice I get the feeling and the rhythm going for the cursive and then I move over to my project.
 As with all things we talk about, the secret is to be relaxed. That is very hard for me to remember, as I get very intense when I am free motion quilting. I have to keep reminding myself to relax because if I don’t I lose the rhythm and then the quilting gets jerky. Getting up and walking away from your project from time to time is a good way to break tension. Do whatever helps you to relax and always remember to enjoy the process.

Grandma Pat

I hope you all enjoyed what Grandma and I had to share about loop de loop stitching and just how great and versatile it is, and I hope we've inspired you all to try it out for yourself.  Maybe a free copy of my book Free Motion Quilting for Beginners would help you along your journey?  I am giving away a signed copy to a commenter on this blog post, so to enter please tell me what you would combine with loop de loop stitching.  I will choose a winner next Friday when Grandma and come back with another topic.  Thanks and have a happy and safe weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I am so Thankful!

2014 has been an epic year for me and I have to stop for a second and take stock in all I am so thankful for... I thought I would share photo's of just some of the people and things that I am thankful for this year... Life is good.

so thankful for this!!

Couldn't be more thankful to get to spend time with my Grandma

couldn't be more excited about being a BERNINA ambassador or my new B 750QE

so thankful I got to meet people in person who were excited about my book at Quilt Market

Thankful for making new friends and getting to see old ones (Angela Walters & I at Quilt Markets with Jamie Mueller photobomb)
Thankful for this new puppy Kipper in our lives and the gorgeous guy I get to share him with

and lets not forget these two... my original babies... Moose and Juki!

These are just some of the many things that brought me joy and laughter this year, what are you most thankful for?  Hope you all have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Keeping up with Holiday Traditions and a book winner announced!

This weekend I finished up that little chain piecing project I started early this week.  I didn't have time to finish it, I made time- because it was to honor a holiday tradition.  My darling guy is a sentimental sort and he decided when I started quilting that it would be nice to gift me with holiday fabric every Christmas so before the next Christmas I could make a little something (or in some years past a big something) for us.  I always relished in this and have had lots of fun in years past making things and loving it.  This year with the holidays fast approaching my little pile of holiday FQs sat staring at me... gathering dust for 11 months- and with the book just out and more that I can't talk about yet I just didn't have the time.  It occurred to me earlier in the week that I would never just HAVE the time right now, I would have to put other things to the side and make it a priority if I wanted to keep up with my tradition- and I did, so I did.  I set aside 4 hours and cranked out 3 simple patchwork quilted pillow shams to cheer up our couch and coordinate with my Christmas quilts.  I will share more about how I quilted them on Friday when I chat with Grandma about the versatility of the loop de loop stitch.  Be sure to stay tuned for that.  For now here are some pictures of the finished pillows as well as some of the holiday tradition makes from years past.  Also I have to pick a winner for the free signed copy of my book and the random number generator picked....JULIE comment number 17.  Julie please email me your info so I can get you your free copy!.   I will be giving another copy away on Friday so if you missed your chance come back then to enter to win again!  I will also be giving a copy away on my facebook page to the first person to post a picture of my book for sale in a store- so stop by and LIKE my page to join the fun.

this years three pillows

one of my earlier quilts, and the first holiday project to feature FMQ

feathered Xs

Jumbo project!  big present little present.... from last year

chain of pearls to look like snow in the binding and loopy rows in the presents... quick and fun quilting!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Last day of the blog hop- and you get three opinions for the price of one! :)

I have to say the single coolest thing about writing this book so far has been seeing what people are inspired to try after reading it.  It makes my teacher heart happy to help others and when I see the pictures of beautiful quilting from people I know were too scared to try or frustrated by a previous experience- wow what a feeling.  An overwhelming sense of pride in the quilter who is conquering her fears and working through the trials and getting it done- that is the feeling.  I had that feeling big time today when I gazed upon the lovely work that three of my designer friends at Thermoweb came up with to review my book.  That is right you get to hear from three amazing designers, all very talented in their own right, and all who were helped in their free motion quilting journey with my book- it's quite inspiring.  I hope you take the time to read their stories and comment to win a prize pack from Thermoweb and a free copy of my book.  Thanks to all who have followed along with my blog tour.  I so appreciate hearing from you all- and would love it if you would show me what you are working on with free motion quilting- especially if you are using my book to help you.  Please like my facebook page and feel free to share pictures, or contact me personally and share away. 
This is one of the first projects I designed for the Thermoweb blog!  It is an appliqued guitar with song lyrics as the quilting, made for my dad.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

a COLORFUL stop on the blog hop today... Meet Cindy!

Hi Friends, I am so excited to share with you my next blog hop- Cindy from Live a Colorful Life.  Cindy and I met at my very first quilt market because I recognized her and was a big fan of her blog so I basically accosted her in the aisle and got all fan girl on her, while her husband Mark watched on with much entertainment.  Apparently I was the first to recognize her from her blog and stop her to meet her- like ever- which amazes me because she has quite the following of very loyal fans!  Cindy is one of the warmest and kindest people I know, I am always trying to talk her into adopting me.  She has very much wanted to learn FMQ and I very much wanted to be the one to teach her.  While I still hope to get the chance to give her a few lessons in person getting my new book to her seemed like the perfect chance to see my book through a beginners eye.  She was very excited to participate and even plans to make all the projects in the book- which pleases me very much.  Click over to her blog to get to read more of our story and her thoughts on my book- and another chance to enter to win a free copy of my book, and keep an eye on Cindy and her blog in the future for lots more fun collaboration between her and I as she ventures out on her free motion quilting journey.  Thanks for stopping by, and check back on Saturday for the last stop on my blog tour- where we get to hear from 3 bloggers in one stop at Thermowebs Blog. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog hop stopping at the Inbox Jaunt today with Lori Kennedy

Hi everyone, my blog hop is continuing with a stop by Lori Kennedy's The Inbox Jaunt blog.  She is a very accomplished free motion quilter and designs stunning quilting motifs.  Once you have gotten past the basics in my book her blog is an excellent place to find more inspiring designs to stitch.  She did a tutorial on woodgrain a few days ago, which is one of my very favorite designs to quilt.  I teach woodgrain in the book and have a few projects that feature it.  She has promised to show us a project that was inspired by one of my projects and features woodgrain.  I can't wait to see what she has in store for us.  Of course by commenting on her blog post you are entering to win a copy of my book Free Motion Quilting for Beginners (and those who think they can't).  I also announced yesterday (in case you missed it) that if you comment on yesterdays post (with the thread cutter and apron) you are entering to win a signed copy of my book.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy Lori's blog~

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chain Piecing with my new favorite thing! and welcome BERNINA friends!

 A big hello and welcome to all of you who are stopping by my blog after seeing my post on the We All Sew BERNINA blog.  I had the pleasure of sharing the story of how I won my very first BERNINA Activa 210 and how it brought me to be an Ambassador for them now with my new BERNINA 750 QE machine.  I won the 210 machine by designing and making an apron, and I share a tutorial of how I made it with a very minimal amount of fabric and a very cute modern result.  I hope you will stop by the We All Sew blog to check it out if you haven't already seen the post and tutorial. 
this is one of the many aprons I made with my BERNINA Activa 210

I got a little sewing time this morning and decided to pull out a new toy I have been dying to get my hands on and finally scored at Quilt Market last month.  My good friends Jamie Mueller and Jill Rimes of Sunflower Quilts have designed the most genius little tool- specifically for the chain piecer- which is me!  I (in true free motion quilting addict fashion) am usually so excited to get to the free motion quilting stage that I want to piece my quilt very quickly- like instant gratification.  I can and have done some very complex blocks and feel confident in my skills, but I really enjoy the quilting so much I just find myself favoring time saving methods and simple quilts that allow my quilting to shine... enter the wonderful thread cutter!  Such a great little tool- if you love to chain piece your blocks and find yourself with tons of long chains of fabric held together by thread this thing will be your best friend.  I had fun piecing together some holiday fabrics for a set of holiday pillows I am planning to make for us.  I took a picture so you could see it in action.  My friends who designed this are a mother and daughter team and Jill (the mom) owned a quilt shop for years and Jamie (the daughter) grew up under sewing machines and amongst the bolts of fabric... they are the greatest gals and such a fun team- and this is a great little product that really does the job and saves lots of time- even better, they designed it so little fingers cannot cut themselves, it is a thread only cutter, no fingers were harmed in the making of my pillows!  Stop by and check out their website for lots more info on the thread cutter.

In honor of my BERNINA blog post going live and me actually having copies of my book in hand I am going to give away a signed copy of my book Free Motion Quilting for Beginners (and those who think they can't)  to a randomly picked commenter below.  Tell me if you have ever tried free motion quilting before and what your experience has been in the comments and I will pick a winner on the last day of my blog hop which is Saturday November 21st.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blog Hop is taking us all the way to New Zealand today!

My dear friend Juliet from THE TARTANKIWI blog is reviewing my book today.  She is newer to free motion quilting and has been stuck on a few issues that were really tough for her to get past.  She has had some time with my book and I am very excited to see if it helped her.  Please click on her blog today to find out and be sure to comment to enter to win a free copy of my book!  Also take some time to look at her fabulous paper piecing - the animals she recreates in fabric are just astonishing. Thanks for stopping by and happy Monday!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A very nice review of my book...

I stumbled across this on google today.  Wow, what a really nice review of my book, thoughtful and thorough.  I just love Sew Cal Gal's blog, it's a fantastic resource for free motion quilters of any skill level.  There are lots of opportunities to stay engaged and active in the community on her blog and she does a great job connecting quilters.  I encourage you to follow her blog as it is such an excellent resource, I do!  Here is the link for the review.   Please if you stop by leave her nice comment, it makes a bloggers day!. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blog tour stopping at Anglea Walters blog today!

Today my dear friend Angela Walters is reviewing the book on her blog, stop by and leave a comment to enter to win a free copy of my book!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Chat with Grandma Binding

Hello to all of you who are new to my blog, and welcome back old friends as well.  I am excited to say that between the two blogs nearly 500 of you have entered to win a copy of my book.  That is just amazing to me and reading all the comments you have been leaving on the blog tour has been so much fun.  Today we have another stop on the blog tour, Amy Friend, of During Quiet Time has been gracious enough to review the book from the perspective of a more experienced free motion quilter.  I can't wait to hear what she has to say.  I had the opportunity to meet Amy at Quilt Market last month which was just a pleasure, she is as sweet and friendly as she seems on her blog and her talent just blows me away.  I love her work, and I know you all will too.  Stop by there to say hello and for another chance to enter to win a free copy of my book Free Motion Quilting For Beginners (and those who think they can't).  
Amy Friend and I along with some of the other quilt designers for Thermoweb, a few of who you will meet next week!  Amy is on the bottom left and I am on the far right

This week I am excited to continue the conversation with Grandma and share with you our two schools of thought on binding.  Grandma and I have a lot in common, we share similar opinions on most everything.  Most importantly we both agree that dogs, quilting and nature make life worth living, and those are some pretty strong fundamentals to agree on!  We don't, however, agree on the best way to bind a quilt.  She is traditional (and less lazy) then I and lovingly and meticulously hand sews her binding to the back of each quilt.  It looks beautiful, her hand stitching is to be admired, and her bindings are always the perfect square and straight frame around her lovely quilts.  I, on the other hand, will take hours and hours to free motion quilt the heck out of something only then to devote no more then 30 minutes to quickly cut and piece my binding strips (I do piece them with bias seams), iron the strip in half and machine sew it down on the front, flip the binding around to the back side and machine sew from the front (hopefully) catching the back in the ditch of the binding I just sewed down.  Lazy I know, but it works well for me and I have been binding this way for years with no intentions of stopping.  I only hand sewed my binding once, and that was for a quilt I made for Grandma, which was more of a little nod to her and a laugh between us as we both differ on time saved vs final product and it's value in regards to binding.  I asked Grandma to share a bit about how she binds her quilts and she ended up giving us a lovely little showcase of some interesting binding options... hope you enjoy.

Like many things we do in quilting, there are many options to binding a quilt. In my early journey I used the simple method of attaching a binding strip to the sides and then a separate strip to the top and bottom. If you measure these strips correctly you can avoid having wavy edges to your quilt. Just measure the length and width of your quilt both horizontally and vertically in the middle. Then cut your binding strips to that length and adjust them to fit as you sew them on.
I personally like to use a continuous binding strip that allows you to have mitered corners. If you use this method you must be sure that your quilt is perfectly squared up or you will get the wavy edges. Mitered corners take practice. You must be sure to stop ¼ inch from the edge of each side and then be very precise about redirecting the binding to turn the corner. If you do this the corners should be nice and square. I love the look of a mitered corner.

In this modern world of quilting there are some very unique options in binding that produce interesting looks. Adding trim to the seam on the quilt top when adding the binding can be very attractive. I have seen people add ric-rac, ruffled lace, and even fringe to create a different look. Just sew the trim down first, directing the edge you want to show towards the center of the quilt, then sew the binding down on top as you normally would.

Besides the traditional way of binding by sewing the binding to the top of the quilt sandwich and hand tacking it on the back, there are many other ways. One I see commonly used is to sew the binding to the back and then wrap it around to the front and stitch it down with a decorative stitch or even just a straight stitch. The secret here is to be sure your decorative stitch on the front follows the seam line created by stitching the binding to the back. Another method used is to make the backing fabric large enough that it can be folded over and wrapped around to the front and then stitched down. This saves the time and effort of creating a separate strip for the binding, and when done well can create a very nice finish to the project.
For me the binding method I use is dependent on the project. I have to categorize myself as a pretty traditional quilter. For nearly all my projects I use a 2-1/2 inch strip, folded in half, stitched to the front and wrapped to the back, and then hand stitched down on the back. I create a continuous strip and make mitered corners. This is my comfort zone for binding. On the other hand if you are going to enter a quilt in a juried show you must use a 2-3/8 inch strip and then finish as above. You will lose points if you don’t follow the rules here. I have never entered a competition quilt, but I have friends who have and they tell me the rules are very strict.
As with all things we do in the quilting world – try it, you might like it. The important thing is to enjoy the process. 
Grandma Pat
That was some great advice on binding, hope you all enjoyed that.  Remember to stop by During Quiet Time today to see another review on my book and meet my new friend Amy Friend.   My books just arrived yesterday which means they will be hitting the store shelves any day now, if you see a copy of my book in a store snap a picture and share it on my facebook page, first to do so will win a prize!   Thanks for stopping by and say hello in the comments below, I would love to know what your favorite binding method is!