This past week the 2016 International Quilt Festival was in Houston, TX.  Wanting to expand my sewing craft and skills, I decided to go.  I enrolled in Uptown Workshop with  Gyleen Fitzgerald, owner of Colourful Stitiches.  Her class was AMAZING.

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Uptown Quilt by Gyleen Fitzgerald Featured in her upcoming book Bricks, Cobblestones and Pebbles

CHOOSING MY CLASS:

I’ve tried the jelly roll method but they are incomplete because they looked funny.  This was my opportunity have a hands on lesson and have someone correct me as I go.  I went online and pulled the class schedules and instructors.  Because I have a Craftsy account I knew to look for those instructors first and anyone I follow on YouTube.  Then I noticed instructors with websites and social media accounts.  This gave me honest feedback from students.

I sent a request to Mrs. Fitzgerald’s facebook group and within minutes I was accepted.  I introduced myself and before I knew it her students had me running to the Quilt Festival to sign up.  Mrs. Fitzgerald joined the chat session, give me some tips and then emailed me the information I needed for the class.

PREPARING FOR CLASS:

Prior to class, I went and reviewed a beginner class I took from Craftsy a year ago, so I wouldn’t look so lost in the class…lol.  I was able to catch an awesome sale at Joann’s and bought my fabric and square tool needed for the class project.  Good thing was I already own the major stuff ,like cutting mats, rotary cutters, etc.

The night before class, I stayed up and cut my fabric.  I could have taken the easy route and bought the pre-cuts, but I really wanted to learn the correct way.

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preparing my fabric for class

SHOWTIME….TIME FOR CLASS

Bag packed and ready to go, I was up early Saturday morning full of excitement and nervous at the same time.  The night before I visited the AllBrands booth to view the Brother sewing machines, so why not rock their bag to class.

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I arrive to class set up and introduce myself to the teacher.  A few of the ladies remembered my name from the Facebook post, can over, introduced themselves and we all instantly bonded.  Good thing the class was not full, this gave Mrs. Fitzgerald more time to work with everyone one on one, which seemed to please the whole class.

PFAFF was our sewing machine sponsor for the class.  Before the class began we have a quick lesson on how to operate the sewing machine.  We also had an ironing station set up with this nice flatter pineapple grove spray for pressing our seams.  This stuff was awesome and smelled so good.  I have never enjoyed ironing until now…lol

We received our pattern, took out our fabrics and began to work.  At the begin I struggled with the 1/4 seam allowance because the quilting foot was different from what I have at home.  Mrs. Fitzgerald was able to see right off my struggle was going to have my pattern alignment off.  Once I got it, square blocks were flowing….lol

Next was arranging the blocks into pinwheels and sewing them together.  HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM!  The seam ripper was my best friend.  I really had a hard time lining my seams up.  I keep looking over at my neighbors trying to figure out where I went wrong.  Mrs. Fitzgerald made it to my table and the taught me “NESTING” and how to feel when the seam in lined.  On my second try I NAILED IT.

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My first pinwheel 🙂

Next came trimming my block and setting the boarders. This is where I realized quilting has some OCD tendencies……………..

  1.  I learned how to use my square ruler to measure my block properly.  Now I understand why my previous attempts to make a quilt were not successful.
  2. Ironing in direction plays an important key in setting the block and constructing the final quilt top.
  3. Despite what the measurements are on the pattern, the first completed block sets the dimensions for the remaining blocks (this includes correct seam allowance and squaring the blocks correctly)

As you see below, I have pictured my completed block before trimming (left) and the back of my block after ironing and trimming (right).

Once I understood the concept, I was able to complete my second block on my own (the one on the right below).  When I brought it to Mrs. Fitzgerald she reacted like a parent receiving a straight A report card from their child, and I was standing there grinning like the child with the straight A’s…lol

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MY COMPLETED BLOCKS

 

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Myself, my blocks, and Mrs. Fitzgerald after class

HERE ARE A FEW COMPLETED BLOCKS FROM MY CLASSMATES.  OUR COMBINED BLOCKS ALONE MADE A NICE PATTERN TOP.  IT WAS NICE TO SEE THE PERSONALITY IN EACH BLOCK SET.

My confidence was strong and with the encouragement and support from Mrs. Fitzgerald and the other students, I felt bold enough to buy two additional patterns.  Mrs. Fitzgerald picked them out for me based on the skill level from class.  The Jack and the Bean Stalk is slightly above  my newbie skill level, but I really liked the pattern and she is going to help me when I am ready.

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Additional patterns from Colourful Stitches

Throughout the week I networked with soooo many people.  In the workshop I actually met a couple of ladies who live very close to me.  We exchanged information and I hope to be quilting with them soon.

I can not wait to post my finished quilt.  I hope it doesn’t take me too long to complete.  Stay tune and until next time……

Happy Sewing and now Quilting (hehe),

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