quilt as desired
identical blocks + different quilters = stitchy madness!
Riddle us this Q-bies: What three little words will make quilters stop in their tracks with eyes twitching and teeth gnashing?
Answer: Quilt as desired.
Cleansing breath people! Now, let’s talk. While “quilt as desired” does freak many quilters out (and will, for as long as there are new quilters, which we hope is forever), it doesn’t have to. Here is why. We created identical 15-inch paper-pieced wonky star blocks and asked some of our dearest friends (and a few staff members) to quilt a block however they wished. All we asked for were a few particulars on thread, batting, motifs, adult beverages consumed during quilting…you know, the usual 4-1-1.
What we got back was amazing! Each block was quilted with different tools (standard sewing machine, varied longarms and by-hand). And each quilter used different threads, batting, layers of batting and thought processes. The results are blocks that are as unique as their quilters, which means we have a lot of learning to do from them! (Some of our quilters even braved the video camera to tell us about their approach, so it really is like a mini-class.)
We hope you’re inspired to tap your inner quilt diva and let your needles fly as your future projects speak to you. Note: Not all of our wonky blocks could be shared in these pages. We’ll be sharing more on GenerationQmagazine.com, including photos, video links and glimpses of staff-quilted pieces.
I have been in love with making quilts for over 40 years. Then seven years ago I found out you could make a lot of quilts fast using a long arm sewing machine. I quilt on a Handi Quilter Avante. I pretty much quilt every quilt to death, so now I am back to taking a lot of time on every quilt. I enjoy every bit of the quilt making process. I like piecing, appliqué, creating my own patterns and designs, but quilting makes the quilt, that’s what I enjoy the most.
I am an educator for Handi Quilter. We have a studio with 18 machines where we hold training and retreats about once a month. We make videos for our product and instructions for our machines and frames. I’ve taught and supported classrooms for Handi Quilter at various quilt shows around the country (Hawaii’s my favorite) and Australia. I love my job, enjoy meeting people and sharing excitement for quilting. Everyday at work is a different experience, like coming to work last week and getting the opportunity to quilt this block.
Threads: Gray Bottomline from Superior Threads… I chose the light weight thread that would not build up where I was back stitching. I chose a color that would blend with the fabric.
Needles: Handi Quilter’s Groezbecker Needle size 14 , You should always use the needle your machine manufacturer recommends. I used the smaller needle because of the lightweight thread.
Tools: Handi Quilter Avante. Rulers if used Handi Quilter Mini Circle Ruler is my favorite ruler. I also used the Handi Quilter Mini Ruler and Handi Quilter 3” X 12” Ruler. I love using rulers because you get what you expect, your straight lines are straight and your curved lines are curved and more importantly, my circles are round and don’t look like boulders.
I took a picture of the block and made paper copies for myself, Vicki Hoth, Education Coordinator and Brenda Groelz the Education and Marketing Director each of us drawing out ideas. We sketched out different plans for quilting this block. We got ideas from each other and then drew some more. Lots of ideas turned into the logo or star shape being repeated in the quilting. The straight line quilting is complimented with a lot of curves and circles.
I’ve been quilting since 1990 and totally fell in love with the machine quilting part of my hobby. I opened a machine quilting business in 1994 and have been quilting, traveling and teaching ever since. (And you need to know that Paula is an amazing quilter and friend!!)
Batting: Quilters Dream Wool
Threads: Mettler cotton, metallic and PolySheen
Needles: Jeans/denim needles
I stitch in every ditch to stabilize the quilt. Marked the feathers with a vanishing (air soluble) marker; then stitched them in with the metallic thread. Marked the stars with the same vanishing marker and stitched them. I moved onto the background fill, a tight stipple.