As a former textile and apparel designer, I have been a prolific creative my whole life. I have developed keen sense of color and design, and am inspired by vintage, forgotten, and collected textiles, and the way we use them in crafts and quilting. Through my lectures and workshops, I share my philosophies of “use what you have”, “show your hand in the work”, and “there are no mistakes” approach. These sessions explore traditional sewing techniques, mixing them with modern approaches, and apply them to quiltmaking. Throughout, we incorporate conceptssuch as creative reuse and finding meaning in patchwork. My workshops are focused on providing the student prompts and information to get inspired and hopefully see their work in new way. My style of teaching is fun and personable, we have lots of fun in class!
This page lists all of the workshops I currently teach.
“Blair gets it. Cloth and creating can be fraught with “but I don’t want to ruin it!” but with her experience and guidance, fears step aside and you’re left with accomplishments- and friends!”
``This class really took my sewing skills from basic to more intermediate. There were some things I needed to see to understand. Also, I love that as someone who works full time and struggles to find the time to participate in local quilting guilds, I could take these classes when my schedule allowed. Blair, you are a gift! Thank you.``
``If I look back to the class I took I think I appreciated Blair's enthusiasm the most. She was very encouraging and did a great job at explaining things to help us novices with our quilts.``
Wise Craft Quilts: My Journey Into Upcycled Patchwork
Using vintage and secondhand fabrics that tell stories and keep memories alive in our everyday lives has provided endless creative inspiration for me. In fact, I wrote a book about it! In this lecture/trunk show, I discuss my journey of blogging, upcycled crafting, and how that led me to the quilt making I do today. I will discuss my background in textile science and designing in the apparel industry and how it influences my work. Filled with lots of colorful examples showing how I use these textiles in my current work, as well as practical tips on how to find these fabrics, how to wash and prepare them to use in your work, and how to store them, etc. 60-90 minutes long, with actual samples, powerpoint images, and a Q&A. It is a very inspiring talk that will make you think differently about the textiles you have stored away for the “someday” quilt.
Finding The Value In Your Scraps
Using scrap fabrics and making do is the very essence of quiltmaking. In this lecture and trunk show, I explain how I explore color value in the old and new fabrics I use and have collected over the years. I share my newest tool, The Ruby Ruler™, a tool designed to be used as an artist’s viewfinder, to view your scraps to focus on their light and dark value. By playing with these values in various prints, I am able to create and design dynamic quilts that can “trick the eye” into seeing the pattern or design from one perspective, but looks wonderfully scrappy and interesting from another. There are interactive parts of the lecture and chances to exchange scraps and interact as a group. 60-90 minutes long with questions encouraged!
My 6 week, completely online class “Dream, Learn, Quilt!” is held a few times throughout the year.
Come in your pjs, work through the lessons from home, when its convenient for you. Blair is available in class throughout the session!
Beginning Quilting using my pattern, The Complete Quilt Design Planner™
Using your own copy of my popular pattern “The Complete Quilt Design Planner™“, in this 6 hour, full day workshop, students will design and begin piecing their very own personal quilt design! This pattern is a complete guide providing tools, design pages, tips, and how-to’s to design any size from a 20″ pillow to a King sized quilt. You’ve never seen anything quite like it! Students will learn to interpret their own personal tastes and inspiration to create a unique color palette. They’ll use the design pages provided in the pattern to create their design and easily figure out how much fabric they need. In class, I will provide instruction on efficient cutting techniques for yardage and/or upcycled materials (such a men’s shirts, for example). We’ll walk through pattern layouts on a design wall, and how to accurately piece patchwork, and troubleshooting. I will offer guidance on adding even more variety in their design, using the tool I invented to use as an artist’s viewfinder, The Ruby Ruler™. This class is inspired and paced to allow optimum time for designing and sewing. It is a lot of fun to watch all the designs come together! Designed for beginners comfortable with basic sewing and seasoned sewers who are ready to try designing a quilt project on their own. (Note: Students will need to purchase The Complete Quilt Design Planner™, which will be available at class time.)
Upcycle Your Quiltmaking Using The Complete Quilt Design Planner™
In this 6 hour, full day workshop, I will guide you through thinking differently about your own modern quilt making. We will plan and begin executing a quilt based on fabrics you have picked from your own life. These fabrics are most likely hiding in a drawer, attic, or a relatives’ house. They could be a loved, yet tattered t-shirt collection, Grandmother’s well-used table linens. They may be as cherished as your baby’s first year clothes, or as mundane as last years clothes set aside for Goodwill. I will demonstrate how to create a quilt design with your chosen fabrics using my newest tool, The Ruby Ruler™.
I will share all my strategies and secrets for cleaning, cutting up and preparing the fabrics for use in a quilting. I’ll discuss other aspects of the quilt making process such as needle size, thread types, etc, suitable for your fabrics.
You will leave with an understanding of what our Great Grandmothers innately knew. Look no further than what you already have to make something beautiful. (Note: Students will need to purchase The Complete Quilt Design Planner™, which will be available at class time.)
“Handstitched” Wall Hanging
Discover the absolute joy and relaxation of the current trend of “slow stitching” in this 3 hour hands on workshop. The basis for this workshop is a project simply called “Handstitched”, from my newest book,Wise Craft Quilts: A Guide To Turning Beloved Fabric Into Meaningful Patchwork. We start with the basics of the method of traditional English Paper Piecing (EPP), and a collection of your favorite small bits of scrappy fabrics which students will bring to class or gather while there. I will guide the class through how to do this process from the beginning (no sewing machine required!). I will share tricks I have learned, as well as how to create an easily portable carry-along kit for EPP stitching on the go. I will demonstrate how to create a quilt design with your chosen fabrics using my newest tool, The Ruby Ruler™. Each student will be on their way and have a solid plan by the end of the workshop. This unique, finished piece be enjoyed either as a mounted wall hanging, appliqued onto a base fabric to create a pillow, or be the start of a truly stunning quilt! (Note: Each student will need to purchase a set of the English Paper Piecing templates required for the project.)
T-Shirt Quilting: Turning Beloved T-shirts into Your New Favorite Quilt
If you have ever dreamed of turning a collection of knit t-shirts or baby clothes in a quilt for yourself or someone special, this workshop is for you! I have made custom knit quilts for clients for several years, and in this full day 6-hour workshop, I will provide sources, techniques, and design ideas for handling and preppingthese knit pieces for quilting. Students will plan and begin executing a quilt design based on the collection they bring to class. I will share strategies prior to class via email for cleaning and preparing these soft stretchy fabrics for class. During class, we’ll cover “Patchwork 101”- efficient and safe rotary cutting, measuring, using a design wall, and general patchwork sewing. I will demonstrate how to create a quilt design with your chosen fabrics using my newest tool, The Ruby Ruler™.The size of this class allows for optimum time for me to work with each student and their own personal knit collection. Along with the student’s ideas, I’ll will be there to assist with designing a quilt that will work with their fabrics, and that feels very much like “them”, and offer guidance on adding and enhancing their design as needed. The class will walk through using a design wall to see pattern layouts, proper rotary cutting, accurately piecing patchwork, and troubleshooting. (Note: My Complete Quilt Design Planner Pattern™ pattern is very useful for this class, but not required. It can be purchased separately at the workshop.)
Find the Value in your Scraps: Improv Quilting Using Color Value
Bring your scraps and prepare to have some fun! In this dynamic full day, 6-hour workshop, I will guide students through how to use dark, medium, and light color value. It’s a fun way to rediscover all that fabric you have languishing on those shelves, and by the end of the class, you will be looking for even more scraps! Students will learn to make half square triangles and charm squares, then combine them to create a quilt design by “blindly” choosing from pre-sorted value piles. I will cover “Patchwork 101”- efficient and safe rotary cutting, measuring, using a design wall, and general patchwork sewing. I’ll also demonstrate how to create a quilt design with your chosen fabrics using my newest tool, The Ruby Ruler™.
(Purchase of the The Ruby Ruler™ is required for class.)
Faux bois Quilted Pillow Workshop
Faux Bois is a French term meaning “false wood”. In this 3 hour, half day workshop based on a quilt project in my first book, students learn to stitch up this beautiful all-over woodgrain texture on a pillow sized project using a walking foot. Mastering and practicing this texture in class is easy! Once you spend the afternoon with me, making this pillow project, you will be able to apply it to any kind of project needing a little extra texture and body. In class, I will share my tips and tricks for marking fabric, making piping, using a walking foot, etc. This workshop is paced to optimize actual stitching time. Students will leave with a full digital pattern file to follow at home to recreate this stitch on other projects. Students should come to class with a good, working knowledge of how to use a sewing machine.