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Monday, June 14, 2010

Beyond Meander

The rain was falling, the temperatures were dropping, no doubt there was snow on the hills, it was an all out rotten day. But did I care? No way - I was a happy little camper attending a machine quilting class at my local quilt shop, Thimbles and Threads, of Upper Hutt. Our tutor was Chris Kenna, an award winning quilter. There were just three of us in the class, weren’t we lucky. So were were ensured of plenty of individual attention with such a small number.

The class was called “Beyond Meander”, and was aimed at teaching us what else we could do other than stipple. After we had assembled a quilt sandwich, marked it into a grid, it was time to try tried out lots of these new designs. Our class notes were excellent, and Chris explained each new design to us. We were encouraged to draw it on paper first, to “set it in our minds”, so to speak. I must admit that I found this tip very helpful.


DSCF3728 Class samples of machine quilting designs

We tried straight lines, curvy lines, and a very effective pattern that resembled rippling water. We practiced sewing vines with leaves, and strawberries, and tendrils. Then there were shells and pebbles. Stitching spirals was a bit difficult for me, obviously I need to practice that pattern a lot more. And I think I failed to master the free motion fan design. Never mind, I was getting a bit tired by then.

DSCF3725 We are all concentrating hard

Chris had brought along several of her beautiful quilts, and pointed out where in the quilt she had used the design we were currently working on. She was very encouraging as she walked around, checking our work, and offered help when things went wrong. As anyone who has tried free motion quilting knows, it is not always easy to get the effect you are aiming for!

DSCF3730 Chris Kenna with her House Quilt

At the end of our class we laid our sample pieces out to see the variations in our individual styles. Chris then asked us what designs we found easy and which were more difficult. This was a very interesting discussion. For myself, I found that I preferred stitching bigger designs rather than the tiny ones, and had real trouble trying to stitch points. Seems I am more attuned to doing rounded flowing designs. Chris was a marvellous teacher, so kind and giving, and we all certainly enjoyed our class with her. Practise, practise, practice, but make sure you practice on something “good”. Then we will do our best work, we were told. I had a marvellous day, and came home buzzing with excitement of all the future possibilities I could achieve.

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Lis Harwood said...

That sounds like a great workshop and with only three of you, wow. But Jenny - where are the photos of your work?!! Hope you're keeping warm and dry, we had a massive thunderstorm last night but it's slowly brightening up this morning, about 16C at the moment.

Julie said...

lovely quilting, I like the tip about practicing with pencil and paper first!

Leeann said...

Looks like a great class, only 3 of you there so you would have had plenty of attention! Machine quilting is just practise practise practise, but I wish it wasn't! Always takes me a while to get into the flow.

FlourishingPalms said...

I've done a lot of free-motion quilting, and STILL can't get it all "right." Interestingly, I heard in a class that you should practice and practice on quilts you're giving away, like charity and mission quilts...so you don't have to look at your work again. We learn different things from different instructors, don't we?