Sunday, 30 December 2012

White Christmas

8 foot NEQ2 on the 8 foot table
I decided to call Kate's quilt White Christmas.        Here in England our weather is mainly wet so if we wanted a white Christmas we needed to make it ourselves. I loaded the quilt sandwich on the 8 foot New English Quilter 2 frame. You can see the 6 foot Table painted with Blackboard paint and the two foot extension in the regular pale-wood-finish. The extension transforms the 6 foot table to an 8 foot to accommodate the 8 foot NEQ2 frame.This is just the right size for a double bed quilt.

marking the scalloped border
I wanted a scalloped border to give some definition to the top. But I decided to do the marking once the quilt was already loaded on the frame as the frame holds the fabric straight and steady creating a perfect writing surface. I used a ceramic mug lid for a template as it was the perfect size. You can just see the bit of tape I put across to mark the middle. This helped me to align it correctly along the end lines marked on the top of the quilt. I used the wash-away-blue-marker to trace around the template. These became guidelines that were echoed and scalloped to form the border.

machine quilting detail showing the echoed scalloped border
The line design in the middle of the quilt is my take on a pattern that Emily designed with Trudi after a retreat last year. It's fun to see how patterns change when different people quilt them. This design uses a central swirl with a quill and feather shape that is scalloped. It's a wonderful overall pattern because each shape dovetails so easily into the next. We'll be featuring this pattern in our January Retreat coming up soon.

Emily's line design for the central panel scalloping was added to the stitching
central panel quilting detail
My thread choice was the NEW Magnifico from Superior Threads, a creamy white called Elegante #2169 

the NEW Magnifico from Superior Threads #2169 Elegante

Magnifico is a beautiful light reflecting tri-lobal polyester with unusual fibre strength which makes it perfect for long arm machine quilting. It's available in 300 colours so it was easy to find a match to the Oakshot fabric I'd chosen for the top. This good match enabled me to create a subtle texture which was the kind of look that Kate wanted in her quilt. We used Bottom Line pre-wounds in Ivory for the bobbins. I hate winding bobbins so I love using the pre-wounds from Superior. With all the shades of white in this project the quilting was lovely!

Juki TL98P on the 8 foot NEQ2 frame with Magnifico from Superior Threads
Finally the layers were quilted using the JUKI TL98P. Notice how, even here at the end of the project, I still have plenty of room for the roll of fabric under the arm of the machine! Emily and I took turns quilting. We wanted to mix up our personal styles. We loaded the quilt on the Friday before Christmas. We took turns quilting on Saturday and finished up on the Sunday. Emily and I were really pleased. This was a project that took us way outside our comfort zones. Now Emily is keen to do it again using a more traditional pattern. Kate was very happy too! She's promised to send pictures of her White Christmas quilt in her Paris flat.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Winter in Paris

Rooftops Under Snow by Gustave Caillebotte 1878
My daughter Kate, is spending this year au pairing in Paris, working as an English  Nanny for a lovely family with  two young boys who live in the centre of Paris. She lives in a garret apartment over the family home. It all sounds rather romantic but perhaps a bit drafty and cold. So I thought it might be a good opportunity to make a quilt.

Kate's fond of neutrals and she wanted a white quilt. She suggested that perhaps I get lots of different kinds of white fabric and piece a quilt with it. As I'm very fond of colour myself I struggled with the idea. It seemed pointless to spend lots of time cutting and piecing white fabrics. Then I got a brilliant idea. Forget the piecing. Do a wholecloth quilt but in a modern style. Keep it simple and use wonderful materials.

I wanted the fabric to be special so I ordered 4 meters of a 'snowy white' from Oakshot Fabrics. I'd looked them up online and then rang to ask about what was in stock. They were so helpful! I mentioned that it was for a Christmas present and they posted it right away so it arrived the next day. Impressive service. Gorgeous fabric! I'm really looking forward to getting some Oakshot fabrics in colours for a future project.

Piecing the fleece with my JUKI Exceed 600
I wanted the quilt to be warm and soft and cuddley so fleece was my best choice for backing. It's an economical choice too as fleece serves as backing AND wadding. Since I splashed out on the Oakshot fabric for the top it was nice to save a bit of money on the other layers. I purchased some snow white fleece from Boyes for £5.50 a meter. The fleece is 64 inches wide from selvedge to selvedge, which is just perfect for a single bed quilt. But Kate wanted a double so I needed to piece the backing to get it big enough. Piecing fleece is simple; butt the ends together and use a zig zag stitch to join them. This creates a join with no bulk which is perfect for quilting projects. More to follow...

zig zagging to join the fleece

Friday, 21 December 2012

Poinsettia Petal Project

 Episode 3 from our Christmas mini-series is live now on the LineDancing site. It finishes with a quirky see-through-stitching project!

See how lots of different threads play out on a free-motion-embroidered embellished wholecloth project.

Festive designs directly from nature.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

O Christmas Tree

We put our tree up last Sunday. A Christmas tree makes inordinately happy. Especially at night when the glowing lights make it otherworldly. Episode 2 of our Christmas mini-series is now ready. It features a Christmas tree table runner where each tree acts as a machine quilting sampler. It's really just a chance to play with fabric and line designs and threads. Fast! Fun! Festive!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

New Members!

Cover shot of our Christmas mini-series

I wanted to post a big welcome to all our new members to the Line Dancing site. We're thrilled to have the site up and running and even more thrilled to have people joining and viewing the free stuff and classes. Now that the basic structure is in place, we'll be adding new classes and more free stuff every couple of weeks. We would really appreciate any feedback. We'll put it to good use as we tweak the site.

Thread painting detail of Episode 3
LineDancing is totally free to join. Once you join you'll be able to view free stuff and purchase individual classes. One of the best things about this site is that you get to see it right away. There's no waiting around for a DVD to arrive in the post! And there's no time limit either. When you purchase a class, it's available for you to watch as often and as long as you like. We'll be adding new content all the time.

Free-motion-quilting detail from Episode 2
Joining is very easy, just a name, email and password of your choice. Everyone is welcome! Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

LineDancing Goes Live

Christmas Mini-Series film shoot November 2012
We focus on the frames! That's what makes us unique. There is lots of information on machine quilting if you're sitting at your sewing machine. There's lots of information for long arm quilters too. But it's very hard to find any help for people using the more basic machine quilting frames.

Mini series Episode 3 Poinsettia Projects detail

We've been working hard to fill that gap. Over the years we've  created Machine Quilting Handbooks and DVD's, Websites and Blogs. We've hosted Demo's and Workshops and Retreats. All  focused on how to help people to get the most out of their machine quilting frames. Now we're pulling all these resources together in one place, our brand NEW Line Dancing membership site.

Line Dancing is designed to help any machine quilter using any sewing machine on any frame to become fluent at free-motion quilting. It offers instant access to classes, workshops and bite-sized-chunks of our video material. There's downloadable patterns and templates too. Best of all we'll be adding new content every month so that we'll be able to offer on-going inspiration and support for machine quilters everywhere. We've been preparing for months and now we're ready    LineDancing is going live today!

Poinsettia Projects detail from the Line Dancing Christmas Mini-series

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas Threads

 Last Call for Christmas Threads.
Email me tonight and I'll get you on my list.

Here's a little teaser from a last minute Christmas project soon to be featured on the NEW Line Dancing Membership Site.