Word of the Year: Momentum

I’ve decided my word of the year for 2014 is Momentum. It’s most definitely not “because”–I’m just not even going to get started on that. Yes, I know it’s the beginning of February, not January. While many people are reflecting at year end and thinking ahead to the new year, I’m still recovering. Yes, it takes that long to get over the holiday season for me some years!

Momentum is awesome while you have it. I know because I had it for many years, and I wouldn’t have been able to push a book from concept to completion in just over a year without it. These days, there’s no momentum. I move in fits and starts, and not always in a forward direction. Continue reading

The Making of ‘Tis Just the Wind

I promised (a very long time ago…) to share some of the construction details about ‘Tis Just the Wind, the project I made especially for the Wicked Blog Hop in October. When I decided to participate in the Blog Hop, I knew wanted to make something seasonal, but not screaming cutesy Halloween or spooky Halloween–Wicked was apt description of what I wanted the finished project to be. Continue reading

Machine Quilting: Know Your Weaknesses

In Part 2 of The More You Know @ DreamWeaver’s Quilts, Machine Quilting Edition, we talked a bit about checking your quilting design for trouble spots where you might be stitching over multiple layers of fabric that could cause the presser foot to hang up, making stitches smaller, uneven or just wonky. Being prepared by marking those spots in the pattern, repositioning your hands and the quilt for more control when approaching those trouble spots, and slowing down or even stopping the machine to make one stitch at a time can help keep free motion quilting stitches even over those rough patches.

What about your own weaknesses? What weaknesses in your technique could be causing wobbles and uneven machine quilting? Yep, we all have them and usually we know what they are, and sure, we’ve tried to get better at it all–we practice every day, right??–but still those weaknesses sometimes persist. There are a couple of specific things that affect the quality of my own quilting and I’ll share my correction methods with you!
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Feeling Wicked Today…Though ‘Tis Just the Wind…

Wicked Blog Hop at sewwequilt.comTruthfully, that Wicked feeling has been here since last week. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting with all the bloggers on the Wicked Blog Hop and seeing all of these amazing and inspiring projects! Special thanks go to Wicked Wendy for cheerleading and organizing this Hop, Madame Samm for organizing and making these hops possible, and to the awesome sponsors Madame Samm rounded up: Wyndham Fabrics, Reliable Iron and Bird Brain Designs!

Onward! I had so much fun with this project I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just share my favorite bits in pictures before I share the whole thing (click if you want to see them bigger!): Continue reading

Machine Quilting: Know the Design

Let’s talk quilting designs, and get prepared to quilt even the most complex designs without getting lost! There are a huge number of continuous line quilting designs available these days, and of course you can also design your own or just dive in and quilt freely without marking. For some continuous line machine quilting designs, it’s pretty easy to figure out the stitching order and direction, but for more complex designs it’s not always obvious.

One of the best–and easiest!–things you can do to improve the quality of your machine quilting is to practice drawing the design just as if you are quilting it, taking the turns, stopping at the pivots, and backtracking where necessary, to commit the design to your muscle memory. Knowing your chosen quilting design inside and out–where to turn, where to stop and start again, where to backtrack over lines previously quilted–can prevent those “Um, CRAP, I’m not sure where I’m supposed to be going!” moments that will make your stitches get really small, crooked, or just plain wonky and out of place. And then you’ll want to rip them all out which is no fun at all! :-P Continue reading

Machine Quilting: Know Your Tools

When I pulled out the Misery Quilt to work on the machine quilting that I hadn’t touched in…well…years…I had to remember how to do all of this machine quilting stuff! :? It all came back pretty quickly, but it made me realize all over again that there are so many little details that go along with machine quilting that are good to remember, and I thought them all over as I retrained my eyes and hands and foot to all work together again to get the quality I wanted. This series of blog posts is dedicated to machine quilting–because the more you know, the easier it is!

Let’s start with tools! What tools are great to have and use, and maybe even count as “essential” for machine quilting? Aside from the obvious big things like the actual quilty-type project that’s basted with batting and backing and thread and needles that are appropriate for it and of course that well oiled sewing machine, here are the smaller essentials that I always keep within easy reach (clockwise from top left–more or less!): Continue reading