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


Thank you for your Sweet comments!