Archive of ‘Crazy Quilting’ category

Crazy Quilting

My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches. My Quilt Embellisher is the software I used to create the projects in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. To embellish a block with crazy quilt stitches, take a photograph of the block and load it into the software as a Backdrop. Define the horizon and the scale. You’ll find those tools on the left toolbar, just click on the arrow under the Backdrop icon.

Select the Crazy Quilting icon.

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. Select stitch #10.

Once selected, you’ll notice the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look. The line of crazy quilt stitches  shown below is five repeats – all slightly different sizes. If your individual units are not aligned, select all and click on Horizontal Center Align to align the units. 

If a design is skewed, just select the individual design and drag the corner handle to rotate it.

Crazy quilting stitches are such a fun, decorative technique for adding embellishments to quilt blocks, small wall hangings, purses and more. One of my favorite projects from the book is this charming storage box.

If you like crazy quilting, you might enjoy my book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  The book includes instructions for creating your own crazy quilt blocks using My Quilt Embellisher software. Follow the steps in the book and watch the video on the CD to learn everything you need to know.  You can learn more about the book here.

 

 

Who has the Most Quilt Tops?

I really hit a nerve last week when I asked if you had any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Most readers admitted having more than three tops ready to be quilted from over 200 (and counting) responses. Not that it was a competition, but wow, we all seem to have quilt tops that need to be finished!

Blog reader Eileen Gorzelic summed it up when she wrote, Wow! Seems like a lot of us are in the same boat. Honestly I am not sure how many I have to quilt. I really enjoy the piecing part and when I get to the quilting part I become paralyzed and anxious. For some reason I have a problem with making small pieces and end up with twins, queens, and kings and the cost of having someone quilt it has become so expensive that I end up dragging my feet and end up start a new project…….Thanks for giving us an avenue to completion!

On January 31, Nataly Poire shared, “I have 3 boxes of tops that need to be quilt because I don’t like the quilting part…have to try your method.”

I know exactly how Nataly feels. I’ll share a little of my quilting journey (it’s taken 20 years so I won’t bore you with all of the details). When I first started quilting, I didn’t know a thing about precise piecing skills so instead of focusing on learning how to be precise and consistent, I took another path. I just came up with my own ways, like wider seam allowances, raw edge applique, fabrics that hid mistakes and more.  Then in 2014, I invented the shortE, the embroidery short arm with a long reach. It’s a frame that holds a quilt above the machine bed so you can quilt with an embroidery machine.

At first, I used cheater panels and whole cloth quilts to learn the ‘machining’ part.  The ‘machining’ part is the actual quilting of the quilt.

After a while, I got good at the ‘machining’ part and I fell in love with the end result – quilts that I wanted to wrap myself (or a loved one) in.  They were not only soft and supple; they were also interesting to look at. The stitching was beautiful and the texture was what I had always longed for. They were finally like the samples in the quilt shops that you just want to pull off the wall and lie under. They were, well, real quilts! 

The end result made me want to create beautiful tops so I finally paid attention to the piecing.  Believe me, I’m years away from entering a top notch quilt show but I’ve found I enjoy the quilt top making process so much more because I know the ‘machining’ part is doable  – the machining is not going to ‘ruin’ all of my piecing efforts. And isn’t that what we’re all afraid of? Ruining our beautiful quilt tops with the quilting (machining) process?  Well, fear no more – help is here! 

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons breaks all of the ‘machining’ down into manageable steps.  I feel like I’ve made (and overcome!) every challenge that you could encounter in quilting with an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you in Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Remember, you can watch it on Sewing with Nancy at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

Last week’s lucky winner is Joanna Cook!

Want to be winner this week? Just tell me the size of your largest hoop (and machine model) and you could win a pack of Print & Stick Target Template paper – that’s a $19.99 value

Experiment & Have Fun

I read a comment on last Wednesday’s blog post that got my creative juices flowing.  It is from one of our frequent Designs in Machine Embroidery contributors, Joanne Banko.  Here’s an excerpt of her comment:

Denise you outdid yourself. Wow, wow, and triple wow!!! Lovely little lace designs and great ideas for hair ornaments and more!

I think these would also be pretty added to crazy quilt blocks. One of my favorite uses for pieces like this is to attach them to custom stitched greeting cards for a 3D effect.

I absolutely love Joanne’s suggestion of using the lace designs with crazy quilt blocks.  My reply to her suggested I’d be posting some more shenanigans… so as promised, here we go!

I knew I wanted to try out one of Eileen’s quilt blocks from her book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  I foraged through my home to find fabrics with a sheen.  (They are not required but I wanted to try something new.)  Since satin fabrics tend to fray so easily—I don’t generally want to work with them!  But I knew the machine embroidered version of a crazy quilt design would make it easier.

I was curious to see what the FSL Flourish Flower from Embroidery Online would look like if it was stitched in two colors.  It was digitized for a single color only.  I’ll pause a moment and insert caveats to my idea:

  1. Not all ideas work! Embrace the need to test and be open to positive outcomes as well as learning experiences!
  2. I can’t say this enough. Test, test, test.
  3. Repeat Step 1 and/or 2!

I opened the FSL Flourish Flower in embroidery software.  Then I selected the stitches I wanted a different color, and inserted a new color.  Depending on how lace is digitized this technique may or may not work.  Remember, the digitizer had a specific plan for the design when it was created.  In my example, my idea worked!  (Whew!)

Some tips:  Consider the effects of highly contrasting threads.  I found the results were nicer when I stitched the off-white thread first—then finished up with the accent maroon color on top.

Experiment & Have Fun

Also featured on the crazy quilt block is a leaf design courtesy of Embroidery Online.  In fact, you may download it from our website for free if you haven’t already.  Visit our Free Designs page on the Designs Plus Newsletter.  Scroll to March 2015.  Click here to do it now.

Here’s a look at the finished block.  I added ribbon, buttons and a cute key to finish off the block.  Remember, making crazy quilt blocks is your chance to embellish with bits and pieces of treasures you have saved over the years.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After working with the FSL Flourish Flower, my mind wandered to miniatures….

I have a miniature wooden table that is in great need of being adorned with lace linens.  The freestanding lace designs make great doilies for my table!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Takeaways for the Day:

  1. Experiment and have fun.
  2. Look at embroidery designs with an open mind. Maybe there’s a use for a design you haven’t considered.

Last week we asked you to tell us which supplies from Embroidery Online you are most in need of in your sewing studio.  This week I get to announce the lucky FIVE random winners who will each receive a $25 shopping spree to the EmbroideryOnline website.

Here are the winners!

Sheri:
“FSL was one of the first projects I tried, so much fun! I can always use new needles and a small pair (or two!) of applique scissors would be nice.”

Diana Hensley:
“I have made several baby bonnets and booties using the FSL. I love the wash away stabilizer, it is really neat to wash it out and you have something so neat.”

Donna G.:
“I could use sharp embroidery scissors, and there’s some new stabilizers I’ve not tried. The hair accessories are a cute idea!”

Eileen Ryan:
“Wash Away Stabilizer always comes in handy”

Carolyn:
“I love doing FSL! I discovered Embroidery Online in your July/August 2014 issue with there FSL Patchwork Quilt Birdhouses on the cover. I’m making wind chimes with them. Their Alligator clamps are a must, and the AguaMesh Wash Away Stabilizer, and well as Vilene’s is the best for FSL.”

Congratulations, everyone!  If you need help spending the shopping spree money, let me know!  😉


This week’s assignment:
What type of projects would you like to see more of?  Quilts, crafts, adult clothing, children’s clothing or home decor?  One lucky winner will receive a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

 

You are invited to go crazy quilting!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Sam Solomon, our Creative Director at Designs in Machine Embroidery has been telling me to experiment with crazy quilting.  I’ve admired Eileen’s projects in her book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine but I didn’t think I had the skill level to understand what fabric to fold, where and when.  I remember taking a test in the 6th grade on spatial skills and paper folding and I struggled.  So clearly, crazy quilting isn’t for me.  But Sam assured me I could do it.  I intended to prove him wrong.
I decided to experiment with the 5 inch version of Quilt Block 1 from Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  I kept it simple by creating an unadorned quilt block using the embroidery techniques highlighted in the book.  I was shocked by how easy it was to do the flip and stitch method described in the book.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
Since the block was plain (and boring) I decided it was the ideal canvas for ribbons and other embellishments.  I never thought I’d get to use the spades and clubs embellishments on a project.  Victory!

 

Next I made the same block but added embroidery designs from the book.  Blissful success!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
It was important to me I set some rules during this entire crazy quilt block making process.  I only wanted to use 3 thread colors.  I embraced the concept of white and pink birds and am quite pleased with the results.  I added a decorative zig-zag stitch to attach the gray ribbon.

 

Two successes in one afternoon proved a confidence builder. Why stop now?  I decided to incorporate embroidery designs from Perfect Embroidery Pro. I used the mini fonts and the circle path for text. More success!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
The bicycle is a built-in design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  I arched the word “Create” around the wheel.  What a simple, yet fun way to display text!

The hot air balloon is also a built-in design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  I arched the text, “up, up and away we go!”  It wasn’t until the machine started stitching did I realize I had trapped myself.  What color do I stitch the word “go”?  I had to get creative on the fly—so I stopped the machine and stitched the “o” in white.  Not ideal but it’s a crazy quilt!

The footprints are also a built-in design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  You can add as few or as many footprints as you want.  Just remember to mirror image them!

 

Next I used the bee, flower border and hearts from Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  I like crazy quilting as a style because it’s like doodling on a textbook book cover or an acceptable way to add graffiti. It seemed fitting to add text, “Denise was here!”

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
I used Perfect Embroidery Pro to add “Bee-utiful” and arched it around the bee.

 

Start thinking of favorite phrases, important dates like birthdays or anniversaries— and add them to your crazy quilt blocks.  Since I was stitching these blocks in March, I figured why not add the date.  It’s a momentous month, the month I tried my hand at crazy quilting with an embroidery machine.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
The eye is a built-in design from Perfect Embroidery Pro.  It was quirky and fun—the ideal addition to my crazy quilt blocks.  The large flower button covers a mistake.  No one but me… and you know!  That’s the joy of crazy quilting.  You can easily cover up mistakes.  Tiny baby buttons adorn the polka dot pink fabric.

 

Next, I did a Google search on crazy quilting and noticed a recurring theme:  spiders and spider webs.  It turns out they are considered a sign of good luck.  I don’t believe in luck but I do like spiders and spider webs.  Finally, I get to incorporate a creepy crawly spider into my embroidery!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
I used Perfect Embroidery Pro to draw one strand of the spider web, then I copied, pasted and enlarged the strand as the arch got wider and wider.  Next I converted the artwork to a running stitch with a 2.5 mm stitch length.  I hand stitched my Halloween spider.  (I tried my faithful hot glue gun, but the rubber spider wouldn’t stay.)  I think this block makes a statement!

The other embroidery designs on this block are free design downloads courtesy of our friends from Embroidery Online.  You can find these designs (and more!) by visiting the Designs Plus Newsletter. All embroidery designs are archived for your convenience and creative whim!

My lessons to you:

  1. If you want to improve your embroidery skills you need to practice. A great way to practice is by stitching a crazy quilt block!  Look at each block as a canvas to decorate.  Use it as your own small and manageable art piece.  Once you experience success, who knows how many blocks you might stitch!
  2. I only used Block 1 to keep my variation to a minimum—but imagine the possibilities! They are endless.  Use the embroidery designs included in the book to embellish the blocks.  But don’t stop there.  Get creative and resourceful.  Use your embroidery software.  Use the free embroidery designs we offer on our website.  Use built-in embroidery designs on your machine.  Get scrappy.  Get creative.  Go crazy!

Now’s a great time to purchase Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  Not just because it’s wildly fun and a great skill-building experience – it’s on special!  For a limited time, enjoy free shipping on U.S. orders.  Plus, Eileen will autograph the book, which is always such a nice personal touch.  Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website to redeem the offer.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

I’m fortunate to have friends and coworkers that challenge me to try new things – like crazy quilting.  Who in your life pushes you to be your best and try new things?  What activities have they encouraged you to try that you discovered you loved?  Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.
The winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question:When you get a new embroidery design how do you test it? Change Fabrics? Change Threads? Or both? 4 random names will be drawn and will each receive a $25 gift certificate to BFC Creations! The winners are: Kim – “Test it on the same fabric if possible.”, Carol M. – ” To test designs I use felt, scrap denim or scraps of solid fabric I keep beside my embroidery machine. Most of the time I just say a prayer and do the design on my project. I do test thread colors with my software before I do the design to see which color I like best.”, Belinda G – “I rarely test a design, I haven’t had a problem yet! Just lucky, I guess! but I usually choose other colors than what is in the design.”, and Barbara M. – “I do most of my color testing in my software. Then I can fine-tune it on a stitch-out. Sometimes I just trust the software…”BFC Creations

 

Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

Here’s a never-before-look at what goes on at a planning meeting for a magazine photo shoot!

New projects arrive at our offices to be featured in upcoming issues of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  But what happens between the time the project arrives and the photography shoot?  One word:  Planning!

In fact, planning, coordination and even shopping are involved.  The Designs Team meets with the photography studio to go over the shot list.  This is when we have the opportunity to unveil all the pretty projects to our photographer and team:  Steve Woods, Angie Brindley and Andrea Huffman.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

We not only discuss what we are photographing but more importantly, how we are going to present the project in the magazine.  What type of scene do we need to set up?  A living room?  A child’s room?  Or maybe a kitchen or bathroom?

Creative Director, Sam Solomon, guided the team on how to photograph the Sweet Springtime Banner by JoAnn Connolly.
Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

Additional decisions need to be made for other projects.  Do we photograph against a sweep?  (A sweep by the way is when we use a long roll of paper suspended from a rack and let the paper ‘sweep’ all the way to the floor, creating a seamless edge.)  If we do use a sweep, what color paper?  If you ask Denise what color paper to use, 9 times out of 10 she will answer blue!  In fact when any question is asked related to color, her answer is blue!  This time however, you’ll notice as you flip through your current issue, we used lime green and also white backgrounds for the model shots.  Speaking of model shots… another important topic of discussion is the selection of models!

Managing Editor, Denise Holguin is always eager to model the garments during the planning meeting.  While it may seem like she’s just playing dress-up—there is a purpose.  We look at fit and also study the embroidery placement on the garment.  This gives us ideas on the type of model we need and the type of shot we need to take when the model is wearing the garment.

Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

Editor, Eileen Roche holds up the Blooming Buttons dress stitched by Tari Intardonato.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A week or two pass and it’s time for the photo shoot!

Here’s a look at the white sweep we used.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Looks a lot more interesting with a model!  This garment is the Flirty Feminine Sheer Over-blouse by Sue Ann Obremski.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Next we used a green sweep to showcase Evy Hawkin’s Machine Embroidered Cutwork Vest.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Earlier in this article I mentioned shopping is involved.  Oftentimes additional props are needed like the fresh flowers featured in the Blooming Buttons scene.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Would the photograph have worked without flowers?  Yes.  But our team takes pride in the presentation of a great looking product.  It’s the difference between photographing a sample from a basement home studio and photographing a sample with the complete expertise and attention of a professional studio and staff.  It matters!

A living room scene is set up to photograph the heirloom inspired pillows by Kandi Christian.  The photo below is the shot used in the magazine.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Few people would have guessed the chair was propped up on wooden blocks!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
Here’s a look at the cover project, Crazy Quiltin’ by Eileen Roche.  Steve added flowers to enhance the beauty of the photograph.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

Sam and Steve discuss how the photo will be cropped for the magazine.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Meanwhile Denise added miniatures for a whimsical touch.  I wonder what song the band is playing?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I suspect the band is playing a jingle to let you know we have a free design download for you!   Download the half triangle design featured on the Crazy Quiltin’ project by visiting the magazine page.

Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

All this and more is featured in the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue.  Be sure to pick up your copy from your local retailer or subscribe.

Volume 91 March/April 2015

 

Here’s your assignment this week:Who is your favorite advertiser in Designs? One random comment will win a one-year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:
What thread color combinations would you have chosen for the monogram?  One random comment will win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website!
The winner is: Bonnie G. – “Every embroidery you do for a special person should take into consideration their favorites. That is what you did and that makes it meaningful for the people receiving it. Great job.”

 

Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine

CrazyQuilting

I never thought I’d write a book on crazy quilting but last spring I was inspired to explore the combination of piecing in the hoop and decorative stitches. It didn’t take much to leap into crazy quilting. After all, what’s not to love? It’s a time-honored technique coupled with today’s technology. Its ‘crazy’ moniker comes from the use of scraps and often includes whimsical embellishments.  Crazy quilting has something for everyone. It appeals to quilters – the piecing part; embroiderers – the use of luscious designs in colorful threads; the thrifty – great way to use up scraps of all fiber types; and the splurger: new charms, buttons, ribbons and other tidbits are just waiting to be included in a crazy quilt block.

Technique-wise, the ‘crazier’ the block, the more tasks involved in completing the block. So in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine you’ll find three levels of difficulty: Level 1 is piecing in the hoop with colorful fabrics; Level 2 includes the addition of accent designs to the patches and Level 3 is where the crazy kicks in with buttons, yarns, ribbons, charms and more.  It’s hard to know when to stop once you reach Level 3.

Level 1

Level 1

 

Level 2

Level 2

 

CQBlog5

Level 3

If quilt blocks aren’t your thing, then you’ll enjoy three in-the-hoop projects: a wristlet, eyeglass case and small clutch. All small canvases to display your crazy stitches.  The wristlet was just the right size project for teaching on TV with my dear friend Nancy Zieman.

CQBlog4

We taped the Today’s Crazy Quilting series on Sewing with Nancy in September and it’s live now. You can watch online here if you don’t have it on your local channel.

When you watch, look for Nancy’s crazy quilt stitched by her great grandmother, Alice Lea Larson in 1920.  Nancy shares her story of this wonderful family heirloom that has been lovingly restored by Nancy.

Although it’s a fun day with Nancy at Wisconsin Public Television, my favorite part of the week is the prep at her office the day before taping.  That’s when we get all of our ducks in a row.  Nancy is a visionary and literally ‘sees’ the taping once she understands the technique that we’re teaching.  She works out the schedule and timing of the telecast while I work on the samples.  Once we have a firm outline, all hands pitch in to finish the samples.  And when 5:00 rolls around, everything is done and ready for tomorrow’s early wake-up call.  CQBlog1

To document my visit to the studio, I had a staff member take some photographs with my camera. When I reviewed the images on the plane ride home, I realized I didn’t have one ‘serious’ shot. Oh no, I had images of smiling faces both on camera and behind the camera! The true spirit of crazy quilting.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

It was well, crazy! Hope you enjoy the Sewing with Nancy series, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. You can watch here.

Don’t just take my word for it, read Nancy’s take on the series on her blog: http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/machine-embroidery/todays-crazy-quilting-with-your-embroidery-machine/

Here’s your assignment this week:
Tell us your favorite stitch you use when crazy quilting. Once random comment will be chosen to get their very own autographed copy of Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine by Eileen Roche! Thanks for reading and good luck!CrazyQuilting
The winner of last week’s assignment:
If you had a day all to yourself to spend on a project, what would it be?  Leave a comment and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my latest book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine (to be released January 2, 2015).

And the winner is the Pam C. – “If I had an entire day to myself I would get lost in finding inspiration for my craft. I work full time and even though my kids are grown I still don’t get much alone time. So, to have a day to get lost in thought without any interruption would be a dream. Congratulations Pam!

 

Software Saturday – View Applique in Color or Fabric

Last week, we left off with auditioning crazy quilt stitches on a Dresden plate bloc in My Quilt Embellisher.

CQ12_1
If the colors of the appliques on this default Dresden plate are not your favorites, then by all means change them! CQ12_2
Let’s start with the color of the first applique. In the sequence view, you’ll notice the first color is peach, color 14.
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Left click on color chip 14 in the thread bar at the bottom of the screen. Select a color from the pop-up thread chart. Click OK. CQ12_4
I selected yellow and now the applique is a bright shade of yellow. CQ12_5You can continue to recolor the applique in this fashion or take it a step further and add fabric for a more realistic look. Select the applique section and click on the Fabric icon at the top tool bar. CQ12_6
You have dozens of fabrics to choose from the library. CQ12_7
Select a fabric, click ok and watch your applique come alive. You can select several applique sections at one time and colorize them as a group – with just one click. Or do it one by one to see a gradual change. You’ll have fun with this! CQ12_8
If you attended our webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 9, I’d like to personally thank you for sharing an evening with Tamara Evans and me. We appreciate your patience as we get our dealer network in place. I know many of you are anxious to receive your update so please know we are working diligently every day to make this happen!

Nancy Zieman’s Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour

Quick_Column_Quilts_Book_Cover I always say yes to Nancy Zieman because every time I do, I learn something. So when Nancy asked me to join the Quick Column Quilt blog tour, I jumped at the chance. But quilting, hmmm, I admit I paused for a second and then thought, oh what the heck, do it! Here are my top ten tips for getting the job done.

  1. Select the quilt pattern. Thousands of quilt patterns exist so pare it down by going to a trusted source like anything designed by Nancy Zieman. Her Quick Column Quilts is a collection of very doable – and inspired – quilts. The Carefree Column Quilt jumped right at me and I’m glad it did – it was quick and easy. NZQB2
  2. Decide on fabrics. Use everything in your power to make the right fabric selection. Pay close attention to the quilt you’re duplicating making note of the light, medium and dark fabrics.  Look at other quilts for pleasing combinations or go to your quilt shop and seek their advice. Audition as many fabrics as you want; photograph the combinations, edit your choices and finally select the winning combination.  Once selected, stick with your fabric choices. Don’t sway off course; second guessing can be a huge time guzzler.
  3. Get organized.  Print or copy the instructions. As you complete each step, cross it off the how-to instructions. You’ll know right where to pick up after a break in sewing.  NZQB4
  4. Label everything. Even if you think you know how all the pieces go together, label them anyway. Life gets in the way and distractions are inevitable.
  5. Designate an area or box in your sewing room where you can store the materials for the duration of the quilt-making process. NZQB5
  6. Break apart the tasks into manageable time increments. Review the instructions and estimate how long each task will take: cutting, designing, piecing the columns, adding the sashing and so on. Make notations on the pattern to use as a guideline.  These are just guestimates as problems do occur and tasks often take longer than we think they will – at least that’s my problem!  But having an idea of the time involved will help you stay on the project because it’s easy to tackle simple steps once they are broken down.
  7. Group similar tasks together. Cut all the fabrics in one session, piece as much as possible at one time and then move to the ironing board. I cut all the fabrics and stacked then according to size with a label on top of the stack.
  8. Document the process. Once the fabrics were cut, I followed Nancy’s instructions for arranging the blocks on the design wall.  I took several photos of the designing progress as I auditioned the fabric pieces.  I reviewed the different versions on my computer and decided on my favorite. After rearranging the fabrics according to the photo, I labeled the top piece of each column.  I used the photo as a reference guide when a block or two floated out of position. NZQB3
  9. Focus during piecing.  To piece a column, I removed the pieces one at a time, starting at the bottom of the column and placing the next block on top of the stack. Once I moved to the machine, I methodically pieced that row, from the top down and then pressed the seams. Once the pieced column was returned to the design wall, I progressed to the second column.
  10. Enjoy it! Racing through the quilt making process takes all the joy out of it. Savor the fabrics as you handle them, strive for perfect ¼” seams and concentrate on how you’ll use the quilt or who will receive it. Name your quilt – after all, it’s your baby now! My quilt goes by the name of Sun Kissed.  Sunkissed

You’ll notice my quilt isn’t quilted just yet. Oh but it will be!  I have the most ingenious plan and tool for quilting Sunkissed on my embroidery machine. You’ll learn more in a future post. And be sure to visit Nancy’s blog where she will be giving away 15 grand prizes!

Blog tour stops – check out all the stops on the Quick Quilts blog tour!

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman

09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.

09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny

09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                

09/08/14         Jina Barney DesignzLilac Lane Patterns, and Totally Stitchin’ 

09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama

09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan

09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day

09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around

09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio

09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair

09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs

09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Here’s your assignment this week:
Visit any or all of the stops on the blog tour listed above. Comment below about your favorite quilt or technique you saw on the tour. One comment will be selected to receive a copy of Nancy’s book Quick Column Quilts – good luck!

Quick_Column_Quilts_Book_Cover

The winner of last week assignment:
After you’ve taken advantage of the great deal from EmbroideryArts.com leave a comment below about the three most used items in your sewing room. One blog reader will be selected to receive a $25 gift certificate for use on the DiME website. Thanks and good luck!
Gift-CardAnd the winner is Pamela B. – “Sewing machine, serger, iron, and tool box (it is full of essentials)”

Auditioning Crazy Quilting Stitches in My Quilt Embellisher

 

My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches.  The stitches are so easy to add to any quilt block – just select a block from the block library and then left click on the Crazy Quilting icon. CQ2

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. One of my favorites is Stitch10.

CQ3

Once selected, the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look.

CQ4

Let’s take a look at how fun it is to play with the stitches and blocks. Click on the Block Library icon, Circle Blocks and Dresden Plate #3. CQ4a

The block appears on the screen. CQ5

Let’s remove half of the block by selecting (left mouse click) and deleting (delete on the keyboard) each section. CQ6

Select the Shape Tool and click on the circle to show the points. CQ7

Select half of the points by dragging the cursor over the points. CQ8

Left mouse click and select delete points. CQ9

Now that the block appears as desired it’s time to embellish. CQ10

Select the Crazy Quilting icon and select Stitch04 from the drop down menu. Position the cursor over the first seam line, left click and drag the cursor to the end of the seam. Release the mouse. Repeat for each seam moving in a methodical manner around the plate. Start at the inner point of a seam and travel to the outer point. Release the mouse and move it to the next seam line. Left click at the outer end of the seam and move to the inner point. Applying the stitches in this manner will command the machine to stitch efficiently. CQ11

To apply stitches around the curved outer edge, select the run stitch icon. In the properties box, select Motif, number 178. CQ12

Apply the first point at the edge of the plate. Move to the center of the scalloped edge, hold the CTRL key while left clicking on the mouse to apply a curved point. Continue around the outer edge of the plate. When complete, right click to set the stitches. How easy was that?

My Quilt Embellisher opens a world of opportunities since many of us struggle to quilt our quilts. Control over the stitches allows us to turn our embroidery machines into longarms! You’ll be learning more about that in upcoming weeks and months as I’ve been working on a number of exciting new techniques to share with you. I really appreciate your patience as we grow our Inspired by DIME division. Our dealer network is growing every day so if you haven’t received notice from your dealer, please be patience, it’s coming to a dealer near you very soon!