We Interrupt this Program

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

well, this “31 Day” series. Today was just hectic with Halloween. I was busy all day finishing up a Skyfire (old school Transfomer) making dinner, and doing laundry among other things. I’ll post part 2 of the binding tutorial tomorrow. I did get all the pictures edited though. I even re-took a few that weren’t very clear.

Happy Halloween, see you tomorrow.
~ Norma

Binding with a Walking Foot–Part 1

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
(Day 30 of a 31 Day Series)
One of my favorite things to do with my walking foot is to apply the binding to my quilts completely by machine. By now you should know how much I dislike hand sewing. It just takes me forever, and there is just so much binding on a large quilt. I once hand sewed the binding on a queen size double wedding ring quilt and it took me 3 months to finish! I’m not going there again! (Unless it’s for a major quilt show.)
Binding Tutorial

Ready to Zoom

Our “31 days” series is coming to an end. Many of you have expressed sadness (I know it’s not really sadness, but I understand what you mean)  at the impeding end. Those awesome little comments have really made my day! That means that I was able to share something that many of you found useful. I’m kind of sad to see the series end as well. I won’t get through all of the designs that were scribbled out in my notebook so you can look forward to a walking foot quilting post here and there. I’ll make sure to link them on the original “31 days” post so that you can find them easily. It has been fun, hard, frustrating at times (computer woes) and rewarding all rolled into one.  However I’m also looking forward to having a little break and not having a deadline to meet every day. Plus this baby has been calling my name every time I sit at the computer with my back to it:

HQ16 Set up

The HQ is ready to go and is just itching to churn out the quilts. I’m so excited to have a machine that will enable me to progress as a long arm quilter. I haven’t really gotten a chance to play with it but it has already clocked in for work. I was able to whip up this custom ordered baby quilt in no time. I’m sure I’ll get quicker as I learn the quirks of my new set up.

Personalized baby name quilt - Josette
(More info and pictures here)
The quilts are available in my shop.

Quilt As You Go

Monday, October 29, 2012

(Day 29 of a 31 Day Series)

STOP!! Don’t run in the other direction. You’ll want to read this post, trust me.

I’ve given you lots of ideas for quilting designs that can be quilted with your walking foot during this “31 days” series. As I mentioned before, using a walking foot does not eliminate the hassle of wrestling your quilt top into that itty bitty space to the right of your machine’s needle. Some of you may have heard of a “quilt as you go” (QAYG) method and for some it will be a novel idea. Basically the method involves quilting up your quilt blocks one at a time (or smallish sections of your quilt) and then joining the quilted sections together to form the quilt. Most quilt blocks are in the 12”-16” range so this is very manageable in even the tiniest sewing machines.

Until a few weeks ago I was really only aware of two ways to do this. Both involve leaving a narrow un-quilted area around your blocks, then joining the blocks together, and a generous amount of hand sewing on the back of the quilt. I always found the method confusing and, since I really dislike hand sewing, cumbersome. Check out this really great tutorial that explains both method’s very well at The Quilter’s Cache.  (Make sure you read all 3 pages.)

To be honest I have NEVER done QAYG. The hand sewing always deterred me. My world changed dramatically when Maureen posted a fantabulous tutorial of her version of QAYG. Seriously you HAVE to go check it out. It is revolutionary – well ok it really is simple and my jaw dropped and I couldn’t help but think “duh!” Did I mention there is NO HAND SEWING!! *insert hallelujah chorus*

Ok enough already – get over to Maureen’s lovely blog, bookmark her, follow her, but don’t stalk her! Tell her you love her, she’s a genius, and tell her we are so lucky she joined the quilting world (she’s only been quilting a short while) – oh and tell her I sent ya!


Will you look at that gorgeous straight line quilting!

I really want to know if you have done QAYG, what you liked and didn’t like about it. What do you think about Maureen’s method?
~ Norma


Saturday, October 27, 2012

(Day 27 of a 31 Day Series)

Today I decided to share some ideas for quilting borders. Not every quit is going to look great with an all over design. Some of the designs I showed you before can be used as border designs, although you may have to drop some elements.


Geometric Meander

Thursday, October 25, 2012

(Day 25 of a 31 Day Series)

In FMQ when you do a stipple or meander you are basically wandering in a random squiggly fashion. You can also do a random wandering with your walking foot like this:


Tuesday, October 23, 2012
(Day 23 of a 31 Day Series)

One of the easiest free motion quilting designs is “loops.”  We can modify this design for walking foot quilting quite easily.


Monday, October 22, 2012

(Day 22 of a 31 Day Series)

This design takes its cue from a topographical map. There is no marking required because the lines don’t have to be equally spaced. In fact the design looks better when the lines are a bit more random.


To make this design you start with one free form stitching line (the inner most pink line.) Then you would echo the design inward and outward. You don’t need to echo the stitching line perfectly or equally spaced. In fact it looks great if every once in a while you throw in a slightly different element (see the outer pink line.)

Only 1.5 weeks left in the series

Sunday Inspiration - Sharp Points

Sunday, October 21, 2012
(Day 21 of a 31 Day Series)

A little disclaimer: All of the designs featured in the 31 days post were thought up by me on one afternoon. I sat down with a pen and paper and drew out over 40 designs. As is often the case in quilting, the odds are that someone else has also had the same idea, but arrived at it or done differently. After I write the weekly posts, I sit down and search Flickr, Pinterest, and Google to see if i can find any quilts using similar designs/concepts that I have shared. I did not browse the internet and steal designs/ideas from others to pass off as my own.

1. Untitled, 2. little quilt, 3. Quilted Zig Zag Quilt, 4. Quilting Detail Coin Quilt, 5. Argyle Baby Quilt 4, 6. Sahar-randomlines, 7. Argyle Baby Quilt Back, 8. Zig Zag Quilt Top, 9. Bot Camp

1. Zig Zag design on a non- zig zag quilt. Almost exactly like my demo quilt!
2. Echoed step in the negative (white space.)
3. Echoed zig zag in the negative space.
4. Double argyle.
5. An argyle variation using darker thread for some quilting lines.
6. Broken glass.
7. More argyle (I think this is the back of the quilt, but it looks great!)
8. Mix up your designs! Zig Zag and straight lines together on the same quilt.
9. Another example of broken glass.

Now that you can see some examples on quilts which one is your favorite design of the week? Is there one design that at first you decided was just "eh" that you would give a second chance to now?  

~ Norma


Saturday, October 20, 2012
(Day 20 of a 31 Day Series)
I have one more “zig zag” design to share with you this week.

If you slightly rotate the “zig zag” design you’ll end up with some stairs.
In the example I followed the edges of the blocks to form the stairs. I only echoed the design once in the middle of the other blocks. I think it would look fabulous with 2-3 echoes in between the main blocks. This design does require a lot of pivoting so I might rethink that idea if this were a queen size quilt.
~ Norma

Double Argyle

Friday, October 19, 2012

(Day 19 of a 31 Day Series)

Ok, here’s one more argyle or diamond variation. You get a whole different look if you just double the lines.

double argyle

I think I like this one better than the single argyle or diamonds design. How about you?


Customer Quilt

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I finished up this customer quilt 2 days ago and finally made it to the post office.  Well actually I caught the mailman at my door today. I love that I can print up shipping labels at home and that I can hand my package to the mailman! There are more pictures and details here.

personalized baby quilt 

The quilts are available in my shop.
~ Norma

Argyle: Mix It Up

(Day 18 of a 31 Day Series)

Don’t be afraid to play around with any of the designs I have shared with you. Here I have taken yesterday’s design, Argyle, and changed the look simply by playing around with it.

argyle: mix it up

Basically I offset the next row to create illusion of an echoed zig zag between the rows.

~ Norma

Winners of Happy Trees

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Oy! I have to apologize. I had practically forgotten to draw winners for the Happy Trees - as it stands - pattern. This whole blogging everyday for the "Quilting with your Walking Foot" series is a lot of work! I also got a little side tracked with a road/camping trip to pick up my new (used) HQ16 long arm machine, the kids are also on Fall Break, and we've all had varying degrees of illness. I'm the last to succumb to the virus and the aches and chills have left me with no desire or strength other than to crawl into bed in a little ball!


(Day 17 of a 31 Day Series)

I know these are basically diamonds but when they are on point it looks like an argyle sweater. You could easily flip this design over on it’s side for a different look to the diamonds.

HST Gems

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I made up this quilt to play along with Beaquilter’s EQ tutorials. Easy HST’s and a rail fence border.
HST Gems
I think I would use some Kona Charcoal for the gray (it’s a bit darker) I would also mix in some different prints and solids to coordinate with Sandi Henderson's "Meadowsweet."
~ Norma

Zig Zag

(Day 16 of a 31 Day Series)
Fill the whole quilt, quilt it in rows, do it in groups of two a la Charlie brown’s sweater, or in groups of three, wide and tall, or short and narrow. Whatever floats your boat. This simple graphic quilting pattern adds a lot of WOW to a quilt. Obviously, you can do this design on a Zig Zag quilt by echoing the block lines.
I like it! It adds movement to a quilt, up and down. Or turn it on it’s side for left to right movement. This one requires a lot of pivoting. A sewing machine with a knee lift sure comes in handy right about now :) You only need to mark your first zig zag, then use your guide bar or edge of your foot to echo your previous line. Marking is a breeze if you use existing points on your quilt (like the corners of blocks) to mark your first row.
Had you thought to use this design on a non-zig zag quilt?
~ Norma

A Little Road Trip…

Monday, October 15, 2012
We went on a little road trip this past weekend. We traveled in our home away from home, built by my super awesome handy man husband:
tear drop trailer
Approximately 45 sq. ft. in the sleeping area. Comfortably sleeps 2 adults on a full size mattress and 3 kids with some strategically placed bunks. I love it! we are cozy, stay up way too late talking, laughing and watching movies. Love the memories we are creating with our kids.
We stayed at Jellystone Park camp ground in Scottsburg, IN. Where we were treated to a beautiful sight each morning:
fall trees and lake
We drove into Indiana (first time visiting IN so I can add another state to my bucket list) to pick up my new baby: *insert high pitched squeals*
On our way out of Indianapolis we drove around and saw this: (it was cold, windy and rainy so we didn’t explore as planned – oh yeah we had a kid with the pukes too – NOT fun)
A really cool, huge fountain at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, IN.
Monument Circle
We also saw the Indianapolis Capitol Building. Love that dome

Indianapolis Capitol Building

The next day on our way back to Nashville we drove around Louisville, KY and visited this place:
louisville slugger museum
Where we got to see and hold a bunch of really cool bats, watched MLB baseballs being made, saw one of Babe Ruth’s legendary bats with 23 notches carved in it (one for each homer he hit with that particular bat,) and we got to take a turn in the batting cages. I got to bat with an Evan Longoria bat. I chose the soft ball batting cages in case you’re wondering. We also toured the Louisville Mega Cavern – I didn’t get any pictures because, well it’s a cave and cave pictures hardly ever turn out. This cave used to be a limestone mine so it is man made and doesn't have any formations.
The whole trip was planned to pick up my new HQ16. Unfortunately I can’t play with it until we figure out a table option for it. Can you guess what our weekend project will be? I’m thinking of building a farmhouse style 12ft table. It has to be sturdy enough to keep down vibrations so I don’t think I want a folding banquet table. The HQ site has a table for almost $1000. Um I can build the farmhouse table for about $100. I think I’ll do that instead.

~ Norma

PS I will be selling off my old set up (Grace Start Right frame, Brother PQ 1300, Grace Sure Stitch regulator, and all sorts of extras) email me if you are interested.

Broken Glass

(Day 15 of a 31 Day Series)

Are you ready for another week of quilting ideas? We’re about half way through our 31 days series. I hope you have found at least one new design to try out. This week we’re going to focus on designs with sharp angles. This means there is going to be a bit of pivoting with our needle down to achieve these designs. Just be gentle when moving your quilt sandwich around to avoid any unnecessary pressure on your needle.
broken glass walking foot quilting
Think of this design as a geometric meander. There is no need to mark your quilt just go for it! There are no rules so if you get stuck in a corner feel free to cross a previous line or throw in a square or odd polygon to get out. I would quilt this from one side to the other but not in a straight row. Have fun with your first pass (black.) Then come back and start filling in spaces on your next pass (pink.) Continue until you fill the area you wish to quilt.
~ Norma
PS to get a feel for any of the designs I suggest you grab a piece of paper and a pen, not a pencil. Practice drawing the design (fill up the paper) until you are comfortable with the flow of the design. I say use a pen because you can’t erase “thread” once you start quilting on your machine. You can unpick, but who wants to do that?! I keep my kids old school papers for doodling quilt designs on the back before throwing them out.

Sunday Inspiration

Sunday, October 14, 2012

(Day 14 of a 31 Day Series)


1. Quilted waves, 2. Stars in the Pines, 3. Little quilt with tropical fish, 4. HST quilt, orange peel quilting, 5. Love U Charm Quilt and Orange Peel Quilting Tutorial, 6. Citrus Wedge, 7. Modern Peel, 8. Broken Diamonds Back Detail, 9. Curved crosshatching


1. Perfect example of quilting waves. Such an organic feel to this quilt.

2. Some curved crosshatching tucked into setting triangles.

3. Here is an example of water. To do this on a walking foot do it on a much bigger scale.

4. A great example of the orange peel or pumpkin seed design. The difference between this design and the “continuous curve” design is that the pumpkin seed is on the diagonal.

5. Here is a quilt done with continuous curve.

6. Circles on circles. What a great design! Notice how the circles are not equally spaced.

7. Ok this quilt is a prefect example of “targets” that cross each other.

8. Another example of circles. This one has the circles spaced evenly.

9. Another example of curved crosshatch. This time it’s tucked into the center of a block.

Have you tried any of these designs? Which ones are you dying to try?
~ Norma


Saturday, October 13, 2012
(Day 13 of a 31 Day Series)
If you stuck with me through yesterday’s post you deserve an easy design for today! How about some nice LOOONG gentle curves to quilt up a top lickety split?
water - walking foot quilting
Super easy, no marking required (unless you really want to) and adds a nice organic feel to the quilt. If you echo your lines (like the one that goes right across the middle of the quilt) the design kind of looks like wandering paths. Try it out on your next “outdoorsy” type of quilt. To keep it feeling more organic don’t echo it exactly the same.
See you tomorrow for some lovely quilts!
~ Norma

Orange Peel or Pumpkin Seed

Friday, October 12, 2012
(Day 12 of a 31 Day Series)
This is one of my favorite designs for using my walking foot. Yes you will have to mark your quilting lines but the results are worth it!
orange peel - walking foot quilting
Just like the continuous curve design I showed you earlier in the week, it looks complicated. However when we think outside of the box and quilt this in rows it’s not that difficult.Lets break it down:
orange peel 2 - - walking foot quilting
We basically have 4 different curves that are all similar. I have color coded each of the lines so that you can find them easier. Fig. E shows you how they all work together. Just stare at the picture for a while and it will all start to make sense.
Lines A & B are opposites as are C & D. Notice that A & C are basically the same they just have a different starting point. The same goes for B & D. I don’t want to get too wordy with a description and confuse you more.
1) Look at “Fig. E” Let’s say I was doing this on a quilt. I would start at the top left corner of my quilt with the first block. I would stitch out a line “A” (the black line.) It starts on my first bock in the lower left hand side and snakes it’s way across two rows of blocks.
2) Next I would stich a line “D” (the purple line.) This would start at the very same point as line “A.” It starts on my first bock in the lower left hand side and snakes it’s off the quilt and comes back down 3 blocks to the right and then goes of the quilt once more.
3) Next I would stitch a partial line “C” ( the dark blue line.). This one comes in on the second block of the quilt at the top left corner of the block, then it makes it’s way of the quilt on the 3rd block. It comes back down and out on the 6th and 7th block of the first row.
4) Next we’ll stitch a line “B” (the orange line.) to completely finish off the first row. This line of stitching will start on the first block of the 2nd row on the tope left corner of the block. It will then snake it’s way across the first and second rows of blocks.
5) From here on out you are just repeating the lines until you finish the quilt.

Trust me, it’s not hard! Just stare at the picture and you will get it :) Are you still with me or did I just scare you off?
~ Norma

Not to throw you a curve ball, but once you get the hang of it you can always travel up the side of your quilt (on the extra batting and backing) once you finish a row and come back in the other direction with a different stitching line.
Oh one more thing. I use this method for stitching down my cathedral windows blocks too!

Curved Crosshatch

Thursday, October 11, 2012
(Day 11 of a 31 Day Series)
Since we already covered grids, today’s design shouldn’t be too difficult for you. Despite the fancy name it is basically a curved grid.
curved_crosshatch - walking foot quilting
You can achieve this design by first marking 2 curves for the cross hairs as shown in “Fig. A” You can use anything round to mark these lines. Look around your house for round objects like plates, cups, the bottom of a pitcher, the base of a lamp etc. The next step would be to follow your first line of stitching with the edge of your walking foot or your walking foot guide bar. Do this until you fill in the space you desire. While I don’t think I would use this design as an “allover” design it is a really pretty design when used in setting blocks and corners (Fig. B) Stitching this design is no harder than stitching out a grid. I’ll make sure to show you a quilt on Sunday that incorporates this design.
I know this quilt is not the best example, but what do you think of using this design?
~ Norma

Continuous Curve

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
(Day 10 of a 31 Day Series)
One of the things you can do is to look to Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) designs and see if you can adapt the designs to quilting with your walking foot. One of the easiest FMQ designs is the “continuous curve.” It can also be done quite easily with your walking foot with a few modifications.
continous curve - walking foot quilting
A) In Figure “A” I illustrate how the continuous curve is stitched out while FMQ. If you were to do this with a walking foot there would be a whole lot of pivoting and wrangling of the quilt sandwich.
B & C) If we adapt this design to be quilted in rows and columns this design becomes super easy!  You will basically alternate 2 long wavy lines. First you stitch a wave like in “Fig. B” Notice that this curve starts with a “hill” then a “valley” and then repeats. The next step is to stitch a wave like in “Fig. C” that starts at the same point as your first wave. The image doesn’t show them starting at the same spot, this was on purpose so that it would be easy to see the differences. Notice that curve “C” starts with a “valley” then a “hill” and so on. It’s basically the opposite of curve “B.”
You can quilt all of your “B” waves, then all of your “C” waves. Then rotate your quilt 90 degrees and do the vertical waves.
Not as complicated as it looks is it?
~ Norma

Baby Quilt

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Working on a custom order for a personalized baby boy quilt. I love these baby quilts. So cute and modern!
Personalized Baby Quilt

These are available in the shop.

Fabric used:
Dots are Riley Blake “Peak Hour”
Backing is from IKEA “Barnslig”

~ Norma


(Day 9 of a 31 Day Series)

If the thought of quilting straight lines seems daunting, you can try quilting long soft curves. This brings lots of movement to a quilt and they are super easy to do. It looks great as an allover quilt design.

waves - walking foot quilting

A) You can echo your first wave for evenly space the waves. Just like straight lines, this design will bring lots of texture to the quilt.

B) Or you can just have fun and make each wave random. This gives you a more organic feel. It also resembles a landscape with hills and valleys. Don’t limit yourself to thinking of this design as water.

Do you prefer the echoed waves or the random waves?
~ Norma


Monday, October 8, 2012
(Day 8 of a 31 Day Series)
Circles are super easy with a walking foot. Circles add so much movement to a quilt and soften a “rigid” quilt pattern. The larger the circle is, the less pivoting you will have to do.
circles - walking foot quilting
Target:Each circle in this design is stitched separately. That means that you will have to tack your stitches every time you start and stop a circle. To save time you don’t have to stop and trim your threads every time you finish a circle. Simply raise your needle and presser foot, move the quilt over an align your self with your previous line of stitching, lower the needle and the foot, tack your stitches and quilt the whole circle. Once you are done with the whole quilt you can go back and trim the threads between your circles.
The great thing about this design is that you only have to mark 1 circle. Don’t even worry about marking the teeny tiny circle in the middle. Simply find a large circle in your home, (like a dinner plate, a glass lid to a pot, or a coffee can) carefully center it on your quilt and mark the quilt top. Once you have stitched this first circle you can then work in to the center from it and out from the center of it.
Don’t forget to play around with this design, you can get a more organic and whimsical feel by varying the spacing between the circles.
Here are some fun variations:
more circles - walking foot quilting
A) Snail: You can always turn the design into a spiral and you won’t have to start and stop at all! To mark this design use a small round item to guide you in marking the first spiral (like a cup, a spice bottle, etc.) Once that first spiral is marked you will just follow your stitching lines.
B) You can quilt random “targets” and let the lines cross over some of the outer rings. ( I really like the way this looks and may have to try it out sometime!)
C) You can quilt “targets” and NOT let the outer rings cross. You would start with one “target” then start another one a little ways away. Once that second “target” is going to run into the first “target” you can start and end the rings where they intersect the first “target.” You don’t have to make all of the “targets” have the same number of rings. You can make small, medium, and large targets.

Have you ever considered quilting circles with a walking foot? Are you willing to try them now?
~ Norma

Sunday Inspiration - Straight Lines and Grids

Sunday, October 7, 2012
(Day 7 of a 31 Day Series)
Check out these dreamy quilts that showcase some of the designs we have talked about this week.
Click on any of the links above to see the image on Flickr.
1) Has evenly spaced vertical columns quilted throughout.
2) Has groupings of vertical columns. Each grouping has a different density and adds different textures to different parts of the quilt.
3) Uses a grid that gives a “corner stone” effect.
4) Uses vertical and horizontal columns
5) Uses vertical straight lines in a more whimsical design
6) Look at those “L’s”
7) Look at the texture from narrowly spaced straight lines.
8) “Corner stone” and a diagonal grid.
9) More straight line columns.

Do you feel inspired to tackle some straight lines?
Have a great Sunday,
~ Norma


Saturday, October 6, 2012
(Day 6 of a 31 Day Series)

The next logical step is to combine the straight lines we learned about last time and turn them into grids. Scale (or distance between the lines) will give you different looks and textures. Try turning your grids on the diagonal. Everything seems to look more complicated when it is “on point.”
Grids - walking foot quilting
A) Large Scale Grid: This one is quilted down the middle of each block. You can SID as shown or not, it’s up to you.
B) Small Scale Grid: This one gives so much texture to a quilt. The quilt in the example is using 6” blocks so you would be quilting lines every 2”. Keep that in mind before you start this design on a king size quilt :)
C) Diagonal Large Scale Grid: This one is achieved by quilting across from corner to corner in each block creating an “X.”
D) Diagonal Small Scale Grid: Once again this design adds lots of texture to an area but will require lots of time to create.
E) Combinations: Feel free to combine different quilting designs or parts of designs to make new designs. Here I have used “cornerstone” from day 4 and only half of design “C.”
Don’t forget that you can always double or triple your lines and that random spacing will give you a more whimsical look.
Tomorrow is Sunday. I’ve rounded up some beautiful pictures for you to look at!
~ Norma

Starting, Stopping and Rounding Corners

Friday, October 5, 2012

(Day 5 of a 31 Day Series)

Today’s post might not be very interesting for those of you that have been quilting for a while. Feel free to skip out and come back tomorrow. I won’t be offended, I promise. I thought about skipping this post entirely but somewhere out there a newbie might stumble upon this post and I would love to get them started on the right path. I was a beginner once and I wish I had known then that there are always different ways to accomplish the same thing and that no one way is the right way to do things.

Starting and stopping
It really doesn’t matter what kind of quilting you are doing, whether it’s free motion with a hopping foot or straight lines with a walking foot, you need to ensure that all your hard work doesn’t unravel over time. There are several ways to achieve this.

1) Back Stitch: To back stitch you stitch forward for a few stitches then using your reverse button you stitch backwards a few stitches. You will end up going forward again over your original stitches. I don’t really know if there is a set amount of stitches you are supposed to do, I usually stitch forward for 3 and back for 3, and then continue my stitching. I’ve never had anything come undone. Some people like to use it this method and some don’t. I tend to use this option only if I’m going to stitch a long line. If I’m stitching short segments where there will be a lot of cutting of threads I don’t like to use it because you will have that thicker section right at the beginning and end of your segment.

2) Knotting and Burying the Threads:  Basically you do your quilting with out tacking  and leave your threads long. When you are done quilting a section you hand tie a know and then use a needle to bury the knots into the quilt like you do in hand quilting. Some people do all of their quilting before burying threads.This is my least favorite method because I don’t like to have hanging/loose threads on my quilt while I am quilting. There is more chance for knots to form or threads to get caught inside the machine, plus I think it takes forever!

3) Shortening stitch length: One of the tactics form free motion quilting is to take a few small, tiny stiches almost in place at the beginning and at the end of your stitching line. The same thing can be accomplished with the walking foot by manually manipulating the stitch length. I do this if I’m doing short segments of stitching and I don’t want the build up of thread to be so obvious from back stitching. I like this method better when I’m using a mechanical sewing machine, it’s faster to turn a dial than it is to push and hold a button on my computerized sewing machine.

OK let’s get to stitching! For this example I picked the “L’s” design from yesterday’s post. If your machine has a “needle down” position I recommend using it. (“Needle down” is a button that you push and it always makes your needle stop in the down position when you take the foot of the pedal, nifty huh?)

Here is my quilt sandwich, the red line represents the edge of the block or the “ditch.” (I used spray basting)


Make sure you tack your threads at the beginning. I used a backstitch. For this first pass I’m just following the red line right along the tiny opening in my walking foot.


When I get to the end of the line, where it turns the corner I stop with the needle down. Sometimes you have to manually adjust your sandwich so that the needle goes down in just the perfect spot without going past the corner. To do this I use the hand wheel and adjust my needle to an almost down position, before it pierces the fabric (and right before that last stich takes past the corner.) Then I raise the presser foot and very carefully nudge the sandwich over to where the needle will be in just the right spot. Then I lower the needle completely right on the corner with the hand wheel.


Now we are going to turn the corner. With the needle still down, raise your presser foot and carefully rotate the quilt sandwich 90 degrees and line it up in the new direction. Lower your presser foot and continue sewing until you either finish or have to turn another corner. If you are finished don’t forget to tack your stitches at the end.



Here is a picture of a few quilted L’s. For this example I used the edge of the walking foot as my guide and ended up with pretty narrow 1/4” rows.

Here is the back:

Just like in free motion quilting one of the best things you can possibly learn is how to minimize your starts and stops. They take time, and unless you’re burying your threads they tend to look messy especially if you have a lot of them. Learning how to travel  in the ditch will help you with that. If you follow the path of the thread above (start at the lower right) you will see that the whole thing was quilted in one continuous line. At the very end I quilted the outer edges of the square which would have been in the ditch if this was a block in a quilt.

Tomorrow I’ll show you a new design.
See you then.
~ Norma

The Humble Line

Thursday, October 4, 2012
(Day 4 of a 31 Day Series)
One of the simplest way to quilt a quilt is with straight lines. The walking foot is a great tool for quilting row after row of straight lines. From stitching in the ditch (SID) to beautiful grids, the humble line can take on different looks. One of the keys to quilting is the spacing or density of the quilting motifs. Small dense designs can bring a completely different texture to the quilt than a large light density design. Evenly spaced designs feel more formal and elegant than randomly spaced designs which feel more whimsical and relaxed.
You have my permission to play around with any of the designs I share with you in the 31 Day series.
Try spacing them out at different intervals: |   |   |   |   |   vs.  |  |  |  |  | 
Try doubling or tripling a grouping:  ||     ||     ||   vs.   | | |    | | |   | | |
Don’t forget to try randomized spacing for a completely different look.
I went ahead and created this simple quilt in EQ6. I will be using it through out the 31 Day series to show you how different a quilt can look depending on the quilt designs chosen.
Squared In

I came up with 6 easy straight line designs, but there are so many other ways that you can combine straight lines that the possibilities are endless. I didn’t really cover grids, we’ll talk about those another day.
A. SID – stich in the ditch
B. Columns
C. Corner Stone
D. Randomly Spaced Columns
E. L’s
F. Plaid
Straight Line Quilting-
A. SID – stich in the ditch:Stitching in the ditch refers to stitching along the block lines formed by seams. When done properly SID is not visible. The threads hide right in the shadow of the seams. Some quilters actually pull on their quilt top as they are sewing exposing the seam line and stitching right on the seam line. I take a different approach so that I don’t stretch or distort my quilt top. You know how you end up with a bump or drop after pressing your seams to one side? If you run your fingers along your quilt top you will see what I mean, depending on what direction you are headed you will either hit a bump or a drop at each seam. I make it a point to SID a hair width away from the “drop” side, right before you are about to go over the bump. The “bump” side tends to almost magically shift over and cover the threads, especially once the quilt is laundered.
SID is usually where most new quilters start. It’s a relatively safe design that won’t detract from a quilt top. It’s simple and elegant. It allows the design and fabrics to do all the talking.

B. ColumnsThis design looks great on most any quilt. It doesn’t matter if the columns are 1” apart or 4” apart. Keep in mind that quilting 1” wide columns on a queen size quilt is going to get old pretty quickly! Try this design in rows going horizontal.

C. Corner StoneThis design is achieved by quilting a line on each side of the block seam line. Allowing the stitching lines to cross where blocks meet creates a small square. This is a very simple design that looks great on most any quilt and looks a little more complicated than SID. However I find it much easier to accomplish because you don’t have to worry about the seams being in your way.

D. Randomly Spaced ColumnsYou can achieve a more whimsical look to a quilt if you randomly space the quilting lines.

E. L’sTry quilting an “L” by following sides of your block and then echoing it over and over until you fill the block. Don’t for get that you can play around with line spacing.

F. PlaidThis design is so fun and laid back. For a more whimsical approach try random groups of 3’s and 2’s on throughout your quilt. This design will look more relaxed if you avoid spacing your lines down the middle of your blocks.

Feel free to add pictures to the Petit Design Co. Flickr group if you try out any of these designs.
Tomorrow I’ll show you the “L” design and talk about starting, stopping, and turning corners.
~ Norma


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

(Day 3 of a 31 Day Series)

Did you hear that? I think I heard a collective *sigh* from quilters around the world! Basting is one of those necessary evils of quilting. I don’t think I personally know a quilter who loves this step of the quilting process. I have a theory that the vast majority of UFO’s are created once this step becomes necessary. Are you one of those quilter’s that collects quilt tops? It’s time to get over the fear of basting so that you can finish up those quilt tops.

What is basting?
Some of the beginners out there immediately conjure up an image of bulbous syringe and a turkey. Relax, we’re not cooking Thanksgiving dinner over here, at least not for another month. Sometimes basting is approached with as much trepidation as a holiday meal. Basically basting means that you temporarily adhere/attach your three quilt layers  together(top, batting, backing) so that you can take it to your machine where thread and a quilting design will hold your layers together permanently.

There are three basic methods that I know of for basting a quilt: needle and thread, pinning, and spray basting. Each method has it’s own set of challenges and requirements. I’ll try to briefly out line each method.


Needle and Thread:
Originally quilts were basted with a needle and thread. With this method you are basically taking long stitches all over the quilt sandwich to keep things together. I have personally NEVER tried this method. The thought of anything remotely like hand sewing is enough to keep me away. I did find this amazing tutorial that uses Sharon Schamber’s method that makes it all seem very manageable and easy enough for me to try it out sometime (maybe.)

Name:  Attachment-161355.jpe<br />Views: 801<br />Size:  79.0 KB

Pros: No pins are in the way while quilting, you don’t have to crawl on the floor, you don’t need a large surface to baste
Cons: If you don’t use thick enough thread your basting stiches could snap while you are wrestling the quilt sandwich, you have to go back and trim and pull out all your basting stitches after you are done quilting (might be a pain if you do a lot of micro stippling)

Did you know that most long arm quilters (myself included) will gladly thread baste a quilt for you for a nominal fee?


Pin Basting:
You can use the same method as outlined above for pin basting as well. For this method you should used curved safety pins specifically for quilting. They make it easier for the sharp end to come back up into your quilt sandwich while it’s taped down.  You may also want to use a stylus, chopstick or other tool to slip under the pin and help you close it. I use an acrylic cuticle stick from the drug store. It really helps save your fingers on a large quilt.

Here is the Sharon Schamber you tube video that shows you how it’s done.

and part 2:

Of course you can always do it the hard way and spread out on the floor on your hands and knees.

Pros: pins are sturdier than thread, pins are relatively cheap, you remove the pins as you sew so you don’t have anything to remove once you are done.
Cons: You’ll get poked - it’s inevitable. It’s really annoying to pin on top of carpet, you’ll ended up pinning the carpet in a couple of spots. You’ll want to plan ahead so that you don’t put pins in the way of your quilting line (i.e. if you are stitching in the ditch you won’t want to put pins along the edges of the block.) It can be a pain to have to reposition pins because they are in your way. You have to stop and undo the pins as you stitch.

That being said there is a cool product out on the market called Pinmoor. They are colorful “caps” that slide over regular quilting pins to cover the sharp ends. They are easier to reposition since you don’t have to fight with the clasp of a safety pin. They are rather pricey at $15 for 50 pieces. That’s barely enough for a baby quilt.

You know I’m all about being thrifty and saving money for more important things, like fabric and chocolate. A super cheap alternative is to take a thick piece of craft foam and cut it into little squares to use for your own pin caps. You’ll need relatively thick piece of foam. Look around the craft store in the kids department for foam door knob hangers or look in your garage or thrift store for one of these foam can cozies. ($0.99 at Hobby Lobby)

EVA Foam Can Huggie

Spray Basting:
I’m always surprised to find that people have not heard of this wonderful tool. Basting spray is a low tack adhesive/glue that comes in a can. It usually sells for $10-$15 depending on where you find it and the brand. One can should be able to do 2-3 queen size quilts or several small quilts. Make sure you buy one for fabric (preferably quilting) rather than one for crafting. The ones made for quilting are especially formulated to be repositionable and won’t gum up your needle. I’ve used June Tailor’s basting spray with no problems. I have even had quilts basted together for over a year before I get to them!  If your spray baste is coming out in clumps or in strands like silly string you need to get a new bottle! This stuff should come out like hair spray.
June Tailor Quilt Basting Spray

Speaking of hair spray, my friend Gene has had success using Aqua Net hair spray as a basting spray! At around $3 a can it sure is a cheap alternative so you can get even more chocolate.

I wrote a post a couple of years ago about how I spray basted my quilts (here.) I really think that the board method used by Sharon Schamber could also be adapted to spray basting. I’m going to try it out the next time I have to baste a quilt.

Pros: super quick and easy, no pins to mess with, repositionable, saves lots of time
Cons: can be smelly, cover work surfaces or they will get sticky, expensive


So now that we covered the different methods of basting let’s talk about why we need to baste. I thought the point of the walking foot was to move all the layers through together? The walking foot does NOT replace the need to baste the quilt sandwich. The walking foot minimizes the shifting of the layers but it doesn’t keep the layers together on it’s own. Basting every few inches stabilizes the quilt and insures that your layers will stay together until your quilting holds the sandwich together. Don’t skip the basting step or you will end up with huge puckers and you will be disappointed with the results.

Let me know if you have any questions about basting.

Now go make yourself a quilt sandwich, grab your walking foot and meet me tomorrow as we start with the designs!
~ Norma

Quilt Guide for Walking Foot

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

(Day 2 of a 31 Day Series)

Today I was planning on talking about basting your quilt sandwich but I decided not to. Instead I’m going to talk a little bit more about the quilt guide (or “L” shaped bar) that I mentioned in the previous post. I also mentioned that if you were able to buy a walking foot with a guide you should do so. If you already have a walking foot and it doesn’t have a guide you may be able to purchase an aftermarket guide for your foot. The really annoying thing about most walking feet is that they come packaged with a bar that fits on the right side of the foot. Just like the one in the picture I showed yesterday:


The problem with this set up is that you are trying to fight the bulk of your quilt on the already small throat space of your machine. There are very few walking feet that have a left side guide bar. Bernina is one of those that offers a guide bar on either side. If you can find a walking foot that will fit your machine and has a guide bar on the left side, that is the one I recommend. Better yet, if it has a guide for either side that would be ideal. Specialty feet are expensive so don’t run out and buy a new one. I did a little research for you and I found 2 options you might be interested in. Mind you I have NOT tried either one of these items so I don’t know how well they will work.

The first one I found was at Thread Stand Hero and is priced at $19.99 (+$4.95 shipping) and is also carried at Keepsake Quilting but is currently out of stock.


This one works by attaching to the back of your walking foot with a spring clip and gives you an adjustable guide on each side.


The second one I found was at Clotilde and is priced at $6.98 (+$4.95 shipping)


This one says you can attach it either on the left or the right. Your walking foot also needs to have a flat back of at least 1/2”.

The shipping price for something so small is what kept me from ordering either one. Instead I looked around and thought about finding something else work, something that I already had laying around that some of you might also have. You will need: a giant paper clip, some masking/painters tape and your walking foot



1) take the paper clip and bend the smaller inside “hook” straight up until you make an “L” with your paper clip



2) If your walking foot has a notch for a guide it just might fit in there perfectly like this:



If not, use some painter’s tape to attach it to the back of your walking foot like this:


That’s it! You’ll have to reposition the tape if you want to move the guide over but for less than a dollar I’m not complaining.


Here are some pictures of it on my machine. The curved end of the paper clip guarantees that you won’t snag your quilt sandwich as you go. The paper clip is actually pretty sturdy so unless you’re really wrestling your sandwich around I don’t think you’ll accidentally bend it out of shape.



See you tomorrow!
~ Norma

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