Author Archives: Vicki

January 2018 – Stitching Hills and Fields

Landscape Quilts – Stitching Hills and Fields by Kit Robinson Shown here are more images featuring Hills and Fields by some of the artists whose work was shown in the January/February 2018 issue of MQU, MQU 18-01 Jan Stitching Hills and Fields web extra Continue Reading

Welcome to Our New Blogger, Cheryl Sleboda!

Hi there!  I’m Cheryl Sleboda, and I’m the new blogger at Machine Quilting Unlimited!  I’m really excited to be working with the staff here to give you a bunch of great tip, tricks, ideas, and information, plus lots of behind-the-scenes sneak peeks into the magazine and the world of machine quilting. Continue Reading

Houston IQA in Review

I’ve been fortunate to attend the Houston IQA show on many occasions. As someone who pays very close attention to the all the quilts, whether in special exhibits or the judged show, I have to say that this year’s quilts were truly exceptional! Hopefully you’ve had the chance to watch some of the facebook live… Continue Reading

Winter is Coming

As winter quickly approaches her in the Northern Hemisphere, Kit Robinson has got you covered. She continues her popular series on landscape quilts in our latest issue (November/December 2017) with Stitching Winter Scenes.  I admire the many techniques and styles our artists used to depict the beauty of a season that’s often difficult to capture.… Continue Reading

Playing With Color

Our November/December 2017 art studio features the vibrant work of artist Cathy Geier. One glance at her quilts explains why the article is titled Playing With Color! Cathy began her quilting journey while living in Ketchikan, Alaska. Sunny days were few and far between, so Cathy cherished them and the beautiful colors in her, at… Continue Reading

Moonlight Sonata

Susan Stewart is known for her masterful use of digitized embroidery designs. Part of what sets Susan apart is that along with her embroidery and beautiful machine quilting she also incorporates heirloom machine sewing techniques in her work. In our newest issue, November/December 2017, Susan takes us along on her journey of creating Moonlight Sonata.… Continue Reading

Studio Visit – Dominie Nash

One of the many benefits of belonging to a small quilt group is getting to see where other artists work. The critique group I belong to met this week at the studio of accomplished artist Dominie Nash. She creates her art in a large, beautifully lit space that is part of the DC Arts Studios.… Continue Reading

Different Strokes

Yesterday I was in downtown Washington, D.C. to run an errand. I decided while I was there seize the moment and visit the National Gallery of Art. I happened upon two exhibits that were exciting and eye opening. The first exhibit was Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures. It includes fourteen works by French painter Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806).… Continue Reading

November 2017 –  Stitching Winter Scenes

Landscape Quilts- Stitching Winter Scenes by Kit Robinson Shown here are more images featuring Winter Scenes by some of the artists whose work was shown in the November/December 2017 issue of MQU Continue Reading

How Much is Enough?

It’s no secret that Editor Kit Robinson and I *love* elaborate  machine quilting, no matter what the style. Many of the quilts shown in MQU feature expert level, dense quilting. But really, how much quilting is enough? That depends on how you’re going to use your quilt. Show quilts are frequently very heavily quilted. The… Continue Reading

Thread Tips

Thread plays  a very important role in the overall look of a quilt. It’s so important, in fact, that when we publish quilts in the magazine we ask our contributors to let us know what type they’ve used in their featured work. For example, in our Jawdropper for the July/August 2017 issue of MQU Pat… Continue Reading

Color Story: Fall

The beauty of nature inspires quilters in many ways. The changing seasons are often represented in quilts, whether in the motifs associated with a specific time of year, or through the colors apparent outside the window. It’s no wonder that the glorious hues seen in autumn frequently find their way into our art work. Thumbing… Continue Reading

Tradition – PNQE 2017

I still fall in love with beautiful quilting on a fairly simple background. Here are four outstanding quilts from the World Quilt pieces exhibited at PNQE 2017. (I apologize that some of the full shots are not perfect; sometimes it’s difficult to get a great photo at a show. That said, I really was most… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza 2017

If you follow our facebook page you’ll know that last week I visited the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. A large part of my job involves looking at quilts online, but I especially love when I get the opportunity to see them in person. PNQE seems to always have an amazing number of quilts from a… Continue Reading

Curving Around

Back in February I wrote a blog post suggesting that instead of sticking to straight line quilting, why not throw a few curves into your work? Kit Robinson, MQU’s editor, liked the post enough to ask me to expand this idea for the September/October 2017 issue of the magazine. And I’m glad I did! I… Continue Reading

Abstracting Nature

Nature is a constant source of inspiration for artists of all types. Some artists prefer to depict nature’s beauty literally, while others interpret their vision in a more abstract manner. Our September/October 2017 art studio features the work of Heidi Zielinski, a quilter who prefers abstraction.   Heidi shares how she incorporates her perception of… Continue Reading

Run For It

Believe it or not I’m a runner. I’m not a very fast runner, but I can indeed run for several miles. Or at least jog. Having not run for about 34 years (yikes!) it seemed pretty daunting to begin again. But, if you break something down into little steps, you can do just about anything.… Continue Reading

My Heart is in Texas

I’m in Maryland, but my heart has been in Texas (and now Louisiana) for the past several days. I lived in the Houston area from 1985-1994. While living there I worked hard, played hard, had struggles and successes, met my BFF (who still lives there) and also my husband. And I also learned to quilt… Continue Reading

Traveling Between Quilting Motifs

Some fill designs, like meandering or vines, have a natural flow that makes it easy to fill the desired area. When dealing with individual motifs, however, we need to consider how we’ll join the motifs while still traveling gracefully around a space. The photo below demonstrates some simple variations for stitching lines to connect the… Continue Reading

Loopy Corded Binding

We’re simply delighted that award winning quilter Margaret Solomon Gunn has been a columnist for MQU for quite some time. In every issue she shares in-depth techniques and tips that she uses while creating her stunning quilts. Our September/October 2017 issue features her latest article, Fine Finishes I, Loopy Corded Binding. With her experience in… Continue Reading

Featured Artist Kit Vincent

Over the years we’ve seen many fresh and innovative approaches to creating quilts. However our September/October 2017 featured artist, Kit Vincent, has raised the bar. Kit has developed a technique whereby she designs her quilt on the fly and constructs them in a truly unique manner. She says “Pinning and sewing these strips is the… Continue Reading

WebExtra! Stitching Scalloped Binding by Margaret Solomon Gunn

Curious about how to sew a scalloped binding? Margaret Solomon Gunn has got you covered with this article from our March/April 2014 issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited. MQU March-April 2017 Scalloped Bindings by Margaret Solomon Gunn     Feature Image: Detail from Newfangled Jane, © 2011, 82 ×82 inches, made by Gwen Nishida of Irvine, California… Continue Reading

SEPTEMBER 2017 Web Extra – Stitching Rocks

Landscape Quilts – Stitching Rocks by Kit Robinson   Shown here are more quilts featuring Stitching Rocks by some of the artists whose work was featured in the September/October 2017 issue of MQU. MQU September 2017 Stitching Rocks web extra by Kit Robinson   (Featured Image: Twisting Canyons 6 ©Donna Radnor) Continue Reading


(Header Image: Detail from Spring Runoff ©Leslie Rego, from the Landscape Quilts: Stitching Ground Foliage WebExtras!) Regular readers of MQU have no doubt noticed this little icon     sprinkled throughout the magazine. It stands for our WebExtras! What are WebExtras!? Sometimes we have so much great content that it won’t all fit in the magazine.… Continue Reading

Flying Solo

Last Friday I had the pleasure of visiting the College Park Aviation Museum to see my friend Misty Cole and her solo exhibit of quilts entitled Flying Solo. The museum is on the grounds of the College Park Airport, the oldest continuously operating airport in the world! This exhibit is fascinating on many levels, but… Continue Reading

Are You Ready? Solar Eclipse 2017!!

If you live in the U.S., you’re probably aware that we’re having a big solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. I’m pretty excited about this! I used to work as a Space Shuttle engineer, and come from a family full of scientists, so this is right up my alley. It recently occurred to me that… Continue Reading

A Bit of Whimsy

One of the best parts of quilting is that if you can envision a design, you can create it! Our July/August issue features the colorful artistry of Sue Bleiweiss in the Art Studio. Sue shares what she’s learned as she’s developed a reliable process for creating her unique pieces. Experimentation is a wonderful thing. However,by… Continue Reading

Understitching a Quilt Facing

A few weeks ago I posted a video about neatly turning the corners of a facing on a quilt. In the video I referenced a technique called understitching. Understitching is frequently used in garment construction, and after posting the video it occurred to me that not everyone has made garments, so maybe I should explain… Continue Reading

Machine Envy

Our latest issue of MQU includes the conclusion of Alex Askaroff’s exciting article about The Sewing Machine Kings. What it also includes is major sewing machine eye candy! Look at this little beauty,  a German Muller. It’s so interesting to me that sewing machines were initially designed with form, as well as function, in mind.… Continue Reading

A Smithsonian Adventure

Not long ago I was fortunate enough to go on a very special guided tour of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). To my delight, my longtime quilting friend Eileen Doughty has been training to be a docent at the SAAM, where all of the work was created by American artists. She asked for volunteers… Continue Reading

Problem Solving

So we’ve all been there. After laboring over a design or project that initially seemed so great, we run into a snag. Maybe we (eek!) accidentally make a hole in a quilt. Or perhaps our stitching is pretty good overall, but one motif has a wobbly bit or mistake. Take heart, there are workarounds for… Continue Reading

Giving Modern a Go

Versatile quilt artist Kathy McNeil (our November/December 2016 cover artist) has definitely developed a recognizable style with her masterful appliqué techniques. Part of what fuels her success is curiosity. Recently intrigued by modern quilts, she realized  that some of the design elements common to modern quilts are similar to characteristics associated with traditional Japanese art.… Continue Reading

On the Straight and Narrow

As folks commented on facebook about my last blog post, there are about as many ways to block a quilt as there are quilters. When I spoke with MQU’s Senior Editor, Kit Robinson about blocking, she was quick to chime in. “I hate blocking!” she said. Though blocking can be straightforward (and easier than you… Continue Reading

Does She or Doesn’t She?

When you go to a quilt show and see a heavily quilted piece hanging perfectly flat, there may be more than just expert stitching at work. What’s the secret? Blocking. Not every quilter believes in it (I’ve seen some quilting rock stars on both sides of the question), but it can make a huge difference… Continue Reading

JULY 2017 Web Extra – Stitching Flowers

LANDSCAPE QUILT – Stitching Flowers by Kit Robinson Shown here are more quilts featuring Stitching Flowers by some of the artists whose work was shown in the July/August 2017 issue of MQU.   MQU 17-07 July Stitching Flowers  Continue Reading

Finding Your Path

As Father’s Day and summer roadtrips are at hand, I can’t help but think about my father’s approach to travel. Safety was always paramount, and part of that meant that we needed to know where we were going, literally. As in have the entire trip mapped out. And, since there was no internet, we relied on… Continue Reading

Quilters Unlimited 44th Annual Quilt Show

Northern Virginia is home to a group of avid quilters who belong to a vibrant and very large guild. Quilters Unlimited is comprised of 11 chapters throughout the Northern Virginia region. Each year they have a show in Dulles, and this year I *finally* made it there. As you would expect from such a large… Continue Reading

Glorious Glue

How many times have you been pinning something together and felt that really, the pins were in the way? Or perhaps distorting the fabric more than you’d like? Glue to the rescue! There are quilters who prefer to use no adhesive of any kind on their work, and I totally understand that. However, if you… Continue Reading

Neat Faced Corners for Your Quilt

Even after making many quilts, there are still times that my finished corners don’t end up being as neat as I like. And nobody wants “dog eared” corners, do they? On Friday I was facing a quilt, and realized that maybe a little trick I learned long ago about making collars might work for my… Continue Reading

Quick Tricks

So many deadlines this week! We’re editing the proofs for the next issue of the magazine, my niece is graduating from high school, and the entries for the International Quilt Festival are due by Friday night. It’s times like these that a little bit of streamlining comes in handy. I strongly believe in good workmanship,… Continue Reading

Up, Up and Away

There was no school today, and normally I would have cherished the opportunity to sleep in past the crack of dawn instead of waking up teenage boys. However, the Preakness Balloon Festival is going on just a few minutes from where I live, and a “mass ascension” was scheduled for 6:00 AM. How could I… Continue Reading

Quilting Vintage Linens

Have you inherited, or acquired, some vintage linens? Margaret Solomon Gunn has, and she’s put her considerable machine quilting skills to good use while incorporating them into her work. Recycling, or upcycling, linens in this way has become increasingly popular in the last few years. In our May/June 2017 issue, Margaret shares great tips and… Continue Reading

Eco Dyeing Adventure

Many quilters have a variety of other artistic or crafty interests. Sometimes it’s fun to explore other mediums, and you never know what might inspire you and end up being used in your quilting. I’ve dabbled in paper arts for many years, and incorporated paintings I’ve created in some of my work. Recently the opportunity arose for me… Continue Reading

Kathryn Harmer Fox

Last fall my first glimpse of Kathryn Harmer Fox‘s award winning The Three Watchers stopped me in my tracks. Her arresting and exceptional work is unique in the world of quilting. We were delighted to have her as our cover artist for our January/February issue of the magazine. In our latest issue (May/June 2017)  we’re… Continue Reading

Fusible Machine Appliqué

Fusible machine appliqué is surprisingly easy, and fun to boot! Page through almost any issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited and you’ll find loads of examples of this great technique. A few weeks ago I was creating a sample for an upcoming class on machine appliqué, and it reminded me that it all comes down to two key elements:… Continue Reading

A Modern Day Sewing Machine King

Though our latest issue (May/June 2017) is barely off the presses, we’ve already received numerous comments from our readers who have enjoyed part one of Alex Askaroff’s two part series, The Sewing Machine Kings. Alex is a man of many talents, including but not limited to being an author, a sewing machine engineer, and a… Continue Reading

Take Your Best Shot

My grandmother was a professional artist who worked in oils and watercolors. Her work was widely exhibited and sold. Though she took many photos, I would have to say that she was not a gifted photographer (despite her many other fine qualities!). The truth is that the technical quality of the photograph was not important to… Continue Reading

Choosing Colors

Most quilters learn sooner or later that multicolored fabrics have a handy dandy tool on the edge of the selvedge. The manufacturers have kindly printed the separate colors used in the design right there on the edge of the fabric. How convenient! This allows us to easily select coordinating fabrics. (Of course, if you stay… Continue Reading

Fabulous Freezer Paper

Prior to becoming a quilter, I never gave freezer paper a second thought. It wasn’t my storage solution of choice, and it never occurred to me that it might have other uses. Due to its unique nature of having a paper side and a plasticized backing, it’s actually one of the most versatile supplies any… Continue Reading

AQS Lancaster Part III

Well, there were so many great quilts at Lancaster that I just can’t resist sharing amazing detail shots of a few last pieces. Here’s a detail from Marilyn Badger’s Pinball Wizard. It’s not the first time she’s made me believe in magic. Fabulous piecing, beading, and of course the quilting. Speaking of beading, check out… Continue Reading

AQS Lancaster Part II

Today it’s all about the details. Whether accomplished by hand or machine, all of these beauties seen at the 2017 AQS show in Lancaster certainly deserve a closer look. First off, Roses by Judith Craddock. Yes, completely handmade, these roses are simply lovely. And look at the tiny bees! Next, Fun and Fancy by Zena… Continue Reading

AQS Lancaster Part I

The spring quilt shows are in full swing! Last Friday I braved the rain and drove up to the Lancaster show and it did not disappoint. This year the lighting was *very* improved, affording a much better view of the quilts. Here are some that caught my eye. First off, Snow Bird by Charleen M. Van Steenberg.… Continue Reading

Spring Things

Spring!! I do believe it’s finally here. I don’t know about you, but we’ve certainly had a rocky start to spring here in Maryland. First unseasonably warm weather, then a period of freezing temperatures and snow that wreaked havoc on many plants that were blooming a little too early. Things are more normal now, and I’m… Continue Reading

Ready to start using rulers?

Last May I mentioned the wonderful three part series that Patsy Thompson was writing about ruler work on a domestic machine for MQU. Since then I’ve taken the plunge and am loving working with rulers on my own machine. It’s really fun! I am in no way as expert as Patsy is, but, as a relative… Continue Reading

Happy National Quilting Day!

Today is National Quilting Day, and it’s not too late to celebrate! I haven’t managed to actually quilt yet today, but have spent a bit of time reading and reviewing books for our May/June 2017 issue. (Spoiler alert: there’s quite a crop of good quilting books out there just now.) I’m hoping to get a… Continue Reading

Batting Basics

Batting is often an afterthought, especially for newer quilters. But since batting can dramatically change the look and feel of your work it’s really quite important. Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right batting for your project. How will you use the finished quilt? Will it hang on the wall, be… Continue Reading

Fusible Appliqué

Appliqué is such an incredibly versatile technique. Quilters of all levels can successfully incorporate it into their work whether they prefer traditional, modern, art, or innovative styles. We’ve frequently featured artists who use fusible appliqué since it’s fast, easy, and precise. In our January/February 2017 issue Jane Zillmer shared some great information on how she uses raw… Continue Reading

It’s Electric!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with hand cutting appliqué shapes or stencils for quilting. Hand cutting designs with scissors (or an Exacto knife) has its benefits, but sometimes you might want more speed or accuracy, especially when cutting multiples of the same shape. Electronic cutters to the rescue!… Continue Reading

Walking Foot Quilting

A walking foot has long been a staple of many quilters’ toolboxes. The beauty of a walking foot is that it helps to feed the fabric evenly through a domestic sewing machine by working in concert with the feed dogs. This makes them extremely useful for accomplishing long rows of stitches to stabilize your quilt sandwich when you… Continue Reading

Piece Out

Stressed out? I sure am! Last week was a real doozy so I grabbed some fat quarters, sliced them up, then started piecing. It’s one of the things that relaxes me the most and yet I haven’t done it in a long while. With no real plan in mind, I just tried to pair a slightly… Continue Reading

Detail Oriented

Our March/April 2017 cover artist, Bethanne Nemesh, is well know for her attention to detail and expert workmanship. Combine that with her beautiful design sense and you end up with a winning combination! In fact, her cover quilt, Into the Westward Sun, has only been exhibited in the last few months and  has already won… Continue Reading

Stitching Ground Foliage

Kit Robinson continues her popular series on landscape quilts in our March/April 2017 issue. It features a variety of lovely quilts including REGENERATION – Halls Gap (Australia) by Linden Lancaster, shown below. Kit found herself in the enviable position of having more quilts to share than would fit in the article, so she wrote a… Continue Reading

Last But Not Least – Labels!

We recently received an email from one of our readers, Vivian Burrus, with a great suggestion. Vivian said “I was recently going through my back issues of MQU and “rediscovered” Maria Elkins great article “Last But Not Least — Label Your Quilt” in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue. With the Quilt Alliance’s Labeling Pledge ( still in fill… Continue Reading

Making a Statement

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes we really want to just make a statement. There are many ways to add lettering and words to quilts, from surface design techniques to quilting or embroidery. Let’s look at a few of them. An option that quickly comes to mind is writing on the… Continue Reading

The Three R’s

No matter what style of quilt you’re making, the three R’s – Repeat, Resize, and Rotate – can help you achieve a more effective design. Repetition can be used to create a visual rhythm to a piece, or help to emphasize a particular design element. Repetition can also assist in creating consistency that helps to… Continue Reading

Consider Curves

The graphic quality of pieced blocks is often the initial draw for new quilters. The piecing lines are ideal starting points for adding quilting, whether it’s in the ditch or echoing the angles created by the geometry of the piece. If you’re ready to branch out a little, or just change things up, consider adding… Continue Reading

Meandering Musings

Back in the day, meandering seemed to be the overall quilting design that all the kids were doing. What’s great about it is that it’s fast, and it’s pretty easy to fill a large space of almost any shape. It’s still a good design for beginners to help hone their skills, but it can also be… Continue Reading

To Mark, or Not to Mark?

Truth: if I can avoid marking, I do! But there are some occasions when marking saves more time than it takes to do it. Markings are guidelines that work in a variety of situations. The most obvious time to mark is when you want to replicate a specific motif. Bear in mind, though, that in… Continue Reading

Anniversary Contest Part III

Here is the last, but certainly not least, group of entries from our 10th Anniversary Challenge. I think it’s truly remarkable how many different ways folks chose to meet the challenge of referencing the number 10 in some way; over 50 ways in all! I hope you enjoy and are inspired by this last set… Continue Reading

Driving Lessons

The day after Christmas my husband and I drove almost exactly 1400 miles, door to door, to visit my sister-in-law in Fort Worth. One week later I turned around and completed the same journey in reverse with one of my sons who happens to have a learner’s permit. It sounds a bit crazy, and it… Continue Reading

Anniversary Contest, Part II

More fun and festive quilts from our 10th Anniversary Challenge! Thanks so much to all the entrants, we appreciate your creativity, hard work and artistry. Be sure to check back next week for our final group of entries. Continue Reading

Winter Wonders

In the U.S. winter isn’t coming, it’s here! My first instinct in frigid weather is to stay inside and hopefully quilt, preferably something involving riotous color. I try to take pictures of the snow covered landscape but never seem to create something with much visual interest. These artists, however, have managed to create beautiful works… Continue Reading

Happy Anniversary!

Woohoo! We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary year here at MQU. In August 2016 we challenged quilters to make 10″x 10″ quilts of any style to help us celebrate. Each artwork was required to reference the number 10 in some way, have three layers, and the edges needed to be finished. We were blown away by… Continue Reading

Going in Circles

Circles are a design element that’s appropriate for almost any quilt. Sometimes free handing them is the way to go, while other times we’re looking for more precision. For really precise circles ruler work is one of the best ways to achieve a crisp look. In our January/February 2017 issue of MQU columnist Margaret Solomon Gunn… Continue Reading

Stitching the Sea

Our November 19th blog post was all about stitching the sky. Senior Editor Kit Robinson continues her series on stitching landscapes in our January/February 2017 issue of MQU with Stitching the Sea. Here are some of the gorgeous pieces she shares in her article. Rachel Wright truly captures the feel of a seaside cliff with  Around… Continue Reading

Combining Stitch Patterns

Earlier this week we talked about combining hand and machine quilting in the same piece. Today we’re discussing a different type of combination, combining stitch patterns. Our latest issue of MQU, January/February 2017, will be heading to our subscribers in just a few days. One of the articles that particularly caught my attention is by… Continue Reading

Making Your Mark

Most quilters seem to choose to quilt their work just one way – either by hand or machine. Recently, though, I’ve noticed more and more quilters, particularly art quilters, combine both techniques in the same piece. Our September/October 2016 cover girl, Jill Kerttula, combines hand and machine quilting beautifully as she makes her mark with… Continue Reading

Landscape Quilts – Stitching the Sea

Landscape Quilts – Stitching the Sea by Kit Robinson Shown here are more quilts featuring Stitching the Sea by some of the artists whose work was shown in the January/February 2017 issue of MQU  Continue Reading


Earlier this week I had a wonderful opportunity to attend an event at the BERNINA Creative Center in Naperville, Illinois. Not only did I get the chance to learn about some of BERNINA’s latest products, I also got to know other passionate sewing and quilting professionals from around the country. Talk about fun! One of… Continue Reading

Looking for Light

Here in the Northern Hemisphere the days continue to grow shorter. With the sun going down before 5:00 PM any light is a welcome sight! At the same time the winter holidays are fast approaching, and it’s no wonder that for many holidays, no matter what time of year, light is a key part of… Continue Reading

Tooling Around

We can all quilt with just a few straight forward tools, but it’s always fun to try out new and sometimes more efficient ways to get the job done. Every issue of MQU features a “tool box” section where we present some of the latest and greatest tools and materials available. We also have had many… Continue Reading

What’s Your Procedure?

Howdy! Stopping by briefly this evening to talk about something that sounds pretty dry, but I think it will make your quilting easier. Many Americans, myself included, have been scurrying around today, cooking and cleaning, getting ready for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a little different from other holidays in that lots of folks have many of the… Continue Reading

Stitching Landscape Quilts

Landscape quilts seem to have a nearly universal draw. It’s fascinating to see how many different ways quilters interpret them in fabric! So it’s not very surprising that multiple readers have told us that they would like to know how to machine quilt landscape quilts. MQU Senior Editor Kit Robinson to the rescue! Though we seldom get… Continue Reading

Special Exhibits

The Special Exhibits at this year’s Houston International Quilt Festival did indeed live up to their name. I unfortunately didn’t get a good look at some of them until the last day I was at the show, and wished I’d left myself more time to study them. They were all amazing! One exhibit that particularly delighted… Continue Reading

Houston Quilt Festival 2016 – Part Two

Here are a few more of the amazing quilts shown at the Houston International Quilt Festival this year. Once again the details are truly inspirational. Happy and Grateful by Mary Zahner. Based on a photo taken in a bamboo forest in Japan, Mary appliquéd over a thousand leaves on this piece! The thread painting on… Continue Reading

Houston Quilt Festival 2016

Well, I’m back and nearly rested from another great trip to the Houston International Quilt Festival! If you missed my Facebook live videos at the show, be sure to check them out on our Facebook page. (And I apologize that the sound on one of them is not so great. Live and learn!) One of the… Continue Reading

It’s Showtime!

My social media feeds are jam packed with photos and videos from Quilt Market in Houston. And, in just a few days, Quilt Festival Houston will be happening! If you’re planning on going to Quilt Festival, or another large show, we’ve got you covered. Linda Turner Griepentrog gives some wonderful tips for show attendees in our… Continue Reading

A Little Echo Quilting

Sometimes it’s fun (and maybe even instructional) to see how someone else quilts a particular motif or design. In that spirit, here’s a video demonstrating echo quilting around a feather motif. Enjoy! Continue Reading

10 X 10 Challenge FINALISTS Announced!

We are so excited with the response to the 10 X 10 Challenge! The number of entries plus the quality of work  made it very difficult to narrow the field to just the top 10. Those finalists have now all been notified and their quilts are on their way to us for final judging. We… Continue Reading

Using Samples to Quilt As You Go

So, you’ve embraced creating samples to practice your machine quilting. Or, maybe, followed my lazy habits and quilted a little bit extra all around the outside of your quilt to avoid burying threads when you start and stop. What can you do with those bonus pieces of machine quilting? There are, of course, countless crafty type… Continue Reading

Perfectly Imperfect

OK, let’s not worry about perfection for a few minutes. Any practice will improve your machine quilting skills. When I lecture, I always shows the audience one of my practice pieces. Yes, that’s right, a quilt I made simply to practice my machine quilting skills. It’s comprised of 25 nine patches, some open blocks and… Continue Reading

Nov/Dec 2016 – Stitching the Sky

In the Nov/Dec 2016 issue, Kit Robinson shared that the readers wanted to see more landscape quilts. She curated a number of quilts showing various ways to stitch skies. Shown here are more quilts with interesting stitching in the sky: Continue Reading

The Value of Value

Quilters often use the print of a fabric to wonderful effect, giving dimension and interest to a pieced or appliquéd quilt through the use of a particular design. Another easy way to add interest is through the use of changes in value. By carefully selecting, or perhaps fussy cutting, your fabric, beautiful dimension can be… Continue Reading

The Call of the Wild

The leaves are starting to change color here, and every day for the next few weeks there will be a new vista of beautiful hues to admire. It’s no secret that I love leaves, and have incorporated them many times into my own designs. But I’m not the only one who finds them fascinating. In our… Continue Reading

Go For It

Our motto is “Inspiration and instruction for ALL machine quilters!”. I love this, and it is genuinely what we try to bring to you in every issue. It’s so inspiring to see quilters of all skill levels trying new things and creating what appeals to them, and that’s just what I got to do a… Continue Reading


The definition of “retreat” is very interesting. It can mean both “an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable” or “a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director”. (from Quilting retreats seem to cover both instances, as we get to leave behind our everyday… Continue Reading

More PNQE Eye Candy

There were so many outstanding quilts at PNQE 2016 that I’d like to share just a few more. I have to start out with Keiko Ike’s American Spirit. This quilt has it all – the graphic drama of red and white, superbly pieced Mariner’s Compasses, and fabulous quilting. It was an award winner at World… Continue Reading

PNQE 2016 – Beauty in the Details

Last Saturday I trekked up I-95 to attend the 2016 Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. I was truly wowed by the number and variety of quilts there. Several special exhibits were shown, as well as the PNQE contest and international quilts and winners from the World Quilt Competition. Here’s a peek at some of the exquisite… Continue Reading

Gifts for Quilters

My sons and husband all have birthdays around now (three of them are within a 2 week span) so I can’t help but think about gifts this time of year. Sometimes our non-quilting friends and family want to get us quilting related gifts, but alas, they really have no idea what might be appropriate. Here… Continue Reading

Maintenance Required

Don’t we all dread when that message pops up on the dashboard? But, just as with our cars, maintenance is an important task to keep our precious machines humming along. Over the years many of our articles have touched on machine maintenance, including Sarah Ann Smith‘s article in our March/April 2014 edition. Here are a… Continue Reading

Behind the Scenes at Zebra Patterns

Long before I met Debra Gabel friends were telling me that I *needed* to meet her. They told me how interested she was in quilting, and what a talented artist she was. She is that, but also so much more! Debra and I live ten minutes apart, and I’ve probably known her now for about ten… Continue Reading

Studio Reorganization

Full confession: Over the years I’ve been envious of too many other artists’ studios to count. At the same time, did I do anything about it? Not really. There is ample  space to be organized and spread out in our finished basement. However, due to the many responsibilities in my life, when there is time to quilt or… Continue Reading

Thread Tales

Ever wonder how thread is manufactured? Then be sure to catch one of Alex Veronelli’s lectures on how his company, Aurifil, makes thread. Alex is currently touring quilt shops in the Delaware and Maryland area. I attended his talk at a wonderful local shop,  Spring Water Designs in Columbia, MD. I didn’t know what to… Continue Reading

Free Form  Cross Hatching

I’m always on the lookout for fills I haven’t used before. On my last quilt I tried a free form cross hatching technique that was really fun, very fast, and allowed me to fill in even the smallest areas with ease. You can see it on the gray/brown area to the right of the white blossom… Continue Reading

Show Quilts

When school starts it seems like quilt show season also gets in gear. Many of us have admired the amazing quilts we’ve seen at a variety of shows. Have you ever wondered what goes in to making these beauties, like Best of Show winner Arandano by Marilyn Badger? How about the lifelike blossoms that Andrea Brokenshire creates?… Continue Reading

Stained Glass Quilting

I happened to stop by my sister’s house this weekend, and as always was interested to see what she’s up to artistically. Karin is talented in a variety of media, but perhaps her favorite is glass. She’s currently working on a mosaic that is a commission for her church, St. Mary’s of Piscataway, Maryland. As I… Continue Reading

It’s So Hot …

I’m fixing to dye. Or at least that’s what I’d like to be doing! Did you know that folks who hand dye fabric love hot weather because it does, indeed, help to fix the dye? Since the dyeing process is a chemical reaction, heat is one of the components that impacts the look of the… Continue Reading

A Quilted Garden

What’s one of the best things about summer? Flowers! It’s no surprise that they’ve been the subject of all types of arts including quilting. Here’s a selection of gorgeous flower themed quilts from a collection in our July/August 2013 issue of the magazine. Just like flowers themselves, each of these works is uniquely beautiful. Enjoy!… Continue Reading

Quilt First?

Sometimes, when designing an appliqué  quilt, we’d like the background or filler quilting to flow smoothly around or behind the appliqué motifs. This can be quite time consuming and more than a little tricky. Let’s look at some ways to get around this by quilting first, and appliquéing  second. Here are a few examples: In this first… Continue Reading

As a companion to her article Tips for Making a Competitive Show Quilt in the Sept/Oct 2016 issue, Margaret Solomon Gunn gives us a primer on how stitching-in-the-ditch can improve your quilt’s appearance Continue Reading


When I find the time to quilt, I want to sit down and do it, not spend time searching for my scissors, the right thread, rulers etc. Just a few simple steps can help to keep us all organized and get right to the fun stuff! I confess that my studio is *not* neat, but I… Continue Reading

Skillful Stitching – Elsie Campbell

About twelve years ago I met Elsie Campbell in a machine quilting class taught by Diane Gaudynski. Elsie stood out not just because of her beautiful work, but because she was already an exceptionally talented hand quilter. As in, had won the Mary Krickbaum Award for Best Hand Quilting at the NQA show!! I admired Elsie… Continue Reading

Everyday Inspiration

In today’s fast paced world we’re bombarded by new ideas. Sometimes it’s nice to slow down, take a deep breath, and look for inspiration right where we are. I happen to live in a very wooded area, and I love it. The colors and shapes are a constant source of design ideas for me. Next… Continue Reading

Sharing our Appreciation

The U.S. presidential election process has made me think about ways that Americans work together. One way is to show appreciation for those citizens who voluntarily risk their lives to protect us. Unsurprisingly, many quilters have shown this appreciation by making quilts for veterans of the armed services. In our January/February 2013 issue award winning quilter Sherry Reynolds… Continue Reading

Stories of Migration

On my visit to the Textile Museum I was also able to see a wonderful SAQA exhibit called Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora. As described on the SAQA website: All works reflect upon the theme of “Diaspora.” Diaspora is the dispersion of a people from an established ancestral homeland. These communities remain simultaneously active… Continue Reading

State of the Art Quilt

Yesterday morning I was fortunate to be able to participate in a wonderful program at the George Washington University Textile Museum. Following an introduction by SAQA board member Jayne Bentley Gaskins, nine local members of Studio Art Quilt Associates gave “lightning” presentations about their work. It was fascinating to hear so many different perspectives on… Continue Reading

Summer Fun

Summer time and the living is easy. Don’t we all have some beautiful summer memories? I’ve been blessed to spend time with two darling babies at the beach this summer. Watching them play in the sand and splash in the water brought to mind one of my favorite quilt collections, Childhood Moments from our March/April 2015 issue.… Continue Reading

Always Time for Art

Last week I really lucked out. I happened to be in Fort Worth, Texas, visiting my sister-in-law. As it turns out, the opening for a solo exhibit of Heather Pregger’s work was taking place while I was there. Fort Worth has a vibrant cultural scene that includes the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. July 8 was the… Continue Reading


Usually called stippling when small, or meandering when large, this versatile fill is one of the first that was embraced by machine quilters of all stripes. It used to be everyone’s go to fill, but has recently lost a little momentum. However, its versatility should never be discounted. Note how different the stitch looks below… Continue Reading


Today let’s look at the second of three stitching techniques that I consider essential for most machine quilters: pebbles. Pebbles, stones, bubbles – call them what you will, they are one of the most versatile fills around. They are basically a series of stacked circles as seen in the diagram below. The first two stones can be… Continue Reading

Echo Quilting

Today let’s look at the first of three stitching techniques that I consider essential for most machine quilters: echo quilting. Echo quilting can be used to highlight or accentuate motifs or appliqué elements, or serve as a background fill. It is basically tracing around, or echoing, existing shapes or motifs, usually using lines of quilting that are… Continue Reading

Ready or Not …

I wish I had a nickle for every quilting book or pattern I’ve read that says, once the top is constructed, “Quilt as desired”. For new quilters this is a daunting task! Here are some basic guidelines for how to get started. Once your quilt is basted, use a walking foot or dual feed to baste… Continue Reading

Lofty Matters

It makes complete sense that the loft of the batting used in a quilt will directly relate to the relief of the quilting designs. But what other factors contribute to the “puff”? The size of the motifs. Bigger motifs will produce more relief. Can you see how the smaller feathers in the wreath below are… Continue Reading

Beach Reading

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere it’s summer! Summer = Beach for many of us, so how about some summer reading suggestions? No, not chick lit, but two of my favorite quilting books. First up: Quilter’s Handy Guide to Supplies & More by Dawn Cameron-Dick (C&T Publishing; 127 pages). I reviewed this book in… Continue Reading

Challenging Quilts

Haven’t we all seen quilts that were uniquely wonderful, yet begged the question “How did the quilter make that?!” We often feature such challenging quilts in MQU, and enjoy learning how they were made right along with our readers. In our March/April 2015 issue Lea McComas shared the challenges she faced in transforming an old photo… Continue Reading

A Study of Contrasts

When we discuss contrast and quilts in the same sentence, we’re usually referring to contrast in the design of the top itself – the colors and design of the appliqué, piecing, painting, or other imagery. For many quilts, though, contrast within the quilting design is just as important, particularly for traditional, wholecloth, or other quilts where the… Continue Reading

At the Finish Line: Part 2

How about a few more finishing tips? We regularly feature articles on aspects of finishing, including how to apply bindings and facings. Here’s a link to a great article from a ways back by Barb Hollinger on applying facings: Facings – 3 Ways! Call me efficient, or call me lazy, but I prefer to make as… Continue Reading

Jul/Aug 2016 – Japanese Fabrics

Additional photos to accompany the Japanese Fabrics article by Linda Turner Griepentrog in the July/August 2016 issue. MQU Web Extra Japanese Fabrics   Continue Reading

At the Finish Line

Last night I finished quilting a new piece for entry into an exhibit I love. Since the jurying process is blind, I can’t share it with you (yet). What I can share are some of the things that make the finishing process (my least favorite part of quilting) a little bit easier. Thread burying is a… Continue Reading

Creating Heirlooms

Often our other hobbies, or our jobs, influence our quilting. This is especially true of award winning quilter Susan Stewart. Susan has been in our magazine quite a bit, including being our “cover girl” for the November/December 2012 issue. Her unique quilt designs incorporate aspects of heirloom sewing techniques, and that’s no accident. I asked… Continue Reading

Feather Mania

I understand that there are some quilters who are not fans of feathers. However, for those of us who are, we just can’t get enough! In that vein, today I’m sharing a small sample of some of the feathered quilting we’ve had in MQU over the years.   Feathers, whether simple or fancy, as stars… Continue Reading

Domestic Machine Ruler Work

I know I’ve enviously gazed at precise long arm ruler work and wished I could accomplish it on my domestic, sit down machine. Luckily, Patsy Thompson shows us how it’s done in an upcoming three part series beginning with our July/August issue of MQU! Patsy has been quilting for nearly 40 years and is more passionate about… Continue Reading

Meet Kay Bell, “Borderline Quilter”

We’ve been fortunate to be able to share the lovely work of Kay Bell with our readers on several occasions. As it turns out, she’s had articles in the magazine in March 2014, 2015, and 2016! Kay lives with her husband on a hill farm in Scotland on the Scottish side of the border with England. They farm sheep… Continue Reading

Top Tips for Machine Quilting Success

Truth: when I first began quilting I mostly pieced tops and avoided the quilting step like the plague. I eventually began machine quilting, but only with the feed dogs up! This was, of course, in the dark ages when machine quilting was fairly novel, but eventually I took a deep breath (literally), and tried free motion… Continue Reading

Meet Our Graphics Guru

So much of the look and feel of Machine Quilting Unlimited is due to the talents of our “graphics guy”, Jonathan Miller of JLM Graphics. Jonathan has designed the cover and layout of the magazine for quite a few years now, and his artistic eye and layout skills are much appreciated. I asked Jonathan to… Continue Reading

Creating Balance

Those of you who are our facebook friends already know that we recently conducted a poll to see how many of our readers quilt sitting down vs. standing up. As we expected, the results were nearly even! Information like this helps us plan the content for future issues. All of us, and Senior Editor Kit… Continue Reading

A Taste of the Tropics

My plan for blogging last week (before I realized that my laptop was toast) was to look for eye catching architectural elements that might make for interesting quilting designs. Things like this: The last time I’d been in Waikiki was 20 years ago, and it has really grown since then. The variety of balcony designs… Continue Reading


Last week I had a wonderful opportunity to tag along on my husband’s business trip to Hawaii. Since our 20th wedding anniversary is tomorrow, this was a second honeymoon of sorts (despite the fact that my husband had to work). We saw all the things you’d expect to find on Oahu: Beautiful vistas and blue,… Continue Reading

A Different Perspective

Sometimes designing or quilting our work in the usual way is therapeutic and relaxing. But this can also lead to being in a rut. What to do? Try looking at things from a different perspective. One of my favorite articles in MQU was written by talented artist Monika Kinner-Whalen. In our November/December 2015 issue Monika shares how… Continue Reading

Studio Envy and Fiber Friends

Quilters love to gather together, whether it’s in large numbers, like a guild or professional organization, or smaller meetings such as a bee or critique group. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I’m fortunate to belong to a wonderful critique group that meets on a monthly basis. Once a year we make the trek… Continue Reading

New Tricks

Kit Robinson, the Senior Editor of MQU, and I are pretty experienced quilters, but we still regularly learn new things from our contributors. When we first saw Sandi Snow’s quilts we were intrigued by the dramatic interlocking circles she often uses as a quilting motif. What did we do? Ask her to write an article about it… Continue Reading

Inspiration? Everywhere!

As quilters, many of us find that design inspiration is everywhere. I’m fairly sure that Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero would say that. I’ve known Jeanie for several years, and her creativity and energy never cease to amaze me. She’s a quilter, expert photographer, and owns a business, Kaleidoscope Collections, whose main product is a program called Kaleidoscope… Continue Reading

A Dreamy Studio

Today we get a chance to tour a gorgeous new studio designed for talented longarm artist Mary Olson. Mary creates stunning appliqué quilts, collaborating on the designs with her husband Garry. She shared her techniques for buttonhole stitch appliqué in our March/April 2015 issue of MQU. Last year Garry and Mary started a major home addition with several purposes… Continue Reading

Stabilizer Secrets from Sarah Ann Smith

At MQU we’re fortunate to have wonderful frequent contributors like Sarah Ann Smith. She is well known in the quilting world as a gifted teacher and author, and of course for her gorgeous quilts! Sarah’s articles and features have been very well received, most recently those on ergonomics (Healthy and Comfortable Machine Quilting, July/August 2014) and stabilizers (The Fourth Layer: Stabilizing… Continue Reading

ArtQuilt Elements Part II

There were so many amazing quilts at ArtQuilt Elements that I couldn’t stop with just one post. Here are a few more lovelies: Diane Siebels was awarded Best of Show, and no wonder. This is a quilt that really needs to be seen in person, the hand stitching is mind boggling. I wish I had been… Continue Reading

ArtQuilt Elements Part I

This past Saturday was the opening of the 2016 ArtQuilt Elements exhibit at the beautiful Wayne Art Center. I was thrilled to attend and see so many amazing art quilts, as well as lots of wonderful artists. Here are a few of my favorite quilts:   I love Linda Beach’s Sun Dog Morning. The piecing of the snow,… Continue Reading

Filler Finesse  Favorites

Looking for some free motion quilting inspiration? I thought it would be fun to share a little video today demonstrating a design from my Filler Finesse column in the November/December 2012 issue of MQU. If you try it out I’d love to see what you do with it! Continue Reading

  It’s always interesting to learn more about the educational background of our contributors, especially as it relates to their artistic development. One of the highlights of our March/April 2016 issue is an article by multi-talented artist Mary McCauley about her 3-dimensional fabric sculptures. Mary recently earned a Foundation Certificate in Botanic Illustration from the Denver Botanic Gardens… Continue Reading

Environmental Explorations

September/October 2015 cover girl Sue Reno’s deep interest in nature is evident in so much of her work. Her fascination with the flora, fauna, and geography of her native Pennsylvania has led her to truly explore her surroundings. She’s currently working on a year long, self directed project entitled 52 Ways to Look at the River.… Continue Reading

I spend an extraordinary amount of time looking at quilts; that is, pictures of quilts. So when the chance arises to see them in person, I’m on it! Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the AQS show. What a treat to meet Bonnie Browning, AQS Executive Show Director, and watch… Continue Reading

Our long time columnist Margaret Solomon Gunn wrote yet another wonderful article for our March/April issue of MQU. She explains how to design beautiful feathers to fit wide borders, and as always it’s full of great information for our readers.     If you’ve been to a quilt show in the last few years you’ve… Continue Reading

Let me introduce myself to you, our lovely blog friends. I’m Diane Rusin Doran, Associate Editor of Machine Quilting Unlimited for about the last 3 years. I’m a long time contributor to the magazine, and authored the popular “Filler Finesse” column for several years. I’m excited to be sharing lots of fun news about the magazine, as… Continue Reading

Hello There!

GOOD ART photography of any kind has its obstacles. Many artists do not have the funds to employ professionals to shoot their work, so it becomes necessary for them to learn to do it themselves. Continue Reading

Web Extras! May 2015 – Karlee Porter: Machine Couching

Here is a link to Karlee’s video showing not only her Couching by Machine technique but how she stitches her Graffiti Quilting as well Continue Reading

Contributors Nov/Dec 2014

Contributors Nov/Dec 2014 We have a great list of contributors for the Nov/Dec issue. Sandra Leichner Visit to see more of Sandra’s work Kay Bell You can read about her quilting and horsey life on her blog and website Phyllis Cullen Visit Phyllis at Diane Rusin Doran See her quilts at… Continue Reading

Tips on Stitching with Metallic Threads  – Nov/Dec 2014

Tips on Stitching with Metallic Threads by Linda Turner Griepentrog Machines respond differently to metallic threads, and some adjustments may be needed to accommodate the challenge. Follow these tips and practice before committing to your project: ❖❖  Use a metallic or topstitching needle, size 90/14 or larger, depending on the thread. The large eye helps to reduce… Continue Reading

Creating Fiber Lace Scarves Web Extras! Nov/Dec 2014

Creating Fiber Lace Scarves Vicki Anderson shows us techniques for creating scarves and other accessories in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue. More inspiration for thread lace work was found in Sulky Secrets to Successful Embroidery written by Joyce Drexler, nationally known machine arts expert and Creative Director for Sulky® of America ( This book is recently… Continue Reading

How to Time our Quilting Machines

FROM THE MARCH/APRIL and MAY/JUNE 2013 ISSUES- Todd Fletcher takes us through the process of timing a quilting machine in this 2-part article. In Part 1 he shows us how to properly adjust the hopping foot and needle bar, and in Part 2 we learn to properly adjust the sewing hook. This essential guide will… Continue Reading

July 2014 Quilt of the Month

Hope is the Thing with Feathers © 2014 Karen Marchetti Port Saint Lucie, Florida 69 x 59 inches Visit our Quilt of the Month Gallery to view Karen’s quilt! GALLERY The verbiage on this quilt is an excerpt from Emily Dickinson’s poem Hope is the Thing with Feathers. To me, there is so much meaning… Continue Reading

About our Authors – July 2014

The July/August issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited is chock full of great information! We thought you would like to visit with our Authors to see what else they are up to. Be sure to check their Galleries for new quilts as well! Karen Eckmeier – Phyllis Cullen  – Margaret Solomon Gunn – Susan Brubaker… Continue Reading

Thank you for all of the constructive comments and feedback on our new websites! We are reviewing all suggestions and implementing changes and corrections as quickly as possible. If you haven’t yet subscribed to our E-Newsletter, take the opportunity now so you do not miss any future give-aways and contests. Sign up HERE And if you… Continue Reading

Luke Haynes’ Creating Three Dimensional Illusions in Fabric; Resource Guides for AIDS TO SMOOTHER QUILTING and SEW ‘N GO; More quilts from Georgia Spalding Pierce  Continue Reading

Susan Brubaker Knapp takes us on a journey to Australia and New Zealand and The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, celebrated their 31st year of exhibiting quilts with this collection  Continue Reading

Quilting with Metallic Threads; Billie Mahorney’s 1950’s quilt finally finished!; Dominique Ehrmann’s 3-D special exhibit at the Sacred Threads  Continue Reading

Free articles! Feather Finesse and Complex Feathers; Resize and Edit using Inkspace; Linzi Upton’s Yurt panel pattern; Free Maple Breezes quilting pattern!  Continue Reading

If you are looking for help with your quilting or business, we have a few “quickie” articles to help you! Continue Reading