What Should I Quilt Where?

Posted by on May 31, 2017


Here are some helpful tips to help you make those all-important decisions!

What did I create the quilt for?

  1. Heavy use
  2. Display
  3. Heirloom
  4. Quilt show

Do I want the stitching to be the focus?

Do I want the piecing to be the focus?

Shall I enhance the block piecing?

  1. Does the block need to be divided into smaller sections?
  2. Shall I soften the geometric design with curves?
  3. Shall I repeat a design with quilting that was created with piecing?

Is there applique in the block?

  1. Does the applique need texture or outlining?
  2. Shall I quilt densely around the applique to make it “pop.”
  3. Shall I stitch over the applique?

Does my quilt have rows?  Do I want to quilt to emphasize the rows in my quilt?

Is my quilt too busy for custom quilting?  Will the quilting get lost?

Do I have negative space in my quilt?

  1. Shall I divide the negative space into smaller areas?
  2. Shall I repeat elements already in my quilt or something completely different?

Shall I match the thread so it doesn’t stand out, or use contrast thread to create another element in the quilt and show off the stitches?

Design Methods:

Graph paper, clear gridded plastic, Plexiglas the size of the block, white board pen, chalk, fabric pen, etc.

Don’t be afraid to make registration marks to help you make design elements.


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Now, How Do I Actually Quilt with a Longarm Sit Down?

Posted by on May 26, 2017


by Myrl Breinholt | TinLizzie18 Educator

Principles to keep in mind:

  1. Working towards you is easiest since you are able to see where you are going.
  2. You can create muscle memory and hand-eye coordination by doodling basic shapes with paper and pencil.  Your brain cannot distinguish between whether you are quilting or drawing.
  3. Your eye should be focusing ahead of your needle rather than where you are quilting at the time.  A ball player will tell you that your hand will follow your eye.

Prepare your quilt with a backing four inches wider and longer than your quilt top.  This will make it easier to insure the backing will cover the entire quilt even if it shifts a bit. 

  1. Spray adhesive works well to hold the quilt sandwich together while it is prepared.
  2. Lay the batting out.  Roll the quilt back onto a broom handle, mailing tube or similar object so you will be able to spray adhesive a few inches at a time on the batting and roll the backing and then the quilt top out onto the batting, a little at a time, smoothing as you go.
  3. Use Safety Pins set about four or five inches apart all over the quilt to hold it securely while it is quilted.  Remove the pins as you get to them.
  4. Roll the quilt, burrito-style and begin quilting in the center of the quilt.   Work your way out of the middle, then return to the middle and work out to the other side.

How do I start?

  1. It is important to bring up the bobbin thread as you begin.  To do so, while gentling holding the upper thread, tap the foot control to cause a full rotation of the needle.  This will cause the needle to make a complete stitch and will bring the bobbin thread to the top.  Pull the bobbin thread up through your project until you find the end.  Take hold of both the bobbin thread and the upper thread while you tap the foot control about three times to secure your thread very near where you brought up the bobbin thread.  (You may use the needle up and needle down button instead of tapping the foot control.)
  2. Begin your design and then trim the long thread ends before they become entangled in the design.  (Some people like to “bury” the thread ends with a hand needle rather than cutting them.)

How do I end?

  1. When you come to the end of a row or design it is important to make a secure stitch as in the beginning of your design.
  2. Again tap the foot control three times to secure the thread.
  3. Pull the thread just below the take up lever to release a length of thread without causing it to break in the needle.  Raise the presser foot and pull the extra thread through the needle.  Make sure the needle is at the same position as your last stitch and lower the presser foot lever.  Hold onto the extra thread (it will be like a loop) and tap the foot control once to bring bobbin thread to the top of your project.  When you pull on the needle thread the bobbin thread will be pulled up and you are then able to trim both threads.  (Or again, you may bury the threads if you prefer.)
  4. If you do not bring up the bobbin thread in this manner, it will continue to be connected and be dragged all over the back of the quilt.
  5. When the needle thread breaks it is important to bring the bobbin thread up as well.  In this case it will not be disconnected.  Cut near the end of the thread that is not pulling free.

Quilting gloves with grippers work well.  Quilting hoops also may be useful to move the fabric around easily.


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Muscle Memory: What is it?

Posted by on May 19, 2017


Muscle memory is the ability to become competent completing an action or movement without conscious thought.  This is accomplished because of frequent and deliberate repetition of that movement.  We all have much of our daily activity that has become muscle memory.  Most of us don’t think much about brushing our teeth, buckling our seat belt or even typing our name.

“Your muscles don’t actually have brains, but rather your brains have learned to quickly call upon these quick procedure lists to get certain tasks done as quickly and efficiently as possible.  The more often you complete these tasks, the less “processing power” your brain needs to complete the task, the more automatic it becomes. Think of it sort of like a cache…We are creatures of habit.  The things that we do on a daily basis, the way we walk, the way we talk, the way we sleep (or not sleep), the things that make us happy or sad, are all results of hundreds and hundreds of repetitions of these activities. “ https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/is-muscle-memory-a-real-thing/

So, how does that effect how I quilt with my Longarm quilting machine?  My piano teacher would always say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.”  Any time we repeat an activity our brain remembers to repeat it more efficiently next time.  It is important to practice a lot and with the best method possible so our muscle memory will be as accurate as possible.

1-Practice quilting elements using a white board, holding your wrist rigid similar to the way you hold the handles on your quilting machine.

2-Repeat the element over and over improving its accuracy moving left, right, up, down and diagonally.  You will learn which way to move to create the element in all directions without much thought.

3-Go to the machine and move it in the same manner without stitching.

4-Now you are ready to turn the machine on and practice the elements while the machine is stitching!

The beauty of repetition in quilting is that each element that becomes part of your muscle memory makes each succeeding element a bit easier to accomplish.  It takes time and effort, but isn’t that how we learn?  Learn, practice and become an accomplished quilter!




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Finding Confidence for Longarm Quilting

Posted by on May 9, 2017


We Learn By: Observation, Imitation, Repetition

—Denis Waitley

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

—Helen Keller

Here’s some inspiration to help you along your quilting journey!

Attend quilt shows.

Volunteer at shows.

Take pictures.

Take classes including internet subscriptions.

Sketch what you see.


Make an inspiration notebook.

Do charity quilts.

Join quilting groups.

Join the longarm group on Facebook.

Pinterest is a great resource.

Subscribe to magazines that teach about quilting skills, not only piecing skills (be selective).

Be patient with yourself.

Teach what you have learned.

Save your practice pieces (you will feel encouraged about your progress when you see how far you’ve come).

Go away from your work when you are tired. It always looks better when you are rested.

Use positive self-talk. Shun negative self-talk (I am capable. I am confident. I know with time and effort I can achieve. Each step is taking me to where I want to be.)

Practice. Practice. Practice!


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