Monthly Archives: March 2015

Sharon Schamber Free Motion Quilting Class

I didn’t get around to blogging last week as I came back from having a great time at Mountain Quiltfest up in Tennessee and re-entry to real life is always tough! Lots of household fires to stamp out that took me all week to get a handle on. It’s great to get away with my friends for some serious quilting time, but also great to get back home ( I think ??!).
Anyway, on to reporting in about the Quiltfest. I bought some new rulers for ruler work with free motion quilting, and some interesting thread that I will blog about after I have a chance to decide if they work for me… or not. I also took a class entitled Basic Feathers, Corners, Borders ,and Blocks taught by Sharon Schamber.

a picture ofAn Award winning quilt by Sharon Schamber
An Award winning quilt by Sharon Schamber
a picture of Sharon Schamber's quilt with a close up showing her fine stitches and turned edge applique
Close-up of Sharon’s stunning quilt
a picute of free motion quilting and  turned edge applique!
look at that free motion quilting and turned edge applique!

Sharon-Schamber-6  Sharon-Schamber8

I have to tell you- she is an awesome teacher! Her Class is definitely one of the best classes I have ever taken. Sharon is detail oriented, but breaks her techniques down into do-able skill builders. She started her class off with her quilt basting technique which I have to admit I went into thinking “no way I am giving up spray basting and pinning”…..well I actually liked her method! It had many positives, with not having to tape and crawl around on the floor at the top of the list and it took about the same amount of time to do.  Watch Sharon’s YouTube

and click  part 2 for second half. .  Keep an open mind!! I basted several wall hanging sized quilt sandwiches and it worked out terrific with, your quilt lies flat witn no puckers.

a picture of Sharon Schamber technique sample
Sharon Schamber technique sample

I have included some pictures of her beautiful quilts and samples (with her permission)- if they don’t blow you away I don’t know what will! Check out Sharon’s website or her daughter Cristy Fisher’s website Purple Daisies Quilting for lots of great videos that are packed with great info at a reasonable price. When I purchased my mini-library ( I ended up purchasing a total of 13 of her DVDs 🙂 ) I felt it was great resource for everything from quilt design to free motion motifs and techniques.Sharon-Schamber-4

Well I hope you all get a chance to enjoy watching a few of her DVD instructional videos. Finding Free motion quilting classes on a local level can be difficult. The popularity of Craftsy and other online Video/DVDs are the most common way most of us expand our free motion quilting knowledge. What online free motion quilting class or DVD have you really enjoyed?
Happy learning and quilting,

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Sit Down Longarm APQS George Review

A picture of the APQS George  sit sown longarm
The APQS George sit down longarm

After several inquiries , this is a review of my  sit down Longarm the APQS George   . I decided that after owning George for 3 months I should just write a review.
This past November I went to the Houston Quilt festival with my very dear quilting buddies who tirelessly accompanied me to every sewing machine vendor several times over as I test drove every sit down longarm to be had at the quilt show. It was a bit overwhelming to say the least, but in the end I chose the APQS George. I will share how I came to make that decision :
• I did my homework before going to the show. I read as many reviews as I could find and looked at any machines that I could demo locally
• I narrowed my search after looking at everything to a brand that had a dealer within a 2 hour drive of my home (for me this was just a safety net- I have always had a local dealer for my machines)
• Maintenance is very minimal on the George – a daily drop of oil to the bobbin area and I am good to go ( one machine had 6 or 7 different spots that had to be oiled everyday and then you had to run the machine to “warm it up”). The George has 5 “wicks” that I give a touch to every now and then to make sure they are not getting dry. If they feel a little dry I add a drop of oil. I live in a very humid climate so they have needed oiling only about once or twice in the past 3 months

A picture of the oiling wicks on the top of the APQS George. A quick touch lets you know if a drop of oil is needed or not
The oiling wicks on the top of the APQS George- A quick touch lets you know if a drop of oil is needed or not

• This is a very simple straight forward machine. No computer screens to navigate or break down.  It is easy to thread with ONE tension dial for you upper tension
.• A large 20 inch wide harp space that is also high. I looked at one brand that was 18″ but the harp height was really low which will affect your visibility and your ability to put really large quilts through it easily
• I contacted Patsy Thompson to pick her brain about the George that she had purchased quite a few months before me. Patsy had nothing but positive things to say and basically told me to run- not walk to an APQS dealer!
Beth Schillig was the APQS educator working the booth at Houston. What a difference she made! Initially I wasn’t happy with the tension on the demo when it stitched out. Beth was so professional and knew her machine. She easily adjusted the tension and answered any questions I could think of.
• I like that the George orients like a DSM. I plan on instituting the quilt suspension system that many quilters like Caryl Bryer Fallert-Genrty, Patsy Thompson and Leah Day have written/shown pictures of on their websites to support the weight of large quilts as you quilt (click on names to see pictures). I would not be able to use that suspension system with the sewing head facing me.
• The APQS George is made in America with a lifetime warrant
• I got the optional presser foot set that includes 3 extra feet that included an open and closed ruler foot
• APQS forum is a wonderful support system on line that I found only encouragement from. I can’t tell you how many times I have posted a question and other quilters jump in with their expertise and generosity of their time.

As far as negatives:

• I would have to say that I felt George was a bit loud when I fired him up. Now that I am used to him I don’t notice it so much anymore ( my husband assures me he’s loud and stated that I cannot sew in the middle of those mid-life sleepless nights ! )
• The George comes with a table that in all honesty could have a left side extension and be a bit wider( the older models had a nicer table with back extension and drawers). I wasn’t sure how this would work for me, but ended up butting a plastic resin table behind it and it has worked out beautifully.
• The needle size on most longarms is huge (110-120 industrial) Thankfully after talking with Beth Schillig and joining the APQS form, I usually use a 80 or 90 industrial needle depending on what thread I am using. But it was still a big adjustment for me.
• Tension does take more tweaking than on my DSM
• When FMQ on my Baby Lock Ellisimo I would use a foot that minimized hopping. The George definitely hops more than my Ellisimo, but every machine you sew on will feel different. I would describe the George as feeling industrial when quilting, which is neither negative or positive- just different.
• The bobbin winder that comes with George is not very good and I would suggest purchasing an industrial one . The Turbo winder that APQS sells is pricey and good alternatives can be found at a better price.
• Doesn’t come with a horizontal spool pin, but you can purchase one as an accessory.

A picture of the backside of the APQS George sit down longarm
The backside of the APQS George sit down longarm

All in all, I love my George and look forward to many, many years of quilting on him. I just finished my first full size quilt on him and I loved all the extra space. I felt it was easier on my shoulders/back when I was not wrestling so much fabric under the harp space. If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me. I know my review was lengthy but I tried to cram as much info as I could think of.
Happy Quilting!


Free Motion Feathers and Fabric Choice

There is so many different feather variations I am always looking for something to hone my skills on. This week was a great example of free motion feathers and fabric choice (or any quilting motif for that matter). I came across an unfinished quilt that was part of a local quilt shop’s annual retreat. It was a serger pieced quilt that while it while it was a good idea, had big problems .For starters they incorporated velvet into the mix of fabric which fed differently and the serger didn’t have a quarter inch mark to get accurate piecing. Bottom-line, I never thought I would finish this quilt- it had too many problems.

Picture of a quilt showing free motion feathers and a fabric choice that shows texture , not not the details of the feathers
Overview of the quilt at less than 3 feet away. All that is visible is the texture of the quilting

Well after looking for my next victim, I mean project,  I thought “why not” ?? It’s perfect to practice on. All those thick serger thread seams will be a challenge to quilt free motion feathers smoothly over. What better way to gain experience then to quilt those UFO’s that you think are not worth the time, but still taking up space in your sewing room (better than practicing on more muslin don’t you think?). No matter what anyone says, quilting a real quilt is different than practicing on a solid piece of fabric.
Well there’s good news and no-so-good news. The good news is this is a great quilt to practice a motif that you feel you need some experience that only time with your sewing machine can give you. The fabric is so busy that you can see texture when the quilting was done, but you are hard pressed to see the feathers without really looking. I could have accentuated the feathers more by choosing a different thread instead of a thread that blended. But as a confidence/skill builder this is the way to go. As you can see in the photo, I still marked the spines of the feathers in the general direction I wanted them to go (the busy fabric can be disorienting while quilting ).

picture of how You can see the free motion feathers once you are literally on top of the quilt
You can see the feathers once you are literally on top of the quilt

The no-so-good news is that the effort of quilting feathers is somewhat lost on this quilt. If you really think about quilts that have quilted motifs that caught your eye, they are showcased on a quilt that has fabric that allows them to be seen. If you are not looking to gain experience with a certain motif, a simpler all over design that gives texture would “read” the same from 3 feet. This quilt doesn’t have negative space to showcase your quilting. It is a good example of picking the appropriate quilting design for the quilt pattern/fabric, how the quilt is going to be used, or who the quilt is for.
So to recap, If you want your quilting to show be aware of your fabric (less busy or solids) and audition the thread by puddling some off the spool to see if it stands out against your quilt. If you want your quilting to blend in, busy fabrics with thread that blends hide your quilting but provide texture.
Well now that I said the quilt wasn’t worthy of feathers….I thought I might as well experiment with a new ruler for a little free motion ruler work on the border! I will post pics of the ruler work once I get that finished. Until next time, get digging through your stash for your lost cause quilts and experiment away!
Happy Quilting ,
This quilt was quilted with Superior’s Bottom-Line thread and Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Batting

Quilt Binding Video Tutorial by Sharon Schamber

I was surfing the web the other night, and happened upon a great quilt binding video tutorial by Sharon Schamber . I am taking a class from her in about 10 days so I was familiarizing myself with her techniques/ teaching style. I had to share these with you all as this looks awesome !! She is a great Free motion quilter and has some really good videos available.  I have never seen this binding technique before, but I can tell you I am going to try it on my next quilt binding.   The video is broken down into three parts so I put the urls below as I could only link one video to her name on my link.



I hope you take the time to watch these. I also saw that she sells the tips for the glue on her website. -Let me know what you think!

Happy Watching 🙂 ,