Dream, Learn, Quilt! and what it means to be a quilt maker
I often tell folks in my classes and lectures that when I made my first quilt, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I stumbled through with the few skills I’d learned in college sewing classes and high school Home Ec, and managed to get that quilt made. In my eyes, usually finished IS better than perfect, that’s true. (No quilt I finish- or don’t finish- can be described as “perfect”.)
There is something comforting about the imperfect hand of the maker in the work I make and like from others who make. Those small imperfections and slight misses here and there. They remind me that it wasn’t made by machines or by an assembly line of seamstresses. There was attention and care, time devoted to and decisions made along the way as to whether or not a perceived mistake or miss was worth redoing.
When I made a quilt there is music played while fabric is cut, podcasts consumed while pieces are sewn together, ironing while negotiating with teenagers over what time they should be home, and hand sewing while spending time with the family watching a movie. There are friends who come to sew with me, and offer advice on things like color placement, backing fabrics, and batting. Quilts cannot be completed in an afternoon, and because of the time involved there is a certain amount of interested and passion for making one. This whole story is what I love about quilt making.
All of this applies to learning quilting too. You see, as a student, I’ve never been very good at following directions every single step of the way. I learn what I feel I need to know (which is often not quite enough), enthusiastically jump in with both feet, but jump out once I’ve messed up and made a huge mistake, just in time to “relearn” and be able to fix mistakes. I accept that this is the way I learn best. I try to respect this in my students as well. We all come at learning in different ways, and I always want to stay open to how each student learns. Some will need step by step, some need to jump in with both feet, and some may find it difficult to start at all. They need my guidance to help them.
Part of what has delighted me (and frankly, surprised me) about the upcycling classes I’ve been teaching since Wise Craft Quilts came out, is that there is a huge emotional component to cutting into fabric that has been saved or kept for a very long time. You see, it doesn’t feel quite that way for me, likely because I’ve made a ton of quilts with special fabrics I’ve kept. I know what’s involved, have a clear picture of the outcome, and trust that the finished quilt will be something more used and appreciated than the pieces and remnants that went into it. But it can be very different for students. They bring coveted scraps- curtains from their childhood bedroom, garments no longer wearable but important, a loved one’s remnant, etc- to be led through a bit of letting go, a bit of learning techniques and at times, a bit of handholding. Because it can be very tough! I really enjoy each of these types of students and what they bring to my classes.
This Fall I will launch my very first online class. Dream, Learn, Quilt! is a class all about breaking through the barriers we have about creating patchwork with fabrics we love- old OR new. A six week class focused on sharing, learning, and making. I will give the students all the skills they need to confidently create their own quilt designs with they own special fabrics. We will conquer creative roadblocks that hold us back. We will learn to interpret or creative inspiration, and know where to look for it in the future. All the while, holding each other accountable and providing support.
Divided into three sections, with new lessons delivered each week within a private classroom site for members only. Dream, Learn, Quilt! is filled with videos lessons, discussions, downloadable worksheets, and creative exercises to get us thinking about the patchwork in a whole new way. I will be active and present throughout the entire class, and we’ll be working through the lessons together.
The photo above is a sample quilt I made as I filmed each of the sections of the class. I’m calling it the Pheasant Quilt because it’s feature is a piece of beautiful cross stitch with, you guessed it, pheasants. I wanted to experiment with cutting it up, is it still as lovely? I think so! And now this needlework piece is in a quilt that will be used, and not folded in a drawer.
But its important to know that this class is not about everyone creating one quilt project. No two quilts will be alike in design, color, or fabric choices. They will each be unique! The basis for this class is my Complete Quilt Design Planner. Using this booklet I’ve designed, and with my guidance, each student will design their very own unique patchwork quilt. They will pick the size, design, color, inspiration, and details. They will sew alongside the other students in the class during the six week class, and learn everything they need to know in order to confidently design future quilts too.
This is a very unique online class, unlike any others you may have ever seen. If you are interested in finding out more, join the mailing list to be the first to know about updates.