Just Draw

Jen-Eskridge-Sketchbook

Just draw as much as you can. I know that sounds silly but as I tell my quilting students, muscle memory is important.

Muscle Memory

mus·cle mem·o·rynoun

  1. the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement.”typing relies heavily on muscle memory”

Sketchbook

In college we were required to keep an inspiration journal & sketchbook. At the time it was to add in photos, notes, sketches, really anything.

Jen-Eskridge-Sketchbook

Building on that sage advice, I’d like to encourage you to keep inspiration at your fingertips. Pinterest boards, photos on your phone from quilt guilds and quilt shows, and sketches from anywhere.

Jen-Eskridge-Sketchbook

The importance of a sketchbook, to me, is that while I can find amazing photos of cool-looking designs on the entire internet, my sketchbook is the place where I can see what I can actually draw.

From here, I can plan to build on skills sketched on previous pages to create something intricate and useful.

Jen-Eskridge-Sketchbook

And while it may seem like I’m just sitting there with a random marker-color-of-the-day, I’m actually building muscle memory and creating a resource to flip through at a later date.

Jen-Eskridge-Sketchbook

Quilting

Using the sketchbook to completely inspire your quilting has been made quite popular by Karlee Porter with her Graffiti Quilting style. I’m a huge fan.

Graffiti Quilting by Karlee Porter

I’ve found, though, that I’m even able to break out some designs and add them into my own brainstorming. Recently taking a Handi Quilter class, I used my sketchbook ideas to help draft a couple blocks.

Jen-Eskridge-HandiQuilter-Class

You never know when these ideas will come in handy. I encourage your to just draw as often as you can!




Free-Motion Framework Video Trailer

In October 2018, I was honored to be included in C&T Publishing’s video series of book trailers. At the Quilt Market in Houston, TX, we shot almost an hour worth of footage for the promotion.

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Through the magic of editing and the genius of youtube, the video is only 7 minutes long. Hopefully, it will give you a good idea of how Free-Motion Framework can improve your quilting skills.

Take a peak here:

It was a blast to film, but my time slot was 3p. That is 3p after an entire day on the quilt market floor, buzzing around seeing friends and quilts. I promise I do not always look this exhausted. However, I do always talk about quilts.

I asked the producer, Amy to snap a picture of me before I left the shoot. And yes, I did wave a bit of a photoshop-magic-wand on this one.

Jen-Eskridge-Video-Filming

Updated to add:See all the Free-Motion Framework details, workshops, projects, and samples here.




Vibrant Wild Birds: Applique Quilt

Inspired by the incredible applique of Kim Mclean, I set out on my own vibrant wild birds applique journey. Her pattern that put me on this path was Lollypop Tree. (You can grab the original Kim Mclean pattern at Glorious Color.) It is an amazing quilt that I’ve enjoyed since I first saw it years ago. My design is a much simpler, plainer version with birds and a splash of asymmetry.

Starting the Applique Design

I’m not much of a hand-applique person, but I thought it might be time to give it a whirl. Recently working on a challenge quilt, which I’ll blog about shortly, I dipped my toe into hand-applique designs.

This project completely started out as a bright-colored, hand-applique improvisational experiment. Lots of adjectives just to say, “I wonder if I can make a block?”

I’m happy to report, that this quilt is made entirely from fabric scraps from my own stash. My scraps are sorted by color into ziploc bags, and holy smokes, there’s lots of ziplocs.

After watching endless videos on applique, I ended up trying the Appliquick method to prepare my shapes. In a very basic nutshell, here’s what I did:

  • Trace shapes onto fusible interfacing
  • Fuse to wrong-side of fabric
  • Cut fabric 1/4″ – 1/8″ larger than interfacing
  • Use tools and glue to fold edges around applique
  • Press

I ended up choosing shapes I liked and making many of them. Next, I’d store them in an unused 8″ pizza box to use them as I randomly created each block design.

To my surprise, the little birds turned out to be a favorite design. Luckily the bird body and bird wing were interesting shapes in themselves. You’ll see them in the blocks, used in many different arrangements along side leaves, bias tape and circles.

Improv Applique Quilt Blocks

For each block, I would start with a 15-1/2″ x 15-1/2″ woven cotton fabric background. Press a center fold, then press three fold lines perpendicular to the vertical center. I don’t know what will be applied to the lines, but they’ll help keep things balanced and symmetrical, if need be.

This isn’t a pattern release or free tutorial. I’m simply sharing a project I made from an incredible inspirational source. To see each block larger, click on it. If you end up making these blocks, that’s cool, but I do not have a paper template or design.

Finishing The Quilt

This quilt has quite a bit going on. There’s bias tape; there’s embroidered beaks, eyes, and feet. There’s circles and layers. I’ve never made anything this colorful, I don’t think.

In an efforts to go full on “MORE IS MORE,” I cut 3-1/2″ squares for a patchwork sashing.

Each block finished up at 15″ square which means I would need 20 small sahsing blocks around each applique. Add a dash of math to get the cornerstones, and I’m all set.

Ok, yes. This will be A LOT of color. Once I had all the sashing on the wall, and after confirming with my art guru, we decided to add some white applique shapes sashing in an efforts to calm the color slightly.

More is more!

Custom Quilting

The backing is pieced fabric from my stash and the batting is Fairfield Hi-Loft Poly. The thread is White Glide 40wt, Magna Glide 60wt Bobbin, and I’m using my HandiQuilter Avante, free-motion/hand-guided to quilt.

Quilting this was a blast. I outlined each applique shape/unit and filled in the background with all sorts of designs. Swirls, pebbles, and little feathers are featured in most of the space.

I added spine-less feathers in the patchwork sashing. Though you cannot see every quilted stitch, it does make a cool texture.

The white shapes are also outlined, though nothing is stitched inside. I wanted those areas to appear “puffed up.”

Vibrant Wild Birds

With the quilt completed, I just need to add a hanging sleeve on the back so this little baby can be entered into the Greater San Antonio Quilt Show in September.




Antique Linens Quilt Challenge

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Prepare to be overloaded with images of my Antiques Linen Challenge Quilt.

My local longarm group issued a challenge to stitch up an antique linen in the style made popular by Kelly Cline and others. There are so many cool ways to incorporate old linens into new designs.

The design I went with is more of a Frankenstein version of a linen challenge. I’ll lay out the reasons why I needed to add all sorts of things to this quilt.

It features:

  • One Handkerchief
  • Four crocheted coasters
  • One Bread Basket Liner (cut into quarters)
  • Two large crocheted doilies
  • Two different bed sheets
  • Four kinds of lace

The center of the quilt starts with a men’s handkerchief. It is plain and simple. I bought it at an estate sale and didn’t notice that it had stains on it. I went ahead and appliqued traditional orange peel shapes over the stains.

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

I created spaces within my quilt using techniques from Free-Motion Framework, my most recent book release. Simply divide the space in to large usable shapes and then practice a quilting fill within that shape.

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

The bread basket liner with a crocheted trim was next. I cut the liner into fourths and stay-stitched over the crocheted edge. I then appliqued over the cut crocheted edges with a smaller orange peel design.

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

It was really fun trying to think of different things to quilt into all these spaces. Unfortunately, the pictures jump around a bit. That happens because I was quilting “just one motif” at a time, rolling the quilt up and back on the longarm’s frame.

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

The lovely tan coasters are serving a fantastic purpose. They are covering seams where I mis-measured the solid fabric borders. That’s right, now you all know all my business.

I had two large doilies that I think are intended for end tables. I decided maybe I should chop those in half. The crochet was so tight that even when I cut the pieces with a rotary blade, nothing happened. There was no fray, no wobble, nothing.

At this point my mom suggested set the center of the quilt on-point to make it more interesting. Man, she was right! I generally quilt with the brightest fabrics I can get my hands on, so this piece was a visual challenge.

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Thank goodness for the Glide Presser Foot! I’m 100% certain this quilt was only stitch-able thanks to the bowl shape floating freely over the lumpy pieces in my quilt.



Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

I added some really neat triangles into the second-to-last border. I needed something to still puff on this design as I’ve quilted most of it to death. The batting in this quilt is one layer of American Fiber 80/20 and one layer of hi-loft Fairfield Poly.

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

This quilt has EVERYTHING, and I’m adding more! I don’t have a photo, but I’ve added four vintage/costume buttons to on-point center of the design. This is to cover up the lack of points on my large orange peel shapes.

I then thought the buttons looked a bit extra, so on all the quilted intersections on the handkerchief: CRYSTALS. Yes. It is out of control. Then I thought, “Well, I own a small cache of crystals, maybe I should put them on every cross-hatched intersection in the triangle border, too.” That isn’t done yet, but man, it will be cool when I’m finished.

Oh, right, you haven’t seen the whole quilt composition. It is very hard to get a photo of this quilt where the features really stand out. I took one, but then altered it to be darker so you may see it a bit better.

Antique Linens Challenge Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

You can see it in person at the Greater San Antonio Quilt Show, Sept 20-21, 2019




Longarm Gallery Update

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

After a brief blogging break, I wanted to share more longarm quilting pictures with you.

I’m enjoying free-motion quilting on my customer’s quilts and my own. I think I learn something with each new quilt, which is always good news.

The quilt below is part of my 2019 Challenge Fabric Quilt entry for the Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild’s show on Sept 20-21. I cannot show you the whole piece quite yet. Just know, it is asymmetrical and absolutely bananas-looking.

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

I’ve been lucky to custom quilt a few projects for some local San Antonio area friends. Check out their quilts:

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

A new friend found me online and mailed this next quilt from their duty station in Japan. This semi-custom small quilt is so charming!

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

With a quick turn-around, I was able to get the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild‘s charity quilt quilted and bound and mailed in time for the big show, QuiltCon, in Nashville last month. It is a conceptual beach scene with sand, sea glass, and breaking waves.

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

And of course, I love doing edge-to-edge designs all over quilts. An edge-to-edge is any design that I can draw with the longarm that literally travels from one edge of the quilt to the other without stopping.

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

ReannaLily Designs | Jen Eskridge | Longarm Gallery

If you want me to longarm a quilt for you, please email me or see more details on my ReannaLilyQuilts.com page.




Custom Quilting Gallery – Sampler Quilts

Let’s take a peek at two very different custom quilted sampler quilts. All the quilts featured in this post were created by my customers. I added the longarm quilting to showcase the blocks. Sampler quilts, or block of the month quilts, are so tricky because each block is receiving its own unique design. If you have a quilt you’d like for me to finish, read more at www.reannalilyquilts.com or drop me an email.

Local Quilt Shop’s Block of the Month

First up is a block of the month hosted by a local quilt shop. My customer picked up fabrics each month and created her blocks. I think this is the 2017-2018 project. See my customer’s whole quilt on her instagram.

I kept the borders a bit simple so the blocks would really stand out.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

Now onto the ruler work and stitching designs. I tried to apply the Divide and Design method to each block.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

For consistency, I also tried to keep types of block units treated in a similar fashion. By that I mean, if a block had a large square, it would get a sort of 4-corner star. If it was a small square it would have orange peel stitching. It didn’t always work, but it helped quite a bit.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

And sometimes, I didn’t pay too much attention to the piecing at all. I jumped right in to create new shapes by connecting points with in the block. You can see four “footballs” in the block below.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

If you have a quilt you’d like for me to finish, read more at www.reannalilyquilts.com or drop me an email.

A Kit Turned Into a Quilt

My customer tells me this quilt has been in progress for quite some time. She wanted to have it quilted to be in a show next year. I cannot wait to see it. You can see more of this customer’s amazing work in her shop on etsy.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

I’ll be honest with you, this sampler was incredible and far outside my quilting comfort zone. It has everything.

Flying geese, applique, traditional blocks, sashing, no discernible grid, and more!

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

I don’t see too many traditional quilts come through my studio. The challenge is incredible, though. That part, I love. I hope my customer loved it, too.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

Like with the previous sampler, I tried to stay consistent in my “certain shapes get certain treatments” plan. All flying geese blocks have connected wishbone stitching lines.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

The quilt is very densely quilted, too.

Custom Quilted Sampler | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

Her workmanship was next level. I spent most of the time working on this quilt just hoping I don’t mess it up. It was so complex and stunning.

If you have a quilt you’d like for me to finish, read more at www.reannalilyquilts.com or drop me an email.

And Don’t Forget Edge to Edge

For good measure, lets take a minute to love the wispy ribbon swirls of a fantastic edge-to-edge design.

What does edge-to-edge mean? In the most simple terms, it means I can use my longarm quilting machine to stitch from one edge of your quilt to the other without stopping.

Edge to Edge Swirl Quilting | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Quilts | Customer Quilt

These long swirls that look a bit like ribbons are a new addition to my edge-to-edge free-motion stitching designs. If you have a quilt you’d like for me to finish, read more at www.reannalilyquilts.com or drop me an email.

 




Green and Orange Scrap Quilt Wall Hanging

Green and orange scrap quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLiy Designs | ReannaLily QuiltsScrap Quilt: Wall hanging

Today, I’d like to share my recent scrap quilt finish. As you know, I enjoy a good scrap quilt! This small wall hanging is was originally set to be two colors: orange and green. I decided early on, though, that I’d like the greens to move from light to dark outward from the center.

Starting with many fabric pieces I made little sections of fabric large enough for each template. This is the technique of Made Fabric that Victoria Findlay Wolfe uses in her book, 15 Minutes of Play. I used a triangle template for the greens and a diagonal 6″ wide template for the orange. I don’t have the templates to share today, but they are easy to make.

Making Templates

Supplies

  • Blank Paper or Scratch Paper
  • Ruler
  • Scotch Tape
  • Pencil

Drafting

  • Tape sheets of paper larger than your finished block size. I opted to create my blocks to be 15″ square when finished.
  • Draw a 15″ square in the center of the page.
  • Add a 1/4″ seam allowance around the entire square.
  • Lightly draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other.
  • Measure and draw a line 3″ to the right and left of the diagonal to create a 6″ diagonal bar.
  • Cut the paper apart on the diagonal drawn lines.
  • Tape paper behind the new cut to add 1/4″ seam allowances.

This technique works for any shape and for any size. If you want your diagonal bar to be 2″ wide, you can do it. If you’d like to make the block more complicated, try that, too.
Draw. Cut. Seam Allowance.

How It Started

I didn’t always love the quilt. I started thinking the contrast between green and orange would be enough to make this quilt visually “work.” Boy, I was wrong. Check out the left side of the quilt.

Green and orange scrap quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLiy Designs | ReannaLily Quilts

Each block is 15-1/2″ square, but it wasn’t until I added in little black strips did the quilt start to pop. Those lines give the eyes somewhere to rest in this sea of green and orange.

Green and orange scrap quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLiy Designs | ReannaLily Quilts

Of course, now the blocks do not measure 15-1/2″. That is alright, I’d just have to cut them down a bit before adding them together.

Green and orange scrap quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLiy Designs | ReannaLily Quilts

This quilt lived on my design wall for quite a while before deciding to add more fabric, or simply quilt and finish it. I opted for the later. Maybe because it was a gift? Maybe because it was a creative-block? Either way, no other fabrics were added. I was ready to load this guy onto the longarm.

Machine Quilting

So much thinking and over-thinking went into the quilting design of this project. Thankfully, once I started, it became clear that the quilting really didn’t show up that well on so many wild fabrics. I could quilt anything I wanted and didn’t have to go back to the over-thinking step. Wahoo! The orange bands all have the same meander design and each green area, light, medium and dark, have different filling designs.

Green and orange scrap quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLiy Designs | ReannaLily Quilts

And as you’d expect, the plain white back really showcases the quilt design.

Green and orange scrap quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLiy Designs | ReannaLily Quilts

This gift has been shared with its new owner, the college student who will be attending school with these colors. She was surprised even though she saw me working on it for the past few weeks. Funny how that works out, right? She says she didn’t put it together that it was her college colors until I told her.




Fabric Scraps for Military Retirement Quilt

Adding Fabric Scraps to a Military Retirement Quilt

Thankfully, we are celebrating a retirement here in the family! How does a quilter celebrate? With a quilt, of course! The quilt is a gift for someone very close to the retiree. I hope she likes it!

Design Inspiration

Back in January, Heather Kojan on Instagram shared a photo of a blue scrap quilt. On her instagram feed, she mentions that her quilt is loosely based on a design she created for 100 Blocks years ago. My quilt is based on her single image, which is, of course, a traditional signature-style block:

The design is gorgeous and simply elegant. Scraps set on the diagonal. Of course, her scraps are much more orderly and of more uniform size, hue, and value.

The Scrap Quilt

My blue scrap pile was a big ole wild mess of color values and scrap piece sizes. I was still able to piece and create shapes from which to cut one diagonal piece and two setting triangles. The templates were created from freezer paper. My 20 blocks are 15″ square with a 6″ wide diagonal section. Since this retirement quilt celebrates 20 years in the United States Air Force, I mixed in a few pieces of military uniform, too.

My quilt is 4 blocks x 5 blocks. With borders it measures roughly 70″ x 85″.

Using the military uniform in the quilt was a no-brainer for me, since almost 10 years ago I authored the book Deploy That Fabric. Man, I love that book so much!

Deploy That Fabric CoverLongarm Quilting Design

What I didn’t do 10 years ago was longarm quilt my own military uniform + fabric quilt designs.

I was nervous, but the quilting was actually quite smooth. My basic block design features two curling feather designs in each white triangle and a wide wishbone pattern on the scrappy/military diagonal line.

This was the first time I tried curling feathers.

Thank goodness for practicing on a white board to develop muscle memory.

The diagonal wishbones were quilted in one long quilting pass. The quilt is loaded onto the frame horizontally. As in, I rotate the quilt 90 degrees from how it would lay on a bed. By doing this, I can quilt the longest pass possible and advance the quilt fewer times.

The military uniform pieces are cut from the no-longer-worn uniform shirt, complete with pockets, welt seams, and character. (aka ink pen stain). The HandiQuilter didn’t hesitate stitching over the heavy welt seams. Sewing slower helped. A nametape was added once the quilt top was complete, but there’s no way I was going to try to quilt over that.

I think this quilt will be a hit. It will be gifted before the big retirement celebration coming up. Thank you for your service!






Free-Motion Framework Book Tour

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Join the Book Tour

As you may know, my new book, Free-Motion Framework was made possible with the help of contributing quilters. A total of 17 quilters, including myself, stitched 41 quilts featured in this inspiring, machine-quilting skill-builder resource. This week we’ll hear from some of them on how the worked with the concept, interpreted their assigned designs, and how their quilts turned out.

Today kicks off the Social Media Blitzo tour for Free-Motion Framework. Stop by the blogs, listed below, to read more about the new title, and when on Instagram or Twitter, check out the hashtag #FMFWQ or #FreeMotionFramework.

The Overview

Whole Cloth Quilting Design Template | Skill Builder | Jen Eskridge | ReannaLilyQuilts.com

Choose one of 10 Framework designs, or one of 12 if you have the Free-Motion Framework Pattern Sheets, to transfer onto your own 40″ square fabric using tips and instructions in the book. From here, prepare the fabric for quilting, as you would any other quilt. Choose shapes from the linear design to fill, symmetrically, with quilting designs. Practice as many design motifs as you like. Each time you create a small project, it will help grow your machine quilting skills and turn out completely different than the one you stitched before.

Note: Build your skills on a domestic or longarm sewing machine.

And, after you’ve practiced and quilted the entire piece, you’ll accidentally turn out a wholecloth quilt. Neat, right?

Longarm Quilting | ReannaLily Designs

I thought it might be fun to share the reasons you may want to keep Free-Motion Framework in your own library, and the “problems” I was trying to solve when I authored the book.

1. Quilting can be expensive.

From machines and fabric to time and planning, quilting is a luxury hobby. For a past-time that started out utilitarian, it has grown to be an amazing creative art form. Turns out, art can get pricey. I wanted to develop a way to quilt without breaking the bank. All the projects in Free-Motion Framework are presented at 40″ x 40″.  You can create a quilt using 1-1/3 yards of fabric, batting, and backing. Even better, if you were to purchase 108″ wide backing, you can create two 40″ pieces from the one back. Sure you can make larger quilts by combining designs or adding a variety of your own border designs to the 40″ square “frames,” but largely the Free-Motion Framework projects can be created at a low cost.

2. I need more practice, but don’t want to commit to a big patchwork quilt.

When a person decides to start machine quilting, especially free-motion quilting, you may find that you need many more practice pieces before diving into your own beloved patchwork project. Often new quilters will take on charity quilts to stitch with one all-over design. We may also quilt bed sheets just for practice. I wanted to practice many quilting motifs while still producing something neat. Unlike practicing a single style on a “real quilt,” Free-Motion Framework presents the opportunity to create more than one fill or quilting design on the same project. By isolating shapes to essentially color in, you can try all sorts of different ideas.

In the two quilts below, notice how, by choosing different design lines/shapes and arranging different types of quilting motifs, the exact same framework, Shark Attack, turns out completely different. Each chapter has four different interpretations of the design by quilters of all skill levels and backgrounds. I think you’ll be surprised with the variety of inspiration.

3. How can I make a wholecloth quilt easily?

I know that sounds crazy, right? The idea of a Wholecloth Quilt by nature doesn’t really give off the EASY vibe. Pre-printed panels exist to create wholecloth quilts, but really, I wanted my own design. I am inspired by the incredibly talented machine quilters who spend months tweaking and perfecting their wholecloth competition quilts on paper then transfer every single stitch to a fabric design.

Do I love the look? Yes.
Would I love to plan something elaborate like that? No way.

The brainstorming began. Fundamentally, many wholecloth designs are symmetrical. Starting there, I decided if I just had some guidelines to work symmetrically, I may be able to turn out something that looks planned. That turned into: If I just had guidelines, I could fill-in whatever I wanted. I just need to remember where I stitched what motif. Using the Goals Worksheets provided with Free-Motion Framework, you’ll be able to write down the notes for the design as well as keep track of what you are practicing on each piece.

Another tip- Save the printed designs to make full-size notes while quilting. I traced a quadrant of a design four times onto fabric. With that quadrant, I loosely draw the designs as I stitch them to remember what to symmetrically stitch on the other areas of the quilt. Remember, this is just a guide, not a masterful drawing.

Platinum Garden | Whole Cloth Quilt by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

4. Quilt with No Pressure

By working small and unplanned, the project takes on a freeing feeling. Working without any outside pressures is a fantastic path to self-growth. Jump in and give it a try. Free-Motion Framework is great for any skill level as everyone has room to improve that one little thing.

  • Hey, this is just 1-1/3 yard of fabric.
  • It’s only practice; no need to worry.
  • This is for my own quilting self-journey, if it turns out, cool. If not, I haven’t invested hundreds of patchwork hours (and CASH) into it.
  • I’ve always wanted to try X-Y-Z design. Let me try it in four or eight small spaces to see if I like it.
  • Rulers have always fascinated me, but I’m not sure where to start. Start one small shape at a time.
  • This will be great to work on at retreat!!! It’s small.

All in all, writing this book from concept to “holy crap that worked” to pitching to the publisher to sourcing all the many contributing quilters, this has been an amazing experience. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing all about the title on this week-long blog hop.

Stop by each blog this week for a possible chance to win a copy of Free-Motion Framework. (International winners, outside the USA, will receive a digital copy.)

Monday | June 4

ReannaLily Designs (here!) 
C & T Publishing

Tuesday | June 5

Joey’s Quilting Co
Helen Ernst Longarm Quilting
Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC The Blog

Thursday | June 7

Wise Craft Handmade

Friday | June 8

Kustom Kwilts
Living Water Quilter
Seamingly Slawson Quilts – Susan Lawson

To be considered for one of the following gifts from our sponsors, leave a comment sharing what area of machine quilting you’d most like to improve. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by email.

Clover USA | ReannaLily Designs

Handi Quilter Rulers | ReannaLily Designs

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

The prize portion of the tour will close at 5pm central time, June 18th and winners will be announced June 19th, right here on ReannaLily Designs Blog. Thank you so much for joining the Blog Tour.

See all the Free-Motion Framework details, workshops, projects, and samples here, on the ReannaLily Designs blog.




Intro to Free-Motion Framework: A New Workshop

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

The new book Free-Motion Framework hits stores in May! A brand new quilting workshop will also be offered. I’m so excited to share the Intro to Free-Motion Framework half-day class.  The spirit of the book focuses on challenging yourself at your own skill level and pace. It gives you an opportunity to reflect and say, “I think I’m going to practice such-and-such quilting design, and maybe also the whatever-whatever design.” Then, take those ideas and practice your quilting design symmetrically to accidentally create a wholecloth quilt.

Updated to add: See all the Free-Motion Framework details, workshops, projects, and samples here, on the blog.Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Just like the book, the workshop project can be completed on a longarm or domestic home sewing machine. (When booking the workshop, special arrangements may need to be set for hosting a class in a longarm studio.)

In the workshop we’ll mark a solid color fat quarter to create a 15-18″ mini quilt using the same design framework. Just like the 10 linear designs in the book, the Intro design also has its own goals worksheet to give you an opportunity to practice, take notes, and doodle before stitching.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

For the workshop, I created three samples to represent three skill levels who may try the Intro design. Of course, you do not have to make your mini quilt like these at all. Each quilter will likely turn out very different projects. (That is my favorite part!) The challenge levels are associated with these fabric colors:

  • Pink – more advanced
  • Grey – confident
  • White – beginner

In the pictures below, you’ll see the original marked lines on the finished samples. I’m hoping that will give you a reference point as to which shapes were isolated to be quilted.

Pink Mini Quilt

To create the pink mini quilt, I was able simply lay the light-colored fabric on a work surface and trace the design through the fabric.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

The water soluble pencils from Clover work great for this project; keep a pencil sharpener handy.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

I set the fat quarter up on my HandiQuilter Avante longarm frame, though this absolutely can be done on a domestic home sewing machine. (The workshop will be geared towards home-sewing-machine-based free-motion quilting.)

Starting in the center, I isolated a few shapes. I stitched ruler guided straight lines; I echoed design lines; I made feathers; I stitched tiny pebbles.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

From here, I decided I need a bit of “all-over-filler” type designs inside the circle.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

I finished by trying to make a diagonal grid behind the circle. Each quilt is a different challenge for myself. Hopefully showing all three of the same design will give you a few ideas, too.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

Grey Mini Quilt

The grey fat quarter fabric was quite a bit more opaque than the pink. To trace the design, I taped the paper template to a window, then taped the fabric over it.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

Again, I used the water soluble pencils from Clover.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

To create a design that was less complicated, I decided to isolate less shapes than I did in the pink mini quilt.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T PublishingFree-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

The grey mini quilt only has three total quilting designs.

  • Wishbone lines in the center square
  • Meandering in the four cardinal directions
  • Pebbles in the background

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

Side story: Let’s go on record and say Pebbles are not my favorite. I can make them alright, but boy, I always regret stitching them after the first two inches. Who’s with me?

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

Comparing the grey quilt to the pink one, you can see how choosing different shapes and fills makes for a unique challenge each time.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing

White Mini Quilt

As you may have guessed, the white fat quarter was plenty light to see through and trace the Intro design straight onto the fabric without the window/light board set up. For this, the simplest of the three designs, I only have two fill designs: Straight lines and meandering. It stitched up so quickly that I forgot to snap any progress pictures.

Free-Motion Framework Quilts- A Workshop by Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs | ReannaLily Quilts | C&T Publishing


Booking the Workshop

The Free-Motion Framework lecture and workshop are available for quilt guilds, shops, and private groups. Please see this page on my site for more information and contact me directly at reannalilydesigns@gmail.com. I cannot wait to start quilting with you.




Writing a Book- Free-Motion Framework

Bound Quilts | ReannaLily Designs

Early last year I shared a blog post vaguely mentioning my “Secret Quilting Project.” I’m happy to report I can finally elaborate on the details and explain how the logistics of authoring Free-Motion Framework went down. From timeline to work-load, here’s how it happened:

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

In late 2016, I pitched a concept to C&T Publishing to feature 10 linear designs created to help you improve your machine quilting skills while accidentally producing a wholecloth quilt.  The concept was well received. I have to say myself, I hadn’t seen anything like it in the quilting community, either. That was great news!

The publishing team and acquisitions folks chatted with me about how broad the scope would be and how much it would take to write the book. When I say “how much,” I don’t mean money; I mean time.  We discussed release-dates and other planning events way back in the fall of 2016.

My book, Free-Motion Framework, was in the incubator a bit longer than a usual book for two main reasons:

  1. My sweet husband deployed for half of 2017, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to be a quilt-author-maniac while holding down the fort.
  2. The book coordinates the efforts of generous sponsors and 17 different contributing quilters. That is a TON of quilters. Spreadsheets galore!

Once that was ironed out, I was emailing my dream-team of quilters by November. Just like hosting a party, you throw out invitations and hope everyone can attend, but realistically some folks have other commitments and a few may have to cancel their RSVP’s.  Most quilters stitched two different design projects in the book. Others volunteered to quilt three. I think I personally quilted 10 or 11. I’d have to go back and re-count.

Next up, reaching out to the amazing sponsors who provided products to help make this book a reality. Lots of emailing and lots of spreadsheets.  Thank you to these generous folks:

Fairfield Batting

Fairfield Batting | ReannaLily Designs

Clover USA

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

HandiQuilter

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

Hab And Dash (previously Bobbin Central/Fil Tec)

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

And don’t forget the amazing fabric sponsors. This book was much trickier for me to plan fabric than my previous books.

In previous books, I’d design a quilt, and say “Hum, this quilt pattern needs 2 yards of blue, 10 fat quarters from this-that-matches-blue, and 6 yards of backing.” Easy stuff. For this book, I had to think, “Wait, I’m going to present a whole collection of squares, and I need the colors to match, or coordinate, or at the very least not bore anyone reading.” Yet another spreadsheet was born. Here’s a peek. Excel Spreadsheet for Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

I looked at fabric company’s websites to find beautiful anchor fabrics. From there, I decided to choose all the wholecloth color pieces from that anchor fabric. Each chapter, which is also each linear design, is coordinated by backing fabric (aka the anchor). All four quilt concepts in the chapter have the same binding, which helps tie them together and keep them organized for me and the publishing team.

Big thank you to:

My company, ReannaLily Designs, isn’t sponsored by any single fabric company, which made it easier and wonderful to work with five different companies to provide variety and selection when assembling this concept. Thank you, thank you!

Ok, with quilters assembled and supplies procured, I then needed to sort, mark, and ship everything to my team. This happened right before Christmas in 2016.

Shipping Boxes | ReannaLily Designs

 

Early 2017 was spent feverishly quilting and writing. I also needed to write the organize book, decided on some specific things that you’ll see in the table of contents, and create my work in Adobe Illustrator.

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

 

Jen Eskridge | ReannaLily Designs

All quilts were returned, with contributor notes, by mid February 2017. By June the entire thing was authored and ready to send to the publisher for them to wave a magic editing-wand over the whole thing. I mailed digital files, quilts, tools, thread, paper files, more straight pins identifying samples than I care to think of, and more. It was a HUGE endeavor to get those boxes to the post office.

The final edits by the publishing team (and then a micro-tiny bit by me) were all done around Christmas 2017, with the book heading to print in early 2018. It has been a long time, but all-in-all an amazing time.  I think you will love the way the book is arranged. It is better than I could have imagined, and I’m so glad to have worked with such an accomplished group at C&T Publishing.

One cool thing about the book is that the 10 linear designs are included for download once you purchase the book. I was originally thinking a CD would be included, but y’all, that is SOOOOO 2015. Evidently everything is cloud/internet based, which is awesome. But if you were thinking you’d like to have a copy of the actual paper patterns along with your book, C&T Publishing also assembled a pattern package which includes two additional BONUS linear designs.

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

It was an incredible process. I can safely say, I would love to do it again. (wink wink) But for now, watch this blog for even more details on the release of Free-Motion Framework.

Updated to add: See all the Free-Motion Framework details, workshops, projects, and samples here, on the blog.

 




Introducing Free-Motion Framework by Jen Eskridge

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T PublishingFree-Motion Framework is finally here!!!

Free-Motion Framework is my newest book releasing with C & T Publishing. I’m beyond excited to share the concept and details with you over the coming weeks.

In a nutshell, the book is 10 linear designs created to help you improve your machine quilting skills while accidentally producing a wholecloth quilt. Sounds a bit crazy, right?

I started out wanting to create a wholecloth quilt but soon realized there’s no way I wanted to plan a wholecloth quilt. It became clear that if I simply had a few guidelines marked, I could quilt whatever I felt comfortable-enough stitching and, as long as I worked symmetrically, I’d probably turn out a really neat quilt.

The design is a bonus pattern in the Free-Motion Framework Pattern Package.

Updated to add: See all the Free-Motion Framework details, workshops, projects, and samples here, on the blog.

C & T  Publishing’s blog has a more in-depth look at the book, with excerpts from the title in their new blog post.

To create this book, I worked with the aforementioned 10 linear designs, which I created in Adobe Illustrator. I then reached out to other machine quilters to assemble a team of 17 total quilters to create the 41 quilts featured in the book. Yes, FORTY-ONE quilts (not including any digital mock-ups).

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Shark Attack Design by Jen Eskridge

Each design is presented in it’s full square composition, and a quadrant of the design is presented. Then each linear design is stitched four times, by four different quilters using as many or as few lines as they’d like to fill in shapes with machine quilting designs which they feel comfortable stitching. For this reason, this skill builder is great for ALL levels of machine quilters.

Take a look at these interpretations of the Shark Attack design:

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Shark Attack: Quilted by Jen Eskridge

 

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Shark Attack: Quilted by Joanna Marsh

 

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Shark Attack: Quilted by Jen Eskridge

 

Free-Motion Framework Machine Quilting Skill Builder Book | Wholecloth book | Jen Eskridge | C&T Publishing

Shark Attack: Quilted by Geraldine Wilkins

This book will be a fantastic resource for machine quilting textures, as created by the army of quilting contributors, as well as a good go-to for low-stress machine quilting practice ideas. I hope you’ll add it to your library.

There will be more details on this book in the coming weeks. I will share more sneak-peeks at the designs, the concept, the writing process, and more. For now, though, know the book ships in May and is available for pre-order hereAsk for it at your local book store and quilt shop!

Free-Motion Framework on Instagram

Look for some of the designs on Instagram under the hashtag #FMFWQ

Images in this blog post are provided by C&T Publilshing.