Monthly Archives: September 2015

Deloa’s Angle Angel Quilt Ruler Tutorial

Today I’m doing a tutorial  about using Deloa’s Angle Angel quilt ruler .  A while back, Brenda (one of my quilty friends I met here on my blog) asked if I had ever tried this ruler. Well I looked it up on Deloa’s Quilt shop and knew I wanted to give it a try . This little ruler helps quilters get nice straight  angled lines, with minimal marking and  turning of your quilt (If you read last week’s post about my quarter inch ruler foot not being centered- this was the ruler I was playing around  with).

a picture of Deloa's Angle Angel quiting ruler
Deloa’s Angle Angel

As a rule, I try to acquire rulers / templates that provide multiple design or uses to me as a quilter.  Deloa has a video out demonstrating this ruler doing a star burst pattern which is quick , easy and looks nice in just about any block. I wanted to see how well it worked on my sit down machine and how easily it adapted to other designs.
When I first got the template I had to sit in front of my machine and flip the ruler around trying to get a handle on how to use it. I still have to do this if I go a few days in between using the Angle Angel- but then it clicks in your brain and you are good to go.After getting the hang of it, you begin to notice other designs that you can easily use this template for. With a little time and patience I think this has now found a place in my ruler basket.

The video turned out a bit longer than I would have liked, but I couldn’t edit it down too much more and still provide 3 or 4 examples of ways to use the Angle Angel .I started off with a very basic design ( a spider web…..Happy Fall Y’all!) and tried to progress on to – I won’t say complex because they are really easy- but designs that are a bit more complex looking.

a picture of 45 degree triangles repeated to make squares on point
45 degree triangles repeated to make squares on point

Keep in mind that you can always echo a design like the 60 degree triangle border in the video and fill those triangles with any fill design you desire.
As with any template used on a sit-down machine, some form of traction is needed on the back. I used Handi Grip on the back that I cut into strips to help the template grip the fabric and minimize slippage-I absolutely love this stuff if you haven’t tried it ( Thanks to Beth Schillig for that suggestion! 🙂 ). Also make sure you have your glasses on ( ha-ha- don’t pretend you have the eyes of an eagle- we all get there!) as I find the small degree numbers a little hard to see especially on light fabric- I have made more than one mistake thinking it says 20 instead of 50 or something! Deloa really tried to put as much info as possible on a small surface so I’m not sure those numbers could be made any bigger.

Well That’s my angle this week (ugh!)
Happy Quilting my freinds!


Centered Needle Position on 1/4″ Ruler foot

We don’t have much in the way of fall here in south Florida, but I am noticing our mornings have been a little cooler as I sit out and drink my coffee. I’m not sure if it is the changing of the seasons, having impending company, reading some of my favorite blogs talking about “weeding out” their homes or if I just pulled my head out of my sewing room long enough to notice my own house and garden could use a little TCL. I have done battle on the domestic front all week and it’s a good feeling to whip things into shape.
In the evenings I have been escaping to my sewing room for a little down-time. This week I have been playing with a new ruler that I will do a review of soon(that’s a separate post- you’ll be reading forever! ). I was really excited about this ruler and had some ideas for using it on different designs. But no matter how careful I was with keeping the template snugged up against the ruler foot, my design ran off. I thought that maybe the ruler was marked incorrectly (got out the ole protractor)…nope markings seem to be Okay….tried it on my DSM, everything Okay…then I noticed that my needle is not centered in the middle of my ruler foot on my sit-down longarm. It was off to the back and slightly to the left side (George has a single hole stitch plate with a centered needle…. just not my foot :() .
Somewhere in the back of my brain I remember APQS mentioning that some adjustments may have to be made to George after I put the new ruler foot on him. With a little help from APQS I think I’m back in the saddle. But that little blip on my radar got me to thinking about some of the ruler feet that people use on their DSM. Not all of our machines come with a brand specific ruler foot ( I know Brother/ Baby Lock do not make a ruler foot yet). My generic ruler foot  fits in a way that I can use a single hole stitch plate with my needle centered, giving me 1/4″ from the needle to the outside edge of the foot. I can use the Janome Ruler foot on my Baby Lock, but I have to use the zigzag stitch plate so I can move my needle over to be centered in the foot.
If this is you and you are going to try repeating free motion quilting ruler work designs that depend on the previous pass of the ruler being accurate, check your measurements. Make sure your needle is centered in the middle of your ruler foot, front to back, left and right !! Sounds obvious right??…well maybe not to some of us! My George is about 1/16 ” off to the left ( X 8 lines= 1/4″ !) and about 1/8″ off to the back. There isn’t a template on this planet that will give me a design that marches out…(I hate to use the word perfectly 🙂 ) if my foot isn’t centered.
If I have spared some of you from throwing a template/ruler to the side because your design just doesn’t “march out” then my little” brain fart” was worth it!  LOL
Also last but not least, the winner of the Grabaroo’s Gloves is Brenda Roach. I have to tell you , you’re gonna love them! 🙂
Happy quilting,

Grabaroo’s Quilting Gloves Give Away!


A picture of my grabaroo's quilting gloves

As quilters we all have our favorite quilting aides. Some of us like hoops or rings to help us guide our fabric, some prefer aloe or certain brands of moisturizing creams that leave your hand a bit sticky, and above all else,  a lot of us love our quilting gloves. Today I’m going to talk about my new best friend when I quilt, my Grabaroo ‘s quilting gloves .
Quilting as much as I do and doing posts and videos for my blog, I am always acutely aware of how dirty my gloves get.  I was always buying a new pair because there is only so much washing (and they were a hand wash item) my gloves can take before they just didn’t look clean and I needed to bump to a new pair. I even tried buying them off eBay directly from China….all I can say is you get what you pay for… The fabric wasn’t as soft and the coating on the tips not as “grippy”. Then I stopped by my local quilt shop about 6 weeks ago and noticed she was stocking the Grabaroo’s gloves….the rest was history!
 The First thing you notice is Grabaroo’s are a deep purple- that alone is reason to buy them !- in 6 weeks I haven’t washed mine yet! ( I see on their website they are now making them in black too…maybe they will make me look thin 🙂 )
 Grabaroo’s are made of a high quality material-a soft nylon with a little spandex for a comfortable stretch that do not make my hands hot.
 The grips on the tips of each finger are made from PVC and are really grippy
 They are machine washable
 If you go to www.grabaroo’s and click the more info button below the gloves, a sizing chart pops up to help you pick the right size for your hands

a picture of purple Grabaroo's quilting gloves
This week I am so thankful to be able to offer you the chance to win a free pair of Grabaroo’s quilting gloves. Just leave a comment on this post telling what your favorite, must have item is for your quilting (it can be anything -your favorite music, thread, gloves…whatever) A random drawing will be done next Friday 9/18/2015 at 7am. Also a 20% discount off Grabaroo’s is available for this week if you call them directly to place your order at 813-792-8600 or 877-310-(GRAB)4722 and mention The Quilt Journal. This is a great chance to stock up or just to try one of my favorite things ! Thanks Miriam at Grabaroo’s!!
Have a great week and Happy Quilting!
PS: I do not have any financial relationship with Grabaroo’s what-so-ever. This is purely a product I like. One of the main goals of my blog is the sharing of information that helps all of us on our quilting journey.

Free Motion Quilting on Batiks

I have been working on my  table topper( the one that I agonized over what to quilt on – and have come very close to loathing ). A lot of good advise replayed in my mind about free motion quilting on batiks. (Alas a little too late in the game to take that  advise 🙁  )- I have quilted on batiks before and have never really had a problem. I  usually piece my backing with fabric yardage of the same high quality batik that was used to piece or appliqué the front (most often a Hoffman). This topper was a kit. While the fabrics that were provided for the top piecing were great and I felt of normal weight and thread count for a good batik, the backing fabric was a different story.

a picture of batik fabric used on the back of my quilt
wide backing batik fabric

When I unpacked the backing fabric I immediately noticed that it felt really thick, almost like a canvas. It was one large piece, so I knew it was from a bolt that was a wider backing fabric. I did  wash the backing trying to soften it up and remove any fillers that may be present causing the fabric to feel so stiff- no noticeable difference after washing. Then I  ironed and starched the backing well, as starching can help your backing move or float better over the bed of your machine. I decreased my needle size on my APQS George to an 80 (smaller needles often work better on batiks as the thread count is so high, they penetrate easier) and was using Superior Thread’s Bottom line (60 wt) in top and a Magna Glide classic in the bobbin. I tested the tension using a TOWA gauge to make sure that I was in the right ballpark and began to try to fine tune the tension on a scrap area to the side of the quilt. I found my tension to be consistently- inconsistent, requiring me to play with re-threading George’s tension path  differently…..Then I began having thread shred issues…moved to a bigger needle (90)…stitches looking better- okay, I think I’m ready to finally quilt!….

picture of free motion quilting on batik fabric
I am about 3/4 of the way done quilting. I have fought and earned every stitch! This backing fabric almost grabs my Supreme Slider, making it difficult to get smooth lines and swirls. Carol Olsen from Accents in Design emailed me this picture of an absolutely beautiful feather motif that she quilted in a star.( Okay just kill me! How pretty is that!)


Picture of a feathered free motion quilt design in a star

I love feathers probably more than any other motif, but I am so glad she mailed this to me after I started quilting! I probably would have driven myself mad trying to get these feathers to form smoothly.  I could barely stitch a small curve without wibbling from the fabric not feeding well.
I will finish this topper probably this weekend (because I am a dog with a bone- it’s just who I am 🙂 ) . If I can impart any other advise to you about batiks,  it would be this:  If the fabric weight doesn’t feel “right” or at least the same as the top fabric- especially after washing and ironing it, just stop right there and spare yourself any further heartache. I think we need to expect to adjust our tension, needle size, wash and starch, to get a good stitch quality when free motion quilting with batiks- but some fabrics are just not worthy of our time and effort- just say NO! – and use that fabric( if you feel guilty)  for a dog bed or something! (unfortunately I am too far gone with this project to throw in the towel 🙂 ).

As a parting apology to every longarmer that I have used over the years- I am sorry for every miserable backing I may have brought you without a second thought as to how this “pretty fabric” may quilt. I have now officially walked a mile in your moccasins !
Hope your week is tension free with beautiful stitches,
Debbie  🙂

PS: Have a safe and Happy Labor Day weekend!