Using “Skitch” for Machine Quilting Ideas

Using “Skitch” for Machine Quilting Ideas

You’ve finished the beautiful pieced quilt top, have the backing all ready, and then it hits you—how am I going to machine quilt this?  There are so many options.

I’ve found a way to “play” with different ideas by using my iPad and an app called “Skitch”.

Skitch is an app that allows you to snap something (a photo, etc.) and mark it up, then save it.

It’s available for the following platforms:

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Mac OSX
  • Android
  • Windows Desktop
  • Skitch Touch for Windows


For more information on the Skitch app, click here  for a tutorial.

So…I simply snapped a photo of my quilt top with my iPad (or you could just take a photo of one block).  Then I opened the Skitch app on my iPad and imported the photo into the program, like this:


I chose the thinnest  “pen” and white–there are several colors to choose from.  I found black or white were easy to see on this quilt.  And then I grabbed my stylus and just PLAYED with designs until I came up with one that I think will work! I sketch out lots of ideas that didn’t work, and just “deleted” them.


How about a continuous curved line?  I can “map” it out on each block and sketch until I figure out a good place to start and stop the needle.  Here’s the design I finally decided on:


…and here it is (below) on my long arm.


I’m using my “rulers” to help me with the curves…


I’m able to continuously machine quilt around one entire block, only having to stop/start when I move on to the next one.


I think it’s working pretty well


It was a lot of fun to be able to “play” with several ideas for designs by drawing with my stylus on my iPad with Skitch before actually committing to the design on the long arm.

So here’s the finished quilt top—completely quilted and ready to be trimmed and bound.


And here’s a close-up of one of the sections (don’t look too closely!)…


I hope this information was helpful, and that you’ll give Skitch a try the next time you’re pondering how to quilt your finished top.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

Dying Fabric for the Lake Washington Quilt: Part 3

So here’s the third and final installation  in the “Lake Washington Art Quilt” saga (dying fabric & creation of) …

I’m happy with the final outcome of the water fabric for “Lake Washington”, and started free-hand machine quilting the sky and water (piers and background).


But I don’t have the right color of fabrics for the hydrangea bushes in the foreground.  The only fabric I could find in my stash (besides piecing millions of tiny petals from individual fabrics) was this one…


Not at all the color of the blue hydrangeas I love so much in the Seattle area!  So…having blue dye still left over I decided to experiment by over-dying the fabric.


I tried two different strengths of dye with the soda ash solution, and placed cuts of the hydrangea fabric into containers.  After curing at least 4 hours, I rinsed them out, washed & dried them–and this was the result!  Much, much better…


So I began adding the hydrangea to the foreground, one flower at a time…


And then started the long task of outlining every little petal in different varigated blues, greens, and purples that I had in my lovely Sulky cotton thread stash…


The quilting took quite awhile over a few days–I had to take breaks or my eyes would go “buggy”!  (I need a neck and shoulder massage!!!)

But here’s the final result–not quite final–but at least quilted and ready to bind.


I’ll add another photo after it’s “really” done… 🙂

Happy Quilting!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

How to Do Simple Machine Quilting


One great thing about the cold winter weather in Wisconsin–I’ve got plenty of time indoors to quilt!

I’ve finished piecing my “Bungle Jungle” rail fence quilt top and decided to machine quilt it on my domestic machine in straight diagonal lines to echo the straight lines of the piecing…aren’t the animal prints in Moda’s line adorable?

First, I put the backing on the floor (wrong side up), then the batting (I like a low-loft cotton batting like Hobbs Heirloom 80/20), and finally the pieced top.


Then I get on the floor and start pinning it together with safety pins.  I’ve got a pair of gardening knee pads–they really help when crawling around on the hard wood floor!  (ouch).

The safety pins only need to be placed every 9 inches or so.  I usually start pinning at the center and smooth the top as I go, working my way out to the edges.

Then it’s time to quilt…


I set my machine up with Aurifil cotton thread and walking foot, with the stitch slightly longer than normal.  Then I line up my stitching going diagonally from one block corner to the next and hit the petal to the metal!  If you’re not confident about keeping your lines relatively straight, you could use a straight edge or piece of painter’s tape to follow, or pre-mark the lines with a washable chalk marker and your ruler to keep you on the straight and narrow.  Then I start another row of stitches starting at the corner of the next block, and work my way from the center to the outside of the quilt, then turn it around the do the same on the opposite side.

These machine quilted lines were about 4″ apart.


After those rows were done, I felt it needed more–so I attached the quilting bar to my walking foot (you can see it in the photo above to the right of the needle) and figured out the halfway point between the rows (which was about 2″) and lined the bar  to a line of my previous stitching and machine quilted a row–down the center of each pair of previous rows.

And…TA DA! It’s done…


Happy Quilting!

A Little Research on the Frixion Pen for Quilters

Have you seen the new Frixion Pen by Pilot?  It’s a new pen that erases with heat or friction.  Use it to mark your fabric and simply iron it and the marks disappear, as if by magic!

Or do they?

I purchased a few to try and I was amazed at how easily the marks disappeared with the heat of an iron.  So I wanted to try it on an entire quilt top for free motion quilting..but

Frixion Pen by Pilot Frixion Pen by Pilot

…after reading a few articles I was a bit more skeptical.

Several sources said the marks that disappeared with the heat of your iron would re-appear if the quilt gets cold enough.

For example, they told the story of a woman who used the pen to mark her quilting lines.  After ironing and thinking the marks had disappeared, she entered the quilt in a prestigious quilt show only to find out that the marks hard re-appeared during shipping through cold climates.

So…before trying to mark quilting lines myself, I thought I’d give the pen my own little research test before using it on an entire quilt top.

Here’s what I found out!



Here’s my little test strip.  I drew several lines (pressing down lightly & pressing down hard) with the Pilot Frixion Pen (black) on a piece of scrap Moda Solid White cotton fabric.  (Note: The writing on the right was done in permanent ink.)



Then I ironed it.  No problem!  ALL the lines disappeared as if by magic!



BUT they began to re-appear after only 10 minutes in my freezer



Here’s the same test piece only 1 hour in the freezer–all the marks have re-appeared!



I let the test strip sit at room temperature for over an hour, just to see if they might fade again.  Perhaps just a bit, but they’re still there.



So I ironed the test piece, & the lines disappeared again–just like the first time.



So I wondered what would happen if I washed the test piece in hot water with mild soap and then dried it with the iron, and put it in the freezer again…?



SUCCESS–the lines did not re-appear after an hour in the freezer — or after being left overnight in the freezer.


So the bottom line is this:  USE WITH CAUTION!

1) Only use the pen where you won’t see it (back side of square when marking corner to corner to make half-square triangles, or marking seams to line up your sashing, or in the seam allowance of a patch, etc.), OR

2) Be sure to wash the quilt before giving it away, selling it, or entering it in a quilt contest!


Happy Quilting!

Jane, Mulberry Patch Quilts