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Thread: Do you McTavish?

  1. #1
    Steve's Avatar
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    Just wondering who here has tried this method and what you thought of it?

  2. #2
    Carla P's Avatar
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    ABSOLUTELY!!! Every chance I get!! It doesn't always work well with other quilting designs because it creates such a strong texture, but it is great for many applications!! For example, I wouldn't use it in a small or narrow space because it ends up looking like "bananas", and I wouldn't use it next to heirloom feathers because the curves detract from the curves of the feathers. However, it looks absolutely fabulous in open areas as background filler, on applique to accent leaves or petals, to create the illusion of air or water, and I could go on and on. The best part is that it is such a fun design to do; they do not all have to be uniform in size and the design is a lot more interesting than plain ol' stippling all of the time. I highly recommend this method to any machine quilter, even beginners. (I've even heard of hand quilters using this in their work.)

  3. #3
    lin
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    Yes, I just finished McTavishing a bed-sized quilt in the open area around applique for a client. It's thread, time, and labor intensive, but so worth it when you apply it in the right areas of a quilt. I agree that it shouldn't be done right next to feathers, but there are so many ways to use this technique! Actually, I agree with everything Carla P just said! :D But wanted to add my own enthusiasm as well.

    BTW~my client received a blue ribbon on the quilt that I did the McTavishing on. I've heard that judges are looking for something new, and a little different from the other, more common forms of all-over background designs such as meandering. I'm happy for her that it worked to her advantage. :)

  4. #4
    Super Member azdesertrat's Avatar
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    Forgive my ignorance ,but what is McTavish?

  5. #5
    lin
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    This...

    http://www.designerquilts.com/mctavish.html

    is McTavishing!

    Enjoy :D

  6. #6
    live2teach's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, Lin! I didn't know what it was until now. All I have to say is WOW!

  7. #7
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azdesertrat
    Forgive my ignorance ,but what is McTavish?
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for asking. I didn't have a clue, either. :mrgreen:

  8. #8
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    I had never heard of it either, but it is stunning!

  9. #9
    Suz
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    Carla and Lin,

    Questions: Do you use a long-arm machine? If not, how did you deal with the bulk with a domestic machine? I am quilting a lapsize quilts on a domestic machine and have difficulty with a quilt this size, so I am wondering about the bigger ones and their bulk. I really haven't tried to do such dense quilting but think now I will try. How long does it take you to do a full-sized quilt?

    When Karen McT did a demo on Simply Quilts, she used a ruler along her presser foot to guide as she stitched particularly when she traveled to a clear area. Is this something you do also? Did you take any classes to learn this techinque?

    When I looked at the quilt blocks at the Karen McT. site, it appeared that the sashing could have been added after the blocks were quilted. Do you see this also?

    Can you add any hints for us to help us get started? Should we start with a single block, etc.?

    Thanks for all your insight. Suzanne

  10. #10
    Junior Member OnTheGo's Avatar
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    WOW! I'm learning sooooo much by just reading the posts. Glad somebody asked and it was explained. Of course, I'm not getting anything accomplished....well, not even started in the way of quilting...because I'm spending all my time on here reading. But I'm loving it.

  11. #11
    lin
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    Hi Suz. I use a Juki TL-98 Q and I've heard it referred to as a "long-arm" but it's not like the regular ones, it's a portable domestic machine made specifically for quilting (with a wider and taller throat area) although you can do anything else you want on it as long as you only need a straight stitch. :) I don't use a frame. I've found that with a little practice, you can get quite comfortable maneuvering the quilt underneath the needle. I can get most of a king-size quilt into the throat area. Especially if that part's already been quilted. I just keep it all light and fluffy while I'm moving it around. A bed-size quilt does get heavy, but if I just take my time and remember to relax and take breaks often, I'm ok.

    It truly does just take practice. I was impressed with Karen's work and when I happened to see her book in the quilt store, I bought it. It comes with a video as well which was very helpful. I read the book, and watched the video about three times before I got the courage to try it myself. My first attempts weren't so hot, but I got the hang of it with practice. It's a lot of fun!! And no two people's will look exactly the same. She says we all put our own individual "fingerprint" on her technique.

    It took me about 25 hours to do a full bed-sized quilt, but I was also doing some other techniques in the appliqued blocks as well as hatching in the rather large and appliqued borders (and my client didn't want the thread to cross over any of the applique in the borders, so that meant a whole lot of starts and stops which takes a lot of time too!) The McTavishing actually went faster than I thought it would. Maybe 10-12 hours on that part of the quilt.

    I've haven't used a ruler so far. I think it would be too hard to do on a domestic since you need both hands on the quilt top as you're moving it around under the needle. When she does it on her long arm, she can sew with one hand on the handle and use the other hand for the ruler. I just use the edge of my 1/4" foot to keep the lines fairly evenly spaced.

    When I first began practicing, I started with an 18x18 practice square using muslin and scrap batting. I just kept making practice swatches and sewing them full until I began to get the hang of it. I think I did about 6 practice blocks before I had the courage to put it on a "real" quilt. My best advice would be to buy her book, watch the video over and over until you think you can visualize the motion without it, and then start making practice blocks until you get the idea. And then play with it. Add your own touches to her technique. The quilt I just finished not long ago was a "modified" McT because I added some of my own designs along with it. I hope this helps some. :)

    Try it. You'll love it. And really try to relax while your sewing, keeping your shoulders down and your back straight. Start from the right hand corner of your quilt whenever you can. That might make a difference in how much you can put comfortably under the needle at one time. I can usually do half of any size quilt easily, then turn and do the other half. I'll try to post a pic or two of my first practice swatches to show you that, while not perfect, they were good enough to make me feel confident that I understood how to do it.

    I think I just wrote a novella here. :lol:

  12. #12
    lin
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    A couple of pics of my first attempts at McTavishing. Please don't laugh.

    :lol: :lol:

    My first, second, and third attempts...



    Third attempt
    Name:  Attachment-3765.jpe
Views: 10
Size:  69.4 KB

    First attempt
    Name:  Attachment-3824.jpe
Views: 13
Size:  39.7 KB

    Second attempt
    Name:  Attachment-3825.jpe
Views: 14
Size:  30.7 KB

  13. #13
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    pppsssssttt....azdesertrat ....don't feel bad..... I just had to do a search to find out what a long arm is! can we say extreme newbie? I can now say that I've lived twice today...cause I learned TWO new things!! (Grandma always said..."Lisa, learn at least one new thing a day...just to know for sure you're still alive")

  14. #14
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    LAUGH?? lin they are absolutely beautiful!!

  15. #15
    lin
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    Thanks jbs! :)

    I thought the first one looked like a lot of chili peppers! :lol:

  16. #16
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    Hmmmm...interesting. You saw chili peppers and I saw angel wings. :wink:

  17. #17
    lin
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    Ok. Ya made me look. :lol: :lol:

    Yep, angel wings they are! :mrgreen:

  18. #18
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    :thumbup: :D

  19. #19
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    lin, that is absolutely stunning! Laugh? No Way!!! You have a real talent, I would love to be the owner of those quilts :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Thank you for sharing your talent with us :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  20. #20
    lin
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    Well, I kinda laughed when I saw chili peppers popping out all over my first swatch :lol: but thankfully I didn't get in a rut after that first one!!

    Thanks amma. I appreciate your compliment. :)

  21. #21
    Carla P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suz
    Carla and Lin,

    Questions: Do you use a long-arm machine? If not, how did you deal with the bulk with a domestic machine? I am quilting a lapsize quilts on a domestic machine and have difficulty with a quilt this size, so I am wondering about the bigger ones and their bulk. I really haven't tried to do such dense quilting but think now I will try. How long does it take you to do a full-sized quilt?

    When Karen McT did a demo on Simply Quilts, she used a ruler along her presser foot to guide as she stitched particularly when she traveled to a clear area. Is this something you do also? Did you take any classes to learn this techinque?

    When I looked at the quilt blocks at the Karen McT. site, it appeared that the sashing could have been added after the blocks were quilted. Do you see this also?

    Can you add any hints for us to help us get started? Should we start with a single block, etc.?

    Thanks for all your insight. Suzanne
    Lots of very good questions!! First of all, always start a new technique on a practice square. This is where you will train your brain and hands to work as a team without much effort. Before sitting down to your practice square, doodle out your designs on paper, a chalk board, a dry erase board (this is my favorite... plenty of room, erase and start over, and lay it down on the table so it is in the same position as your quilt), or a magna-doodle type toy. This trains your hands to move in different directions & helps your brain to begin memorizing the patterns. This is an invaluable warming up part of the process, but it is also a way to get into the habbit of sketching out designs that catch your eye during the course of each day for later use. (Trust me, you will forget them by the time you return home, and you'll drive yourself nuts trying to remember.)

    Second, I have machine quilted on a domestic home machine for many years. I did recently purchase a long-arm, but I sat in front of my home machine enough years to learn to overcome every obstacle that came my way, or give up quilting, which wasn't an option. I'm not very good at explaining things sometimes, but I'll do my best to tell you what works for me. First of all, I turned my machine sideways with the sewing head facing me. You can see what is going on much better this way. The next thing I did was cut the front out of my presser foot, so it is shaped like a "C". This too will allow for better visability. If this step makes you a bit too nervous, you can use a clear foot or purchase a foot for your machine either made in the "C" shape or with the front already cut out; there are some on Ebay I believe. Make sure thet you have plenty of level space to both the left and right of the needle (with the machine turned sideways) by using books on each side of the machine, making a "table" like some of the ones posted on this site, or purchasing one. Either way will be effective since it is not so much for your hands, but to allow you access to your immediate quilting area. As always, support the bulk of your quilt so as to avoid drag. For large quilts, and yes I'm including King size in this and yes I've done them on the home machine, get a rod/pole like a 1/2 inch dowell, about 12 to 18 inches long to roll your quilt onto. (You could even roll a papertowel tube really tight & wrap it with masking or DUCT tape... in case you're curious Tim.)I have tried the bike clips, accordion folding, bunching, and many other methods and found this to be the best for me. The object is to get a tight roll that is easy to continue rolling in the neck area of your machine. Since it is not beside you, it is out of your way. You should never be worried about trying to actually quilt an area bigger than the space under your hands. Keep the quilt around your machine loose enough to move easily under your hands, and you'll be just as successful with a king size as you are on a baby quilt.
    Practice moving your hands in every direction. You will naturally be more comfortable pushing the quilt away from you, but you will be doing yourself a favor to become comfortable sewing in all directions.
    The ruler she (Karen McTavish) was using is for quilting straight lines with a long-arm. These machines do not have feed dogs, and you can not use a walking foot on them. Most people are incapable of sewing a straight line without a guide of some sort, and believe it or not, it is much more difficult to master the control over the machine than to master the control over the quilt, since the machine moves and not the quilt. Don't get me wrong, there are some advantages of the long-arm, but the home machine is capable of all of the same functions once you master the quilt. I have never taken any classes to learn quilting, because I don't have time, but Amazon loves me!! I read, a lot, and watch the DVDs available on the market. I have learned from some of the best teachers in the world, all from the comfort of my home. Best of all, I can pause, rewind, practice, cuss, watch again, and again & cook dinner all at the same time. My point is, do what works for you, which is, after all, the way many new best methods are born... because someone did what worked for them.
    Lastly, I am sorry, but I can not answer the question about adding a sashing after quilting, because I have limited experience (none) with quilt as you go type methods, which this might be a version of, or could be if you wanted to. I hope someone else can answer this for you.

    Sorry if I went on too long, and I hope something I've written here will be of some use to someone.
    Take care,
    Carla P

  22. #22
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    lin!!! LOL angel wings darlin, angel wings!!!

  23. #23
    lin
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    The point that Carla made about doodling on paper first is an excellent one. I forgot to even mention that! When I teach machine quilting, I always make sure they practice drawing freehand designs all over large pieces of freezer paper to get the feeling of moving around without lifting their pencils off the paper. And it gets the concept of that type of movement from the brain into the hands and fingers which makes it easier to do after time. I doodled McTing on paper first before I ever got to the machine.

    Carla, I never even considered turning my machine around. What an interesting concept. I'm going to have to try that now. Oddly enough, I'm more comfortable moving the quilt toward me or side to side than I am moving it away from me. Maybe that's because I'm a lefty. :lol:

  24. #24
    Suz
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    Lin,

    WOW!!!!!!! I am impressed!!! All three of your examples look as though you had been doing this technique forever. Please share the name of Karen's book/video.

    And thank you for your explanation of how to proceed. Never thought of starting in the right corner but it makes sense as it compacts the right side of the quilt as you roll it for under the arm.
    Question: do you quilt the entire right side row first and then start with the second row or sort of work diagonally working toward and ending at the center before turning the entire quilt around to work on the left side?

    Also, do you make a large grid "in the ditch" around all of the blocks before quilting within one individual block. Karen's examples shows her changing her design slightly within each individual block.

    And one last question (for now), how do you baste your layers before proceeding?

    Write another novella. And thanks, thanks, thanks.

    Suzanne

  25. #25
    Carla P's Avatar
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    Ahh... See? What works best for some doesn't always work best for others. I am one of the mass-produced right handed people of the world, so thank you for mentioning the fact that lefties tend to have a different comfort zone than righties.

    Your practice blocks are beautiful, by the way, Lin.

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