The sock in the gut last Sunday was fierce… not another mass murder hate crime. How can we help the healing?
The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild offers one way that quilters can reach out to those impacted by the tragedy at the Pulse Night Club on June 12, 2016. The call is out for bright, happy heart quilts using rainbow colors. Want to join us? We’d like to help them out with finished quilts.
The OMQG asks that the quilts be between 48 x 60 and a twin size. Laurena is purchasing white on white fabric to back 10 quilts. She will use the fabric with the blocks on the front to capture that modern esthetic.
Would you like to help us in this effort?
On Sunday July 10 from 1 to 5pm, we’ll meet to begin assembling quilts (or who knows? Maybe there will already be tops to quilt!) here at our studio in Burlington, MA. If you’d like to attend or contribute blocks, just RSVP here
Is there something in the air? Is it spring madness? Lately, we’ve seen some tiny quilt backs. I’m talking about quilt backs a mere 2″ bigger than the front. That’s tight! Ideally, your quilt back should be 6″ – 10″ longer and wider than your top. There may be a pieced quilt back in your future!
Add a contrasting fabric down the middle of your quilt back. Linda rented one of the hand guided machines this week and was gracious enough to let us photograph her backs. In the first quilt back, she’s added a coordinating print to two strips of solid.
In her second quilt back, she stitched strips of black on black prints and bordered them in red. What a great way to use up the leftovers!
Apply the Rule of Thirds to your quilt back. The Rule of Thirds is used by artists and cinematographers to create a pleasing composition. The camera on your phone may have the horizontal and vertical grid which divides your frame into a “nine patch” or “tic tack tow.” Creating movement around the center quadrant is pleasing to your eye. How do you do this yourself? Take the dimensions of your quilt back and divide them by 3. Add a strip of fabric a third of the way across your back or create your own nine patch of made from stash fabric.
Improvise your quilt back with leftover blocks
There’s a lovely tutorial on how they approach piecing a quilt back on Modern Quilt Relish. It makes a very interesting back, albeit more time consuming. A design wall helps to lay out options. Need a big design wall? Come to Sew Social, on first and third Thursdays. We’ve got loads of room to spread out and a wall covered in batting, ready for your quilt back improvisation.
As we head into summer, the spring madness of small quilt backs will probably calm down. However, what goes around, comes around! Be sure to keep in mind that a quilt back should be at least 6″ – 10″ longer and wider than your quilt top.
Our “Learn to Use a Longarm” classes are filling up quickly in 2016. Laurena always says that real quilting begins when you return, ready to use the longarm yourself for the first time after the class.
We’re there to support you on your longarm journey, helping you load the layers and preparing for the first stitch. When the sides are clamped and you’ve tied down your threads, it’s all yours!
Here are 5 Tips for Beginning Longarm Quilters
Be nice to yourself! Feeling unsure is normal; after all, you’re trying something new. Probably you’ve gone to shows, liked photos on social media and read books, so you’ve seen fabulous examples of longarm quilting. You probably don’t see everyone’s first longarm quilting experience. Even if you’ve been machine quilting, remember that you are learning.
Breathe. Are your shoulders hunched, or your jaw tight? Longarm quilting can be really pleasurable. Our hand guided machines all have adjustable table heights for a physically comfortable experience. A couple of long exhales before starting to quilt lets you release any anxiety built up.
Choose a simple quilt top. Practice makes improvement. If the only quilt top you own has 5,000 pieces and you want to use rulers, and fill it with feathers, save it for another day. Make a simpler top, use muslin or a choose a charity quilt top for your beginning longarm quilting.
Choose a simple quilting pattern. Organic, flowing shapes that suggest a motif are great for many quilts. You can practice smooth, consistent movement across the quilt which results in lovely, even stitching.
Give your quilting the horseback view. Did you ever hear the adage that “if you can’t see it from the back of a galloping horse, no one else will?” It’s true!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so enjoy your time with the longarm quilting machine. It’s about the quilting experience as much as it is the quilt.
Ok, quilters: Do you have any other suggestions or advice for newbie longarm quilters?