Friday, November 14, 2014

Machine Quilting Tricks

I was most fortunate to get an opportunity to spend time at a recent retreat hosted by world famous quilting sisters Pat Holly and Sue Nickles. These two Michigan girls know how to home sewing machine quilt. It was five days packed with information, instruction and inspiration.

 I am not new to machine quilting. I received "sticker shock" back in 2005 and it was the cost of having quilts completed by a long arm quilter that sent me to my home sewing machine. Thus I began  to quilt my quilts on my sewing machine. I have many quilts that I quilted and I must say much of the knowledge I have received about this endeavor has come from talking to quilting friends, reading books and much trial and error. There are things like needle size, thread size and different types of batting that matter.

There are many books written about  machine quilting by many different quilt artists. But the ultimate learning experience for me was sitting down with the pros at my own sewing machine and learning what they have to teach.

I have been sewing on a Bernina 440 with a BSR stitch regulator since this machine first introduced into the market. The Holly girls are Bernina embassadors and are familiar with this invention. I call it the $1,000.00 foot . The Holly girls refer to the foot as "quilting with training wheels."  It is quite the electronic attachment that helps control stitch length while free motion quilting. During the retreat I learned to quilt without the BSR.  Basically it means to slow down and be more intentional about where the stitches are going.

I learned to mark a quilt and draw feather designs. Personally, I have never been big on marking a quilt. My free motion sometimes calls for  register marks to keep the size of the quilting even, but for the most part I just jump in and quilt. I'm glad I now have these skills to add to my quilting arsenal. And I am going to use some of the feather designs on a top that I have waiting to be quilted.

I will also be returning to the Holly Girls Retreat in 2015. What wonderful teachers and I want to add more to my quilt skills arsenal.

This is the detail work on my 18"x18" sampler from The First Holly Girls Retreat.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great retreat. Learning new techniques & tricks is good & there's always more to learn.