Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #8


Janet had asked me a couple of days ago how I move from one place to another in my domestic version of McTavishing around applique pieces. I decided to draw a little diagram to try to explain to her. I am sharing with you the diagram here – I hope it makes a bit of sense to maybe help you with your background quilting.

[Note: the drawing isn’t exactly the best since I did this while Miss Baby was up. As soon as she saw me use one of her crayons, she had to have the very crayon I had in my hand. And then, she wanted to play with the camera. And then, she came and gave me extra hugs while I was working on my “S”es]

Without further ado, here is my cartoon/clip-art tutorial…

First I find a good space to where I can work in an elongated “S” – like what you would see hair blowing in the wind in clip art. Then I repeat the S-es to make a nice little stack.


Once the stack gets to be looking monotonous, I change the orientation of my “S” to start a new stack, as indicated by the arrow.


And thus, the process repeats again and again. Oftentimes, I have to stitch over previously stitched lines to get out of a bind when I find that I have stitched myself into a corner. That’s not a problem if you are using fine threads (like YLI Silk 100, or Aurifil Mako 50).


Then, it’s just stacking and changing direction for me that does the trick in giving my background McTavishing a nice feeling of movement.


This is how I have domesticated McTavishing for my faithful Bernina. Mine looks a bit different from the genuine McTavishing because I think each person’s has a slightly different stroke in his/her background quilting is slightly different, as in the case of signatures. So experiment a bit and see what works for you.

Seeing these stitched out for real action:

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this new installment of my “Thread Talk” series.

Have a great weekend!

About these ads

39 thoughts on “Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #8

  1. Your McTavishing is awesome. Thank you for the drawing and thank you to Miss Baby for loaning you a crayon. lol It gives me hope that you do all of this on your Bernina, as that is what I have too. I know I need to practice more. I have quite a time drawing feathers. I have been thinking I may need to purchase a DVD for Christmas. I enjoy all your posts, but I read and re-read your thread talk ones. Thanks for sharing your talents.

  2. FABULOUS post! I began following your blog with the first Thread Talk posting, and have often wondered how you created such a beautiful, flowing background design. Thanks so much for sharing this! Besides looking at gorgeous machine quilting, learning how the artist created the designs is the most interesting and useful information for me.

  3. This is a great post. I will flag it to study as I try my hand at this.
    I have the McTavish CD, but this is better. Thanks a bunch!

  4. I found your Blog a few months ago and just love the awesome quilting that you do! Maybe some day, if it keeps practicing, my Bernina will learn to quilt like this :-)

    Thanks for sharing this great post!………..Luv Ann J

  5. this is perfect, exactly what I need to see. I’ve watched a few youtube videos but having it in print really makes it easier to practice. I need to get pen and paper and get started but must get some sleep first.

  6. Thank you Wendy and to miss baby for sharing crayons. I’m going on the machine tomorrow to practice. Your diagrams are so clear to follow and understand. Your machine quilting is always a pleasure to look at.

  7. So amazing to see you draw such nice FLOWER and S(es). Haha. I wished I can draw like you! :) that made you the very special one with such special talents!

  8. As always you are right on point! I had bought a book on McTavishing not too long ago and was thinking of trying it out on a scrappy mug rug. Thanks for giving another perspective on doing the stitch and illuminating us as to how your beautiful quilts get done.

  9. Thank you for this great tuto!!!
    I abandonned my machine quilting last year but your explanations are so clear… you give me the lust back:)

  10. Loved your tutorial. I know I will be a follower. I am so inspired to try this, I am a hand appliqer and quilter at heart, but I am learning to machine applique and quilt. Thanks to Vicki W for pointing the way to you.

  11. Thank you kind comment on the blog ,you are very kind :)
    I looked wonderful free sewing and feathers very thoroughly here today ,thank you very much tutoriál a drawing helps a lot ,hope to learn.but I need much practice ,and drawing .
    Very beautiful days Marika.

  12. I love your drawings! It really helps understand what you do. I love your work! Thanks for tutorials! It makes a world of difference!

  13. Wendy, your Thread Talk posts are amazing. I think you should publish them all in a Thread Talks book — even though I can read them online for free, I’d still be willilng to pay for a reference book like this to keep right next to my sewing machine!

  14. I can’t say enough about yur feathers and teaching, especially the examples. I wanted to learn to make the beautiful feathers so badly. I made a copy of one of your feathers on Thread Talk and printed many copies. I began by following the line and arrows you created sewing free motion with no thread. I got to seven the first time and had to stop. Getting older hasn’t been good on my hands. Next day I got better and kept trying evey other day or so until I was comfortable making them. I have now began to sew them on practice squares. Soon I will be able to finish this special quilt I began several years ago giving all thanks to your teaching. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. God bless you and your generosity.. Your work is precious to me.

  15. Pingback: Floral Fancy: Sneak Peeks | Ivory Spring

  16. Your quilting is lovely. Thanks for sharing your talent with us! You seem to get so much done; I’m so impressed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s