Sunday, March 29, 2015

An "absolutely fun" free-motion quilting time in Murfreesboro

Students in my "Intro to Free-motion Quilting" class at
Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery,  Murfreesboro, TN.
Whoo-hoo! We had an absolutely fun time at Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery in Murfreesboro, TN this weekend in the free-motion quilting classes. Students came from as far as Ohio to take my class. Judy Winters, the shop's owner, and her wonderful staff pulled out all the stops—food, prizes, beautiful samples on the walls, and a new sewing machine give-away—for the two-day free-motion quilting event.

There were two mid-arm sit-down quilting machines and two top-of-the-line Janome sewing machines set up in the bright and spacious classroom for students to test drive. I brought three kitty cuddle quilts to put under the needle so students could practice on an actual quilt sandwich.
Baby Lock's Tiara sit-down quilting machine.
Artistic SD sit-down quilting machine.
Janome Horizon sewing and quilting machine.
Here are some of my Blank Quilting and StudioE quilt and bag samples that decorated the classroom for the event. Jason, who is also a landscape designer, hung the samples with an aesthetic eye.
Jason hangs the samples in the classroom.
"Sew Happy" (by Whirligig Designs) made with Chestnut Soufflé
Fabrications pre-cut strips by Blank Quilting Corp.
Samples made with fabrics by Blank Quilting and StudioE Fabrics.
Natural Wonders, a new fabric line by StudioE Fabrics was just delivered to Absolutely Fun Sewing, and Judy already had a great shop sample made to show it off. (These fabrics would look fab in a Row by Row Experience quilt, don't you think?)
Quilt top made with fabrics from the Natural Wonders collection
by StudioE Fabrics.
We started the day with free-motion warm-up exercises.

Throughout the day, Judy would pop into the classroom and we'd give her a "Woot Woot." Then she'd draw a ticket for a door prize. Every student had their name in the drawing for the BIG prize—a new sewing machine. (Congratulations, Amy, the lucky winner!)
The student population from the classes this time ran the gamut with their quilting experiences. We had a several hand quilters, a couple long-armers, a couple toppers (jumping right into the deep end of the quiltmaking experience), a 15-year-old that was new to sewing and quilting, and several who wanted to "get out of the ditch" and apply their own creativity and design sensibility to their quilts.

Students quickly got into the rhythm of moving their hands and the quilt sandwich for free-motion quilting.
Free-motion quilting.
We also had a Show and Tell from two students. This is Mary with her gorgeous, king-size sampler quilt. Mary is a very accomplished quiltmaker and patchwork extraordinaire. Would you believe I met Mary in my first ever quilt guild? I remember her giving programs and teaching other guild members various piecing tips and techniques and showing us how to make different quilt blocks. Now, some 14 years later, she was taking a class from me! What an honor. (And so great to see you again, Mary!)
Judy Winters (left) helps Mary Cluck Wallace show her sampler quilt.
And this is Traci with the "Field Bag and Tote" (an Amy Butler pattern) that she made with Blank Quilting fabrics from the Sisley and Madeline collections. Check out the cool piping! (Great job, Traci!)
Traci shows her Field Bag made with fabrics
by Blank Quilting.
In class, students brought up intriguing and thoughtful questions that led to interesting discussions. We did a lot of laughing along with learning and quilting.
Students from Intro to Free-motion Quilting class.
Thank you to Judy, Ray and Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery for inviting me to teach one of my favorite classes. And to all the quilters that came out and spent a day with me—thanks for a fabulous weekend and may your bobbins always be full!
Free-motion class (Day 1), Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery
Murfreesboro, TN.
And I got two kitty cuddle quilts bound and ready to deliver. The third one just lacks a little more quilting, but it's looking good.
Two of three Kitty Cuddle Quilts got quilted during the class.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wanna "kick the tires" in my next free-motion class?

Two Free-motion Quilting classes
at Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery
in Murfreesboro, TN.
It may be too early to accurately predict, but so far... the weather forecast... for the end of this week... looks promising…

for 2 days of Intro to Free-motion Quilting classes in Murfreesboro.

There, I said it.

(Now cross your fingers that it stays this way.)

I'll be at Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery for two days of teaching and I'm really looking forward to it. Judy, the shop owner, will have 3 sit-down quilting machines set up in the classroom for students to test drive—"kick the tires," so to speak. I mentioned this great opportunity in an earlier post. So if you want to do a free-motion quilting "test drive" on a few different sit-down quilting machines, come out to Murfreesboro this Friday or Saturday and join the fun.

Be sure to "pack" for a test drive
What I mean by this: I'm bringing a kitty quilt top to to use for a test drive. The finished quilt will be for Jesse and his friends at the Cat Clinic. It's a good idea to bring a sample of the type of projects you normally work on when you go to test a sewing machine. I make these little (27" x 29") quilts for the kitties at the clinic. But... they are also good for practicing free-motion quilting, testing out a new design or a new thread, AND "kicking the tires" on a new machine.
Improv kitty quilt.
This particular kitty quilt is made with scraps... in log cabin fashion. There is a half-square triangle unit (or a variation) in the center of each block. The strips and strings have various widths, so the blocks are a bit lopsided… or "catty"wampus?
Cattywampus log cabin blocks.
The pink sashing brightened up the color palette a bit and the blocks are not square (8.5" x 9.5" unfinished) to accommodate the format and size of the kitty quilts that fit the crates at the Clinic. Yeah, I have one column with a few blocks upside-down… I didn't notice until it was together. (I shouldda had it up on the design wall.) I may change it… or not. I don't think the kitties will care, do you?

I stopped in last Saturday to drop off a finished kitty quilt. Jesse the Wonder Cat was there—in all his cuteness—bopping around in the reception area—his kingdom, no doubt.
Jesse the Wonder Cat at the Chattanooga Cat Clinic.
 Here he is beside his paper tent. Pretty cool tent, huh?
Jesse and his paper tent.
As I was ready to go, he got into the kitty bed and decided to take a little rest. Being a Wonder Cat is a tough job, you know.
Maybe a little snooze time is in order.
I'll sandwich and pin baste the kitty quilt to take to my Intro to Free-motion Quilting class for the test drive. If you're in Murfreesboro this Friday or Saturday [March 27-28] and want to join me for class—or to test drive a machine—contact Judy at Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery, (615) 295-2998. 

Tell her Jesse the Wonder Cat sent you.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Worldwide Quilting Day—stitching at the mall

Chattanooga area quilters spent yesterday afternoon, Worldwide Quilting Day, together at the mall. Here I am (donning my light-up tiara) with fellow guild members from the Choo Choo Quilters
Choo Choo Quilters (from left): Ginny Minninger, Sherry Reed, Vista A. Mahan,
Cristy Clark, Sherry Baldwin, Veronica Hofman-Ortega, and Nancy Allen (seated).
Stitch in the Mall was held at Hamilton Place Mall, and quilters and non-quilters alike came out for the event.
View of tables from second floor.
There were examples of projects and quilts the guild members created on the tables. Since the Choo Choo Quilters is such a diverse group, we covered all the bases with examples of our work—from traditional to contemporary. On display was Nancy's feathered star, art wear (an embellished sweatshirt), Sherry's hand embroidered Challenge quilt, examples of charity quilts, a demo on making a 4-patch, and "Marketplace," one of my improvisationally pieced quilts in a more contemporary style.
This quilter asked about the quilt finishing on my improv piece.
Visitors were impressed with the free-motion quilting.
This is our guild's postcard that I designed. It showcases snippets from the guild's 2014 Paint Chip Challenge. (Info about my entry is here.)
Guild postcard that I designed featuring 2014 Challenge quilts.
Visitors asking questions at the guild table.
It was wonderful to see quilting friends from other guilds and several quilters who have taken classes with me. Celebrating Worldwide Quilting Day 2015 was a fun reunion.
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