Quilting with the Pajama Quilter

Edit:  Dawn has let me know that I have the picture of the first workbook, Pajama Quilter Reloaded, but what I was actually using was the second workbook, Pajama Quilter Rethreaded.  I’m always confused!  But, the winner can choose either Reloaded or Rethreaded!

For those of us who machine quilt, whether on a longarm or short arm or on our domestic sewing machine, half the stress is deciding which quilting design to use. I struggle with coming up with different ideas for my machine quilting

If you’ve done any ruler work, or the type quilting that requires marking, you know that can be so time consuming.  There’s definitely a place for that type quilting but for the quilts that are donated or used at our house, it’s either panto, free motion or Baptist Fans.  Those items are much quicker than custom work!

With a panto, and you know I love many of them, everyone’s quilting looks pretty much the same.  But, with free motion quilting, you’re free to add a little of your own creativity.  Here’s where Dawn over at Pajama Quilter comes in.There’s a workbook and/or a DVD full of ideas.  For Jessi’s quilt, I used the Jungle Riot design.

The quilting doesn’t show up so well but it was fun and quick!  I started with Dawn’s design and kinda went off in my own direction with it so mine doesn’t look a whole lot like hers.  That’s the beauty of this type quilting . . start with an idea and go from there.

I couldn’t come up with any free motion ideas on my own, so thanks Dawn for coming up with these ideas and for publishing your book for those of us who need your ideas.

Because Dawn is not only talented but generous also, and because I truly believe her designs will help every quilter out there, we’re having a giveaway!   Leave a comment on this post sharing a machine quilting tip or a funny story about your own machine quilting and you’ll be entered to win Dawn’s workbook or DVD.  Winner will be chosen by a random number generator and drawing will be tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.


  1. 1

    Hilary McDaniel says

    One tip that really helped me was to NOT watch the needle. You look at where you want to go. It’s amazing what the mind will do. Hilary

  2. 2


    I’ve yet to learn to machine quilt anything – stuck in the rut of hand quilting. This would be a good book to help me get motivated and to learn! Jessi’s quilt is beautiful!

  3. 3


    I have Dawn’s first video and highly recommend it! When my Mom quilts on my machine she only does pantographs. My advice to her is to always stop at points (not in the middle of a curve) and, when her curves are flat, to go faster!

  4. 4

    Maureen says

    I do my quilting on a domestic machine and I find that gloves and a slider on the bed or the machine make all the difference in the world. The quilt moves sooo much easier!

  5. 5


    Great giveaway!! I have a tip – I have a short arm quilter and when I have thread breaks or bobbins runout and have to restarting the thread, I don’t always get a good start so that I can just snip the thread ends and more on. I have to bury my threads and sometimes make knots to be sure tht the stitches hold and then bury the knot. Anywho, my tip is that I use painter’s tape to mark where the threads are that need to be buried. They are very easy to spot when the quilt is off the frame and I no longer find groups of threads on quilts that I have been using for months on end! lol

  6. 6

    Jolie says

    The first time I attempted machine quilting was pretty funny! The curvy lines were kind of “jerky” & “pointy”, rather than smooth & rounded. When I checked my settings, I realized I still had the feed dogs up. Putting them down made all the difference! Now I could get the smooth curvy lines & rounded loops! What a relief!

  7. 7

    bert says

    My first attempt at free motion was on a table runner. Needless to say it didn’t turn out well and I have ripped it all out. What was in my head did not translate well to the table runner. This book sounds like what I need for inspiration.

  8. 8

    Nancy says

    It helps to draw out the design on paper or a dry erase board before starting the actual quilting. Make sure you can fill a page or completely fill an area while drawing. Once you are comfortable with the design and have the design “roadmap” down, you can move to the machine and shift your focus to controlling your speed and movement.

  9. 9

    Richelle in Texas says

    I have Dawn’s first book and I really have not practiced it too much. I need to get busy with practicing – and that is my tip. Practice, Practice, Practice! My husband calls it muscle or motor memory – as a football coach they practice the plays until they are automatic – same thing with quilting. It will become automatic.

  10. 10


    I guess the obvious tip is practice, practice, practice. I’m still learning to machine quilt on my Bernina, but I do see that if I am consistent and do practice blocks first, it helps me with my machine quilting. It would be great if I could work at it every day.

  11. 11

    Marilyn says

    I quilt on a domestic machine and would love to do something besides
    free motion, but so far have not done much. The one thing that I
    have found is to go slow and steady, which is something that I am
    still trying to master. Great giveaway and thanks for the chance,

  12. 12

    Jessie says

    I am actually doing my first attempt at free motion quilting right now. So I have several tips or really just what not to do!

    1. Have several marking pens because one is really not enough

    2. Make sure your backing fabric matches the front or is very busy that way your imperfections arnt as noticeable. I was using beige thread on a dark green back and every wobbly stitch showed!

    3. Have plenty of needles. I broke 9 my first hour! I havnt broken another once I found my rhythm but you will break needles!

    4. Look an inch ahead of where you want to go

    5. Don’t stress when you don’t follow the line exactly only you will know that!

    6. If you get frustrated. Take a break. You will only mess up more and stress your self out

    7. Invisable thread is great in theory but not as easy to work with as cotton. And if you choose your backing fabric and thread so it matches (unlike me) you will save yourself the frustration of working with it!!!

    Thanks for the opportunity. I struggled with picking a design so this would come in handy!!

    I found you via twitter!

  13. 13

    Lisa says

    I’m very OCD about certain things…machine quilting is one of them. I’m so afraid it will turn out horribly that I don’t do anything BUT straight lines. My one attempt at machine quilting turned out so tight that the wall hanging won’t lie flat. HELP! I just use my Bernina 1260 with or without the walking foot…

  14. 14


    This DVD has been on my wish list for ages.

    I started using an easy-thread needle, the kind where your threads slip into the eye via the slot, to bury my thread tails as I quilt on my Little Gracie frame. I don’t have to go back after finishing and inevitably miss at least 2 thread tails.

  15. 15

    Donita Q says

    I’ve taken a couple of maching quilting classes. I have limited my machine quilting to baby blanket size since it is more difficult to manage large quilts on my regular sewing machine. It takes much practice to get the tension right, the stitch length uniform and have it look well done. My tip is Practice! Practice! Practice!

  16. 16


    When I took my first machine quilting lesson, the instructor was worried I would bite a hole in my lip. I was so tense, I didn’t realize I was doing it. Now I’m a bit more relaxed but when I’m not, its the shoulders and neck that suffer. I tell myself to relax and enjoy what I’m doing. And I crank up the music. 🙂

  17. 17


    I almost always warm up on a practice square before I start free motion quilting on my project. It helps me get the kinks out. I still have a long way to go, but then I haven’t stitched a million stitches yet. If I haven’t gotten better by then, I think I’ll have togo to plan B.

  18. 18

    krisc says

    If you practice in a sketchbook and date your drawings, you will have a book of ideas to which you can refer, plus you will see how much you have improved over the months. Also, drawing with a pen is smoother than drawing with a pencil.

  19. 19

    Bizzybess says

    My tip is not so much about the quilting but the getting ready to quilt. When piecing a back for my last quilt my ironing surface was- shall we say-a litte too full and I didn’t want to take the time to clean it off. I looked around and there right in front of me was my Tin Lizzie with the top front bar just sitting there empty. I threw the quilt back over the bar with the seam up going down the lenght the bar. The leader rolled up was like an irong board cover and I had a long skinny roll like you would use when sewing a garment to iron open seams, only it was longer than the backing so I didn’t have to press part way and then get what I just pressed wrinkled while trying to press the rest of it. My iron has a looong cord, just took me a minute to press the seam open and the best part was the back was right there, seam up, ready to be pinned on. You don’t want to here about the time I put one on seam side down and didn’t notice until I rolled the first pass and wondered what that wqs flapping in the wind.

  20. 20

    Kim Stevenson says

    I recently purchased a Little Gracie II quilt frame. I had a practice piece on the frame that I would occassionally practice on. When it wasn’t being used by me, it was being used by the cats; they had a hammock! My tip is to never leave the quilt in the frame if you have cats. 🙂 I’m still practicing anyway!

  21. 21


    I STILL will practice a design before I start quilting it on the real quilt. I have a longarm and I use zippers on my leaders. My best tip is to always have a practice piece loaded on zippers. I practice until it “feels right” then I zip my practice quilt off and load the real quilt. It really helps me. Of course, this is for custom designs and freehand only. Pantographs, I just load and go!

  22. 22


    Sometimes, for really complicated quilts, I’ll take a photo of the block into photoshop and draw on it with my computer. It helps me see the options and gives me the freedom to play.

  23. 23

    Julie says

    Initially following a pantograph can be difficult, however with lots of practice it becomes easier. To get the hang of following the lines, take the thread out – top and bobbin, turn on the machine and practice. You will get the feel of the machine running and guiding at the same time. When you think you are “Good”, thread up the machine, load some fabric and batting and see how much better you have become.

  24. 24

    Ida says

    I’m not sure that I have a ‘funny story’ about my machine quilting … that’s because I’m scared to do it!

    Don’t get me wrong, I *have* quilted, but for the most part, it’s all straight lines — which my domestic machine can do quite fine, thanks. Once (and only once) did I do circles w/ my machine. Circles are tough enough on a little quilt, but I decided to do it on a quilt that was 6-foot x 6-foot. LOL! 🙂 The circles were mostly round — except where I needed to stop/start — even the needle down option didn’t help there.

    Ah well. 🙂

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  25. 25

    Denise says

    There was the time I didn’t notice that a nylon knee-hi had static clinged to the backing of my quilt when I was folding laundry nearby. I quilted it into the back of the quilt. ROFLOL That’s what I get for wasting my time doing laundry rather than quilting!

  26. 26


    I bought a Bernina with a stitch regulator last year and was all ready to start machine quilting after taking a class, but life got in the way and I couldn’t sew for a few months. After that I had lost my motivation and I still haven’t done any free-motion quilting. I’d really like to get started on that. My pile of tops is huge!!

  27. 27


    Pick me, Pick me! OOOOOhhhhhh I really need that workbook and DVD bad! lol. My story is of a constant struggle with my old industrial Singer machine. It has the feed dogs permanently dropped and has a very large throat area, so it should be perfect for machine quilting. Except the machine has a mind of it’s own. There are days that it decides it’s just not going to do any quilting. I would go through needle after needle, as it broke them one after another. Or the thread would break over and over. One time, I swear I was ready to chuck it right out the window, which was only 4 feet away from the machine and I at the time, I was just that frustrated. I actually said out loud that this was what I was going to do if it didn’t start behaving. Would you believe that machine sewed perfect for the rest of the day? Ugh. At any rate, it’s a good old bird and she’s a keeper. A cantankerous keeper, but a keeper just the same!
    Tammy K. in Illinois

  28. 28

    Debbie says

    I am taking a break from quilting a wall hanging. It is a modern design of squares and rectangles. I don’t want to do anything that breaks up the geometry of that so I use the old standby quilting a 1/4 inch from seams. Only problem being that some areas are quilted closer than others. And in area’s I may need more quilting to meet the 2 to 4 inch advised by the batting. I never know on something like a wall hanging that will not be washed how much quilting is needed. I do need help but never know who to ask?

  29. 29


    First, if you havent gotten her newest DVD, you need to, it is another bunch of great ideas. While watching it, I draw the patterns out with her, then label them as hers, and put them in my 3 ring binder. Then I can go through it when looking for ideas, and I know what is on the DVD, and if I need to watch it again, I can. I did one of her patterns yesterday, and LOVED it, so there will be many more in my future! I love freemotion, it is SO much faster then pantos, but i have a friend who would much rather do pantos. funny how our brains are different. I only have a short arm, so I have to adapt, but I make it work. WAY better then doing it on the table with my domestic, but that has its uses too. Oh, and if you pick my number, please pick again, as I have both of her DVD’s, and I would like to share the joy. They are BOTH great DVDs, and I hope she continues to make more!

  30. 30

    Jane says

    My favorite tip for free motion quilting is to loosen up with a glass of wine. Not that I would ever do that.

  31. 31


    I took a class on machine quilting feathers (a beginner class) some years ago. The teacher, Kathy Sandbach, had us begin by drawing feathers with paper and pencil. She took one look at my drawn feathers (they looked more like chile peppers!) and told me to go ahead and start working with my machine — some people just can’t draw with paper and pencil! LOL!

  32. 32

    Nancy says

    My quilting has been rather limited, but I do find when I’m free motion quilting, having some appropriate music playing helps me get into the “swing” of it all.

  33. 33


    I guess as far as machine quilting goes, I haven’t reached kindergarden level yet. I have a short arm and mainly use EZ boards. Right now I can only imagine your probably disgusted look. But hey, not everybody is as talented as you all are! And it still gets my tops quilted – though the unfinished pile is getting higher and higher. If there are any tips for short arm quilting and how to start / run until the middle of the quilt and then reload, please let me know!
    My very few adventures into free motion were on real scrap quilts/ or ugly panels, maybe I need to try again. Somehow it scares me though…
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  34. 34

    Joan says

    Wanting to learn how to machine quilt on my DSM, yesterday I ordered a Big Foot quilting foot. Dawn’s book to show me how would be a great help! You can only stitch in the ditch so much! My tip for machine quilting…….start with the right supplies! Thanks for having a give-away! I love your blog!

  35. 35


    I quilt on a domestic sewing machine. Up until recently I was quilting on a machine with a standard six inch throat. I have quilted queen-size quilts with it and found that to make it easier to quilt, I planned to quilt the quilt in sections rather than border to border.

    Starting at the very center, I would stitch an area double the size of my machine’s throat (so on my old machine about 12 ” square). When that section was done I would move to the section above it, then the section to the right of that (moving towards the border), then below that and down past the previous center section and back to under the center starting point. At that point, depending on the type of design you are using, you will have the option of either continuing towards the outer border (down, right, up) or turning the quilt and doing the same thing on the opposite side of center. This way you quilt in rounds and as you head out to the borders of the quilt there is less and less fabric under the machine throat as you go.

    This works great for stitching focused block designs and even better with all-over continuous stitch designs because the sections are easily connected with the continuous sewing. Good basting is important too since when you start you may have a lot of fabric stuffed in your machine throat until you get away from the center. The only thing this won’t work for are designs that NEED border to border stitching like baptist fans or clamshells which I have also done but only on lap-size quilts.

    I am still looking to be more confident about choosing stitch designs for my quilts and finding designs that easily sewn free-hand and have moved up to a machine with a wider throat to give me more space to work.

  36. 36

    Daniela says

    My tip is to get a daily dose of Judy’s blog because you really pick up many many tips to help you along on this journey. Thanks Judy.

  37. 37


    My machine quilting is generally straight lines, with an occasional bowed line. Sunday, I get to use a Handiquilter machine on a baby quilt. I hope it goes well, as the last baby quilt I machine quilted on mid/long arm was not impressive. Not only was the design off, the tension was so bad I only had to clip the thread a couple of times to “unquilt” the whole thing!

  38. 38

    Judy says

    When using rulers, if you will add skateboard grip tape to the bottoms, they won’t slip. I use this on the rulers for rotary cutting and for quilting.

    Judy in MO

  39. 39


    One thing I have learned – practice practice practice and if you have a stitch regulator (and sometimes even then) your stitches will never be 100% consistent.

  40. 41

    Gwynette in NW Arkansas says

    I bought a Bernina 440 for the BSR, thinking I would have perfect stitches and that would solve a multitude of problems…. hmmmm, I think operator error fits in there somewhere!!! I still quilt most of my own quilts anyway and the more I do, the better they look!!!

  41. 42


    I started learning free motion on my domestic machine this year. I found tilting my machine so the back is higher than the front helps me see what I’m doing better than with the machine flat.

    I’ve also learned not to free motion charity quilts made with mystery fabrics. Those stiff fabrics will break the thread over and over.

  42. 43

    WiAmy says

    I like the designs Dawn choose for her treasure chest quilt. Freehand freemotion quilting is a time savor when you consider the amount of time it takes to fully mark something. I try to avoid most marking, but sometime a simple chalk line made with a chacoliner can give you enough “guidelines” to freehand designs with a more custom look. A long time ago, a known doll collector told me that he liked the dolls that I made because they had a few imperfections in the painting which made them look “handmade” rather than factory made. The imperfections gave them personality and life that is often lacking in factory made items. So I guess I have decided to apply this concept to quilting as well…a little mistake here or there adds interest and character.

  43. 44

    Marilyn Smith says

    I love having my APQS Millennium for quilting. I love my Circle Lord and edgerider wheels. I still need many hours of practice tho on my feathers. And, would love to upgrade to the Bliss and M & M wheels. Judy, have you thought about that?

  44. 45

    Sue in Scottsdale, AZ says

    I have two tips. The first is to relax and remember to breathe. It is much easier to get smooth lines and curves when you are relaxed. Breathing also helps you to relax. The second tip is to practice, practice, and practice some more. Not everything you do will be show quality and that is fine. The more you practice, the easier and better your quilting becomes.

  45. 46


    My quilting tip is to shut up about any errors you have made while quilting, when you are showing off your newest project. No one else will notice them!

    I have done a bit of free motion quilting–all on my domestic machine sitting on top of a desk. I just got a new sewing desk with a recessed lift for my machine and a large extension table and am looking forward to less wrestling and more quilting. I’d love to win more help on free motion as I am lousy at marking!

  46. 47


    I make a lot of toddler quilts for a local crisis nursery. I like to use them to practice new ideas. One idea I had to was to be able to use a pantograph from the front of the machine. I rigged up a Rube Goldberg sort of device and was able to stitch a single row pantograph across the top and bottom borders of the quilt.

    The panto was a line of big trucks and I wanted them to run along the seamline between the border and the center portion of the quilt as though it was a roadway.

    It wasn’t until I stood back and looked that I realized the panto on the bottom was askew … instead of running on a level road (seamline), my Rube Goldberg device had moved and the trucks were now traveling on an incline! Instead of ripping out the entire pantograph stitching, I just filled in the area under the incline with jagged stitches. 🙂

    My Rube Goldberg device needs some fine tuning. 🙂

  47. 48


    As it so happens, I just posted about how quilting can ruin a quilt. I finally had a plan ahead of time and it turned out, I was unhappy and made it go downhill from there. Normally, I have no plan and I’m unhappy but it manages to turn out okay.

    Go figure. I hope I win but even if I don’t, I am looking into this book.

  48. 49


    Well the funny thing about quilting is that those who do not quilt love everything we do. LOL I am a short arm quilter and sure wish my arm was longer. I once loaded a quilt and it was so crooked at the end I could not believe it. LOL It turned out find but did not show it to the quilt police. I would love to with this video. I am a follower.

  49. 50

    Liz says

    I am still at the straight line quilting stage – though I have lots of tops that need to be done. So, I guess I need to practice and practice some more!

  50. 51


    I loved the first DVD! I absolutely HATE marking quilts and would much rather fly free! Having a stepping stone really helps to create new designs. My one tip comes from the first DVD–chocolate really helps!
    Lurking Linda

  51. 52

    Cheryl L says

    My tip is actually a gadget—-one I CANNOT do without—-my TOWA bobbin guage. I use it on EVERY bobbin and since I started using it, about five years ago, I rarely, ever have tension issues.

  52. 53


    All I can say is practice, practice, practice. Quilting, especially free-motion quilting doesn’t come easy the first time you start quilting. There’s a big learning curve here no matter what kind of machine you use. A little glass of wine helps too! It makes you relax and so that free-motion looks free and not all herky-jerky.

  53. 55


    My quilting story is that I wasn’t nearly as smart as I thought I was when, trying to use every fraction of an inch on a practice piece, I somehow managed to sew it to my leader. — Not a smart move at all.

  54. 56

    Martha says

    The tips I was going to add have already been said but….
    Practice practice practice and
    BREATHE….. you can’t quilt while you hold your breath!!!

  55. 58

    Karen C says

    Floating tops – I quilt for others and once I started full floats, it didn’t matter that the tops weren’t square. In fact I can ease a little and make them ‘squarer’ than they arrived.
    Dance – I’m getting much better at breathing and relaxing as I stitch but my feet always seem to be a step or two behind my upper body. So I put on some good tunes (wireless headphones are the best!). The music seems to help keep everything in sync.
    If I’m not the lucky winner, I’ll be contacting Dawn to purchase a copy…..been meaning to for awhile now.

  56. 59

    Cindy in NC says

    I just ordered a Janome 6500 yesterday because I want to learn free motion quilting. That sure isn’t happening on my 1976 Sears Kenmore machine! Sounds like this book/DVD is meant for me. My story isn’t funny, but it is a funny coincidence.

  57. 60

    Sarah says

    I quilt on a Janome 415 (I know, small!) and I remember once I quilted a stipple all over pattern and when I was done I was sooooo proud because it was so “perfect”. I mean I was P.R.O.U.D…. till I turned it over!!!!! I think there was a total of 24 snarley-narly-nasty rats’ nests on the other side. Talk about a downer. Well, it taught me to be more sensitive to the motion and the feel of the quilt under the machine. Now I can feel when there is a hang-up even if I can’t see it on the top of the quilt. My dream is a long-arm but my husband said I have to wait a little longer. Till then it’s just me and my little Janome. But where there is a will there is a way!

  58. 62

    Linda says

    I haven’t been long arm quilting for very long but I have discovered that my quilting always looks better after the quilt is off the frame and the quilt has been washed and dried.
    Thanks for offering this giveaway. I could really use some inspiration.

  59. 63

    Mary says

    Hmmm, my tip would be RELAX. I quilt on my Bernina Sportand I’ve just completed quilting a top and I am really pleased with it. Putting down a “guide” for the quilting across the whole top, then going back and filling in with whatever you want has worked twice now.

  60. 64


    I recently bought an HQ16 after sewing through my index finger while quilting a queen sized quilt for my mom last Christmas. Quilting goes a lot faster on a frame than sitting at a DSM.

  61. 65


    gloves are a “must” for me — my most recent pair is purple with little traction dots just at the fingertips. I tend to start out pretty smoothly and then get a little out of control as I go along… I need a tip for that!

  62. 66

    Bonita Pearson says

    Don’t get to uptight about what your quilting looks like when you first start, just finish your project and stand back and look. It always seems to look better when you look at the whole picture!

  63. 67


    When I was first learning how to quilt, it helped to count to keep a steady pace. Kind of like playing the piano… 1 2 3 4… 1 2 3 4… and I had to count out loud – not in my head! 🙂 My family thought I was nuts.

  64. 68

    judy says

    I “love” Dawn’s first DVD. So much info. One of the hardest parts about quilting is deciding on the design and getting started. Keep a little notebook of all the ideas you see and then you have a quick resourse to look back at for ideas.

    Judy Snider

  65. 69

    lw says

    If you’re using a teflon slider, tape the leading edge down to the table with masking tape before you start, so it can’t lift during quilting and get caught under the needle with the quilt.

  66. 70

    bcinindy says

    Wonderful ideal for a giveaway.
    My hint is to try to stay relaxed. I do my quilting on my regular sewing machine and I have found that I get very tense as I do my quilting. I have to make myself stop and walk away to relax for a few minutes. If I do not take regular breaks I find that I begin to make mistakes. It is not a horserace.

  67. 71

    Kathy R in FL says

    Since I can never decide on a quilting design, and I’m not confident enough to do free motionn quilting, I usually stitch in the ditch or do Baptist fans. I do all my machine quilting on my Bernina 1230. My tip, and I have to constantly remind myself of this, is to remember to take a break from the machine at least every hour to relax your shoulders and neck muscles. I even set the timer on the stove in the kitchen so I have to get up and go turn it off.

  68. 72

    Sandy Gail (Sandra Neel Hutchins) says

    When I haven’t free motion quilted on my Pfaff in awhile I have found that it helps to go very slowly until I get back into the groove of things. Would love to have one of thePajama Quilter books to give me more ideas; and also a Bernina with a stitch regulator would be a dream, but on my budget that isn’t going to happen.

  69. 74

    Jo Anne says

    My advice is to relax, have fun, and enjoy. Don’t worry about trying to be perfect. Chances are, what you think is not so good today will look pretty good in a couple of days.

  70. 75


    I do a lot of quilting on my Viking 870. I love it. I do mostly a simple meander but would like to start more difficult designs. Usually by the time I get to the quilting I just want to get it done so I go the easy route. I am not a fan of pantographs because they look too uniform. Would love to see more ideas.

  71. 77


    This would be so awesome to have. I took a machine quilting class years ago with my old Singer that only had one speed. The teacher tried to fix that by taping a pencil under my foot pedal, to no avail. I had no control — but I was the fastest quilter in the class! Now I have my Bernina 440 and I can’t wait for my next quilting class in October.

  72. 78


    Hey Judy,

    I haven’t done alot of machine quilting. . . mainly because I haven’t completed too many projects! he he

    There is a quilt shop about an hour away from me. They offer a class in using their “big” long arm quilting machines & then after you take the class you can “rent” the machines to quilt your own projects.

    Well, I’m on the short side (which is not a problem for me, except when it comes to working on a big long arm). . . . . so the body position wasn’t quite right. Not that there is any point in telling you that. . . .but thought I would put it in.

    Any way, the “funny” that I have to recount is that while I was taking my “get acquainted” class the shop owner kept getting a little grin on her face every once in a while (usually while I was trying to concentrate on following a pantogram). When I finally asked her if I was doing something wrong she said “no, it’s just that when you concentrate you stick your tongue out.”

    When she demonstrated what I was doing I had to laugh. . . .because that is the same face that all my friends in high school (many years ago) would make when they were applying make-up!!

    Since I have never been one for wearing make-up I’m guessing that it must be some sort of automatic reaction. . . . . so, just call me “the girl with her tongue sticking out”!! LOL

    Have a wonderful day,

    Sherry V.

  73. 79

    Becky I says

    Oh a giveaway. I’m so excited! I love to custom quilt but always wonder if what is in my mind will actually look like it does in my mind. I’ve heard great reviews on the Pajama Quilter but have never seen the book first hand. Thanks for sharing.

  74. 80


    Relax and have fun……………it also helps to actually put your foot on the presser foot to make the machine go. One day I just waited!

  75. 81

    Diane says

    I do little machine quilting because I am not confident enough in my abilities.
    One day while at my quilting group I was working on a quilt for one of my husband’s co-worker’s new baby. I apparently kept grunting and mumbling under my breath and a few times not so under my breath. A friend came over to me and said “Get UP!” I was ready for a break so I did and she sat down and sweetly started quilting in an all over motion. She made it look so easy and was so calm, after a few minutes I figured I could do what she was doing, and I did! Sometimes we have to have our hands held until we feel confident enough to try it.

  76. 82


    I love to do free motion quilting———the unplanned kind. I believe in the basics: clean your machine ………….put in a new needle………….match the weight of the top thread with the bottom thread…………….slap down a slick surface to work on ( I love the supreme slider) and wear gloves so you can grip the fabric withought stress. So much fun.

  77. 83


    I machine quilt on a domestic machine and have tried all kinds of gloves and things to help move the quilt sandwich. What I have found works best for me is the Quilt Halo by Sharon Schamber. I like the way the rubbery surface grabs the fabric and I can move the ring to create my quilting design yet my hands are bare so if I need to clip threads or thread the needle there are no gloves to remove. I also use the Supreme Slider by Sharon on the bed of my machine…make sure to tape the edges down so it won’t slide. That is the voice of experience as I stitched through another place on the slider when it moved.

  78. 84

    Kynomi says

    I have not been quilting very long, so I don’t have a lot of experience. My best advice would be to just go for it. Most people are not going to examine every line and detail in your quilting, unless it is meant for a quilt show. Have fun!

  79. 85


    My tip: You checked your tension on a sample. It was great. You started on your quilt, quilted a few square inches, and checked again. Still okay.

    It’s still a good idea to periodically take a look at the back and see how that tension is doing. Taking out free motion quilting is hard. Ask me how I know.

  80. 86

    Sue K says

    My advice is to remember that there are NO quilting police. Now if only I could take my own advice I would be much happier!

  81. 87

    Glenda in Florida says

    I send large quilts out–quilting by checkbook, I call it. But, I try to quilt charity baby quilts on my Bernina 1260–mostly straight lines with the walking foot. I do try free motion sometimes. One of the first times I was just quilting two FQs with batting so I could make a little zipper bag. The stitches were not real even, and some of the curves were pretty pointy. I was still pretty proud of the finished project. The in-laws were visiting, and I mentioned to DMIL that the stitches weren’t all small and even. She asked if I were going to make them smaller the next time! As if I had intentionally make them big and jerky! I hope I win the DVD–I need all the help I can get.

  82. 88

    Margery Jansonius says

    I do mostly stippling because it is what I think goes better for me. The smooth even feed of the machine is what works at a more even stitch. Would like to stretch my quilting and free motion is what I have to practice .
    Thanks for the opportunity Judy, Love your blog.

  83. 90


    I quilt on my Bernina 430 (no BSR) and my best tip is to warm up!
    Do some neck and shoulder stretches, trace the book or handdrawn pattern with your finger to get the idea and then practice on some muslin sandwiches (which I save for later inspiration), drink no more than one glass of wine while quilting (ask me how I know!!) and put on a good audio book.
    I also use a Halo (heavy rubberized iron ring) to help move the fabric evenly and keep a flat area to work in while the fabric is puddled on my large quilting table. I have been known to Pounce on stencils when I am in a hurry and can’t come up with my own designs.

  84. 91

    Laura says

    I quilt with a Janome on a Grace frame. The first quilt I did, I didn’t know much about loading it on the frame. I pinned the quilt top to the leaders, and proceeded to quilt the top to the leaders. I had plenty of time to think about it while I took out all the stitching.

  85. 92

    Jeanine says

    I’ve tried free motion quilting on my home sewing machine without too much success. Dawn’s DVD may be just the thing I need. Thanks for the opportunity.

  86. 93

    Judy C in NC says

    I love the quilting by checkbook method – for my larger quilts. Lately, I have needed a sense of accomplishment and have started making smaller quilts, which also have a need in my family of worthy people who desire my quilts but I do the machine quilting. I call these “cussing quilts” – and I go to great lengths to not have to machine quilt. Thanks to Scott Murkin’s class, I have found an easier way to do them. He says why try to sew a straight line where everyone will see your mistakes , when you can sew a wavy, crooked line on purpose which is far less forgiving. Just set your zig zag stitch length as high as it will go and take off. I am now actually getting some donel.

  87. 94


    What a wonderful giveaway! I love machine quilting and have had less thread breakage using those plastic bobbins washers. I’m always looking for quilt design inspiration!

  88. 95

    Linda (petey) says

    If you have ‘frogging’ to do (yes, ripit, ripit) a cheap little eyebrow trimmer will safely cut your stitches without harming fabric. They come 3 in a package for a little over a dollar. Hope you never need to use one!!

  89. 96


    My tip is that fast machine speed and slow hand speed works the best with my BabyLock. I am learning this technique and some times I do wonderfully and sometimes I have to rip stitches out.

  90. 97


    I need the book because a little stipple with curlique is all I ever quilt. I’m getting pretty good at it, but it doesn’t go with everything. My advice would be to stick with the same color thread top & bottom until you are sure of your tension.

  91. 98

    debbie siltala says

    My best tip is just to take a DEEP breath and just go for it. I was terrified of feathers and when I decide to try them, I was surprised at how much easier it was than I thought. Also if you use a finer thread, it doesn’t show as much

  92. 99


    Good quality fabrics, batting and thread make it all a whole lot easier to do great work. Practice, practice practice is the key. I so need this book to take my creativity to another level 🙂

  93. 100

    Bobbie23nc says

    I’ve never machine quilted anything I was actually proud to say was mine other than straight line quilting.

  94. 101

    Michelle F. says

    My tip would be to remember that quilting is supposed to be FUN! If you make a mistake while free motion quilting…turn it into a design feature by doing it a couple of more times. I have the Pajama Quilter Reloaded and it is great. I got the giant white board and love practicing with it.

  95. 103


    I quilt small projects with my Janome 6600 and normally just do different size “S” shapes. I really would like to try something different. I’m told an Etch-a-Sketch really helps the hand/eye coordination, but haven’t tried that yet.

  96. 104


    I rarely enter giveaways, but this one is irresistible — I need all the help I can get with machine quilting and I’ve got her DVD’s on my wish list.

  97. 105


    I have the first video and it has been a great help in my quilting 🙂

    my favorite tip is to draw your designs out – I use a white board like Dawn does – and once you like your design, keep tracing it until you start to feel the way to go. This has helped me GREATLY! I also keep a pad of paper with me and doodle quilting designs all the time 🙂

  98. 106

    Jay in Nebraska says

    A tip, pin really well and make sure the back is nice and taught! Funny story, well not so much, except that I love FM quilting on my treadle sewing machine, the control is amazing!

  99. 107

    Ruth C says

    I made my nephew a quilt featuring Thomas train, and I machine-quilted trucks, a boat, and trains around the outer border. There was room to personalize on one of the trucks, so I sewed his name out. Plus, on the main blocks I sewed in his initials. When it came time to make a quilt for my niece, his sister, I mostly outline-quilted around the little figures in the blocks and chose a bird pattern to go around the border. I hadn’t thought to put her name in there at all. When she heard I was almost finished with her quilt and would send it soon (it was just before her 4th birthday), she was asking where her name was. I didn’t understand, so her daddy clarified that my nephew’s favorite thing about his quilt is having his name on it. So, of course, I added my nieces name to one of the borders!

  100. 108

    Pam says

    I FMQ on a domestic sewing machine. My machine is recessed in a custom designed table so that I can support the quilt. So my tip is to make sure that you have a good quilting surface for support.

  101. 109


    I used to quilt on my Janome 8080 and a couple of months ago I traded it in for a Viking Topaz 30. It is a pickier machine and is more self aware (!). With a Sew Steady table, gloves and Supreme slider, I find FMQ has become much easier. I am able to go slowly and track back on stitched lines better. The number of times I get straight lines when I want curves and curves when I want straight lines have also reduced! 🙂

  102. 110


    I found that I always tense up and start clenching my teeth. Now I make sure to put on some happy music and then I can’t help but to sing along and be relaxed. And I couldn’t FMQ without my quilting gloves.

  103. 111

    Joyce Barham says

    Always have plenty of bobbins wound!
    And, always start quilting with a new
    needle in your machine. I quilt on a Pfaff 1256.

  104. 112

    Jane Kmetz says

    Ok second time I am trying to send this; we were in the middle of a thunderstorm and everything went dead. So, I’ll try again. I have a long arm and am tired of just stippling. I don’t do pantos very well—I was never one to stay within the lines when coloring so pantos are out. I think Dawn’s DVD is just what I need. Thanks again. Jane

  105. 114


    When I first got my Bernina 440, I was so excited to have that BSR. I finished a top, sandwiched it, and got to work stippling for the first time on the new machine. It took me about an hour to finish the small quilt and it turned out great. I immediately got online and told everyone how fabulous the BSR was! A few minutes later, as I was fiddling with my 440, I realized the BSR wasn’t even plugged in! If this wasn’t a Christmas quilt, I would have named it “Placebo Effect”!

  106. 115

    Evelyn says

    I start on a small square all prepped -about 10″ – just to get the motion down and then I switch over to the quilt. Starting on the small piece just eases me right into the correct motion without messing up on the actual quilt. Cheers! Evelyn

  107. 116


    One thing I do is every time I change my bobbin, I check for lint, loose threads, etc. in the bobbin area. It saves lots of curse words and only takes a minute to do a quick check.

  108. 117

    gail sheppard says

    I took a class on fmq on my domestic machine. It was very intimidating with lots of rules (meander can’t cross over, stitches must be equal size). I left the class feeling like I would never be able to fmq. A few weeks later, I was looking at a display quilt and noticed that the meander had crossed over a line and the stitches were not all equal! I decided then and there that I could also break all the rules, after all, this was a display quilt. My slogan became, “done is better than perfect.” I have limited fmq skills, but with practice, it’s getting better and better!

  109. 118

    Linda H says

    Judy, when I first began quilting my frame was located in a converted, small, back porch with big windows all around. One day, a robin began diving into the glass sliding door repeatedly, the door being only about 5 feet from where I was working. I couldn’t shoo him/her away, so I hung long streamers and finally covered the door with a large blanket. –Whereupon, he moved around the corner to the window at the end of my frame! That birdie really wanted in. The banging at the windows continued all spring into mid-summer. I finally learned to ignore him. Not sure what his problem was, but I’ll bet he had a big headache.

    Dawn’s work is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us!

  110. 119

    Deborah Harmon says

    The first item I machine quilted was a large Christmas tree skirt as a gift for my brother and his wife. I had no idea how to keep from getting tucks on the back so although I love seeing the tree skirt on the top I cringe inside when I think about the backside.

  111. 121

    Ray says

    Wow – so many comments. My best tip has already been given – use a slider on the machine bed. Then also, I “stuff” rather than roll or fold the quilt. Thanks for asking for the tips. I’m going to try some of them!!

  112. 122


    I love, love Dawn’s books and DVD’s. If I won, I would give it to my mom 🙂 who is my inspiration for learning to quilt! I have a short arm machine on a HandiQuilter frame. I can’t do all of the things a long arm can do, but I do what I can and do lots of it. And I promise you that no child has ever received one of my quilts and said, hey you really messed up the stippling on this quilt! Done is better than perfect, and the more you practice the better you will get.

  113. 123

    Sandy Bunnell says

    I like the idea of turning your regular machine with the needle end pointed at you. Sandy B

  114. 124

    Robin says

    As a newbie machine quilting- I really don’t have much in the way of tips except practice, paractice, practice , make sure the backing is pinned tightly and allow plenty of room!!

  115. 125

    Judy K says

    I machine quilted a lovely speciman on my Bernina 1001 and could not for the life of me figure why it did not flow like the previous quilt I had done. Dropping your feed dogs are very important. The quilt does not look that bad, but….

  116. 126

    Judy K says

    I machine quilted a lovely speciman on my Bernina 1001 and could not for the life of me figure why it did not flow like the previous quilt I had done. Dropping your feed dogs are very important. The quilt does not look that bad, but….

  117. 127

    Diane Myers says

    My quilting machine does not have channel lock. To be able to quilt in a straight horizontal line I use2 small clamps. One behind and one in front of the wheels on the base that the machine sits on. Works great!

  118. 128

    Darlene B says

    Definitely use gloves while quilting on a short-arm domestic machine and always use needle down! I also have forgotten to drop the feed dogs on one occasion – I don’t recommend it…

    Thanks for the giveaway – I’d love to win this book since I’ve heard so much about Dawn’s DVDs.

  119. 129

    Pam says

    Please enter me in the drawing. I have a mid arm setup that I haven’t used in over a year. It makes me feel sick to even look at it now. I like free motion quilting so well but the last two times I tried all I got was thread tangles. I need this inspiration to go and try to fix things again. I’m sure it is something simple, I am working with a second hand machine, but it was OK for six months and now 🙁

  120. 130

    Sandy A says

    I haven’t done much machine quilting, but what I have learned is to BASTE it well! If not, you’ll end up with puckers!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  121. 131


    Remember to take pictures of quilting details whenever you try a new quilting design. Then when you encounter an area where you aren’t sure what to quilt, you can look through your close-up photos of past areas and use a new variation. Otherwise, by the time you’ve quilted several dozen quilts, you’ll forget what you’ve done previously in similar situations.

  122. 132


    Get a walking foot or quilting foot. This may sound obvious, but I am a self-taught quilter on a used machine and had no idea there were other feet to quilt with! Needless to say, I was incredibly frustrated with early attempts to machine quilt.

  123. 133

    candace says

    My tip is simple: just jump in and play around because half the battle is the fear you can’t do it! Just keep working at it and you will find your rhythm and remember to relax, take a break, and have fun!

  124. 134


    Oh gee. I quilt on my domestic and that in itself can be pretty funny (looking, that is). Deciding how to quilt on a domestic sewing machine is very hard sometimes so I really can use this great giveaway. Thanks for the chance to win such a great prize.

    My tip. Get out there and practice, practice, and practice without thinking about what others will think about it. We all have to end up developing our own style. (Of course, I haven’t yet.)

  125. 135

    Kathy B in TN says

    I’ve only done stitch in ditch – too chicken to do much else. I do have a terribly ugly top that I could use for practice if I were to be so lucky as to win! Thanks Judy for the giveaway.

  126. 136

    Melanie says

    When I got my longarm, I was so intimidated. I took class after class, but was afraid to use any of my newly acquired (and expensive) knowledge. My advice would be to put a quilt on the frame and just start quilting. In the grand scheme of things, it is just a quilt. The benefit from trying is that you will gain experience and become comfortable running your machine.

  127. 138

    Kathleen says

    I have her 1st dvd and it’s wonderful! Besides the idea of quilting in our pjs and taking breaks for chocolate, it’s full of quilting ideas. Very freeing. I love her sound effect when doing the center of flowers. I’ve used that design a lot (without sound effects here!)

  128. 139

    Cindy says

    I don’t have any tips to share 🙁 I’ve had a juki and a grace frame for nearly five years. I do only basic meandering, loopy loops, hearts and stars all free motion from the front of the frame. I need to venture all out of my box. I’m bored with these quilting patterns.

    I guess I do have a tip, have plenty of bobbins wound to keep on going.


  129. 140


    I keep saying I will quilt more of my own quilts but they usually end up in a stack of tops, unquilted. I would love to learn more about quilting designs and how to choose a design for a quilt. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  130. 141

    Kathy C says

    I always have a 1/2 glas of wine BEFORE I start to machine quilt. It helps me relax. I know, I’m a cheap date, but more than that and I won’t care a lick about what I’m doing!

  131. 142


    I have read about these books but haven’t purchased any. My biggest mistake was trying to advance the quilt and somehow ripping it with the needle. Good thing it was my quilt and I mended the spot with a cut out of a dragon fly. I am very very careful now every time I advance the quilt.

  132. 143


    I quilt on my domestic and I guess I don’t really fo FMQ as I use stencils and mark almost quilt I do. That is – after the quilt sits, once I’ve SID’d the large seams, ready for me to start quilting. It seems to take me along time to actully decide what to do and then start doing it. My fave book so far is Harriet Hargave’s – she gave me permission to mark after sandwiching!

  133. 144

    Kathleen says

    I have Dawn’s 1st dvd and love it. Besides saying we can quilt in our pjs and take breaks for chocolate, it’s full of quilting ideas. Seeing them done with her machine is helpful. I also love her sound effects when doing the center on flowers! I’ve used that method (with sound effects) a lot and it’s always turned out.

  134. 145

    Sharon says

    I have done basic FMQ on my domestic machine for years. I have lately started branching out into new designs. I’ve given myself permission to quilt them and not expect them to be perfect. You know, quilted and looking decent is much better than not quilted! And the practice will make me much better. Of course, knowing some more designs to quilt that would be nice!

  135. 146


    One day while free motion quilting on my dsm, I tried to sew my fingernail to the quilt! From then on, I painted my nails red when I wanted to free motion quilt so I would see them and not quilt over my fingernails.

  136. 147

    Loretta says

    Hi Judy,
    I am lucky enough to have both DVDs and workbooks already, but I would gladly pass it on if I won one. I love Dawn’s way of thinking, especially that chocolate conquers all fears and tames stress.

  137. 148

    Diane says

    I’ve heard about the dvd’s and would love to try Dawn’s methods. I have a Brother 1500 on a B-Line frame and just do some meandering and a few stars & hearts. I need to spend more time practicing as I know that will lead to better quilting. Thanks for the giveaway.

  138. 149

    Darlene S says

    What a great giveaway. I need help desperately on how to “do you own thing”. I’m stuck in a rut and am afraid to try total free motion without some major guidance from someone who knows a lot than me. This would be a great addition to my skill sets. My tip on machine quilting on a domestic is to breathe while you are quilting. It works so much better than holding your breath! Also, a glass of wine before you start can do wonders for relaxing. 🙂 Dar in MO

  139. 150

    Carrie says

    here’s my tip for storing longarm bobbins and thread – if I finish a quilt and have one or more bobbins still mostly full, I turn my cone of thread upside down and store the bobbins in the bottom of the cone. Set them in my storage case and the bobbin that matches is stored right with the cone!

  140. 151


    I’ve just recently dared to try an all over meander and now I can’t imagine why I struggled to get all those quilted lines straight and even before. I would love to have one of Dawn’s workbooks to help me stretch even further.

  141. 152

    mary says

    I could certainly use these ideas I am getting tired of stippling quilts for Linus but that is fast and I am not willing to take to long on kids fun quilts.I just want to get them made and into someones hands.

  142. 153

    Evelyn B in MA says

    Love the pajama quilter! I find that when I take the time to do some free hand drawing on big paper before I start machine quilting, I start off doing much better than if I were to just sit down at the machine and try to start machine quilting. I guess the drawing on paper, must work out the “bugs” first.

  143. 154

    Becky R says

    Maybe this would encourage me to finish those quilt tops that I have done. I have many that were pieced by hand but probably more that were pieced by machine. Piecing by hand is a thing of the past for sure.

  144. 155

    Jenice Duvall says

    I have learned that if I can draw it, I can pretty much quilt it. I usually practice a design by drawing it on regular paper several times before I attempt to quilt it. This works very well for me. Also, I like to customize the quilting based on the pattern of the piecing. I try to choose a quilting pattern that will enhance the design of the top. This makes for a unique allover look.

  145. 156

    Melissa Garcia says

    I am VERY new to machine quilting. I love the finished look – usually. But there is definitely a learning curve. I learned the hard way to always check the tension underneath after the first few inches rather than after the whole row – after every change of bobbin or thread or anything that might have set things off kilter. I have also learned to lay out the quilt top for a few days and let it “speak” to me for how it wants to be quilted and go with my instincts. Usually what I originally thought when sewing the top is not what ends up being quilted, but the finished result is much better. Another biggie is don’t try to machine quilt (or anything) when you are tired. Take a break and things will always work better later!

    I absolutely love Patchwork Times. Thanks for all the good ideas in every area. Some days the chuckle I get is just what I need. Keep those stories coming.

    I had hoped to be able to do the Note to Self quilt along with my 11-year-old. We wanted to use her collection of pinks for all the blocks with purple in the black spaces. Life took a different turn, but we will definitely save the instructions for another time.

  146. 157


    The first 3 times I tried quilting on my home sewing machine, I got the backing flipped at a corner and quilted over it~ lots of ripping to right that! You would’ve thought I’d learned after the first time! Then I rented a LA at the LQS and somehow got the side flipped in, and had to rip-it again! Now I baste the sides. 🙂 LOL Thanks for all the tips and the fun giveaway!

  147. 158


    I’ve only made a serious effort (beyond practicing) at free motion quilting one time, and I was surprised at how easy and forgiving it was. I had my laptop sitting next to me, and I was watching tutorials. I’d watch the tutorial, then try to copy. In general, I’d get lost right away. Still, the designs weren’t half bad even if they didn’t look anything like what I was trying for. Now I’m excited to do more of it. Downy quilts are a great place to practice. I’m getting ready to do one within the next week or so.

  148. 159

    Kathy says

    I also use a longarm, very early edition APQS. It has been an awesome quilting partner. I recently tried BOBBIN GENIES, what an incredible improvement they made to stitch quality. My other favorite tool is the TOWA bobbin tension gauge. Both well worth the $$ to purchase.

  149. 160

    Pat Bandura says

    free motion machine quilting is much fun. New design ideas are in yur next doodle. my only tip is that you need to relax and slow down a little to get smoother curves and sharper points

  150. 161


    I LOVE free motion quilting…like you said, the challenge is the design to choose. It’s easy to do the same old, same old. One thing I have to be careful about is keeping the size and spacing consistant from the beginning to the end. I tend to get closer together and larger as I go…..

  151. 163


    The best quilting tip is to always look under your quilt to make sure the bottom looks as good as the top. Don’t do like me this morning and forget then have to frog a whole row. Grrrr. Shirley

  152. 164

    Cathy says

    I removed the flexible plastic on the table bed and put some 11×17 inch plexiglass squares on the pantos to hold them in place. I find it easier to work with and line up the pantos that way.
    Thanks for your blog. It is one of my favorites!!

  153. 165

    Peggy says

    I have friends who tell me I taught them to machine quilt……I am the worst machine quilter in the world, but my friends do a wonderful job of quilting. Where did I go wrong?

  154. 166

    ruth anne says

    Wow, lots of tips and ideas! Thanks for getting us to list these as sometimes we know something and then forget it!! I have to use gloves, the supreme slider, the halo (red circle thingy, actually I put my old blue one on top of the halo and tape them together!!! Don’t laugh–LOL I also use the bobbin plastic thing that goes under your bobbin. That being said, I need to practice more. I just have my domestic machine and it is so frustrating at times. What I need help with is designs other than straight lines and the slight curve (a stitch on my machine) that I use too much because I can’t figure out anything else!!

  155. 168

    katie says

    I have a long arm that is intimidating but I have tryed to do some things. I once did a quilt on my Viking for “Quilts for kids” and that was a fun but challenging, I’m used to small areas. Big ones are scarry, the CD might give me some confidence.

  156. 169

    Robbie says

    I would love to win this! I have been trying to do my own quilting. I have a short arm machine and frame. Many times I have wished I had something to give me ideas of what to do.

    Judy, your blog is so funny and I enjoy it immensely! It makes me feel like we are friends even though we have never met!

  157. 170

    Marie says

    For the longest time, quilting in the ditch was the only thing I did, but then I made a baby quilt and tried doing something different, a wavy thingie on a diagonal. It actually came out pretty good. I do all my quilting on my Janome that is done at home. I just need to do different things, so winning the dvd would be a great way to get more ideas. My tip: slow down your stitching until you get comfortable with what you are doing.

  158. 171


    I quilt both on my DSM and my friends longarm. I have to say I prefer the DSM. The key to good quilting on any machine? Practice, practice, practice both with the machine and by doodling. Nothing beats muscle memory!

  159. 172


    Many quilters doodle their designs on paper first. One trick I use is to spend some time with a white board and dry erase marker. I can hold the pen in a fist to mimic the position of my longarm handles. It’s especially fun when my daughter fills in my designs with her coloring!

  160. 173


    My best tip for longarming is that if you can’t see a mistake from 18″ away it doesn’t matter. We get way too up-close and personal with the quilts we work on and it’s too easy to agonize over every stitch that isn’t perfectly in place. Especially when no one else will ever notice. Heck, sometimes I can’t even find the oops that was making me crazy the night before.

  161. 174

    Sheila Fernkopf says

    Load your quilt on the machine (I have shortarm) and “practice” what you plan to quilt without actually sewing – just move the machine over the quilt. It helps you get the “feel” for the pattern you intend to quilt.

  162. 175

    Susan Calitz says

    Hi Judy
    I have just helped a friend who wants to quilt her top using her DSM by pinning the layers after using the long arm as a frame for support. Much easier than pinning all the layers on your hands and knees on the floor!!
    Love Susan

  163. 176

    Sherry says

    I’m just learning to quilt. Love piecing the tops but don’t know what to do for the quilting. I know I need to practice on my DSM but I’m afraid to ruin a perfectly good
    top. Love to have that book to give me some ideas and learn how to actually do the “quilting.” Thanks, Judy!

  164. 177


    I doodle on whatever is available while waiting for my husband–this practice helps when I start quilting on my longarm.

  165. 178

    Quinta da Quilter says

    Fun giveaway! Think the hardest part for me is remembering to breathe – somehow I foget everytime.

  166. 179


    I, too, am new to the world of machine quilting, but one thing I’ve learned is to NOT pull on the fabric while it’s being sewn!! A rookie mistake, but one I make far too often!!

  167. 180


    My top tip is to clear your surfaces around the sewing machine before you start quilting…..surely I’m not the only one who has forgotten and has had to remove, thread by thread, small strips of fabric usually used as ‘thread savers’ from the back of a quilt after they’ve got picked up when the quilt was being moved around!

    Lovely giveaway, Judy, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I win!


  168. 182

    Rhanda Johnson says

    Machingers! Love these gloves. Also, a supreme slider. These two things are extremely helpful! Oh, and a Bernina BSR (stitch regulator) helps too!

  169. 183

    Teri says

    Remember when you are quilting on any machine that you are only inches from the quilt. The design will appear and the flaws disappear once you step back and see the whole picture. Have a plan before you start quilting. I will often think I am ready to quilt something then I just sit and stare (and stress over it) for weeks.

  170. 184


    Even though I have taken 2 FMQ classes with my domestic machine, I still have not managed to get it right. I really want to move on from Stitch in the Ditch. When I try to FMQ I get so caught up in trying to remember everything I have to do I freeze up and get herky jerky lines. Dawn may be the answer to my problem, if indeed there is any answer.

  171. 185

    Jeanne Bancroft says

    I would love one of these!! What a help to further improve my longarming!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  172. 186

    lynne says

    My tip – should make you laugh !

    I bought the dealer set up for my longarm including the frame andjust repeated the set up at home. I was really struggling to do anything free motion — then I had a light bulb moment… Hmmmm I am only 5ft 2inches – why dont I try lowering the frame 6 inches ….. ta da its amazing how much easier it is when you can reach things !!!

  173. 187

    Barb G says

    As a very ‘iffy’ machine quilter, I wanted to be able to do donation quilts, so I bought a mid-arm machine. I have Dawn’s first DVD but have been afraid to try to use the ideas myself. I’m still stuck on meandering and what I call e’s and o’s.
    Barb in MI/FL

  174. 190

    Susan says

    What I have found works best for me is PRACTICE! Too often we think our work is not “good enough” and just don’t want to even try. Instead, grab one of those quilt tops that are piled up and just get to stitching. When you or someone you love are curled up in a finished quilt, you won’t even notice the imperfections.

  175. 191

    Patricia Ojeda says

    I haven’t tried FMQ yet! I really want to learn, but I am SCARED! Maybe this book/DVD will help me to just TRY!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  176. 192


    I listen to an audiobook while quilting. It distracts me juuuuust enough so that I don’t overthink, and my quilting is much more even on ‘autopilot’.

    I’m loving the other tips and suggestions. So glad I don’t think I know it ALL !!

  177. 193

    Patricia L. says

    When I decide on a backing for a quilt top waiting to be quilted I have the fabric with the top so it doesn’t get used for anything else. Quilts without backing or in need of borders are hung separately from those that are read to go. Binding or the fabric for it is hung with the top also.

  178. 194


    I’m just learning to FMQ and I LOVE it. I would love to win Dawn’s book. My only tip (since I’m so new to FMQ) is don’t use cheap thread (bargin bin thread).

  179. 195

    Debbie B says

    I am newbie to FMQ and still have some fears, but am trying work thru them. Recently I tried some variegated rayon thread which was a real stretch for me. And guess what? … it turned out great. My tip is to just try…you might surprise yourself.

  180. 196

    patti says

    altho i bought an original handiquilter frame years ago, i had always thot of myself as a handquilter. i did enjoy the quickness of finishing a charity quilt or baby quilt, but of course always wanted “just a bit more” throatspace. about two years ago i bought the HQ16 and have never looked back. i still do alot of charity quilts but it is so much nicer with more room! i’ve had the thrill of working from the front side and have even done a few more pantos now that i have space for those intricate designs. it has really opened up a new adventure, and there is so much more to be learned. i have a whole new respect for those MQd quilts i see at shows. my most recent effort will be flown across country as a raffle quilt for an army unit, a real labor of love.

  181. 197


    The only things (animals) that I have free motioned quilted are moose on a quilt that I am making for my husband for Christmas. I had practiced before I actually put the quilt under the needle and they really turned out well. My grandson could even tell that they were moose.

  182. 198

    Debbie Bailey says

    I have a Nolting Funquilter…she works best if I warm her up for at least 10 minutes with the bobbin case…all that metal gets nice and warm. I also have a small notebook I use to write down what type of batting I use in each quilt and also the threads. In general I write my likes and dislikes in this notebook about each quilt..then it’s my secret but more importantly I hope it helps be to improve.