It’s Tuesday! Hope you are all having a fabulous summer! I sure am! As I write this I am travelling home from Jasper, Alberta, where all of our adult daughters and our Son-in-law joined us for a weekend of camping and hiking!
As we were driving back I realized I needed to write a blog and had no step by step pictures to support any subject. Then my hubby reminded me of something I have been talking about writing for some time….so here goes, a Tuesday Tip of a different sort…..
The very best tip I think I can give any longarm quilter, is, (are you ready?) TAKE A CLASS!!! The more you take the better your quilting will become! The more you take the more your style will evolve from what you copy from your teachers, to your own style. Let me explain….
Remember, I am a Quilt Shop owner, and have been for 15 years. As a shop owner, I am privy to a lot of knowledge about local and semi-local quilters and tidbits about the quilting community. Before I got my longarm, or even started dreaming about having one, I noticed when a new longarmer started up, the ones who’s work advanced and made me take note, were the ones who traveled somewhere and took classes. At the time there were no classes offered locally, or even in our province.
But even before that, I have always been an advocate of taking classes. Learning from someone who is trained in the subject area you are interested in, gives you faster results, with less frustration. A good teacher keeps you from forming bad habits, steering you down a technically correct path. A good teacher has something valuable to offer…
So 6 years ago when I got my longarm, I took my own advice, and traveled as often as I could to learn as much as I could.
The first event for me was at the sales room of APQS headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. They brought in Karen MacTavish to teach MacTavishing and Victorian Feathers. It was rather an impulse trip, and I am still glad I went. Other students in the class were so surprised I came from so far (I live in Central Alberta in Canada).
To this day, I still make my feathers the way I learned from Karen! I have learned many other ways since, but still have the best results with Karen’s style of feathers. And MacTavishing is still a go to for fillers for me! Very valuable skills….
So the next opportunity was a Longarm/Midarm show in Washington State, called Innovations. This was close enough to drive, and hubby came with me and took some classes too (at that time we both thought he would quilt some). Unfortunately, Innovations no longer exists. At this the classes were demo style, with cameras projecting what the instructors were showing onto large screens. We were given great handouts and encouraged to draw as the teacher explained what she was doing, I had already learned the value of drawing, and found this a great way to learn. I took 13 half day classes from Pam Clark, Sue Patten, Kim Slothenberg, Deloa Jones, and Grace Anderson! When I got home, I had so many new ideas at my fingertips, it was no longer so hard to figure out what to quilt on a quilt. My quilting improved quickly. I found so much value from all these teachers….
Then a friend had been across the border on holidays in Montana. While there she visited a shop called Fiberworks in Billings, owned by Laura Heine. I had heard of Laura and seen her work at Quilt Market. My friend loved Laura’s shop and her Quilting style. She talked our group of friends into going on a road trip. I would take 4 days of private Longarm lessons, and my friends would shop at Laura’s and other stores in the area. It was the best thing I have ever did as far as learning Longarm quilting! One on one time for four days, I learned so mush and got so many questions answered! From that point on, I was much more confident, and my quilting kinda took off…an incrieibly valuable week….
Next I returned to Washington for the last Innovations Conference. Roger came with me again, this time he just took some down time. I took 11 classes with a variety of instructors including Deleo Jones, Sally Terry, Grace Anderson, Laura Fritz and 5 others. Once again, my quilting progressed! Once again I found such value in what I learned…
I also was able to take in Home Machine Quilters Show in Salt Lake, twice, once when we were going to Quilt Market a week later also in Salt Lake, and two years later when Quilt Market was in Portland a week later. I took classes at this show from Jamie Walen, Dustin Farrell, Claudia Pheil, Sue Patten, and others, whom I cannot remember at the moment. And when I got home, my quilting took on a new spin, again… Again, a valuable experience…
On our way to Market in Kansas City three years ago, we stopped to see friends in Holton, Kansas, owners of Quilting on the Square. My friend Mary asked me if I was going to Machine Quilters Expo (no longer in Kansas). I did not even know he show was on. We only had one day, but I was game. We sat down at Mary’s computer to register, and I found openings in a class from Angela Walters! This was her very first time teaching, and was still a little known quilter! I knew who she was though, mostly because my daughter (Kathleen Quilts) was following her. I tell you Kathleen was very jealous! Angela’s class was very inspiring, and she was such a warm personality! Again, a great influence on my quilting, and a most valuable class…
Have you heard of Sparrow Studioz in Edmonton, Alberta? They were not around when I started, but I sure wish they were….Anyways they started bringing in big name Longarmers to teach. The first few classes, were from teachers I had already taken, and happened when I had things on in my store. But I have now been able to take from quite a few.imlove classes as Sparrow Srudioz, because, it is close, thus a lot less expensive, and my daughter comes with, and we have a little holiday together. And Matt and Bradie and their staff are awesome! So in the last two years we have taken classes from Judy Madson, Karlee Porter and Claudia Pheil. This week we are going to a class with Lisa Cale! Wow, a lot of value so close to home….
I also was at QuiltCon 2013 and 2015 in Austin, Texas. I was in another great class with Angela Walters, and I took three classes with the amazing Krista Withers! Something about Krista’s classes really inspired me, and has had a big impact on my quilting! I would not have missed this! Talk about value…
So there you have it, six years, 22 different instructors! That surprised even me! I have found each and every one of them has contributed to how I quilt now, in a positive way. I have taken my favourite things from each of the and played with the designs and technical know how, and somehow in my play I have morphed them together into my own style!
I am registered for QuiltCon 2016, in classes with Angela Walters, Krista Withers and Jodi Robinson. I was telling my friends the other day that we were going to Sparrow Studioz again to take another class, and one of them said, “Why? What else is there for you to learn?” My response was, I will never stop learning! I believe every teacher has something very valuable to offer me….