Classes and Lectures @ The Garden of Quilts

This was such a fun trip! I took many, many more pictures of the gardens, quilts and wide open landscapes around me than I did of what was going on in my classes. My goal was to take two photos per class – one of the instructor teaching and one of my completed block. I was so intent on getting the hang of sewing orange peel and quarter circle blocks in my last class that I didn’t take any pictures until I had completed three blocks. By then, class was over!

What I learned:
Whirly Blooms: press seams open when pattern uses lots of FG, HST and other pieced units, use a 1.8-2.0 stitch length, “marinate” background fabric only in heavy starch.
Midnight Garden: stitch ‘n flip corners – sew just to right of drawn line (or scant 1/4″ seam if using folded corner clipper ruler), invest in a ruler with 1/8″ markings.
Blooming Stars: always make one block first to see if you like it before you cut the rest of the fabric in the kit, you really only need piecing thread in white/cream, beige/tan and med/dark gray.
Memis Lemons: don’t be afraid of curved piecing, fewer pins actually make the process easier (pin middle and 2 sides only), make sure your middle creases match all the way across so your background isn’t sewn on wonky.

I’ll definitely keep the Memi’s Lemons table runner for myself. Blooming Stars will get completed and put up for sale (and remade in a different color way). Midnight Garden will be completed and kept. Whirly Blooms may/may not be completed in kit form. The pattern makes a beautiful quilt, but I’m not too crazy about the colors in the kit. Anything made from this kit (pillows, throw or otherwise) will be gifted or put up for sale.

For my own teaching practice: Teach one block/technique at a time. Have a finished quilt available for students to examine/photograph and samples of each step in the process to pin on a flannel board (or portable design wall) and demo my process for tricky steps in small groups as students are ready. Plan on 1 hour of student work time per block. Bigger blocks (16″-20″) may require 2 hours. About 20 minutes before class ends, begin wrapping up and reviewing what students learned. Allow 5-10 minutes for Q&A.