I thought I'd better get started on my Houston posts. There's just so much at Houston that it's going to take me a couple of posts to give you just a taste of the experience. A couple of years ago I decided that I was going to make Houston my big adventure every year. This was my third annual visit and it just keeps getting better each year!
I take advantage of every moment of Festival that I can. Since classes start on Monday morning, I fly out on Sunday; Festival ends the following Sunday so I come home on Monday. And I fill every moment that I can while I'm there. This year I took 9 classes and left 1 evening and 3 afternoons for enjoying the quilts and visiting a few vendors. Busy, busy, busy, but WOW, it is so incredible!!
In this post, I think I'll concentrate on the classes. With 9 classes, there's a lot to share!
Sue Nickels -- Focus on Fillers -- Monday 9-5
Sue is an incredible quilter, wonderful teacher and sweet lady. This was the third or fourth class I've take from her and I've loved every one of them! I think Sue does a really good job of following her curriculum while still working with students of all experience levels. In this class, she gave us some general quilting advice and then lead us through several different background fills.
Sue showed us how she has her sewing area set up so that she can quilt large quilts on her domestic sewing machine. She also showed us how she pin bastes her quilts and how she blocks the quilts before adding the binding. There's always a lot of good information in Sue's classes. I would recommend her to everyone!
Liz Broussard -- String It Up -- Monday 6-9
I wasn't sure what to expect with this class because it was a string piecing class, but the only supplies we were told to bring were paper and pencil. But sometimes it's fun to just see show up and see what happens!
Melinda Bula -- Renegate Thread Play -- Tuesday 9-5
I wanted to take one of Melinda's fusible applique classes along with the thread play class, but the fusible class I signed up for was full. Oh well, another year for that class. But I was excited to be in the thread play class.
Hollis Chatelain -- Let's Talk Quilting -- Wednesday 9-5
Hollis doesn't allow pictures in her classes so I can't show you anything from her class. For this class, Hollis talked about color theory and what effects different colors of thread will have on a quilt. One interesting thing I learned in this class is that neon threads can be used in a lot of unexpected places to brighten things up. They can even be used effectively on dull, dusty colors of fabric. And I LOVE neons, so I picked up a pack of all of the Superior neon threads from Hollis. Can't wait to play!
We had each brought an unquilted top and after her discussion we looked at each quilt and the group talked about how it could be quilted. It was interesting to listen to all of the ideas. I brought a top that I had pieced several years ago and had put away on a shelf. Once I saw it again, I found that I really like it and I will try to find time to quilt it next year.
Karen Kay Buckley -- Fiesta Mexico Block 3 -- Thursday 9-12
Karen is another teacher that I love and I try to take a class with her every year. This year I took her Fiesta Mexico Block 3 class, which is a hand applique class. This is the block we were working on:
Another plus in this class was that I met a new, good friend. Her name is Peggy and she lives in Fargo. I started up a conversation with her because I heard her mention she's from Fargo and I have a cousin who is a quilter and also lives in Fargo so I thought they might know each other. She doesn't know my cousin, but she recognized her name from seeing her quilts in local shows. Peggy and I ended up having a lot in common (we even ended up being in 2 more classes together) and I'm sure we'll remain friends for years. She had a couple of exquisite quilts in the show at Houston -- I'll share pictures in another post. (Hi, Peggy!!)
Sue Nickels -- The Scalloped Edge -- Friday 9-12
I signed up for Sue's scalloped edge class thinking that it was about doing the old fashioned scalloped edge with binding. I have a quilt at home that will end up with a scalloped binding and I haven't done one yet. But this class was about doing this type of scalloped edge:
Wendy Butler Berns -- Unabashed Free Motion Quilting -- Friday 6-9
I signed up for Wendy's quilting class because I thought she was going to talk about background fills and how she uses them.
Liuxin Newman -- Perfect Hand Quilting -- Saturday 2-5
Another class I was really looking forward to was Liuxin's hand quilting class.
Liuxin has designed her hand quilting method to minimize the strain on your body. She uses a rocking motion that has you controlling the needle from close to the first joint of your finger rather than your fingertip. She has broken down the motion so that you learn a bit of it at a time, not worrying about how your stitches look but instead working on learning the motion of your hand. Here are my (ugly) stitches from class:
Liuxin Newman -- Perfect Hand Applique -- Sunday 9-12
My last class was Liuxin's hand applique class. Liuxin does needleturn applique and can make perfect circles and leaves that are unbelievably small. Here is one of her pieces:
The class itself was disappointing, though. There were just too many people in class (35, I think) for her to be able to get through everything that she wanted to teach. She started with talking about convex curves and how to stitch them, then walked through the class and looked at each person's work. Then she talked about concave curves and again looked at everyone's work. By that time, there was just 5 minutes left in class and she quickly talked about how to do indentations, like at the top of a heart, and it was time to leave. So we didn't get to what I was interested in, which was her method for making perfect itsy bitsy circles. I'll probably get her DVD and book so that I can really learn her method. Here's what I got done in class:
Whew, that's a lot of information for one post! If you got to this point, thanks for hanging with me! I hope you found this interesting and that it helps you in the future if you have the opportunity to take classes from any of these teachers.