I worked on Rainbow Quilts all weekend.
This image will show you the very simple quilting that I'm doing on the king size quilt. It's all ruler work but you know that I love ruler work even more than free motion. The blocks are 6" square finished so I'm using a 6" circle ruler to make a half circle on all 4 sides of each block. Simple chevron lines in the outer triangles are helping me tame a little bit of stretching that happened in some of the black edge blocks.
I like how the grayed purple thread is working. Black would have been way to stark. Patty commented about the "magic" of grayed purple thread in Saturday's post comments. I think there are 2 magical colors of thread and those are grayed purple and a sage or mossy green. They seem to work with everything. It took me years to get up the nerve to use any sort of contrasting thread. I used to make sure my quilting disappeared but I felt this quilt really did need a little extra focus.
What I didn't need was a giant pin caught in the quilt. Last night I reached the halfway point and as I was quilting the next row I stitched over this pin. Fortunately I stitched over the shaft and not the pin head. It only took a few minutes to open the seam, get the pin out and restitch the seam but that seemed like a good place to stop for the night. I'm very please to have this half quilted.
I spent Friday and Saturday sewing with my Country School Quilters buddies and I got the second Rainbow Quilt top together. This one will be a large lap quilt. I had 20 blocks left plus a bag of scraps so I started a baby quilt with a 3" border made of 1" strips. I'll finish that and decide what to do with the scraps (placemats, scrappy blocks, give them away) next month.
If you want to make a Rainbow Quilt for yourself my free pattern is here. I used Stash Packs of fat eighths to make mine but this would also be a great scrap quilt from your stash.
I'm mentally ready and anxious to load some of my own quilts so I spent the weekend finishing off some veterans quilts. I'm caught up with them, for now, so I won't feel any pressure to quilt more for a couple of months. The two I'm sharing today are the last 2 of the 4 that Patty The Quilt Lady sent me.
On one of them I quilted my "Chain of Diamonds" pattern. This is a motif that I teach new longarm owners. When you start longarm quilting it's really important to learn step by step. I encourage them to quilt their first quilt with straight lines so that they have time to get familiar with the feel and sounds of the machine and adjusting tension. Straight line quilting looks great and they get a quilt done instead of a bunch of dog beds from practice pieces.
After straight lines I recommend adding motifs to the lines to start practicing starts and stops, points and pattern development. Chain of Diamonds is one of the linear motifs that I recommend.
It's a great motif for a second quilt. It's also great for the 200th quilt!
When you are longarm quilting you try to load the quilt along the longest edge. This quilt was perfect for a linear based design like Chain of Diamonds because I was able to use the strips as guidelines.
In this quilt the diamonds are spaced out in a random order. I think it's a cool effect.
The second quilt was pieced horizontally and for this one I quilted it with straight lines using my channel locks.
It might be simple quilting but I love the effect. The secret to making straight lines easy is to make the distance between lines random. Otherwise you will wind up doing a lot of measuring which will double the time it will take to quilt it.
You can't really see it here but I got Laura started quilting her quilt. She's never used the longarm before so we picked something really simple. This is what I try to teach the new longarm owners.
When you practice on muslin you have 2 things working against you. First, it's boring so it's hard to motivate yourself to quilt on something that's not going to actually be anything. Secondly, and more importantly, you can see every mistake.
When you start quilting it's important to spent time getting comfortable with the machine but you also want to quilt and you can do both!
Laura is quilting easy overlapping wavy lines. The consistent inconsistency makes patterns like this work well. But the thing that really makes it work is the blending thread color. Once this quilt is washed and on the bed you will just see the pretty softness of the colors. No one will be looking at the individual wavy lines.
It was a great way to get her on the machine and comfortable quilting alone. This is exactly how all new owners should approach quilting. Start simple and add a skill with each new quilt. Leave the muslin for later when you want to practice a specific motif.
Two more veterans quilts are done! Estelle made this one. I always love her autumnal color palettes.
It took 3 passes to do each row of blocks but they were very fast with a wavy line. Can you figure out the travel path?
Maybe a look at the back will help to figure it out. Seriously, I quilted this in about an hour and a half.
This one was pieced by Miriam from blocks submitted by other members. I used the border as inspiration for the quilting.
Straight lines with circles worked out really well.
Looks good from the back too.
Our friends from the UK are here for about 8 weeks so my posting might be intermittent for October.
I'm a little distracted and this is why. Our house is over 25 years old and over that time the house has settled along with the sidewalks. It was time to do some drainage work, get new sidewalks and regrade the driveway. We are adding drainage basins in the driveway and at the end of the brick gutters so hopefully this will eliminate some of the pools of water that collect during rainstorms. The old sidewalk was about 5" thick so it took 2 days to remove. Now we wait a few days for the ground to dry out some and they can start the sidewalks.
It's really messy so I just keep repeating "It will be worth it in the end"...almost like a prayer.
When I'm distracted like this I find that I need "easy" things to do and that's why I'm working on veterans quilts again.
This scrappy 4-patch was made by Cathy and she's been waiting on it for a while. I did some quick all-over swirls on this one.
With the block design in this quilt I decided I wanted something a little more custom to highlight the block pattern. I don't know who pieced this one.
For quilts like this I generally do some sort of continuous curves design. Once you have a travel pattern you can add any kind of swirls, spikes or feathers to the curve. I quilted the block in 2 passes (top of the block left to right and the bottom right to left). Each pass included one edge of the blue section.
I think it made a nice pattern on the back.
I have a couple of more quilted and will get them trimmed and photographed today. Then I have lots of fabric to wash out.
Mom got 2 quilts quilted while she was here and I didn't sew one stitch! I've been having a few days of allergy issues that have completely drained my energy. I did catch up on a lot of work for my shop but by yesterday evening I was having some withdrawal. But I was also tired.
This is the quilt that I was getting ready to start before Mom came. So I quickly reloaded it and in 30 minutes had half of the quilting done. It's like getting a drug. That little bit was all I needed for the day and I was ready for bed.
I'm quilting it with gigantic swirls.
I was feeling so draggy yesterday that I didn't get my dyeing done. So I'll finish that up this afternoon and tonight I should be able to finish this little quilt and load the second one that goes on the same backing fabric.
I love teaching the new Innova owners at The Longarm Network every other month. I get to introduce them to their new machines and my #1 goal is to make sure they leave excited, not scared, to go home and start quilting. On the first day it's all about learning the machine. We practice threading the machine, adjusting the tension, winding bobbins, all about needles and how to load and baste a quilt.
On the second day we get to quilt and I spend a lot of time managing their expectations. I remind them that they didn't learn to drive on the Interstate or at night on curvy roads. Most of us first started driving on vacant parking lots or in large fields. When we first start quilting we have to create that vacant parking lot so that we can learn the machine and build some muscle memory. You can't quilt like Margaret Gunn in your first 30 quilts. She didn't quilt like Margaret Gunn on her first 30 quilts either!
I give them a lot of simple quilting ideas and show them how they can build skills by quilting real quilts with simple motifs. Many of them you can see in my Easy Longarm section of the blog or in the Longarm Tutorials.
I practice these motifs on the veterans quilts that I quilt for my quilt club and I practice my teaching method on Mom because she's a good sport. She doesn't quilt on FloMo often and she's not interested in entering shows. She just wants her quilts quilted. When I got the Innova it was so much easier to control that I started teaching her free motion techniques to get her away from pantographs and the boring quilting from the back of the machine.
One of the motifs is this really simple zig zag quilted on straight lines. It looks like an EKG. Mom is here quilting and her first quilt is pieced in rows and we decided to use that as the guildelines. She quilted straight lines across the quilt and added some zig zags.
This is a great one to practice controlling your speed, quilting diagonally and making sharp points. My Mom quilts fast, like she thinks FloMo will expire on her. To keep her EKG from flat-lining she had to slow down a bit.
Now, as you look at this we can all agree that it's not the nicest quilting motif in the world.
But you start repeating any motif and now you've got something. Anything repeated looks good repeated.
The only way that you learned to drive was to drive. The only way you will learn to quilt is to quilt. Anything.
Every quilt does not have to be perfect. Sometimes they just need to be done.
Don't have a quilt ready to be quilted? Buy some pretty fabric and thread, pick a motif, quilt it and make some placemats or a table runner. The spaghetti that you spill on it will hide any mistakes.
Buy some panels and make some baby quilts for your local hospital or Project Linus. You get practice on real fabric and you are doing good at the same time. With every quilt you load pick a motif that will teach you a new skill and, if you want, you will eventually start making show quilts.
If you pick a motif and quilt it all over a quilt you will see how much better you get from the first stitch to the last.
When I wanted to learn feathers I quilted 2 quilts covered in feathers. The first one was a scrappy quilt with a busy back. I picked a blending thread and started quilting. The feathers started as a total mess but they got better by the time I quilted them for a several hours. I got a UFO done, my brother got a quilt for his sofa and I learned how to quilt feathers.
Then I wanted to practice a lot of different feather designs so I loaded this quilt, used red thread and quilted as many different feather designs as I could think up in a large meandering design. You can see some of them on the quilt page. Seriously, the quilting on this is as tacky as it gets but this quilt is on my bed in the winter and I can't see it in the dark. The point is that I am a better quilter for spending the time quilting this quilt.
From the time I bought my machine until this quilt 7 years elapsed. I didn't have as much time to quilt them as I do now so I could have made that leap in a much shorter time. But it shows that you only get better with practice. I believe that practice isn't fun on muslin so load a quilt, start easy and build you way up.
before I load another of my quilts that's going to take months to quilt, I decided to clear out a few more quick quilts. Last night I finished these 2 veteran's quilts. Next week they will be on their way back to Country School for binding.
What's not to love about a string quilt, especially when it can be quickly quilted with a meander. I'm pretty sure that Karen A. made this one because I give her leftover backing pieces from the quilts that I quilt and I see some of those fabrics in this.
I have a pretty substantial stock of King Tut thread. I don't use it much in my own quilts so I'm making effort to use it exclusively on the veteran's quilts. Quilting 32 of these quilts this year has made a substantial dent in the thread stock. I might run out in 10 years if I keep up this pace.
This quilt was made by our West Coast member, Annie. She and Becky met online in one of Barbara Brackman's block programs. Annie liked out veteran's quilt program so sends us quilt tops periodically. The are always pieced perfectly.
I didn't want to take away from the structure of the houses so I quilted this one with straight lines. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
It was great to be home and start to get back into my routine this weekend. FloMo and I spent some time together yesterday. I'm going to quilt a few veterans quilts before I load a quilt of my own. This quilt is made of these large house blocks with no borders. I really like the look of it and felt that wavy or curvy lines wouldn't really look great on it. I decided on straight lines.
Since I'm teaching the Innova New Owners class at The Longarm Network again this weekend it was timely to write up a tutorial on using channel locks. If you have a longarm and haven't used channel locks (installed or DIY) you might find the Channel Locks Tutorial helpful.
After finishing up the quilting on Non Unus Pluma I'm not quite ready to jump back into something involved. That means it's time for Vicki's Veterans Quilt Sweatshop. I had 8 that needed to be finished and got 6 done so far. I'm going to quilt one of my QOV quilts next. Here are the quilts I finished with a close up to show how I quilted it.
A little background. These quilts are all made by my quilt group, Country School Quilters, in Montpelier, VA. One of our members volunteers at the McGuire Veteran's Hospital in the spinal cord injury department and she shares the quilts with "her" patients there.
Our volunteer, Terry, is also a longarm quilter and between us we almost keep up with the quilting for the quilts. I use the quilts as photographic samples for my beginner longarm quilting classes that I teach at The Longarm Network. So all of these will have simple quilting but I still think they turn out quite nice.
On with the show.....
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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