Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to get more out of your workshop experience.

For the most part my students are a joy to teach.  You always get a few people that are just having a bad week or tend to have a "can't do" attitude but for the most part the quilters that I see are excited about learning new techniques and skills.

I thought I'd share with you some tips for getting the most out of your workshops.

1.  Make sure you know exactly what the class is offering.  If you have any questions about the workshop, email the teacher and ask some questions.  A visit to the teacher's website is sometimes enough to clarify. Having a clear idea of what you want to get out of a workshop will increase your enjoyment of your time there.

2.  Bring everything indicated on the supply list.  If a specific ruler or notion is on the list, be sure to purchase it before the workshop if you don't already own it.  Teachers spend a great deal of time on the supply lists to make sure that you have everything you need.  Most teachers will indicate what you need to bring to class and what you need to finish the project.

3.  Make sure that your sewing machine and other equipment is in good working order before you bring it to the workshop.   Change the needle in your machine and wind a few bobbins before you pack up.  Double check that you have your foot control, bobbins and power cord.

4.  Always pack a basic workshop kit.  This includes pins, thread snips, stitch ripper, extra sewing machine needles (size 80/12 for piecing) and bobbins.  Be sure to label all equipment with your name.  Return address labels are good for this.  Always bring a power bar and/or extension cord to the workshop.  I highly recommend the wheel type extension cords that wind up and have 4 power outlets.  They cost around $30.00 but they are worth every penny.  You might want to pack a cushion to put on your chair for height and comfort.

Bayco Quad-Plug Extension Cord Reel 017398101653 SL-755

5.  Don't bring an iron unless you are sure that the electrical power supply can handle students bringing extra irons to class.  Usually the workshop organizers have irons for the class to use.  Nothing slows down a workshop faster than throwing a breaker.

6.  Recognize that a workshop room is never going to be as comfortable or convenient as your own sewing studio.  Go with the flow!  Try the method the teacher is using even if you usually do it another way.  Be patient with yourself.  Every new idea or technique will take time to master.

7.  Dress in layers.  Classroom temperatures vary depending on the location.

8.  Show up for the workshop about 20 minutes before starting time to allow time to set up your machine and materials.  Have a look at the samples in the room.

9.  When the teacher is speaking, pay attention.  Chatting with your friends while the teacher is speaking makes it difficult for others to hear and you will miss vital instructions.

10.  Turn your cell phone off.  If you must have it on because of an emergency situation, turn it to vibrate.  If you need to answer a call, leave the room first.

11.  If you need clarification on an instruction, ask the teacher.  Others in the workshop don't want to waste their valuable workshop time teaching you and chances are they've never done it before either.

12.  Recognize that the teacher must share her time equally with everyone in the workshop.  Try not to monopolize her time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fort McMurray

I spent a wonderful few days back at Suzy Q's Quilt Shop in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
It was so nice to see some of the same students returning to my lectures and workshops.  Thanks!
The time I spent there was jam packed but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Sue and her family were so nice to stay with.
Unfortunately I picked up a virus of some sort so I have spent the last 3 days in bed.  Luckily it didn't get bad until I returned.  The joys of flying in airplanes!

These are the photos from my Venetian Puzzle quilt class.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pine Tree Quilters Guild of Muskoka 20th Anniversary

I was away 5 days last week visiting the Pine Tree Quilters in Bracebridge.  Their guild was celebrating their 20th anniversary so invited me to present my Trunk Show Lecture at their gala luncheon and teach two workshops.
The first workshop was Spiral Bargello.  We all met at the community centre in Bracebridge for the one day workshop.  Here are the design walls at the end of the day.  No, you don't make this quilt in a day but it's worth it in the end.  You certainly know everything you need to finish the quilt up at home.  We talked about all kinds of things as it related to making this quilt like cutting techniques, value, colour, ripping out! etc.
Still smiling at the end of the day!

The next day was the luncheon held at one of the old Muskoka Lodges.  The scenery was lovely, the meal delicious and the people a delight.  I presented my Trunk Show Lecture.  Each person was given a spruce tree sapling and a Muskoka Pewter broach of a pine tree.

The following day we did the Cobblestones workshop.  This is a workshop where I'm able to share all of the time saving sewing and cutting techniques that I've developed over the past many, many years of my quilting career.  We cover things like cascade cutting, strip sewing, ergonomics, railroading, stacking etc.  The quilt itself is very simple but it is just a happy by-product of the lessons to be learned in this workshop.

It was a wonderful event.  The anniversary committee can take a bow for the terrific job they did of organizing everything.
Special thanks to Bruce and Elizabeth for allowing me to stay with them for five days.  They spoiled me rotten!!
I'm busy packing for my teaching trip to Fort McMurray, Alberta.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving Day e-Cards 2010 .

A Happy Thanksgiving to everyone this weekend.  The weather here is a glorious and sunny 26 degrees!  Last weekend I was wearing a ski jacket and this weekend I'm sporting a t-shirt and crop pants.  You just never know here in Southwestern Ontario.

The turkey is in the oven as we celebrate our Thanksgiving with dinner on Sunday.  We bought a new oven this Fall so I'm really enjoying putting it through it's paces.  It's my first convection oven.  So far I just love it.  I'm sure that cooking the turkey today will require me to try out the self-cleaning feature tomorrow.
This week I needed a break from the complicated quilt on the wall and took a couple of days to make some charity baby quilts.  I like to give them to some of the guilds that have me visit.  I also like to keep one in the car in case I need a gift in a hurry.
They are completely scrap.  The backings are made from chunks of leftover backings from larger quilts.  The batting is pieced together from odds and ends from other quilts too.  They won't win any ribbons but they are all flannel and very soft and warm.  Both are machine quilted with a stipple using variegated threads.
Made from 2 1/2" cut strips.

Dinosaurs, wizards and flowers

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME

I had a wonderful birthday today.  Hubby and I took off for Guelph today where I had the opportunity to visit one of my favourite quilt shops Greenwood Quiltery.  I ran into several people that I know and my friend Elaine Quehl was teaching a class today there too.
This is my birthday gift from my hubby.  Does this man know me or what???

It's a kit from Buggy Barn that I have admired.
Thanks to all of you that sent along birthday wishes.  It almost makes me forget that the nice man at the museum today gave me a seniors' admission price............ugh!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sarnia Quilters Guild Visit

I spent yesterday with the lovely quilters at the Sarnia Quilters Guild.  The guild meets twice in one day to accommodate their membership.  One group meets at 1:30 and the other at 7:30 p.m.  I was invited to share my Batting.....What's in Your Quilt? Lecture.
Here are the friendly quilters of the Sarnia Quilters Guild.

This is a very active guild with block of the month programs, secret pals, charity quilts, bus trips, workshops and a host of other activities.
Thanks to everyone for your interest in the lecture.  You asked some great questions!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Local Fall Fair

Our local town fair is what you think of when you think of small town Fall Fair in rural Ontario.  There are horse shows, dog shows, produce displays, merchant displays, home craft displays etc. etc.  The kids love all the rides that we remember from our childhood.  There are several food vendors selling deep fried Mars Bars, french fries, candy apples, cotton candy etc. etc.  There's nothing like fair clog the arteries! Even a small town midway has those sounds and smells we all remember so well.

Over the last few years rural fairs have been disappearing for lack of participation both in exhibitors, customers and the availability of volunteers to run the event.  Not so in our neck of the woods.  I can proudly say that the arena was packed full of baking, knitting, photos, crafts etc. etc.

Hubby entered two of his wonderful photographs and won a first and third prize ribbons.  I'm so proud of him!
My friend Janet won a third prize ribbon for a beautiful table runner and first prize overall winner for her homemade bread.  Way to go, Janet!!!

I entered 3 quilts and won 3 first prize ribbons including Best of Show.  If we pool our winnings we might be able to buy a pizza!  BUT it's not about the prize's about the ribbons and the fun of participating in our community's event.