Friday, June 12, 2009

Beginner Quilting Class: Show and Tell

One of my goals is set for myself this year for 2009 was to learn to quilt. Well, before I knew it, it was almost June and guess what....I had not done a thing towards accomplishing this goal.

One afternoon, I stopped in a local quilt shop to have a look around. Now, I have to be honest here, I was a little taken back when I walked was nothing like what I expected.

Why? you ask. Well, for one thing, and I kid you not, there was not a single women working in the place....nope....all men! Men cutting fabrics, men servicing sewing machines, men waiting on customers and telling the women what fabrics to choose, men selling sewing machines...and guessed it....a MAN teaching a beginners quilting class...well, the same said man teaches ALL the darn classes at this shop.

Now...I am all for equal opportunities...but I guess I expected little grey haired ladies running shop here, not little grey haired men...or younger men for that matter. Nor did I ever in a million years expect men to be quilters and very talented one's at that.

For some reason, I felt very intimidated. Still do for that matter. Leo, who is the instructor, spoke with me, insured me I can do quilting, "nothing to it", he says. He also showed me the quilt for the beginners class. I know I looked at him like he was crazy as a loon. In fact, I really hope I did not say that out loud, because I thought for sure that he was.....crazy as a loon that is.

Here is the quilt...Now, I felt it rude to ask them to move all their junk so I could take a photo for my blog to show you, so you will just have to ignore the junk in front of the quilt. But this was not what I was expecting....I was thinking more like a simple nine patch for starters.

This quilt is adapted from the Start Quilting with Alex Anderson, second edition quilting book. The shop added it's own touches to be unique to the quilt shop. If you don't think it took some courage to proceed with this class after looking at this quilt...well, you are sadly mistaken. I was, and still am holding my breath that it will at least turn out to resemble something like the example quilt.....minus the junk !!!!

In fact, I remember asking him if he was SURE that this quilt was for BEGINNERS. He replied, "Well, in this shop, this is the beginners quilt. Once the class is complete, you will be able to make almost any quilt you desire." I thought to myself, "yea, I just bet I will."

Nonetheless, I signed up for a quilt class at this unusual, in my way of thinking, local quilt shop. Classes are six weeks long, three hours a day once a week.....lots of homework!!

The hardest part of the whole process...and let me say, I have only been to two classes....was the choosing of the fabrics. I knew I wanted 1930's reproduction fabrics, but that was it. I just love the 30's reproduction fabrics...all of them!! I really relied on our instructor, Leo to help make the choices. I had one idea in my head of what I wanted walking into this, but ended up with something totally different than what I originally thought. I am still trying to figure out how that happened.

I really like these two fabrics. I like the little puppies on the green and the cute little Bo Peeps on the orange. So cute, so sweet. I am the only one in our class of six that chose these types of fabrics. Everyone else chose fabrics of more modern the example quilt. Leo keeps telling me (off to the side) that everyone will really fall in love with my quilt when it is done.....he said he really appreciated my stepping out of the box and going with a different feel and direction than the example....he just does not know that I beat to my own drum most times anyway...this was nothing new!!

This quilt consist of the following quilt blocks we will learn to make and incorporate into this quilt.

** Rail Fence
** Nine Patches
** Snow Balls
** Flying Geese
** Friendship Star

Here is a picture of my first blocks, the Rail Fence....I am only showing four of the 24 blocks. I know I have a long way to go before I am a professional here, may never be in fact...but at least I am working towards a goal. I am sure in the end, even if the quilt is not a showpiece...I will love it.

This week, I have to cut out all the fabric for the Nine Patches and Snow Balls. I have lots to do. I need to finish pressing my Rail Fence blocks and cut the squares. I had no idea how difficult it was to press quilt blocks....I feel like I am a little slow in the brain doing this step, I want to do it backwards.....Help me Lord!

I will most likely try and post each Friday with the progression I am making with this quilt. I may bore most of you to death, but I want to have it saved as a memory to go with the history....just in case I ever have grandchildren and they may want to read what their slow in the brain, frustrated, working towards a goal grandmother did when she made her first quilt.......yea...I'm a dork!

I hope I finish in the six weeks of the class. Leo, the instructor says if we finish on time...and do all the work instructed to do, he will throw in the finishing class for free. In that class we learn how to finish and the actual quilting the quilt.....I feel sure somewhere in there, he will pitch a new machine....I already see that coming....and I already know I will want one.....maybe.....if I find this not too stressful.


  1. Hi Suzanne,
    reading your post has brought a big smile on my face ~ if your Friday posts are like this one, I don't think they could ever be boring...I love to hear your experiences in the beginner class...I've never attended a proper quilting class, so I'm always curious ;O).
    I love your colour combination/fabric choices. Way "better" (at least in my eyes) than the store sample...! I know your quilt will be beautiful & you'll love it.
    Hugs, Julia

    P.S.: weren't there any 30's prints with dachshunds??? That would be so cool

    P.P.S.: I'm already looking forward to next week's post of Leo & the quilting class ;o)

  2. Julia...I did not see any in the store...I think I will ask them if they can order something or if it is available....that is what I wanted originally...*wink* *wink*

    Maybe for my NEXT project!

  3. Fun post! Thanks for sharing your experience in this place of all men.One of the blogs I follow is a male quilter and carver. So I know they are out there.

  4. WOW. I'd have been nervous looking at that, too... but knowing you, you'll do it and it will be perfectly beautiful!

    I'm laying wrapped up in my blanket constantly these days, and so appreciating you every time I do. [Riley loves his too... of course.]

  5. Morning clap to you my friend!!!! I do so admire you for taking the quilting classes...I have been wanting to do that for some time....but I just can't get the nerve to try! I would have started crying (seriously) when I saw that starter quilt...oh my word!!!!! I was thinking they'd start you out with a pot holder or something! lol lol I am so proud of you for jumping in and then to know your own mind about the fabrics..ohhhh it will be beautiful!!! I can't wait to see how it all comes together!!! Good for you may just help me break away from my stitch witch and glue gun! lol Have a great weekend sweetie!

  6. Great post,Suzanne. Looking forward to next week!

  7. How fascinating! That quilt is amazing for a beginner's, but then I know nothing about quilting.

    You asked about my reading; it has diminished a good bit, but I still have deadlines to meet. So I read everyday at every available moment. I love to read, so it's not a chore.

  8. Brilliant quilt for a beginners class! Just think, having made your rail already can make a rail quilt!-that's a great baby quilt design! (ha, ha, I'm already planning your second, third, fourth, etc. quilts!)

    Love your fabric choices...this will be a gorgeous quilt. Leo sounds like a great teacher-keep up with the homework each week and you'll be fine. Can't wait for next week's report!

  9. I think you are VERY brave. One glance at that "beginner's quilt" and I'd've turned tail and RUN!!!

    My mom used to quilt - - - but being a product of the great depression, MOST of her quilting was very practical. In those days, ordinary people didn't PURCHASE a bunch of fabric to do a quilt - - - instead they made patchwork quilts using sewing scraps and good fabric out of clothing items that were flawed in some way and no longer usable as clothing. PERHAPS they did have to buy the backing & the padding, though once my mom made a quilt padding each individual block with runny hose.

    Those patchwork quilts weren't artwork when they were finished - - - but they sure were full of memories.

  10. I love your choice of fabrics. I can't wait to see the finished project. I find it very relaxing to put together quilts.

  11. Suzanne, I just love reading about your quilt, and I do like the retro fabrics. Those are so cool, and your quilt will be beautiful.

  12. Your finished quilt is going to be gorgeous! I would have never guessed it for a beginners course, but you should be able to quilt up a storm when you are done. (c; Can't wait to see next week's homework.

  13. That is a wonderful quilt for a beginner. It will teach you lots, but its not (really) too overwhelming. It will turn out great and you will be so proud of yourself. the first blocks look wonderful! Can't wait to see all your progress. (ps-as silly as it seems good pressing is really important, so if you have questions, be sure to ask.)

  14. You are very brave! That quilt looks intimidating, but, if a mere MAN can do it, a WOMAN can do it BETTER! Good luck to you in your learning experience. And, yes, ask for DOXIE fabric - that would be adorable in your home!

  15. I love it! I love, love, love the fabrics!!! You are going to have so much fun and be so proud of this!

  16. Way to go Suzanne! I have been quilting for 60 years, taught many classes, published, etc.; and I can tell you that the hardest step is starting. And you have already taken the step to make the quilt uniquely yours by choosing fabrics that are different and that you love. I hope that the best lesson you learn is to LOVE to quilt. Looking forward to your Friday posts. Sally

  17. The lines look perfectly straight and if you can master that then quilting for sure is a breeze!! Looking forward to the continuing tale!

  18. Not knowing anything about quilting, I would say if anyone can do it you can. I do not see how you get it all done and work too. You are a much stronger person than you think. I will be looking forward to the finished product.

  19. Hi Suzanne,
    I am envious of you for starting to quilt! My Mom was a wonderful quilter. I always have fights with my sewing I try to stay away from it. It is much easier for me to break plates :-)..
    p.s. I emailed you back about your mosaic question. Hope you received the email.

  20. Suzanne, this is so exciting! I look forward to seeing your progress. Love those fabrics you selected! Just think how much more fun this posting is to read than if you had a grey haired lady teaching the class! Your first squares look great to me (but what do I know?). laurie

  21. Good for you Suzanne!!..i much prefer your choice of fabrics as i'm mad keen on 1930s repros too!!..can't wait for your weekly updates!!..happy stitching :)

  22. Wonderful post and happy quilting!

  23. Glad your fabric choices will make your quilt stand out among the rest. I can not blame you for being intimidated. That is a big project for a beginner. I'm thinking of taking a beginning quilting class for teens as the piece they do is much smaller.

    Can't wait to see your post next Friday.

  24. The fabrics you picked are great, but only one red? I hope you keep us up to date on your progress. I've always wanted to take a real quilting class, but first I'd need a sewing machine and a refresher on how to use it. I have made 2 small wall-decor quilts, all by hand, that came out pretty good.

  25. Suzanne, I know you are going to love quilting--just jump in and don't look back. And I know there are men who quilt but...
    This should make for some interesting stories; can't wait until next week.

  26. It looks like a hard one for the first, but is really pretty---You can do it--no doubt.


Sometimes someone says something really small, and it's like it fits into this empty space in your heart!

Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts here, they really mean a lot to me!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...