Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Craftsy Sweetens Up My Life Blog Hop

OH YES, I'm taking part in another Blog Hop,
 this time with Craftsy and a few of my quilty friends.
logo courtesy of Craftsy
 A Blog Hop with great discounts and competitions. Check out the Craftsy website enter the giveaway "here".

When Sandra of Musings of a Menopausal Melon and Julie of Pink Doxies asked me to take part in the Craftsy Sweetens Up My Life Blog Hop, it was "yes" after a split second hesitation. The plan was to  review our favourite Crafty class. So here goes ~

Helen of Midget Gem Quilts Blog Spot features "Helen Goes Walking" in conjunction with Craftsy Sweetens Up My Life Blog Hop. And here's my very own button thingy m'jig to prove it.

My favourite class is the first class I took, Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot" by Jacquie Gering. Although I have been sewing off and on for many a long year, I was always more confident about the piecing. The actual quilting was always more of an endurance for me. Something to be got through to get the end result. A necessary evil so to speak. I needed help, others seem to enjoy the quilting as much as the piecing. Why wasn't I? So, back to basics and start from the beginning.

photo courtesy of Craftsy

Jacquie really did come to my rescue. She covers the basics, assuming very little knowledge of quilting. Perfect for the beginner. She explains the components of the walking foot and how to fix it onto your machine (more about that later). Although this may be teaching your granny to suck eggs in some cases, it is very important. If you can't attach the walking foot to the sewing machine, you can't use the walking foot. Yet Jacquie doesn't patronise or make you feel stupid. She's just a friend on your computer screen, reminding you how to do what you're pretending you've just forgotten.

photo courtesy of Craftsy

She also gives loads of tips on how to help make your quilt sandwich and baste it. No matter how accomplished you are its always good to be reminded of this. Last week I arm wrestled a quilt into submission and eventually got it basted. I was determined I was going to win the battle of the basting. Well, rewatching this class to write this review, I was muttering to myself "wish I had done this last week .... I'd forgotten to do that". Obviously I can't tell you and be responsible for spoilers. Everybody hates a  spoiler when watching the telly.

Having covered the basics Jacquie goes onto advice on different types of straight line quilting. I love straight line quilting. You would think you just quilt, straight. But ... there's an art even to this and Jacquie does a great job in explaining this. I followed her advice on my heart quilt, the photo in my header. It made all the difference. This pixelated heart quilt was manhandled on my old Janome machine and walking foot. Jacquie's advice made this go much smoother than my previous quilts. The shoulders were definitely less sore when I'd finished, though I may have not burnt so many calories in the effort!

At Christmas I got a new Pfaff Ambition 1.0 and began quilting my Modern Maples Quilt. I rewatched Jacquie's class just to refresh my mind with my new machine. I spent at least 10 minutes trying to attach my old walking foot before getting out the manual and realising it was built into the Pfaff. Always read the manual! Anyhow, Jacquie's advice still runs true.

Daft as it sounds, since "meeting Jacquie" not only has my quilting improved and become a pleasure, my swearing has improved or at least lessened. And, as I'm not quilt wrangling as much, my posture has improved. In fact, I HAD thought I had finished the quilting on the modern maples quilt, but having watched Jacuqie's lesson again, I have decided to over quilt with a diagonal flourish over the straight matchstick quilting. Just like this photo from Jacquie's class.

photo courtesy of Craftsy

Something I plan to master soon is this circular quilting with your walking foot. These two brilliant photos are from the class, not mine.... but watch this space for my circular quilting in a few weeks!

photo courtesy of Craftsy

So ........ do it........... buy a Craftsy class and change if not your life, your sewing. Make use of the great discounts in this blog hop. By clicking on this link you can get Jacquie's class at a discount of 50% valid until 17 February, midnight US time. And, Craftsy also sell great kits and fabrics, I feel my money burning a hole in my pocket.

And, having gone straight line with my quilting, I'm following after Sandra and trying out Angela Walters' "Machine Quilting Negative Spaces with Angela Walters".

Oh, one more thing, with the super duper Craftsy App you can flick through your classes whilst you are waiting at the bus stop, waiting for the kettle to boil, while you are pretending to be on FaceBook. Its good to keep at the Life Long Learning, it keeps the little grey cells working and keeps those circles of life, quilting or otherwise, moving. And we all need to keep our circles increasing not decreasing.

Don't forget to check out everybody else's blog posts. I have made such fun friends QBL, Quilting Blog Land, please do go check them out.

Wednesday 10 February
Judy at Quilt Paradigm
and MEEEEEEEEEE, Helen Midget Gem Quilts

Thursday 11 February
Cindy at Stitchin At Home
Vicky at Vicki's Crafts and Quilting

Friday 12 February
Zenia at A Quilted Passion
Jayne at Twiggy and Opal

Saturday 13 February
Tish at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland
Anja at Anja Quilts

Sunday 14 February
Beth at Cooking Up Quilts
Preeti at Sew Preeti Quilts

Monday 15 February
Julie at Pink Doxies
Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon

And what about these 3 great prizes? There are 2 free classes and 1 package of fabric. The fabric package is combined of the following
1 Boundless Solids Amy Gibson Crown Jewels Kit (kit)
2 Boundless Solids  Colour Theory 6 in Str Modern Brights (stripes)
3 Boundless Solids Colour Theory 10 in square Modern Brights (squares)
entries close on Sunday 21 February, midnight American time, whatever that is! Enter through the giveaway link "here"

Helen x

ps if you are looking for me, I may be hiding under the duvet
also linking up with Lorna and Lets Bee Social


  1. Thank you for the post - I have been wanting to take a Crafty Class!

  2. I've been considering taking this class, but I thought my walking foot quilting was good enough! After reading your endorsement I think I may just sign up after all!

  3. I haven't tried the app. . . thanks for that tip! I might have snickered when I read about your trying to attach the walking foot to your new machine. Yes, those manuals do come in handy on occasion ;)

  4. Thank you for your class recommendation - sounds like the perfect class for me to sign up for to try out Craftsy.

  5. Oh Helen, I giggled and outright laughed so many times reading this post! NOT at your beautiful quilts--think what you are going to add to Modern Maples is an excellent idea--but at your hilarious style of writing. I always love reading your posts. Thank you for releasing endorphins first thing in the morning :-) (attaching a walking foot to your Janome--snort; improved, er lessened your swearing-bahaha! Thank you so much for being part of this hop! ;-)

  6. Helen, first of all, thank you for your honesty. This was not a class on my radar--I have a longarm, but I feel like it might be a big help for my smaller projects not appropriate for it. I still get some bunching with them, and I suspect it's my basting or lack of. I wondered how good this class was, and now I'm going to have to find out firsthand. Thanks for a good recommendation I can use.

  7. I never would have thought this class would be one I would be interested in taking. But after reading your review I have added it to my wishlist.

  8. Nice to meet you fellow hop blogger!

  9. Great review, Helen! I couldn't help but want to be the announcer in you story. "Now in this corner we have Helen, talented quilter. And in the other corner the quilt, beastly giant. Who will win this wrestling match? Let's get ready to rumble!!!" And the answer is you of course. I think we can always use great info on sandwiching our quilts together. I actually have this class as well and found it to be super helpful. Every time I get my walking foot out to quilt, I remind myself to slow down, it's not a running foot.

  10. Jacquie's classes are by far some of the best on the site! She is amazing. Her second walking foot class is even better than her first, something I didn't think was possible. Between the two you can really do some incredible and amazing things with your walking foot.

  11. Thanks for your input on the classes. I have wanted to take another one but there are so many, it was hard to decide which to take.

  12. Wonderful review! I do a lot of machine quilting and really would love to improve my skills! Great class and while I'm all for lessening the swear factor...I'm not sure it would help my mouth!!

  13. Ok, this class is going on my wish list. I'm currently trying to catch up with the classes I've already bought. I just love the Craftsy classes. Because I have a chronic illness the days that aren't perfect I call good days (everyone needs to be positive) can sometimes be a waste. But I always can watch a class. Thanks for bringing my attention to this one

  14. This is a great post Helen. Why are you under the duvet? I've watched the quilting with your waking foot classes and I agree that Jaquie is a great teacher. I'll have to give it another go now that I have a different machine...that maybe measures out better with the current walking foot.


  16. I have taken a couple Crafty classes and they are fantastic!!! I love your heart quilt, it is gorgeous!!

  17. Congratulations on being part of the blog hop. I would need to take this class as I've always had a fear of machine quilting!

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  19. Thanks for your review of Jackie's class. I got the class a few weeks ago, but have only watched the first segment so far. I really need to watch the rest because I think it might be useful on my current project.

  20. I have signed up for both of Jacquie's classes and she does not disappoint! You will great at the circles! They are my new favorite! Thanks for taking part in this Blog Hop!

  21. I have Jacquie's first class and it's great! I love Craftsy classes and have several, ok, many in my library. Congrats on being part of the blog hop!

  22. I enjoyed this class too. I've used that circle/spiral quilting several times! I'm sure you'll love it.

  23. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have been eyeing this class for some time.

  24. This class has been sitting in my wishlist and its one of my to achieve goals for this year :)

  25. Great post! I was rather mislead by the title though and thought you were doing a sort of rambling round the countryside type thing! Xx

  26. This is my supremely favorite class. I love Jacquie. She is so down to earth and so approachable. You know, when I posted my Project (from her class) on Craftsy, she actually wrote me a comment. No, I was not asking a question, just sharing my work and she said nice things :-)

  27. I love the app as well. I actually prefer it to the full blown version as i can watch them at 2X...everyone talks sooooo slow in theit classes!

  28. Jacquie significantly reduced my swearing too, LOL. Her class is wonderful! Helen I'm like you as far as being comfortable with piecing, but FMQ, still getting there.

  29. Love your heart quilt--the straight line quilting is so fun!

  30. I will need to put this class on my to do list. I am sure there is helpful techniques to learn.

  31. Ohh I might have look at that class at some point...


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