Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Classes: Free Motion Quilting - BASICS and NEXT STEPS

I'm going to be doing more teaching at different locations in and around the local area in the coming year.  In the process of up-dating the Classes page on the blog, I've decided to to write a detailed blog post about some of the classes that I teach.  This blog post will give more information about the classes so that those wanting to book me, can find as much information as needed right at hand.

I'm starting with two of my favourite classes: Free Motion Quilting - BASICS and NEXT STEPS classes. 

I started teaching Free Motion Quilting classes WAY back in the mid 1990's.  I took an all-day class from a local store and fell in love!   The only downside was that we used 12" blocks to practice our FMQ.  I found the pieces too small to hang on to and when I taught my first class I decided on FQ (Fat Quarter) sandwiches.  In the 3 hour classes students were often going through 3 and 4 sandwiches.  We are now up to 1/2 meter and 1 meter sandwiches for a 3 hour class and that seems to work fine.  The reason for the larger size quilt is because of the amount of space for the quilter's hands.  When there is a very small quilt (12") there is very little room for the hands to hold the quilt.  A FQ sandwich will give more quilting space, but the larger 1/2 meter sandwich gives lots of quilting space while still giving the quilter room to hold the quilt.

The content that I used to teach in 3 hours, I now teach in 15-20 hours of classes!  That means more concentrated time on each aspect and more in-class practice!  I am a hands-on teacher and like to spend time with each student giving them individual tips and tricks.

Many of my classes are planned for a 3 hour teaching time.  I often am asked for whole day classes and will tweak the class content (add more) for these classes.  Sometimes we will combine the BASICS and the NEXT STEPS classes into a whole day class, but I prefer to give students some time to practice between the two.  The whole idea of practice is not to make it PERFECT but to make it PERMANENT.  The more you practice, the less thinking is involved and muscle memory takes over.

Free Motion Quilting - BASICS.  Learn the basics of 5 shapes that make up all FMQ designs and the foundation for all future FMQ. Learn how to set up your machine, the basic mechanics of FMQ, and how to stitch the 5 basic shapes.  This class is ideal for those who have never tried FMQ before, but is also a valuable refresher for those have some experience.

  • I always start my classes by talking about the machine set up. Sometimes we need to begin by cleaning out the machine.  Mostly I discuss the importance of machine cleaning.  We also talk about the needles (I go into more detail later in the class) and the sewing machine accessories recommended for FMQ.
  • We cover a demonstration and explanation of layering a quilt for FMQ on a domestic machine.
  • We get right to it and start stitching.  This first quilting time is focusing on thread choices and machine tension as well as hand positioning and tips on how to move the fabric.
  • Many years ago I read a book Pathways to Better Quiltng by Sally Terry.  I found the 5 shapes for machine quilt patterns an eye opening concept.  I have based my BASICS class on these shapes and once students see that almost all quilting designs are made from these shapes they "get it" and can FMQ.
  • The BASICS class focuses on these shapes.  I give students detailed notes and lots of time to practice drawing as well as stitching these shapes.
  • I bring along a (large) selection of quilted samples to show students.  I don't just show my latest (most perfect) projects, but the early ones too to show that everyone can FMQ!

Free Motion Quilting  - NEXT STEPS.   Students will gain confidence in their Free Motion Quilting by taking what they learned in the Basics class and learning how to put the basic shapes together to create a variety of quilting motifs. Students will get lots of practice stitch and trying a variety of different motifs.

In the NEXT STEPS class we continue what we learned in the BASICS class.  Although I recommend students to have taken the BASICS class first, anyone with any FMQ experience can join.  I'll just be expecting that students know how to set up their machine, and have some knowledge and experience of FMQ skills.
  • We spend a lot of time learning how to combine the 5 basic shapes to create a variety of different quilting motifs.  How to draw and stitch a basic flower or leaf. How to recognize what shapes are used in a variety of quilting motifs.
  • We also focus on scale and how to stitch shapes in a variety of sizes to coordinate with the size of the quilt.
  • Students will get a lot of time to practice drawing as well as stitching these new motifs.
  • Students are encouraged to bring in a quilt so as a group we can discuss ideas on quilting. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Do you have a class schedule and a price list.