The Weightless Quilter – the tool for machine quilting success!

Forum: Weightless Quilter

Weightless Quilter at quilt show

I am delighted to introduce you to the Weightless Quilter, (and offer a $pecial price) a wonderful quilting tool that will assist so many quilters in becoming a successful machine quilter on a domestic or sit-down long arm machine. I know many of you have a desire to complete your own quilts but have struggled with the weight of the quilt bundle. After 17 years of experience with my own machine quilting and from teaching hundreds of students in the classroom, (plus designing patterns and quilting design collections, writing how–to books and DVDs), I have to admit that there is nothing that I can teach that will eliminate that battle! So I have teamed with the professionals at Weightless Quilter, to bring you this tool that will assist you in completing wonderful quilts by yourself with equipment you already own!

Anyone who knows me or has attended the Machine Quilting workshops knows I am not a Gadget Girl. I teach students to first perform each step of my machine quilting process manually and then add any accessories they want to get the job done. In my own work, I keep my experience really “free” by using very few “add on” accessories. With years of day-in-and-day-out practice plus the experience of assisting my students at various skill levels, I have learned what the important factors of my success really are. I have honed in on perfecting the machine quilting process and suggest supplies to reduce weight, but until now there was no way to eliminate the struggle to maneuver a large bundle.

In early 2016, I was asked to test the Weightless Quilter, a new apparatus invented to lift the weight of the quilt off the work surface for machine quilters who use a domestic or sit down longarm. I surely was intrigued by the premise, but I was not convinced that it would be helpful enough to be worth the time to set it up or the expense (MSRP $399.00). I was skeptical, having been the pretty much a naked quilter, no frame, not stitch regulator, not even gloves. As I waited for the Weightless Quilter to arrive I compiled a list of reasons why I might not like it, probably the same apprehension you have right now. I was concerned about the inconvenience of having to move the quilt as I completed a section, that it would interrupt my stitching rhythm,etc. etc… (Read my report below)

What I learned in the first 15 minutes I had the Weightless Quilter in my house was it did what the manufacturer claimed it would do; it actually did set up in minutes without any trouble, lifted the weight of the bundle off the work table and took no time to get used to using it. After only the first hour my husband asked if I wanted any help setting it up and I said “No, I am already working and I feel like I have a girlfriend on each corner supporting the quilt and moving it where I command!”

After traveling across the country to demonstrate the Weightless Quilter at shows and classes, I have assembled the most frequently asked questions for this Forum. Here I will provide answers and information for you. I realize this is an investment and that you may not have seen a Weightless Quilter in action, so email me at joanie@heirloomquiltingdesigns.com to ask anything you would like to know and I will do my best to provide useful information.

Weightless Quilter, machine QuiltingWhat is it?

The Weightless Quilter is a floor rack system designed to eliminate your battle with the weight of a quilt bundle by lifting it off the work surface and off your body.

How does it work

Flexible poles with clamps attach to a basted quilt bundle. As you quilt the poles sway, mimicking the movement of your hands. When an area is complete, the bundle is adjusted to expose an unquilted area.

 

How to get a Weightless Quilter for a great price?

For a limited time I am offering the Weightless Quilter for $285.00 WITH NO ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COST in the Continental US. Simply click here to visit my SHOP! or http://heirloomquiltingdesigns.com/product/weightless-quilter/, to use a credit card to pay PAYPAL and have a Weightless Quilter delivered to your door in about 2 weeks. WI sales tax applies for WI residents.

What parts come with the system?

Weightless Quilter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Four 36” long Floor Frame Bars slide into the side or end of corner brackets.
  • Four Corner Brackets connect the Bars and support the poles. Rotate the bracket to adjust the orientation of the poles to fit the size of the quilt.
  • Eight Flex poles provide 3 levels of lift capacity: low (thinner poles); medium (thicker poles); heavy (both poles fit into the brackets at once).
    o Four High tension Flex Poles – thicker to provide support for heavier quilts, three are 60“ long and one is 39.5″
    o Four Low tension Flex Poles – thinner to provide more flexibility for lighter quilts, three are 60“ long and one is 39.5″
  • Black sticky-backed felt strips to wrap around both ends of the poles so that they stay securely into the hole of the corner brackets as well as the clamps.
  • Four Clamps – slide on the top end of the Flex Poles to hold the quilt bundle; easy to open, grip securely
  • Eight Set Screws – hold the floor frame bars in the corner brackets.
  • The storage box is: 5.5” wide, 4” deep and 59” high

How do I set up the Weightless Quilter?

The Weightless Quilter sets up in minutes without any tools. Choose as few or as many pieces of the system you will need to adapt to the size and weight of the project and the size of the work space.

Place the floor bars on the floor, slide them into the corner brackets and secure with the set screw if desired.

The corner brackets can be rotated 90 degrees so that the pole orientation is adjusted to the size of each project.

For a limited time I am offering the Weightless Quilter for $285.00 WITH NO ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COST in the Continental US. Simply click here to visit my SHOP! to http://heirloomquiltingdesigns.com/product/weightless-quilter/, use a credit card to pay PAYPAL and have a Weightless Quilter delivered to your door in about 2 weeks. WI sales tax applies for WI residents.  

Weightless Quilter Clamp

Choose the light, heavy or both poles depending on the weight of the quilt.

After attaching the self-stick felt griper pads, insert the poles into the corner brackets and add the clamps.

How does the set-up differ for a machine with the head on the right or when the head of the machine is at the rear?

Weightless Quilter from above

If the head of the machine is on the right, set up the Weightless Quilter for movement of the quilt to be north and south.
If the head of the machine is to the back of the table, set up the Weightless Quilter for movement of the quilt to be east and west.

That is as simple as it is to set up the Weightless Quilter! You are ready to attach the quilt and get it finished!

 


 

How much space do the Floor Frame Bars need to fit under my table or cabinet?

The four heavy-duty coated metal Floor Frame Bars are 36″ long, are 1/2″ thick and 1″ wide, so they will slide easily under most sewing cabinets.

How big of a quilt will it hold?

The system offers the versatility of positioning the parts to fit your space, and/or to the size of the quilt and the weight of the quilt bundle. Attach the corner brackets to direct the poles to the back or side to adapt to your work space to hold any quilt from a twin to a king.

How heavy of a quilt will it hold?

Weightless Quilter Clamp Insert both poles at the same time to support the weight of a heavy quilt. The Weightless Quilter will hold the weight of king size quilt with heavy batting.

Speaking of heavy projects, is the Weightless Quilter useful for other large, heavy or bulky projects?

Use it to support the weight of any large project
o Seam large backing fabrics
o Add the binding to a quilt
o Make draperies
o Use it for Bridal gown with long train, heavy costumes, pageant gowns 

What do I do if I don’t have space to expand for a really big quilt?

It is not necessary to have a large space to work in with the Weightless Quilter. You don’t have to spread out the entire quilt and clamp the corners as if the quilt was attached to the rollers of a longarm. On the contrary, the Weightless Quilter can do a big job in a small space by clamping a section of the quilt and readjusting the clamps as you work. Or, consider moving your machine to a larger room for the anchoring process (learn more about anchoring in my book Joanie’s Quilting Elements and move back after the work zones have been established. Set it up anywhere you have space, work in the dining room, family room, on a covered patio or take it to retreat.

What do I do if my machine is up against the wall?

The Weightless Quilter works with as much or as little space that you have, even if your machine is against a wall. My friend, LuAnn Tippets of Sew Very Smooth uses a Weightless Quilter to quilt while she is on the road in a camping trailer (traveling to quilt shows selling her wonderful quilting tools). LuAnn clamps just the section of the quilt she needs access to by attaching the clamp to a folded quilt bundle. She said: “After the bundle is meticulously pin basted, I temporarily set up the Weightless Quilter in any large space and follow the Divide and Conquer method of anchoring that I learned in Joanie’s class (and book) to secure the layers into work zones. When the first anchoring stitches are complete, I can safely clamp a smaller area of the quilt and move from section to section anywhere on the quilt top without the worry of puckers on the back“. While not optimal, if your work space is against a wall, the poles take the length of the quilt up and gently sway from side to side as you work.

What types of machines does the Weightless Quilter work with?

The Weightless Quilter works with any equipment you already own; whatever techniques, skills or attachments you are currently using will only be enhanced when the quilt bundle moves freely.

  • Use it for straight line quilting when a walking foot or even-feed feature is used. 
  • Use it for free-motion techniques with the fee-dogs lowered.
  • Use it with an extension table, a slide on tray, and with a stitch length regulator.
 

Do I need to temporarily baste the layer of the bundle?

safety pinsYes, just like any time you are quilting with either of these machines,
you must baste the quilt bundle. Use your favorite method to pin-baste
or spray baste.
I pin baste on a basting rack, placing small brass safety pins every 4″ .

 

Watch this video of me stitching with the Weightless Quilter.

What do I do with the Weightless Quilter when I am not in the quilting phase of my project?

  • When the quilt is complete, put the Weightless Quilter away in the box.
  • Set it up anywhere you have space, work in the dining room, family room or on a covered patio.
  • Take it to retreats
  • Let a friend borrow it,
  • Take it to quilt guild, etc. etc…

Report on product testing the Weightless Quilter

My thoughts before testing the product:

  • I was concerned that the system will pull on the bundle when reaching the place where the tension of the system pulls back.
  • I worried that the WQ would restrict or resists my movement, resulting in distortion of my stitch consistency or breakage of a needle.

Response: This was not a problem. There was a different feeling of tension on the bundle, but it seemed to allow me to control the bundle just fine and at times, possibly even better than I had without the Weightless Quilter.

I couldn’t imagine how I would work the edge of the quilt or stitch close to where the bundle attached to the clamp?

Response: This was not a problem. When the stitching occurred starting at the north edge of the quilt all the way to the south edge, I simply released or attached the north and south clamps along the edge as needed.

Setting up the Weightless Quilter for the test quilt, size 51” x 64”.

  • Because used my lightweight, recommended batting, only the lightweight poles were necessary. They allowed the maximum flexibility and freedom to access larger areas of the bundle before reclamping was necessary.
  • I used 3 poles in 3  corner brackets, a short pole to my left side, and a long one in each corner to my north. I did not use a pole on my right.
  • Since the floor brackets had the option of sliding into the floor bar from the front or side, I turned the left floor bracket so that the pole pointed left rather than pointing behind me.

My Process: I anchored with the waking foot on straight lines, using only the back left corner attached to the lightweight pole. I could bend the pole enough to start at the north edge of the quilt. I stitched the straight lines anchoring on the right side of the quilt. Next I switched to the free-motion foot for anchoring.

I stitched from North to South, starting with the first seam line closest to the quilt center, then moved east toward the right side edge.  Next, I rotated the bundle, started back in the center and added the anchoring lines in the empty side. I was able to stitch the entire length of the quilt using or releasing the clamps as needed.

Rotating the quilt WAS NOT the problem that I anticipated. It was simple to squeeze the clamp open, rotate the quilt and reattach the clamp. I would also like to stress how it is good for the body to get up and move.

How to get a Weightless Quilter for a great price?

For a limited time I am offering the Weightless Quilter for $285.00 WITH NO ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COST in the Continental US. Simply click here to visit my SHOP! to http://heirloomquiltingdesigns.com/product/weightless-quilter/, use a credit card to pay PAYPAL and have a Weightless Quilter delivered to your door in about 2 weeks. WI sales tax applies for WI residents.

I hope that this answers some questions you may have and opens a dialog foe uses of the Weightless Quilter. Remember you can email me at joanie@heirloomquiltingdesigns.com to ask anything you would like to know and I will do my best to provide useful information so everyone can make an informed decision.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would to pass this information on to anyone you may think is interested.

Give it your BEST! Joanie

Mid August 2016

Hi Quilters,
I am just back from AQS QuiltWeek Grand Rapids. What a great show in a really wonderful city. I enjoyed the quilts, the people and some great entertainment. There is a very nice downtown with loads of places to eat. We were sitting at Kilwin’s having some ice cream  and captured these photos of the building Kilwin’s is in reflected into a glass building across the street.

IMG_0625

The 4th quilt that Pam Levenhagen and I worked on together, Garden Fantasia, was entered in the contest. We earned an Honorable Mention in a category for machine quilted wall quilts with 50 other entries. I wish Pam could have been there with me to talk about her original artwork that was so fun to make into this unique quilt. 

Machine Quilting winner

This quilt began as a white piece of fabric before Pam’s talented hands used many layers of colored pencils and micron marker to create her imaginary garden.

Garden_FantasiaFull View of Garden Fantasia, 2015

IMG_0562(1)Getting ready to quilt. Notice the color intensity at this stage was far less than the final product. While working on a piece, we often pass the quilt back to one another, some coloring, some stitching, more coloring, more stitching…FullSizeRender(4)Stitching Detail.

FullSizeRenderStitching Detail.

Garden_ Fantasia_closeI hope to encourage Pam to offer a class in her technique.

I was very busy teaching all week in Grand Rapids and I completely forgot to take a photo at my special exhibit, Elegance in Stitches. 🙁 I know, isn’t that sad! If you were there and took a photo of me with the quilts, please send it!

My fall Machine Quilting seminars are just 2 months away and it is time to get serious about signing up. I spoke to many quilters in Michigan about what a gift it is to give yourself; three uninterrupted days to dedicated to learning to machine quilt. I am offering  a these classes in Madison, WI. To read the details, just scroll down to the next blog post and email me with questions and requests for registration forms.

3-day Skill Building Seminar, level one,
on Oct. 14-16, 2016

Getting Started with Machine Quilting Lecture
Sunday Oct.  16, 2016 at 3:30 pm.

a 1-day hands-on workshop,
The Great Outdoors on Monday Oct. 17 from 9:30 to 3:30

and open a shortened version of that class at night
The Great Outdoors at Night on Monday Oct. 17 from 5:30 to 8:30

And, a Reunion Weekend on Oct 22, 23 for those who took the level one class already,
I will send all past participants an email about the event.

So grab some friends and make a plan for a new machine quilting future!

I know I have been throwing out a few hints about the terrific new product that I am endorsing. The weightless Quilter is a rack that holds the weight of large quilts for you while you stitch. Flexible poles with clamps sway and mimic every movement of your hands. I demonstrated to raving crowds in Grand Rapids. Well, you won’t have to wait much longer, they are ready to be shipped Aug. 30th!

The Weightless Quilter

Watch a video and read the details at:
THE WEIGHTLESS QUILTER.COM 

I will have it loaded in the SHOP of this website this week, with a $pecial price!!!

You will be able to order from me, pay with PayPal
(You can pay PayPal with your credit card
even if you don’t have an account set up with them),
and it will be shipped to your door!

Thanks, Joanie Zeier Poole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Pattern Independence Day 2016

 index

Greetings to each of you and welcome to my newsletter to the many newcomers!

The topic for this post is independence for the machine quilter!

images free

First, I have a FREE PATTERN for each of you to download named Star Spangled Border.

Colored Star Spangled Border

I created this FREE QUILTING DESIGN with written stitching instructions especially for this post to inspire you. I want to motivate you, to push yourselves to a new level in your machine quilting. This design uses the concept for stitching that I invented, Continuous Outline Designs, a method to easily break a complicated pattern into manageable rows of stitching. I will be releasing many more designs in the coming year using this concept, watch for updates.
Read on to discover the instructions for downloading it for FREE . 

Let’s talk about independence for the machine quilter. Many of my students are wonderful machine quilters, others are following this blog in hope that I will offer some bit of wisdom that will trigger action and they will magically be the machine quilter they really want to be. My message for all of you is become independent of any mind-set that holds you back and thrive! Spinning star

There is great sense of satisfaction in completing your own quilts! You have the freedom to add as much of your personality to your quilting designs as only you could express. Push yourself to explore new images and include them in your next quilt, you may just impress yourself. If you need some help in finding designs, resizing and marking, watch Facebook because I post $pecial offer for my iquilt.com class often. Or to attend right now,  click to register iquilt.com/poole002

Take a machine quilting class at iQuilt

In my classes, I have had some wonderfully talented students that aren’t recognizing their own abilities. I see them doing wonderful work, but they never seem happy with what they do. I wonder if maybe they are still waiting for approval from their mothers or some teacher they had in first grade, paralyzed with fear of not meeting somebody’s standards. I see this holding them back from achieving satisfaction in their accomplishments. If this sounds like you, choose today to be the day to let it go of any baggage from the past that weights you down. Let your quilting be a source of fulfillment; please only yourself. Cherish the memory of the little girl who tried so hard, dedicate your best efforts to her. Make a treasure for someone special in your life now and do your heart some good. 

News about Upcoming Classes

Town of Burke Hall, 5365 Reiner Rd Madison, WI. 53718

I am offering another 3 Day Skill Building Seminar this coming October 14, 15 and 16, 2016 Read the complete Syllabus and comments from past seminar students: read the details here. Email me to let me know that you would like to attend and, I will email the registration forms to those currently on the list as well as to anyone I add to the list this.

Spend 3 uninterrupted days learning exceptional machine quilting techniques and good habits to use every day! The seminar will feature demonstrations on essential machine quilting techniques. We will cover the ENTIRE machine quilting process from prepping the fabric through the final binding stitches, using both walking foot and free-motion techniques. This is a hands-on experience using your own machine and is geared for you to use the skills for all of your future quilts regardless of their size. This seminar is designed inspire both traditional quilters and contemporary quilt artists of any experience level.

letter safe open LETTER SAFE FOLDED Joanie Zeier Poole Table runner

Reunion Weekend!

I will be welcoming back everyone who has attended a previous 3-day seminar in fall of 2015 or Spring 2016. Review of basics and new, deeper level instruction.  I have the hall reserved for Oct. 21, 22 and 23.  Please email me to let me know you want to come. I will send out details and registration.

Reunion Class Description:  In this 3 day workshop we will focus advanced free-motion quilting design and techniques. I feel the best way to trigger your memories is to stitch a project, which I will plan and prepare a kit for each of you using my Ivy Curl Pattern. It will reinforce each of the basics that you learned last session; but we will take it up a notch with a more intricate designs needing deeper thought into how to travel from one area to another. Next, I will introduce you to more design tools and the many quilting fill patterns that can be created when using the tools. And finally, time will be allotted for a planning session for the actual projects you have waiting to complete or for those you want to create. You will learn to fill patchwork with quilting designs, learn the quilting sequence for patchwork, and what to stitch first, last and why, anchoring along long seams and borders, outline patchwork and then divide the patchwork blocks, setting triangles and borders. You may bring a quilt top, we will discuss and plan the quilting possibilities, determine what marking process is best, discuss batting and thread.

quilt in chair ivy curl croped

 

More Upcoming Classes

August 10 – 13, 2016 Teaching at AQS GRAND RAPIDS!
Please come to my classroom and say Hello.

Joanies-quilts

 

AQS GRAND RAPIDS

My ELEGANCE IN STITCHES
exhibit will be on display!
This is your chance to see
many of my quilts!

 

 

 

 

September 8 to 10, 2016 WI Quilt Expo, Madison, WI 

I will offer a Stage Presentations each day.

 

For the free Star Spangled Border Quilting Design
go to the SHOP! on my website, www.heirloomquiltingdesigns.com
open the purchase products tab,
click on Downloadable Individual Quilting Designs,
and then choose Star Spangled Border Quilting Design.
Enjoy!

 

images

Give it your best,

Joanie

Memorial Day, 2016

Today we honor those currently serving in our military and our Veterans. Thank you for your commitment to making our world a better place!

memorial-day

Hello and WELCOME to the many new subscribers.  

I have been away from this BLOG for a while, please know that I have been doing important work that I will be telling you about over the next few months.  

I created some new patterns. Maggie’s ABC’s and Logan Square debuted at the Prairie Heritage Quilt Show in early March. I am working on completing another alphabet. Did you know there are 26 letters in every alphabet, that is a lot of letters to draw!

Maggie ABC cover logan cover

This spring I spent a lot of time preparing class projects and kits for students. I designed a really pretty new project to teach numerous aspects of machine quilting for the 3-day seminars that was a BIG hit!. I have been testing a lot of various lightweight threads, so that I can supply a cost effective selection for my students. What are your favorites? Most challenging has been to collect solid colored fabric that is “translucent” enough for students to see a printed pattern line through it.  But the most fun is finding more printed fabric that can teach students learn free-motion quilting by following outlines of the printed motifs.

Joanie Zeier Poole Table runner JP Caddy 2015 10477093_1107300782635066_2259362977942616579_n

For each actual day I spend in the classroom, it takes about 2 or 3 days to prepare, if the PowerPoint and project are complete. I was so delighted to part of the faculty at AQS Paducah where all of my classes and events were sold out! And I had the 4th session of my 3-Day Machine Quilting Seminars.

I have some new irons in the fire as they say. I am building an associated with a new product that is going to revolutionize the domestic and sit down long arm experience! More to come on that as the target release date is July.

So for now, I wanted to let you know that if you are considering joining in the fun of learning at the 3 Day Skill Building Seminar this coming October 14, 15 and 16, read the details here and email me to let me know that you would like to attend. On June 8, I will determine the demand, and add another session if needed.  And, I will email the registration forms to those currently on the list as well as to anyone I add to the list this week.

And, I will be welcoming back everyone who has attended a previous 3-day seminar. Review of basics and new, deeper level instruction.  I have the hall reserved for Oct. 22 and 23 for the reunion weekend for anyone who has already attended the 3-day in fall of 2015 or Spring 2016. I have a list saved for you if you already wrote to say you would like to come. It looks like one session is almost full, so I may add another. (Still working out the details and may change to Fri.and Sat. AND Sun. and Mon. if need be). Please email me if you have not done that yet to let me know you want to come. I will send out details and registration on June 8.

joanie@heirloomquiltingdesigns.com

Give it your BEST!

Joanie

Jan 1, 2016 Launch of my iquilt.com online course!

Take a machine quilting class at iQuilt

Click here to watch the trailer and two tips on my YouTube channel.

Click here to sign up for the class from my home page

 

 
August 10 – 13, 2016 Teaching at AQS GRAND RAPIDS!
Please come to my classroom and say Hello.

Joanies-quilts

 

 

AQS GRAND RAPIDS

My ELEGANCE IN STITCHES
exhibit will be on display!
This is your chance to see
many of my quilts!

 

September 8 to 10, 2016 WI Quilt Expo Madison, WI

I will offer a Stage Presentations each day.

 
Oct 14 – 16, 2016 – Joanie’s 3-day Machine Quilting Skill Building Seminar

I am so delighted to offer this special opportunity for you to plunge into machine quilting. Everything I learned from three sessions of my 3-day seminars has been applied to the spring sessions. Here is the new project to learn straight line  and free-motion quilting techniques.

IMG_2324 LETTER SAFE FOLDED letter safe open

Click here to read the syllabus.

Oct 22 – 23, 2016 – 2-day Reunion for everyone that has attended a previous session.

 

Leap Day Newsletter

Happy Leap Day, Feb 29, 2016

Hello and WELCOME to the many new subscribers.  

It is spring and time to come out of winter hibernation, I wish. With lots of updating of  social media and brand new ideas for classes and products, there has been little rest for me this winter. My website Home Page has a new look and I added a Professional Page on Facebook which links to my SHOP! to download quilting designs anywhere in the world, 24/7!

Please be patient with me as all of these tasks have left little time for blogging, so I am putting my blog on hiatus for a little while. But, best of all, I have been distracted with my baby granddaughter living only 2.5 hours away for just this year. I hope you will understand that that opportunity will end when they return to TX, so I am taking all I can get of her now.

Newsletter Spring 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are updates for Spring 2016:

Jan 1, 2016 Launch of my iquilt.com online course!

Take a machine quilting class at iQuilt

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to watch the trailer and two tips on my YouTube channel.

Click here to sign up for the class from my home page

 

 

March 6, 7, and 8, 2016 Prairie Heritage Quilt Show

Spiral close

 

 

 

Entered Garden Fantasia, a new quilt with Pam Levenhagen.
Please visit my booth in the lower level,
see how many new quilting design packets
I get printed by Sunday!
(New Contemporary Fill packet for sure).

 

 

 

 

 

March 18 -19, 2016 Fox Valley Tech Quilt Expo Fox Valley Tech,  Oshkosh, WI

My Friday Workshop if full, but you may still get a seat in one of the five Saturday lectures.
You are welcome to come visit during lunch or after class.

 

 

 

April 8-10, 2016 – Joanie’s 3-day Machine Quilting Skill Building Seminar

I am so delighted to offer this special opportunity for you to plunge into machine quilting. Everything I learned from three sessions of my 3-day seminars has been applied to the spring sessions. Here is the new project to learn straight line  and free-motion quilting techniques.

IMG_2324 LETTER SAFE FOLDED letter safe open

Click here to read the syllabus.  

 

 

April 20 – 23, 2016  Teaching at AQS PADUCAH!
Please come to my classroom and say Hello.

 

 

August 10 – 13, 2016 Teaching at AQS GRAND RAPIDS!
Please come to my classroom and say Hello.

Joanies-quilts

 

 

AQS GRAND RAPIDS

My ELEGANCE IN STITCHES
exhibit will be on display!
This is your chance to see
many of my quilts!

 

 

 

 

 

September 8 to 10, 2016 WI Quilt Expo Madison, WI

I will offer a Stage Presentations each day.

 

 

Oct 14 – 16, 2016 – Joanie’s 3-day Machine Quilting Skill Building Seminar

Click here to read the syllabus.

 

 

Oct 22 – 23, 2016 – 3-day Reunion for everyone that has attended a previous session.

This will be 2 or 3 days welcoming back everyone who has attended a previous 3-day seminar.
Review of basics and new, deeper level instruction. 
Details available June 1, 2016

 

 

GIve it your best!

Joanie

Let 2016 be the year that you declare victory as a successful Machine Quilter!

Declare Victory for yourself!

I was inspired to write today because of a note I received from a student that will be taking one of my machine quilting classes at AQS Quilt Week in Paducah in April. She wrote to mention that her friend is on the waiting list and hopeful to get in. They both have a stack of quilt tops that they really want to learn to machine quilt.

Meet Joanie Zeier Poole - Machine Quilting Educator  Ar AQS QuiltWeek Paducah 2016!

Meet Joanie Zeier Poole – Machine Quilting Educator at     AQS QuiltWeek Paducah 2016!

I teach all 3 hour classes at these shows, just enough time for me to give a thorough introduction to machine quilting and for students to stitch what I feel are the most important basics needed to quilt the assigned technique. I pack as much information as I possibly can and the classes are very helpful but they are just a tiny tasty morsel of the big banquet of machine quilting in real life!

When I teach in a 3 hour format, the manufacturer of the machines (that are supplied for the classroom) and I have been working together to make the experience as positive as possible for everyone involved. We work to eliminate any kinks that students could encounter when working on machines other than their own. In order for students of varying skill levels to be successful in such a short time, we focus only on stitching a project that I designed specifically to teach one segment of the machine quilting process. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of these beneficial classes and reach a lot of happy students. But my point is that they haven’t been taught how set up the machines, chose the supplies, and adjust the settings of the machine to work with the thread in order to be successful in 3 hours. I am just concerned that there is so much more that she needs to know to turn that stack of tops into quilts than how to stitch the cute little spirals or grids.

Machine Quilted Spirals She really needs to learn the thought process that can be applied to any tops, specific to a domestic machine, which differ from preparing to quilt a top by hand or longarm. She needs to start with the purpose of each project and apply that objective when making the supply choices, prepping the fabric, constructing the top and planning the quilting designs. After she meticulously bastes the layers, she needs to know how to handle the big bundle, what to stitch first, last and why and effective finishing techniques. Real life will be so satisfying when she understands all the steps she needs to attain her goal of machine quilting.

Spirals bright copy

I’ve been quilting for 40 years, have been keenly interested in machine quilting for 25 years and have been a successful machine quilter for 15 years. During the 25 to 15 year period, I took the several 3 and 6 hour machine quilting classes but then went home to make dinner and do the laundry, life got in the way and I didn’t make real progress. In Feb of 2000, my life changed when I signed up for three days of machine quilting classes with Diane Gaudynski. The classes were all 3 hours, each teaching a feather or a wreath, each one isolated focus. What was helpful was to repeat the basics over and over, but we never got to applying what we learned to the whole picture. During those three days magic happened for me, I gained the confidence to stitch, but the process of creating the quilts of my dreams evolved over the years.

Because I have been intently thinking about machine quilting for so long, (writing 4 books, designing patterns for classes and distributing my quilting design collections) I now know that my mistakes as a beginner were a result of making assumptions about the machine quilting process based only on my knowledge of using a machine for garments and patchwork. Over the years I encountered many problems until I learned that my old thinking needed to change and I opened my mind to finding the solutions.

DB spiral bg crop 1 copy

The Good News!

The first hurdle for many admirers of machine quilting is that they think they are not ready for this, that it is an advanced skill. But if you consider the point of this blog post, the knowledge you need for machine quilting is unique, it is not dependent on being skilled at patchwork or years of experience in appliqué. This is a stand-alone skill. The GOOD NEWS is, if you want to machine quilt and that is the area of quilting that really intrigues you, the only thing holding you from success might be that you are telling yourself you can’t do it. I believe that the strongest factor in learning something new is DESIRE and I have witnessed that success in so many grateful students.

It has been my wish for several years to bring the 3-day experience to my students and after careful planning, in the Fall of 2015 I offered three sessions of my 3-Day Machine Quilting Skill Building seminar.

In three days I have time to work with each student at whatever skill level they are at, and focus on learning the adjustments needed for the machine they will quilt on at home. With my plan we start at the beginning and build continually for 3 days always going back to how to apply the concept to all of the future quilts you will make. One great benefit is that you bring your own machine, the one you will use at home to complete this task. Learn machine set-up when thinking that you are performing a different task, let your mind be open to using the equipment in different ways. Learn how to adjust the tension of your machine for differing weight threads, the advantages of using different feet for different tasks and many tips and details to make the job manageable. Read the entire synopsis for all three days here.

Why am I so committed to the 3 day experience? Machine Quilting is not any more difficult than learning any other quilting task, you just need the right information, and there is so much more than I can teach you in 3 hours. I have planned our time well, to start at the very beginning and build each step on that foundation. I am offering the seminar in Madison, WI. where I can control costs, so I hope more people can come. (Better still, bring a carload of friends and share a hotel room, prices here are reasonable. Or, if you know a group of dedicated students, I may consider traveling to your area to teach a seminar).

IMG_1924

And as the first sessions went out the door they were asking for more. After the learned the training wheel s that they will use every day, they will come back for a reunion to learn at a deeper level to answer their new questions of How do I plan quilting designs to fill the quilts spaces, express my personal style and How to stitch continuously?

So if this resonates with you and you want to take control of your machine quilting life in 2016, I hope I have encouraged you to find the information you need. Sign up for my class if it is possible (or order how-to book or DVD) or find the right opportunity in your area. Attain the satisfaction of achieving this goal by committing yourself to VICTORY!

Please pass this on to anyone that may need my encouragement and come to class!

Give it your BEST!

Joanie

Bring on 2016!

As 2015 ends…

and we ring in the new year, I will take just a moment to I reflect on the experiences of the recent past and give you a glimpse of what I have planned looking forward. It is time to announce new ideas for the future. I want to express my sincere gratitude for each of you that read my blog. I work really hard to make the content valuable, so your interest is my reward. 

New Years BlogLast week I clicked on a website that assigns a word for you for the new year based on your name. While this is neither scientific nor binding, I found it encouraging.  My word for 2016 is LOVE. It feels like it belongs to me and I am going to do my best to own it!

The-Word-Love-Wallpapers-660x330 At this stage of my life I have lived enough years to know I better do the things I love to do because it is no one’s job but mine to make myself happy.  I will continue to do the things I love; keeping busy doing what others may call “work” makes me fulfilled and appreciated. I love to teach. To know that sharing my lessons for the machine quilting process has had an impact on students lives is awesome! Seeing the accomplishment of completing their projects on their faces and seeing my quilting design collections stitched on their quilts is so gratifying.  I know how fortunate I am to have touched your lives in such a personal way.

Highlights of 2015

Elegance in Stitches was the title of an exhibit of all of my “best quilts” displayed for the first time ever at Quilt Expo in Madison. You can imagine my personal satisfaction in having a huge display! I had a chance to talk to so many people, introduce machine quilting on a domestic and drink in the compliments!

In October I established Joanie’s 3-day Machine Quilting Seminars! We filled the seats for three sessions of in-depth education, fellowship and great food! Read the reaction from the Fall 2015 students.

I completed a new quilt, Garden Fantasia, with my friend Pam Levenhagen. Pam transferred her amazing artwork to white fabric and I quilted many new and inventive background fillers. Look for it at shows across the country this year.

Garden Fantasia by Joanie Zeier Poole and Pam Levenhagen

Bring on 2016

As the clock struck midnight, my new class Creative Quilting Design was launched on iquilt.com. In the hour long course, I offer my insight into planning the quilting designs that will be stitched, by hand, domestic or longarm, to hold the layers of a quilt together. I demonstrate new sources of designs, re-sizing, and altering the designs to make perfectly fitting patterns to fill all of the spaces of any quilt. Sign up form the home page of this website.  Check out the trailer by clicking on the logo.

Joanie Zeier Poole on iquilt.comWatch me demonstrate how to make a quilting design from a rubbing at YouTube Tip 1

Watch some tips for using freezer paper for transferring quilting designs to fabric at YouTube Tip 2 Link:

I am very excited to continue to offer in-depth instruction at my 3-day Machine Quilting Seminars along with some one day  and evening workshops in Madison, Wi. (or contact me to arrange this in your location). Registration opens Jan. 5 for the April 8 -10, 2016 session and then I will rent the bright and peaceful hall as sessions fill. Email me today to get notification as classes are added. In October I will add an advanced session for students who have taken the first 3-day session that will cover a review and deeper level techniques.  For the following  year, I am developing an advanced design studio where students plan the quilting of a whole cloth or entire quilt layout.

If you are not sure you are ready or want to get an introduction to my teaching style, you can attend a lecture. love-keys And keep your eye here and on my Facebook page  where I will share previews of  my newest quilt with a message to celebrate Peace and Love in our world, that is the key to the future.

Expect to see me at Prairie Heritage Quilt Show (in my corner in the lower level), come visit my classroom at Fox Valley Quilting Expo in  Oshkosh, and at two AQS Quiltweek events, Paducah and Grand Rapids!

My Elegance in Stitches Exhibit will be displayed at the AQS Grand Rapids show August 10 to 13, 2016! 

l_love_bwIf you are planning to attend any of these events, I invite you to stop in my classroom (before and after class) to say hello. One of the greatest things about traveling for classes is that I meet new friends from all over. How fortunate I am to get to know so many wonderful people and I treasure the friendships I have made through teaching. love in the sand

So, as the holiday season ends, it is time to get back to work! Here are a few Blog topics that I will be coming this year.
•    The discoveries made when a 5’2″ gal yearned to complete large quilts on a regular size machine, some of these may be quite different from what others teach.
•    How could I get that big quilt under the arm of a regular machine?
•    Why you should not wait for 5 years of practice before you come to class.
•    How could anyone stitch so perfectly with free-motion quilting?
•    What I stitch first, last and why.

My wish for you is to be well and productive in 2016! Thanks for following my blog, PLEASE spread the word about it and

Give it your BEST and have a GREAT 2016!

Joanie

Quilting Straight Lines Using Free-motion

Hello Quilters,

Recently I have been asked about the same issue in several different situations, so I thought it was time to blog about it.

The topic is stitching straight lines on a domestic machine with the machine set up for free-motion quilting; feed dogs lowered and free-motion foot attached. Some of the domestic machine manufacturers are now offering a special thicker free-motion foot that can be guided along a ruler, which is one option. The look of these feet and the process for their use appear to be copied from the long arm world where the practice of guiding the foot along a ruler to produce straight line is common. Let this be a lesson that we domestic machine quilters can benefit from this and other techniques from the long arm industry and we need to keep our eyes open and learn from any source.

The thickness of the hopping foot on a long arm quilting machine makes it ideal for guiding with a ruler.

The thickness of the hopping foot on a long arm quilting machine makes it ideal for guiding with a ruler.

However, when I learned free-motion 15 years ago, I didn’t know I needed a special foot, and I have been using the same foot I use to stitch curved lines. And, if you have ever taken a workshop from me where I teach one of my checkerboard patterns, you learned the technique in this way. Since this is a technique I found easy to do myself and one that many students have been successful with, I never considered a needing different foot, I just used what I had and made it work.

Machine quilting checkerboard

This is a checkerboard texture from my how-to DVD, Background Bonanza, available from the SHOP! page.

First let’s consider why we want to stitch straight lines with free-motion when we could use a walking foot on our machine.  Remember the main challenge when using the walking foot for quilting a large quilt, the entire quilt bundle needs to be rotated at every turn. Using the free-motion foot allows us to avoid rotating the bundle.

JOANIE’S TECHNIQUE:

Here is how simple it is to try this with the foot you already have. Choose a short ruler (a long one just gets in the way), such as a thick, rotary cutting type if you have one, but I find a drawing ruler works fine too.

The ruler acts to guide the foot in a straight line.

The ruler acts to guide the foot in a straight line.

Place the quilt bundle under the needle with the machine set up for free-motion quilting. Place the needle on the straight line you wish to stitch and lower the presser foot. Now align a short ruler next to the line kissing the side of the foot. Be sure to keep the ruler parallel to the line as you apply pressure to advance the bundle.

Stitching straight line

Stitch the line, realign the ruler and continue until the space is filled.

Joanie’s TIP:

It is always a good idea to pause to readjust your hands or the ruler the when line of stitching is at an intersection. Your stitching to restart the line will be less conspicuous than in an open area.

Joanie’s TIP:

When you begin stitching again, start out with one tiny locking stitch (about 0.2 in length) to avoid that wonky stitch that wants to jump out of line as you restart stitching. You know what I mean, right?

Keepsake Baby Bib Pattern available from the SHOP!

Keepsake Baby Bib Pattern available from the SHOP!

Let me know if you find this technique helpful. And keep you emails with questions and suggestions for future blog post coming. It is nice to know somebody is reading this!

Thank you for following my blog. If you feel you would benefit from more of what I have to teach, look further into the website, consider purchasing a book or how-to DVD. Or if you think it is time for a class, click on the UPCOMING MACHINE QUILTING tab to learn about opportunities to learn from me in person. I consider it a privilege to share this skill I love so much.  Please read about the classes and the recommendations from other students that have taken the workshops.

Give it your best!

Joanie

 

Machine Quilting is like a Giant Onion

onionMachine quilting is like a big onion, with many, many layers.

When you learn one thing you can peel back the next layer  

and absorb another concept at a deeper level.

First I want you to know, I am not a super human. I was who you are before I took a 3-day seminar that changed my life. I had your same insecurities and assumptions that I now know were incorrect; but how do you know better (unless you practice this for 15 years)? I know my quilts look intimidating but that is just to get you to look so I can show you that

if I can do this you can too

if you follow my formula for success. I can teach you to set up the machine, choose the right supplies and follow my tried and true process, but are you open to the possibility of your success? I consider each teaching event an opportunity to provide in-depth instruction for a solid foundation to rely on for a lifetime.   IMG_6547

Who are my classes for?

I do not assume that students have prior knowledge or experience of machine quiltingwhen I write a class, I provide everything you need to learn for each class. I get students of every level in my classes, you are all welcome!  I don’t expect everyone to comprehend everything that I tell them the first time, so I repeat it again and again until it all sinks in. It is SO wonderful to see the light bulb moments when someone sees their accomplishments!

What happens in the Classroom? 

My workshops each focus on teaching a specific technique, with plenty of individualized coaching on the machine quilting basics you will use every day. I want each student to take home confidence in the operation of their machine for the essential free-motion quilting process and the lifelong skills needed to complete their future quilts.

The first thing I do when arriving in a classroom is to declare it a problem free zone. Any issues that arise are considered an opportunity to learn something new, in a different way. Class time begins with introductory PowerPoint presentation where information is organized efficiently, for all to be able to see clearly. This allows students to relax, focus on the topic and understand the plan for the entire day. Everyone will see an illustrated explanation of the concept; learn recommended supplies and the machine set-up.

Next, time is spent practicing skill building exercises to gain confidence in a relaxed, non-competitive environment. Each student is coached to adjust their machine for good tension and may stitch at their own pace. The project is taught step-by-step and repeated as many times as necessary until each person feels ready to move on. Finally, these new skills are set in action stitching the beautiful project and sharing  thoughts as they learn the process. 

After teaching professionally for many years, I have a pretty clear vision of the needs of students. Most workshops include a kit with the best supplies chosen to get the job successfully. This avoids any struggle to purchase difficult to find products, assuring that class time is not wasted on unprepared supplies. With everything there ready and waiting, you can relax and focus on the suggestions for success.

How to prepare for a class

First, stop worrying about what you don’t know or haven’t done. I have listed everything you need to prepare right here for you with clear instructions.

At least two weeks before class:
Find the owners manual for your machine. Read the instructions for free-motion, lowering the feed dogs, adjusting the upper and lower tension (if possible) as well as how to adjust the pressure of the presser foot for thick bundles. Be sure the machine is clean and oiled if necessary according to the manufacturers recommendations.

Call or visit the dealer of your machine. Ask to see the smallest open-toe free-motion foot available for your machine. This is a case where less is better; avoid springs, wires, and clunky plastic parts that block the view of the quilt.

Gather the workshop supplies from the list provided. Go to a quality quilt shop, machine dealership or plan ahead to allow for shipping if you need to order online. If you are unsure about something, email me. If you are reading this at the last minute, don’t worry, just bring what you have and we will have an opportunity to try something different. I always have thread, needles, and basting pins available for purchase in class.

Pre-wash your fabric and partially dry in the dryer. Then, press it completely dry using spray starch to stabilize the fabric before you cut the pieces. Use a generous application for both the top fabric that will be marked with the design, and for the backing fabric, to avoid stretching during the stitching process. Press with the straight of grain with a hot dry iron until it is completely dry.
Pin-baste your practice sandwich and experiment with the lightweight thread in your machine. (100/2 silk, 60/2 cotton)  Adjust the tension if needed for the threads to catch one another in the middle of the layers.  Stitch some loops, or write your name. Take this ecercise a step further by following the steps in my book, Joanie’s Quilting Elements. Use the bonus CD odf quilting designs, trace a design on fabric and follow my stitching advice. You have done all I could ask to be ready for our big day.

Which Machine and Equipment

Bring your BEST machine. I know you don’t want to lug that heavy machine to class. If necessary, find help to get it into your car the night before class and ask for help when you arrive if you need it. Know your body and its limitations. I will be teaching you to adjust your machine so it only makes sense to learn on the machine that you will ultimately use to perform this skill. The only failure I have had teaching this workshop was when a tiny, lightweight machine unable to be adjusted for the specialty thread, was used. Remember to pack of the cords, the foot pedal and all of the machine accessories listed on the supply list. Some students bring their own portable sewing table, adjustable chair or chair pad, extra lights and magnifiers. If you are wondering if we might need something, bring it.

Prepare for Success!

This is just one day (or three days) in your whole life, and you have invested your hard-earned money on this workshop. You have this golden opportunity to learn this skill, put time into the preparation for the class. You will feel more relaxed when you arrive, better able to achieve success because you know you have done all you can to put yourself in the best environment to learn. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast and leave some extra time for traffic on the way to class!

From the first seeds of inspiration, right through to that very last stitch, each step of quiltmaking is important and can be so much fun! Enjoy the process and delight in your progress. Do your best and you will achieve a great sense of satisfaction in your work. I look forward to seeing you in class!

Joanie

I am offering two Machine Quilting classes this fall, a 1-day landscape filler class and a comprehensive 3-day skill building seminar. I got a late start on advertising them so there is a potential that these could be semi-private lessons. I still want to hold classes and hope to attract a few more students. I received several notes about the classes which prompted me to write about who these classes are for, how much experience a student needs to be successful when attending one. UPCOMING MACHINE QUILTING CLASSES.

Becoming a partner with your machine, Continued

Before I get into machine features that really benefit you in becoming a partner with your domestic machine for quilting the layers of your projects, I will write about using a domestic sewing machine with a frame and without a frame.

Domestic machine with a frame

This system uses your regular size or stretch model domestic sewing machine mounted on a rack with the individual layers of the quilt attached to rollers. Handles are attached to the machine for you to move it back and forth across a strip of exposed quilt. The operator stands or uses a rolling chair. Since you are using a normal sewing machine, you know it was manufactured to easily be adjusted for refined work. One advantage to this system is that when the quilt layers are attached to rollers, basting is not necessary. However, one must consider the time it takes to accurately load the layers on the rollers to prevent the layers from being misaligned.

I do not own this system and do not have photos. To view photos of these frames do an image search for Sewing Machine With Quilting Frame.

It may be the rollers that present the greatest challenge for the operator. The take-up roller with the completed section of the quilt is between the needle and head opening and unless you are using a stretch model, that space can be quite narrow. As the top is quilted, the space gets smaller, sometimes limiting access to the stitching area to 4″. Planning the quilting designs to fit that narrow space or interlock with one another may be tricky and time consuming.

Domestic machine without a frame

When using a domestic sewing machine for quilting the layers the machine is stationary, positioned on the largest work table you have available. The quilt bundle is moved, guided under the needle with your hands as you sit in front of the machine. There are no rollers to hold the layers so they must be basted. The machine was manufactured for refined threads and needles, these machines require little or no adjustments when using fine thread. The use of a stretch model increases the space to maneuver the quilt bundle.  

The good news is that you can use the equipment you already own to complete small projects and the quilt tops that you may have waiting in your closet to be completed. When using a domestic sewing machine with the walking foot or for free-motion quilting, stitching can occur unrestricted anywhere on the quilt, from top to bottom and from one edge to the other. You can plan wonderful quilting designs that easily flow anywhere on the quilt surface because you have the freedom to access to the entire quilt.
working  puddle copy

Joanie Happily sewing a large quilt on a domestic machine!

The key to using a domestic machine for quilting is how the quilt sandwich is maneuvered under the needle and how choosing the right supplies makes that job much simpler. I am delighted with the results I can accomplish with my domestic machines and have no desire to change. Here are the reasons I continue to use a regular size domestic machine for quilting.
• Practicality. I already own several domestic machines. (Who’s counting?)
• Unrestricted design possibilities. Having access to the entire surface maximizes the quilting potential.
• Many designs I create require maneuvering intricate motifs; my machine was built to handle it.
• Delicacy of the results. My stitches are tiny and the thread is very lightweight so my machine was designed to easily adapt to these lightweight supplies.
• Logistics. I teach on domestic machines, students can learn on their own equipment in class.
For me, at this moment, I am able to stitch anything I want with the machines I already own. I recently completed a piece that was 92″ x 92″, which is big enough for my requirements. My aspirations have never been geared toward making quilts to sell or to transform a top into a quilt for someone else. I love to draw, write, teach, and create designs for you. However, I am also old enough and wise enough to say never say never!

Next time, features of a sewing machine that are beneficial for machine quilting.

If you are interested in learning machine quilting on your own sewing machine, you can read about my hands-on workshops in the Madison, WI area by clicking on the Upcoming Machine Quilting Classes tab on the navigation bar of this website.

What Machine do you use? Part 2

Perfectly formed stitches begin with an accurately placed spool of thread

Detail images:

In this blog post I am continuing the topic of why I use a regular sewing machine for quilting my quilts. In the first installment, I presented the many reasons why I choose to use a regular machine. Now it is time to begin several posts on how to use a regular sewing machine for quilting the layers of a quilt together.  

More than with any other task that you wish to perform on your sewing machine, you need to do everything possible to become partners with it to accomplish wonderfully formed stitches because the stitches are intended to be visible. The details that make the best possible environment for success that we will discuss include: the bobbin, a single hole stitch plate, and clean thread path, just to name a few.

Because we will use many different threads for machine quilting, including lightweight or specialty threads, we will begin by learning to install the spool of thread correctly to eliminate kinks that cause the thread to break. Before I learned this, I had no idea that I needed to consider how the thread was wound affects it’s placement on the machine. I learned this important advice from thread expert, “Mother Superior”, Heather Purcell of Superior Threads. The company has a very beneficial website teaching more about thread than you ever knew was even possible. Superiorhread.com

Here is Heather’s wisdom:

    It’s amazing how placing the spool on your machine the way the thread was intended to be unwound will solve problems such as breakage, uneven stitches, and improper thread tension. Spools come in two different styles: cross-wound and straight wound. Sewing machines often come with two separate spool pins, the vertical spool pin on the top and the horizontal spool pin that lays flat at the front of the machine. Look at your machine to see what thread delivery systems are available to you. Crosswound
    The cross-wound spools (often long and narrow) are intended to lay down on the horizontal spool pin. They are designed to unwind over the top of the spool while the spool stays stationary, usually fixed with a cap to keep it from sliding off.

Stacked Spool
    The straight wound spool is intended rotate on the vertical pin as the thread unwinds straight from the side of the spool and flows directly into the thread path without any waves or curls. You should place a felt pad under the spool to help it rotate freely. If your thread has been breaking, it may simply be that you have placed it incorrectly on your machine!

spool If used improperly, the thread unwinds in an unnatural way causing curls and kinks that can tighten and coil as they get closer to the needle. The thread breaks as the kink tries to feed through the eye of the needle. This is especially true with delicate threads such as metallic and soft polyesters.

Joanie’s TIP:

Did you know that many thread manufacturers have recently been using these handy spools that have a pop-up or pop-off cap? When you open it for the first time, be sure to release the cap that has secured the beginning of the thread. And when you finish using that spool, simply  pop the top, slip in the end and click to hold the loose end until you need it again. thread end from
cap

Quick Advice

Hi Quilters,

I am at a teaching engagement in the beautiful city of La Crosse WI. along the Mississippi River. Since I want to give my full attention to my students, this post will include a quick tip and an assignment for you.

aRobert_7-4-11-IMG_6131

Get your book out!

I always include the owner’s manual on the supply list for each class machine quilting I teach. When students have a question about a setting for machine quilting on their specific machine, rather than just showing them how to make the adjustment, I direct them to find the answers in their book so they learn how to find them after class. This is a good habit to continue for the rest of their lives.

If you haven’t read it lately, get out your owner’s manual and read all of the information about machine quilting.  This should help you increase expectations for  your work. Expect more from yourself each time you sew and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your best effort. 

Your Assignment

I have been writing this blog for 2 months now. Take a few minutes to go back and review the past posts. There are many helpful ideas and tips that you might have missed. Remember, when you learn one new concept, a light will go off allowing you to learn another, then another.

I will have a full blog post for you next week with more helpful advice, please share it with others.

madison, WII hope you are making plans to visit Madison, WI for Quilt Expo this Sept 10 – 12. There will be quilts and vendors from around the world. I have been invited to display my quilts in a Special Exhibit. I am extending my personal invitation for you to come and see all of my refined free-motion artwork from the past 15 years, talk about the quilts and ask any questions.

 

What Machine do you use? Part 1

Question: What machine do you use?

Answer: Its not what machine but Why do I quilt on a regular size domestic machine?

Today I am beginning to answer the question that I am asked more than any other when viewers are looking at my quilts at guilds or shows; “What machine do you use?”  I am so happy to have this opportunity to address this topic at length that I have planned at least three blog posts in the upcoming weeks.  

Sweet Dreams by Joanie Zeier Poole, 2005

Fais de beaux reves! or Sweet Dreams by Joanie Zeier Poole, 2005

Often viewers assume that a large quilt can only be quilted on a large longarm machine. I have solved the issues related to the size and weight of the quilt bundle when working on a smaller machine and will write about that in a later post. Today I will focus on why I use a regular machine not a longarm and why that has been the best choice for me. As you read it will become apparent that I surely hold no ill will for people who quilt on a longarm or for those who hire a longarm quilter to complete their quilts. There is plenty of room in the industry for both choices. What follows are the reasons I choose to use a regular size domestic machine.

Herstory:

In 2000, I had the good fortune of taking three days of machine quilting classes from master quilter, Diane Gaudynski. Because of that experience I made changes to my life that have lead to the career that I built around this knowledge. (READ ABOUT JOANIE) In those 3 uninterrupted days, I learned the basic operation for straight-line and free-motion quilting. (I feel so strongly that the three day format was  so instrumental to “getting it” that I offer my own 3-day comprehensive Seminar)

Joanie Zeier Poole with hteacher, Diane Gaudynski

Diane Gaudynski with Joanie Zeier Poole, 2006

My motivation for learning refined-free-motion quilting and dedicating my creativity to it has always been about stitching beautiful, elegant quilting designs. My goal was never to finish a stack of patchwork tops. Don’t get me wrong, that is a fantastic goal, it just was not my goal. Even as a hand quilter I was drawing my own quilting designs. The problem was I liked such an elaborate, sophisticated style that took too much time to quilt by hand. With machine quilting I can produce much more in much less time.

I have spent the past 15 years experimenting and perfecting techniques for all aspects of machine quilting; preparing the bundle, basting, machine set-up and practicing machine skills  (all topics for future blog posts). I have trained my brain to be thinking of how to navigate the design as I draw then to be stitches easily, with as few starts and stops possible. All of my creative energy (I have a lot of that!) has focused on drawing quilting designs collections to fill all areas of your quilts with coordinating motifs and developing really imaginative patterns to teach specific techniques for my classes. I hope that you will take the time to read the descriptions of the patterns of the techniques I teach (available for you to download).

Lea design

But lets get back on topic, what you want to know about why I have chosen to use a domestic machine and how you can learn to be successful using one too.

Accessibility to the entire top.

I can plan quilting designs that are any size I want, place them anywhere I want and travel anywhere on the quilt top that I desire without limitations. If I was using a machine with the quilt rolled on a frame, only a portion of the quilt is exposed so the work area is limited to working from side to side. I enjoy the freedom to access the entire top at anytime and planning a quilting layout that is not restricted to a specific strip of space.

Extending my capability using a machine I already own

I own several machines that all are used for machine quilting. For the first 8 years I machine quilted on machines built in the 1960’s when machine quilting was not considered a priority when designing the performance of a machine. However, these machines have strong, steady motors with adjustable speed that performs equally well when I choose to stitch slowly for the intricate designs or stitch at high speeds on the open road.

These older machines have all of the adjustments I need for refined machine quilting. I can use the small needles and thread needed to make tiny stitches and still maintain beautiful tension because the bobbin rotation is calibrated to form perfect stitches as small as .05mm in length.

These machine have the capability to have the tension adjusted to run very lightweight thread. There may be manual adjustments for both top and bobbin thread which BOTH need to be adjusted when using differing weights of thread. Note: one of my newer computerized machines has a broken top thread sensor that needed to be disengaged because it was constantly alerting me and interrupting the stitching when I used lightweight thread. I needed to go into the computer (in the tools menu) to turn it off.

Dedicated Space in my house

I do not need to dedicate a huge room of my house for a large machine. My machine and I can fit just about anywhere. I can sit in the house with my family, or in a sunny window on the porch and stitch to my hearts content as long as I have a large table. If the goal is to stitch the layers together to make a quilt, a longarmer still needs to dedicate additional space for the piecing on regular machine,  I can do both operations in one space.

Do you move your machine around your house? There are times it is great to have the solitude of a quiet bedroom. But when I have a long term project, I like to be right in the family room with my Netflix and surround sound.

Cost of the machine and related expenditures

This is not judgement, just comparison. If the goal is to stitch pieced tops into quilts, that can be accomplished with both longarm and domestic machines. Even though I make my living in the quilting industry and have the justification that may expenditures relate directly, I am uncomfortable at the investment of a longarm and the numerous related expenses.  When you add up the machine, the computer, the room addition to have space for it, and a myriad of wonderfully designed sundries, Holy Smoly! Personally, for me, I cannot justify the expense when I can I produce the same results on equipment I already own.

I will mention what I think is the big advantage to a longarm is that with the rolling system basting is not necessary as it is when using a domestic. That was another challenge I had to learn to control, (see later post or attend a lecture on basting for success).

Well, that is it for now. I will probably think of other reasons I like to use my domestic, but I have to get back to quilting. I am working on a new quilt with Pam. It is the fourth collaboration and  I will be posting in-progress photos on my Facebook Page.

Up Next Week: Become a partner with you machine.

sidebar-linePlease share this post with your quilting friends and guild.

Dashed-line-99CC99Read more About Joanie, her Career Highlights, or print Joanie’s Short Bio.
Can’t wait for a blog post of all of this advice? Explore helpful info already on the website: Glossary of Frequently used Machine Quilting Terms, How to Prepare for a Class, Quick Start Guide to Marking and Resizing Quilting Designs, Printable Charts for Quilting Facts, The Tips Page, and announcements of  Upcoming Events.

Dashed-line-99CC99Never miss an issue of this free e-zine, Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons. Just watch for reminders from Joanie on her Facebook page or to receive a reminder sent to your inbox, use the sign-up form at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

The information, illustrations and photographs on this blog copyright Joanie Zeier Poole unless otherwise noted. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission. All rights reserved. Please ask permission for using any content and give credit when sharing what you have learned. Heirloom Quilting Designs was founded by Joanie Zeier Poole in 2000, a new millennium with a new dream for the future!

 

Joanie Answers Machine Quilting FAQs

Where do these FAQs and Answers come from?

This article introduces a new series of blog posts discussing the questions I am asked most frequently about machine quilting. It is written for all of the wonderful quilters who have approached me when standing with my quilts at quilt shows. Thanks to all of you for the interaction. Sharing my quilts with you in person is so gratifying and is the part of this entire quilting experience I love almost the most, maybe topped only by having you in the classroom teaching the skill I love. Now that I am reaching out to you with this blog, I finally have a good chance to answer your questions in depth.

I hear the same questions asked time and time again, often by people who have little knowledge of machine quilting who are making the same assumptions that we all make before we really learn about the skill. I will answer these questions and redirect you to the more important information that you actually need to know to become successful at machine quilting.

The answers I will share over this series of blog posts are what I have learned and why I do what I do. This is the same insight you would have gained if it was your job to think of little else for the past 15 years. These are solutions for many aspects of machine quilting because I use the information for so may purposes.

  • As a quilter I need to elevate my skill to a level that my work is accepted into competition at major quilt shows and passes the scrutiny of the judges to earn awards
  • As an author I have to verbalize my methods into written words.
  • As a teacher I create projects that guide students step-by-step through each concept of this process.
  • As a designer I draw collections of quilting motifs to stitch in a logical order with continuous lines.
  • As an illustrator and photo stylist I translate my training messages into educational images. 

What follows is a typical conversation I have had hundreds of times as I talk to crowds of quilters. Many of the questions I am asked are repeated with each new group of viewers. My intention is to answer each of these questions in a series of posts. I will choose a topic each week and offer my insight. Please invite your quilting friends, shops and guilds to join in by signing up for the blog, this should be FUN!To Have and To Hold by Joanie Zeier Poole

Picture yourself in this setting: a large national quilt show with literally a thousand gorgeous quilts to admire. I stand to the side of my quilt as a group approaches. There are smiles on all of their faces as they stare at all of the entries in my row until they get to my quilt. Someone gasps and says:

“Oh girls, look at this one!

I smile and indicate that I am the maker. Is this yours? As the group moves in for a closer look. Someone asks, Did you quilt it yourself?”

The artist in me is silent. (The images and textures that I have quilted are as important to the design of the quilt as whether I would use patchwork or appliqué. I cannot imagine relinquishing the joy and satisfaction I gain from developing that portion of my layout). As I stand there I am thinking “How could anyone else know what designs would complete my artwork?” But I reply

“Yes, I quilted it on my home sewing machine.”

Then they ask, “What machine do you use?”  I answer:

“This work can be done on most machines, it is the driver’s skill that is more important than the machine.”  

Then someone insists, “Yes, but what machine do YOU use?”

When I admit that until recently all of my quilts were constructed and quilted on 45-year old machines, I hear several disappointed groans. After a moment they begin to understand that I am not going to reveal the manufacturer of a specific machine.  Some are wishing they could use the excuse that if they don’t have my machine they cannot do what I do. Others think that if they buy the same machine it will do the work for them.

Someone else was too distracted to hear the last answer so her thoughts go back to when I said that I quilted it on my home machine and she asks for clarification of the term “Home”, is that a brand name of a longarm machine?”

“No” I answer. “I use a regular size domestic machine.”

Smiles turn to suspicious frowns, the unspoken comment reflects back at me on their faces, they are all thinking: “You mean we are supposed to believe you quilted that big quilt on a home sewing machine?”

This is where the line is drawn in the sand. Skeptics take a step toward the quilt, peering in for a closer examination before THEY will be taken in by this improbability, not in front of their quilt guild homies.

How could she get that big thing under the arm of a regular machine?

The viewers who send their tops out to be quilted, who quilt by hand or those who quilt only small pieces, quietly walk away satisfied that for their life, those solutions are good enough for their needs.

Is THIS free-motion quilting? Someone will ask in an unbelieving voice. “I can’t believe it, it is so perfect. How could anyone stitch so perfectly with free-motion quilting?”

Others who have never experienced the freedom that free-motion quilting allows may assume the process is much harder than it really is, they meander on to the next quilt, but always with a glance back to see that big quilt that someone said was possible to quilt on a regular machine.

How do you get such tiny stitches?”

machine quiltingAnd as the crowd clears, I am typically left to chat with two groups; the longarmers who quilt large quilts everyday on huge machines and domestic quilters with genuine interest in knowing how to complete their own quilts on a machine they already own.  They stay to delve into the important questions, those that require solutions that unlock the freedom of free-motion quilting. They are standing in front of the proof that with proper preparation for this new adventure, thy will be armed with information needed to be successful.

When I tell people that I will teach them, some ask where and when, and say “Sign me up!” But the comment that saddens me to my core is “I could never do this”, I tell them that if they really want to learn this,  come to class and let me help you try.

I get that that my quilts look intimidating, they have to be designed and constructed to the highest quality in order to be on display in these venues. But it is difficult for me to know that that discourages some viewers. Please believe me when I ask you to consider that machine quilting is a skill you can learn and it is not dependent on being great at accurately piecing a billion flying geese.

I have heard “I tried it once and didn’t get it.” Just because you tried it in one afternoon don’t convince yourself you will never do it. I surely didn’t achieve this level the first day. Or “I need to practice for five years before I come to class.”  What are you going to practice for five years? Why don’t you open your mind to the possibility that YOU can learn; just imagine the satisfaction you could have if you just approached this with a positive attitude, that you will learn all you can and if you encounter a problem you will find a solution.  and if you took the class and then practiced for five years you might be standing along side me in the next quilt show.

Here are the FAQ topics we will cover!

  • What machine  do you use? Why I don’t reveal the manufacturer of a specific machine.
  • The discoveries made when a 5’2″ gal yearned to complete large quilts on a regular size machine, some of these are quite different from what others teach.
  • How could I get that big thing under the arm of a regular machine?
  • Why you should not wait for 5 years of practice before you come to class.
  • How could anyone stitch so perfectly with free-motion quilting?
  • What I stitch first, last and why this helps you handle a big quilt bundle
  • My concept of navigating an individual design: developed as I created the quilting design collections so that you don’t have to struggle to find designs that are easy to stitch.

When you read all this, you will discover that machine quilting may just be much simpler than you expect!

Bookcover and Framed Heart patterns from Elegant Machine Quilting by Joanie Zeier Poole

Book cover and Framed Heart patterns from Elegant Machine Quilting by Joanie Zeier Poole

sidebar-linePlease share this post with your quilting friends and guild.

Read more About Joanie, her Career Highlights, or print Joanie’s Short Bio.
Can’t wait for a blog post of all of this advice? Explore helpful info already on the website: Glossary of Frequently used Machine Quilting Terms, How to Prepare for a Class, Quick Start Guide to Marking and Resizing Quilting Designs, Printable Charts for Quilting Facts, The Tips Page, and announcements of  Upcoming Events.

Dashed-line-99CC99Never miss an issue of this free e-zine, Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons. Just watch for reminders from Joanie on her Facebook page or to receive a reminder sent to your inbox, use the sign-up form at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

The information, illustrations and photographs on this blog copyright Joanie Zeier Poole unless otherwise noted. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission. All rights reserved. Please ask permission for using any content and give credit when sharing what you have learned. Heirloom Quilting Designs was founded by Joanie Zeier Poole in 2000, a new millennium with a new dream for the future!

 

Joanie’s Favorite Machine Quilting Technique

Heirloom Machine Quilting

Heirloom Machine Quilting or as I call it Refined Free-motion Quilting

used in my chosen style – Elegant and Sophisticated.

I did not feel that I should move on from the lessons on the techniques and styles of machine quilting without sharing what I have learned about the quilting style that is so recognizable in my work. Here is an introduction to”refined free-motion quilting” so that you can do this too if you want the “look” for some or all of your quits.

The what I do is to use a regular sewing machine set up for the free-motion technique

but I refine my focus and supplies to achieve the why I do it,

to give my quilts an elegant and sophisticated style.

Detail images:

What is Heirloom Machine Quilting?

First, the name was coined by Harriet Hargrave who pioneered the use of home sewing machine for replicating the look of hand quilting of antique quilts. This technique is based on the look of the heirloom quilts of the past, yet differs significantly because most of those beautiful older sisters were quilted entirely by hand. Combining lightweight thread, a tiny needle and a bit of practice with the  free-motion technique increases your ability to easily stitch advanced designs.

I like to call the use of this technique refined free-motion quilting because the scale of the work is reduced. With the machine set up for free-motion quilting (with the feed dogs lowered and a darning foot installed on the machine) this technique can produce a decorative, deeply sculptured quilt surface.
•   With Heirloom Machine Quilting, decorative quilting motifs are drawn on the quilt top.
•   The lines are followed with a row of stitching using very lightweight thread.
•   The background area around the motif is often filled in with patterns that include grids, echo, and stippling.
•   This dense stitching flattens the background space, allowing the motifs to stand out. 

Great intricacy and impressive designs can be achieved in a fraction of the time that it would take to quilt the same piece by hand.

Miniature  with bobbin

This miniature quilt, Miniature Elegance, was a finalist in the 2015 American Quilters Society Show in Paducah. It measures 14″ wide by 17″ tall. It is a replica of a full size quilt in a miniature size.

 

Mini Elegance_2_Close Copy

Here is a close up of the quilting motifs, the string of beads border pattern and grid which is just less than a 1/4″. Extremely tiny stippling flattens the background allowing the motifs to stand out. 

 

mini with bobbin

This is a shot of a practice quilt I made to audition the elements I thought I wanted to use for my quilt, Miniature Elegance. A bobbin is shown in the photo to put the scale of this work in perspective. The outlines of the motifs that I used for the final quilt were drawn slightly farther apart, allowing a bit more puff which helps them stand out from the background.

I know that for some of you, this is not your style, you may feel intimidated by my work, or you might just be happier with much simpler results.  Please stay with me here on my blog, the machine quilting lessons and advice I give can be applied to any project, using much simpler design choices and can be adapted for heavier threads used for more utilitarian quilts. If you like my style, it is just a matter of learning the right stuff, the appropriate supplies and technique.

The fabric I chose for Miniature Elegance is Radiance by Robert Kaufman. It is 45% silk and 55% cotton. I created an original pattern on paper, centered the fabric over the design and marked it with a water soluble blue quilting marker. I used a manufactured embroidered ribbon as the outer border which is quilted around the motifs. The piece is quilted with 100 weight silk thread and I used a size 70 Microtex (sharp) needle.

A few Design suggestions for an “heirloom style” quilt layout:

  • Choose a theme.
  • Coordinate fabric, pattern and quilting designs.
  • Customize images, lettering, and dates.
  • Include background fillers.

Thanks for joining me, I appreciate your interest and hope this may spark your desire to try this technique. There is more information on the topic on my website, in my books and in the DVD workshops. If you feel your friends, family or quilt guild would benefit from this insight please invite them to join.  I’d really appreciate it!

Whats Up for next week?

I begin a series of post on the most Frequently Asked Questions about machine quilting  that I get over and over, and how I have discovered the answers may not be the important solutions you need.

Until then, as I wrote in French using the Heirloom Machine Quilting technique, 

SWEET DREAMS!

Fais de beau reves! or Sweet Dreams by Joanie Zeier Poole 2005

Fais de beau reves! or Sweet Dreams by Joanie Zeier Poole 2005

 

Did you see the page full of machine quilting help in the form of Printable Tips?

Machine Quilting Tips!

Look on this page for printable Machine Quilting Tips!

Dashed-line-99CC99Read more About Joanie, her Career Highlights, or print Joanie’s Short Bio.
Can’t wait for a blog post of all of this advice? Explore helpful info already on the website: Glossary of Frequently used Machine Quilting Terms, How to Prepare for a Class, Quick Start Guide to Marking and Resizing Quilting Designs, Printable Charts for Quilting Facts, The Tips Page, and announcements of  Upcoming Events.

Dashed-line-99CC99Never miss an issue of this free e-zine, Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons. Just watch for reminders from Joanie on her Facebook page or to receive a reminder sent to your inbox, use the sign-up form at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

The information, illustrations and photographs on this blog copyright Joanie Zeier Poole unless otherwise noted. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission. All rights reserved. Please ask permission for using any content and give credit when sharing what you have learned. Heirloom Quilting Designs was founded by Joanie Zeier Poole in 2000, a new millennium with a new dream for the future!

Three Terrific Machine Quilting Techniques – Free-motion – Free form

Welcome to my third and final installment of posts on the Three Terrific Machine Quilting Techniques.

If you joined me for the first two posts on machine quilting you

  • gained an understanding of straight line machine quilting using a regular sewing machine with a walking foot installed and the feed dogs up, plus the many situations you may want to set up the machine for that function
  • learned how to install a darning or free-motion foot and lower the feed- dogs for free-motion quilting using that technique to stitch marked lines creating formal quilting patterns.

With that foundation established it is time for you to learn about using your regular sewing machine for free-motion quilting to stitch patterns without marked lines. I refer to the pattern style as free form; using the free-motion quilting technique to stitch patterns guided free-hand, without the aid of a computer and without following a marked line.

In future posts you will learn about many varied background fill patterns and delve into the details of useful accessories and attachments for the machine, but for right now let’s focus on the technique. Remember our plan is to gain insight in one small, very important concept and then we build on that.

oak-leaf-quilting-design-center

Here you see the now familiar Oak Leaf and Acorn example (shown in the 2 previous posts), but in this photo the tiny stippling background fill pattern is highlighted. I am showing you this style of free-motion quilting last because in the logical sequence for machine quilting all background fill patterns are added last, after the anchoring and after the motifs have been stitched.

 Joanie’s TIP: Remember, to evenly distribute the quilting throughout the entire quilt surface in each step of the process.

Free-form or free-hand Free-motion Quilting

When you learn Free-motion Quilting using a sewing machine (with the feed dogs lowered and a darning foot installed), stitching can occur in any direction and in straight or curved lines. You will be able to produce patterns with the lines of stitching, again just like a pen on paper. Spend time doodling on paper to learn the path that you would stitch for your own background fill patterns. If you do not lift the pencil, you create a pattern that could be stitched with continuous stitching, a very important goal of machine quilters.

When you practice a fill pattern by drawing it on paper until you have imprinted it in your brain, you will be able stitch on the quilt without marking at all or with limited marking.  Stitching without following a marked line is refereed to as free-form free-motion quilting, guided from a pattern imprinted in the brain.  The resulting patterns tend to be random, often with repeated forms that are not necessarily meant to be identical.

background fill pattern

This Leaf, loop and Daisy is one of 30 patterns in my Free-form Background Fill Pattern Packets you can purchase for download or have mailed to your door.

Let’s clear up some confusing terms

This is my understanding of some confusing terms. Free-motion is the technique; the set-up of the machine. Free-form is a style of the pattern, random and not marker. Free-hand means the stitching is hand guided from a pattern in your head. With all of these terms so similar, it is understandable that many people are confused; and the reason so many people look at me like I am not telling the truth when I say I used free-motion quilting to stitch the perfect grids and identical motifs for my  quilts. They think that term free-motion means that I guided the machine free-hand, when in reality I followed a marked line that has been washed away.

So if you are ready to set up your machine for free-motion quilting to free hand ten amazing free form patterns, head on over to the SHOP! page to learn about my 120 minute How-to DVD, Background Bonanza !

What can we do with free form patterns?

  • The patterns can be used edge to edge.
  • Sections of a quilt bundle can be filled with texture.
  • The background around previously stitched motif can be flattened with texture.

A quilter can stitch an identical pattern in a large scale to cover large spaces or tiny to flatten the background around a previously stitched motif to make it pop. Tiny patterns must be smaller than the motif they surround for contrast. 

tiny leaves free form background fill

 This leaf pattern (above) can be used as for all three purposes mentioned above depending on the size the pattern is stitched.

 

Leaf and Curl Background filler

Above you see an almost identical filler, Leaf and Curl, that could be used for all three functions again depending on the size it is stitched. I disregarded the patchwork when quilting this free-hand pattern.

 

Heirloom quilting by machine

This photo (above) shows how tiny stippling was added to the background of my Ivy Wreath Quilt How-to DVD after the ivy was stitched to flatten the background and let the pretty motifs stand out.

 

Great Outdoors Workshop

Free-form quilting is ideal for landscape quilts (above). Look at the patterns you will learn in my Great Outdoors Landscape Workshop or pattern. This hands-on workshop is among may classes I teach on background fillers.

Just for review

Remember these Free-motion facts: With the free-motion foot installed and the feed dogs lowered,

  • The operator controls the stitch length as well as the direction of the stitching line by moving the bundle with her hands.
  • Stitching can occur in any direction and in straight or curved lines.
  • The quilt bundle does not have to be rotated when changing the direction of the stitching. 

Whats Up for next week?

Most frequently asked questions about machine quilting and how I have discovered the answers may not be the important solutions you need.

Dashed-line-99CC99Read more About Joanie, her Career Highlights, or print Joanie’s Short Bio.
Can’t wait for a blog post of all of this advice? Explore helpful info already on the website: Glossary of Frequently used Machine Quilting Terms, How to Prepare for a Class, Quick Start Guide to Marking and Resizing Quilting Designs, Printable Charts for Quilting Facts, The Tips Page, and announcements of  Upcoming Events.

Dashed-line-99CC99Never miss an issue of this free e-zine, Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons. Just watch for reminders from Joanie on her Facebook page or to receive a reminder sent to your inbox, use the sign-up form at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

If you feel you friends, family or quilt guild would benefit from this insight please invite them to join.  I’d really appreciate it!

Dashed-line-99CC99The information, illustrations and photographs on this blog copyright Joanie Zeier Poole unless otherwise noted. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission. All rights reserved. Please ask permission for using any content and give credit when sharing what you have learned. Heirloom Quilting Designs was founded by Joanie Zeier Poole in 2000, a new millennium with a new dream for the future!

Three Terrific Machine Quilting Techniques – Free-motion – Formal

In the last post I gave an overview of straight line machine quilting on a regular sewing machine with a Walking Foot installed and the feed dogs up. In these next two posts, I will attempt to clear up the confusion between free-motion quilting and using the free-motion quilting technique for free-hand or following a marked line quilting.

Today’s post will introduce you to the technique of free-motion quilting and cover the first option for using the technique to stitch formal patterns.

Formal is a phrase I coined for  a style of free-motion stitching when patterns are formed by following a marked line (more below).  First, let’s cover a few instructions for setting up the machine, and the attachments used for the technique; then you will learn about the two styles of stitching that can result when using free-motion quilting techniques.

feed dogs copy feed-dogs-

Free-motion Machine Quilting happens when the layers of a quilt are stitched together using a sewing machine with the feed dogs lowered and a free-motion foot or darning foot installed. These photos show a regular sewing machine that has been set up for free-motion stitching; an open-toe free-motion foot has been installed to replace the regular sewing presser foot and the feed dogs have been lowered. When the feed dogs are lowered, they do not move the quilt bundle; you will have to move the bundle as the machine is stitching.  Whatever the stitch length you have the machine set on doesn’t matter because it is not functioning when the feed dogs are lowered.

Stitch width and lengthGOOD HABITS:

This is one of the tiny details that impact the machine’s ability to make the perfectly formed stitches that we desire. Consider adjusting the following settings before you stitch. With some newer machines, the owner’s manual will instruct you to set the stitch length setting to zero. When I have asked several machine manufacturers if I should do that on all machines, I was told that on some machines it did not have any consequence with the feed dogs lowered. Check your dealer or owner’s manual to find out the specifics for your machine(s).

Always do set the stitch width setting on zero. You want the machine to sew an absolutely straight line of stitches.

Hands on Quilt copy

You will control the length of each stitch as well as the direction of the stitching line by moving the bundle with your hands. Stitching can occur in any direction and in straight or curved lines. You will move the quilt bundle as the machine stitches to produce lines of stitching that form designs on the fabric, just like a pen on paper.

Aqua Table runnerI used the formal style or follow-the-marked-line free-motion quilting to stitch this table runner. The pattern was marked on the fabric with a water-soluble marker that washed away after the quilt was stitched.

machine quiltingYou can no longer see the marked line that has been washed away but this detail photo shows how the line of thread would follow the outlines the motifs in the identical manner that I used when I drew the original artwork with pencil on paper.

When you drop the feed dogs…

You must learn to coordinate the speed your foot is telling the machine to stitch with the speed your hands are moving the bundle to create smooth movements to achieve a consistent stitch length.

Remember too, when the feed dogs are lowered, the quilt does not have to be rotated when you want to change direction. The entire quilt could be oriented North for the entire process and never rotated. This can be a big advantage to the process depending on the size of the quilt bundle.

Marking a quiltHere you see a water-soluble marker that I use to mark all of my quilts (unless the fabric prevents me from seeing the blue line). We will learn more on marking in a later post, but the basic idea is to center the stabilized fabric on top of a design printed on paper and trace the outlines.

oak-leaf-quilting-design-centerHere you see the example quilt used for the anchoring lesson in the previous post on straight line stitching. For this project, all stitching lines were traced on the fabric before the layers were pin basted. The first stitching was the anchoring on the straight lines, next the motifs were stitched with follow the marked line free-motion quilting.

The last stitching that occurred on this piece was the fill pattern that is referred to as stippling. I used free-hand  free-motion quilting, which is the topic for my next post. Thanks for joining me for this blog post. I sincerely appreciate your interest in learning some of the hints I have included to make you more comfortable with this technique. I know this is just an introduction, but if you give it a try and if find this helpful let me know.

Quick Hints:

I will end with a myth busting Quick Hint.  This very simple advice could be just what you need to hear if your free-motion quilting is not as accurate as you would like. Slow down. Place each stitch exactly where you want it. Whoever said that good machine quilting has to be done fast might have been trying to sell you a machine that was manufactured to stitch at a billion stitches per minute. This is like driving a car or preforming anything with accuracy, slow the movement of your hands while maintaining the steady speed of the machine. With more stitches, smaller stitches, occupying the same amount of space,you will achieve tiny curves, accurately follow a marked line or the seams of patchwork.

Til next Sunday, Have a productive week,

Joanie

Dashed-line-99CC99Read more About Joanie, her Career Highlights, or print Joanie’s Short Bio.
Can’t wait for a blog post of all of this advice? Explore helpful info already on the website: Glossary of Frequently used Machine Quilting Terms, How to Prepare for a Class, Quick Start Guide to Marking and Resizing Quilting Designs, Printable Charts for Quilting Facts, The Tips Page, and announcements of  Upcoming Events.

machine quilting classes

I will be teaching at this event, come join me!

Dashed-line-99CC99Never miss an issue of this free e-zine, Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons. Just watch for reminders from Joanie on her Facebook page or to receive a reminder sent to your inbox, use the sign-up form at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

If you feel you friends, family or quilt guild would benefit from this insight please invite them to join.  I’d really appreciate it!

Dashed-line-99CC99The information, illustrations and photographs on this blog copyright Joanie Zeier Poole unless otherwise noted. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission. All rights reserved. Please ask permission for using any content and give credit when sharing what you have learned. Heirloom Quilting Designs was founded by Joanie Zeier Poole in 2000, a new millennium with a new dream for the future!

 

 

 

Three Terrific Machine Quilting Techniques – Straight Line

Today’s post will help clear up some confusion that I often encounter when meeting the quilting public concerning the terms used when referring to the different techniques achieved when machine quilting with a home sewing machine. Teaching at guilds across the county, I meet quilters who have been quilting for their entire life, others are new to this vast and diverse world of quilting. Newcomers observe the production of wonderful quilt tops that will be completed by hiring a longarm quilter: (Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against that decision, the availability of longarm industry has meant the completion of more tops than anyone can count and provides an income for the longarm quilter’s families in a business they love) a  percentage of successful machine quilters using their home sewing machine, others who are afraid of ruining their tops trying it and seldom is even a mention of tied quilts.

While you know that it is surely possible to use a regular machine to quilt the layers together, you may wonder how to use your equipment and attachments to get varying results. Your choices are to quilt with either a walking foot, or use the free-motion technique in two different ways. Over the next three posts we will examine how to set up your machine when using different attachments for different techniques. I will share when to use each technique and any cautions for their use.

2 walk feet copy feed-dogs-

Machine Quilting with a Walking Foot

Straight line machine quilting is often accomplished with a walking foot installed and the feed dogs up and engaged. The foot moves in a walking motion, (thus the name) working together with the feed dogs to advance all three layers at the same time, avoiding puckers. 

Stitching with the feed dogs up has the advantage of having a consistent stitch length. You may think “GREAT! Sounds like a lot of control without any puckers, I’ll always use a walking foot“. Many people have used this method to complete all of their quilts and never add free-motion to their skills.

*Historical Note: Machine Quilting may not be as recent as you  think; research the work of Ernest B. Haight, a prolific early pioneer of  machine quilting. His book, Practical Machine-Quilting for the Homemaker, published about a half century ago was available for $1.00 including postage!

However, keep in mind, when the feed dogs are up and engaged, each time you need to turn a corner, the entire quilt bundle must be rotated. This can be a huge consequence when the quilt is large and has to be persuaded through the small opening of the machine head. 

What are some things that can be done with a walking foot

Straight line stitching with a walking foot is often referred to as functional quilting, look at these examples of straight line quilting to see why it got that name.   

Anchoring the quilt – permanent stitches that hold the layers creating large work zones to add more quilting in later.

Checker boardThis table mat for playing checkers or chess, was anchored with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting along the narrow black border and around the outer edge of the quilt. Next, the lines that form the checkerboard grid were stitched, evenly distributing the quilting throughout the quilt surface in a logical order. 

seamlines This utilitarian quilt show the Stitch-in-the-ditch technique – straight line quilting follows the seams of patchwork and borders, accentuating the graphic impact of the geometric pattern.

oak-leaf-quilting-designThis is a small wholecloth sample quilt from my Oak Leaf and Acorn Quilting Design Collection had the pattern marked on the fabric and then the straight “anchoring” lines were stitched with a walking foot before the free-motion motifs were added.

All over gridStraight lines form a Diagonal Grids used to fill entire quilt surface over patchwork. This is the idea Earnest used to complete hundreds of quilts.

channelSimple straight line Channels form a versatile fill pattern that is appropriate for elegant or the most simple layout.

Curved Grid A walking foot was used to stitch the gently curved lines of this double line grid.   

quilt as u go Quilt as you go Project

The walking foot  worked perfectly when quilting through multiple layers for a Quilt-as-you-go project from my book, The Complete Guide to Machine Quilting, 2012, St. Martin’s Press.

Setting up your sewing machine for quilting using a walking foot

Remove the regular presser foot and install the walking foot that accompanied or was purchased especially for your specific model. Check that the arm on the side, the needle screw clamp,  gets connected to the screw.  Make sure the feed dogs are up. Choose the stitch length appropriate for the weight of thread which is chosen for the purpose of the project and adjust the stitch length regulator for that setting.  Baste the layers of your project and that’s it, you are ready to stitch! walk feet side arm

Next UP! Three Terrific Machine Quilting Techniques –
Free-Motion – Formal

Good Habits: Always make plan to eliminate bulk when assembling each patchwork block, the row of blocks and sewing those into a quilt top. Often I suggest that the block seams be pressed open to evenly distribute the layers of fabric, avoiding a mountain of seams that will distort your stitching consistency. However, for long borders strips that will be stitched in the ditch, press those seams toward the outside of the quilt.  That way you will have a low side of the ditch in which to guide the needle.

Dashed-line-99CC99Read more About Joanie, her Career Highlights, or print Joanie’s Short Bio.
Can’t wait for a blog post of all of this advice? Explore helpful info already on the website: Glossary of Frequently used Machine Quilting Terms, How to Prepare for a Class, Quick Start Guide to Marking and Resizing Quilting Designs, Printable Charts for Quilting Facts, The Tips Page, and announcements of  Upcoming Events.

Dashed-line-99CC99Never miss an issue of this free e-zine, Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons. Just watch for reminders from Joanie on her Facebook page or to receive a reminder sent to your inbox, use the sign-up form at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

If you feel you friends, family or quilt guild would benefit from this insight please invite them to join.  I’d really appreciate it!

Dashed-line-99CC99The information, illustrations and photographs on this blog copyright Joanie Zeier Poole unless otherwise noted. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission. All rights reserved. Please ask permission for using any content and give credit when sharing what you have learned. Heirloom Quilting Designs was founded by Joanie Zeier Poole in 2000, a new millennium with a new dream for the future!

Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons

Joanie's Quilting Elements Book Book

Projects from Joanie’s Quilting Elements Book

It is with great pride that I welcome you to my first blog post, an introduction to what is planned for this e-zine. It is my privilege to have a new bridge to reach you. With so much to say, where do I start?

First, you need to know these two things; I use my regular sewing machine to hold the layers of my quilts together and I sincerely want you to become a successful machine quilter.

Who is this blog is for?

Whether you are new to machine quilting or a seasoned expert, with the right supplies and the correct steps to follow, YOU can complete quilts on equipment you already own. No need to be afraid; anyone with a positive attitude can learn. This skill is not dependent on years of other quilting experience. Together we will explore one concept and then build on that to grasp another.

This is information I wish I had had before I tried machine quilting and failed. For years I was a machine quilting wannabe, with the same questions, misconceptions and FEARS you may have! I envied the magnificent stitching at quilt shows and wondered how it was even possible to get that whole quilt under the head of a regular sewing machine? Have you had the same thought?

Well lucky for both of us that I was determined to figure it out! In 2000, I took a 3 day seminar from Diane Gaudynski and the future began to unfold before my eyes.

Ode to Diane

Ode to Diane 50″ x 50″, 2000. Quilted just weeks after the seminar.

Imagine my delight, not only to learn the technique, but to realize it was now possible to draw and stitch any designs imaginable! I arranged my life to be trained to use a computer for drawing the quilting designs that I hope will enhance your quilts.

Ode to Diane

Quilting designs were created to exactly fill the space.

My former career in Home Dec and training in art prepared me to look at the challenges of designing quilts from a unique point of view. This blog will provide a platform to share how I invented methods for my original layouts when no process existed for the desired results. I will demonstrate how to preform many tasks differently than other teachers may have advised; learn why and how this will lead to your success. Some ideas will save time and others save your money by utilizing simple ideas that don’t require additional equipment.

Joanie Zeier Poole with hteacher, Diane Gaudynski

Diane Gaudynski with Joanie Zeier Poole, AQS Paducah, 2006

For 15 years I have dedicated my talents to solving your machine quilting mysteries. With practice, I gained the confidence to enter shows and began teaching. By perfecting the techniques, testing supplies, writing 4 books and listening to the questions of students, I have developed a step-by-step process for you. I discovered that at 5’ 2” working with a quilt rolled up and supported by my body would never work so I found supplies that allowed me to work with the quilt “puddled” on a table. Just think how that one concept may have impacted your experience in the past!

working  puddle copy

The weight of the quit is on the table, not on me!

 

What you can expect…

My plan is for weekly posts plus a possible quick note for big news. I have a list of enough topics for a year! We will begin with an thorough explanation of the 3 techniques for machine quilting. Then, the most FAQs; the questions everybody asks and how I learned these are not the important answers you need. All topics will be archived for future reference.

The blog will support the educational opportunities I already have established. My job includes classroom teaching and maintaining a website with the goal of selling books, How-to DVDs, patterns and quilting designs collections. As the blog progresses I hope you may decide to come to a class or purchase a product.

If you share a passion for machine quilting education and designs, sign up to have this free e-zine posted to your inbox (instructions below). Receive machine quilting advice, tips, and suggestions for skill building exercises. If you ask a question and we can start a forum discussion.

Join me to experience the satisfaction of finishing your projects yourself. Start your adventure today, knowing I will be here to encourage and support you.

Warm regards, Joanie

Teaching machine quilting“Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” 

(ar´dor (noun) intense emotion: Passion, Enthusiasm, Devotion)

― Abigail Adams

Dashed-line-99CC99Read more About Joanie, her Career Highlights, or print Joanie’s Short Bio.
Can’t wait for a blog post of all of this advice? Explore helpful info already on the website: Glossary of Frequently used Machine Quilting Terms, How to Prepare for a Class, Quick Start Guide to Marking and Resizing Quilting Designs, Printable Charts for Quilting Facts, The Tips Page, and announcements of  Upcoming Events.

Dashed-line-99CC99Never miss an issue of this free e-zine, Joanie’s Life Changing Machine Quilting Lessons. Just watch for reminders from Joanie on her Facebook page or to receive a reminder sent to your inbox, use the sign-up form at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

If you feel you friends, family or quilt guild would benefit from this insight please invite them to join.  I’d really appreciate it!

Dashed-line-99CC99The information, illustrations and photographs on this blog copyright Joanie Zeier Poole unless otherwise noted. No reproduction in any form is permitted without permission. All rights reserved. Please ask permission for using any content and give credit when sharing what you have learned. Heirloom Quilting Designs was founded by Joanie Zeier Poole in 2000, a new millennium with a new dream for the future!

First blog post

Look right here on Sunday, May 10, for the first post of my blog! If you have a passion for machine quilting you will want to read this!