Saturday, November 15, 2014

Houston IQF, Part 1

Hi all -

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.
She designed the class so that we could take the practice sandwiches that we made in class and create a book of fillers to keep by our sewing machines. Here is my page of different sizes of stippling:

 I probably won't make the book, but I think it was a really good idea to present it in that way and offer that suggestion.

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!

Well, it turned out that Quilt n Sew in Katy, TX, was kind enough to donate fabric kits for us to use in this class so that we wouldn't have to bring anything (Thank you!).  Liz stepped us through how to lay the strips to get different effects in our string-pieced blocks. Here are the blocks that I made in class:

As a bonus, she also talked about color theory and showed us how different color combinations were used in her sample quilts to produce different effects. Liz had designed the class so that beginners who had never picked up a piece of fabric could enjoy the class, but she easily switched gears when it turned out we were all experienced quilters.  I found it to be a nice way to spend the evening.

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.
Melinda is a very entertaining teacher.  I really enjoyed this class a lot! She gave us a lot of good information on the threads and fusibles that she uses, and good tips for using the fusibles.  She gave us several pieces of fused fabrics cut to represent different parts of a flower and we fused them onto a background and learned how to give them life. Here is what I did:
 I was really surprised at how easily the crudely cut shapes came to life with just a few simple lines of quilting.  Here is a close up of the rose petal shapes.  I know, they look like lips, but if you think about the petals around the outer edge of a rose I think you'll see it.
 This was all done with green thread, so imagine the effect when using matching thread and then adding some shading and highlights with darker and lighter threads. And here are my leaves, just because I think they look cool:
I was excited to take this class because I have a little rose that I fused several years ago but never had the courage to quilt it. Now I have the courage, and just need the time....

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:
Pretty cool, huh? I didn't learn any new techniques in this class, but I didn't expect to because I've had a hand applique class from her before. I took the class to be reminded about some of the finer points of her method that I will hopefully remember when I doing applique.  You can never go over how to handle points and how to make perfect circles too many times for someone like me who flits from technique to technique, not spending much time on any one of them! And Karen is really good at breaking things down and giving you all of the details that you need.
Here's what I got done in class. Or I should really say, here's what Karen and I got done in class since I was sitting in front and she kept using my project for her demonstrations. I certainly didn't mind!!

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:
It was actually a pleasant surprise because I'm trying to explore other quilt edge treatments. One of the comments I got on my quilt that was at the Denver Mancuso show this year was that I needed to explore other edge treatments, so I'm taking that to heart. As usual, Sue's class was well-organized and the information was good and presented well. Here's my class sample:
I still need to attach the edge to the sample quilt, but you get the idea. Now I just need to find a project where I can use this.

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.
Unfortunately, this class ended up being a waste of time for me because it ended up being just a beginning free motion quilting class.  There were some background fills in the handout, but we didn't go over any of them in class. So I just sat in class and practiced some of the fillers from her handout:

There was also mention of an optional wholecloth project in the class description, but that was never discussed. Wendy seemed like a nice lady and I think the beginners got a lot out of the class.  She did go around and work with each individual on getting their hand and foot speed coordinated to get a good stitch length, so I would recommend this class for beginners but not for experienced quilters.

Liuxin Newman -- Perfect Hand Quilting -- Saturday 2-5

 Another class I was really looking forward to was Liuxin's hand quilting class.
I like to have handwork projects so I can accomplish something while watching Broncos football games and Kansas Jayhawks basketball games. I also like to take hand projects to my friends' houses when we get together for sew days so I don't have to schlep my heavy sewing machine around. And who better to learn hand quilting from than the Thimble Lady?

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:
I have a lot of practicing to do!! But I liked the motion and think I will enjoy it once I get it down.

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:
Each leaf in the piece is absolutely perfect! And they are tiny! This whole piece was something like 18" square. Incredible!

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:
Not very interesting, but I like to be complete. I think that Liuxin is an excellent teacher, and the problem with the class was just the class size.

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.


1 comment:

  1. Not sure if you got my last comment or not, but I'll add another just in case! Love the descriptions of your classes and great photos too! The Karen Kay Buckley quilt is really cool - love the design and colors! Thanks for sharing!