It's October 2020, and I'm prepping for a virtual workshop on Zoom that I'm moderating. As I pull fabric and set up the desk area for tablet, in preparation to answer questions and help with technical problems, my eyes are drawn to my design wall. There I see four blocks from the past year - four excellent classes. I haven't packed them away because I enjoyed the classes so much. So here are my favorite classes of 2020 ...so far, at least.
In January 2020, Quilt North Guild and the Capital District Modern Quilt Guild hosted Victoria Findlay Wolf in the Albany, NY area. She did an amazing trunk show - which was simply hilarious - and offered two workshops: Cottage Tulips and Double Wedding Ring. I took both classes, but it's the Double Wedding Ring that I'm featuring here. I'll be honest, I only took this class because of the teacher and her amazing reputation as a national educator. The double wedding ring pattern is much too traditional for my taste, but I knew the class would at least help me with understanding curves. It did that and SO MUCH MORE. Victoria has a way of really pushing you out of your color and pattern comfort zone. She is an amazing mixture of whimsy and practicality. "Just cut the fabric - you have more!" she'd say when we were uncertain if a piece would work or not. She even gave us permission to cut up that unfinished UFO sitting in a dark drawer. It was quite liberating. And at the end of the class, I even started planning for ANOTHER double wedding ring quilt. Crazy!
She teaches a whole slew of classes through her website, so go check her out. You can learn all about "floppy-toppy" and "fairy fingers" too!
Paula Nadelstern came to Quilt North in February 2020. (Two NYC residents back-to-back!!) Paula is all about kaleidoscope looks and fabric. If you don't know about her work, go look her up real quick, I'll wait here for you...
Pretty fun stuff, huh? She has an amazing line of fabric and when you discover that the printed patterns were originally from pieced blocks, it just makes it that much more mind-boggling. This was a technique class where she walked us through her process of making kaleidoscopes. It's delightfully old-school, complete with using a geometry compass and graph - which I hadn't used since high-school. It also balanced out the math with lots of pattern playtime. Nearly half the class was simply auditioning fabric and patterns, watching for repeats, and exploring color and value. We left with one finished block and a concrete understanding of how to manipulate the process to make unique kaleidoscopes of our own.
March, April, May 2020... sadly COVID-19 hit; and in-person classes became impossible. What we hoped would be a short stay-cation turned into a new need to sew "virtually" together. Teachers and guilds across the world had to figure out how to connect through a computer screen. It's still a bit of a learning curve, but the first class I took virtually was from a teacher who is no stranger to being on camera.
Alex Anderson is on the of the hosts for "The Quilt Show", an online talk show about all things quilty. She has books, products, fabric, and so much more. If this is the first time you've seen her name, do yourself a favor and go to YouTube and her website; spend a hour looking around. You are sure to find many things to impress and inspire.
Honestly, I can't remember the name of the class/block/technique she taught us. We were her guinea pigs in this new course for her. So I'll call it Small Strips. This class was a great scrap-buster. I just pulled a bunch of bright colors from my scrap pile and went to town! It's a super easy technique and went together very quickly. And I've got to say, Alex is an absolute joy! Good times!
So I'm not gonna lie... I was pushed into taking this next class. MJ Kinman was scheduled to teach Bite Sized Gems for the guild, and because it was the first workshop of the new guild year which meant there were tons of things to get done, I was planning to sit this one out. Plus, I knew it was going to be a freezer-paper template class, and I've never been a fan of freezer paper. But I am so glad that I was convinced to take this class, because it has not only completely changed my opinion on freezer paper in my quilt lab, but my mind is bursting with ideas on the usage of this technique.
MJ gives a very colorful history of how she got to her trademark look and technique. And once she walked us through the how-to's - which are extremely detailed and include tons of tips for success - she then does a step-by-step of a small gem block. Once I had the technique "in my hands" my brain exploded. She described how the technique could easily translate to flowers or landscapes or whatever... Thanks to this class I now have two more projects on slate, and I spent an entire day planning out another gem block I want to create. Too much fun!
MJ has a great website below, and is releasing a new book which showcases her gem-freezer paper technique. (There's even rumors that she'll autograph the book for you if you purchase it through her website!)
So that's my course list up to October - there's at least three more classes that I've signed up for before the end of the year, so watch out for a future post. And check out all these teachers - they are amazing quilters and fun people to boot!
Let me know what classes you're taking, or if you have a recommendation for me! Until next time ... back to my quilt lab!