Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Learning curves

It is not perfect by a long shot.. but I did really enjoy my first go at shadowed trapunto work.  The HQ educators showed off two beautiful quilts that where done in this technique. Both were done with classic scroll work that was beautiful and masterfully done but not my style so as usual I had to put my own twist on things and that is how I ended up here.

I can't wait to try again!

I have a hair-brained idea to do a 12 days of Christmas theme!

I did the image above in free-hand and was thinking with just a bit of tweaking it could easily be a Partridge in a Pear Tree!...

Handi Quilter Batting Scissors... who knew????

I knew I did not need them until I had them..
 now you will have to pry them out of my cold dead hands.

enough said??

get them here!

and even better.. the swell folks at Handi Quilter are going to let you get them with free shipping!


(Now for the legal bits, the code is good only for items bought through the online store, good until 10/31/2010)

( hope I got that right Luke!)

Circle rulers RULE!

As promised I am back to talk about the new Handi Quilter Circle shaped quilting rulers.  Getting these was an AWESOME surprise since they are just now coming to market.. perhaps in Houston?

Like many I have the Handi-sized half circles and find tons of uses for them, but these new full circles.. these are really sweet!
In even numbers sizes from 2-12 inches these circles will make quick work of many of those projects that just beg for circles to set the quilt in motion! I had a wonderful time using them today on this funky windmill table runner that was still languishing in my un-quilted pile!

Of course the first step was to figure out which size circle to use and this chore was make easier by using a preview method that I will talk about in the coming days. Four inch circles  were a bit too small, leading to the quilting being too busy, but the six inch size was just right.

The best hint I can ever give you when doing ruler work is to find a preferred method of giving your rulers a bit of traction. Some people like little sticky dots and some like those little sandpaper discs. I like a quick shot of 505 sprayto the back of the ruler. With one quick spray I was able to do this whole table runner. Some people worry about residue with this method but I have never had a problem and will stick by that until I do. ( Honestly I would think the only time it might be a problem is with a very light or white quilt but even then I would be tempted to give it a try ~ but I am daring that way!)

As for working with the rulers like anything else it takes time to get a feel for what is right and what is wrong when you first give them a spin. For myself I continue to refine the way I work with rulers and have found that when working with interlocking circles I have to do a bit of over stitching so that using a thin thread is of great help.  In this sample I am using a 50 weight thread.  I have highlighted the thread path with red stitch marks and am showing you that I use my water soluble pen to mark the area where I need to backtrack to so that I will get an accurate circle intersection.

Holding tight to the ruler can be difficult at times and there is more than one bobble in this table runner. I can personally deal with that so will not go back and rip out those stitches but do find that if I talk myself around the circle I tend to be more accurate in holding tight and smooth to the curves of the shape.

I personally "address" my circles going in a counterclockwise fashion.. I have NO idea why.. it's just works for me. As I am going around I think of myself pushing or pulling towards the circle.  ..

If you saw inside my widdle brain as I did each circle.. you  would see... push push push... pull pull pull.... .. around and around, but then I am easily distrac... is that a puppy???

Ok.. back with you..

And here we go... not perfect by a long shot but I have full confidence that after washing none of the slight bobbles will show.  I selected a photo that showed the worst section of the runner and soon as I get it bound and washed I will post another photo so you can see how it compares.

All in all I am enjoying the Handi Gadget Circles more than I would have dreamed and would not hesitate to recommend them to any longarmer out there!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quilters Preview Paper - love this stuff!

Yet a bit more of the swag that came home with me from my HQ trip!
  This is Quilter's Preview Paper

This is a wonderful product developed by Suzanne Hyland of Quilter Touch  that enables you to ~solve your quilting problems visually~ by seeing what your quilting will look like before you even put a stitch to that work of art!

This product has it all over using plastic wrap or floral cellophane for doing perview work.
  1.   It is reuable
  2.  It is  a perfect weight for saying where you want it.
  3. It is  printed with guide borders so you don't mark off onto your quilt top by accident!

HQ was so gracious as to send us each home with a generous supply of this product but I am going to place another order very soon since I think it will make a wonderful Christmas gift for many of my quilting peeps!

Want  some for yourself???
Even better, want it with free shipping????

Good through 10/31/2010 and ONLY at the on-line HQ  shop
 ( yes, that means it is NOT good at any of the quilt shows)


and use the code
for free shipping of your Quilter's Preview Paper!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pactise makes perfect

Or at least it makes you a lot better. 
I spent today working totally in manual mode since while I started in manual mode when I got my machine I was lured to  dark-side  regulated mode quickly but still believe that most really good longarm divas have deep mastery of manual so I wanted to get back into that groove.

Here I was just goofing around with some pebbles but the  stitches are choppy at 35% in manual.. the next sample I did was much smoother at 47% ( but of course I am a goober and did not shoot a photo of that!).  I really should have put in an object reference.. the square of fabric was 4x4 inches so each of those circles is about 1/2 a dime size give or take a bit. The large circles were me doing the tension test for with my circle rulers which I will be posting about in the next days soon as I get one little matter worked out in my little surprise for you :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

HQ Rules!

Over the next couple of days I am going to be showing off some of the most wonderful HQ longarm rulers that were gifted to us while working with the educators in the HQ studio.  For those who don't know, Longarm rulers are very different from rotary cutting rulers in that they are much thicker so that they don't ride up under the hopping foot and get caught under the needle in normal circumstances.  Please note that if you are a big mouthed blabber fest   distractable it is possible to break a needle while in class and take a small chip out of your ruler, so eyes on the prize folks.. not time to get chatty when  you are doing ruler work!

Featured above are the some of the newest and coolest of the Handi Quilter rulers that I am going to be playing with tomorrow. I feel so special being one of the first to play with these, my whole group was gob-struck when they gave them to us to try out. Like a said.. what a generous company. 

Tomorrow... CIRCLES!

Home again, home again...

jiggity jog!

I am home from my days with the wonderful folks at Handi Quilter. The trip was a dream come true and I don't think there could have been one thing that those marvelous people could have done to make it any better!

I am struggling to download photos from my iphone but in the mean time I will share some other parts of my adventure with you!

We were greeted at HQ with a wonderful Silly-String snowfall and getting to see all the faces of the people who make Handi Quilter the great company it is. During the greeting we were given a bag with some goodies and best of all a sew-out done with our names.  Did you know that each machine is run for 20 solid minutes of real person quilting before it ever gets to your home?  Each machine is put through it's paces so they are confident the it will work for you!   We got to see the folks in the assembly plant doing this as the machines came out of the inline testing.. it was very interesting!

The facility is bright, open and very inviting with quilts on many surfaces all displayed in an attractive fashion showing off the work of the employees and others who's work is featured in the halls and classrooms.  One piece that was exciting to see was a nice piece by Karen McTavish as well as many other quilting stars who's names you would recognize! I fully expect that someday quilts of our 2010 group will be hanging  in these same places as the company grows through the years! I was seriously blown away by the people I shared time with... you all were wonderful!

At every turn we were gifted and educated to the point that I thought than many of us would fall over dead from excitement or brain overload.. I am not sure which would have come first!

and did I mention the gifts?  Oh baby! 

This is only part of the wonderful stuff I brought home.  In this photo you can see just a peek of some of the fabric.. videos made by the HQ educators ( did I mention how great they were?) thread, snips, rules..lions and tigers and bears..oh my!

I will share more in the coming days along with tips and tricks that I learned ...but I will have to say that the best thing I learned is that Handi Quilter  stands behind it's products and they are there for me and anyone who buys one of their machines. This sort of personal caring is what makes me oh so glad that I picked my HQ Avante18 over all the other machines on the market, and did I mention that they bought us fabric??


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Easy Does it...

The countdown is on for my trip to Utah to the Handi-Quilter HQ... hahahah the HQ, HQ~... ok.. sorry, I really cannot be blamed.  Honestly it's true, I have come down with a doozy of a cold and am up to my nose getting ready to go out of town so I know you will understand if things around here are quite for a bit.  I hope to do at least a bit of remote blogging but if you don't hear from me for the next 10 days do not despair.. it just means I am super busy!

In order to identify my other HQ peeps I have created  an image that can be printed and then glued up to make a tag to hook onto our bags and luggage  so we can spot each other at baggage claim!

Just download the page HERE  it's PDF- so you will need Acrobat to open it..   use your best printer setting and  then glue it up back to back or  laminate it if you want it a bit more sturdy. Punch a hole, string it up and tie it to your bag... see you in Utah!!