Sunday, January 13, 2019

My, How Things Have Changed

Recently, I was preparing supply lists and class handouts for an upcoming class I am teaching for the St. Andrew Bay Quilters Guild of Panama City, FL.


5 Easy Pieces

Pieces of the Past Circa 1875
These quilts are similar in design but not the same. The dark version is a replica of an antique top I bought at a yard sale 30 years ago. That has a bit of an interesting story to it, read that HERE.

I completed both these quilts in 1995, hand-quilting the dark one and having someone else hand-quilt the light one for me. In those next few years I taught these quilts in classes a few times. Fortunately, I kept my teaching folder for that class. I was surprised how much has changed today.

The supply list included template plastic, sandpaper, glue, 1/4" graph paper--we started out drafting the pattern!!! Here are the things I found in that teaching folder--one of the sketches is true "cut and paste", and I printed with a dot matrix printer:

Today, if you try to offer a class that has the word "Drafting" in the title or Description, no one will sign up. Most classes today are "project" classes--step-by-step how to make that exact quilt.

I love to teach quilters how to "fish"--to teach them skills to plan their own quilts, whether from antique quilts or quilts they dream up themselves.

In 5 Easy Pieces that I will be teaching later this year, we will concentrate on the simple construction of the light version--the dark one involved LOTS of set-in pieces to truly replicate the original. There is a work-around that makes it easier, I will teach that too.

The class handout will include layouts I printed quickly and easily from Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8) and paper patterns for paper piecing,. an option for students. I use this class as a way to teach at least 4 ways to make Flying Geese units--students can try them all or concentrate on the one they like best--the quilt has a lot of geese:

Calculating fabric yardage was a snap with EQ8--my old notes have pages of my math calculations for how I figured out the yardage in 1995.

I often tell today's students that I learned to quilt BEFORE THE INTERNET and am proof that it was possible. We have so many wonderful resources available today at our fingertips--I would not want to go back.  But having the skills I learned in those early years has stood me in good stead.

My goal as a professional quilt teacher is to share as much of my knowledge with all those who want to learn it--so they can pass it on to future generations. My calendar is full this year and getting that way for next year and that makes me happy.

This class will be a lot of fun and students will learn lots of great tips for the 3 basic skills we need to piece great quilts:  the Cutting, the Sewing and the Pressing. I look forward to joining my friends in FL later this year--this is a repeat engagement--we had a lot of fun and very happy students the last time I taught there about 2 years ago.

Let's quilt!



  1. I’m so glad you have those old school skills in order to teach the new skills to those of us like me who would never Be quilting if not for teachers such as you

    1. Thanks, Peggy--my goal is to make it look easy.

  2. How funny to compare methods from then to now.
    A few years ago I took a class from Marsha McCloskey. The class description didn't include this, but she did teach us how to draft the pattern for what we were making. She also included the pattern, but before we turned to it, she taught us how to make our own from the diagram of the finished block (It was English Ivy). It was interesting to learn, but I'll admit that it might have scared me had I read that in the class description. I am grateful for that knowledge now, though. It has helped me out so many times!

  3. I'm old school too and I am so glad that I have the information to be able to draft my own quilt blocks. EQ8 is great for today's quilters. Keep up the good work of teaching others.

  4. That is funny! I think it's good to know the old school way of drafting and quilting too! They are great skills to have!