June 22, 2015

Complex organic

These are the two words that describe the quilting that I want to do right now. Complex and organic. So when Hillary of Entropy Always Wins blog asked me about quilting her quilt "Batten Down the Hatches" I looked at all that negative space and thought, YES!

You can see fold lines in the quilt above, because I had it all ready to ship back to California and then realized I hadn't even photographed the finished quilting!

You can see the full, finished quilt, and read the story about Hillary's quilt in this post on her blog. The round "window" and the quilt's name reminded me of a submarine and I played that up with the quilting around the circle, and tried to integrate some of the feeling of danger and unpredictability into my quilting.

Later this week registration will open for Quilt Con, happening in Pasadena in February. I have three different classes to teach there. There are some easygoing all-day classes for beginners. And if you already have the basics down, there are classes for you too. Free-Motion Impact covers strategies for getting your quilting to pop and have that "wow" effect, even from far back. Wild Quilting will get you combining your free motion designs into complex arrangements full of interest. It's going to be so much fun!

I've arranged with Hillary to bring this quilt with me, so if you join me for those classes you can see it close up! Hope you all are having a great start to summer.

June 10, 2015

FMQ weekly: Asterisks* Quilting Design

Want to try an energetic design? A design that you make one starry asterisk* at a time, connecting each little asterisk** to the next into all-over sparkly garlands of love? You do? Wonderful!

This design is made through the magic of travel stitching, or stitching over what you've already stitched. When you try it, don't get worked up about that traveling. Whatever you're traveling on you already stitched once, you can stitch it again. And take a close look at my samples, I don't always hit my lines either and it still looks delightful I think.

Here's the down low:

a. Make a wedge shape, which is like a long skinny triangle but not completely finished.
b. Make another wedge shape, pivoting so it's angled in a different direction.
c. Continue with wedge shapes until you have come full circle to make an asterisk. NOW, think about where you want your next asterisk to connect to this one. In the picture above, I decided to go over to the corner marked by the red dot.

d. Now you can see in the picture below that to get over to that corner you travel a bit around some of the asterisk you just made, by tracing right over the line. Once you've reached your corner, you start a new asterisk. NOTE: Instead of starting from the inside of the asterisk, which is where the first one started, all your subsequent asterisks start on the outside of the asterisk, so you don't start with a wedge shape. This time you start with an "L" shape, ending your "L" where the center of the next asterisk should be.

e. Now that you're in the center of the asterisk you can complete that asterisk with wedges all the way around, just like before, finishing back at the corner where you started.

f. And that's the whole strategy; Finish an asterisk, travel around it to an open space, then make an "L" shape to get to the center of your next asterisk. Do that over and over!

You will definitely want to sketch this design a few times so you feel comfortable with where to put your next asterisk and the whole "L" shape thing. And hey, watching a video of me stitching it won't hurt either!

Well that was fun, I hope you think so too! Happy stitching everyone...

* I just thought it would be a shame to not have an actual asterisk in this post : )
** Don't hate me because I'm silly

June 01, 2015

FMQ Weekly: Bear Claws quilting design

When I was first branching out into all over free-motion patterns after (kind-of) getting a hang of meandering, this design clicked for me. It's all made from arcs and there is a lot of flexibility in the design, which is good for beginners. Actually I think that's good for everyone; I don't know any quilters who like getting stuck!

The design reminds me of the cartoony claws on the Berenstein bears, so that's the story behind its name. You can do it smaller or large, whatever your project needs. Here's how you do it:

a. Start with an arc, then echo back outside that arc
b. Echo outside that arc with a new arc, then echo back again.
c. Bounce back with one more arc. Now if you're where you want to start a new bear claw, go ahead and start a new small arc in a different direction. Otherwise you can echo back one more time and then start the next one.

If you prefer counting when you quilt, that's a total of 5 or 6 arcs before you go to the next bear claw.

Would watching a video help? Ok, here you go! It's super repetitive to watch me stitch this design for 6 minutes but if you're not sure how to move around the space or fill in tight little spaces, that's what these no-talking videos can help you with.

Hope things are rocking with you quilters. Happy stitching!