Happy New Year!!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, it feels like it went by in a huge blur, but it was very enjoyable.  2014, wow, it will be at least till June before I will write the correct year on my checks.

In the beginning of each year I like to review how the previous year went and look to see what I would like to accomplish in the new year.  One of the things that came to mind was my blog.  I am going to try and be a better “blogger”.  This year I would like to use my blog to post things I feel would be helpful in both long arming and quilting in general.  I am by no means saying I am an expert and what I convey may or may not be helpful to you but I am going to give it a go.  So here goes nothing… ( I could be talking to myself here..)

I have been working hard on my template class for the spring.  I tend to procrastinate so I have 2 more classes to finish up as well but since I am teaching the template class at Olde City Quilts on Jan 18 from 10-2 (hint, hint) I figure that I better work on that one first.  😉  If you can’t make it to Olde City, I will be teaching this at Birds of a Feather, MQX East and HMQS in Salt Lake City in the coming months.  Click here for dates.

Some things to think about…. not everyone will love quilting with templates as much as I do and that’s ok.  Templates are for creating accuracy not speed.  You will not be an expert right out of the gate but don’t get frustrated.  One of the hardest things is getting use to holding the template.  You will want a secure hold but not a death grip, you don’t want to press too hard or the machine won’t move either.  I have found that if you put a piece of paper underneath your template on a flat surface, you will want to apply enough pressure that you are able to pull the paper out from underneath but not too much that the paper won’t pull out at all.  There is also a give and take, side to side as well since your hopping foot is being guided by the template.    This class is great for beginners as we go over all of this in class.

One question I get asked a lot is what is my favorite template for beginners.  I believe that if you have determined that you like using templates, you must have a straight edge ruler and a set of circles.  You can get by with just these two  for some time.  ( I am working on my straight edge now.  I just need to make sure the size is right).    There are so many things you can use the circles for aside from wreaths, you can use them for CC (continuous curves), spines, swags, clamshells etc.  I also use them for marking scallops for borders.  You will not regret having them!

One last item about templates…. SID or stitch in the ditch.  If you like custom work, this is a skill worth mastering.  There is a high side and a low side of a seam.  You will want to SID on the low side with a thread that blends.  If you quilt for other people, check out their seam pressing before suggesting a lot of ditch work.  I have found that some seams go both  ways….


If the seam indeed goes both ways, sometimes you will be able to “swipe” the seam back to its correct side.  Insert a needle or pin on the low side near the seam and swipe the needle in an arc shape to push the seam back.


This is not always possible but worth a try so you don’t have to jump the ditch.  🙂 I like to use monopoly thread when I am doing ditch work but silk thread works great as well.  You will want a thinner thread so it disappears.

This is the sample for the hands on template class.  This is a class designed to get you comfortable with using holding and using templates,  straight edge and circles.  Hope to see you in class.

Template sample

If you have any questions about templates, don’t hesitate to ask.  You can find mine line of templates at http://www.stonehousequilting.com