What classes do you teach?
I currently teach 5 classes and I am open to teach other classes tailored to your group’s needs. These are my most requested classes:
- Intro to Fearless Free Motion — Appropriate for the absolute beginner or the quilter with some experience who wants to improve their free motion quilting.
- Fearless Curves ‘n Feathers — You will learn to make gorgeous feathers to put into your work as well as a lovely filigree curvy fill motif.
- More Fearless Free Motion Quilting With Trapunto — This class is perfect if you have just a little experience with free motion quilting. You will learn to add dimension to your quilts by having extra batting in featured parts of your quilt, as well as learn new fill motifs.
- Fearless Fills and Frills — If you have some experience with free motion quilting and are tired of using the same motifs, this class is for you! You’ll learn a variety of motifs to feature in your work or use as background fill.
- Cutwork Table Topper — Using simple motifs , students with just a little free motion quilting experience can create a fun, adorable table topper in either a daisy or Christmas theme. This is a fun, relaxing class.
Why do you name your classes “Fearless”?
I think the biggest barrier to successful free motion quilting is the internal critical voice. If you can let go of that, you can successfully free motion quilt. Really all we’re doing when we free motion quilt is using thread, fabric and machine to quilt-no big deal.
Sometimes just being in a classroom can cramp your style-I know it does for me! So my hope, my goal, is for my students to let go of that fear and that critical voice and just have fun with it. So what if your class sample is not that great-you’re learning something new and it may take awhile.
What’s the best way to learn to free motion quilt?
All FMQ teachers say the same thing: “practice”. I have two specific suggestions:
- Try my “21 Days to Successful Free Motion Quilting” challenge-this is exactly how I began to free motion quilt. Set up your sewing machine for free motion quilting, place 21+ quilt sandwiches (at least 14”x14”) by the side of the machine, and every day, for 21 days, just plop yourself down and play for 20 minutes. It’s that simple. Don’t judge your progress, just sit down and doodle with a needle. You will likely find yourself “quilt ready” in 21 days!
- Then, find a pre-printed panel, layer it up with a backing and batting, and get to quilting. It’s just the easiest way to get into it once you’ve reached a level of quilting on real items, not practice sandwiches. It’s a minimal financial investment and if you don’t like it, not a big deal-give it to someone who will enjoy it!
These two actions will build your skills so that you can tackle that stack of UFO’s with confidence!
Do I need a new or expensive machine to be successful at Free Motion Quilting?
NO! You only need a decent machine, in good repair that you know how to use. Some things definitely make it easier: a standard sized machine or larger (more room to maneuver the quilt), with needle up/needle down capability.
It is very useful to have adjustable pressure foot pressure also-that way you can easily accommodate quilted work of varying of thickness.
It’s also important to know your machine well. I’d rather you work with an old machine you know and understand, than a new one that you are not familiar with.
What machine do you use?
I’ll answer this, but I want you know it doesn’t matter much which specific machine I use (see above!). I have 3 Berninas: a 153 (a very plain machine circa 2001 I think), a 185 that I purchased used and a 730 Artista that I also purchased used. All are mid-range computerized machines.
If you’re looking to buy a new machine, I suggest you take your time, try out several, and please buy it from your local dealer. Almost all dealers will match internet prices and you get support and education from your local dealer-priceless!
Does thread really make much of a difference?
Absolutely positively yes! Quality thread is smooth and supple. It behaves well in the bobbin and runs through the needle with no fraying/breaking/knotting. It’s easy to properly tension. It makes the process of quilting so much more pleasurable! Excellent thread is worth every penny.
What basic equipment do I need to Free Motion Quilt?
If I could gift you with a starter set, it would include the following:
- A decent machine in good repair that you enjoy and understand.
- Quality fabric, batting, needles and thread.
- A straight stitch plate for your machine.
- A Teflon sheet for the bed of your machine to make the quilt easy to move (Supreme Slider, Sew Slip, etc).
- Something in/on your hands for good grip: quilting gloves, Quilter’s Halo, glycerin, quilting discs, etc)
- Quality, small curved tip scissors to cut ends.
- Either a cabinet to set your machine in or a table top surround.
You can quilt the world if you’ve got all that!
Why do you call yourself “the quiltskipper”?
It reflects the joy I feel when I quilt. In 2004 I was working a large whole cloth quilt: “If Diane Met Karen”. I loved that quilt and how it was shaping up. When I would take my quilting breaks, I would skip around the house in joy, hence I began to think of myself as a “quilt skipper”. Silly yes, but that is the way I feel about free motion quilting!
What inspires you?
I see inspiration everywhere-in the details of my home décor, in nature, in my own doodles, in fabric. I am especially inspired by the plantings in my yard.
And I have been inspired by a few key teachers: Diane Gaudynski in my free motion work and Susan Khaljie in my garments.
I am also active in my local quilt guild-Folsom Quilt and Fiber Guild, as well as Studio Art Quilt Associates and American Sewing Guild-I find inspiration and support galore in each of these.
How would you describe your work?
I currently work primarily in a “whole cloth” format where there is little or no piecing, and the quilting tells the story. I think of my needle and thread as carving the batting to create line and shadow, hence it becomes almost sculptural work. In my garments, I strive for perfect fit and a wearable but beautiful piece of art.