“From the Drawing Board to the Quilt”
Before he steps up to his longarm machine, Jamie Wallen first draws the design on paper, then practices the motions by tracing the movements with a pen, establishing the hand-eye coordination that will translate directly when he starts sewing the design on the longarm machine.
Jamie stands at an easel with a large drawing pad, art pen in hand and draws his Hearts Take Flight design. Practicing his design establishes the movements between his brain and hands, so that when he moves to the longarm machine he “draws” with the needle effortlessly. It’s a muscle memory process with the pen never leaving the paper. Jodie traces over his design then tries drawing the heart design on her own.
Jodie and Jamie examine a completed Dragonfly Fusion design sewn with YLI thin metallic thread. Jamie then draws his Dragonfly Fusion design on the pad by drawing a “tornado” line for the body and leaf shapes for wings. Decorating the image is the next step. Anything you can do with an art pen you can do on the longarm. He uses contour lines to fill in the top wings and a pebble pattern for the lower wings. To clean up the outline edges he uses a back and forth sketching line rather than a solid line. Free motion quilting requires brain-hand coordination and this drawing helps us “remember” the pattern.
YLI threads may be purchased at your local quilt shop
Jodie and Jamie step to the longarm machine and look over a completed heart design quilt. They then work on a sample piece. Jamie suggests setting the machine for 12 stitches to the inch and a regulated stitch so the stitches keep up with your movements, making you the boss. Begin in the upper left corner and back stitch to lock threads. Stitch just as you drew. Jamie adds another heart element to the sample and adds echoing to blend the designs together. Jodie tries her hand at free motion quilting the heart design. This creates a trapunto design with the hearts a positive space while the echo stitching creates negative space.
The Hearts Take Flight pattern is available on the Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show web site at QNNtv.com
Short Takes on Longarm Quilting with Vicki Hoth
Jodie and Vicki discuss choosing the correct batting for your project. There are three basic questions to ask:
1. How will the quilt be laundered?
2. How will it be used?
3. How much warmth do you want?
They then examine the various types of batting available:
Green-recycled from plastic
Black battings are available to use with dark quilts
For more information on batting, go to QNNtv.com
Jamie demonstrates creating the dragonfly on the quilt. The body is made from couched eyelash yarn which he winds around his hand several times and then twists to form the head and slender body. The prepared yarn is slipped under the machine foot and couched in place. Using YLI thin metallic thread Jamie stitches in the wings, then adds texture lines to give a web look to the upper wings and a pebble design to the lower. He outlines the wings with a sketching line to avoid thread buildup. Have no fear, play with the thread adding antenna, tendrils, and whatever suits your fancy.
Jodie shows a completed dragonfly quilt with added gemstones and various metallic threads.
The dragonfly design isn’t just for quilts. The design has been added to Jamie’s messenger bag pattern making a beautiful accessory.
YLI threads may be purchased at your local quilt shop.