Monday, April 29, 2013

APQS Beginners Class in Raleigh, NC

With the beginner class offered at APQS, our goal is to teach you the skills you'll need to accomplish a typical quilting project on your new longarm machine. This class is designed to be an introduction to machine quilting after you have made yourself familiar with your machine controls. Whether you intend to start a business or just want to get your quilts done faster, you'll learn valuable techniques to accomplish your projects creatively and efficiently. This class is mostly "demonstration" so we can squeeze in as much information as possible.

We will cover specific topics during each class, however, each class is unique and based on the needs of the students. We encourage questions and active participation -- you're here to learn!

Bring all your questions about operating the machine, business practices, thread, tension and anything else you can think of. This is a demonstration/lecture class. No hands on time will be available. Information we will cover includes:

Starting a business
Thread, tension, batting
Deciding how to quilt a quilt
Dealing with problem quilts
Different methods for loading quilts
Stitching a block
Marking quilt designs
Ruler work

*Free to qualified new APQS owners or $200

When:  Friday, May 3th or Wednesday, June 12th
9:30AM- 4PM
Where: Thread Waggle Quilting
Lunch will be provided.
Space is limited so, call Angela to reserve your space. 919-576-9897
If this is not a good date, call me so that we can arrange a future date for you to attend.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tech Sunday - Borders

The quilt I worked on today has a separate border treatment.  As I was working on it and thinking about the Tech Sunday post I had yet to even think about writing.  I started thinking about what I do when I work on border treatment.  The one I did today had swirls and hook, but I mark it the same why when I do any type of feather border.  I have seen too many quilts where the quilter did not think about what happens to their feathers if they get the tips too close to where the binding needs to be apply.  It makes me sad to see the tips of feathers, that someone worked so hard to learn to perfect, cut off by the binding.  To prevent this you have to stop before the edge of the quilt.  Sounds easy... but just try it sometime with no marking.  Most people naturally aim for the edge of the quilt.   I have used chalk and a ruler to mark 1/2 inch in from the edge, but sometimes I miss that white line.  Or let's be honest, the chalk bounces off before I get there.  

My preferred way to mark the edge is with low tack masking tape.  Most of my customer quilts are not super bright fabrics so I love orange masking tape.  I have a hard time missing it on most quilts.  If I have a quilt that is made from super bright fabrics, I have other colors of masking tape I can use, like light purple.  If there is a 12 step program for over use of masking tape, I should probably join.  
This is much quicker then marking a line.  I just rip off a piece of tape and put it down so that the edge is roughly half way into the tape.  The masking tape is 1 inch wide so that gives me the 1/2 inch with no quilting.

I mark the stem quick with a chalk roller.  Then I can start quilting.
I love things that are quick and work.  I use A LOT of masking tape.  At least a roll a month.  I am totally addicted!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tech Sunday - How To Use A Longarm Template

As a custom quilter, I love longarm templates.   They are thick acrylic guides that I can hold and drag my machine against to get very exact quilting lines.  I have a huge template library.  I am actually pretty picky about what I purchase and use the ones I have.   They are one of things that I always spend a lot of time looking at when I am at longarm shows like MQS.

To use a template you must have an extend base on your machine.  I actually did a Tech Sunday on Extended Bases.  Short answer is I love my Rulermate from Lakeside Quilt Company!

You want to use template that are made for use with a longarm hopping foot.  Notice that my ruler is a 1/4 inch thick.

The templates can be a little slick.  The idea is to not push down on the template but to hold it steadily against your hopping foot. If you push down really hard on your template you can create tension issues.  The larger the template the harder this is to accomplish.  A couple things I have used on mine to help with the slip are sandpaper dots and Invisigrip.  Another option is to spray the bottom of the template with something sticky like 505 spray.  I have a friend that swears by taping a strip of Rubbermaid shelf liner to her templates with double sided tape. Normally, I don't use anything on them.  I like to live dangerously!

There are a couple things that you consider when you start quilting with templates:

Please ignore that I really need a manicure... YIKES!

  • Slow Down!  
  • Keep a couple of your fingers off the sides of the template if possible.  I like to keep as many of my fingers as I can without causing my hands to cramp. 

  • You can only control the template in the space between your thumb and forefinger.  Once you get outside that zone the template is going to move.  

  • If you are using a long template carefully crab walk your hand up or down the template to keep the hopping foot in the space between your thumb and finger.   You can use the entire length of the template you just have to move your hands too.  I pause the machine move my hand and then continue  stitching.  
  • Don't buy a specialty template unless you know how to use it.  Everyone thinks their template is the best thing that happened to quilting, but that does not mean that it will work well for you.  We all quilt and think differently.  Or if you really want it and there is a book that goes with it consider purchasing the book.  
  • I use a shorter stitch length when I am using a template.  I feel like it gives me more control.  
  • Practice, Practice, Practice!  You will get better the more you work with them.  
  • Have fun!  I use templates/rulers on almost every quilt I quilt.  I actually like using them.  It does get easier the more you do it.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Micheal Miller Clubhouse April Extra Project

I am a member of the Micheal Miller Clubhouse at Wish Upon A Quilt.  We have a lot of fun and I really like the Swirly Girl quilt and projects.  Every month we get fabric and instructions to complete part of a huge queen sized quilt.  We also get instructions for an additional project that is only for Clubhouse members.  So far we have gotten patterns to make a really cool portfolio, pillow, shower curtain and this month we got a quilt pattern.  

It is a fat quarter friendly pattern and it super cute.

I got to quilt the sample quilt for Clubhouse Cheerleader Lori.  

She choice the vibrant color way and I quilted it with all over leaves and ribbons in a pale yellow thread.  It turn out really nice.  She even had it bound by the meeting.  Go Lori!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Irena Bluhm

I am so excited! Irena Bluhm is coming to Raleigh in June!  I have taken a couple classes with Irena at MQS.  She is an awesome teacher.  I thought I would post a link to her website for anyone that is interested in taking classes.

Raleigh Classes

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dancing Batiks

My friend Noi brought her Judy Niemeyer Dancing Batik quilt to me.  Noi is a precision piecer!  It is always a joy to quilt for her.  I also got to quilt her Judy Niemeyer Bali Wedding Star Bedrunner.  

First I started with doing all the stitch in the ditch.  It took a long time, but it was so worth it.  We used Hobb's Tuscany wool as the batting.
I love how it looks a puffy.  All the stitch in the ditch was done with Superior clear Monopoly in the top and a dark teal Superior Bottomline in bobbin. 

 Once I got to the bottom of the quilt I start the decorative stitching this quilt got back toward the top.  Then did both rounds for the border treatment.  That's all the way from the top to the bottom and back to the top again... twice!  This quilt king sized!  It is huge! 
I love how the quilting turned out!  I really had fun swirling all the spikes.  In every block and all the way around the quilt!  The decorative stitching is done in a gold colored Superior So Fine with yellow Bottomline in the bobbin.   
I have always loved Judy Niemeyer's designs.  I have wanted to quilt on one of these quilts for long time and in the last 6 months I have gotten to do two.   I just realized that the only picture that I posted of the other quilt is a close up of the feathers in one of the blocks.  I will post pictures of the Bali Wedding Star soon.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Card Table Facelift!

My friend Sheri and I have been working on what we want our vendor space to look like.  We both had old card tables that had seen better days.  I had a couple yards of Amy Butler laminated fabric.  I loved the fabric but was having trouble figuring out what to do with this huge print.  It is bright and happy!  Sheri came over on Friday with the laminated fabric that she bought to coordinate with mine and we took it to the home improvement store.  We found this pretty Aqua gloss spray paint.  
See it really was a blah card table and it had a slit in the vinyl that is not showing in the picture. 
The top came off so easy.  Just 9 hex topped screws.  
Then I primed and spray painted the frame.  This whole project was started late Sunday afternoon and was done in a couple hours.  I waited for the paint to dry overnight before I reattached the top to the base.