Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hand Quilting Class

When Lesley, the owner of Acorn Quilts, asked me to teach hand quilting a couple of years ago, I was certain it would be a disaster. I had never taught ANYthing before, nor had I BEEN taught. I am a self taught hand quilter, hand appliquer (is that a word? Spell check says it is not.), and hand/machine piecer. In fact, the one and only quilting class I took (a basket wallhanging for Easter) was a complete fail. There were 2 of us in the class and the other student had so much trouble she needed all the teacher's attention. It was more like I went to the shop to sew there, rather than at home. So bad in fact, the shop offered me my money back, which I TOOK! Anyway, I was very leery, but had just been praying about stepping out of my comfort zone and getting around more people. I took that as the opportunity I needed. Jan, a beautiful lady who works at Acorn, had taught the class at another shop and told me she would be there if I needed her. That made me feel better. (Jan, btw, is a quilt designer and has had her quilts in American Patchwork and Quilting...she has even made the cover) That first class was FULL...8 students. It was a BLAST. ALL the ladies left saying it was a wonderful class and they had learned what they wanted to learn. THAT was the ticket! My greatest fear was someone would leave that class feeling like I felt when I left that one and only class I ever took. I have made it my mission to give EACH student a nice chunk of individual time.
Since that first class, I lowered my maximum from 8 to 6 to make sure I could do that effectively. Last Saturday's class held 7, so that sisters could take the class together. I have taught 4 classes a year, 1 per quarter, since Acorn opened almost 3 years ago. Some of the topics I cover are, marking tools, batting, backing, basting tools and techniques, stencils, rulers, needles, threads, hoops, thimbles, threading a between (remember your first one? SCARY!). They all mark a piece of muslin with a quilting stencil, we thread baste the 3 layers in the class and they are ready to quilt! I teach the rocker stitch, and by the first few stitches many of those women are talking to their index finger OUT LOUD, saying, "You have no business here...wait off to the side until you are needed!" LOL They ALL want to use that index finger to control the needle in the beginning. Laughing and talking gives way to INTENSE concentration as they learn how to make that all important "hill" and getting their thumb out in front of that needle before they get a "toe-hanger" stitch! The laughing and fun all come back once the technique is mastered. I am so relieved after each class to hear all the positive feed-back. Each and every lady has been a pure joy! There have been a few "serious" ladies enter the room, but before that class is over they are laughing and usually end up being the life of the party!
Though I would teach that class for free, I do get a nice chunk of change AND a hefty discount on fabric as pay for 3 hours of pure delight! I always do a bit of fabric shopping after class. This time I found a couple of pieces in the 50% off bin that will be perfect in the Henrietta Whiskers blocks!
I shared, last post, that I would be making Emerson a quilt with these fat quarters. Well, in playing with them, they have a more "teen" feel to me. I am planning quilts for Charlotte and Zach for Christmas, so these will go into a quilt for Charlotte! That meant I needed fabric for Emerson's quilt! I saw this GORGEOUS floral and thought what a beautiful border it would make!I pulled 3 of the colors and bought 2 different shades of each and a background fabric (think stars) and Emerson was THRILLED!!!!!She wanted us to make her quilt right then and there! The girl LOVES fabric. She stroked it and declared how "Niiiiiice" it was. I am excited to cut into all that! Now to find the time!
Thanks for the visit!!


Nancy said...

How great to have a shopping trip to look forward to every quarter! I do admire someone that hand quilts and its wonderful that you are making sure it's not a lost art in your part of the world.. I took one hand quilting class...finished the piece, promptly made a pillow top and gave it away...never again...give me my machine... which seems weird since I love to do hand embroidery..

copperswife said...

Your classes sound like so much fun!

Winona said...

Bren, you are a natural born teacher. I can see the fun all the ladies were having by looking at their faces. I know I learned a lot when I started quilting by reading your blog. And the icing on the cake is getting to pick out some new fabric after the class. I hope you have a great weekend. It feels like spring here, but I think you have snow coming your way.

Susan said...

I would LOVE to take your quilting class! How fun that you new fabric for teaching - not a bad deal at all! :)

Love Bears All Things said...

Who knows, maybe you have a future quilter there. I remember when I made Wonder Boy's quilt...the Princess wanted to know when I would make her one and was so thrilled when it was finished....since then, I've taught her to sew and crochet and for Christmas she received her very own sewing machine. She's 11.
Mama Bear

Jeanna said...

I am just a 'piecer' who will machine quilt using the basic cross-hatch or stitch in the ditch. I would LOVE to learn how to hand quilt and it would be a treat if I could take one of your classes.

Since that is unlikely, can you recommend a good on-line source or book?

Love your fabric choices and Emerson really does look thrilled!

Good luck with all your planned Christmas gift quilts.

Jan said...

Looks like a fun class. Best way to learn is to have some laughter mixed in! I like the fabrics for Emerson's quilt.

Hillbilly Tonya said...

Come teach me how to hand quilt please! I will actually work on it later this year. The more I do anything by hand the more I love it.