Quilting at the Farmhouse

Pow Wow Quilt Top by The Willow Nest
We're just under a month away from the Summer Farmhouse Retreat and I'm so excited to start nailing down some details.

As part of the retreat signup process, I asked the crafters to complete a quick survey to give me some ideas for sewing workshops that might be suitable.

I was surprised by how many people were interesting in learning how to quilt!

It will be a dream come true to dedicate an entire weekend event to quilting, but having a workshop start us off on the process is going to be such a great start!

And this could not come at a better time. While Magda is pretty much done her baby quilt, I have yet to even decide on a pattern for my own baby-to-come. Baby (gender inconclusive, I'm assuming divergent) is due at the end of August, and I think it's safe to say that I shouldn't assume I have time after August to work on the quilt.

This workshop will hopefully help me out with picking a pattern. I'm smitten with three patterns at the moment.

First, is the Pow Wow quilt: a great chevron pattern popping up all over the interwebs and is available from the Cluck Cluck Sew website. There are lots of fabric scrap possibilities and is hopefully quick and simple to sew together.

Karyn's Feather Bed Quilt top
Second, I fell in love with Karyn's feather quilt top. The beautiful feathers are a free (FREE!) pattern available from the fantastic Anna Maria Horner. Clearly not as simple a quilt to sew, but boy is it ever gorgeous.

Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Fox quilt from Oh, Fransson!
And third, I discovered that Elizabeth Hartman just came out with a new fox pattern. Yesterday she revealed a stunning patchwork fox that I think would be perfect for a gender neutral quilt.  This pattern isn't available until mid-May, but judging from her other patterns it will be moderately priced and filled fantastic instructions on cutting and piecing all the fox parts together.

So back to the farmhouse. The Saturday optional sewing workshop will be these three quilt blocks. The Pow Wow chevron will be a great beginner block to learn the basics of piecing; the Fancy Fox and the Feather Bed Quilt will be intermediate blocks for those seeking a bit of a challenge.

We will learn the techniques of piecing fabric, how to do a mini quilt sandwich, different techniques to quilt the layers together, and then we'll throw it together in the form of a pillowcase! Stuff with a $5 Ikea pillowform, and tada!

Oh, you can't imagine it? I guess I should practice and capture some pretty pictures before teaching this workshop. Stay tuned...

My Dream to Teach

Many who know me, know of my love for teaching. I've often said that I will teach one day, in some capacity or other.

Somewhere far away in a parallel universe, Alternate-Kelly chose to do teacher's college instead of accepting a job at Hydro One. She is now teaching algebra, calculus, or physics to some bratty teenagers and inspiring them to say no to drugs and laziness, and yes to working hard and following their dreams.

I hope Alternate-Kelly is doing well.

At present, I continue my day-job doing engineering work, and I take any opportunity to exercise my teaching skills -- especially when it involves a charitable cause.

My friend Julie is a high school phys-ed teacher in Guelph and was asked to teach a fashion class for second semester. I know it's not all glam and glitz (they don't just watch Project Runway and sew garments all day long?!) but I felt like Julie had just won the jackpot. High school fashion class?! How practical! How creative! How inspiring!

Being the kind soul that she is, she asked me if I was interested in being a guest teacher. Um, YES! A little of a dream come true.

We brainstormed ideas for sewing projects and decided that during her unit on social responsibility, I would teach them how to sew a Pillowcase Dress for the Little Dresses for Africa charity.

I've done this workshop once before and already had a tutorial made up. It was the perfect sewing project for beginner sewers and there was plenty of opportunity to add their own creative details. Although these dresses were being donated to little girls in Africa, the students loved that they were essentially tank tops that they could sew for themselves as well.

I loved teaching the class. I wish I could have gone back for multiple days to see them finish their projects. Teaching really makes me smile. I'm looking forward to teaching some workshops at the upcoming Summer Retreat!