When it comes to machine quilting, I spend waaaay more time picking out a thread color than I do picking fabric. (I guess I am just weird that way!) Once the quilt top was done, I couldn’t decide whether I should use a thread color that blends into the top…..or whether I should use a shiny gold thread.
A light yellow thread blends in with most fabric colors.
As much as I pretended to deliberate between threads in the video, it was actually a no-brainer. I decided to use both of them!!
What can I say?? Why choose when I don’t have to!
So why shiny thread? Here’s the deal, for the most part, I like to use a thread color that blends into the quilt top. A 50 wt thread (whether in cotton or poly) helps hide a multitude of machine quilting sins.
But every once in awhile, a shiny thread really helps the quilting show up, especially when quilting busier fabrics. I love how this gold Glide thread provides just the right amount of sheen. And since it’s a polyester thread, there’s no lint.
Plus who doesn’t love just a little bling on their quilts?
Just a little bling to help the quilting show up!
Free Quilting Diagrams
Of course, if you want to try quilting the feather meander or the Swirl filler, I have put together FREE quilting diagrams…..seriously, what’s better than free?!?
Free Quilting Diagrams
The Milky Way Quilt
Enough about threads and cute fabrics….here’s the free video!
"Milky Way" Sawtooth Star Fat Quarter Quilt | Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters - YouTube
(PS. Please be nice in the comments….I can’t help it if I think I am hilarious!!)
What about you? What’s your “go-to” thread when you are quilting your quilts?
The Free-motion Challenge Quilting Along with Angela Walters
We all know that it takes practice to get better at free-motion quilting. But practice is so much more fun when you are doing it with friends. Now you can improve your quilting skill and cheer each other on! Join me for my first ever Machine Quilting Along!
Starting February 12th, quilt along with me as we work though an actual quilt top! You will improve your quilting skill as well as earn the chance to win all sorts of prizes.
Here’s how to get started!
The Free-motion Challenge is free! Sign up to receive Quilting Along quilting diagrams and videos directly to your email inbox by clicking here: http://eepurl.com/di9eIX
Get Ready to Practice
To practice machine quilting, you have to have something to practice on! If you want to work on the same quilt as I do, you can download the free pattern by clicking here or you can get the kit which includes the fabric to make the top and binding.
Slanted Squares Free Quilt Pattern
Or you can practice along on plain fabric! Ultimately it doesn’t matter as long as you have something to practice on. Prepare your quilt sandwich using the basting method that you prefer and get ready to practice!
While not required, you can join the Facebook group. This is a great place to ask questions, post pictures and stay up-to-date on the quilting along! Click here to join.
Watch the Videos
Every week, I will release a video tutorial showing you how to quilt two of the squares in the quilt. Each video will include 2 different quilting options, try them both or just try one, it’s up to you!
After the video is released, try practicing the design. Once you’re finished, post a picture of it on social media using the #fmqchallenge.
Every week, I will select winners from pictures posted on social media. Consider it a bonus for practicing!
I can’t wait!!! The first video will be coming to on February 12th…..will you be quilting along with me?
What does it cost to participate?
Nothing, Nada, Zilch. There is no fee to quilt along with me and there are no required products.
Do I have to make the quilt top to participate?
No! If you don’t have the time or inclination to make a quilt top, all you have to do is prepare a small quilt sandwich. You just need something to practice on.
Does it matter what kind of machine I use for the Quilting Along?
Definitely not! I will be filming videos on my home sewing machine, but the designs that I show can be done on any kind machine. Just use what you got and join along!
What kind of machine quilting designs will we be working on?
I have tried my best to include a range of designs and techniques. The schedule is below, it will give you an idea of what we will be practicing.
Have you tried machine quilting the woodgrain design only to realize that it didn’t look quite right? If so, congratulations! You’re completely normal!
The woodgrain quilting design is perfect for adding texture to a quilt or even as a quick allover design. It’s one that I am particularly fond of since it’s one of the designs that I included in my very first machine quilting book, “Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters“.
In the book I give step by step instructions on how to quilt Woodgrain as well as several other all-over quilting designs. But since writing it, I have taught more quilting classes than I can count.
And teaching all those classes has taught me that when it comes to quilting the woodgrain design, there are 3 common mistakes that quilters make.
But the good news is that these mistakes are really easy to fix. Don’t believe me? Well, in my newest video tutorial, I prove it! Watch as I show you how easy it is to quilt the design, then I demonstrate the mistakes and show you how to fix them.
**Spoiler Alert- There is no ripping out of quilting in this video!**
How to Fix 3 Common Mistakes when Machine Quilting the Woodgrain Design - YouTube
Can I confess something? I actually like Stitching in the Ditch. I know….it may sound crazy, especially since I am a “close enough is good enough” kind of quilter. But I can’t help it! I just love how it looks when all the seams are quilted down.
I am sure that some of you might not agree…..there’s even a chance that some of you view it as a swear word.
What is Stitching in the Ditch (otherwise known as SID)?
Stitching in the ditch is stitching along the seams of a quilt, either with hand quilting, with a walking foot or even with a free-motion quilting foot. It can be the only quilting on a quilt, or it can be a part of a more complex machine quilting design.
To me, stitching in the ditch is kind of like waxing my eyebrows. No one notices it, but it makes my whole face look better. The best stitching in the ditch is the kind that you don’t even notice. Here are a few tips to help you get the best results with your SID.
1. Stitch in the Ditch when you want to!
Let’s pretend that you want to SID. The next question might be, “When should I do it? Before I quilt the blocks? After?”
It can be hard to know when and where to start. But the good news is that there is no right answer……do it whenever you want!
As with everything else quilting related, there are several different ways you can do the same thing. There are some quilters that prefer to stitch in all the seams, then come back and quilt the blocks. Personally, I prefer to stitch in the seams as I go. That way, I can use the stitching along the seams to move from block to block.
The more that you quilt your quilts, the more you will discover your preferences. So just go for it!
2. Use a matching thread color.
Using a thread color that matches the quilt top will cover a multitude of quilting sins! It will help make any bobbles and quilting errors just disappear…..especially after washing the quilt.
When quilting, either SID or otherwise, I prefer using a 50 wt thread (such as Aurifil). Since it’s thinner than other threads, it helps the quilting blend in even more.
I can almost hear you thinking……”What if the the two fabrics are completely different colors? What do I do then?”
If I am trying to stitch in the seams between fabrics that are completely different colors, for instance black and white, I usually tend to pick a thread that matches the lighter color. There really is no particular reason, it’s just a personal preference.
3. Aim for the low side.
If the seam is pressed to one side, there will be a higher side and a lower side. If you try to aim for the lower seam, the quilting will almost sink into the quilt. If the seam is pressed open, just err on the side of the seam that matches your thread.
4. Don’t get frustrated.
As with any other skill, the more you practice, the better you will get. Try not to get frustrated if you make any mistakes. Instead of focusing on perfection, focus on the purpose of the quilt. You made the quilt for a reason, focus on that instead!
Happy New Year!! To help celebrate the brand new year, I have some brand new quilting videos for you. Let’s face it, sometimes the best way to chase off the dreary cold, is to enjoy some quilty fun……especially if we can’t actually be quilting!
Midnight Quilt Show 2017 Recap
What would a New Year be without a recap of all the hilarious things that happened over the past year? That’s what we thought! So we have put together a hilarious look at the quilts, bloopers and….sigh….even a spill, that have happened over the last year at the Midnight Quilt Show!
A YEAR IN THE LIFE of Midnight Quilt Show 2017 | Celebrate with Angela Walters (Blooper Reel!) - YouTube
If the first year has been this fun, I can only imagine how much fun I will have next year!
Rising Star- The Newest Episode of the Midnight Quilt Show
Speaking of having fun, I have to say that I am having way too much fun making episodes of the Midnight Quilt Show! In the newest episode, Rising Star, I make a couple of New Year’s resolutions…..AND I demonstrate how to quilt the Plume feather, an incredibly versatile machine quilting design.
"Rising Star" Beginner Paper Piecing Quilt | Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters - YouTube
As you probably read in my earlier blog post, I have recently released new machine quilting rulers with Creative Grids. To help show you all how awesome they are (as well as how to use them), I am making videos for each ruler. The first one is out and it’s all about Squiggy.
Machine Quilting with Rulers - Squiggy and Serpentine Lines - YouTube
Squiggy may have a silly name, but it’s seriously good at helping you quilt serpentine lines.
Now that 2017 is over, I am looking forward to even more quilting in 2018. Let me hear from you….what kinds of things would you like to see on the Quilting Is My Therapy website this year? Your input helps me decide what topics to write about!
Hey, guess what! I’ve got a present for you…..some new machine quilting videos!
It’s a busy time of year, isn’t it? Chances are you’ve been running around trying to get last minute things done for the holiday season. At least that’s been the case around here! Its been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to share the newest episodes of the Midnight Quilt Show.
That means I have two new episodes to share……so take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy…..
The Bargello Quilt
Well, I did it! After tons of requests for a Bargello quilt, I finally made one for an episode of the Midnight Quilt Show. I don’t know why I was so scared, it’s actually a pretty easy quilt to make.
What makes this quilt so wonderful is that it uses 10” precut squares!
That’s right, you can make this quilt with precut squares and a couple of background colors.
And to put the cherry on top of all this amazingness…..I designed this quilt so it’s a free pattern!! It’s like my little gift to you!
Angela's Modern Bargello Quilt + GIVEAWAY | Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters - YouTube
Fabric fondlers unite! We know that the absolute best part of going into a quilt shop is getting to fondle the fabrics. There is just something about the smooth, softness of quality fabric that lights up our hearts. In the newest episode of the Midnight Quilt Show, I not only get to fondle some beautiful fabric, I learn how awesome a seam roller is, AND I tackle quilting with stencils.
The Stars Squared Quilt is a scrappy, precut friendly quilt pattern that is quick and easy to make!
But there wasn’t just fondling happening in this episode, I pulled out a favorite stencil and show you how easy it is to use when machine quilting.
Holy cow!! You all sure do love the brand new machine quilting rulers I designed with Creative Grids. They have been selling like CRAZY!
If you ordered them through my website, your order has already gone out or will go out on Tuesday. We practically turned the back room of our quilt shop into a fulfillment center……..
I am pretty sure that I owe my mother-in-law, Debi, and my assistant, Ruth, a really special Christmas present….
That sure is a lot of boxes to make!!!! Let’s just say that there was a lot of packing going on!
Machine Quilting with Rulers
There have been a lot of questions about the rulers! Here are a couple of answers:
They WILL work on longarm quilting machines.
Even though I designed them with the home machine quilter in mind, they are 1/4” thick acrylic and will work with stand-up and sit-down longarm machines.
You WILL probably want a ruler foot for your sewing machine.
If you quilt on a sewing machine, you can use these rulers with a regular free-motion quilting foot. However, if your sewing machine manufacturer makes a ruler foot, it is well worth getting it. The higher profile of the ruler foot will prevent the ruler from jumping over the foot and breaking your needle (as well as your ruler).
They WILL work with High Shank and Low Shank Machines (at least for the most part).
One of the most asked questions is ‘Will this work on a low shank machine?” The answer is yes, for the most part. First let me say that I am speaking generally, you will need to contact your sewing machine manufacturer to get the specific answers in regards to your machine. But, generally, if you have a high shank sewing machine, you can use them. If you have a low shank sewing machine, you can still use the rulers from the front and left side of the foot (which is how I use the rulers even on my high shank machine).
To learn more about the rulers, check out this video:
Brand New Machine Quilting Rulers from Angela Walters & Creative Grids - YouTube
Be sure to stay tuned, because I plan on having several more videos showing you how awesome they are!!
I hope you have a great week, I’ll be back soon with a brand new episode of the Midnight Quilt Show!
These are my brand new machine quilting rulers…..and let me tell you, I am so freaking excited that they are finally here.
While their names are fun and silly, they are seriously awesome at helping machine quilters quilt a range of different designs.
Just a few more examples of designs quilted with the rulers. These rulers are designed to work on home sewing machines as well as on a longarm.
So why am I making rulers? Even though I have been machine quilting for 15 years, I never felt I had anything new to add to the plethora of machine quilting rulers that are available. But now that’s changed
Teaming up with Creative Grids has allowed me to design rulers that are going to be of value to machine quilters, no matter their machine or skill level!
Besides versatile shapes, they come with the exclusive grip that Creative Grids is known for. Plus markings in black and white, which means you can see them no matter what color of fabric that you are using!
Like a proud mama showing off pictures of my babies, I put together a video that introduces each of them to you:
Brand New Machine Quilting Rulers from Angela Walters & Creative Grids - YouTube
I’d love to hear what you think about machine quilting with rulers…..is it something you love to do? Or something that scares you?
Stay tuned, there will be more videos on each ruler……I can’t wait!
Quilting Is My Therapy Swag
The holidays are practically here and if you are looking for a fun new gift for the quilter in your life (or just a gift to yourself) I have new Quilting Is My Therapy products for you to check out:
Light, comfortable and made with genuine leather, these earring are stamped with the “Quilting Is My Therapy” Logo and are a classy way to show your love of quilting. It’s the next best thing to actually quilting!
After weeks and weeks of waiting, the Midnight Quilt Show is back with a new season’s worth of episodes. I am definitely biased, but I think that this season is the best yet! Besides all new quilts, we are also going to have some bonus videos AND all patterns will be available for individual sale! I hope you love them as much as I do.
But before we get to the episode, I want to show you how easy it is to use the quilting to enhance the quilt pattern using a few basic designs.
I have said it so many times, but I’m going to say it again……Echoing is your best quilting friend. You can use it to move around an area, to highlight or hide a quilting design or to show off a quilt pattern. Which is exactly what I did with the Puzzle quilt.
Echoing the sides of the quilt blocks adds a custom look to the quilting. It does take a little extra effort, but the result is so worth it!
If echoing is my best friend, then wishbones are a close second. Since they can wrap around the corners of a block, it helps pull the pieces together and makes the “twisty” bits come forward.
And since I am using all my favorite designs in this quilt, I quilted swirls in the lighter blocks.
The goal was to “smash” down the area so that it also receded to background.
Geesh, the more of this that I type out….the more I realize that I can get really excited with just a few quilting designs. Oh well, I guess it’s an occupational hazard!
But isn’t it amazing that a quilt can look just as good when using different fabrics and different quilting designs. Don’t believe me? Well, it just so happens that I have the perfect example!
Happy Tuesday! I have not one, but two(!) fun quilting videos for you! One is all about my recent trip to International Quilt Festival and in the second video, I face one of my Quilting Fears!!
International Quilt Festival
Can you believe that I have never been to the International Quilt Festival in Houston? This year, I finally got to cross it off of my quilty bucket list.
Photo By Craftsy
It was everything I thought it would be! I shopped, saw some beautiful quilts…….and even got in a little trouble with a police officer. (oops!)
I also got to see a lot of Midnight Quilt Show fans which was my favorite part of the whole show!
Photo By Craftsy
We gave a sneak peek of an upcoming episode and I had a blast demoing some machine quilting!
Photo by Craftsy
Craftsy followed me around and made a special video episode of the Midnight Quilt Show…….check out the awesome quilts, booths and people (including none other than Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company!) of Quilt Fest here:
Angela's Dispatch from QUILT FESTIVAL 2017 | Midnight Quilt Show SEASON 4 Preview - YouTube
Facing My Machine Quilting Fears
I had an amazing time at Quilt Fest, partly because before I left I finished a quilt that had me scared silly!
Even though I have been machine quilting for almost 15 years, I have never quilted a wool appliqué quilt before. When a friend gave me this stunning quilt top to quilt…..all I could do was gulp and act that I wasn’t worried at all!
Quilt Pattern is Bird Dance by Sue Spargo
It’s not hard to imagine why I was so nervous, it was amazing embellished with more embroidery and details than I have ever seen on a quilt.
But, my feelings of guilt over putting it off for way too long finally got the best of me. I put on my big girl britches and finally finished the quilt.
I put together a video showing you the process and problems I encountered on the way……as well as the final result of all my worrying! (Spoiler Alert- It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be!)
Facing My Fears: Machine Quilting A Wool Applique Quilt - YouTube
I hope you enjoy these two very different videos, and I look forward to hearing what you thought about them!!!
Almost every month I travel and teach free-motion quilting to quilters at guilds and quilt shops. I truly love it and I hope that everyone who takes a class from me enjoys it as well! But, inevitably, there comes a time in every class where I have to break the bad news…..to get better at machine quilting, you have to practice.
I know, I know. It’s not exactly what you (or anyone for that matter) wants to hear. I so wish that I had that one tip, trick or even funny joke that would instantly make you a great machine quilter….But, unfortunately, I don’t.
I developed this practice technique from teaching more machine quilting classes than I can count. It makes learning machine quilting manageable and helps prepare you for working on actual quilt. The bottom line is that if you practice productively, you will get better at machine quilting faster.
(On a side note, this technique works whether you are drawing the quilting design or actually quilting on a quilt sandwich.)
How to Practice Machine Quilting
1. Define a practice area.
Define a practice area by quilting (or drawing) a square. It doesn’t have to be any particular size or even a square. You just need clear boundaries to fill in with quilting.
Photo courtesy of C&T Publishing
It could be a whole piece of paper, an area that you have marked on a quilt or even an actual quilt block. (You get bonus points for practicing on an actual quilt.)
2. Commit to Filling in the Whole Area
Pick out a quilting design and commit to filling in the whole area without stopping or ripping out quilting (or erasing any drawn lines).
But that’s not all….here comes the hardest part of all….you can’t judge your quilting while you’re doing it. (I told you it would be difficult!) That also means you can’t say negative things to yourself. (It’s amazing that we will say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t allow any one else to say!!)
This is where the fun happens! Start quilting (or drawing) a design in the area, trying to fill it in as much as possible. The design you use doesn’t matter. It could be something that you have been wanting to master or perhaps a design you plan on using on your next quilt. If you can’t decide, you could always quilt, “Angela is Awesome” over and over again. Just kidding!
Photo Courtesy of C&T Publishing
4. Assess Your Quilting
Once finished, look over your sample and decide on one thing you want to improve during your next practice session. It could be anything, including, but not limited to:
Quilting smoother lines
Keeping the stitch length consistent
Avoiding getting stuck
Not cursing as much while quilting (Hey, it doesn’t matter what your goal is!)
If you are a perfectionist, it may be difficult limiting yourself to only one thing. But it’s very, very important to only focus on one aspect of your quilting to improve. Setting just one goal gives you the ability to see improvement. When it comes to machine quilting, achieving small goals can help prevent you from giving up!
Now that you have a goal in mind, repeat the steps and practice until you are ready to start working on a different goal. It isn’t really about how long you practice, it’s about consistency. Try doing quilting 5 minutes a day….or 20 minutes a week…whatever you think is manageable for you!
What if you make a quilting “mistake”?
Here’s the kicker, what happens if you make a mistake. Well, I would argue that it’s not “if” you make a mistake, it’s what you do “when” you make a mistake!
Filling in a defined area teaches so much more than just learning a particular quilting design. You’ll learn how to maneuver around an area as well as how to deal with corners. But most importantly, it will help you see what the overall quilting texture will look like.
When your face is just a couple of inches away from the quilt, it can be so easy to spot all your mistakes. But when the whole area is filled, you’ll see that the overall texture can hide any imperfections.
For instance, if I make a mistake (as I prefer to call it, “an unintentional customization”) it’s going to be very obvious…..such as this “oops” I quilted on this sample.
But after filling in the whole area, you’ll notice that it starts to blend in with rest of the quilting.
The moral of this story is, if you make a mistake…..just keep quilting until you can’t see it anymore. (don’t you wish that was the case with other things in life?!?)
I already mentioned that this is in my newest book, “Free-motion Meandering”, but I have to tell you that I couldn’t be more proud of it! This book is the product of all the classes I have taught. It not only shows you several versatile meandering designs including swirls, leaves and even improv quilting.
It also includes frequently asked questions as well as how to troubleshoot common mistakes.
The book will be released in the next week or two, but you can preorder a signed copy now.