Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What should I do?

Well it has been an interesting week this week, as most weeks are.  Wanted to take some time to talk about quilt/quilting classes.  There are really so many of them out there and they are being taught by people who fancy themselves teachers because they have made a quilt!  Some of them haven't even made an entire quilt, but they have made quilt tops.  Many of them are teaching classes and all of their quilts have been quilted by others and usually even their binding has been put on the quilts by others.  Now there is nothing wrong with them wanted to share what they know.  My feeling is they should only teach what they really, really know and understand.  I know everyone has to start somewhere.  That somewhere can been by doing a demonstration at your local guild.  Don't have a guild, then talk to your local quilt shop owner and see if she will set up a demonstration day, on a day that she is having a big sale or is involved in a shop hop.  (I've actually done this a couple of times.)  The owners are typically so happy to have someone to attract more customers into the shop and in addition if you will go over what you are going to be demonstrating with the owner and make very sure that she has all of the supplies that you are using in your demo.  You can even talk with her about what she would love for you to demo so she can sell more of that particular item.  These events are a win/win/win situation.  Noone loses.  The shop owner can get more customers into her shop and have the opportunity to sale more items.  If she stocks up on what you are demonstrating she even stands the chance of making even more sales there.  You get to practice your teaching skills and present yourself to lots of people as a teacher so you have done a lot of advertising for yourself at no monitary cost and the customer has the opportunity to learn something new at no cost to her/him!  Now where is the downside to this?  Sorry I can't find one!

Well maybe there is one downside...........you have to know what you are going to teach!  It is also helpful to bring along the items you will need for demonstrating your project.  If you have never completed this particular project, do not try to teach others how to do it!  Please, it is an exercise in frustration and futility when you are not able to answer questions they may have about how to do something.  It is not likely they will want to consider taking any other classes from you.

I will never understand why anyone would even try to teach something they have never completed, but some people look at it and say, oh, it can't be that hard, I'm sure I can figure it out.  Sorry I'm not paying you so you can figure it out on my time and possibally give me wrong answers.

Well enough about teachers who don't know what they are doing..........Let's get down to the students.  I've been there on both sides of the fence and I guess I've made every mistake that it is possible to make and I do have to say that I have tried to learn from at least the majority of those mistakes.

As a student, please listen when the teacher is talking.  If you want to make notes then be sure and have your pencil and paper ready to take notes.  It's not anyone's responsibility to bring things you may need to a class except yours.  If there was a list of what to bring, please be sure you have all the items on the list before class time.  It's really nice to get there a few minutes early to set up what you need if that is allowed by the store and the space is available.  Sometimes classes are back to back and this is not possible.

Please read the directions that are handed out!  The teacher may make a statement and either she may "say it wrong" or you may "hear it wrong" and then there is a miscommunication and this can spell disaster to a quilt top!  If the directions say cut something at 2 1/4" and for some reason you have 2 1/2" stuck in your brain then there will be a problem.  Now that problem is easily solved by cutting off the extra 1/4", but if the directions say 2 1/2" and you cut at 2 1/4" then that is not as easily fixed!  This could present a big problem.  If the directions are handed to you in written form and the teacher says something else or you hear something else, you need to ask.  Sometimes the teacher will make a statement that the written directions say "............." but that is a mistake and instead do "............"  be sure and make that note on the directions that you have been given so there is no mistaking what you are suppose to do!  Ask for clarification if you have questions.  Good teachers do not mind answering questions about a project.

Things that students may not want to ask and likely should not ask, is "can't I make this block doing by doing it this way instead of what it shows here?"  That would be your choice and yours alone.  It would not be up to the teacher to figure out what size you need to cut each piece of fabric if you decide to do that block a different way.  You can do whatever you want, but don't ask the teacher to teach everyone else in class the project as she has it down and then teach you a different method.  That is a different class and you should have signed up for that if you want to do everything that way!

Okay enough of my rant on those things.

Another thing to take into consideration when signing up and attending classes.  As with anything wear layered clothing so you can take something off if you are hot, or can put that sweater or long sleeved shirt on if you are cold!  Everyone hates to be uncomfortable when they are trying to work and unfortunately people like different temps.  Also, toss a bottle of water or another drink of your choice into your bag so you don't have to go hunting something to drink!  It's a good ideal to make sure that all bottles have screw lids and if the bottle is not in your hand it should have the lid on to avoid accidental spills.  They can happen!  It's also really nice to have a snack if you get hungry.  Just a pack of crackers or a candy bar or pastry if the class isn't too long and if it is long you may be told to bring a sack lunch and you will be given time to eat that at some point in the class.  Be sure to bring a wipe of somekind to clean your hands after you eat so you don't accidentally get a grease spot on your fabric!

It's wonderful to chat with those who are working next to you or at your table, but that chatting should only be taking place when the teacher is not talking.  Be kind to your classmates and don't talk during instruction time so they can hear what they have paid to learn.

The most important part is to have fun!  Regardless of what happens..............you came to learn something and if that something is that the person that sat next to you in class has a really dry sense of humor and really made you roll on the floor laughing during the class then you have learned something!  It isn't all about sewing.  Sometimes it's about making friends and sharing. 

I hope you all have a wonderful day!  Learn something new today! 

I have to add a little update on this post.  This post was actually written several weeks ago.   It was far before I took a class at the Sewing & Quilting Expo with Lisa Sipes and this post has absolutely nothing to do with that particular class.  I frequently write several post when I have time and just keep those in reserve for the times when life is crazy and I didn't get anything done toward my blog that week.  Well this has been one of those weeks.  It's spring and I do an enormous amount of gardening and canning, etc not to mention, life goes on, so I didn't get to write anything this week, so I'm pulling out one of my drafts.  Less you think I am specifically speaking of one person or one class, I am not!!!  One thing that I really wanted to say though about classes and make it a point to say several times, be friendly and have fun!  Don't throw off on anyone's work....You can meet some wonderful people in quilt classes and they can become life-long friends.  My friend Kay and I met at a class and we have been friends since then.  My friend Nita and I met in a class and we went on to start the local quilt guild.  My friend Emily I met in a quilt class and I could go on and on!!!  You can meet wonderful people where ever you go.  Be happy, be friendly and enjoy your class.  Who knows, you may learn a lot more than you ever expected!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Awesome Class

I had a wonderful quilting experience this week as I had the privilege of taking a class from Lisa Snipes.  Lisa is a truly wonderful longarm quilter with many awards to her tallent.  Her most recent award was a Best in Show quilt at QuiltCon which was pieced by Victoria Wolfe and quilted by Lisa.  Lisa is a spokesperson for Gammill Quilting Machines in Missouri.  Her tallent is amazing and if you are going through any quilting magazines and see an ad for Gammill Machines you may well be looking at some of Lisa's quilting expertise.

It is amazing to me to be able to look at some of the work she does and realize that she has quilted on a piece of white fabric or black fabric and has used different colors of thread to create amazing designs.  If you check out the QuiltCon Best In Show Quilt at Victoria's Blog (Bumblebeansinc.com) or on Lisa's Blog (That Crazy Quilty Girl) you can see the totally awesome triple line crosshatch that adds so much deminsion and movement to the quilt.  Victoria has used a Double Wedding Ring type pattern, but the quilting truly makes this quilt and even more awesome thing to behold.

Being a longarm quilter and quilting for other people makes each quilt a really unique piece of art.  Without either person the result would never be the same!  The piecer and the quilter each bring a unique talent to the table.  When you get two people, both with amazing tallent in their own right and put those together you get truly amazing awesomeness!

At any rate I hope to be able to put some of the new techniques to work in my own quilting room.  I've already been practicing the triple straight line stitching and some of the different fills that she brought to our table in the class.  In my opinion, every quilter needs an infusion of new thought at intervals or they are prone to get into a rut and none of us want to be in a rut.  The same holds true with people who piece quilts.  Take a look at your fabric stash and you will see what particular colors that you tend to purchase.  The majority of people will gravitate toward one hue, light, medium or dark in addition to purchasing a lot more of one particular color family, green, yellow or red or anywhere in between.  I found that I typically purchase medium hues and when I would hunt for lights or darks I would wind up back at the fabric shop.  Now, I try to keep it changed up and one day when I am going to visit the quilt shop for nothing in particular I make it a point to pick up a light color, and then again I may decide I'm going to pick up a dark and those pieces are just for my stash.  Because I discovered this some time ago, I can now go upstairs to my stash and pick out all of the fabrics necessary for a quilt and I will have a good mixture of lights, mediums and darks. 

I have also found that I frequently tend to not purchase any geometric patterned fabric and therefore sometimes I just make it a point to pick up a geometric, when I have an extra dollar or two and this is just for my stash.  There is nothing like diversity to keep your mind fresh and your stash varied and that variation will make for some really interesting quilts if you allow that to happen.  You would have really had a laugh if you had been with me when I was trying to find fabric for a wall hanging nativity scene that I have been working on and I had very specific requirements for those fabrics. 
I needed flesh colored fabric, but I wanted one of those to be European, and one Asian, and one Moor.  In addition I needed fabric for hair for the European and Asian and the Moor in addition to fabric for the hair of Mary, Jesus, Joseph, the Shepherd and the Angel.  I did not want to use the same hair on two figures in the scene and I needed hair for a beard for at least two of the men.  Then there was fabric with the pattern of fur for the cattle, sheep and camels.  You would never believe how many shops I visited and how many hours I spent on the computer looking for exactly the right fabric.  Now those type of quilts will bring a new dimension to your stash that is truly wonderful. 

All of the above also applies to longarm quilting.  Not only do we have the patterns but we have the different colors of threads and the different textures in addition to the embellishments that are readily available to dress up the quilt.  Rickrack, ribbons, buttons and gems are truly only the beginning of what can be used to embellish a quilt. 

All of this being said, I strive to be a little different, but not overly out there because that just isn't in my nature.  Lisa, however is out there and I am so happy that she is.  Without those people who step outside the box, we would miss so very much!

A wonderful picture of some of Lisa's quilting!  I told you she was awesome. 
Picture of Lisa and I at the class.  It was a wonderful class.
While I aspire to be a quilter that produces work like Lisa, I'm afraid that I'll never quite make it that far, but I can still practice, practice, practice, as long as people continue to bring me practice pieces for me to quilt.
For a wonderfully entertaining hour check out Lisa's blog and look at her fab work.  Oh be sure and get a Kleenex before you start to keep the drool off the screen!  Hope you all have a wonderful quilty day!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Are you seeing Double?

It is not very frequently that I have people insist that they want their quilt done exactly like someone else's quilt.  I typically just don't do that because every quilt is an individual masterpiece to the person who made that particular top.  People just don't pick the same colors and styles of fabric patterns and quilts can look so very different and all of them awesome in their own way because people are different.  While it is a compliment for someone to want to do something like you most people still want just a little something different so they can call it their own.  Recently I had a lady call and she said I have made a quilt like Gloria's and I want you to quilt it exactly like that!  I even borrowed her quilt because I wanted to be sure that the pattern was exactly like her's because I just love that quilt and I love the way you quilted it because it is so much a springtime quilt, and has the light and airy quilting that isn't the heavy stuff you see on most quilts.  Oh well to each their own.

Because I do each quilt as an individual I don't always remember all of the details of what I did with a specific quilt and this is one that I did at one of my busy times and I did not get any pictures made to put up on my blog.  Drat, that will teach me!  I have to remember to do that so I have a record of what I did to what!  I had to borrow Gloria's quilt so I would know how the quilt the thing! 

Well I finished quilting this morning so I am definately going to post pictures of this one.  There is a little difference between the two quilts because the border fabric that Gloria used was not available any longer on Janice had to pick out another border fabric.  The backing fabric that Gloria used was great but again Janice could not get enough to make a backing so she had to piece her backing and that turned out great.  The thread that I used on Gloria's did not go as well with Janice's quilt because of the difference in the border so I used a slightly different thread.  I'm not sure what Janice will bind the quilt with, but that may be another difference.  Anyway, here is Janice's quilt.

This picture is the quilt just laid out across the bed.  It will really be a great springtime quilt with those vibrant colors!  Now the center of the quilt is not quite centered on teh bed because the center is actually the light strip.  The quilt top is centered on the backing though!

The vibrant colors and then the half-square triangles that is using cloth made from all of the fabrics is really awesome, and a really wonderful way to use up scraps.  In every section of "made" fabric there is one strip of the color of the solid portion of the half-square triangle which really is nice!  And the way the 1/2 square triangles are rotated brings an interesting secondary pattern to the quilt.

This is all part of the light and airy quality of the quilting.  Using the varigated thread that contains the colors in the print really brings visual interest.  You can't see it in this picture but there is a straight line of quilting running through the center of the print strip so the quilting does meet the guidelines for that particular batting and how closely it should be quilted.

All of the orange pieces have the same quilting pattern which is some curlie q's.  The pink and orange prints all have a leaf pattern for the quilting.

Now this is the back which was pieced with this orange strip lengthwise down the center of the backing.  So nice that the top of the quilt had the strip that ran the exact same way so here is that quilting pattern that is on the front printed strip down the center of the back in the orange piece of fabric with the two sides having the quiting from the pieced strips.

A close up picture of the pieces strips on the front.

A closer picture of the back so you can see the line running up the center of that printed strip on the front.

 The pink and orange border with the little circle pattern quilted around that border.
The outer blue flower border has the leaf mofit quilted there as does the blue flower fabric that is one the ends of the pieced strips on the front.

I think this quilt turned out very nice.  Sure do hope the customer likes it also!

I'm working on some other things including a tee-shirt quilt that I have to finish by April, just another month away and then there is another tee-shirt quilt to be finished by August.  My tee-shirt quilts are really time intensive.  People seem to want to bring in their tee-shirts and then they find more they want added, and then they decide to add pictures, and then they decide they want some message or saying quilted into the quilt and so it can really get to be a long and drawn out process so I have to start those things early in order to get them finished!  Also have a few of my own projects that I would like to make some progress on! 

I hope you all have a wonderful quilty week!