• Category Archives Classes
  • Upcoming Machine Quilting 101 Booster Class

    Machine Quilting 101 Booster class. This class is in response to the requests I sometimes get for a class where previous Machine Quilting students can come and get some more focused practice on the techniques they wished we could spend more time on than was done in the original class. It is also an opportunity for those attending to bring un-quilted tops for advice and mentoring on how they might quilt their projects . If the quilt is layered and ready to stitch, they can begin working on it in the class, otherwise they will work on the designs and/or templates in the appropriate methods to apply to their quilt later. Regardless of your quilting skills, this class would be a great opportunity to get a little more focused and guided time behind the wheel of your sewing machine.

    If you don’t have a quilt top ready do design stitching on, you may bring layered squares (or the sampler from the original class) to practice various techniques on, I will have a variety of different design opportunities for you to explore. I am posting a few photos of some of my more creative quilting approaches to show you the possibilities and whet your appetite.

    The class costs $30 and will run from 11:30 am to 4 pm on Sunday May 7th, contact A Common Thread at 503 624-7440 to enroll.

  • Show & Crow April 20, 2017

    Good readers, it’s time for a Show and Crow. Not of my work but that of a couple of my students. I just wrapped up a landscape quilt design class today at Pioneer Quilts; this was a two part class I called ‘From Photo to Fabric’. Students brought a landscape photo and from it created a pattern for a quilt. The class was small – three students – but that did give them room to spread out plus more one-on-one time with me.

    Two of the students got about halfway done with their quilts and kudos to them, the quilts are looking FANTASTIC!. I just had to share these with you. I took photos of their quilts in progress with their original source photos included so you can see what they have achieved so far and also the final goal.

    Jill’s quilt features a lake (or river?) in New Zealand in a technique I call ‘Striplique’, a blending of strip piecing and applique. The strip piecing is ideal for water features and meadows. She still has to add the tree silhouetted on the right and plans to use a confetti technique to render the lacy details on the tree. She may add some stones fussy cut from a landscape fabric on the shoreline.

    Jill's New Zealand lake.
    Jill’s New Zealand lake.

    Charlotte chose a rural landscape with a rusty farm gate on a gravel road with a meadow and trees against a backdrop of hills. She also plans to render the tree that will be positioned on the right hand side of her picture in fabric confetti and used the strip piecing to create the layers of meadow grasses in the middle ground; she also was intrigued by a technique I showed of insetting strips of fringed raw edged fabric between the strip pieced seams to make three dimensional rafts of grasses for an ethereal, airy look and texture. She plans to add the rustic gate with stuffed bias bars applied after the rest of the landscape is completed. I have included a closer view highlighting the frayed fabric grasses on her quilt.

    Charlotte's rural meadow scene.
    Charlotte’s rural meadow scene.
    Charlotte's landscape close-up to show the frayed three dimensional grasses.
    Charlotte’s landscape close-up to show the frayed three dimensional grasses.









    The third student is making a view of the Columbia River gorge with the Vista House on a nearby hill and Beacon Rock off in the distance; the foreground will be a riot of foliage and flowers. She was newer to quilt making and got most of her background pieces prepared with adhesive and ready to fuse but did not get far enough along for a meaningful photograph.

    All three have promised me photos of their finished projects and I hope to show those in a future post.

  • Support Your Local Quilt Shop

    Hello to all this fine (albeit gray and rainy) morning. Today I am going to climb up onto a pulpit and give you some advice.

    Have you hugged you local quilt shop lately? I was just teaching at one of my local shops yesterday and got into a conversation with the owner – she is very alarmed at the drop in business since January, and she isn’t the only one. I have been hearing echoes of this unease from every shop I teach for and seeing the number of shops and other quilt related businesses (like fabric manufacturers) that are going out of business has me anxious as well; after all – this is how I make my living and I am dependent on quilt shops and you quilters to do so.

    I know we are all alarmed (at least most of us with a brain) despite the rosy economic forecast of the current government. I also know we are all dealing with STABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy) and UFOs, but ladies and gentlemen – do you want our only quilting supply options to be a JoAnn’s or WalMart? If you don’t frequent and support your local quilt shop that is exactly what we will end up with.

    Years ago, a friend of mine went back East to visit family and was looking forward to exploring the local quilt shops only to find – THERE WERE NONE! Asking around, she was finally told that there used to be a nice little quilt shop – that was put out of business by WalMart. Come on folks – who would want to make a quilt out of Walmart fabric? I’ve spoken to fabric manufacturers, I KNOW what kind of quality they make for the mass merchants. Yes, it’s CHEAP but you get what you pay for.

    This too could be your future if you don’t mobilize and take action. What can you do?

    1. Do an inventory of your quilting supplies – surely you could use some thread, rotary blades or sewing machine needles (we don’t change them frequently enough). Check your rulers – are the marks wearing off? Maybe it’s time for a new one.
    2. Browse the quilting books at a shop and buy a book; not only will that help support the shop but you may discover a new technique or tool you just have to have.
    3. Go through your stash and use some of the older fabric to make some charity quilts then replace that with NEW fabric. I’m sure you have lots of fabric that you wonder what on earth you were thinking of when you bought it – I know I do. Revitalize your stash with some new inspirations.
    4. Take a class – a class is a great way to discover a new passion, a new project or simply use up some of your fabric so you can BUY MORE! I would be thrilled to see you in one of my classes.
    5. Introduce a non-quilting friend to the joys of quilting; especially a young person WITH NO STASH! We all know quilting is like a disease, an addiction that needs to be fed – go infect somebody!
    6. Get involved in a new fabric specific project – like Quilts of Valor and go buy the appropriate materials for that project.
    7. Last but not least – go visit your local quilt shop and tell them the you love them – buy something – ANYTHING. Your local shop need to know that you care whether or not they survive, if you don’t you may have to make your next quilt out of cheap fabrics from WalMart.

    Yes, I know we all want to use what we have but healthy quilting is like having a healthy body – you need to feed it with wholesome good quality high fiber fuel on a regular basis and cycle through the old to keep the quilting digestive tract moving.