The Free Motion Quilting Project: Episode 27: Quilting Along with Margaret Leuwen

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Episode 27: Quilting Along with Margaret Leuwen

Hello My Quilting Friends! Today I'm chatting with Margaret Leuwen the business owner behind Margaret is a longarm quilter, shares YouTube videos, and hosts fun quilt alongs throughout the year. Listen to Margaret's interview here, or download to your computer:

We also have the podcast on video now so you can see what I'm working on through the introduction!

Click Here to find all the podcast episodes shared so far.

For the past few years Margaret has shared quilt along projects online. This year instead of one massive quilt along, she's sharing Quilt of the Quarter - four different quilts which take a quarter of the year to create and are made with fat quarters! Her last Quilt of the Quarter will be this beautiful Christmas tree quilt using Kaffe Fasset fabrics:

Click Here to check out the videos for Olivia's Quilt, the first Quilt of the Quarter.

Click Here to check out the videos for Lyon's Quilt, the second Quilt of the Quarter.

All of the Quilts of the Quarter are projects Margaret designs herself to tackle her fat quarter stash. She designs the quilt patterns so you can make multiple sizes depending on how many fat quarters you start with. This is great because fat quarters are often something I collect, but find hard to use up!

Margaret shares the How-To information of her quilt alongs on YouTube and shares any written directions on Facebook. She has trouble with the written directions, but can easily show you how to do something in video.

She learned how to do this when her daughter was in Idaho and wanted to learn how tie a quilt. Margaret tried to write out the directions, but that didn't work so she grabbed a camera and shot a video of Margaret, her sister, and her mom teaching her daughter how to tie a quilt.

Margaret started a blog and kept it going for awhile, but just didn't feel like it got traction. She was focusing more on her longarm quilting business and her YouTube channel and her fans kept asking for a Facebook Group which really took off this year. Click Here to check out Margaret's Facebook Group.

She is also a longarm quilter and recently built a beautiful studio to hold her Gammill longarm. Click Here to watch the video series on how she and her husband built her studio.

This building is shared between Margaret and her husband, but she is using more of the space for her longarm quilting machine and storage loft upstairs.

She's been longarming for five years and her customers are split between local customers and mailed in quilts. She's attracted more customers from her YouTube channel and Facebook group. She doesn't film videos on her longarm because she rarely is quilting something for herself and doesn't feel comfortable showcasing an issue or mistake on a customer's quilt.

Margaret does a lot of edge to edge patterns, but also does custom quilting as well. She will often look at the quilt and pick something to focus on with the quilting design. When she bought her longarm, she knew it was going to be a business and wanted a professional machine. She still loves her Gammill machine and uses it for both free motion quilting and the automated system for edge to edge quilting.

Another way Margaret interacts with quilters is a Youtube Livecast every Sunday at 2 pm. It's become a relaxed time when Margaret shares her real life and hangs out with her quilting friends online. Her family will often pop in during the video and she flows with it and shares the projects and events that have happened through the week. Click Here to check out Margaret's videos.

Margaret is most looking forward to watching her grandchildren grow up, being apart of her loving family, and continuing to teach and share quilting. Click Here to check out Margaret's website.

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Now for news from around the house:

I've finally gotten back to my mini tree art quilts. I got a bit stuck with this project and set the quilts aside when things got too busy this summer. While I talked through the intro I was clipping away the batting on the back around the tree shapes so after they're quilted the trees will stand out extra puffy on the surface.

This technique is called trapunto and you can see a step-by-step tutorial for this technique in the Heart & Feather Wholecloth Workshop. Clipping batting from the back of a quilt is one of my favorite things to do and a big reason why I've made several wholecloth quilts over the years.

I got a bit stuck on my tree quilts which I talked about at the beginning of the podcast. When you've made something pretty and unique it's really easy to start looking at it and think "I'm just going to mess this up." That's what I was doing and it was silly! My goal is to push past those negative thoughts and get at least one of these further in the quilting process.

I've also been working on the quilts in the book as well as photography, which is coming along great. There's a lot I still don't know, but that's okay. I'm feeling a lot more confident about my abilities and less worried that the book will look bad or low quality. I know I'm trying my best, and that's the most important thing!

James went back to school this week and I'm really happy to be getting back to a schedule and having a nice block of quiet time in the morning. In just two days it feels like my energy level is through the roof and that's largely because I'm an introvert - I rebuilt energy by being alone.

I really, really, REALLY like to be alone most of the day, and that's just not possible in the summer. Now that we're back to school I'm feeling energized, relaxed, and super happy for James starting 4th grade.

So that's it for the updates from my neck of the woods! Make sure to check out Margaret Leuwen's website right here and join her for a live cast on YouTube every Sunday.

By the way, would you like to be on the show or recommend a quilter you'd like to learn more about? Please contact us and let's set it up! I can never have enough quilting friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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