Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival 2017 - Classes

Hi all -

In this post, I'll describe the classes that I took at the KCRQF.

Batik Wheels with Deb Karasik

The first class was Batik Wheels with Deb Karasik on Thursday from 8-3. This was a piecing class for a New York Beauty class that I took for fun. Here is the class project:

It wasn't hanging very well, so here is a picture of the pattern so you can see it better and in some other colors:

I enjoyed this class. I have some experience with New York Beauty quilts so I'm confident in making them on my own, but Deb had some good tips and tricks that I liked. I liked the way that Deb taught.

She described each step in making the blocks and gave her tips along the way, but she stressed that these are the things that work for her and we have to find the things that work for us. She gave good demonstrations and gave us plenty of time to work on our own. I also liked the room setup:

The machines were set up in two rows, with two machines per table. There was enough room to do what we needed to do and the convention center power was designed well enough that we could use our own irons without blowing the breakers. At Houston, you can't have more than 2-3 irons for each class, so this was a nice change! I didn't want to do any color planning ahead of time, so I'm doing a scrappy version of the quilt. Here's what I got done in class:

I look forward to continuing to work on this quilt and may end up making it larger than the pattern.

Charming Logs with Barb Eichmeier

On Thursday evening (4-7pm), I had signed up for Charming Logs with Barb Eichmeier. This is the class that I gave to my sister so I don't have much information on it, but I wanted to mention what I thought was rude behavior with this class. This class was in the same room as my earlier class, so my sister met me there and we set her up at the machine that I had been using, then went to see some of the show in the short break between classes. I left a bunch of stuff, including my cutting mat, ironing surface, iron and power strip. In order to have the iron there, I had had to unplug the sewing machine, plug the power strip into its plug, then plug the sewing machine into my power strip. Anyway, when my sister got back to the class, 5 minutes before class was supposed to start, not only had someone taken her spot so she had to unplug and move all of her stuff, but the teacher had also started class early even though not everyone was there. I wanted to mention that here because I thought it was completely rude and inconsiderate. It's not difficult to figure out why there is stuff at one of the machines and there were enough machines for everyone, so there was no need for someone else to sit in her spot except that they really wanted that spot and didn't care that someone else was there first. And for the teacher to start early, there's really no excuse for that in my mind. And it will make me think twice before signing up for one of Barb Eichmeier's classes in the future.

I want to make sure to add that my sister said that she did enjoy the class once she got resettled. So the class itself might have been good.

BIG Easy Hand Quilting with Cynthia Schrader

Friday morning (8-11am) was BIG Easy Hand Quilting with Cynthia Schrader.

This class was about big stitch quilting. I had a class in this with Gyleen Fitzgerald in Houston a couple of years ago, but I wanted to get another take on starting and stopping so I took this class. It was a good thing that we didn't need much room in this class because we were completely crowded into a tiny room. Cynthia started off with a trunk show of her quilts. There were some nice quilts, but I got a little frustrated with this because she spent 1.5 hours of our 3 hour class on the trunk show. A couple of examples are useful. That many quilts are a waste of our time. And it didn't help that she made a little comment that if we were interested in buying any of her quilts, we should catch her after class. But she did have a couple of good examples of how big stitch quilting can be used in quilts:

After the trunk show, Cynthia spent another 30 minutes teaching us to wind a skein of perl cotton into a ball. Sorry to be snitty, but I was getting a bit frustrated at this point. But after that we finally got down to actually stitching. I did like the way she did starts and stops, so that made the class worthwhile. This is all that I had time to get done in class, but it does include several starts and stops for practice:

Advanced Sit-Down Quilting on a Sweet 16: Combining Techniques to Create Ornate Motifs with Liz Granberg

My next class was the one that I was looking forward to the most. It's very rare to find an "advanced" quilting class anywhere, so I was excited to see what I could learn. But I got a bad feeling when I got into the classroom and there were only 12 Sweet 16 machines for a class of 18. Maybe I'm spoiled, but I personally think that making people share sewing machines in a sewing class is cheating the students out of their class time. I appreciate the loan of the machines for the class and understand how expensive that is, but I also think that if there is a possibility of sharing machines that it should be mentioned in the class description before you sign up and pay for the class because it makes a difference in the quality of the class. But this was not mentioned in the description. And this was the class where you could bring your own projects to work on. So I don't understand how you can share machines when you are each using different thread for your projects. So I was pretty unhappy to start with.

This class started off with a 1.5 hour presentation. That could have been good, but this presentation was a beginning quilting presentation and this was supposed to be an "advanced" quilting class! The presentation covered needles and how they are numbered, threads and how they are numbered, marking tools and the difference between air erase markers and water soluable markers, etc, etc, etc. All good information, but in my opinion advanced quilters should already know all of this. What I really wanted to hear about was how she combined techniques (stencils and rulers were mentioned in the description) to make ornate motifs. After she finished the presentation, she had us stand and stretch. While stretching, she joined a conversation with a group of students who were trying to understand the difference between cross-wound and stacked thread and why the thread needs to come off of the spool in different directions for the two. So I stood and waited for what was going to come next. While I was standing there, she walked by and asked if I was still stretching and I said "Yes, because I'm not sure what we're supposed to be doing now," but she just continued walking by. Then there was mention that she was going to show us how to pin baste our quilts. At that point, I just picked up all of my stuff and left. This obviously was not an advanced class and I wasn't going to get anything out of it. That was probably rude of me and was something that I'd never done before, but I was probably going to lose it if I stayed in that class.

Border & Backgrounds with Angela Walters

On Saturday morning (8-11am) I had a class with Angela Walters. This was another class that I was really looking forward to; and I wasn't disappointed.

This was also in the Sweet 16 room, but, luckily, there were only 12 people in the class so there was no sharing of machines. I'm not sure if that was expected since they had put two copies of the handouts at each of the machines, but that's how it turned out so that was nice.

Before class started, Angela put a bunch of sample quilts on tables around the room. What a perfect alternative to wasting class time with a trunk show! This class was about border/background motifs, so Angela would demonstrate how to stitch the motif using a whiteboard:

She discussed how to stitch the motif, how to turn corners, variations on the motif and how to use the motif as a background fill. She would show examples of how the motif was used in a quilt and would show a stitched out sample.

Then she would sit down at someone's machine and demonstrate the stitching. Here's the one she stitched at my machine:

Then we would take some time to practice the stitching ourselves while she walked around the room helping anyone who had questions. Here are my samples from the class:

I thought it was a wonderful class! We learned exactly what the description said we would learn and it was presented in a clear and understandable way. Angela was pleasant and funny and made the class a lot of fun!

Free Motion and Rulers on a Sit Down Sweet 16 with Kelly Cline

My final class was Saturday afternoon (12-3pm) with Kelly Cline.

This was also in the Sweet 16 room and we all had to share machines. As I'm sure you've guessed, I wasn't happy about having to share machines, but Kelly at least conducted the class so that sharing the machines worked out. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from this class since the description just said: "Each student will learn a variety of free motion designs and begin ruler work using a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 machine." My guess was that it was going to be pretty basic, but I thought I'd try it anyway since it mentioned ruler work. I was right about this being a basic class. But Kelly conducted it well. She would demonstrate a design on the whiteboard then we would practice it. She would remind us to switch to make sure everyone got time to practice the designs (of course, we also had to waste half of the time just sitting there while our partners stitched). The designs were extremely basic, so it was a wasted class for me but it matched the class description so it didn't bother me. Here are the designs we practiced in class:

After practicing the different motifs, Kelly gave a demonstration on how to use rulers and then we all got to practice that. The part at the bottom of my sample was me playing with the ruler that we got in our class materials:

I found that this ruler was a good size for my hand, but it slips a lot so I'm going to put something on the bottom to see if that helps. I heard online about using no-slip bathroom tape on the back to help with slipping, so I got some of that to try. I'll let you know in a later post how well that works. Kelly had a class sample that she had quilted up showing how to use the different quilting motifs in a flower:

Our class packets included a flower that we could play with ourselves:

I'll probably quilt this up at some point, just for fun.

Well, that's all of the classes that I took. I hope you enjoyed reading about them!



  1. I did enjoy your review of the classes you took. I hope you let the registration staff know about how the class description didn't match the class!! I took one longarm class and I "got" to share. I felt the same way as you did and I haven't taken another!!!!

    1. They didn't have evaluations in class, so I did send an email to the contact person on the festival Web site. I hope they find it useful. I like that they have evaluation forms in the classes in Houston!