Sunday, February 17, 2013

quilt class

Yesterday I attended my first all day quilt class. In the past couple years I've taken a few 2-4 hour classes  and my teachers have always been quilt shop owners or their employees or members of my guild. Our instructor yesterday was Linda Halpin who has taught all over the US and Canada. She's authored several books and is a pattern designer as well.
The morning was bright but bitter cold and the ground was both icy and snowy, not ideal for dragging my wheeled sewing cart, but it all worked out and in the company of my cheerful classmates all having to schlep their stuff too, it became fun.
Everything about the day was delightful. Linda loves what she does and is a great teacher.  We each brought what she asked for: a suitcase full of fabrics from our stash in the colors we hoped to use. The quilt for the day was a Lincoln Log scrappy quilt with center squares made of half square triangles. The finished center square is 1 inch and all the "logs" measure 1 inch finished. Here is a screen shot from her website of the quilt she made as a sample for the class.

We began by sorting our fabrics into three colors and a neutral for the first blocks.  To simplify the task, Linda discussed small, medium, and large scale prints, prints that include a bit of the other colors to be in the quilt as bridge fabrics, tone, hue, contrast, etc. as well as taking a leap of faith i.e. stepping out of your comfort zone to find the spark each quilt needs to come alive. By process of elimination we had to arrive at just 5 fabrics of each of those three colors and 5 neutrals for the first 6 blocks. Three of these blocks would combine a color with a neutral and three would be pairs: of color 1 and 2, color 2 and 3, color 1 and 3. Whew!
Next: press the chosen fabrics, rotary cut 1 1/2 inch strips, do a test of your machine's quarter inch seams by sewing three strips together and measuring the middle strip to confirm 1 inch, construct the half square triangle centers using a demonstrated short cut technique, and then begin to construct the blocks.
Every so often we'd take a break and watch another technique or see a few more of Linda's quilts. We each received a straight forward 20 page handout with step by step detailed instructions and Linda referred to this with each demonstration.
She encouraged us to get up and stretch, visit our classmates' work stations, share ideas, look at her quilts and browse her "shop." I was amazed at the variety of machines my classmates brought. Many of them have a machine they use just for traveling and have another machine or machines at home. I'm not in that league yet, but am interested in the newer machines that are designed for quilting. My Husqvarna is great for home sewing but it would be heaven to have a stitch regulator for free motion quilting!

Here are two blocks I completed in class. Because this is a scrappy quilt, the idea is to use only what you have in your stash already, not buy anything new. We had only begun the process of selection in class yesterday so this morning I worked through my stash and chose the remainder of the fabrics that I plan to use.

That done, now I'll get to the business of pressing and cutting strips from these groupings and lay them out in a way that makes the most of the assembly line tips we learned in class. I'll keep you posted.
I couldn't resist this little chicken pin cushion from Linda's shop.

Perfect addition to the farmhouse sewing room.
Thank you Linda for a great class and even more thanks to my guild members who arranged it all so beautifully.


  1. How wonderful, Sharon! You sound so happy about this class and I can see why! This will be such a warm quilt, color wise - I love your choice of colors. What a great experience to be part of a group doing something so enjoyable. I can't wait to see your progress on this quilt!

  2. Hi Sharon!!
    I would love going to a quilt class, too...but I'm not sure I'll have enough patience! It surely will be helpful to learn some!
    ..I'm looking forward to see your future projects!