Sunday, October 9, 2016

ATCs: In the Kitchen, My Town

"In the Kitchen 1910" by Marilyn League.
So, what happens in your kitchen? Cooking, baking, eating... maybe a little dancing?

In our kitchen, the cooking utensils, food canisters, a bread box, cutting boards, microwave and panini maker span the kitchen counters. How 'bout you? Do the gadgets line up around your kitchen begging, "Use me next! Use me next!"?

There were two themes for the September Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap. The first is "In the Kitchen."

"Save your Fork. Dessert is coming."
by Veronica Hofman-Ortega

Wouldn't it be fun and interesting to use the old, tried-and-true family recipes with today's state-of-the-art cooking technology and gadgets?
"Generations in my Kitchen" by Cathy Dillon.

This is the inside of Cathy's ATC. You could write in your own family favorite.
"Generations in my Kitchen" by Cathy Dillon (inside).

"In the Kitchen" by Diane Pineschi.

"In the Kitchen" by Dawn Spagna

The other ATC theme was "My Town." It's fun to be an armchair traveler and visit the landmarks and tourist attractions via Artist Trading Cards.
"Santa Monica" by Dawn Spagna.

"My Town: Los Angeles" by Diane Pineschi.

"My hometown, Arlington Heights, IL"
by Cathy Dillon

"Chattanooga and Moon Pies" by Karen Downer

"You can take the girl out of the Windy City..."
by Veronica Hofman-Ortega

"One Woman's Gardin is a City's Weeds."
by Marilyn League

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Paper piecing class preps quilters for Arcadia Avenue BOM

Twisty Star, Intro to Paper Piecing.
In preparation for an upcoming Block of the Month (BOM) program, one of our local quilt shops asked me to teach my "Twisty Star" Intro to Paper Piecing class. Anna, the owner at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop, is rolling out the Arcadia Avenue BOM next month and this quilt uses paper piecing for the block construction. My Twisty Star class is geared toward quilters who are new to paper piecing or anyone who needs a refresher on the technique. So, for the quilters that spent last Saturday with me, you're all set to tackle Arcadia Avenue!

Because of the paper piecing demand, one more session of the Intro to Paper Piecing class is scheduled for this Saturday, October 1. Call today (706) 217-8111 if you want to join me!

In last Saturday's class, the classroom was full. The energy was high and everyone was excited to learn this technique.
I had a blast with these students!
Kay (left) and Nita at my Intro to Paper Piecing class.
They were quick to pick up the technique and made tremendous progress in class. Here are some of the blocks that were completed in class. I found it interesting that the majority of the students chose a darker background this time. Usually I see lighter backgrounds. A change in trends, perhaps? Or maybe the class sample provided a subliminal influence...
Students' finished Twisty Star paper pieced blocks.
Anyway, I don't know if it's the fall season coming on and everyone is getting back into the groove of quilting and sewing, or if these students wanted this project completed before embarking on the Arcadia BOM, but several of the students have already finished their Twisty Stars and sent me photos. Way to go! 

Here is Kay's Twisty Star. Great choice of fabric for the border, don't you think? The flowers and leaves make a lovely complement to the geometric angles of the star.
Kay's Twisty Star
Denise used a festive collection of reds and blacks. You might not see it in the photo, but these fabrics have metallic highlights that enhanced the prints. And Denise's project is already quilted!
Denise's Twisty Star
Jo-Anne chose a primary color scheme which shows off wonderfully on the dark background. The yellow star points make quite an impact. Great job!
Jo-Anne's Twisty Star
Back to the impetus of this class... Shown below is a sneak peak of the Arcadia Avenue BOM blocks at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop. The quilt design has a modern vibe and Anna's choice of blacks, whites and greys, paired with a rainbow of batiks is stunning.
Upcoming BOM program at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop features paper piecing.
I am looking forward to another group of eager quilters in this Saturday's Intro to Paper Piecing class. If you want to learn or get a refresher, call Anna at Sew 'n So Quilt Shop (706- 217-8111). Paper piecing offers several advantages over traditional piecing, it's fun (especially with a group like those in last week's class) and it's a good technique to have in your quilting repertoire.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Quilt show afterglow and
Reasons for taking on-site quilting classes

My quilt, "Guitar Strings Improv" hanging in the
AQS Chattanooga quilt show.
QuiltWeek afterglow...

Last week we were feeling the opposing forces of being exhausted from the physical aspects of walking the parking garages and the convention center, running to and from classes and lectures, and the excitement and joy from seeing the exquisite, innovative work of the quiltmakers and award winners, visiting with quilting friends, and discovering new products and techniques associated with quiltmaking. Yep, that's QuiltWeek and "QSA" [Quilt Show Afterglow]. Hopefully, the scale was tipped in favor of the excitement, and the learning for those that attended.

In addition to volunteering every day during the show, I made time to take a string piecing class with Lynn Harris and attend some lectures for my personal growth as a quiltmaker. Yes, you can take on-line classes, and buy books (of which I have many!), but taking a class in person offers so much more. Here are thoughts about taking on-site classes.

Thoughts about on-site classes

Real-time dialogs
With on-site classes, there is a live dialog between teacher and student—or teacher and multiple students—that doesn't happen elsewhere. You can post questions to on-line class platforms, but an immediate, real-time dialog and face-to-face discussion accompanied by the projects and quilt samples that are there in the classroom, is dynamic. As a class participant, you gain inspiration, insight and knowledge from all these impromptu conversations.
Lynn Harris discusses and show examples of string piecing.
Learning from fellow students
Some questions that come to light from a classroom of students or from a live audience cannot be anticipated. If you practice active listening in a class, you often learn from other students as well as from the instructor. In one of the lectures I attended, the instructor mentioned the Frixion pen. Four or five hands shot up with examples and experiences about this tool. [Read Jenny Lyons' research here and here].

Building community, making memories
Spending time with your friends in the class and working on the same project/technique offers a sense of community and camaraderie. It's a shared experience. We build memories when we take classes together.
Quilt Journalist, Meg Cox, discussed trends
and on-line quilt resources.
Additional detail and personal insights
With both classes and lectures, you hear the stories first hand. Instructors share personal philosophies and the "back story" about certain pieces in addition to the information about construction or fabric choices. Meg Cox shared small quilts from her personal collection. Paula Nadelstern's advice, "Don't be shy," was a good take-away from her lecture.

Discovering other options
Even when everyone in the classroom works on the same project or is learning the same technique, each one's interpretation or choice of color, fabric or thread is different. Walk around the room. See the other possibilities. Journey down other people's paths of discovery. You can't make every possible color or fabric combo for the project yourself (although you can certainly try).

Shared experiences
And there is something to be said about laughing... or crying... with a crowd. It's like being at the movie theater vs. watching the movie at home on your TV. It's a different kind of experience.

With all these advantages, I encourage everyone to sign up for and take on-site classes—at YLQS or at regional and national quilt shows. As a quilting instructor myself, I so much appreciate the students who attend my classes, ask questions and share their projects. I am also grateful for the shop owners who offer their spaces to let teachers share what excites them. After taking Lynn Harris's class, I also "bought the book." Do both, if you can.
"Every Last Piece" book by Lynn Harris
Before closing, a side note about volunteers and volunteering...
If you go to a quilt show and attend a class or lecture, please, PLEASE don't ask—or shame—the quilt show volunteers to break the rules, give you additional compensation, or be an accomplice to your stealing. If you paid admission to attend a lecture, you are given a handout (as authorized by the presenter and/or the show sponsor). One ticket = one handout. Often, the handout includes "notes" about what is presented in the lecture (not a script) so attendees don't have to write everything down as the presentation unfolds. This is a convenience for you, as an attendee.

A handout is additional work/content/information that is given to an attendee in exchange for payment of the class/lecture. So, please don't ask the volunteers—who are specifically directed to check name badges (with no cross-outs), confirm receipts of payment, and insure the corresponding session number appears on the attendees name badge—to Give. You. 2 or 3. Extra. Handouts. These are not theirs to give.

Volunteers are given explicit instructions about the job for which they volunteered. Please don't put them in a compromising position. You received your handout as part of the admission. Why do you need 2 or 3 more? The handouts are "notes" which would have less meaning for "another someone" who did not hear the talk. There is also a cost for preparing, printing and sometimes shipping them. And when the volunteer tries to explain to you the directions they were given, please don't retort with a sarcastic remark. They are doing their job and being good stewards of property that was entrusted to them. Thank you for your coorperation.
"You're never wrong to do the right thing." —from The Intern
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