Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! and a Sneak Peek!

New Year, New Beginnings, New Everything. Goodbye 2012!
I'm hoping your new 2013 will be everything you hope for.
It's a new year and lots of great new experiences to look forward to!

To celebrate this new year, I'm giving you a sneak peek at the new feather wreath template that will be available later this month. Not the actual template, but a few things I've done with it.
First up is an actual feather wreath! LOL!
There are actually several wreaths in this photo intertwined with tons of different kinds of background fill. Don’t look too closely or you will see all my mistakes, but yeah, the template works pretty well.

Up next we have the work of a happy gal at play. Wondering what kinds of designs I could make in the individual sections, I decided on scroll loops. Yeah, they are horribly uneven and not at all uniform, but you get the picture.
To get the facing patterns, I simply stitched half the wreath, then flipped the template over and stitched the other half. One of my friends says this is her favorite of all my wreaths.
Can you tell yet how much fun I’m having? LOL!

And the last I’ll show you today is another play design that has great possibilities. I think it looks like a sunflower or chrysanthemum. However, a sunflower would have alternating petals, not stacked ones. Back to the drawing board!
Happy New Year, Everybody!


Out With the Old

The clock is ticking away the last few hours of 2012, and there's nothing we can do about what has happened this year.

In wondering what I could do differently next year to improve my life, I thought about something I probably should have done long ago.

In the new year of 2013, I want to get rid of thoughts and concepts that just haven't worked for me in the past.

In quilting, this means I need to quit being so picky about my own work.

It’s good to be your best and always strive to do better, but at some point you have to say that the work is done and you don’t have to go any further so stop fussing with it.

If you always think there’s something else that you should do to make it better, that means you don’t think your work is finished yet, that it’s not good enough.  That’s not a good feeling, and it sometimes keeps me from starting new projects or even trying to complete old ones.

There are many great quilters that I admire, and they produce some of the most beautiful and perfect quilts anyone can possibly imagine. I could look at those quilts all day long. I seriously doubt that my own work will ever come close to what they do, and that's just fine. My quilts are meant to be used to keep people warm and comfortable, not to be put on display in competitions or museums.

My customers like my work and they are the ones whose opinions count. I like most of my work as well. That doesn't mean that I won't try to get better at quilting, it just means that I'll quit being quite so hard on myself if every square inch of my stitching isn't perfect or if a design doesn’t turn out like I imagined it would.

 There's an old saying, "My house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy." I think I'll adapt that to say, "My quilting is precise enough to be pretty and 'off' enough to be comfortable."

Happy New Year, everyone!

Happy stitching!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Baptist Fans on First Try

Today's spotlight is on another new EZ Arc longarm quilting tool user, Joyce Fratini. On her very first try, she was able to quilt these beautiful Baptist Fans.

The TopAnchor system allows you to move the templates around
and conveniently put your arcs anywhere you want them.

Joyce started at the top left and worked her way to the right. Great results, wouldn't you say!

Joyce also bravely stitched a complete circle using the EZ Arc tool, and did quite well for the first try!

Circles take a lot of practice because you have to control the circular motion of the tool with one hand while moving the hopping foot completely around it. It's almost like rubbing your head and patting your tummy at the same time - you can do it, but it takes practice and concentration. ;D

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Joyce.

Happy Stitching!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Accents and Interest

Combining different styles and designs can add movement and interest to quilts. One way to accomplish this is to vary the pattern you are quilting. The pictures below show a few examples.

Freehand feathers give a soft edge to these Baptist Fans and add to the beauty of the design.

Feathers inside a Baptist Fan are easy to make and give a welcome rest from stitching the same patern repeatedly.

Notice the area in center top - this is where I attempted to make birds but that will take some work to make it look the way I want it. Maybe someone else can figure it out and show me how!  The same type of technique could easily be used for bows as well. Gotta work on that!

Happy Stitching!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Doodles gone wild!

Take a look at the work of Joyce Bowers unleashed.

This was her first time using the EZ Arc longarm quilting tool.


She just had a ball making arcs on this practice piece and adding in whatever designs came to mind. What fun!

Feathers, clamshells, loops, scrolls, pebbles, anything!
 Don't you just love the look of the clamshells inside the feather arc. Stunning!

Can you imagine these designs fanned across an entire quilt like that. Beautiful.

Thanks, Joyce, for showing us how easy it is to get great results when you set your imagination free, you wild thing!

Find us at

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Background Fill Around Applique

This is the very first attempt Judy Ross made using the new EZ Arc longarm quilting tool. Don't you just love the way she was able to put Baptist Fans in the background around her applique. Awesome!

How creative and great work, too!

Great job, Judy!

My personal thanks to you for showing us a new way of using the EZ Arc longarm quilting tool!

Betty Bland

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Baptist Fan longarm quilting tool

After nearly two years developing the Baptist Fan longarm quilting tool, it was finally announced to the public and made available on December 10, 2012. The response has been tremendous and better than we hoped!  YEAH!

What makes this tool unique is the patent-pending TopAnchor system that allows the template to rotate around a stationary anchor post; the template and hopping foot are both moved together at the same time to create the stitching pattern. This is very different from using other longarm templates, which remain stationary while you stitch around them.

All work is done directly in the stitching area with no need to walk behind the machine or reach under the quilt, and no other parts or accessories are needed to make it work.

The Baptist Fan template is the first of several longarm tools using the unique TopAnchor system. Watch for announcements in early January 2013!

The question asked most often is whether these tools can be used with regular sewing machines and the answer is sorry, but no. Since the template and hopping foot both move over a stationary quilt, it can only work with a longarm machine. However, there are other tools on the market for use in machine quilting, and youTube demos of them. 

Update: after extensive testing, we have determined that the Star & Dahlia templates will work for free motion quilting as long as you have a round foot like the hopping foot on a longarm quilting machine. Check out the information on our website here:

We now have a webstore set up at and a new Yahoo! users group 
is open to everyone whether they have the tool or are just interested in seeing how it works.
On facebook:
You can even see the Baptist Fan template used to create a quick and easy continuous Baptist Fan on youTube:

Stay tuned! There is much more to come!