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!

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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!

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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!!!!

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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.

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

Thread Journey: Done!!!

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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…

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

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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

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

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

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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!

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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

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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. :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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#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.

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#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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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:

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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.

Giveaway: Annie’s Machine Quilting Level 2 Online Class

Hello Friends, I did mention to you there would be an imminent giveaway, and well, the giveaway is HERE, TODAY! :)  Annie’s is sponsoring the giveaway of a copy of my Machine Quilting Level 2 online class.

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This free-motion quilting class covers slightly more involved quilting motifs (compared to the ones in my Learn to Machine Quilt class) by working on this class project, and quilted using a domestic sewing machine.  I will be stitching along with you ALL the motifs you see in the pictures of the class project below.  Due to time constraint, sometimes I would just let you finish out a section and move on to the next motifs.  BUT, I will get you started.

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The class is yours to keep once you win it – you may access the class anytime you wish!  You will also get a chance to interact with me should you have any questions.

After completing in the class project, you will have a chance to make 3 additional projects (instructions included in the class) that will give you a chance to quilt the motifs you learn from the class project on the additional projects.

Additional Project #1: Quilting a pieced quilt with Star Bright:

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Additional Project #2: Quilting an applique quilt with Carolina Tulips:

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Additional Project #3: WOW Project with Fanciful

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Here are a few comments from the official class page on Annie’s:

“I was not confident to do quilting. But listening and following your classes has made everything simple for me to follow. I have started quilting now. Nice and well explained.”

“I have been following Wendy on Ivory Spring for several years and love her feather work… I have tried to make your feathers for some time and your demonstration “fix me real good.”

“Wendy does a great job of breaking designs down so they are easier to quilt. She is a wonderful teacher and is very pleasant to listen to. I love everything she does and would definitely sign up for a feather class if it is ever offered.”

Awwwww – THANKS… I am made the happiest of quilters with the feedback!

In order to enter to win the prize:  Just leave a comment or about what you look for in an online quilting class between now and next Thursday (January 14, 2016).  Winner will be announced and contact on the following Monday!  Open to international quilters!

And that’s if from me for today.  I am running late this week, and desperate need to get something solid accomplish before the weekend.  School started this week, and we had a slightly rocky start.  First, Miss Baby had so much fun during her Christmas break she was most un-enthusiastic to go back to school.  So, I made her favorite cinnamon raisin break on the first day of school as a “pick me up”, only to realize an hour before she woke I had forgotten to add the yeast!!!  Then, we found out she forgot her lunch box after we got to school that first day.  So, Mom had to make a second trip back to school to deliver the lunch box.  And then, I have been doing house-keeping stuff for work to move and hopefully “propel” me to productivity.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hugs to you all!

Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #65

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Hello Friends, I am happy to share with you a “faux” long-arm free motion quilting motif that I have quilted on my latest completed quilt.  I am going to show you how “quilting off the seat of one’s pants” works out in real life using a piece of paper.  The goal is to fill the paper with the motif — exactly like how we would quilt an allover quilting motif on a quilt.  So, first let’s look at the progression of filling up a space with quilting motifs, starting from #1.  The different colors denote different repeats of the motif.

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So, here you see I “quilted” #1-9 with not much of any abnormality.  I do want you to note how I always have my “starting” swirl of each repeat going a different direction — as much as I can — that gives the overall effect a sense of movement!  I also want you to notice that the leaves aren’t in any particular shape as long as they taper inward, as well as the filler swirls I use to fill up some open space that is too small to fit another repeat of the motif.

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I sort of quilted myself in a corner at #9, and have no convenient to get out to fill the remaining open area.  No big deal, cut the thread, and find a convenient spot to start again.  Thus #10 and so on, until an entire area is filled up.

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Here is what is on paper transferred to a real quilt looks like on the back of my latest completed quilt…

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Curious what the quilt looks like on the front?  I am afraid you have to wait.  All I can tell you is that my husband loves the quilt.  He has great taste, because he…. married me!  HAHA.  Please note I am totally cracking a lame joke at that one!  Alrightie, I shall catch up with you later!

p.s.  You may click here for my other Thread Talk posts.

Carolina Tulips in Machine Quilting Level 2 Class

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Hello Friends, thank you for stopping by again!  I hope you are well.   I had shared with you in detail two of the projects included in my online quilting class Machine Quilting Level 2 here and here.  Today, I am sharing with you another project included in the class, Carolina Tulips.

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Carolina Tulips is a project specifically targeting quilting around applique blocks.  Each applique block is quilted differently using the quilting motifs covered in the class.  You can see a sample of the motifs here.

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I have been asked about my quilting stitch length.  I like my stitches short for a finer look.  So, for the setting on my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator), I set my stitch length to be at anywhere between 1.6-2.0 depending on what I am quilting.  Naturally, if the curves are tight, I would stitch tight. Because of the tight stitches I do, I like to quilt with finer threads (silk, and almost exclusively Aurifil Mako 50 cotton).

It is my aim to give quilters some fun ideas on how to quilt their applique quilts through Carolina Tulips.

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You may click here to sign up for the class.  This online class (available for PC and Tablets), once purchased, is yours to keep indefinitely.  And if you ever run into a problem, it’s easy to contact me with your questions through the “Ask The Instructor” option.  I will do my best to help you over the hump.

You may also click here to purchase the DVD if doing an online class isn’t your thing.

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I am honored that I am able to be a part of your quilting journey, and be your quilting friend!  I hope you have enjoyed our visit today…. tootles for now!  I shall check in with you again soon.

Fanciful in MACHINE QUILTING LEVEL 2 Class

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Happy Monday, Friends!  I hope you had a lovely Father’s Day weekend.

I am happy to share with you today Fanciful, one of three “real” quilts included in my DVD or online machine quilting class, Machine Quilting Level 2, offered by Annies, with which you can practice the quilting skills you learn from the class presentation.  You will receive complete instructions, as well as full-sized applique templates, on how to construct the quilt top for Fanciful with the purchase of the class.

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In constructing Fanciful, I mixed regular cotton quilting fabrics with batiks to see if I would like the effect.  The star blocks and the white and light taupe you see are of regular cotton quilting fabrics, while the rest are batik fabrics.  I have to say I am really pleased with the visual effect of mixing batiks and regular cotton fabrics in the same quilt. And of course, this exclusive project was designed with LOTS of quilting opportunities in mind… thus the vast expanse of negative space!

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You will be able to see the quilting close-up in the class presentation toward the conclusion of the class as I walk you through on how I quilted all three of the real quilt projects presented in the class.

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If you have been visiting here for a while, you will know that I am an Aurifil addict, specifically for their Mako 50 weight thread, with which I had quilted nearly all my quilts, including Fanciful. The batting used for this quilt is Hobbs Tuscany silk batting.

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You may click here for a free preview of the class.  Of course, if you have any questions – you know where to find me. :)  I hope you are having a good summer.

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We are traipsing about here and there… while I am attempting to find time to work on some very exciting things for the coming Fall and the coming year.

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Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely week!

Annie’s Online Class: Machine Quilting Level 2 & Giveaway!

Happy Friday, Friends!  I hope you have had a good week – so, what’s in store for the weekend? It’s been a rushed week for me trying to meet a few deadlines before Memorial Day weekend! Today I would like to share a little more with you about my Annie’s Online Machine Quilting Level 2 Class.

Level2This class builds on the foundational skills established in the first Annie’s online class Learn to Machine Quilt, which focuses on getting quilters used to moving the quilt sandwich by introducing carefully selected motifs that quilters can practically quilt on their quilts.  Click here to explore more about this first class.  To my absolute delight, many who took the class told me they have greatly benefited from the class, and are ready to take their machine quilting skills to the next level.  So, drawing from my own machine quilting journey, Annie’s and I worked together on Machine Quilting Level 2.

If you liked the format of the first class, you will have no trouble following this second class.  The second class follows closely the format of the first class – a short show and tell of real life quilts, short lectures on each motif, actual doodling of each motif captured on screen, and this time, we will go through all the steps in quilting the class project.

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Here are a couple of still shots from the class:

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If you follow along, you will have opportunities in trying out MANY motifs —

1.  Swirly Flower: perfect for an allover quilting motif

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2.  Swirly Variations: work for borders, sashings, and easily personalized by adding your own what-nots between swirls.

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3.  Pool Reflections: work for small areas (easily extended to large if desired) and borders

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4.  Snaky Spirals

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5.  Little S’s: My way to quilt McTavishing

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6.  Sushi rolls – a very forgiving motif perfect for quilting borders, as well as all over the quilt top

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7.  Mark without marking Quilting – easy if quilting simple shapes, but will also have tips for quilting complex shapes using this method

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8.  And…. FEATHERS!!!!  I mean FEATHERS: the basic feathering principles are covered in this class.

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9.  Options in border treatments:  hopefully this will jumpstart for you many more options!

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Annie’s classes, whether in online or DVD format, are wonderful because they are yours to keep forever once purchased.  The other thing is that you can re-watch any segments as many times as you wish, and consequently attempt to quilt any motif you choose and not necessarily follow the order as presented in the class.   You will also receive supplementary class notes consisting instructions to construct the projects.  And of course, you will be able to interact with me should you have any questions.  You know where to find me anyway. :)

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If you prefer the class in DVD format, they are now available as well.  Some friends just told me they purchased the DVD’s, and are liking them.

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All the quilts you see in this class are constructed and quilted using Aurifil‘s Mako 50 cotton thread!  I have been most gratified when quilters I have met recently in person tell me how they switched to using Aurifil’s thread because of me, and more importantly how Aurifil threads have made them happier quilters!!!  Truer words have never been said — Aurifil has definitely made me the happiest of quilters!  A big thank you to Bernina for letting me use their 560B machine in the filming of this class.

Machine Quilting Level 2 class also comes with three (!) exclusively designed projects for the students to apply the quilting skills they acquire from working through the class project.  I will show before the end of the class how I have quilted these three “wow” projects – a pieced runner, an applique topper and a WOW/Medallion quilt.  I will also be posting about each project in separate posts.

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Now for the GIVEAWAY:  Between now and May 25, you will have a chance to win a copy of the Machine Quilting Level 2 DVD — just leave a comment in the comment section.  Winner will be announced on May 28.

Meanwhile, you can:

click here to preview and purchase Learn to Machine Quilt online class

click here to preview and purchase Learn to Machine Quilt DVD

click here to preview and purchase Machine Quilting Level 2 online class

click here to preview and purchase Machine Quilting Level 2 DVD

Besides frantically working on my Aussie-bound quilt, I am also working on a few new projects.  Stay tuned for details! Thank you for dropping in.  I hope you have a lovely weekend!  See you next week.

Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #62

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Hello Friends!  As promised, here is my tutorial for my “Riley Blake”-ish flower motif from yesterday’s post.  In order to quilt this motif, you will need a marking pen and something that will allow you to draw a circle, besides your usual free-motion quilting notions.

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Here goes the tutorial.  First I used my marking pen to draw a circle that serves as a boundary for my flower.  Then, I just eyeballed and drew a much smaller circle in the center of the large circle.

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Then, I started by quilting the small circle, following (sort of) the drawn outline, before finishing off with a small swirl within the small circle.  And after that I started my first swirl in the big circle.

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Easy peasy – I just kept swirling within that drawn boundary, until I came to the very last swirl…. at this point, I didn’t complete my swirl as you can see from the picture.

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This is because at this point, my swirls look more like an octopus’ tentacles rather than a flower.  So, to transform the tentacles into a flower, I needed to “close off” those swirls by doing some echo quilting.

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I like that this motif is very forgiving.  The swirls do not all have to be identical to look good, and the echoes do not have to be exactly spaced.  And I can also challenge myself further in the precision department by quilting the swirls and echoes perfectly to see how far I can push myself.  I hope you will give this motif a try, and let me know how you like it.  Since this is a new motif for me, I have ideas swimming in my head on how to further develop the applications of the motif… but only after I have met some of my immediate deadlines that includes playing with some REAL Riley Blake fabrics!

Thank you for stopping by, and Happy Quilting!

p.s.  For my new friends and followers, click on the feather quilting image at the top of this post for more free-motion quilting tips!