Sunday, September 24, 2023

Graffiti Quilting on Jan's Bear Tracks Quilt + DIY Bernina Mastery Classes

HAPPY FALL, everyone!  Time to get snuggly with this wool-batted bear paw quilt made with beautiful jewel-toned batik fabrics!

Graffiti 13 E2E on Jan's 69 x 69 Bear Tracks Quilt

Jan used the Bear Tracks Quilt pattern from Island Batik Ambassador Jackie O'Brien, available as a FREE PDF download on her web site here.  When Jan brought this quilt top to me for quilting, she had seen pictures of the bear paw quilt "Color Outside the Lines" I made a couple years ago that I quilted with one of Karlee Porters digital Graffiti edge-to-edge designs, and Jan requested something similar for her quilt.

Graffiti 13 E2E with Fantastico Variegated Thread, Color Molokini

For an even bolder impact on Jan's quilt, we chose Superior's Fantastico variegated trilobal polyester thread in color Molokini (this post contains affiliate links).  On my own bear paw quilt, I'd used a very thin, 60 weight thread in a pale silvery color that blended and disappeared into my fabrics.  One isn't better than the other, but they give very different looks.

Detail of Graffiti E2E 13 on Jan's Bear Tracks Quilt

Another key difference between my bear paw quilt and the one I quilted for Jan is the batting.  Whereas I used Quilters Dream Poly Select, a midloft batting, for my own bear paw quilt, Jan had seen and loved the wool-batted quilts I've quilted for another client and she knew that's what she wanted for this quilt.  In the photo below, the angle of the lighting really shows off the amazing texture you get with Quilters Dream Wool batting.

Graffiti E2E 13, Quilters Dream Wool Batting, and Fantastico Molokini Thread

Here's the photo Jan sent me of her quilt top prior to quilting, just before she added the final outer border:

Jan's Nearly-Finished Bear Tracks Quilt Top

One important takeaway -- all of that "blank" white space around Jan's bear paw blocks is what allows the Graffiti 13 quilting design to look so amazing on her quilt.  Sometimes clients will bring me fabulous but busy quilt tops pieced from many scrappy prints (which I love!) and ask for a highly detailed quilting design like this.  I can do it, but I let them know up front that the quilting design is going to "disappear" into their fabric prints -- you'll see a swirl or a string of pearls here or there, but the overall impact of the large scale, dramatic quilting design will be lost.  If you know at the beginning of a quilting project that you want an elaborate quilting design to make a statement in the finished quilt, be sure to incorporate enough "plain" solid fabrics (or tonal print fabrics that "read" as solids) so there's room for the quilting design to shine.

Thank you so much for choosing me to quilt this for you, Jan, and for trusting me with the quilting design and thread suggestions!

DIY Bernina Machine Mastery Classes for Rebecca

 Meanwhile...  I treated myself to a new Bernina sewing machine during the Pandemic, trading in my 750QE for a 790 Plus Crystal Edition (named Liz, after Elizabeth Taylor, because of all of the silly crystal jewelry bling on her faceplate).  When you buy a new Bernina machine, you're supposed to get a series of Machine Mastery classes where you learn the ins and outs of all the bells and whistles on your machine.  I remember taking classes at my Bernina dealership when I bought a Bernina serger, oh, 15 years or so ago, but I don't think I've ever taken the mastery classes for any of my Bernina sewing machines.  I was always too busy, so I'd just read the manual, watch a couple Bernina Education YouTube videos, and figure things out as I went along.  But last week I got together with several of my local quilting besties for a DIY Mastery Class party using the Bernina Mastery Sewing Workbook that is available as a PDF download from the Bernina web site here.  We had so much fun, seriously!

My Stitch Samples from Our DIY Bernina Mastery Class

I put several of the mastery workbooks (Sewing, Embroidery, Accessories, and the Embroidery Software 9 DesignerPlus) on a flash drive and my husband got them printed and spiral bound for me at the FedEx Office store.  There is no real need to have the manuals printed, by the way -- you might prefer to just read the PDF right off your computer/iPad/tablet, especially since there are links to Bernina YouTube videos embedded in the PDF.  I like to have a physical paper book because I like to highlight and make notes in the margin, put little PostIt flags on pages I want to find quickly, and then stash the workbooks away within easy reach of my sewing machine so I can refer to them whenever I'm about to use a feature or technique outside my comfort zone.  I'll be saving all of my stitched out sample exercises as a reference, too.

At our Mastery Class party, we had three 790 Plus owners, one earlier 5 Series Bernina owner, a brand-new owner of a Kaffe Fassett Special Edition 475QE, and a 790 Plus owner who decided to bring her Bernina 480 travel machine to the class party because the 790 is such a heavy and cumbersome machine to haul around.  In addition to printing our manuals ahead of time, one of my friends went through the Sewing workbook and listed all of the supplies we'd need for the exercises: how many pieces of 4" x 6" firm woven fabric, how many pieces of lightweight tearaway stabilizer, wool/flannel fabric, spandex, interlock, which presser feet, needles, threads etc.  I'm so glad she did that, because I was able to go to JoAnn fabric with my list in hand and get small pieces of those odd garment fabrics that I don't normally have lying around in my quilting studio.

Here's the bizarre thing: I have been sewing on my 790 Plus machine nearly every single day since I bought it two years ago, yet I learned SO much more about it in one day going through the workbook exercises with my friends.  We started at 10 AM, stopped for a leisurely lunch (and a few too many brownies), and got about 3/4 of the way through the Sewing workbook before we called it a day near 4 o'clock.  I discovered some useful stitches in my machine that I hadn't been aware of and learned several shortcuts for navigating through the menu screens to retrieve saved stitches.  When I got home, I continued working through a couple more of the lessons on combining lettering and decorative stitch patterns, and even jumped ahead to experiment a bit with the Stitch Designer feature that allows you to program your own custom stitch patterns into the machine.  These high-tech machines have a lot of cool features that I'm never going to use if I don't know they're there, right?  Once I finish the exercises in the Sewing workbook, I think I'll start on the Accessories workbook next.  That one goes through all of the optional presser feet and I know I have purchased at least a few feet for my machine that I no longer remember what they're used for.

That's it from me for today!  Enjoy the beautiful Fall weather and I hope you have time to sew today!  I'm linking up with my favorite linky parties, listed below.


Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

Beauty Pageant at From Bolt to Beauty

 TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: TGIF Friday


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow Rebecca, this negative space really talked to you, and you sublimated it! This quilt is gorgeous, and your quilting is stunning.
It looks like you had fun during the class, exploring your machine's hidden treasures ;))
Thank you for sharing, and linking up!

Chris said...

Oops! I think this may show up on two posts, but you'll know which one is the right one!

The quilt is gorgeous, your quilting really iced it! But the real reason I'm writing is the second part on your DYI mastery class! My longtime friend (since kindergarten!) and I just decided not to buy new machine but to really get to know and use all the bells and whistles on the ones we have. So I searched the mastery books out and will begin! An aside: what kind of fabric to you buy to use for the fancy stitching that is firm? Thanks for always inspiring me! (Oh, and another aside, when I need a chuckle, I reread you post from back in the day when your coffee machine had open heart surgery!)

Gretchen Weaver said...

You are so right about need a blank space for close quilting, it's the same thing for hand quilting. That is why I often use a light colored backing so you can at least see the quilt design on the back. Have fun learning all the options on your machine, you are wise to do so. Happy stitching! said...

What a statement that quilting adds to that bear paw quilt! It is beautiful! Good for you to play with your 790 machine in a different way. I think brownies should be required for mastery classes. . .!!!! Glad you had a great time!

Sandy said...

Wow, Rebecca Grace! I keep thinking you can't surprise and delight me any more than you've already done, but this quilt has done it again! The quilting really shines in that negative space, and the use of that bold thread really adds the extra, unexpected delight.

As for your mastery class with your quilt group, good for you! I'm lucky to be able to take classes for any new machines at my dealer's shop (too conveniently located!), but those manuals are a great reference, even without the classes.

Pat at Bell Creek Quilts said...

Lovely quilting on a lovely quilt!

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

What lovely quilting on that Bear Paw quilt. Really compliments the piecing and the modern feel. Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.

Derynda said...

How absolutely wonderful, Rebecca. Your skills astonish me! xx

Anonymous said...

That is SO beautiful, Rebecca... truly. You should be very proud. xx