I feel so fortunate to have a quilt shop stocked with over 4,000 bolts of fabric of pure 100% quilting cotton in short driving distance from my house. One of the perks of moving to Texas I suppose :-). This not so little shop stocks all my favorites: Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Henry Miller, Moda, Dear Stella, and many many more. Not only do I like shopping here but most importantly they offer multiple classes on weekday nights AND weekends which is perfect for me! I signed up for my first class a few weeks ago. It’s called: Basics of Piecing 101.
This is how they described the class: This is a 4-week beginning piecing class. The quilting skills you will be taught in this class will help you become a ‘confident beginner’. You will learn to accurately, cut, piece and press – the basic skills needed for every quilt. This is also a great class if your skills need a tune-up!
So, 4 Sunday afternoon sessions, 3 hours each! Perfect! Price: $70. Not bad. But then there was a shopping list!! Once signed up and NO MOMENT SOONER! they handed me a list! Wow! Even with the 10% off class purchase they granted I felt like I was spending waaaay too much money. And since I didn’t have any of the basic quilting supplies such as the most essential quilting ruler(s) etc. I learned my first lesson here. Quilting is no joke! You gotta really want it. No way you can improvise your way into a cute quilt. You have to purchase the right supplies and tools and measure accurately, CUT accurately, sew meticulously! Since you are spending a lot of time & effort making a quilt it’s best to purchase good quality fabric. I’d hate for this thing to start falling apart in the first wash and I am planning on using and washing and reusing and washing this lap quilt again and again!
I was determined to do it right though so I went down the list and purchased 2 quilting rulers, a rotary cutter, hundreds of quilters pins, quilters chalk and this special quilting thread plus the special book that they use to teach a sampler quilt. This is a long expensive shopping list already but there is more: The FABRIC! My favorite part until I had to visualize this finished quilt in my head and buy 12 coordinating fabrics! 12! That’s a lot of fabric to coordinate. At some point I used repeat prints and solids. It was overwhelming to think that this piece of work would look all cluttered and messy. I still wanted it to look modern and compliment the Ikea look we have in the family room.
Here’s some of my selection:
The floral fabric on the very bottom is for the back. The solid light blue / grey one is the backing of the front. So far the mustard colored one is my favorite. My daughter and my quilting instructor bot love the multi-colored one the most. I think the polka-dots are my least favorite so far.
Picking these fabrics was very time consuming in a store with over 4,000 bolts of fabric. It didn’t help to have my little one with me who wanted out of the stroller and instead start ‘shopping’ for fabric too! I also wanted to stay within a budget which is always a bummer. Finally 3 hours later I left the shop with only 1 or 2 things left to do on my list and rushed off to meet my 2 big kids at the bus stop… Phew! I had no idea I was signing up for this!!
The book that we are using for this sampler quilt is called: Graphic Mixx by Atkinson Designs.
I glanced at it although it wasn’t part of my prep / homework but put it aside pretty quickly. No way I could follow those instructions on my own. I was looking forward to meeting my teacher in a few days. I needed someone to ‘translate’ this and hold my hand so to speak. And exactly that she did! The class was only half-booked which made the one-on-one instruction ideal and gave me a lot of opportunity to learn at my own pace. Off to a great class. The first 3 hours passed quickly and I left the class excited and with a bunch of Ziploc bags full of the tiny pieces we cut that day. No sewing as of yet. Just squaring up, measuring, cutting, labeling, repeat… There were a total of 9 different designs to cut. We got through 6 of them.
Above: little baggies full of 2.5″ or 4.5″ pieces of coordinating fabric to make Piano Keys, Bricks, Checkerboard, Cornerstones, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Rick Racks with.
In our third session we finally finished the cutting by preparing the pieces for Flying Geese, Candy Cane Triangles and Half Square Triangles. Phew! That was precision work. All that squaring up and making tiny 2.5″ squares like about 100 of them!
Above: My mini-me couldn’t help it. She just had to get hands-on with the ‘checkerboard’ pattern.
Now I have to make time this week to sew up everything at home. The challenge is to stay within the 1/4″ seam and make each row yield a perfect 32.5″!
Next Sunday (final session) this baby is going to be finished! When I say finished I mean only the top part. Binding isn’t included in this class. Let’s not even start talking about the actual quilting part. That’s not even part of this class. I can a) let a professional quilter do that part for me for about $100! b) attempt to use my own machine to do it or c) hand quilt it! So far option c) is what I am leaning towards.
In a few weeks they offer a class where they teach ‘binding’. I’ll have to tackle that part after Thanksgiving though. That means my quilt won’t be finished until mid December! Wow! Now I understand the price tags on some of the quilts for sale. That’s a labor of love & dedication!
I saw Anna Maria Horner do this with a baby quilt on Creative bug. That looked really fun.
I can’t wait to post pictures after next week’s class of the (hopefully!) finished quilt top!!! What a work in progress. Now I know why they have these events at the quilt shop where customers bring their own creations to show and share with others. It’s like a painting. It’s made to be admired. 🙂
I gotta run. Today the reflection entries at my kid’s school were due. I promised to lend my volunteer hand.