Saturday, February 27, 2016

2016 Free Motion Quilt Along - Part V More FMQ!

Greetings fellow quilters!
Welcome to Part V of the
2016 Redbird Quilt Co.
Free Motion Quilt Along
using the whimsical 
Lewe's Balloons Growth Chart
by Susy Bleasby
for World of Susybee
Let's Keep on Quilting!

If you're just joining us be sure to checkout the previously published
Free Motion Quilt Along Posts:

Introduction => here
Sponsors =>  here
Supplies =>  here
Part I Pieced Borders =>  here
Part II Pin Basting ==>  here
How to Quilt That ==>  here
Part III Tools, Setup + Practice ==> here
Part IV Let's FMQ ==> here

Also, do checkout our fantastic Sponsors and the awesome Giveaway products they've provided!
See that post ==> here

This week you're invited to watch 2 YouTube videos that cover
  • A little more about clouds -- and a marking exercise
  • FMQ a couple of the balloons with a Swirly "V" and Echo Stitching
Note: when watching the videos be sure to view on a device that allows you to see the embedded annotations.  There is a lot of useful information included via annotation.

Before we get into the Part V video series here is an image of the upper right hand corner Bee once quilted.  I used the same plan as outlined in Part IV:
Aurifil 50Wt thread #2600 Dove
Free Motion pebbles along the flying path
Echo Stitching around everything to create movement
I LOVE the way it finishes!!

Now let's get started with the Part V video series:

Note:  Woohoo!!
We're up to 10 videos so far in the 2016 FMQ Along!
Be sure to watch the 8 prior videos before taking this lesson.
Each new one builds upon skills learned in previous videos.
See the entire list of videos here.

FMQ Motif Quilting - Another Cloud


In this video I share some marking and stitching options for quilting another cloud.
Click the image below to watch the YouTube video.


Here are some completed images from this session:
Cloud #3 Quilted:

FMQ Motif Quilting - Swirly "V" and Echo Balloon Quilting


In this video I share a simple Swirly "V" motif and repeat some echo quilting on the balloons.

I must give credit to my friend Wendy Sheppard for inspiring the Swirly V's motif.

I learned this sweet motif from Wendy's tutorials and her online Annie's course.

Visit Wendy, read more about her free FMQ tutorials, Thread Talk, and review her informative and inspiring Annie's Online Courses here.

Click the image below for the Swirly "V" motif tutorial:
Here are a few still images from this lesson:

Before quilting the balloons I changed thread color
from Aurifil 50Wt #2600 Dove
to Aurifil 50Wt #1231 Spring Green
for the top and bobbin thread.
I love the way the balloon and bee quilted!
This balloon was simple and fun -- the whimsical approach worked perfectly!
Showing the "jump" results before the threads are trimmed.

How is your FMQ coming along?  

Do you have any questions ~ need input for troubleshooting ?

I would love to see your progress!
Email (below) or hop on over to one of the Facebook pages with an update.

Thanks for stopping by and for joining us for the 2016 FMQ Along!

PS - Don't forget about the huge sale now through 2/29 for Aurifil ThreadKits & Designer Fabrics.
If you've thought it too expensive to invest in Aurifil 12Wt and 50Wt threads -- these prices are the lowest I've ever seen -- and I'm a pretty fussy deal finder ;)
More details ==> here.

Social Media Details....
*** e-Mail me ***
karen@redbirdquiltco.com or 
redbirdquiltco@gmail.com

*** Follow Me ***
Did you know you can visit me on
and/or
I post all sorts of fun things there!!
**
If you love to Free Motion Quilt consider joining my 
Facebook Community Group
*
Plus
I share quilting related
videos on my YouTube Channel
*
I'll soon be sharing live feed TV on my Periscope
*
I'm also on Pinterest and Twitter 
and I share other tutorials and patterns on
My Tutorials on my blog

*
I have a few patterns available in my Crafty Store

Thanks again for stopping by...

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Sale You Won't Want to Miss! Through 2/29

I know, I know -- Black Friday & Super Bowl Sunday Sales are well over and the last thing we need is more thread & fabric right?

Wrong!

Holy WOW -- I've done some homework and found yummy Aurifil threads, Moda kits, and a variety of fabric at Craftsy with fantastic prices.

The recently announced Winter Clearance sale includes an additional 20% off Clearance prices on all Craft Supplies good NOW through end of day Feb 29th!
WOW!

Here are a few of my favorites...   
Select collections of Aurifil 50Wt thread - 4 spools around $6 each!!!
*
If you haven't already tried it, now is your chance to try out this fantastic thread.  
Clearance price PLUS an additional 20% off  is lower than wholesale prices! 
Really!

Some of my favorite tools: 
 The June Tailor Cut 'n Press Mats -- really great prices
And Karen Kay Buckley's Bigger Perfect Circles -- fantastic Price $7.00 

Tula Pink Eden
Amy Butler Bright Heart - I MUST have this!

 Cotton and Steel Collection - WOW! See it here:

Moda fabrics & Kits, Kaffe Fasset fabrics and on and on...

The sale is only good through end of day February 29th - so don't delay!
Free shipping may apply over $99

Also includes other Crafts -- not just quilting... knitting, cake making, photography -- everything...!! 

Be sure to jump over to Craftsy and check it out  -- next week I'll be sharing a few of my favorite FMQ classes (on Craftsy and Annies) -- stay tuned... (maybe they'll go on sale too!).

Happy Shopping!
Karen

Note: This blog post contains affiliate links - If you purchase through these links I may receive compensation from Craftsy.   I promise to only recommend products that I know and LOVE -- especially those with great prices!  

Monday, February 22, 2016

2016 Free Motion Quilt Along - Part IV Let's Get Quilting!

Greetings fellow quilters!

Welcome to Part IV of the
2016 Redbird Quilt Co.
Free Motion Quilt Along
using the whimsical 
Lewe's Balloons Growth Chart
by Susy Bleasby
for World of Susybee


It's time to Free Motion Quilt!! 

If you're just joining us be sure to checkout the previously published
Free Motion Quilt Along Posts:

Introduction => here
Sponsors =>  here
Supplies =>  here
Part I Pieced Borders =>  here
Part II Pin Basting ==>  here
How to Quilt That ==>  here
Part III Tools, Machine Setup & Practice ==> here

Also, do checkout our fantastic Sponsors and the awesome Giveaway products they've provided!
See that post ==> here

This week you're invited to watch 4 YouTube videos that cover
  • Straight line stitching with Aurifil 12Wt thread to stabilize the quilt top
  • FMQ Motif practice & quilting simple swirls, pebbles and echoes
Note: when watching the videos be sure to view on a device that allows you to see the embedded annotations.  There is a lot of useful information included via annotation.

Here is the Part IV video series:

Quilting Motif Practice:

It's very important to practice any and all quilting motifs before you begin to quilt them.  I love practicing with pencil and paper, a whiteboard, or with a dry erase pen on a mirror!   You can practice with clear plastic sheets, Press 'n Seal, or plexi-glass positioned over your quilt top!  Do whatever it takes to draw-out and practice your quilt motif, building muscle memory each time you practice. When you finally sit with needle and thread the motion will be simplified if you practice ahead!

In this video (click image below) I share (on a whiteboard) the swirl, loop, pebble and echo motifs that we'll use for some areas on our Lewe's Balloons Growth chart.   


Stabilize the Quilt: Top Stitch w/ Walking Foot

We've discussed using straight line stitching to stabilize the quilt top before you begin to FMQ.   I LOVE to use Aurifil 12Wt thread and a walking foot for this step.





This video is specific to Stabilizing the Quilt top using a Walking or Even Feed Foot.

FMQ Motif Quilting - Lewe and Swirls

Woohoo!  Now let's get quilting Lewe with Swirls and Loops... we'll do some outline quilting too!
This is an image of the Janome Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot Set.  The foot holder has an adjustable spring used to raise or lower the quilting foot on the fabric.

Ideally your quilt foot should rest just above the quilt sandwich.  A foot that is too high may cause your machine to skip stitches.   A foot riding too low may push the quilt top and risk the creation of puckers when quilting.
The video below introduces you to swirls and loops on Lewe!
Here is still image once Lewe is quilted:
I love the texture and the Aurifil 50Wt color #2600 is perfect for Lewe.

FMQ Motif Quilting - Pebbles and Echoes

How about that bee!  Adding pebbles and echoes gives dimension and implies movement.   We also outline and echo the cloud for beautiful texture.

Watch this video for more information (click image below).
Here is a still image of the bee pebbles and echo quilting
Here is a still image of the cloud outline and echo quilting

 Congratulations on another FMQ lesson under your belt!  If you like, apply your new motifs to the other clouds, bee and ewe on the panel -- I'll share still images of those next week!

Thanks for stopping by and for joining us for the 2016 FMQ along!

Social Media Details....
You can write me anytime:  
karen@redbirdquiltco.com or 
redbirdquiltco@gmail.com

*** Follow Me ***

Did you know you can visit me on
and/or
I post all sorts of fun things there!!
**
If you love to Free Motion Quilt consider joining my 
Facebook Community Group
*
Plus
I share quilting related
videos on my YouTube Channel
*
I'll soon be sharing live feed TV on my Periscope
*
I'm also on Pinterest and Twitter 
and I share other tutorials and patterns on
My Tutorials on my blog

Thanks again for stopping by...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

2016 Free Motion Quilt Along - Part III Tools, Machine Setup and Practice

Greetings fellow quilters!
Welcome to Part III of the
2016 Redbird Quilt Co.
Free Motion Quilt Along

Today we'll talk tools, area & machine setup and FMQ practice.

It's important to read through the blog post AND watch the attached YouTube Video.
There is pertinent information in both parts of this lesson.

Note:  Watching the video from a computer will allow you to see the annotations and clarifications that have been added.
Be sure to try that out.
Our phones are great devices but don't always optimize the video viewing experience.
*
We're gearing up to free motion quilt the
Lewe's Balloons Growth Chart Panel
by Susy Bleasby for
 the World of Susybee.
Quilting fabric panels is a perfect way to practice and improve your Free Motion Quilting skills with minimal investment in time and money.

If you're just joining us be sure to checkout the previously published
Free Motion Quilt Along Posts:

Introduction => click here
Sponsors => click here
Supplies => click here
Part I Pieced Borders => click here
Part II Pin Basting ==> click here
How to Quilt That ==> click here

Also, be sure to jump over to our Sponsors Facebook pages and give them a "Like".
They're providing some fantastic products for the QAL Giveaways!
Many thanks to:
Aurifil Facebook
Quilter's Dream Batting
World of Susybee
Creekside Fabrics, Quilts and Yarns
Sew It Is Quilt Shop
Quilty Pleasures Quilt Shop
To learn more about the Sponsors click here.

***

Many thanks for your patience as we work through the QAL -- there is so much to learn it's hard to fit it all in!!

Today we're going to talk about area and machine setup -- along with a few of the tools and notions that I use to FMQ.  I'll also suggest a quick and easy FMQ practice session to get you "warmed" up.

Let's talk Quilting Area Setup:


I highly recommend you find a way to get your machine bed flush with the table top.  If you can't do that consider investing in an extension table for your machine.

Today I want to share with you my setup (as seen at our little cottage).

First, I take advantage of a LONG kitchen table (that comfortably feeds all of our grandkids at one time).

And years ago I invested in a portable sewing table, the Arrow Gidget II (on recommendation from Leah Day).
The Gidget II travels with me to Guilds, Shops, Home, Cottage, Retreats - - it's a perfect way to always be setup for FMQ.  It's not too heavy, has wheels, and isn't overly expensive.

If your local store or shop doesn't carry the Gidget II -- purchase it from Amazon by clicking the image below:



As you can see, I put the Gidget in front of the dining table
The Gidget II has an adjustable drop center that allows your machine to sit flush inside.
Once adjusted the machine fits right in and the bed is flush with the table top.
I add on the extension table that came with my Janome Horizon so that there are no holes around the machine bed.  It's really an ideal setup for FMQ.
I also add a portable table to the left to create an "L" shaped area to support the quilt top.
I can't stress enough how much the "flush" and "L-shaped" setup helps with stitch consistency and an overall improvement in the structure of your motif.  
It's desirable to have the quilt top totally supported while you FMQ.

Here's the setup in action with my latest design using BariJ's "Mille Fleur" fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics.   You can see more about this quilt on my Instagram Feed @RedbirdQuiltCo and in an upcoming blog post.
That concludes the machine AREA setup.  Was it helpful ?

Let's talk Machine and Notions

Next, in the video I discuss the machine setup and tools that work for me while I FMQ.  

Here are a few of my favorite tools:
The above tools are the ones I count on for FMQ'ing
Please review the Part III Video AND Do You FMQ - The Process post for more detailed information.

Favorite Tools and Notions Summary:
Aurifil Cotton Threads
50 Wt for dense machine quilting (top and bobbin)
If your local shop doesn't carry Aurifil, you can usually find a great bargain on Craftsy -->  Use this link

Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers
 for keeping that bobbin spinning smoothly

Supreme Slider by LaPierre
 for keeping that fabric moving smoothly
Purchase from Amazon by clicking the link below:



Machingers Quilting Gloves
for getting a grip on the fabric
Purchase from Amazon by clicking the link below:



FMQ Darning Foot
as seen in video, several options

Quality Needles
A good needle can make or break you.
See options in video

Learn more in the video and in this blog post:
Do You FMQ - The Process
*
In the video I talk about covering (vs dropping) the feed dogs...
Here are some detail images of the template plastic setup I use to cover the feed dogs.
Here is the cover in action:

Be sure to Practice

Also in the video I suggest a way to practice your FMQ on a quilt sandwich so you can evaluate how the thread, needle, batting, hand and machine speed work together.

Ideally you'll want to fine tune the tension on your machine with a comparable quilt sandwich before you begin quilting the panel.

On the Janome I set my upper tension higher to get nice quilt stitches.  You may need to do the same.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

If you've had limited exposure to FMQ it's a great way to jump in and practice

Be sure to jump over and watch the  Part III Video

What's Next:

In our next session we'll get the stabilization stitching done AND begin to quilt one of the subjects.

For each motif we use I'll share a still drawing giving quilting path AND I'll try to record a video of me stitching it on the panel.

I intend to show you each step so we work through it together.

Again I appreciate your patience - we're getting there!  Next time we'll be stitching up a storm.

If you could, please let me know about your setup by leaving a comment:

What machine are you working on?
Do you have a flush setup?
Do you have a cabinet or extension table?
Are you giving the Aurifil thread a try ?

Have a fantastic week and Happy Valentine's Weekend!
Karen

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Free Motion Quilt Along - How to Quilt That

Greetings friends!!
I'm excited to share this installment of the
2016 Redbird Quilt Co.
Free Motion Quilt Along:
"How To Quilt That"
** YouTube Video Included **
We're using the whimsical
Lewe's Balloons Growth Chart Panel
by Susy Bleasby for
 the World of Susybee.
Isn't it adorable ?
Quilting fabric panels is an excellent way to hone your FMQ skills.  Panels are fairly inexpensive and don't require weeks and months of piecing.  They make beautiful quilt tops and provide a great training mechanism with minimal investment.

If you're just joining us be sure to checkout these prior FMQ Along Posts:

Introduction => click here
Sponsors => click here
Supplies => click here
Part I Pieced Borders => click here
Part II Pin Basting ==> click here

Also, be sure to jump over to our Sponsors Facebook Pages and give them a "Like".
They're providing some fantastic products for Giveaway and we're pretty happy about that!
Aurifil Facebook
Quilter's Dream Batting
World of Susybee
Creekside Fabrics, Quilts and Yarns
Sew It Is Quilt Shop
Quilty Pleasures Quilt Shop
To learn more about the Sponsors click here.

This installment of How To Quilt That will focus specifically on the Lewe's Balloons Growth Chart.

There are many considerations for deciding how to quilt a top -- here are a few:

1. Who is the quilt for, how will it be used, will it be washed and dried regularly?
2. How is the quilt constructed?  Does it have busy designs and fabrics ?
3. Are there subjects on the quilt that need to be highlighted ?
4. Will the quilting alone be the highlight of this quilt ?

There is no right or wrong way to quilt a top.  Quilting is often a reflection of your style and skill level.  Over time, as your skill increases, your style and choices will change accordingly.

When you're just starting out it's ok to stick to basic background and fill designs - eventually you'll branch out and try your hand at more complex designs.

The key is to gain a comfort level with a few motifs-- and then move on.

That cycle will repeat itself again and again.

Practice is Key!

Why two layers of batting/waddling ?

Some of you asked why I use two layers of batting.

Well, because lately most of my quilting has been all about the texture!

** All images shown quilted with Aurifil 50Wt Thread **

I'm not creating a functional quilt per se.

I may be creating a Workshop Sample
Needle Turn Applique Sample - 2 Layers of Dream Wool
FMQ Feathers Sample - 2 Layers of Dream Wool
Or a donation quilt
Redbird and Berries goes Really Mini - 2 Layers of Dream Wool
or I may be creating a new Recipe for the Moda Bake Shop
Chevron Shuffle - 1 Layer of Quilters Dream Wool and 1 Dream Orient
Or a practice piece to use as a table topper at home!
QP Curve Template/Feather Practice - 1 Layer Dream Wool 1 Layer Dream Blend

I find using two layers of batting significantly enhances the quilting definition and creates awesome texture! 

I'll often use two layers of wool -- other times a layer of wool and a layer of cotton.  

The wool provides loft (place it next to your quilt top) and the cotton provides stability (place it next to your quilt back).  

Of course Quilter's Dream brand batting is my favorite.  
Quilter's Dream makes high quality bats using eco-friendly methods in the USA.  
Check out all the Quilter's Dream batting here. 

How to Quilt the Lewe's Balloons Growth Chart:

In the following YouTube video (click the image to view) I share my thoughts about preparing to quilt the Lewe's Balloons Growth Chart.

NOTE: If you watch the video from your computer you'll be able to view the many notes and annotations -- so consider using a computer verses an Iphone to view the video ;)

I'm a bit new at this video recording business so thank you for providing honest and fair feedback -- improvement is always my goal!

I look forward to hearing your feedback and addressing any questions you may have.

Next installment we'll be talking about the tools I love and how I setup my sewing area for quilting -- Oh, and we may do a little stitching ;)  Stay Tuned!

How are you coming along so far?  Have you pieced?  Basted?  Be sure to share your progress images on the Free Motion Quilting Frenzy page or on any of the Quilt Along posts on my Facebook Page!

Thanks for stopping by and happy quilting!
Karen