Frequently Asked Questions
What classes do you teach?
I currently teach 8 classes and I am open to teach other classes tailored to your group’s needs. I use technology in class so that when I demo, it is projected and students at the back of the class can clearly see what I am doing. All of my classes are encouraging, light-hearted and supportive. These are my most requested classes:
- Yes You CAN Free Motion Quilt! — Appropriate for the absolute beginner or the quilter with some experience who wants to improve their free motion quilting.
- Fearless Free Motion 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.
- How Do I Quilt That? — Students submit photos of their unquilted tops and based on your skill level and preferences, a quilting plan for that quilt will be presented and discussed. All participants learn from the discussion.
- Fearless Free Motion – Start With a Square — Create a unique free motion quilted piece using a “starter” scrap of fabric as inspiration. Perfect for experienced beginners as we create your piece step-by-step and learn lots of new patterns along the way.
- Fearless Feathers Four Ways — Learn 4 ways to make gorgeous feathers. As we build feathers a baby step at a time, you’ll see that creating feathers is fun and easy!
- Fearless Trapunto by Machine — 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 Free Motion Quilting Motifs for the Modern Quilter — Modern quilts have unique needs. Learn some fun, unique and creative ways to quilt your Modern quilt on a domestic machine using free motion.
- Fearless Free Motion and Cutwork — 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 call some of 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”. Well I say “plactice”, meaning playful practice! I have three specific suggestions:
- My book, “Free Motion Quilting from Ordinary to Extraordinary: 3 Steps to Joyful Free Motion Quilting in 21 Days“ provides a simple format to boost your skills to being “quilt ready” in 21 days! I provide suggestions and projects to make building your free motion quilting style fun and easy. You CAN quilt your own quilts on a domestic machine!
- The key to success is perseverance and “plactice”. Plactice is the art of making practice playful and my book helps you do that. Be playful as you build your skills, be forgiving of yourself as your skills emerge, let this be fun!
- Now, find a pre-printed panel, layer it up with a backing and batting, and get to “placticing”. It’s just the easiest way to get into it once you’ve reached a level of quilting on a real item. 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 three 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 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 730 Artista that I also purchased used and my new baby, a 765 which has a longer harp and a humongous bobbin. 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. For me that is a BERNINA :-)
- Quality fabric, batting, needles and thread. I use Superior Titanium coated Topstitch needles and many times Superior, Aurifil or Quilters Select threads.
- 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). I prefer Supreme Slider.
- Something in/on your hands for good grip: quilting gloves, Quilter’s Halo, glycerin, quilting discs, etc) I use Wonder Grip gloves.
- Quality, small curved tip scissors (I like Rainbow Easy Kut) to cut ends.
- Either a cabinet to set your machine in or a table top surround ( love my Koala).
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.