Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Renae Allen - what a treat!

Renae Allen was our guest instructor at our August guild meeting - WHAT A TREAT!

Renae is the mastermind behind a product called Skillbuilder for Machine Quilters. She designed panels of printed fabric that you and I can use to practice machine quilting on our home sewing machines. She also has companion books available to go with the panels to give you the basics of home machine quilting, along with her tips, ideas, and patterns.

Here is Renae showing us her Skillbuilder panels. There are many different types of blocks to quilt, borders to try, and fun continutous-line designs with directional guides. She now has a few different panels available, both beginning and mastery levels.

Renae talked to us about many aspects of machine quilting including how to mark a quilt. Her suggestions were: chalk wheel, pounce pad, Sulky transfer pen, blue marker, and Golden Threads Quilting Paper. The picture below shows the Golden Threads paper. She said tissue paper can also work.

Renae also has CDs and templates available with more instruction and more design possibilities.

Renae gave many tips on how she machine quilts on her sewing machine. A few of her tips were to use bike clips along with an accordion style folding of the quilt to make it fit nicely under the arm of the sewing machine and to keep track of the bulk as you quilt. She also mentioned that if you buy a throat plate with a round hole rather than a normal throat plate with a larger opening, it won't suck your quilt into the hole and you will have a better turnout.

Renae told us how she bastes her quilts and gets them ready for quilting. She uses a table and clips the quilt backing onto the table. She has found some nice big clips that work for thicker tables and many ladies took advantage of her searching by purchasing some from her! She said the key to having nice quilt backs is getting the fabric TAUT but not stretched. Another basting tool she uses is the quick clip used to clip safety pins in quickly. Renae talked about needles also. She always uses sharps rather than universals when quilting, and she emphasized to change your needle with each new project! She demonstrated how to pull up the bobbin thread so quick and easy! WOW! Another great tip she gave us was don't backstitch when you start and stop. She just does about 5 small small stitches before quilting your normal pattern and stitch length when she stops and starts. Interesting!

What a great evening our August meeting was for everyone that attended. Thanks to Renae Allen and KayeDawn for arranging her visit! If you missed her visit, her products can be purchased just about anywhere in quilt stores or online. Our very own Seasons of Home also carries her products!


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