I took/attended three zoom quilting classes this week.
Class One: Lauren's session was about developing a color pallet. Going from different colors and filling in the missing pieces. At least I think that is what the talk was about. Little Buffy needed attention during the presentation so I missed most of it. I hadn't straightened up my sewing area before the class so I didn't have a block to share from last week's presentation and I don't have one to share for the new lecture either. If I can sit and listen to her series though I know I will learn new information to apply to my quilting.
It turned out that I only needed a few hours to get the sewing room in order before the next two classes, so I hope to look back at my notes and have something to share at the next class session.
Class Two: I printed and pasted the pattern templates on cardboard so they would be reusable and picked out my fabrics.
The supply list for the first class said to have 10-12 fat quarters, 1 yard for background and border, plus a selection of 8-10 inch scraps to make the entire 25 block quilt. At first I was going to plan to eventually make the entire quilt, but then decided to be happy with four blocks, as I could sew them together to add to my Starry Nite quilt. Which was already has some 4 patch blocks in the design.
So I did too much preparation since I cut back what I was going to make. But in the end I didn't even use two fat quarters and just needed a few long strips for scraps. I'm glad I didn't cut fabric down before the class began as that would have been really wasteful - of time and materials.
She had the blocks designed so they were asymmetrical until the last strip was added to the side that then made them square. When I printed the templates I measured the one inch test square and that was correct. But after discussion in the class found out that the one template was supposed to be 6 1/4 by 6 1/2 - but my piece printed at 6 1/8 by 6 1/2. The other people hadn't measured the one inch so they went and reprinted and were happy. Mine still showed one inch test box but a different measurement for the template piece. I just put the blocks I made in a little bag with the pattern to deal with when I pull out the blocks for the bigger project - then I will decide what to do... It was fun and interesting to work on adding the inserts to the larger pieces of fabric - but that was done before the template was cut out, so it was sort of a side trip.
In the pattern she shows the diagram of a quilt made without the inserts, but when I looked I only saw the colors, not that detail. It is good that I refreshed my memory on what fabrics I have, and that I didn't cut down fabric to have fat quarters and 8-10 inch squares before class. She had a diagram showing how you could cut four blocks from one fat quarter, that I guess went with the no inserts version, but it was unclear to me how to interpret the pattern.
She covered herself by printing that the real fabric needed would depend on choices we made, but it was sort of waste of time and effort before the class anyway.
I used the colors and fabrics saved from my WIP Starry Bright Sky QAL Once put together this new block it will be a nice addition to the quilt.
Class Three: This was another long class, with lots of time to actually sew things together. The templates were printed using Carol Doak paper - it took a little work to remember how best to tape the pieces on the window to line up the templates. Up to four pages had to be connected for one of the four blocks.
This was another case of even though I had read the pattern and looked online to see examples, there were things about the pattern that I didn't see until the class discussion.
My goal was to make two blocks in class, and to finish the other two after class.
I finished just one, and rushed to finish the second one... So that one will need to be redone.
The new things I learned in these were:
1. That taping templates to fabric and then cutting is a thing! It worked very well to get the skinny pieces cut, and while I was at it I just taped everything down before cutting. It was very easy to cut the starched fabric.
Years ago - like perhaps ten or fifteen years ago or longer, my mom had purchased a stack of green boxes of scotch tape. Enough for an office or school. But now I have a reason to use that tape and it was a dream to use for this purpose. I was thinking of how my mom was with me while I was sewing for this class. She would have done excellent work in the class and ended up with a perfect set of blocks. I wish we had sewn together more.
2. Look carefully at template pieces, and be sure to have what you need for a block in one area. I didn't and cut a piece (clearly labeled with the word background) that was supposed to be grey out of purple material. But just a little mistake that I hope to not repeat.
3. When they say to sew slowly, even though others are way ahead of you with their work, still sew slowly. In my rush to finish the second block after class I have a few puckers that will require seam ripping or just redoing it all together.
4. The teacher showed an example of a block she made that had ended up very crooked compared the blocks it was to be joined to. On the same slide, she showed the piece corrected and sewn together and quilted. She showed the slide saying it was something to be aware of but it was fixable. When asked she confessed the solution was not only to spray and block each piece as completed, but she had to rip out the work and redo it! Ugh!
5. Sometimes teachers recommend a tool as they use it, but really there often are ways to do the procedure without the expense or needing to store the item for later use.
6. Also, using items to weigh down larger pieces of template on top of fabric will help with cutting the pieces too. When cutting a skinny piece for example it was good to weigh it down for the return cut to stop it from moving and wrecking the cut.
7. Having some card stock and a smaller ruler helped with using some of the Carol Doak paper templates. But sure to fold at the seams, back stitch in the seam line for each piece, fold the paper back and cut the fabric so there is a new 1/4 inch seam. If using white and black might consider cutting black slightly narrower or move the white piece so it shows from the front of the template as you sew to prevent the black from showing thru.
8. Teacher recommended pressing seams open as you add on the different layers of the pattern.
9. No one knew a way to use computer to pour in different colors on the coloring page - so the ppl who used it actually used coloring pencils to test their fabric choices. Apparently EQ allows the computer to help with coloring, but giving that file away was not an option for this class. I don't have EQ so not an issue for me, and since I was using the same fabrics (not gradually going from one set of colors to another) I didn't really need the option. But it would be nice to know how to pour in colors into a pdf image, wouldn't it?
Teaching Notes to Remember
She talked about how she developed this pattern as part of a series of like-looking designs. I think if I ever were to teach a class I might give out or assign different students different fabrics to use to help with increasing the examples of different colors and perhaps giving some different pattern modifications to test too. And then print with notes so the differences are pointed out.
Also, although the dream is to have all the students eventually finish a complete quilt, for workshop purposes it would be great to organize it so there is a different workshop sub-pattern or set of directions to follow to finish something in the class time. It was awkward to flip back and forth between pages.
The written and oral directions should be the same or an errata sheet of differences should be compiled by the teacher ahead of time.
In a class, better to start with easy steps and then move on to more complicated things.
Work on numbering blocks so they start with simpler to more complicated too. It the easier block to probably three or four then have the pattern label those blocks as one or two and change the others accordingly.
It's a fine line between giving information away and charging for it. Charging for every thing is a drag and time consuming. If you want to sell something, the put it in the pattern and clearly on the website too. Make it easy and not part of class.
I did get some walking/chatting sessions in and enjoyed them. Buffy continues to amaze with her progress.