There are several places in my area that give me inspiration - my sewing room, local quilt shops, and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. I was fortunate recently to spend a Saturday at the Quilt Museum attending a workshop sponsored by the Midwest Machine Quilters (MMQ). The featured speaker was DeLoa Jones from South Haven, Michigan. She is an awesome quilter and a great teacher.
The morning session was all about free motion designs that use continuous curves. This is one of my favorite designs to use because I can fill a large area with curvy designs and have very few stops and starts. While the basic idea of a continuous curve is fairly standard her designs raised the bar by adding feathers and swirls to make them even more special. I am excited to try them and even have a couple of quilts in mind where I can use them.
The afternoon session encompassed several topics. First she showed us how to create designs using curved and other specialty rulers. I recently purchased a set of curved rulers so it was fun to get some ideas on ways to use them. Secondly, she showed us her favorite ways to mark designs on a quilt - several of which I already use so it was good to know that I am on the right track. She also uses some of the water soluble pens on the market which I have yet to try as they make me nervous! Thirdly she talked about using stencils to make quilting designs. I have a lot of stencils that I often used when I was hand-quilting and machine quilting on my domestic machine but have not used them on my long arm. I found one that I plan to use on an upcoming quilt that I have. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
To finish off the afternoon DeLoa offered tips on how to quilt several tops that were brought to the meeting by the members. And then it was time for door prizes. Because there is generally a small number of people in attendance at these meetings everyone gets a prize. This year I received a packet of fabric designed by Elizabeth Hartman that is to be used to make one of her animal patterns. I am having trouble locating it, though, so may end up using the fabric for other projects.
In addition to a nationally known speaker, the MMQ meetings are a great place to meet other machine quilters. I enjoy learning from them about their businesses and their quilting life. One member brought along a box of books that had been owned by a quilter who had passed away. We were able to look through the box and take anything that we could use. I found a packet of patterns entitled “MinIature Whole-Cloth Quilt Collection”. I think they will be a perfect starting point in my quest to make a whole-cloth quilt.
Most of the speakers come with goodies to sell and DeLoa was no exception. She had a few books and a wide variety of rulers. I purchased her four books that came on a CD that I could download to my I-Pad and even print out if I wanted. The books are all about stitching feathers, borders, sampler blocks, and leaves and flowers.
I came home with a bag full of goodies and so many ideas! It makes me want to dive into my sewing room and try out everything I learned. Too bad there aren’t more hours in the day!