Since this was my first time attending QuiltCon I didn't want to overextend myself. I only signed up for one six-hour class on Thursday and one lecture on Friday so that I could spend most of Friday looking at the quilts and visiting the vendors. We spent Wednesday and Saturday visiting friends and family so I knew that I'd have to make every minute count.
I took Krista Withers' class on Compositional Quilting. Wow, that was a fantastic class. We learned how to mix and match a variety of straight line quilting with some free-motion quilting. It's a nice way to fill up quilts that have a lot of negative space while creating a "path" across the quilt. Krista is very sweet and had a lot to teach us. One of the best things I learned, besides the actual class, was the concept that we don't have to be perfect, that we should just quilt it and look at the entire quilt.
Susan of QuiltFabrication, also from Sunnyvale and a member of the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association (SCVQA), was kind enough to save me a spot at a longarm in front of the room. We had fun taking turns at the longarm quilting. I'm afraid that I was a bit too long on it after lunch and Susan didn't get the very last bit of her practice piece done. But it seems like we both learned a lot.
Here's what I did during the six hours .. keep in mind that we were using a machine with the stitch regulator turned off. And with the exception of the circles (which I need more practice using those circle rulers), the straight lines were all done free hand. Now I'm super excited to continue practicing this technique. But first my longarm needs a bit of TLC because it's not wanting to stitch R to L without shredding the thread. I'm guessing that it's just ever so slightly out of time. Luckily I ran into Dave the longarm man at the show. He's going to be in my area this week so I'm taking advantage of that to get my machine tuned up. Yay!
UPDATE: Dave Make It Sew of Rancho Cucamonga was in the area so he was able to fix my machine. It turns out that it didn't need any timing, just to have a needle gouge lightly sanded off the exterior of the bobbin race assembly. I guess at some point when I first got the longarm I didn't install the needle all the way in. Oops! But the good news is that I'm now able to go back and forth in straight or curved lines from L to R and then R to L without any thread shredding or breaks. I'm ecstatic and now can't wait to practice some more of this Compositional Quilting style.
The lecture that I took was moderated by Anne Sullivan who used to be a member of the SBAMQG in Santa Cruz before she left us to move across the entire country. Can you tell that our guild misses her? At any rate she had a lecture panel on how to get your creative mojo back when it's disappeared. Designers Anna Maria Horner and Jennifer Sampou as well as Elaine Theirault of Northcott spoke about what to do in that case. One of the things that I most remember is that we need to work with our hands, to just make. The other thing was to take inspiration from everywhere. The final thing is that AMH is a hoot! All four were such inspiring creatives ... it was worth taking the time out to listen to it. Next time I'll try to make time for a couple more lectures. I do wish that I had been able to be at the show on the weekend so that I could find out about Gwen Marston and the special lecture about Molly Upton's quilts. I've heard that they were both fantastic. Perhaps the MQG will post them up on their site later this year?
Okay, the other fantastic thing about the lecture ... do you notice the charity quilt on the right? Well that's the one that my guild the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild made. When we first got to the convention center we were wondering where in the world our little quilt was. So nice to see it up on stage. The one on the left was made by the LA guild. So we were both representing California.