Machine Quilting Made Easy!

Posted By on April 8, 2015

Machine QuiltingI’ve been quilting for a couple of decades and now my favorite part of the process is machine quilting. I used to be intimidated by machine quilting. When I first started quilting I was a hand quilter. But as you probably know, as therapeutic and beautiful as had quilting is, it just takes too long! Not to mention the potential carpal tunnel issues that seem to go along with years of hand quilting. So I was determined to learn to machine quilt. But when I started, I approached machine quilting from the viewpoint of a hand quilter. It wasn’t until I gave up the notion that machine quilting had to be marked and symmetrical, using stencils to mark, that machine quilting became easier and more fun.  True, you can find continuous-line machine quilting stencils, but marking a quilt takes nearly as long or longer than actually quilting it.  And when your designs are perfect and evenly spaced, even a non-quilter can see where you wen off the line and made a “mistake.”

Then one day I picked up a sale copy of Show Me How to Machine Quilt by Kathy Sandbach. As I started reading through the book, machine quilting was revolutionized for me.  According to Kathy, quilting doesn’t have to be perfect!  Think of it more as doodling, even drawing or “quilting” your design over several times, just like when you are doodling.  Don’t pick perfectly even hearts and stars to free-motion quilt, pick more whimsical designs.  And don’t waste your time marking, just go with it. Wow this was “crazy!” Everything I ever learned about quilting involved accuracy and perfection. Wouldn’t this negate all of the time and effort I had spent cutting and piecing so that all of the points were perfect and everything fit together like a glove? But I tried it anyway because I was tired of working so hard on a quilt and then stressing so much over the finishing or quilting process.

And much to my surprise, not only was this concept easy, it actually enhanced my quilts.  If you think about what you’ve learned about variety and selecting fabrics: variety of print scale, variety of value,different color combinations, why not vary the most common element of your quilts (angular, straight line, perfect piecing) with curvy free-form, even whimsical quilting.  Once I let go of the whole need to be “perfect” when I quilted, my quilts became much more advanced looking.  And the more I did free-motion quilting, not worrying about staying on a marked line, the more relaxed and free I began to feel.  And like I said before, it started to become my favorite part of quilting.  I couldn’t wait to get my quilts pieced and basted so that I could have “fun” quilting my quilts!

Angela Walters at Quilt Con 2015

Angela Walters at Quilt Con 2015

And now with the latest quilting movement known as “Modern Quilting,” I am truly in love with quilting again.  Modern quilting is asymmetrical with lots of negative or background space just begging for dense machine quilting. Not to mention the simple and often large scale piecing goes fast so that you can get right to the quilting or “fun” part of the process of quiltmaking.  Just this past February I attended Quilt Con with approximately 10,000 other modern quilters, the second annual Modern Quilting convention in Austin, Texas featuring hundreds of modern quilts, dozens of lectures and workshops and a huge vendors shopping mall. I heard a lecture with several of the quilters of Gee’s Bend and saw some of their beautiful quilts in the show. I went to dozens of other lectures by the top quilters and book authors of the modern quilt movement like Denyse Schmidt, Bill Kerr, Jacquie Gearing and Angela Walters. And I was lucky enough to get into a machine quilting workshop with Angela Walters, whose quilting I admire and books are great.  I learned lots more easy free motion designs to apply to various shapes on quilts.  It was all very inspiring and just helped to make me love machine quilting even more.

Quilt Con WorkshopIf you want to learn to love machine quilting as much as I do, consider taking one of my Machine Quilting Made Easy workshops.  I have one coming up at my studio on Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for just $45.  You will learn several basic all-over designs and lots of different free motion designs all without marking and all easy enough for a beginner machine quilter.  Even if you’ve been doing a lot of machine quilting, this is a great chance to improve your machine quilting and learn some new free motion designs My workshop focuses mostly on free motion machine quilting and easy techniques I have learned over the past few years and some of the great tips I learned at Quilt Con with Angela Walters.  You will be creating a box of machine quilted sandwiches which you can use as a reference tool when you are ready to machine quilt your quilts.  To register for this class, email me at qwm@rochester.rr.com or stop by my studio any First Friday or Second Saturday.  I’m also there during the day most weekday, but call first to be sure.

First Friday, April 3, 6 – 9 p.m.

Posted By on March 31, 2015

Dan Eaton2First Friday is coming up again this weekend. And I have a special guest, Dan Eaton. Dan will be playing solo acoustic guitar in my studio from 6 – 9 p.m. this Friday, April 3. Dan Eaton can make you a grilled-cheese sandwich in three minutes as a TV chef on Time Warner cable, or he can sing you a sweet, three-minute pop song. Eaton, frequently is heard around town as lead singer, songwriter and guitarist with The Dan Eaton Band. In January, The Dan Eaton Band celebrated the release of a self-titled debut CD, a collection of eight songs, all originals, mostly focusing on love and relationships. His CD will be available for sale Friday night in Studio #307, the Hungerford, 1115 East Main Street.

Got FabricI’ve doubled the amount of fabric for sale at my studio. Stop by and check out all of the new Westminster designer fabrics for just $7.50/ yard. Also find quilts, table runners, and miscellaneous handmade and quilted items for sale each month on First Friday.

 

New Date for Reversible Jelly Roll Quilt

Posted By on March 31, 2015

Reversibe Jely RollReversibe Jely Roll2The date for the new Reversible Jelly Roll Quilt has been changed to a Saturday one-day class, April 25, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  We will be making this easy reversible quilt from just one jelly roll and a sashing and backing fabric.  This is your chance to make something with one of those jelly rolls of your favorite fabric collection that you’ve been saving.  Or if you don’t have any jelly rolls in your stash, stop by my studio. I have lots of pre-cut jelly rolls for sale.  I also have the book this pattern comes from available for sale at my studio at 25% off the list price. Come spend a relaxing day at the studio and make a quilt.  Beginners welcome! To sign up, stop by this First Friday, April 3, from 6 – 9 p.m.  Or email me at qwm@rochester.rr.com.

6×6 Art Quilt Party

Posted By on March 27, 2015

Join us Saturday, March 28 from 1 – 4 p.m. at Studio #307, the Hungerford for a 6×6 Art Quilt Party. We’ll be making some more 6″ x 6″ art quilts to donate to the Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s annual fundraiser. I will have sewing machines, irons, cutting stations, fabrics and embellishments available, but feel free to bring your own supplies if you like.

Below are some of the 6×6 quilts we made at Quilting with Margaret’s Get-Away Weekend a few weeks ago. Read more about this annual art exhibit and sale at www.roco6x6.org.

6x6x2015

Paraffin Quilt Party

Posted By on March 18, 2015

What a relaxing and fun time we had at the 2015 Get-Away Weekend.  One of the fun extras was the paraffin hand treatment that was available to everyone.  If you’ve never been to a spa and had a paraffin treatment, here’s your chance to try it out.  It’s like a glove of warm paraffin which seals in the moisture.  It relaxes your hands and relieves any carpal tunnel or arthritis pain in your  hands.  Then after about 15 minutes, you peel the paraffin off like a glove.  And with the paraffin, goes all of those dead skin cells leaving your hands moisturized and soft.

So to celebrate spring and the end of winter, on Saturday, March 21, from 1 – 4 p.m., I’m throwing a Paraffin Quilt Party, so you can all check out this wonderful spa treatment.  Stop by my studio #307, at the Hungerford, 1115 East Main St. and receive a free paraffin hand treatment, have some refreshments, see a free demo and check out the new classes I have scheduled for this spring.  I just added 50 more bolts of new Westminster designer fabrics all priced at just $7.50 per yard.  Plus on this special day, I’ll be having a special sale: buy 5 yards of fabric from the 90+ bolts, you’ll get your 6th yard free.

So come by, check out my studio and say goodbye to winter and hello to spring! Shed your dry winter skin and celebrate spring with us!  This winter is finally almost over!!

Fabric 2015

Snowbound at Bristol Harbour

Posted By on March 16, 2015

Path from the Quilting Room to our Hotel Rooms

Path from the Quilting Room to our Hotel Rooms

Well! What a fun weekend we had at Bristol Harbour this year. It may have been a month earlier, but that only made this relaxing weekend even more fun. There was lots more snow than ever before, but we all made it up there safe, with more than three-quarters of the retreaters arriving a day earlier on Thursday to make the most of their weekend. It was picture perfect, with snowbanks piled high, like a ski resort in Vermont. No distractions to keep us from quilting…except the bar!

Vicki and Jane, 2013 Get-Away

Vicki and Jane, 2013 Get-Away

We celebrated our 10th year of Quilting with Margaret’s Get-Away Weekend with cake and champagne on Saturday night. Sadly we toasted a nine-year veteran, Jane Arundel, who passed away last December. Jane was a friend to us all and her name came up frequently throughout the weekend. She was definitely with us in spirit.

Since Theresa and Kelsey were unable to join us this year to do hot stone pedicures (due to Kelsey being about to give birth) we added something new instead. This year we spent Friday and Saturday giving each other paraffin hand treatments when we wanted a break from quilting. The warm paraffin was a welcomed break, soothing and moisturizing our busy hands. Some of us took advantage of this free spa treatment several times! And of curse there were the always welcomed chair massages Saturday afternoon. Tiffany and Lucia helped sooth our aching backs.

GetAway 2015Saturday night we had a special wine tasting with Mary Burden, an experienced wine enthusiast and Women for Winesense member. She taught us all about Spanish wines while offering us tastes of five different Spanish wines, a cava or sparkling, two reds and two whites. But the weekend was not all fun and games. We got lots of quilting done too. Despite the beautiful view out the window of snow-covered golf courses and a frozen Canandaigua Lake, with an occasional cross-country skier skiing by, there was no desire to go outside for a walk so we quilted all day and into the night. And when it was time to brave the cold to walk to our rooms, we were welcomed by cozy Adirondack-style rooms equipped with gas fireplaces and heated tile bathroom floors.

Snowed Inn at 2015 Get-Away

Snowed Inn at 2015 Get-Away

Bristol Harbour is a real winter retreat! Saturday we learned about the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn which hosts the juried Art=Quilts=Art exhibit each year. Donna Lamb who organizes this show, explained how quilt artist’s quilts are selected and how the cart center hangs the show. She also told us about another project of the Sweinfurth, Quilting-by-the-Lake, a summer workshop of nationally and internationally known quilt instructors. In other words, we relaxed, we learned, and we quilted (some of us sewed, cross-stitched, and scrapbooked). But we definitely all had fun!

And after having to leave this nearly perfect weekend of quilting, sewing, crafting and female companionship to return to our snow-covered driveways and our everyday lives, we welcomed this past week with the first hints of spring…warmer temperatures, sunny days, melting snow and I even heard a bird singing this morning. Yes, spring is just around the corner! Thanks to everyone who attended and helped make this our best ever Get-Away Weekend. And for those of you who are thinking, I wish I had come along too, mark your calendars for next year. We’ve already set the dates, April 7 – 10, 2016. Watch for details coming soon. Check out more photo from our weekend by clicking here to go to my Facebook page: Quilting with Margaret.

Class Signup Day and 2015 Events

Posted By on January 24, 2015

1966887_10203196476326807_4385827327638164891_nHappy New Year! It’s a new year and I have lots of fun classes, retreats, and events that I’m excited about. First, my annual Get-Away Weekend is earlier this year, March 5 – 8th at Bristol Harbour. This will be the tenth year and we already have the largest number signed up to date. It’s not to late to sign up, the deadline is February 10th. You can read more about it and download a sign-up brochure by clicking on the Get-Away page at the left. Sign up before January 30, to be included in the PRE – Get-Away Party, a new addition this year.

I have lots of new classes scheduled for this winter. Come see the samples and sign up for a quilting class at my studio on Friday, February 6, 6 – 9 p.m. My studio is #307 at the Hungerford, 1115 East Main St. I’ll have class specials and refreshments. It’s also First Friday in the building, so you can check out the other artists’ studios while you’re there.

Stack-N-Whack Pinwheel

Stack-N-Whack Pinwheel

New this year, are my one-day workshops. Each workshop will focus on a different topic or technique. You can choose either a Friday or a Saturday. And back again are my popular Open Studio classes where you can work on your own projects in a spacious studio and artists atmosphere. Choose between a Saturday during the day or a Wednesday after work. We meet each month. Of course I’ll also be offering some old favorites, like my popular Beginning Quilt class and a Stack-N-Whack Pinwheel class. And I also have a new Reversible Jelly Roll Class. These classes are several weeks long and you can choose between a day class or an evening class.

I will be offering my Sizzlin’ Summer Retreat again this spring. It will be the weekend after Memorial Day weekend, May 29 – 31, at Cafe Sewciety Quilts in Webster. You will have plenty of room in their large classroom with lots of natural sunlight. This year the retreat will be from Friday night through Sunday to better accommodate those of you who work. We’ll be doing several quilt tops and runner over this fun-filled weekend. Your meals will be included in the cost.

Find out more about all of these exciting things that are coming up by going to my Newsletter page at the left and downloading my current newsletter. Can’t wait to see you all this winter!

Two Easy Classes Coming Soon

Posted By on October 17, 2014

Effervescence3 Football QuiltMake this easy quilt from a jelly roll of 2 1/2″ strips. Yes it looks complicated, but it is simply 2 1/2″ strips sewed together into blocks. To get the wavy look, the blocks are twisted and cut so they look angled.  The “effervescence bubbles” are easy fused applique.

This fun class begins on Thursday, October 23rd,  at Jackie Lynn’s. Sign up and get a supply list at the store.

Also, coming up soon is the Football class at my studio #307, the Hungerford.  We’ll be making an easy strip-pieced lap quilt that looks like a football. This is a quick one-day class on Saturday, October 25.

Both of these quilts are easy enough to make now and complete in time for a special holiday gift!

Sign Up Sale

Posted By on September 4, 2014

Fabric for SaleThe Class Sign Up Sale for all of my fall classes at all locations is Friday, September 5, 2014 at my studio #307, the Hungerford, 1115 East Main St., from 6 – 9 p.m.  Sign up for three classes, and get the third lesser-priced class for 25% off. There will be refreshments and door prizes.  You can also check out my studio classroom and shop my $7.50/ yard fabrics. I just got some new prints in this summer.  There are also some jelly rolls, charm packs (perfect for the November SABLE project “Falling Charms”), and 25% off books and patterns.  It’s also First Friday, so lots of other studios will be open as well, selling their art.

In addition to the monthly Wednesday Open Studios, new this fall will be Saturday Open Studio classes. We meet once a month at my studio to work on your projects.  I have lots of large tables, adjustable office chairs, ironing and cutting stations, complementary coffee, tea, bottled water and a refrigerator and microwave for your use. Choose from Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. or Wednesday, 5 – 10 p.m. or attend both. The cost is only $20 each. And to introduce the new Saturday times, sign up and attend the September 13 class and get 3 yards of fabric of your choice for free. But you need to sign up ahead of time to assure the class isn’t full.

If you want to just sign up for classes at Jackie Lynn’s only, the Class Preview Sale is Saturday, September 6, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Jackie Lynn’s Discount Sewing Center, 475 East Ridge Dr., Irondequoit. Sign up for three classes with me at Jackie Lynn’s and get the third lesser-priced class at 25% off.  There will be refreshments, in-store specials and door prizes.

2015 Get-Away Weekend

Posted By on July 16, 2014

1010000_10203196507447585_8676164111835057096_n[1]Ten years ago I planned our first weekend Get-Away retreat at Bristol Harbour.  It’s grown over the years to 35 – 40 retreaters at this beautiful resort overlooking Canandaigua Lake.  Over the years, we’ve added spa treatments, guest speakers, wine and champagne tastings every evening, occasional movie nights and guest entertainment.  This year we will add the option to stay in one of the spacious two-bedroom cottages.  If you attended last year, we had both wine tastings in one of these cottages, which offer a common living space with dining area, two full baths, a fully equipped kitchen and a balcony or patio.  And since this will be our 10th anniversary, you can expect a special surprise!

And the best news is that this all-inclusive weekend is still priced the same as the past three years for a stay in the Adirondack-styled hotel rooms.  You can choose from a quad, a triple, a double (all with 2-queen beds) or a single (with 1 king bed).  All rooms have a balcony facing the lake, a gas fireplace, and a luxurious bathroom with heated tile floors.

Our classroom space is large and equipped with cutting and ironing stations.  Everyone gets their own table.  And there will also be an area to baste quilts.  Dinners will be served in the nearby dining room.  We will have restaurant-style seating with your choice from several dinner menu items Friday and Saturday night.  Breakfasts and lunches will be buffet style.

Sign up early and pay in full (by September 10, 2014) and you will receive a coupon good for one free class with me anytime during 2014-2015 (up to a $60 value).  Choose the installment plan and ay monthly if you prefer.  Put a $100 deposit down before the end of August, and your monthly installments for a double room will only be $55 per month.  Add the optional extra night and day and your monthly installment will be just $68 per month.

So get your friends together, and join us for this fun-filled Get-Away weekend at Bristol Harbour.  But don’t delay too long.  Last year we sold out and were filled up early.  This will be our tenth year and you don’t want to miss the celebration!  Click on the Get-Away Weekend page at the left to see more pictures, get a better description and download the 2015 Get-Away sign-up brochure.