School is back in session; seems like a perfect time to share my love of education.
I have always loved the process of learning and I am fortunate to be able to teach. For over a year now, I have been hosting the Quilt as You Go Sampler Quilt designed by Leonie West of Westalee Designs. In this course, students learn Ruler Work on their domestic sewing machines by using 7 different templates. Currently, I am conducting the course on-line. Leonie’s husband, Bill, filmed while she quilted every block. In these videos, she guides the students with her extensive knowledge of the products she invented. The two of them are an amazing team. The brilliance behind their collections of quilting ruler templates is beyond compare. They are so perfectly engineered and paired with their true 1/2″ ruler foot, a quilter will never lack for inspiration.
Why do I teach online? Ruler Work requires a flat surface and many quilters have their machines in a cabinet. The bigger machines that so many of us love, are too cumbersome to transport. Then there are those who either don’t live close to a local quilt shop or lack the means to get to one. I provide a place for them to go.
Here is the bag I made for my friend’s charity raffle. I used the book, The Better Bag Maker, by Nicole Mallalieu. There are a number of reasons I like this book. The first half is filled with great techniques including excellent ideas for giving your homemade bags a professional finish. The second half is a series of projects that are organized so that you build a new skill with each bag. Remember math? Learn how to add before you multiply. I love math, so this concept was an easy one…..except I didn’t follow it. Went straight to project number 2. I’ve made a few bags in my life, so what could go wrong?
Well, not really understanding the construction as it is a little different from anything I’ve done. Would have got that down in project 1. Then there was the time I spent redrafting the pattern so that I didn’t have to copy the pattern. Much easier to use a rotary cutter; and it was. Problem was that I was on a time crunch and no one would have known if I made the bag bigger or smaller than the pattern called for. (side note: another great thing about this book is that she teaches you how to adjust pattern sizes to your liking/needs/whim/whatever.) Great lesson, but again, if I had done project 1, the bag could have been done in less than a day. A few blunders, but the end result is exactly what I wanted.
Then there was the weather. Living in the Southwest, we are in the middle of Monsoon Season. Thunder and Lightning almost daily and usually late in the afternoon. I like to sew in the afternoon. OOOPS; didn’t factor that in and lost an entire afternoon and evening to a storm, which also left me with some extra water in my bathroom. NOT FUN.
All in all, it was a weekend well spent. I learned a few techniques, picked up a trick or two, and was able to present my friend with a homemade summery bag, that doesn’t look so homemade. To top that, it’s almost the end of July and I am more than half way to my goal for the year.
Here’s the photo of the top and inside “professional” finishing.
Painter’s tape is magical. It isn’t permanent so you can use it confidently knowing your fabric will not be ruined. I use it to mark tops for quilting. I tape patterns to my wall. You can tape someone’s mouth shut. (ok, I’m kidding on that one.) If you are a machine embroiderer, you can tape fabric and other items to your stabilizer. You can hold applique pieces down. You can tape blocks on your wall and VOILA! instant design wall. There are just so many amazing things you can do with a roll of blue painter’s tape. I have yet to have it not come off something, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test it first. I know there are other colors out there, I just haven’t used them so I can’t comment.
If you use painter’s tape for sewing, please share.