Although my friends often ask for advice on sewing and quilting related problems, I have yet to actually teach a class – until now!
Last summer, when my cousin, Ülle, visited me in the U.S., I took her to the Quilt Odyssey Show in Hershey, PA. After that, we spent quite a bit of time in my sewing studio!!! Prior to my trip to Estonia, Ülle asked me if I would teach a quilting class for some friends and family. Sure, why not! I decided that a paper-piecing workshop would be easiest since there was no measurement involved and I did not have enough time to figure out how to convert one of my patterns into metric. I drew a simple block in EQ6, printed out a bunch of fabrics, grabbed some scraps from the Dandelion Wine quilt as well as some pieces that Moira of Island Batik had given me, my wooden iron and threw it all into the suitcase.
Ülle rounded up 10 friends and family members and on Tuesday I held my first class in the large kitchen area of our farmhouse. Fortunately, after 2 1/2 weeks, my Estonian wasn’t too rusty anymore. However, quilting /sewing terms don’t normally make their way into everyday conversation. For four hours, by brain was on overdrive as I was challenged to give my first ever quilting class, speaking Estonian to a group of Estonian ladies who had never done any quilting before, let alone paper-piecing! Well, I have to admit it was a success! After explaining a little bit about how many American women have become addicted to quilting and the opportunities we have here to buy fabric, patterns, attend classes, and join quilting guilds, I demonstrated how paper piecing is such a great technique to achieve blocks that otherwise would be very difficult.
Ülle came up with the great idea to have everyone make the same block so that we could put 8 blocks together and see the results. The block I drew had 8 shapes. So each woman chose one of the shapes and pre-cut 8 pieces from the same fabric. Each person then positioned the fabric pieces in preparation for sewing. All of the sewing was done on 2 machines by Ülle and my other cousin, Annika. It was a bit of an assembly line, but except for the actual sewing, everyone got a hands-on opportunity to try and understand how to paper-piece.
The finished result was beautiful!
The quilting bug is definitely a contagious disease! Reports from after the class indicated that some of the ladies headed straight for the local sewing store to buy a rotary cutter and mat! (We had 2 of each for use during the class.) Unfortunately, the fabric selection isn’t even close to what we have – so next time you quilters are in your local quilt shop – don’t take for granted the quality, quantity, and selection we have available!
Bottom line: If I can teach a quilting class in Estonian, I think I can do it in English! My husband says I should now add “International Quilting Instructor” to list of quilting accomplishments!