I’m always interested in learning new quilting designs and generally building my free-motion quilting skills. Jenny Lyon — quilter extraordinaire, teacher and friend — teaches at several quilt shops in the Sacramento area. I asked her to come to my home to share her skills with a small group. My friends Aileyn, Jean, Dolores and Pam joined us for the fun!
Jenny took us through what she calls a ‘decision tree.’ The answer to the question “What do you want the end result to be?” informs your decisions for not only the quilting design and its density, but which batting and thread you’ll use. She covered the reasons for using wool, cotton, orient and even double batting. She talked about the kinds of threads and marking tools she uses and why. Other tools we talked about included: the Supreme Slider™ (not available in stores), a Teflon sheet which grips the bed of your machine and allows your quilts to glide easily; a single-needle throat plate; gloves, finger cots and Lickity Grip®. Since the class I have purchased and used the single-needle throat plate for my Janome 6500 and the Supreme Slider™. I will try Lickity Grip® with my next large quilt.
Then we got down to the question for quilting: What is the mission for the quilting? Is it a secondary story for your quilt — meant to enhance the fabric design? Or is it the feature of a quilt with lots of open space? There is a lot to think through before you even begin quilting. Jenny took us through drawing quilting designs on paper. At one time or another we’ve all been told about the benefit of drawing a design with our finger before starting but Jenny’s method for putting pencil to paper is even better. Finally, we were turned loose on our machines to try our hand at the designs we were most interested in learning. I managed to try a couple designs in class and I branched out with a few more later.
And here’s the group (L to R) Aileyn, Jean, Jenny, Pam and Dolores.