Sunday, March 6, 2016

Free Motion and Free Classes - A Class Review

Hello everyone!  If you're following along in the 2016 Redbird Quilt Co. Free Motion Quilt Along -- Congratulations!

Several of you have shared your progress pics and they are looking awesome!  Isn't it amazing how a bit of quilting can bring a panel to life ??    
Way to go and please keep on sharing - we love to see how things are progressing.

While I prepare the next QAL lesson, I thought I would share this Free Online Class I recently took on Craftsy.   
"A New Look at Longarm Quilting" with Mandy Leins.

Now don't get discouraged --- what I found is there are several useful tips and tricks in this *free* class that apply to beginner domestic and sit down machine quilters.

I'll share a little bit about the class content and let you decide if you would like to enroll (have I mentioned it's free!).

The class comes with a free pattern (that was created by Mandy).  It's a beautiful modern paper pieced design -- but you can actually used marked quilt sandwiches to practice the same motifs that Mandy shares in class.

The Lessons:

  1. Welcome to Online Classes -- an Introduction
  2. Welcome to A New Look at Longarm Quilting -- Meet Mandy
  3. Ideal Quilting Environment - Getting Started ~ Operator Comfort ~Marking the Quilt
  4. Building Confidence - Practice Games ~ Stitching to Music ~ Tracing
  5. Sample Project - Preparing the Diamonds ~ Stitching the Diamonds ~ Stitching the Open Space
  6. Taking the Longarm to New Places ~ Binding ~ Applique
I don't know about you but I love to watch other people quilt, regardless of the machine they are on.

 This class was well worth the few minutes I invested in watching it.   (Often free is free for a reason -- not the case here ;) 

I must admit, when I watch online classes I'll often set the Speed to 1.5 or 2x the Normal Speed (you can do that on most online tools now) -- it allows me to fit more things into my day!.

What I loved about this class:

  • It's free!
  • Mandy is very comfortable in her skin -- I love that!  I love that SHE loves to quilt - you can sense that in her lessons.
  • She quilts several different motifs
  • She shares ways to practice or trial run your motifs
  • She suggests a few "games" to try, including using stickers on your practice sandwich to target quilting around them and with them -- I thought this was a cool idea to practice quilting around applique.
  • She loves to quilt to music -- Music is very relaxing -- her idea of "fun" connected with me (we're quilting nerds I guess).
  • She shows a bit of ruler work on the longarm -- specifically to Stitch in the Ditch (seams). 
  • She discusses Stitch Regulated vs Unregulated mode -- and what she suggested makes complete sense to me (I learned with NO stitch regulator)
  • She suggests some stretching exercises that we all can use -- no matter what machine we're working on. 
  • She takes short-cuts when she practices AND isn't worried about being a perfectionist -- THIS is what we all should be doing!!  Really...!!
  • She shows a few "new look" ways to use a long arm including longarm binding and long arm machine applique -- that was interesting.

What I didn't love:

  • Honestly -- for a free class I thought it was great -- but because I am a perfectionist I found the loose machine stitches (the tension was off) drove me a bit batty  -- it happened in at least 2 lessons.  It's really a nit - but I wanted to stop her and fix the tension --- ha ha ha!!
  • I wasn't keen on her style of McTavishing -- but it's important to note that any style of McTavishing is beautiful -- so I tried to see the good in it ;) 


If you're trying to improve your machine quilting skills -- take a few minutes, enroll and watch the class.  Because it's free just add it to your cart and checkout - no need to provide payment.  

To enroll in "A New Look at Longarm Quilting" with Mandy Leins click => here

There are a wealth of other *Free* Online Quilting Classes at Craftsy
See a complete list by clicking the image below

If you decide to enroll, please come back and leave me a comment or send me a note, I would love to know your thoughts.  Remember -- it's geared toward beginners.  The more experienced need not apply ;) 

Ready to move forward with advanced classes... check out the Weekend Sale on Class Collections in this blog post -- amazing prices with well known educators...  

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Thanks again for stopping by...

Note:  This post may contain affiliate links.  If you purchase anything through an affiliate link I may be compensated.   I promise to only recommend those products and services I know and love -- especially if they have great prices! 


  1. Wow, Karen! Thanks for the reference to the free Craftsy videos. I had no idea you did youtube videos! Now I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

  2. I have had your page open in my browser for a while.
    I am so grateful for your class. I will take it slowly, as I have so little time taking care of my oldsters.
    I have a very sturdy White mechanical that I use for fmq and it is reliable
    I want to learn so I can finish my projects
    Thank you so much Karen

  3. Hi Karen, I just wanted to say that I have been a fan of you for some time now and follow you on
    Facebook and as of today on Bloglovin' ( and catch you at the Moda Bake Shop and with Pat Sloan). Thank you for all your contributions to the quilting community. I know that many quilters (ooow, ooow and me too!), enjoy your comments, advice, humor and knowledge that you share with all of us.
    p.s. don't bother checking for me on Fb or bloglovin - I haven't posted anything on them.


Thank you for your Sweet comments!