Sunday, April 12, 2015

Quilting Concentric Circles on a Longarm Machine



I was recently commissioned to quilt off-center concentric circles on a customer quilt. I thought it fit perfectly with the quilt design, which was quite modern.

This is the second time I have done concentric circles on a quilt. 

What most people don't realize is that this is one of the hardest designs to do on a longarm machine. It's much more doable on a domestic machine, because you can rotate the quilt and use the feed dogs to get accurate spacing between each circle.

I've searched the internet multiple times looking for the easiest way to accomplish this design on a longarm. The truth is there isn't any easy way.

Well, sharing is caring...
so in hopes of making it easier for some of you that want to attempt this design, 
I'm posting a small tutorial on how I do this design.

The first, and most important, thing to do is mark the quilt, because you'll be loading it on a longarm quilt frame and will only have access to sections of it at a time.

I've marked my quilts two different ways. The first way is by using a string and a marking pen.

The following image is from www.sew4home.com. They have a great tutorial on how to make and measure circles without a pattern.

Keeping the string taut, draw a perfect circle using your homemade compass.


In order to get the concentric circles, you'll want to use a ruler to mark the spacing between each circle (typically 1 to 1.5 inches apart). Then put your pen on each mark, pull the string taut, and pin or hold the string in the center of the circle.

The second way I have marked my concentric lines is by using a template. This takes a little more prep work. I had my husband create templates on Adobe Illustrator by creating circles and printing out a small wedge of the circles. Each circle has a different curve because of their different circumferences.
The picture below shows one of the paper templates.



Once your quilt is marked and loaded on the frame, follow your marked lines to quilt each section.

You will have many stops and starts, because you're only working on one section of the quilt at a time. To make the stops and starts less obvious, try doing them at the pieced seam lines, as pictured below.





The hardest part about quilting these huge circles is making a smooth line of quilting, because there are no rulers that match every circle's curve exactly.


I have found that a straight ruler works best for the largest circles.


Change the angle of the ruler slightly as you quilt.


Once you've finished a section of the quilt, roll to the next section.



There might be a few wobbles here and there with your quilting lines, but don't stress about those too much.

In the end, it's worth all the hard work!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Quilt Bliss Retreat 2015 at Timber Moose Lodge in Heber, Utah

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently attended my first quilt retreat.

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to register for the QuiltBliss Retreat, and I'm so glad I did! It was such a fun and memorable experience. Every part of it, from the the lodge to the food to the games, teachers, classes, and of course the people, was fantastic! If you're considering going to a quilt retreat I'd definitely recommend QuiltBliss. I went not knowing a single person and left with lots of new quilty friends!

Here's my recap...

QuiltBliss Retreat is held at the TimberMoose Lodge in Heber, Utah.

A beautiful entryway.


It snowed on and off the entire time we were at the lodge, but we were toasty warm inside!


There were around 50 attendees. All of us and all of our quilting gear fit in the grand room.



There were some fantastic swaps during the retreat (bags, pincushions, fat quarters, polka dot fabrics, and animal fabrics). 

Cute pincushions that were swapped.


I love the succulent pincushion I ended up with!


And a yummy bundle of polka dot fabric!


We had some amazing teachers and amazing classes at the retreat.  

I learned how to hand dye fabric with Jeanette Hartvigsen. 



I freshened up on my English Paper Piecing skills with Heather Cartwright. 



And I learned how to do decorative big stitching on quilts with JoyLyn Rigby. I didn't get too far with this class sample, so sadly no picture yet.

We also had a class with Camille Roskelley learning how to make her Saltwater quilt.


I finished this block in the class.


And these two blocks later that day.


We were treated to a trunk show by Camille. 

It was such a treat to get to hear the stories of her quilts and how she started her quilting business at such a young age with the guidance and example of her mother. 
That was empowering to me. 
I hope that I can influence my children in such a way.





This last quilt was my favorite quilt of Camille's. It is a collection of many of her test blocks for her patterns. She was quite emotional when showing it (she wasn't the only one), as it is a culmination of her quilting journey. I think many of us quilters are sentimental about our own quilting journeys and what quilting has done for us.


Check out this cute Moda party decor.


One morning I slipped away to the peace and quiet of the hot tub. The view was spectacular. The wind was blowing the snow from the trees, which looked magical. But I was nice and warm in that hot tub all by myself.


This is one of the few projects I completed while at QuiltBliss. This is the Medallion pattern from Angela Pingel's book A Quilter's Mixology.


I took five or six WIPs and honestly thought with three days of quilting I'd finish more than I did.
 I guess quilting time was a trade off with all the classes, parties, swaps, and games, but the fun was well worth it.

This is my Thimbleblossoms Round&Round quilt (only one-third finished thus far).


Me and my backside became well acquainted with this fireplace!


Pamela Cardwell, the Executive Director of QuiltBliss loves Valentine's Day. Lucky us, we got a Valentine's Day party!


A few of my wonderful QuiltBliss friends.


The dessert was SPARKLING and oh so yummy!


My friend, Angela, wasn't very hungry for dessert, so I found the perfect-sized cookie for her. Lol!


Here are the QuiltBliss Diehards! Last-minute quilting (and a little dancing) was going on here. We were having so much fun it was hard for me to leave the party and go to bed.


Speaking of bed...
Here's a pic of my bunk room. 
Yes, I shared a queen-size bunk with a stranger, who is now my friend.
She made an awkward situation bearable. :)


Me and some of my roomies.


Lovely new friends were made from all over the world! Even Canada, Eh!



And here's a little tour of the lodge...

An indoor swimming pool that went unused at our quilt retreat.


A cozy sitting room.


The game room.


The deck.




We had some great sponsors that gave us wonderful swag! 


And check out this cute pincushion, pouch, and binder my secret friend made for me. So much to love here!


So much to love about QuiltBliss retreat. I hope to attend again next year! 

 
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