Machine Quilting Blog Hop Week 4

boomerang free motion quilting



Boomerangs on the frame

This week is the chapter called Fractured Squares in the book “The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting” by Angela Walters and Christa Watson. HollyAnne, Kristin and Jen are joining me in this journey. The four of us are blogging our way through the book and each week that goes by we are practicing more and gaining confidence with each exercise. I am a long armer and the other ladies are using their domestic sewing machines. The patterns for the quilts in the book are amazing but we are focusing on the free motion quilting for the blog hop. Links to the previous weeks are on the side bar tab for the Machine Quilting Blog hop. Join the party at Instagram using hashtag #machinequiltingbloghop

ultimate machine quilting blog hop sampler

sampler quilt with all of the stitches

I used this quilt,  that was a block exchange, to practice on.I believe there are benefits of quilting for practice on a real quilt! I have done sandwich practice pieces but don’t find them to be as effective practice for me. I like seeing how this works on a real quilt.  Each week I chose a block and the second row, first block is the boomerangs. I will show how I quilted it in the video at the end of the blog post.

greek keys

Greek keys

greek keys

greek keys

Greek keys are also used in this chapter. They are easy to draw and free motion quilt. You make a box on three sides then on the fourth side, turn to the inside about 3/4 of the way through. Then you make 2 sides then echo the shape all the way out and continue the next greek key!

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Greek Keys drawing

I am sharing a video I made where I talk about making the boomerangs.

Join us next week! Quilt on!




Two quilts off to their homes

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I have been working really hard on finishing two customer quilts by the end of May. I had this fabulous batik queen sized quilt. I tried some new things. I used a ruler! I made each frame like a facet and the colored center had some dense quilting in it. I tried to the desires of the customer to keep the stitching linear and not curly or swirly. Wow, I had to really put my thinking cap on. It is amazing how we can get into set habits. I really enjoyed working on the quilt and it is all free motion. I even took the quilt off and turned it to do some straight line stitching. Lots of new things I learned and it all turned out in the end!

I also finished this really adorable t shirt quilt. It was so flat. I don’t know what stabilizer she used but it is amazing. I have never had such a great turn out for a knit quit top! I did overall swirls on it. The batting was just the right amount!


I am working on one of my Mom’s quilts now and I love making all over patterns for texture.

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Love free motion quilting!


Machine Quilting Blog Hop Week 3

machine quilting blog hop

The Book!

Welcome to week 3 of the blog hop. We are blogging our way through the book The Ultimate Guide to Machine quilting and three of my friends are joining me. You can go to HollyAnne , Kristin and Jen pages to read what their insights and takeaways are from the chapter. I am long arming and working from Angela’s perspective and they are using a domestic machine and from Christa’s perspective.

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Continuous Curve on my Granny Square Quilt


This week is a lesson of continuous curve.  This Means  quilting by traveling through out a block without breaking the thread. I did orange peel curves throughout the little squares in this block and did it row by row. I didn’t cut the threads and quilted an arc on three side of the square across the row of squares then worked my way back.

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Continuous curve in the triangle and a little more fmq

Here are more curves in the triangles. I then added free motion quilting around the triangle as I went.

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Christa Watson’s Improve block with continuous curve

Continuous curves in the points of the stars. Christa Watson designed this block for the Aurifil Designers of the Month last year. Here is the pattern link.

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the back of this weeks practice piece

Here is my  practice piece from this week. I did a continuous curve in the corners. A flower motif in between , a teardrop motif and then a stipple in the middle. I echoed the curve in the corners too, made a outline statement  and embellished it all with little ribbon candy and tried some pebbles. All individually are ok, not really sold on the floral motif. It is so large I had to mirror the shape when I rolled up the mini quilt. You have to learn to quit in all directions on a long arm. The take away from the chapter is that you have to practice some things over and over. I like the floral motif better when each petal overlaps  on this larger scale another takeaway from practicing. I also don’t like thread that contrasts with the fabric, that is on the other side. Next time, I may try marking some registration lines.  If you want to see how I quilted it watch the video below!

With time and practice we will see progress! Tips : on continuous curves and mirroring images go slower than you think you need to for accuracy. Picking thread that matches the background colors in the fabrics is more forgiving. Takeaway: Big blocks need to be well planned so when you advance the row you can mirror the quilting . Take pictures so you remember what you did!

And finally, if you are not feeling well, don’t try to learn new things and expect that it will be outstanding. Sometimes we should just wait a day when we are on our best thinking to try. Don’t rush and force it.

Remember the book is on sale at the publishers here, get yours to follow along!



Machine Quiltig Blog Hop Week 2

How was your week ? I hope you had time to practice at your machine! I did and it never ceases to amaze me the more I invest in practice, the better I get. Why is it that we forget that simple truth?!? Join me and HollyAnne, Kristin and Jen as we blog each week. And as an added bonus the book is on sale now, get your copy here .

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Chapter 2 in the book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson is about contrast.  The quilt in this chapter is has 2 challenges- it has tons of colors, and it has long spaces that need to be quilted with a unifying texture very different from the background. Thread color can be overwhelming for this type of quilt but I am like Angela in this … I audition several neutral threads and pick the one that blends into the background color without standing out. I chose a light grey for the quilt in the photos in this post.

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flames in the background with the less successful leaf shape in the blue area

The take away from my practice session is that contrasting quilting isn’t easy to always decide. What I thought would be contrasting  texture didn’t turn out that way on my quilt block.  In hindsight I could have chose pebbling, or tiny swirls, or lines would have had more visual contrast of texture in the blue area of the quilt block. That is what practice is all about, experimenting and testing. I want to say I practice on my quilts. I have a long arm and it is very difficult to practice on little sandwiches.  I am practicing concepts on my quilts. I think that by actually making quilts with our practice we will be invested in improving our skills! Plus those WIPs turn into something finished!!!

The next lesson in the book, and what I had to really think about, is how to travel through the block without unnecessarily stopping and starting. This is something that takes a ton of planning. I started top left– quilted through the white fabric– then ended the flame stitch on the blue and traveled back to the left with the leafy stitch–  end in the white and travel back across the bottom in the flame stitch. Ok, hard to explain easier to see, there is a video link in the end. After some time and experience you won’t have to think about it so much,  you don’t want to back yourself into a corner and have to cut your threads! I really don’t like burying threads , it just isn’t fun.

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pebbles and circles

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Flame shape in the center, can you see how I did it ?

There are 2 stitches I chose to focus on from this chapter- flame shapes and pebbling. Pebbling is not easy for me and takes lots of brain power to do. It is gorgeous when done but very time consuming and I can get motion sickness doing too much of it! My video chat gives in depth detail on how I quilted it and the flame shapes. I also talk about my tips and takeaways from the book.

Click on the video for more discussion and a demo!

I  want to show you a great block of textural contrast, that was  the week 1 block! It is visually very pleasing to see all the contrasts and they worked very well together. I have a hashtag on Instagram that I feel is a very important lesson in life — looking back to look forward. I like to study each practice piece and evaluate what was successful and why. And the same for things that weren’t as successful.

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Quilt on my friends!


Exciting things episode Show notes

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Click here for the podcast!

Here is my block for week 1 of the Machine Quilting Blog Hop. Here is the first post. In this post are videos, my written takeaways and tips while working on the block using the book lessons as a guide. A directory is linked to the chalkboard in the sidebar.

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Here is the book!

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Here is the quilt I made from the orphaned blocks in my drawer from testing patterns for Quiltmaker 100 blocks magazine. Here is the post about the issue and the baker’s dozen I tested the patterns for.

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The simple garter stitch I am working on small size 4 needle.

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I went on the nature walk to look for 4 things for the prompt Challenge.  Link to the Facebook group is in the side bar!


Quiltmaker 100 Block Vol. 15 blocks


Quiltmaker 100 Block Magazine is hitting the newstands this week and their blog tour

is in full swing at Quilty Pleasures here. I had the pleasure of making this Baker’s Dozen of blocks testing the patterns for the magazine. I love them and I think this is the best magazine ! It really has something for everyone. I am so happy to have been part of this testing cycle.

Click each picture to enlarge and see detail of the blocks. Join the blog tour for a chance to win prizes and see what other blocks people tested or designed!

Thanks Quiltmaker, I had a great time!


Ultimate Guide To Machine Quilting Blog Hop Week 1

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May 1 is here and that means we (HollyAnne, Jen, and Kristin)  are kicking off the blog hop for Angela Walters and Christa Waston’s book pictured -The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting!!! We will be posting once a week on Mondays for 10 weeks !!! This wonderful resource is written from the point of view of both a long armer and a sit down quilter. Bonus there are quilt patterns for each chapter, too!

Click on each name and it will take you to their blog of the people participating in the hop ! This blog hop is designed for you to have the book for reference and I will talk about my takeaways each chapter. I will also show pictures and some video of my progress. I want to share what I learned to make me a better free motion quilter. Here is our directory page for future reference.



squares on a string

A little about me. I am a long arm quilter and the only long armer in the blog hop. I have been free motion quilting for 6 years on a Baby Lock Jewel with a 16 inch throat space on a 10 foot frame that is set up at the end of my bed. Yep, the only room in the house big enough! I have a few stitches that I considered mastered in my tool box-swirls, circles, echos, loops and curls. I am still learning straight lines! The tool box is those ‘go to’ stitches that you use often and , then get good at them so you can use their variations, too. I have to say that free motion quilting takes lots of practice to see results. I must agree with the authors of the book who say that practicing is really important. It really is not much different to compare it to when I was a kid and  I took lessons on playing the violin. I practiced every day for the eye/hand coordination for the basics and then practice continued for more advanced lessons as I mastered beginning skills.


Little switchbacks and curls

The book starts out by  talking about how to improve quilting. My take away was practice often but practice different things, too, to enhance your skills and make your tool box bigger. Also, we need to learn the limitations of our machines. There are limitations on long arms and we must approach things differently vs a table top machine where the quilt is being pushed through.

Chapter 1 Plumb Lines

This chapter emphasizes stitching straight lines! Oh no, something that I am not very good at and this is the perfect time to practice. I am just learning to use a ruler and my channel lock after all this time. However, I did  decide to quilt a whole quilt with the channel lock to practice those lines. Horizontal lines are easier to do vs vertical lines on a long arm.

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Tip: load the quilt horizontally to minimize start and stops of the lines.

Also read the section carefully about letting go of perfection. We are quilting free motion stitches…. it will not look the same as stitches created by computers. That is the beauty of it!

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Quilt I am using for the blog hop

I had several blocks from a block swap and I added a few I made myself that turned into a top for this blog hop. I used some of the stitches talked about in the chapter and then spent my time quilting between spaces and then outlined areas for emphasis. This was the lesson in the chapter. I chose to quilt between the Logs on a modern log cabin block in the upper left of the quilt. I did incorporate some lines to practice more!

Click on each photo to see more detail.

Below is a video and talk of the process used to quilt the first block.

I did do some toolbox quilt videos and you can see them in previous blog posts or on my You Tube channel for ease to look them up here. The tool box videos have videos on swirls, circles, echos, loops and curls

Take away:

There are many stitches that work well together in a quilt. Emphasize areas of a quilt by outlining the area by stitching in the ditch.

Until next week, Quilt On!

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Add your free motion quilt process based on this first chapter by clicking on the link box with the frog below!!!

We are also posting to Instagram using the hashtag #machinequiltingbloghop. If you want to get to the directory of bloggers and info about the blog hop click on the chalkboard on the sidebar.