WINNER of Annie’s Machine Quilting Class of Choice & DISCOUNT KEYCODE

Hello Friends, the winner of my Annie’s Machine Quilting Class of Choice Giveaway is: Gloria Cotten!  An email is sent to you to inform you someone at Annie’s will be in touch!

pathways1

flower

I really wish I could give each of you a free class, but that’s out of my hands. :(  Thank you to all of you for entering the giveaway.  You know where to find me should you have a free-motion-quilting question you have while you are attempting to quilt your own quilts.

MEANWHILE, ANNIE’S IS OFFERING A 20% DISCOUNT FOR MY BLOG FOLLOWER between now and November 14, 2016 – ENTER KEYCODE: SHEPQLT

I hope this offer will be advantageous to you!  Again, here are my 5 domestic machine quilting classes offered with Annie’s.

#1. Learn to Machine Quilt – click here for more information.

#2.  Machine Quilting Level 2 – click here for more information.

#3.  Learn to Machine Quilt Pieced Blocks – click here for more information.

#4.  Learn to Machine Quilt With Stencils & Templates – click here for more information.

#5.  Learn Modern Straight Line Machine Quilting – click here for more information.

And I will be back soon with details about my domestic machine quilting book, due out in March 2017!

***

Meanwhile, if you haven’t tried using Aurifil’s Mako 50 wt to machine quilt, I highly recommend it!!  It took me two or three stops at the Aurifil booth at Fall Market to “meet myself”. :)  They had a wall display with quilters’ thoughts on their threads.  I was surprised to find a quote from me!!!!

aurifil-booth

Advertisements

GIVEAWAY: My Annie’s Domestic Machine Quilting Class of your choice

Hello Friends, I am tired and groggy, but I went to Houston and got back safely.  It was a whirlwind of a trip.  I will share more about that later.  One of the major reasons I went to Houston is to present my upcoming book Stitching Pathways – a compilation of my Thread Talk posts in a book format and more.   The following pictures show snippets of the book projects that I have been working on to include in the Stitching Pathways book.

flower

pathways

pathways1

pathways2

pathways4

pathways5

rainbow-star

SO, to celebrate domestic machine quilting, Annie’s has generously sponsored a giveaway of any one of my 5 online machine quilting classes of your choice!

#1. Learn to Machine Quilt – click here for more information.

#2.  Machine Quilting Level 2 – click here for more information.

#3.  Learn to Machine Quilt Pieced Blocks – click here for more information.

#4.  Learn to Machine Quilt With Stencils & Templates – click here for more information.

#5.  Learn Modern Straight Line Machine Quilting – click here for more information.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY – Between now and coming Sunday (November 6th), leave in the comment section which class you would like, and I will pick a winner to announce on Monday (November 7th).

Happy Monday, and Happy Week!

Saturday Salutation!

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well.  We are at the library doing homework, reading, and drawing for Miss Baby, and catching up with work and thoughts gathering for me.  Things are a bit crazy at the moment, but I thought I would send you a bit of quilty flowery goodness on this wet and chilly Saturday at my end.

flower

I shall catch up with you later!!!  Have a great rest of your weekend.  Hugs to you!

Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #70

thread-talk1

Happy Friday, Friends!  I feel like this week has gone by so quickly.  I promised you I would share with you a secret or two about my way of machine quilting earlier this week based on my recently completed Thread Journey quilt. Click here if you would like to see more pictures of the quilted finished product.

morning-pictures3

So, you know how sometimes chefs keep things simple by using simple ingredients in their cooking, but they learn to use those ingredients well?  My quilting philosophy is kind of like that too.  I generally do not use more than three quilting elements within a section when I quilt.  Hopefully you will see what I mean by the pictures I am showing you…

In the quilt center – feathers + pebbles for background (2 elements):

Aug11e

Aug11m

… and very occasionally, a bean sprout or two (so 2 1/2 elements) – you can see the bean sprouts sticking out amongst the pebbles in the top portion of the picture below.

Aug11h

Next, we have feathers + pebbles + sprouts in the Ohio Star inner border (3 elements):

August18g

August18i

Gray Sashing: feathers + pebbles (2 elements):

morning-pictures5

sept15d

Outer border: feathers (with occasional variations of sprout or pebbled spines) + echoing (2 elements):

sept15e

sept15h

sept15j

I keep my motifs simple and few in dense quilting because:

#1.  It is easier for the viewers to concentrate on certain elements of the quilting, then a whole bunch of motifs.

#2.  It affords me the opportunity to keep quilting the same thing, and thus able to work in the practice I need to master different motifs.  I don’t ever do practice pieces – because I always practice better on the real deal.

#3.  When a large expanse of quilting area is limited to 2-3 motifs, that also allows me to slip in trying out new ideas without being too noticeable.  That way, I can decide whether I like those new motifs or not. :)  There are quite a few moments of trying out new things in Thread Journey that I can’t even tell existed because how the major motifs I have selected have dominated the quilting area.

So basically,  I have quilted the entire Thread Journey quilt with feathers, echoing and pebbles, and nothing else that’s fancy. :)  See what I mean? Keep it simple, and use the simple to your advantage!!

I hope my sharing has helped you… it’s not just using the simple motifs, but rather it is a matter of using the simple well.

Have a great weekend – till next time!

Thread Journey: Done!!!

banner1

Friends, my Aurifil Thread Journey quilt is finished!!!!  I shall again let the pictures do most of the talking today. First we had the un-quilted, but constructed many week ago…

July13i

After about 52 hours of just quilting alone at the machine, we have the finished product!

morning-pictures1

morning-pictures2

morning-pictures3

morning-pictures5

sept15b

sept15c

I quilted the entire quilt with colors from my Aurifil’s Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and exactly why those shades are chosen.  You may also order the thread collection from heresubtle1-1

subtle2

And you will see how the Subtle Strings colors meet in the following close-up pictures.

sept15d

sept15e

sept15g

sept15h

sept15i

sept15j

sept15k

And here is a quick look at what the back looks like.

sept15n

That’s it for my Thread Journey 2.0!  It’s been such a fun journey for me being able to quilt to my little heart’s content on this one.  You may find the instructions on how to construct the quilt, as well as quilting suggestions here.

Come back tomorrow for the announcement of the giveaway winner of Windham’s Maribel FQ bundle.  Have a lovely rest of your week!

Project Sneak Peek: Packages

Hello Friends, how are you all doing this Wednesday?  I hope you are well.  I am excited to show you this free-motion quilted Christmas motif I quilted on my most recently completed quilt!

IMG_4122

The best machine quilting advice I can give anyone is to keep quilting because you WILL get better. :)  That’s all for now.  I have to get back to work…  Hugs to you all!

Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #69

thread-talk1

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well.  Things have been a little chaotic over here… probably an understatement, haha!  But we are doing well.   Despite the beautiful cherry blossoms we saw last week, we are waiting for the slightly warmer weather to keep getting warmer. :)

blossoms

Last week, I stitched out a Mandala design using my Subtle Strings threads.  This Mandala design was stitched out as part of QuiltShopGal’s Bee Creative Charity Project.  Click here to read more.  QuiltShopGal also showed my pencil sketch schematic of this stitched Mandala in her post. You are free to use it as an inspiration for your quilting.

SubtleStrings-Large-Outside

SubtleStrings-Large-Inside

Sometimes, a little subtlety goes a long way, yes?  To illustrate how subtle the colors of my Subtle Strings thread spools are, I contrast them against a solid black background.  The flower center is stitched with Aurifil 40wt threads in the bright and loud shades in order to give contrast to the colors and the 50wt threads I had chosen for Subtle Strings.  All 12 Subtle Strings colors are stitched in the 12 outer petals.

IMG_3484

It’s interesting to me to see how the colors look SO different when wound on spools vs. when they are stitched out. In this case, when the thread is stitched out (without the effect of the collective rounds of wound thread), you might even say some of the threads are subtly similar in shades — thus the name, Subtle Strings. :)  Take a look at the corresponding colors to the stitched petals, and you will quickly see the effect of “collective vs loner”.  For example, that yellow thread doesn’t look so yellow after all.

IMG_3489

My two cents:

#1.  ALWAYS, always (!) audition the color of your threads but pulling a thread by itself and lay it against your fabrics to see if you like the thread color on your quilt, instead of laying the entire spool on the fabric for audition.  Of course that is the lazy way.  You can always actually stitch out the colors on actual fabrics if you are the very responsible kind, haha!  As for me, I tread the quickest path that gets me to the actual quilting part.

***There are logical reasons to my Subtlety (see below):

#2.  Interchangeable shades — that means I have used the similar shades of colors TOGETHER in a quilt in the situation where I ran out of one color during the quilting process, and proceeded using the one with the similar shade.  The effect is almost unnoticeable (unless inspected up close), especially with those two blue shades.

#3. The top center cream shade is my favorite neutral shade (#2130) that I use to piece AND quilt most of the time.  BUT, I have also learned that the other shades (like the light pink, lavender, light blue, gray and taupe) are suitable for piecing as well – even for light fabrics.  So, if you have threads in subtle colors laying around, use them like you would a neutral thread in your sewing!

#4.  The softer colors accentuates the texture of quilting if you want the effect of your quilting not overpowering.

The following picture shows what I call “lemonade” quilting.  The thread is the light pink quilted against a yellow fabric:

IMG_9742

#5.  I also picked those shades for hand applique purposes because those shades blend well in securing the applique pieces onto background fabrics.  I read somewhere a long time ago to no pick loud shades for hand applique.  And I have always used subtle shades for hand applique.

wip

#6.  And of course all the Subtle Strings threads are in 50wt.  The reason being, for those starting out with domestic machine quilting, I always encourage them to use the finest thread they can find.  I started out using 100wt silk (you can read more about it and see more pictures here).  As I taught domestic machine quilting, I had found that the 50wt really gives the students the best results that eventually confidence in them to continue in domestic machine quilting.  [From my personal teaching experience, it has to be the Aurifil 50wt that gives the best result!  I would hand out 50 wt threads to student who are struggling in class to have them just try the thread – they are always amazed at the difference the thread makes!]  So, the 50wt is definitely a great weight to start!

#7.  When used for quilting, I find that the 50wt masks mistakes really well, and oftentimes that is what give beginners the initial confidence to keep on quilting on their domestic machines.

#8.  The 50wt is my favorite weight for piecing.  I think that the 50wt helps with achieving precision in piecing.  I found that subtle shades of pink, green, blue or yellow work just as well color-wise as the neutrals in piecing!

My Color Burst quilt comes to mind – that quilt was completed from start to finish (finish means bound and set to the magazine editor) in 5 days.  I have to say it wouldn’t have been possible for me to do had it not been the Aurifil 50wt threads that helped me so much in achieving the precision in piecing.  Keep in mind these HST finish at 1 1/2″ square.

IMG_4736

IMG_1405

I think I finally ran out of my 2-cents on being subtle here. :)  I hope you will look and see what threads you might have to stitch them out, just to see how they would look on fabrics like I did with my Subtle Strings colors on a black. I will have more projects like that to show and share with you this year — and hope that you will make experimenting a point in your quilting journey this year!

IMG_3503

You may contact Donna at www.followthatthread.com to order your own Subtle Strings collection.  A big shout out to Quilters Newsletter for including the collection in the Staff Picks section of their latest issue (April/May 2016).  Have you see my Tartan Links quilt in that same issue?

QN Subtle Strings

Alrightie — Friends, I am going to have a date with my Aurifil 50wt threads as I have to get a quilt top pieced and shipped out tomorrow.  I hope you have a most lovely weekend!  Quilty hugs to you – whether you are a quilter or not.

Tuesday Tidbits & Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #68

Hello Friends – we had snow yesterday, and now the snow should be melting away.  I saw SUN — SUN is good!!! Yesterday, I chatted with Pat Sloan about precuts… did you hear it?  If you missed it and still want to brave listening to me, the link to the podcast is here.  A shout out to Pat for having me!

American Patchwork Quilting Pocast episode 294 Wendy Sheppard

You may read more about my Creative New Quilts & Projects book here.  The book page will be updated as I post more information about the book.  Something exciting is afoot as well regarding my book.  So, stay tuned!

AND — between now and Friday this week, my publisher is offering 20% off the cover price of the book.  Click HERE to purchase your copy, or HERE if you prefer it as a pdf download!

coupon

***

And I am happy to announce the winner of my Learn to Machine Quilt online class giveaway from two Fridays ago.  The winner is: AnnD (#22).  I have written you an email as well.  Someone at Annie’s will be in touch with you regarding the setup of your class!  Thank you all for entering!

***

NOW — A bit of Thread Talk!  Have you ever been in a situation where you can’t quite see the markings from your fabric marker because the ink is either the same color as your fabric, or that the fabric is too dark, and as a result your markings aren’t quite showing up?  That happened to me in my most recently completed quilt.  My blue fabric marker markings didn’t show on the blue fabrics in my quilt.  I rarely mark when I quilt because I am a bit lazy, but I had to mark for this particular quilt because I was doing all straight line quilting.  And I chose the intersection all happening on/near my blue blocks…  (because I have a knack of making more work for myself).  SO, instead of going over the markings with a white marker, I used a VERY thin ruler (mine is less than or very close to 1 mm thick) to guide while I straigut-line-quilted on the blue/dark blocks.  Worked like a charm!!!  Try it, you might like it.  [For this particular quilt, I wasn’t doing uniform 45-degree cross-hatching, so, I couldn’t get by with using the ruler to do all the quilting.  But I was happy #1.  I didn’t have to re-mark on the spots I couldn’t quite see, and #2.  The ruler-guided straight line quilting gave me STRAIGHT lines!]

IMG_3337

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you were able to add yet another little trick to your quilting tool box!  Till next time.

Thread Journey: My Quilting Heart and Soul & Behind the Scenes!

You might empathize with this sentiment…. sometimes you just sink your entire heart and soul into a project, not necessarily quilting.  My Thread Journey is my most recent heart-and-soul (quilty) project!  It was made as a companion piece for my Subtle Strings Thread collectionYou may remember it hanging at Aurifil‘s booth at Fall Houston Market last year.  You have seen pictures of the quilt quite often on this blog post-Market…

WS DRAFT2

Thread Journey is my heart-and-soul project because I sought to encompass all that I have learned about quilting (particularly domestic machine quilting) since I took up quilting in 2005, from not ever touching a sewing machine to the present.  It is a quilt of my own original design, and I stayed up many a night just thinking about the design, and colors!  The quilt also has little details from my previous quilts to tie in the “journey” part.

IMG_1923

Thread Journey is being shown in Alex Veronelli’s (of Aurifil) lectures this year.  A great honor.  I actually have a “behind the scene” story to share about Thread Journey.  I would like the story to be more dramatic, but it isn’t really.

IMG_1838

September through November last year were probably the most stressful months I remember experiencing the entire year last year.  I had three trips to make within the span of 3 1/2 weeks that included Market, teaching at Annie’s Craft Festival, and filming three new online classes back to back.  And of course, with each trip, I had to carve out a large chunk of time to make sure things are in order at home (i.e., laying out Miss Baby’s clothes, getting her schedule written out etc) before I could leave in good conscience.  And then, there’s packing props and things which always make me feel uncertain because I was scared to death I would forget something!!!

And of course, a huge (not size, but of importance) prop that I was bringing with me to Fall Market last year was my Thread Journey quilt… because it was going to hang at Aurifil‘s booth!  I took it with me in my carry-on, for fear of losing it if packed in my checked baggage.

IMG_1803

I had fallen sick right up till Market… so, that hampered the progress of my work quite a bit.  I managed to finish quilting the quilt the night before I was to catch my flight to Houston.  I remembered having lunch with Miss Baby on the day I left because I knew I won’t be picking her up as I usually do.  Then off to the airport I went, sharing a van ride with a couple of very cool veterans, one of whom is now an accomplished artist!  As much as I enjoyed the navy officer-turned-artist story, I was thinking about… how unfinished my Thread Journey was:  the binding was not done, the yoyo’s weren’t made, the hand embroidery not yet completed…

IMG_1852

Now, you are SO un-impressed by the way I roll…. yeah, I can understand why!  Last year was an exceptionally busy year for me!   Long story short, I slept little night after I checked into the hotel, and managed to finish up the quilt exactly at 9:45am the following morning when I was supposed to bring by the finished quilt, my heart-and-soul quilt!  That sense of relief — it is unexplainable!!!!  Hearing quilters’ kind words on the quilt at Market meant the world to me.

I was able to have Thread Journey back with me for a few days last month.  For the first time after I completed the quilt, I relived the moments of making the quilting up to the finishing point…. I realized it truly has been a journey!!! I took quite a few more pictures before I sent it on its way again… the following is one of them:

Threads Journey

AND – the journey is continuing, so to speak.  I am re-making this quilt, and will be offering this design as a free pattern in the near future so that we can share a quilting journey/adventure together.  Check back on this blog, and stay tuned for details!

p.s.  If you are new to this blog, Thread Journey’s Fall Market adventure is documented here.

Weekend Giveaway: Annie’s LEARN TO MACHINE QUILT

Hello Friends, I hope you have had a great week!  I started a new regimen this week trying to organize my time better…. so far so good!  And I am keeping my fingers crossed. :o)

THESE came in the mail today….. which means my upcoming classes will go live anytime!!!!  In fact, one already has (see below).  As you can see, besides my Learn To Machine Quilt and Machine Quilting Level 2 Classes, there are going to be three additional new classes this year!!!  Please note that these cards are made available for anyone, and have a 20% discount code applicable for ALL five classes shown.  I am happy to send the cards to you, or your quilting group, or your quilting events! Just send me an email at wendy2@wendysheppard.net — and I will get them out to you!  Posters are also available for your events upon requests.

IMG_3307

Anyway, I just found out that my Learn Modern Straight-Line Machine Quilting is out!!!!  Click here to preview the class.  I will post more about the class in the near future with a giveaway of the class.  Stay tuned!

Straight Line Machine Quilting

IMG_0904

So, with the release of the new class(es), Annie’s is sponsoring another giveaway!   This time, it is for one copy of free online class of my first machine quilting class, Learn To Machine Quilt.

learn to machine quilt

This class focuses on getting quilters comfortable in moving the quilt sandwich to quilt using their domestic machine quilting.  Miss Baby, at 4 years of age, gave a rather concise definition of domestic machine quilting – she called it, “pushing the quilt under the machine.”

Learn to Machine Quilt

Here are a few simple motifs that are covered as you follow along the class to make this 24″ x 24″ class sample. Granted it is a small sample, it is meant to be that way because the class focuses ONLY getting quilters started on being able to move the quilt sandwich.

Learn to Quilt 2

learn to quilt6

Lean to Machine Quilt4

Here are a few cool features of the class:

1.  The class never expires once you purchase it.  You can view it anytime and anywhere you want as long as you have your computer with you, and as many times as you wish.

2.  It is divided into segments in case you need to just review a particular technique, again, as often as you desire.

3.  You will have an “ASK THE INSTRUCTOR” feature where you can ask me questions on the class content!  I shall be there to assist you to the best my ability to get over the humps!  [I think that’s the coolest feature myself as I love interacting with quilters, as some of you can attest, I hope!]

4. Though the prize of this giveaway is a copy of the online version of the class.  This class is also available in DVD format.  Click here to purchase your DVD copy.

***

For the Giveaway:  Between now and next Friday, please leave a comment to share with me if you have quilted your own quilts… and what keeps you from quilting your own quilts if you haven’t done so.  Winner will be announce the following Monday.

Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #61

thread-talk1

Hello Friends, it’s so good to have you back.  I am passionate about wholecloth quilting when it comes to machine quilting.

However, I am keenly aware not all quilters want to do that kind of quilting — which is PERFECTLY okay!!  I am not in any way getting on to you for not doing wholecloth quilting that oftentimes requires very dense background quilting.  The background quilting you see in the following quilt images is quilted less than 1/8″ apart!

Plus to be honest, that kind of dense background quilting probably is not conducive to be quilted on quilt tops made with printed fabrics.  So, for a while now, I have been thinking about the matter of background fillers to go with feather quilting on “printed” quilt tops that are practical. One of these fillers is my Sand Dunes filler!

IMG_9435

1.  So, first, we have a feather plume “quilted” here.  Click here to read about how I quilt my feathers.

IMG_9491

2.  After the feather is quilted, I picked a spot on the feather to just quilt something curvy, but somewhat graceful looking toward the outer edge of the quilt top.

So you will notice I quilted my first Sand Dune pass (#1) beyond the edge of the quilt top INTO to the batting and quilt backing portion — assuming you baste your quilt sandwich with excess batting and quilt fabric around the quilt top, like I do.

IMG_9492

3.  That’s because… it saved me having to cut my thread and restart on the pass back to the feather plume.  Notice my pass back to the feather plume is only somewhat echoing the first pass. My Sand Dunes are meant to be “liberated” echoes in the sense that they are not exactly echoed.  Another thing is that the Sand Dune passes are quilted far apart, unlike the 1/8″ or less distance in between echoes in my wholecloth quilting.

IMG_9495

Once the back pass (#2) touches the feather plume, I would then follow the quilt feather plume outline for just a little bit, and then, I would quilt toward the outer edge of the quilt top with another Sand Dune pass (#3) and so forth to complete the background quilting around the feather plume(s) on my quilt.

IMG_9497

This quilt back picture might show you exactly I meant.

I like the Sand Dunes for a printed quilted tops because this filler looks open and doesn’t have a suffocating feel on the printed quilt tops.  It is not demanding because it doesn’t require me to echo exactly, and veering off a bit on subsequent echoes actually adds to the overall textured look.

IMG_9428

I would love for you to try out Sand Dunes with your feathers — and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t checked out my other posts on machine quilting, feel free to do so by clicking here.

I will be sharing with you some exciting machine quilting news in a couple of months – can’t wait!!! But for now, if you haven’t checked out my online Learn to Machine Quilt class (that covers practical motifs for beginning machine quilting) here, I hope you will do so as well.  The class is also available on DVD here.

learn to machine quilt

Thank you for stopping by, Dear Friends!  Blessings to you all!

Learn to Machine Quilt Giveaway WINNER & Discount Code!

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.

winner

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.

Learn to Quilt 2

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

jean comment

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.