Sunday, March 18, 2007

Breather from UFOs - High Tech Tuck

Yesterday I took an all day workshop at my LQS, High Tech Tuck wall hanging from a pattern by Caryl Bryer Fallert. This pattern was published in the Fons & Porter, Sept 2006 magazine. No, Caryl did not teach it, how I wish!

I enjoy taking quilting class mainly for the pleasure of meeting other quilters and seeing what they're up too. I hadn't taken a quilting workshop in an extremely long time. Even our snow storm did not deter me from attending.

Like most of you, I can pretty much figure out how to make a quilt from a pattern. So when I take a class, it's because, aside from being with other quilters, I'm hoping to learn little tips and tricks that will make the construction of the quilt easier. Unfortunately, this was not the case in this class. The teacher told us step by step what to do. The first clue should have been the supply list being a photocopy of the published list in the magazine.

For this project, I had chosen fabric from the Laurel Burch line of fabric (Thanks Pam for the inspiration). I purchased the mermaid panel as well as a fish fabric, just in case the first didn't work well, which it didn't due to size (I'll do the math another time).

In my first attempt, I started from strip one (1) onward. After sewing a few strips, I realized that it was not working. I had to start from strip 24 backwards. Ripit, ripit I croaked! This wall hanging is constructed with the batting and backing. I guess you can call it a "quilt as you go" project. So far, I like the way it turned out. Today I hope to have it finished.

Sadly, I did not learn any tips and tricks in this class. I'm pretty much on my own with the construction of this project. What I did learn pertains to my dream of opening my own quilt shop.

1) Make sure you have good equipment for your students. Cheap irons do not work well especially on a project that requires lots of precise ironing.
2) Tables should be made of something sturdy (thanks Kim for your comment) and not plastic. The sewing machine causes the table top to vibrate when you sew. Speed is no longer an option.
3) Never use the supply list from the pattern for a class. Make a new list, ensuring that the students have all that they need.
4) Check in on your teachers. See how the class is being conducted. Ask for feedback/evaluations.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my understanding of a paid quilting class should not be the teacher only following the pattern instructions with the students, but providing demos, working with the student, explaining why something would not work as well as providing tips and tricks to make quilting easier. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that's how I tailor all my classes.

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to meet other quilters and see how their project turned out. The teacher was a very nice person as were all the students (we were three (3).


Darlene said...

Carole, I hate going to a class full of anticipation and then going home full of disappointment. I'm so sorry that happened to you. With your talent you'll do very well with completing this project. Just try to enjoy!

Silverthimble said...


I love how your project is turning out! I understand you used the fish fabric for the tucks, but what did you use for your background? Your post had me go back and track down the Fons and Porter magazine you mentioned. I have it so I will be looking to do this project in the future. I love Laurel Birch fabrics and did not originally think about them when I saw the magazine. This pattern seems like a lot of stitching. Be sure to show us your finished project! Thanks for the inspiration.

Kim said...

I'm with you on taking classes--I only take them if I think I'm going to learn something new--usually a new technique--OR if the class is being taught by a quilt designer I admire. How disappointing to pay money for something you could have done at home! I agree with your quilt shop list of must haves and must dos except maybe the wooden tables. They tend to get splintery (is that a word?! LOL!) from pinning quilts, etc. I find the folding leg laminate topped tables are usually heavy enough to be sturdy but not get torn up by quilt pinning. Your fish look fun!

Wendy said...

I take classes for the same reasons you listed but mostly for the socializing with other quilters. It's all about having fun in the class. It's a bonus if I come away with a tip or two but it doesn't happen very often.

Beth said...

I'm right with you on reasons to take a class...I just taught one a month or so ago, and I had an unprepared STUDENT. She took so long to pick/iron (all 2 yds of 5 diff fabs), and cut hers, she never got to SEW anything. And then she was mad at ME! :::sigh::: I had examples, tips and even BROWNIES! I guess I should be happy I only had one unhappy camper! Wanna sew together? we can take turns teaching each other :::Grin:::

Pam said...

The piece is really cute with the fish fabric. I don't think I have that magazine. I'm looking forward to seeing it once it's finished. Ohhh - now that's pressure :)))

I have taken a couple of classes from published teachers and discovered that all I really needed was to buy the book and do it myself. I didn't learn anything extra that I was hoping to as well. Very disappointing.

But it is nice to get out with a bunch of other quilters, even in the snow.

Sweet P said...

You provide many good tips about classes. I've only taken one quilting class in my two years of quilting and I was very happy with the experience.

I like your wall hanging so far. Keep up the good work.

Leigh said...

I'm sorry you were disappointed with the class. We get excited when we think we are going to learn a whole lot more and it is very disappointing to think you could have just followed the pattern. You think with only 3 in the class the teacher would be able to keep a close enough eye on you that you didn't need to waste valuable class time unpicking.
I look forward to seeing the finished project. It's looking great.

swooze said...

Pretty! Can't wait to see the final product!

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