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Quilt Classes

I’ll Fly Away

I’ll Fly Away, © 2012, by Karen Thornton

Here’s another great student quilt!  I’ll Fly Away was designed by Karen Thornton of Tyler, TX.  She took my one-day class in mid-September and, less than one month later, this was the result.   Great quilt, Karen!

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Embellishment and Embroidery in Virginia

Kath Heslep and her embellished, embroidered T-shirt

Check out this cool T-shirt!  Kath Heslep, who was in my Goose is Loose class for Quilter’s Unlimited that I taught the second weekend in October 2012.   Kath bought the t-shirt, but then spent the 10-hour drive to the AQS show in Paducah hand embroidering the spaces between the pattern.

Detail of Kath Heslep shirt

I love the detail!  Great design, Kath!  Quilters are so creative!

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PUPS – Picking Up the Pieces Quilt Guild Retreat

The Little Owl that Welcomes Visitors

This little owl welcomed visitors to the retreat center where Picking Up the Pieces (PUPS) quilt guild held their 2012 annual retreat.  I was fortunate to be one of the teachers.  In the quiet woods of Tennessee, not far from Memphis, about 45 of us gathered for a fun weekend of sewing and learning.

Color and Contrast in Quilting

I taught the half day class, Color and Contrast in Quilting, the afternoon I arrived.  This class stretches students through a series of exercises.  Above are images from the first class exercise.  The difference in the designs over the course of 3 hours is dramatic.

Hard-working students

In this class, everything is provided in the kit, including the little scissors, so students can just show up with no supplies.


Students concentrate as each exercise builds on the last.  In the end, the final designs are really interesting!  Below are some of the final designs.

Beach Scene

This was a really creative design!

Flower and Flying Geese with a swirl

One of the great things about this class is that students never leave with a UFO!  And, hopefully, they view creativity a little differently after they  leave class.

I also taught the Goose is Loose class the following day, but I didn’t get and photos on that day!



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A Few Days in Connecticut, Last Day

Signs of fall are everywhere, from the pumpkin display at the grocery store to the leaves that are beginning to turn gold and brilliant shades of red.

Connecticut Piecemakers sponsored a two-day workshop, The Goose is Loose.  Although students weren’t able to complete much of their designs, each and every student created their own design in class.  Here are just a few of them:

Cathy Chisholm’s featured Mountains and Valleys

Janice Averill’s design featured 10,000 Pyramids

Janice Kelly showed off the “Sailing Away” quilt she made from my pattern that was published in Quiltmaker magazine.

Wendy Frieden stitched up a Flying Goose strip for her design

And our youngest quilter was only four months old!  Her grandma was babysitting that day and she was a doll and really good in class.  What fun we had!


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Notable Nebula

This gorgeous quilt, called Nebula, was created by Barbara Daly Blanchard who took my class in Lancaster in 2010.

Nebula by Barbara Daly Blanchard

Here’s what Barbara has to say about creating this beauty:

“Nebula was created for a fabric challenge. I’d wanted to do a quilt with a collection of intersecting circles for some time, and thus Nebula was created. I began by drafting the circles before I worried about filling them, which was comparatively easy. The circles of flying geese and spirals were a further attempt to add complexity. The entire quilt was pieced, with the exception of three center circles, two in the top two stars, and one in the bottom star – piecing them was simply out of the question. The squares were drafted last as an attempt to add some color contrast and geometric diversity.

The most interesting challenge turned out to be working with so many small pieces and still getting a flat quilt. It would have been far easier with larger circles, but the fabric challenge had a limit of 120″ on the perimeter.”

This complex quilt is only 25″ by 35″! Barbara also shared that she has entered the quilt in two different shows and received quite different comments from the judges.

“I entered it in one quilt show and it got absolutely brutalized by the judges. I’ve never seen so many picky comments and excessive fault-finding. Talk about quilt-Nazis! So, I entered it back into another quilt show and got a totally different set of comments, which were more positive and constructive.”

I think all of us who have entered our quilts in competition can relate to what Barbara experienced. We shouldn’t let critical comments hurt our feeling or impede our creativity, but we should try to learn what we can from them. On a personal note, I have been asked to judge a number of shows and I can tell you from experience how hard it is to choose between the many beautiful quilts on dispolay and to put my personal preferences aside while judging.

Good luck to all who enter their quilts in shows! Thanks Barbara, for sharing your beautiful quilt with us.

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The Royal Roost by Jill Monley

Royal Roost, by Jill Monley

Many thanks to Jill Monley, for sharing this image of her fabulous quilt, based upon the fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea.  Jill took my five-day workshop at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar Conference Center, on the Monterrey Peninsula in California, in April 2012.  The quilt was made for a guild challenge with the theme, fairy tales.

Jill has this to say about her quilt, “Our guild’s quilt show was last month and last night at our monthly meeting the show award winners were announced.  The Royal Roost took 4 out of 5 of the prizes…..Best Use of Theme, Best Workmanship, Best Machine Quilting, and also Viewer’s Choice.  Wow!  I was blown away!!!!  I guess I got lucky on this one. ”

I think it’s a pretty darn fabulous quilt too!  Good job, Jill!


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Quilters Above the Clouds

Gray Jay

Welcome to the heights above Colorado Springs!  Fall was in the air at the mountain town of Woodland Park where I was teaching over Labor Day weekend. My host and hostess were the Kroenigs, whose spacious home was perched high on a mountainside about halfway between Woodland Park and Cripple Creek.  A Gray Jay was waiting for us on their deck, hopeful of a snack handout.

Andrea Kroenig

Andrea, my hostess, quickly took to the free-form design technique and whipped out two tiny trees in short order.  I can’t wait to see her finished project.

Kim McMurry

Kim was just about the most enthusiastic designer and always had a huge smile on her face.

Kim McMurry

even when she was setting about the sometimes tedious business of arranging her fabrics in a  color run.


Cindy, (no last name given) had never before taken a quilting class of any kind.  Studious and diligent, she designed her own project and was well on the way to completion at the end of the two day class.

Elizabeth Nijkan

Elizabeth had a blast!  She designed a star and a circle border  – – –

Elizabeth Nijkam

And, she finished that part of her quilt in class!  Good job.  Elizabeth and a  friend also make some delightful lotion bars that they sell locally.  She gifted me with a wonderful vanilla scented bar. It feels so good on my dry hands.

Chris Fugua

Chris got the prize for the speediest sewing.  The house-like structure on the left will become a saloon, typical of those found in Cripple Creek, a mile-square gambling town at 9494 feet above sea level.  I can’t wait to see it done.

Judy Hayward

Judy was well into her design too, with a ‘tiny tree’ and ‘mountains and valleys’.

Deborah Ann George

Deborah pins the curved seams for piecing!

Quilters Above the Clouds!
Front Row L-R: Nell, Chris, Andrea
2nd row: Cindy, Barb, Mary Jane, Deborah, Louise
Top row: Judy, Kim, Wendy, Elizabeth, Yours truly
Not pictured Cindy De More

It was a great weekend!  I hope I get to return one day to revisit this wonderful group of quilters.

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Marybeth Wujcik Design

Here’s a fine design by Marybeth Wujcik of Colorado Springs. She took my 3-day workshop in Santa Fe in 2011 and created this design, accented by couched Angelina fibers.  Marybeth owns Nana’s Quilt Cottage in the Springs. Check it out next time you are visiting that area!

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