Back in Sisters on Thursday I taught a handbag class. This was part design and composition and part general handbag construction. It was so fun to see what people did with my initial concepts. I'm all about getting it done the way you want it. Janis and I always say, "Make it Work"... a la Tim Gunn.
So when several students wanted to have larger bags or smaller bags than the original pattern I gave them, we just altered it to fit their needs. Several also wanted to do different appliques than I gave them, which was more than fine with me. It was a thrill to see what they did!
Here is the sample bag I used in class, an Emily Tote, which I have made at least 100 of. Each has been different because until I taught this class, I never made a template for the bird, I just cut them as I went.
Here is another example of one of mine. I often use velvet ribbon for the branches, but I had the students use their fabrics.
And here are some student bags. This one I just adore. Those birds are a hoot. For her bag we altered the pattern for not just size, but she also brought some really cool handles to use so we had to adjust where the magnet went and add tabs for the handles.
On this one, she did a design very close to mine and used my bird template. But you can see that she got creative too. And ... drool... Kaffe Fasset!
This lady totally did her own thing. Notice the quilting lines on the leaves etc? Doing that gives he design added texture. I do that one all of my birds and leaves.
I love this one... too cute!
On this one, she used a little trick of mine to add contrast. Double up the wings with felt beneath to add an outline. Later I believe she quilted it well too.
And this last one used Full Bloom fabric! Again, a very similar design to my original. The way she cut the felt for the branches is just lovely too!
This was just a super fun class to teach. There were 18 students, I believe, and they all got into it and did their own thing which totally made me beam with pride.
Now where were we? Tuesday I think. On Tuesday and Wednesday I taught the Garden Tea Party Quilt that you see in my sidebar. Four of the ladies went on scavenger hunts to find the exact Full Bloom fabrics from my line, and apparently it was an adventure as most are near the bottom of their inventory of it. But alas, they prevailed and came up with the goods.
The first job in making this quilt is obviously piecing the center. If I teach this class again, I will definitely have people at the very least cut all their blocks before coming to class. And the other thing will be to cut motifs out of their fabrics for the border ahead of time. Here are some of the centers in progress:
This is Susan from Michael Miller Fabrics pin basting her center to get ready for quilting.
And here these two are quilting the centers of their Full Bloom quilts.
And here is a beautiful quilt done in greens.
And one done in Kaffe prints and some from her stash.
And in these photos the motifs are being laid out in a composition. It takes a lot of moving stuff around to get it just right.
All in all, everyone got at least to practice their free-motion quilting skills and all of the centers of the quilts were finished. It was very fun to watch people coming out of their box and mixing fabrics they usually wouldn't think would work together. But I can't emphasis enough that it is possible to mix and match ... even... gasp ... fabrics from different lines and even... gasp... from different designers! What's important in Fabric Mix•ology (my trademark term ;) ) is that if you use a particular fabric or motif, you need to repeat that color or shape somewhere else in the quilt to bring it all together. Sometimes they do not all play nice together but it's worth it to try to mix it up a bit. There is always the option of un-sewing.
It's here! It's here! My most favoritest line of fabric yet! Store owners, if you haven't already, get your orders in to Windham Fabrics. It arrived 2 months early and is due to be ready for shipping August 1!
Let the sewing begin!
On Monday evening all of the teachers were invited to Jean Well's home for dinner. It was wonderful meeting all the other teachers, and such a beautiful setting. Jean's home backs to farmland with a clear view of Sisters Mountains. Heavenly.
This is the view to the right in the backyard:
And to the left:
And here are the hostesses, mother and daughter, Jean and Valori:
A good time was had by all! Thank you Jean and Valori!
Sisters is a great place to teach. Not only do the students enjoy learning, but as I mentioned in a previous post, the whole community seems to get in on the action. When you arrive at the high school, where the classes are, you are greeted by a contingency of high school students who help you bring your supplies and machines inside in grocery carts. The kids are around all day helping with various and sundry things. You get the feeling that everyone wants to be a part of Quilter's Affair.
And, I love teaching. There's nothing like sharing what you enjoy most with others. One thing I enjoy most is cutting big old motifs out of the center of a piece of fabric and then creating a collage to make something new. I do this with free-motion quilting. That's exactly what we did with my first project, The Container Garden Pillow. The original is a 24" x 24" pillow which I'm not going to show you because it's in my upcoming book, and I need to leave a little to the imagination, you know what I mean? But here are some pillows in progress and almost finished pillow fronts made by my students. My goal here was to make collage addicts of all of the ladies, get them comfortable with free-motion quilting, and so that, like me, they have big pieces of fabric with holes in the middle because there was a Had-to-be-Had Motif there. I have tons of pieces like this. It's a sign of a true love for fabric.
Here her motifs are all pinned on and she's ready to start her quilting.
I try to give students the freedom to make their projects into what they want them to be, and this next one is a great example of someone who did just that. She based this one on a vase she had in her home.
And this is the back of a finished pillow front... the white is the bobbin thread. Don't you love how you can see what was on the front? Sorry for the blur... but you get the idea. We were all very excited over this one.
In the end most of the ladies (there were 16, I think) got their pillow fronts quilted. I then sent them all home with instructions on how to finish their pillows. I'm dying to see how they all end up! So, if you are reading this... be sure to send me your photos!
There will be an overload of fresh quilter's and sewers at Sisters next year if I have anything at all to do with it. Because even if I'm not teaching there (which I hope to be), I'm going to start a movement to get all of you there! Ladies and gentlemen, Sisters is Mecca for sewing and the needle arts.
Led by Jean Wells-Keenan and her daughter Valori Wells, The Stitchin' Post has been around for 35 years, as has the festival which was founded by Jean. Jean is about to be the 40th person inducted in the Quilter's Hall of Fame. A huge honor for her and her family! The Stitchin' Post itself is a dream of a place with pretty much everything you can imagine you'd ever need to do what we do. Patterns, books, fabric, notions, yarn... and the best of it all.
The Quilter's Affair is a five-day program (M-F) before the start of the festival which is always the second Saturday in July. It was a huge honor for me to teach there. As I quickly found out, the teaching staff is world class. I would gladly take a class from any of them. And the students are so excited to be there, it's just a pure pleasure to teach. I taught two projects from my upcoming book (Inspired to Sew; to be released January 2011), an apron and a pillow, plus I also taught a two day class on my Garden Tea Party Quilt (see sidebar) and a handbag class. That was five days of teaching, and each day I learned something new and felt blessed to be sharing what I love.
I am overflowing with creativity and inspiration from my trip to Sisters. I met so many wonderful, talented people. And words can't describe how Sisters and the spirit of community there filled me with joy. This is going to take like a month to re-cap! I have so many photos, and so much to say. So, I'll begin at the beginning and wind my way through the trip.
Due to lack of direct flights, I arrived in Sister's pretty early in the day on the 4th of July. Kind of a crazy day to land as everyone in Sisters it seems was in Bend for fireworks that night. After checking into the hotel... which has llamas, the first order of business was finding a shoe store where I purchased a seriously Oregonian, but surprisingly cute, pair of Keens... a necessary evil I found out. BTW, llamas spit, did you know this? I did know, but I was reminded the hard way. I know! That guy looks really nice, doesn't he? But truly, he needs to learn some manners!
After recovering from the spitting incident, I was then able to walk around before all became quiet and still. And I found my dream home. It was for sale too! Sigh.
I also stopped at Sisters Bakery. Don't be judgmental again. I was instructed by my brother, a U of O Duck, that I was to stop there and eat a chocolate covered, chocolate donut. I was just being compliant. Ask my brother. I do anything he says... ummm... yeah... and so... where was I?
So I ate my chocolate donut and then walked and walked and walked because I was sure I'd done some serious damage with that donut. By time I was done walking it was time for dinner, of course. But it was the 4th of July, so almost everything was closed by time I remembered that it was a holiday. Therefore, I was forced to eat at a BBQ. And they forced me to eat Danish Babyback ribs. It was all that was left, I swear. And I did have to walk back to the hotel and all. I needed to be nourished for the trip.
Ok. So. Tomorrow I will start in with some sewing photos for you! You are going to love what my students did in their pillow class. They were so cool!
It has been a long time since I last wrote. I'm sorry, and I've missed you.
We were in Arizona last week. And I didn't even say goodbye or leave you with something fun to do. To top it off, the only pics I have are of my sister's son who is adorable, but since he's not mine, I don't feel right posting those even though I know you will oooh and ahhh because he is the most adorable baby in the entire world. I'm not biased. Really. He is. Edit: Except for my brother's baby who ties for first place in the cutest baby in the entire world contest.
Oh! But I did take a photo on the road of my two babies! Too bad they hate posing for pictures. We always take the dogs with us so we are on the look out for Good Places to Let Them Do Their Thing. On our last trip we found this amazing orchard at the end of a dead end street. This time, I was sure to take a photo. I'm positive we are not supposed to let them out there, but ...ahem... we do pick up after them so I hope Farmer Brown never comes after us with a shot gun for trespassing.
At any rate, this here is what you get when you ask 12 and 14 year old sisters to pose for a photo after they've been in a car for five hours and still have eight left to go. I say, "For crying out loud! Just go stand together over there and look like you like each other! One, Two, Three!". Snap. Sigh. Give up.
In other news, I'm getting ready to go to Sisters on Sunday. So I have been making extra samples, copying patterns and generally planning my classes. In the middle of this I was asked (and I'm glad I was, trust me) to submit some art work to someone ... but within three days. So, I gratefully scrambled to get all that done. Pretty happy with the results too. Last night I stayed up until two in the morning. I don't think I've done that since college! I mean stayed up to work. But I did what I had to do, and frankly, I loved every minute of it. However, due to the stress, my darned chin broke out again. (I feel the need to say this so if any of you see me Sisters and you only see me at events, where I am generally stressed out, you will know that I don't always look like I have the measles.)
But, I digress. Before I go I wanted to leave you with at least a little something to make up for my desertion last week, but then I never got anything done to give you. And then I remembered... I have been meaning to post about this for a month! Actually since Spring market in May. I did a little project with my Art Journal line for Sew4home. I just love their website. It's full of fabulous projects.
Well, have a great holiday! See you in a week ... or less if I figure out how to get photos off my camera and on to my laptop while I'm away. (I know. I'm a genius.)
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