A Few Days Quilting with Angela Walters

My Modern Quilt Guilt is great, and they really know how to put on an event.  Last year they brought in Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and this year it was Angela Walters.  She held a lecture, a dinner, and four days of workshops.  It was truly an awesome weekend.

When I first signed up for the workshops I hadn’t yet bought the long arm.  I signed up for 2 workshops, as well as the dinner, and originally planned to take the class on my domestic machine.  However after I bought my long arm I was able to make a request and get on a long arm for the classes, which was really great.

I am a big Angela fan.  I have 4-5 of her books and have taken at least 2 of her Craftsy classes.  I find her funny, approachable and clear, and as an instructor she really does a good job giving you confidence and making it ok to not be perfect.  Because of all of this, I was really looking forward to the events!

The workshops were held at the shop where I bought my Berninas and my Avante long arm.  They normally have 2-3 long arms on the sales floor, so I was really excited to go into their classroom and see 9…yes 9!…Avante long arms.

All of them were on 4-foot frames to fit so many in the room, where there were also 4 Sweet Sixteen sit-down mid-arms and two big tables for students with their domestic machines.  I think Handi-Quliter, whom Angela is a spokesperson for, drove in a big truck with all of these machines.  They also had a Handi-Quilter educator available all day during the classes to help, answer questions…and change bobbins!


The first workshop was called Little Changes, Big Variety.  Honestly, I had seen most of these techniques in either her books or the Craftsy classes, but it was really great to get the instruction in person.  It was also so great to just work on the machine for the day and practice, practice, practice.

Between the Handi-Quilter educator and the other students I also got a lot of tips – like setting tension and what thread to use.  I knew that people like to match the color of the top and bottom threads to mask little tension issues, but I had no idea they were using different threads.  I learned about Bottom Line and SuperBobs – both are 60wt poly thread from Superior.  The suggestion was that a heavier thread in the bobbin can help keep the tension in the lighter upper thread from needing to be so tight.  Cool stuff – I bought 4 spools of Bottom Line to try out.

Here are some samples from my practice:

First time trying clam shells:

and cool feathered paisleys:

The second workshop was about Quilting the Modern Quilt and Quilting Negative Space.  Again, I had seen a number of these designs before, but it was really great to practice them.

Some samples – I really like the square in a square technique:

and this merging lines pattern too:

I won some fat quarters, from which I made this handy thread catcher/pin cushion.  I love this thing.

Angela also had a bunch of stuff for sale, so I decided it was my duty to take a few things off her hands:

I actually won the Hailey’s Stars pattern in a drawing – I might have to make one of those.  It is a cool pattern.  The fabric on the right is a few yards of a wide backing fabric which I’m looking forward to using.

Angela was just great – so gracious and generous with her time.  She also brought her whole family with her to Albuquerque, and I think they enjoyed their time here.

I am now motivated to go off and quilt some of these quilts I’ve been afraid to tackle!

Black and White Stripes

This was another pack of fat quarters I bought, which came with a pretty cool pattern.  The pattern showed blocks with 2 colors, using stripes of varying widths.  I thought it was perfect for the contrast of the black and white, and I’ve always wanted to do a black and white quilt.

Cutting it up went pretty quickly, and sewing the strips together was fast work.  However, I had previously read that sewing together strips could wind up with a very wonky and skewed block.  I tried to mitigate that problem by reversing directions that I sewed the strips, as I had read to do, but it really didn’t help much – man were my blocks wonky!  I did the best I could to straighten them up and get the top together.

From there, time to quilt.  Up to this point I had been doing all custom quilting using my longarm to get practice, but I decided to try out the Avante Prostitcher on this one.  It is a pretty slick system – you load up a quilting design, set the size of your quilt, and it automatically sews for you.  I had watched the instructional videos and had a vague sense of what I needed to do, but still had a pretty steep learning curve.  I set aside a Saturday to tackle the project, and set to work.

Loading up the instructional videos again, I set out to figure out the software.  It really was pretty straightforward process, and I had it stitching in about an hour.  I’ve tried to load a video of it stitching in action, but it appears the video is too large of a file.  You can see the video on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

I finished quilting the whole thing in about 4-5 hours, which is longer than it should have been as I had some issues getting everything reset when I ran out of bobbin thread.  But that it still pretty quick, and after adding some machine binding she was done.

Here she is:

I found a cool black, white, and gray print for the back:

Some detail of the quilting – I chose a continuous flower/daisy design and used a light gray thread:

Finally, Maggie decided to get in on the photo shoot, deciding she looks really good with a black and white backdrop.  (really I think she just wanted to figure out what her dad was doing):


This quilt was another one on my Q1’17 FAL list, so I’ll be linking it up when the time comes.




Rings Quilt

I really like to buy pre-cuts.  I like getting the variety of all the fabrics without having to stand around and get all of that fabric cut.  However, I then wind up with a lot of pre-cuts that I’m not sure what to do with.

I had this layer cake that I had no plan for, and at this point I don’t even remember what fabric line it is.  I went looking at the Moda Bake Shop and found this rings quilt, created by Melissa Corry.  I really like circles and rings in quilts, so this quilt was a good one for me.

Construction of the quilt top was really easy – just sew together 4 rows of 4 layer cake squares each, making a 16 square, 4×4 grid.  You then cut out various sized rings from the rest of the fabric and use basting spray to attach them to the top, linking them up to make chains of rings.  For quilting on a domestic machine, she has you baste the grid to your batting and backing before adding the rings. You then quilt the whole thing, using the quilting to stitch down the rings permanently.  Since I was doing this on a long arm, I spray basted the rings to the grid and then loaded it on the frame as I would any other quilt top.

This was the process I used to spray baste the rings.  It is very similar to Melissa’s, and her tutorial was very good.  Here is my box for the spraying:

I laid out the rings in a section of the top to decide how to arrange them:

Cut the ring I wanted to connect in:

Tuck it behind the ring I was connecting it to:

and then make sure it stuck to the top:

More rings:

Some of the rings were pesky about wanting to stick down, so the loading it on the frame was a very delicate, careful process.

From there, how to quilt it?  Melissa Corry has a video showing how to do some interlocking circles as an all-over design, and it looks great on her quilt.  I practiced the circles for a bit, and I just didn’t like how mine were turning out.  I was also worried about getting enough stitching around the edges of the rings so they wouldn’t go anywhere.  I settled on wavy lines around the edges of the rings, pebbles on the inside of the rings, and then swirls with a few leaves as a background filler.

I used Warm and Natural batting, and Isacord #0142 thread, a lightish gray.  I found a really pretty backing fabric that has the same colors as the rings:

Here are some photos of the quilting in progress:

And a few of the finished quilt.  I machine bound it with a yellow polka dot fabric:

and the back:

I like how it came out, and I really like the quilting.  I did have problems with the edges of the rings fraying quite a bit, so I don’t love that, but I guess that is the downside to a construction process that was really quick.  I’d have to think about using another method if I do something like this again.

This quilt was on my Q1’17 FAL list, so I’ll be linking it up when the time comes.

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