Be a Pattern Tester

In addition to being a longarm quilt machine teacher, I design quilt patterns. It is really fun to bring an idea to life, but it is even MORE fun to see someone else use your pattern to make a quilt. As part of my process, I like to use pattern testers to make sure that I don’t have mistakes in my patterns.

Everyone handles the issue of pattern testing differently. Some people only make one pattern a year and they give their testers a long time to make a quilt. That’s NOT me!!! I tend to have an idea and move on it pretty quickly, so I usually only give my pattern testers about a month to do their magic. That said, my patterns are generally aimed at beginners and intermediate quilters so they go together easily. I generally have a fair amount of negative space in my quilt patterns because, well. . . I want room to quilt!

For those people who would like to test a quilt pattern and own a longarm, I usually send them a gift for helping me out like thread or accessories or OKQ swag. They use their own fabric and get to keep the quilt- although I love to have great photos of it. Usually they take photos and send them to me so that I can use them for marketing or as examples in my pattern.

For those testers who are NOT longarmers, I usually ask them to be done a bit earlier so they can send me their quilt and I can longarm it for them. I will photograph it and send it back to them.

I keep an email list of people who express interest in being a pattern tester. When I have an opportunity, I send out the “Call for Help” and those people who have availability and who like the pattern are able to volunteer. If it isn’t a good time for someone, they can just ignore the email and they will get a notice the next time I have an opportunity.

I usually only accept 3-5 testers for each quilt pattern, so I need the people who commit to be finished by a specific date to meet the deadline.

Interested in being on my e-mail list of Pattern Testers? Send me an email with “Pattern Tester” in the Subject line and tell me a bit about yourself and your sewing skills. My email is ohkayequilting@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

QuiltCon 2024 Registration

I am so excited to be a teacher at QuiltCon 2024! The conference will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina February 22-25. I will be teaching five classes- all in the long arm room. HollyAnne Knight of String and Story will be teaching three classes in the longarm classroom.

Last year there were no classes on longarms, so I am sure that these classes will sell out quickly. We will have 12 machines in the classroom with 11 students., so each student will have a longarm and I will have one for demonstration purposes.

Were you doing that math? There are only 88 student slots!!!

I have no control over the cost of the class, but I have tried to keep my fees low because I know that costs add up quickly. I believe that the MEMBER price for each class is $148 and my materials fees are $10 for each class. I will be accepting cash or Venmo for the fees which will be collected at the beginning of class.

If you are planning to attend next year, and want to take one of my classes, you need to make sure that you are online and prepared to find my classes when registration opens on August 15 at 9AM Central. The MQG has put together some hint sheets to help you understand and prepare for registration and I STRONGLY recommend that you read them ASAP!

Below is a list of my classes with their information. The links are clickable so you can learn more about the class. You will want to know the CODE for your class so you can find it quickly but I think you can also search by my last name- COLLINS. They recommend that you use a COMPUTER and not a phone to register. You need to pre-plan your schedule and have some backup classes.

I hope to see you at Quilt Con!

If you are looking for some Pro-Stitcher education, I do have a ZOOM class coming up on Saturday the 19th for only $15! It’s a great deal and I have room for about 10 more people.

Hey Bootiful!

I saw this “make a skeleton” panel by My Mind’s Eye and I fell in love! What a fantastic idea!!! I had seen it in several shops where they followed the directions of sewing the panel to backing fabric with right sides together and then stuffing the parts and assembling it to form a 3D skeleton. They are adorable.

This cutie was posted by the Hartland Quilt Shop in Hartland, Michigan. Isn’t it cute???

BUT then I got to The Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine and saw something BRILLIANT! My friend Jan Frost had just quilted the panel and cut it out. DUH! It was awesome. When I saw it she had it safety pinned together. . . not sure how she is planning to finish the joints.

I quilted mine using a cobweb design from Intelligent Quilting and cut it out with one of Olfa’s Pinking Rotary Blades. OH MY GOODNESS. If you don’t have one of these YOU NEED ONE OF THESE!!! It was awesome and I saved my hand from the evil pinking shears. There is an affiliate link below. . .


I made the joints with buttons. There may have been a fair amount of discontent at that time because I really stink at hand sewing. It is amazing to me how many different mistakes I can make sewing a button. Stunning, really.

I made a YouTube video showing the process- it is about 5 minutes long. Go watch the video and don’t forget to like and subscribe to my channel!

CAD Quilting- An Overview

My husband was the CEO of a civil engineering firm. There were only two jobs at the firm that I thought even sounded interesting- one was graphic designer to put together proposals and the other was CAD tech. I actually did a few proposals for the company with my freelance graphic design skills but the whole notion of Computer Assisted Design has always intrigued me. Only recently did I think about the fact that I have been doing CAD Quilting for YEARS!!!!

One of my favorite quilt design tools is called Electric Quilt 8. I was teetering on the edge of buying EQ7 and when EQ8 came out I bought it right away. EQ8 has a HUGE library of blocks and “fabrics” that you can use to design quilt blocks, traditional block based quilts and even more modern quilts. Although I hardly ever use manuals, I did purchase the manuals for EQ8 and I went through them pretty religiously at the beginning which has helped me immensely over the years. If you are interested in designing your own quilts or in playing with color more, this is the program for you. It is available for $239.95 from the Electric Quilt Company.

RIGHT NOW (Through July 8 at 11:59pm) you can get EQ8, other software, add-ons, books and printables by using the code WOW25 at checkout!

(These are affiliate links. It does not cost you any more to use these links, but I will receive a small percentage of the sale which helps keep this blog online!)

I know some of you have EQ8 already but aren’t sure how to use it. . . I just started working on putting together a class for you that will include how I combine my images from EQ8 with Pro-Stitcher Designer to plan out my quilting! Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so that you don’t miss hearing about the class!

Another tool that I use more and more often- and especially with my more modern quilt designs- is Adobe Illustrator. The Adobe products are available as a subscription based on how many of their products you use. Most Quilt Designers are using Illustrator only, but I also use InDesign to write my patterns and PhotoShop when the need arises. I have been a PhotoShop user for so many years (20+) that sometimes I just revert to doing things there.

I am a longarm quilter and my Handi Quilter machine is set up with a wonderful computerized quilting system called Pro-Stitcher. This program allows me to set up the area of my quilt, fill it with a design, crop the designs so that they fit my area exactly and stitch on the quilt. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but anyone who really wants to learn is capable of mastering these techniques. As a Handi Quilter National Educator, I travel the country teaching people how to use Pro-Stitcher and you can always book a class with me!

Pro-Stitcher also offers another program called Pro-Stitcher Designer that allows you to edit digital designs and to make your own digital designs to be used with Pro-Stitcher. It blows my mind that I can create a design while sitting on my couch, load it onto a thumb drive, put it on my Pro-Stitcher tablet and be quilting away in just a matter of minutes. It is a lot of fun!

I know a lot of people are using Canva to make quilt patterns, but I haven’t “gone pro” because I already had the Adobe Suite which is kind of the gold standard of design programs. I do use the FREE version of Canva quite a bit for posting on Social Media.

Those are the CAD Quilting programs that I use EVERY SINGLE WEEK. I am sure that there are some more programs out there. Let me know in the comments!

Would you like more in depth descriptions of how I use these programs? Let me know!