Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beginner Quilting Class Sample Finished and Delivered!

Good morning!  I hope you all enjoyed a restful, relaxing holiday weekend (Labor Day weekend here in the United States).  My teenage sons were both away on a Christian retreat all weekend, so my husband and I got a sneak peak at what that empty nest thing feels like.  

I finally finished up my beginner quilting class sample over the weekend:

Beginner Quilting Class Sample, 36" x 36"
Although it's a simple project, it was interesting how my thought process evolved throughout construction as I imagined teaching each step to someone who had never done it before, wanting to set those beginners up for success -- but with the time constraint of two full-day classes.

So we'll learn rotary cutting and piecing in the first class, and if they don't get their tops completely assembled by the end of the first class they can catch up for homework in between classes.  Then in the second class we'll learn to layer, baste, quilt, and bind.  It's a lot, I know.  What I decided to do for basting is to spray baste the quilt layers together with 505 (temporary spray adhesive that I had on hand because I use it to adhere stabilizer for machine embroidery projects) and to supplement that with sparser than usual pin basting, so students will be exposed to both methods, quilt layers will be secure through all the tugging and bunching and twisting under the machine, yet we won't eat up too much class time pinning.

Basted With 505 Adhesive Spray Plus 4 Safety Pins Per Block
The quilting design itself is pretty basic, all done with a walking foot.  

I wanted SO BADLY to add some free motion swirlies in the sashing and something fancy in the border, but free motion quilting is an entire journey of its own.  Way too much too much for beginners, especially since they will all have different sewing machines, they may not know how to lower their feed dogs, and they will not all have stitch regulators.  I don't want to discourage brand new quilters!

Walking Foot Quilting with Guide Bar Attached
Stitch in the ditch plus a few additional lines of quilting in each block (done with the guide bar attached to the walking foot), so no marking required.  Even so, I think I'll teach the binding FIRST on the second day, with a small layer cake sized sample quilt, so everyone's brain is fresh for the corner miters.  Then they can just focus on their quilting, knowing they have their binding samples to take home and remind them how to finish up.  Students can add additional lines of quilting if they feel like it and they have time.

When I bound the class sample with this cheerful cherry red stripe, I couldn't resist the challenge of pattern-matching the stripes at all of the diagonal seams.

Stripes Matched at Diagonal Binding Joins
Nice and invisible!  (I am not going to have beginners try to do that!).  I machine stitched the binding to the front of the quilt, briefly considered finishing it by machine, but ultimately decided to slipstitch the binding to the back of the quilt by hand.  

Binding Invisibly Hand Stitched to the Quilt Backing
Yes, it took several hours to do it that way, but that's the way I always do it, I like how it comes out, and I'm not interested in learning a new technique just so I can teach it.  I was able to stitch the binding down outside on the deck with Bernie, listening to the birds and classical music from the screen porch speakers.   Very relaxing!

Finished and Freshly Washed
I also decided to toss the finished quilt in the wash before handing it over to the shop, for a couple of reasons.  First, I wanted to remove the glue basting spray and fabric glue stick that I used when I pattern-matched my binding joins, as well as all of the starch I used throughout my construction process and any hand lotion, dust, or pet fur that may have accumulated on it.  Second, since this is a baby-sized quilt, I wanted it to be soft and snuggly, not stiff.  If we were really giving this to a baby, we would want to wash it to remove all the chemicals first.  Also, with very minimal quilting, it needed to go through the wash and shrink up slightly to get some texture and to accentuate the quilting lines.  And for beginners, when they wash their finished projects and they crinkle up like this, any wobbly quilt lines or tiny oopses will be obscured.  To me, a quilt is never REALLY finished until it comes out of the wash all soft and krinkled.

Now that the class sample is finished and delivered to the Bernina shop, I just need to compile my notes into a lesson plan while the details are still fresh in my mind, and write up a class description and supply list.  

Meanwhile, my longarm frame has been sitting empty and looking lonely.  Next time I escape to my studio, I'll be piecing the backing fabric for my Math is Beautiful quilt so I can load it onto my frame and start quilting it.  My APQS new owner class is coming up in two weeks, and I'd like to quilt an actual quilt on my longarm machine before I go.  

The Long-Neglected Math Quilt, Next On My Frame
And of course my sewing time is limited, now that the kids have gone back to school, all their activities are starting up again, church choir rehearsals have resumed.  My design business also tends to ramp up once summer vacations are over, school starts, and clients turn their focus from outdoors back to their interiors, planning projects to refresh their homes for holiday entertaining.

Happy stitching, and happy (almost!) Fall, y'all!  ;-)  Today I'm linking up with:


Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Rebecca,
That looks like a wonderful beginning project. When do you have to teach the class? Just curious how much time is allowed between the two classes. I cannot wait to hear about it and how many students you had, etc. ~smile~ Roseanne

Ann said...

So interesting to read your thought process on the beginners quilting class. You have it well in hand. I agree that washing the quilt before displaying it in the shop is the way to go - for all the reasons you listed. Enjoy your school year. I read an article, The Last Last Time, about the last year at home with the youngest. It's such a change when they are gone. It took me a year to rework recipes for two sans teenage boys. :-)

Glenda said...

Hi Rebecca love those fabrics you used in your beginners quilt. It will be a fun quilt to make. House sure feels strange when the kids are away I still miss mine after 20 years but its fun when they come back with the grandies and all of them in the house over Xmas. Cheers Glenda

Anonymous said...

Do you have directions on the blog that I could follow to make this quilt? I really just read quilt blogs, and do not do sewing. However, I do know how to use a machine and sew, but I have never made a quilt. (I really would rather just buy fabric!!!!) I think this might be a great starting place!

Also, how is your son's vision. I wrote you once about having 20/200 vision and finally getting old enough to have cataract surgery! I taught typing and business courses for years and years. Imagine grading all those papers, word for word!!!! Emily in TX

Jill said...

Very nice beginner quilt. Not overwhelming (IMHO). Students can either make a baby quilt or a nice lap quilt depending on their fabric choice which is part of the learning process (contrast, value, etc.) I'm a prewasher also. I have been quilting 30 years plus and still not interested in free motion. Straight line quilting will be more fun 4 beginners. Keep us posted. P.S. The seams and corners match perfectly on your Math block.

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks, Emily. No, I don't have directions on the blog for making this quilt at the moment, but maybe I will write up a series of tutorials if you think that would be helpful. That would help me to organize my notes in preparation for teaching the class, anyway. Good luck to you if you decide to start quilting! It's fun, and it's addictive! :-)

Sandy Panagos said...

That's a great quilt for a beginner's class. I think your students will love it. I always hand stitch my bindings down, too. That's my favorite part!

Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts said...

The quilt is pretty, and I hope you had a nice time with your hubby when the kids were away!