Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Free-motion quilting doubleheader in Huntsville

Free-motion quilting on display at
Huntsville Sew and Vac, Huntsville, AL
The quilts and samples were hung...

two classrooms were ready...

the feed dogs were dropped...

and the anticipation and excitement leading up to a 2-day adventure in free-motion quilting at Huntsville Sew and Vac [Huntsville, AL] was rewarded with a classroom of Huntsville area quilters eager to learn and full of questions and ideas (and, by the way, the weather was perfect—pleasant and mild).

Day 1 was my class, Intro to Free-motion Quilting on a domestic sewing machine. This is my most requested class and Donna, the shop owner, has invited me to teach this class for 3 years now. We introduce beginners to free-motion quilting and prime them for more advanced techniques that I offer in several other classes. A good number of the students in this class had dabbled in free-motion (or were return students from previous years), so were also in my Defining Contours class the following day. Yep, they signed up for a doubleheader!
"Defining Contours," my new free-motion quilting class.
Day 2 was even more fun for me since Defining Contours is a new class offering. Students came to class with an "inspiration word" which we then highlighted through several free-motion quilting techniques—machine trapunto, micro fillers and ruler work.
Machine trapunto, "Imagine."
One of my favorite parts of this class was hearing students tell the story behind the word they chose for their project. When I teach, I like to build in opportunities for personalization and student's self-expression into my classes. We talked about creating meaning in our words by using our own handwriting—not computer technology—to create an original composition.
Free-motion quilting in "Defining Contours" class.
Inspiration words that students chose were "Imagine," "Create," "Grace," "Faith," and "Joy," among others.
Free-motion quilting in "Defining Contours" class.
The class kits, provided by Huntsville Sew and Vac, included fabrics from the Blue Bird collection (by Jennifer Brinley) and Peppered Cottons (by Pepper Cory) from StudioE Fabrics. Peppered Cottons is a wonderful fabric for showcasing the micro fillers and ruler work on this project. Blue Bird provided a lovely frame around the word and also offered bird and flower motifs for additional trapunto—if the student desired.
Free-motion quilting in "Defining Contours" class.
The painting and basting classroom was filled with laughter and chatter as students prepared their quilts for quilting.
Trimming, and basting.
The larger classroom provided plenty of wall space to hang examples of how a colorwashed effect can be achieved through the choice of thread color. Students used 100 wt. InvisaFil thread by WonderFil for their Defining Contours project. For the ruler work portion of the class, students were introduced to the Sew Very Smooth rulers with the "Tacky Technology" strip which helps prevent the ruler from slipping during the stitching process.
The classroom at Huntsville Sew and Vac with examples of
free-motion quilting and threadwork.
All of the students got their trapunto work complete and were on their way to defining the contours of their inspiration words with micro fillers and ruler work. Free-motion quilting micro fillers is not a fast process, but the results are so worth it! There is an investment of time with these techniques but if you like free-motion quilting, you will enjoy this journey.

So, that is a wrap of my doubleheader free-motion quilting classes this past weekend in Huntsville, Alabama. Judging from the round of applause at the end of the second day, I think everyone hit one out of the park! I can't wait to see photos of the class projects. (Please send them to me, Huntsville quilters!)
Tucking in the sewing machine for a good night's rest.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the new places we went for dinner while in Huntsville. The first night was at the Po Boy Factory, just down the street from Huntsville Sew and Vac. After a full afternoon and evening of hanging quilts and preparing the classroom, it was dark outside and we were all tired so I didn't take any pictures. However, I can recommend the shrimp basket and deep-fried pickles... and the homemade bread pudding is gooey, melt-in-your-mouth goodness!
Homemade pizza and wine for dinner.
The second night was homemade, build-your-own, artisan pizzas at Chez Spivey. Chef Reggie does a fabulous job with the pizza oven! Thanks again to Donna Cagle, Sherri and all the staff at Huntsville Sew and Vac for their hospitality and to the Huntsville quilters who joined me for a two-day adventure in free-motion quilting. May your bobbins always be full!
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