Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIP: FMQ Auditioning and HQ Class

Although I have not made any physical progress on my monkey on a bike quilt from a couple of weeks ago I have been mulling over different options for the FMQ on it. Here is one fourth of the quilt top. The center panel FMQ will be directed by the scene and critters on the panel but what to do on the border? I took a two day class on the Handi Quilter longarm machines this weekend and what a source of inspiration and practical tips it was!

The teacher was Megan Best. She showed us a method to audition and practice our quilt patterns before committing to them on our quilt. Here is a photo I took of my quilt border. I printed it out and slipped it inside an 8.5" x 11" sheet protector. Using a dry erase marker I can try out and practice different designs. They erase easily using just a scrap of batting. I can use my cell phone to snap a quick picture of the ones I like and consider keeping.


It just occurred to me that I can avoid the printing out step, too. Those printer ink cartridges can get expensive! If I take the photo with my iPad, I can slip the iPad itself inside a sheet protector and doodle away. Sorry about the photo quality. It is difficult to hold the iPad with one hand inside its slippery sheet protector and take a picture with my cell with the other while angling so that the reflections do not obscure the point I am trying to illustrate. But I think you get the idea.

My purpose in taking the class was to become better informed about my possible purchase of a sit-down long arm machine – a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 or a Baby Locke Tiara. The class was very good for that. What was totally unexpected was the education I got on threads and tension, the numerous tips shared like the one above, and the wealth of inspiration I absorbed from Megan Best's quilting styles. Her website is not very extensive but that is because she is so busy creating beautiful quilts! I recommend taking a class from her if you have the opportunity. She is an educator for Handi Quilter and travels around the country teaching. I snagged this picture from her website, to encourage you to take a peek.

In the meantime this week I drifted to an old standby, cloth books, so I can be productive while letting my brain churn on that monkey on a bike quilt. I began with an old panel called Ocean Babies. When I first start buying these book panels I had considered making them into quilts. The fabric quality is such however that they are better off as books. For Ocean Babies I have pinned the pages to be sewn right sides together, matching the corners – the photo shows the wrong side of the fabric. And all those bumps you see? They are because the panel was not printed square. I will be doing a bit of bias stretching to coax it square when I add the batting for the book pages. The weave is loose enough that I will probably be fairly successful in distorting it back to square.

This book My Babies Day is the second one of its kind I will be making. I already made one over a year ago for my now 18 month old granddaughter (see December 27, 2012 post) and this will be for the granddaughter just born this month. Each pair of pages is pinned right sides together by matching the corners. These pages lie much flatter than those in Ocean Babies but the fabric is still rather thin and more suited to a book than a quilt.

When I lay these six pinned rectangle out on the batting I will trim them and the batting all in one step. I will then sew around each, turn each, and stitch around the four outer edges. Once I put the pages in the right order, align the spine, stitch each spine and backstitch again ... Voila! Two more books will be ready to be scrumpled, stuffed in a mouth, drooled on, and oh, yes, hopefully read out loud.

Completed projects since 04/09/14 WIP post:
  1. Mailed DianeLoves2Quilt – Vol. 2 to my sister (April 14, 2014 post)
Ongoing projects:
  1. Monkey on a bike quilt (April 2, 2014 post) 
  2. Chicken quilt - awaiting FMQ
  3. Classic Cars strip quilt (August 3, 2013 post) - need to back, quilt, and bind
  4. Grinch quilt (May 22, 2013 post) - all borders added, need to back, quilt, and bind
  5. Overlapping square wall hanging - awaiting FMQ
  6. Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - hidden away awaiting inspiration for arranging hexagons
New projects since 04/09/14 WIP post:  
  1. Ocean Babies cloth book
  2. My Baby's Day cloth book

I will now link up to this week's WIP link party at Freshly Pieced.


  1. Lol! I love your creativity! There is a free iPad app called Inkpad, you can bring your photo into it, draw a layers and layers of designs...I did a video and post about it if you are interested!

    1. Yes I am interested. I read your post that stated you were about to do a tutorial. I downloaded the app and had some initial difficulty getting it to look at photos on the iPad that were not in Dropbox. Figured that out but then lost my way back to your post that spoke of Inkpad. Please give me the link to your video and post. Watching you and reading some more may help me use the tool.