Sunday, September 17, 2023


 Recently, I was fortunate to have a full class of 15 dedicated students enroll in a 5 Day Special Event workshop at Southern Charm Quilting here in Huntsville AL. They worked hard for all 5 days and accomplished so much. I was so happy with how the class went.

Full Circle is a pattern by Wendy Williams. I saw the quilt in 2020 and determined I wanted to make one. When I was asked to teach it at Empty Spools Seminar in March 2024 I had to get the sample made:

90" x 90" 

I loved the fabrics I selected, some are 20 years old but real favorites of mine. The spectacular quilting was done by an amazing local longarmer Patty Wilson. I love everything about her quilting on this. See this blog post with more details of the quilting: Full Circle is Quilted

Hoping to get about 10 local students for this class here at home, I was thrilled when 15 enrolled. Five flew or drove in from out of state, the rest were local. Six states were represented in the group. They may have started the week as strangers but they left as friends. 

Everyone learned a lot and got so much done. As a teacher, you think you know what can be done in the time allotted but you are never sure until you teach the class. As I will have 24 students at Empty Spools I was eager to see if my plan would work. It does!

There is a substantial Supply List for this class and Fabric Selection is key. I offered a day at the shop where I would help anyone who wanted hands-on help picking fabric, about a month before the class. Here are my fabrics: 

Here are some photos to give you an idea how the week progressed.

The first day I gave each student a set of labels for each of the 9 blocks and Borders--they put them on their Ziploc bags to keep organized:

My biggest concern was Block 2, Flower Garden. It takes time to prep the circles and hand embroidery can take awhile. Most students got the stems sewn in place so they could move on--the hand work can be done later. Some used machine stitches for the circles so they got them sewn on: 

Learning to paper piece using freezer paper as a foundation was new for most students. The results were excellent:

Learning to sew curves is another technique this quilt project provides, it's not hard, just don't be in a hurry: 

By day Two we had made 4 "blocks": flying geese, checkerboard, flower garden, and houses, AND learned how to sew the arcs together: 

Mid-week we had a Field Trip--out to dinner at Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant for those who wanted to come. We had 17 including a few spouses. Joan snapped this shot and I'm glad she did. After dinner anyone who wanted to come see my studio was welcome since I live very close to the restaurant:

I was delighted my friend Jan Davis was in the class. She and I have a "mutual admiration society" thing going on. She is a local hero, having flown on the Space Shuttle three times. The first day I embarrassed her a bit by making sure everyone in the class knew who she was, most did not. Young women today may think women have always been able to do anything they want but many of us remember the struggle to succeed in a "man's world" should we have chosen to pursue such a career, as I did in the United States Marine Corps and Jan did at NASA.

Jan has just released her first book, Air Born,  the story of her dad's life as a B 17 pilot in WWII who spent 21 months as a POW. It also includes her own story as an Astronaut. Many of the students bought copies of her book which she graciously autographed, and she even posed for pictures with those who asked:

Jan with Sandy F: 

The week flew by for all of us. I told the students in advance to expect to be tired at the end of each day and they were. But they hung in there and were rewarded for their efforts.

THE WALL, the last day of class--I was so happy with how much was accomplished by each student:

Japanese/Oriental style fabrics from Lisa C:

Happy Houses and everything else from Kari:

How about making this quilt with Neutrals as Jan did: 

The mandatory "class photo" after "graduation". What a wonderful group of quilters this was, I am honored they chose to spend a long 5 days with me. They taught me things too:

There are just a few spots left in this class at Empty Spools Seminar March 2024 . See this blog post about Full Circle at Asilomar

If you prefer to take the class here in Huntsville, I am very happy to say I will offer it once again at Southern Charm Quilting May 6-10, 2024. The Class Fee includes 5 days of detailed instruction, the pattern, my 10 page Handout of "Changes, Tips and Clarifications", lunch the first day, a $100 gift card for store purchases, and a day when I will be in the shop for Fabric Selection assistance, about a month before class begins. 

I offer a huge "Thank You" to this fine group of students and look forward to seeing their completed quilts, whenever that may be. And a "Thank You" to Southern Charm Quilting, Cindy and her staff, for taking a leap of faith to offer a 5 day class with me. Several students said this was the perfect place to take this class. Those who slept in their own beds were happy and those who slept at the Spring Hill Suites hotel nearby raved about it. I hope you join us next year. Sign up now as I expect this class to fill with 20 students as people see what their friends have done so far.

Let's quilt!



  1. Again, it was so wonderful to sit at your feet! Am slogging away to get the first quarter done as well as All Quilt Show responsibilities, Vp duties and more. Blessings to you as you succeed in all the things you do, Barbara Black! It’s such a good thing you live near!