Monday, 15 September 2014

Longarm classes with Kim Brunner

Wow! I had no idea it has been so long since I have last posted on here. I can only apologise and say that Life has a habit of sometimes throwing stuff at you unexpectedly.
Since the Festival of Quilts, I had a week at home before returning to Birmingham for Kim Brunner's long arm quilting classes at The Cotton Patch. I've been at home for a week when we heard that my father in law has taken a turn for the worse. My husband and I took turns to sit by his bedside for the next 5 days and nights (thank goodness our children were all at home and could help with running the house) before he sadly passed away on the Friday. We now have the funeral this Wednesday, but as I am flying to France on Wednesday evening for the European Patchwork Meeting in Ste Marie aux Mines, in Alsace, this is the only opportunity I have to do an update.

Classes with Kimmy Brunner
Unlike in the states where there are loads of quilt shows and loads of classes available for long arm quilters, this is a fairly newish venture for UK quilters and we have very few opportunities to learn from the experts. Liz at The Cotton Patch has however attended a class by Kim at Houston last year and arranged for Kim to come and run some classes for us. Yayyyyy!!!!!!

Kim was here for 5 days and classes on offer were:  
   - Beautiful freehand work
   - Twirly Whirly feathers
   - Playing with plastic (templates and rulers, not credit cards!)
   - Custom Quilting
and lectures
   - From Wow to Pow! Trapunto for the beginner
   - Transforming your work with templates and rulers

Off course I signed up for all the classes and lectures and I am so glad I did. I have done Kim's online Craftsy class  "Machine quilting with templates" which I thoroughly recommend, but nothing beats the classroom experience. Besides, it gave me the opportunity to meet and mix with fellow Handiquilter owners, some of whom I have been friends with on Facebook for ages. Funny how we have never met in person before, but within minutes of actually meeting, it seemed as though we have known each other for years!
We had all agreed to stay in the same hotel, which meant we could socialise together after class each day. On one evening we all brought our favourite quilting books and had a look through them all deciding which ones we would need, on another night we all had a go at cutting shapes on the Go-cutter. We spent ages in the pub across the road from our hotel and had lots of time to just chill out together. On our next trip together, Marjorie will be doing all our manicures for us(!). Kim could not believe it when we told her we have never actually met each other until the course.

Stitch design avoiding the centre point with possibly lots of joining seams
One of Kim's class samples - LOVE the border
Another class sample - demonstrating use of rulers

The classes were fairly small, so Kim could give us each individual support when needed, the ladies with Sweet 16's all worked on their own, but those of us who have Avante's or Fusions, worked 2 per machine. That worked out fine, but on the Custom Quilting class, we had not quite enough time to finish our class sample. Silly me did not take a photo of Kim's sample, and as it is a while since the class, could not remember exactly how Kim's block was quilted, so I had to improvise and then did LOTS of extra micro stitching! So, my sample is loosely based on Kim's block with a bit of improvising thrown in, but I am really happy with how it has turned out. It probably is the first class sample I have brought home incomplete and actually finished! 
I have learned a lot from Kim, particularly with using rulers. Might have to do some continuous curve designs with my circle rulers soon :-)
As a bonus, Kim's class handouts have all the information that she has covered in class, so I have a permanent record of all that was said and can refer back to it whenever I need. Thank you so much Kim for the excellent classes and handouts!

"Crowning glory"
Back of "Crowning glory"

Dutch Treat update
Having set myself a target of 10 blocks per month, and having fallen way behind with this (epic fail), I have joined a Facebook group of quilters who are all doing a Dutch Treat quilt. One lady in this group has completed her fourth Dutch Treat quilt! Joining the group has encouraged me no end and I feel so much more inspired to finish my Dutch Treat now, so with renewed energy, I have managed to complete a further 17 blocks, all in the last 3 weeks, so now have a total of 151. I will hopefully have all the blocks complete by Christmas and will then start the appliqué on the borders in January.

134 blocks laid out together for the first time 

6 blocks in 1 week - my record so far!

11 done in last 2 weeks 

Secret block
Someone I know is retiring soon and a friend has organised a surprise for her in the form of a quilt that will be made by all her friends. We are all making a block each, with the same 2 fabrics. This is my block:

I have left space to embroider my message and name on the block, but as this is a surprise, I will not be posting another photo of it on here, although I do hope to see the finished quilt at some time.

My next post will be when I return from the European Patchwork Meeting.


  1. OMG I love all those blocks and you have done them all so well. I am jealous, but don't have the patience to do it myself. I can't wait to see it completed and then see how you are going to quilt it. xx

    1. I have a little picture up on my wall, maybe I need to get you one too :-)