Thursday, May 24, 2007

Give Piecing A Chance

Two months ago, I signed up for quilting classes. I've been wanting to learn for so long, and I have enjoyed quilting by hand the few times I've been given the opportunity. But, those occasions were long ago back in my hometown. And, after becoming a member of TNT (the local craft guild) last month, I became more motivated than ever to learn!

Little did I know that the class would begin at the same time that work would become extremely busy. But, thankfully, the workload was light the day the class began, and I was able to attend as planned. (Since then, I've had to be up after midnight a few nights to complete my quilting homework.)

We are making a basic table runner, and the instructions have been put together by the owner of the quilt store in Edwardsville, The Quilted Garden. This process will teach me the fundamentals of making nine patch quilt blocks for any size of quilt, and this is the booklet we use as a guide.

This is my newest, neatest craft gadget: the rotary cutter. Last week, we learned how to use it. The instructor explained "the better we make our cuts, the better our finished quilt will come together." So, I took that statement very seriously. She had given the example of someone being very "persnickety" about their cutting... and by the end of class, I was teasingly given that very same label. It took me almost twice as long make my cuts as the rest of the class because I was trying to do the best job possible. It wasn't until nearly the end that I realized I was concerned about cutting issues that I really didn't need to worry about - especially for my first quilting project. But, I didn't know any better. I thought I was just following the teacher's instructions about meticulousness.

Above are some of my other new gadgets... along with my fabric. The green gridded board is a self-healing mat that is used in conjunction with the wide ruler to make straight cuts. You may also see the small box holding my new flat flower pins. I can imagine their purpose, but I do not know for sure. (It's on the list of "required materials.") Then, there's my crazy fabric to match the colors of my dining room: aqua and bright pink calico, along with an aqua and sage green flower print to match the "lily pond" color on my walls... and lavender gingham and wide stripes to match the purple and lavender accents in the room. They all look like quite a mess together, but I have to remember this is quilting!!!

I have been assured that I can leave the office at the regular time today since I will be taking vacation days on Friday and Tuesday to attend my cousin's graduation in Minnesota. So, I'll be heading to the quilt shop to receive a quick lesson in piecing before I head out of town to my parents' house. Hopefully, this lesson will go more smoothly for me, and hopefully, I won't have much homework to finish before next week's class. Maybe, just maybe, I'll have something that resembles a quilt this evening!!! I'll keep you posted on my progress! (I know I'm a dork, but this is very exciting to me.)


Cheri said...

Hey Michelle,

Sister Darrene Collins of Muleshoe, Texas is a Champeen quilter, and she loves to share her joy in that craft. I betcha she would love to hear from you and correspond about quilting! She is exceptionally encouraging. We have done three group quilts on Keepers in the past, and Darrene led the group each time. Her email address is Tell her Sister Cheri Thomas sent you!! PS...she gave me serger lessons once that were outstanding. I guess I'm a dork too...I love my serger! GRIN!

Dani said...

I have always wanted to learn to quilt so keep me posted on how it goes! You are amazing I have no idea how you do all you do!

lydia said...

I can't wait to see the final product. I shall have a lesson from our "resident pro" (as Randy would say) very soon/

Sandy-san said...

This is great, Sister Michelle!!! I am most certainly a dork, too, as I am excited to see what your runner is going to look like!

Good for you to making time for work and lessons!

Siren said...

I'm VERY excited for you - and a wee bit jealous of your new skills - and can't wait to see when it all comes together : )

strem said...

Thanks goes out to all of you for your encouragement. I am happy to report that my quilt blocks came together very well. While I was still the last one to finish in class, I was right behind two ladies. (We had to wait and take turns at the iron to press our seams, so I didn't feel like I was behind.) The instructor was especially pleased with how my seams came together (meeting up with the seams of the other fabric in the block), so I was happy. I have to sew more tonight after church to be ready for class on Thursday, as that is when we start the actual quilting part of the process. I will try to post more pictures soon.

Sister Cheri, down the line, I hope to obtain a serger and learn how to use it. I would love to meet with Sister Darrene sometime and glean as much as possible. Wish we lived closer to each other - because I have so much to learn and it sounds like she has so much wisdom to share!

Dani said...

Congrats, can't wait for more pics.

:) Big smile!