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Hello Friends, I hope you have had a lovely day!  I am happy to see a happy quilt shipped out – Sunny Delight!  This quilt has so much white mixed in that it took me forever (or it seemed like) to quilt all the extra quilty happiness on the quilt.  But here is a sneak peek — you can see I opted the informal look for the quilting.  Quilting this quilt has been a learning experience for me.  And I have more to learn for sure.

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You probably noticed the fabrics are Benartex’s Luv Bugs fabrics.  More about the fabrics here in yesterday’s post.

Meanwhile, it’s back to school at the Ivory Spring household.  Miss Baby gets to eat lunch at her school cafeteria on some days this year — and she thinks she has arrived, and that being able to eat lunch at the cafeteria is the best thing ever since mechanically sliced bread!!!  It’s always fun to see the world through the years of my five year old.

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She also wrote the following note to her new teacher.

[In case you need translating -- Dear Mrs. Bischoff, I can't wait!  I saw your card.  I glad there will be more girls than boys.  I hope you will be very nice.  Love, Gwen.]

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Alrightie – Dear Friends, I have to fly for now.  I just realized my next quilt is a bit more complicated than I had expected.  And I am under the gun to get it completed.  So, you won’t be hearing from me email-wise…. you all take care. Till next time.

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Hello Friends!  Happy Tuesday to you.  I hope you are well.

I have shared with you a couple of weeks ago Lovey Buggy, a free to use pattern.

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Lovey Buggy uses the red colorway of Benartex’ Luv Bugs collection.

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I am sharing with you another free to use quilt design that uses the multi-color colorway of the same fabric collection.  Come meet Sweet Hearts!  Sweet Hearts would make a super darling quilt for a little one – the size is very manageable, and constructions should be relatively quick as well.

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Click here to view all the Luv Bugs fabrics.

Click here to download pattern instructions for Sweet Hearts.

Thank you for stopping by, sweet friends!  You all have been so sweet and encouraging to me these last couple of weeks.  I greatly appreciate you all!

***

My 2014 free to use designs:

[My free to use designs from previous years are listed under "FREE PATTERNS" on the side bar.]

January: Midori’s Place using Gramercy by Benartex

January: View on Lexington using Gramercy by Benartex

January: Everything’s Coming Up Rosey using English Rosey by Benartex

February: Verde (Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

February: Verde (Banner/Runner) by Quilting Treasures

March: Hot Topic by Quilting Treasures

March: Poseidon’s Adventure using Neptune’s Dream by Benartex

March: My Cozy Sweater using Palm Springs by Benartex

March: Wild Kingdom using Sew Rousseau by Benartex

April: Fun with Frosty (Quilt & Runner) by Quilting Treasures

April: The First Thanksgiving (Quilt & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

May: Party Poppers using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Sprinkled Sweets using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Dino Craze using 10,000 B.C. by Benartex

June: Monster Mash by Quilting Treasures

June: Santa’s Sleigh using Starry Night by RJR Fabrics

June: Learning is Fun by Quilting Treasures

August: Lovey Buggy using Luv Bugs by Benartex

August: Hot Little Dish (Wallhanging/Table Topper & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

August: Sweet Hearts using Luv Bugs by Benartex

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No, no… not by me though I wish it were so, haha.  My Plain & Fancy BOM quilt is still in its infancy stage.  I showed my finished Block #2 in my last progress report.

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BUT there is just something about seeing the completion of a quilt.  And if my Plain & Fancy BOM quilt were finished, it would look very much like what Diane of PA completed, posted on Endless Mountains Quiltworks’ Facebook page!   And Diane did an absolutely fabulous job.

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A big thank you to Karen for being my eyes and notifying me of the picture of the finished quilt!  If you would like to make a new sweet friend, check out Karen’s blog here.

Thank you for stopping by!  What is on your list to do this week? I wish you all a most lovely week.  Hugs to you all.

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No longer…

Hello Friends,  I found out last week the magazines The Quilter and Quilt Trends are no longer, effectively immediately,  because the company All American Crafts is no longer.  My Song of Praise pillow was featured in the last issue of The Quilter magazine.  The Quilter has featured many of my designs.  I am sad to see it go.

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I can’t help but wonder what has gone on.  I received word that another quilting publication is going under as well.  What are your thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by – I do apologize for this rather discouraging post, but things are the way they are.   Nonetheless, my hope and prayer is that I will continue to be used to be an encouragement to you all, my Dear Friends!

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In my line of work, I often move from turning in one project to working on the next project that has to be turned in.  I had a very brief down time over the weekend where I was able to work on my Plain & Fancy BOM quilt last Friday night!

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This is Block 1 from a while back.  Click here to read more about Block 1.

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And here is Block 2.

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Pretty much, I used the same tricks as I did for making Block 1.  The tricks were described in my Block 1 post.

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Even though I have felt like a loser for not being able to keep up with my BOM, it is nonetheless a great feeling being able to get another block finished for the quilt! It’s back to work-related quilting stuff for me!

If you are working on Plain & Fancy, I hope you have enjoyed the journey!  If you have yet to join in the fun, click here for a list of shops that are carrying the project, or you can see if Fons & Porter has filled up their spots for online signup here.

Thank you for stopping by!  Happy Monday, and Happy Week!

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Happy Friday, Dear Friends!  I thought I would close out this week by sharing with you a few free-to-use designs using fabrics from Quilting Treasures’ Hot Little Dish, a newly released fabric line.

First, the wallhanging / table topper:

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Next, the double-sided placemats:

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And the tablerunner:

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These projects are designed with bridal shower gift  and/or housewarming gift in mind!   They are relatively easy and simple to construct, and would delight a bride-to-be starting her own family, or someone who is having a new kitchen makeover!

You have got to check out these Hot Little Dish fabrics.  Click here to view the entire fabric range.

Click here to download pattern instructions for the wallhanging / table topper.

Click here to download pattern instructions for the table ensemble.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a most wonderful weekend!  I shall catch up with you next week.

***

My 2014 free to use designs:

[My free to use designs from previous years are listed under "FREE PATTERNS" on the side bar.]

January: Midori’s Place using Gramercy by Benartex

January: View on Lexington using Gramercy by Benartex

January: Everything’s Coming Up Rosey using English Rosey by Benartex

February: Verde (Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

February: Verde (Banner/Runner) by Quilting Treasures

March: Hot Topic by Quilting Treasures

March: Poseidon’s Adventure using Neptune’s Dream by Benartex

March: My Cozy Sweater using Palm Springs by Benartex

March: Wild Kingdom using Sew Rousseau by Benartex

April: Fun with Frosty (Quilt & Runner) by Quilting Treasures

April: The First Thanksgiving (Quilt & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

May: Party Poppers using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Sprinkled Sweets using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Dino Craze using 10,000 B.C. by Benartex

June: Monster Mash by Quilting Treasures

June: Santa’s Sleigh using Starry Night by RJR Fabrics

June: Learning is Fun by Quilting Treasures

August: Lovey Buggy using Luvbugs by Benartex

August: Hot Little Dish (Wallhanging/Table Topper & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

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Hello Friends, I managed to eke out Pathway of Glory in about 4 days!  I quilted the last stitch on the quilt at about 3am this morning. I feel immensely relieved now that the quilt is on its way to the editor.

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I want to thank you all for the sweet notes you had written to encourage me. We are doing well – as I said, I am immensely grateful for the blessings in my life, and I certainly count your friendship as one of the blessings!

I am taking tomorrow off to bake with Miss Baby because she told me over the weekend her Mom “shouldn’t have to work so hard” (her exact words)…. and then after that, I will be working on a rather sweet quilt.

Thank you for stopping by.  Love and hugs to you all.

***

Don’t forget – the $5 discount offer for my Learn to Machine Quilt class will expire tomorrow.  Click here to purchase the class (online or DVD format), and don’t forget to enter discount code EZHMQ.

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There is only one word I would use to describe these fabrics – glorious!

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These are fabrics from Benartex’s Caryl’s Feather collection!  I am using them for my current quilt.  It is amazing to see how the quilt sparkles with these fabrics. Click here to view the entire fabric range.  The interesting thing about these fabrics is that there isn’t a focal print per se – sometimes, it’s the colors that make the quilt!

So tell me, do you like these fabrics?

My week got off with a bit of a rocky start, but the blessings in my life are far greater than the setback.   By the time you see this post, the quilt is being prepared to be quilted.  So come back again for a sneaky peek!  Have a most blessed week, Dear Friends!

***

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”    ~2 Corinthians 4: 17

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Hello Friends!  Thank you for stopping by again.  It’s time to announce the winner of my Learn to Machine Quilt giveaway!

Learn to Machine Quilt

Thank you ALL for entering the giveaway.  I appreciate all the comments you left.  I am happy to congratulate Claudia D (#91) as the giveaway winner. Claudia, Annie’s will contact you with further information on your free copy of my Learn to Machine Quilt class.

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I am also excited to share with you about a $5 discount for the class Annie’s has offered to my bloggy friends.  The offer is valid for a limited time – between now and 8/14/2014, applicable for BOTH the online class as well as the DVD — content is the same for both the online class and DVD.  You may click here to read more about the class.

Click HERE to sign up for Learn to Machine Quilt class, and do not forget to enter discount code EZHMQ at check out for the $5 discount.

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Jean left a sweet review on the class on yesterday’s post.  She made my day!

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I hope you will let me be your quilting buddy as you embark on your own machine quilting journey by signing up for the class.  Plus, you know where to find me should you ever need help.

That’s all for today.  I am back in panic mode in the frying pan.  You will know what I mean when I post a sneak peek in a couple of days!  Meanwhile, you all take care.

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thread-talk1

Hello Friends!  I thought I would spend a few moments responding to the free-motion quilting concerns you shared on my giveaway of my Learn to Machine Quilt post.  You still have till 12am EST 8/7/2014 to enter the giveaway.

1.  Runaway stitches – help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  I remember the runaway stitches well, especially during my learning curve stage.  It still happens to me sometimes when my family startles me when I am quilting, or when Miss Baby decides to snuggle right next to me when I am trying to quilt a large quilt.  When runaway stitches happen, I would either leave them be or rip them out depending how bad they are (or how much time I have).

To minimize the running away of stitches, I would mentally brace myself when my stitching comes near a stopping point.  Then, I would slow down my stitching (very important!), and make sure I have my hands well on the quilt sandwich so that my quilt sandwich doesn’t veer in any direction — before taking a few tiny bites to tie off a particular stitching path if I am at a spot where I have to cut off my threads.

2.  Struggling with bobbin tension -help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  I am thinking bobbin tension was raised as a concern because oftentimes quilters try to match their bobbin threads with the backing fabric they use, which oftentimes are of different colors they use for their top threads.   They then find out no matter how they tweak the settings (top and bobbin), sometimes, the bobbin threads would still show up on the quilt top.  VERY annoying, I know!

Instead of fighting, I take the easy way out.  I always use the same threads for my top and bobbin threads.  That way, I don’t have to waste my time trying to fine tune fine tuning my settings.  More often than not, my bobbin thread colors do not match my quilt backing fabric.  But the results can be visually striking on the back, as shown below.

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3.  Give your quilting some time to simmer!

French 75 Quilts left the following comment on the Learn to Machine Quilt Class giveaway post.

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Wendy’s 2 cents: Boy, truer words have never been said when it comes to evaluating your own quilting – especially for those who are braving the learning curve stage.  It is true!!!!  I have taught students who start out being really critical of their own quilting, noticing the uneven stitches here and there.  BUT after they have quilted a larger area, walked away, and come back to look at their quilting again – inadvertently, the comments are always, “It looks better than I thought”, or “It is actually not that bad.”  I don’t think that is falsely consoling oneself.  I think when we go back to look at our quilting after it “simmers”, we look at the big picture and are taken by the overall texture reflected by the light from those quilting stitches.

You can be sure I have BAD stitches in the quilting shown below…!  But you tend to see the overall big picture, don’t you?

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4.  Uneven stitching speed – help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  My stitching speed is actually not constant.  The reason being sometimes when rounding a corner or stitching in tight spot, I have to really concentrate – and so I slow down!  So, to those who struggle with uneven stitching speed, I say as long as your stitches are even, it’s okay to vary your stitching speed.  I mean, we don’t drive at a constant speed at all times because there are always unforeseen things on the road, and so we adjust our driving speed accordingly. I think that’s the same concept.  When I first learned how to drive, a friend advised me not to drive faster than I could see.  I have applied that same principle to quilting.  I never quilt faster than I can see!

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5.  Struggling with quilting large scale – help!

Wendy’s 2 cents:  I actually think it is easier to quilt small on a domestic machine.  But it is possible to quilt large scale if — 1.  You have quilted the motif in small scale, and 2.  You are VERY familiar with the stitching path. Taking care  of those two variables first and foremost will really help in large scale quilting.

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Then, as you quilt, every so often, come out for air and survey the territory on your quilt yet to be quilted, and proceed from there.

***

Then, finally, don’t be nervous.  Just…. keep calm, and quilt on!  Don’t you love that mug?  I would love to have one.  You can purchase it here.  Image below is borrow from the purchase link.

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To read previous Q&A posts, click the following:

Thoughts1

Q&A1

Q&A2

Q&A3

Thank you for stopping by!  Stop back by tomorrow for the announcement of the winner of my Learn to Machine Quilt class!  Have a blessed day, Dear Friends.

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Hello Friends!  It’s lovely to have you back.  I hope you are doing well.  I am happy to share with you a free to use pattern I designed for Benartex using their newly released line, Luvbugs.    Don’t be intimidated by the Y-seams you see.  I used my cheater’s method to achieve those Y-seams!!

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You have GOT to check out the LuvBugs fabrics!

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Click here to view all the fabrics in the collection.

Click here to download free to use quilt pattern instructions.

Have a most LUV-LY day, Dear Friends!   I shall catch up with you tomorrow.

***

My 2014 free to use designs:

[My free to use designs from previous years are listed under "FREE PATTERNS" on the side bar.]

January: Midori’s Place using Gramercy by Benartex

January: View on Lexington using Gramercy by Benartex

January: Everything’s Coming Up Rosey using English Rosey by Benartex

February: Verde (Quilt) by Quilting Treasures

February: Verde (Banner/Runner) by Quilting Treasures

March: Hot Topic by Quilting Treasures

March: Poseidon’s Adventure using Neptune’s Dream by Benartex

March: My Cozy Sweater using Palm Springs by Benartex

March: Wild Kingdom using Sew Rousseau by Benartex

April: Fun with Frosty (Quilt & Runner) by Quilting Treasures

April: The First Thanksgiving (Quilt & Runner & Placemat) by Quilting Treasures

May: Party Poppers using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Sprinkled Sweets using Paintbox/Shadows by Benartex

May: Dino Craze using 10,000 B.C. by Benartex

June: Monster Mash by Quilting Treasures

June: Santa’s Sleigh using Starry Night by RJR Fabrics

June: Learning is Fun by Quilting Treasures

August: Lovey Buggy using Luvbugs by Benartex

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thread-talk1

Hello Friends, I hope your week has gotten off a good start.  Thank you ALL for sharing about the challenges you face in domestic machine quilting in my Learn to Machine Quilt giveaway post.  I truly am appreciative of you for doing that. Due to the high volume of comments, I am not able to respond to most of your comments personally unless you have unique concerns.  I have tried to write you personally if you have expressed unique concerns.  I am going to share a few thoughts (hopefully encouraging and assuring to you) to address the concerns shared by many.

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1.  I have never tried machine quilting.  I have put off quilting my own quilts.

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Yes, trying something new can be scary and very deterring!  I know.   However, my experience in machine quilting is such that once one gets over the learning curve, it will be easier.  But one needs to be determined to get over that initial hump.  My Learn to Machine Quilt class is designed to help jump-start quilters on quilting on their domestic machines.  I always start my students with echoing.  I believe if one is able to echoing echoes that are somewhat equally apart, one has gotten a good feel of moving one’s quilt sandwich.  And many subsequent motifs and techniques are actually extension of echoing, in fancier renditions.

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2.  I struggle with jerky and large stitches.  Curves are angular rather than curvy.

Wendy’s 2 cents:  I spent quite a bit of time thinking about this while I was working to finish up a quilt over the weekend.   I mean quite a bit of time because except for church, I was home working on Iron Man II.  The quilt is done, and on its way to the editor as of this morning.  But I digress…

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think… I suspect… the reason some struggle with large, jerky stitches is because they might be moving their quilt sandwiches too much spatially speaking while stitching.  I found that one does not have to move my quilt sandwich a lot while stitching – if my foot pedal is pressed down, a teeny amount of movement WILL result in my needle taking a stitch.  SO, I would suggest moving your quilt sandwich just ever so little (and slowly) to see if your stitches improve.  Hopefully, by slowing down and moving small will help you get into a nice rhythm of enjoyable stitching and beautiful stitches!

I have small hands.  The way I move my quilt sandwich is I would use my lay my left hand on the quilt sandwich (like a webbed feet) to keep the quilt area taut, and use my right thumb and first finger to slightly pick up the other side of the quilt.  I find that I am able to move my quilt with small movements that way. But I also realize different people find different ways that work for them.  So, I am just throwing this out there as food for thought!

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As for smooth curves, I think the sample principle applies.  Don’t move your quilt sandwich and force the needle to take too big a “bite”. You might try that and see if moving your quilt sandwich in small spatial amount helps.

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3.  How to handle large quilts?

Wendy’s 2 cents:  My Learn to Machine Quilt class does NOT cover how to handle large quilts because it is meant to be a primer class to get quilters to learn the basics of machine quilting.  The class sample finishes at 24″ square.   In my experience, I can comfortably quilt quilts on my domestic machine up to about 80″ square. I have done one that is over 90″ square, and that was pushing it.  All that said, I think it is definitely do-able if you are quilting a large throw or even a twin quilt.

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To handle large quilts, my suggestion is to make sure you have a large surface that is flushed with your sewing surface.  That way, you can keep all your quilt ON the surface instead of having it drape and drag below your sewing table.  Having an L-shape sewing surface helps too.  It is important to keep the weight of the quilt ON the quilting surface and not below.  Then, you just need to fan out for yourself an area about 8″ x 8″ around your needle area so that you can quilt nicely without any puckers.

The other thing I would suggest is to use light batting (silk is great!) to reduce the overall weight of the quilt.  It makes me a difference for me when I am trying to move my quilts sandwiched with silk batting instead of the heavier cotton.  Click here for my Thread Talk post on silk batting.

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4.  I have difficulty deciding what to quilt.

Wendy’s 2 cents:  That is a very common challenge faced by quilters.  I try to decide what to quilt on my quilts based on the general geometry, the feel, and sometimes believe it or not, the clue is on the fabric prints.  Check out my other Thread Talk threads — I have written quite extensively on what to quilt on quilts.

I recently taught a class illustrating quilting can be more than stitching in the ditches and cross-hatching on 9-patch blocks.

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Thanks for stopping by.  I hope the thoughts I have shared have empowered you rather than scaring you off concerning machine quilting.  It is possible!!!  Meanwhile, you still have time to click here and enter the giveaway for a free copy of my online Learn to Machine Quilt class.

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Click here for other past Q&A posts on machine quilting using a domestic machine.

Q&A1

Q&A2

Q&A3

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