Archive for the ‘Classes’ Category
Here’s the final installment of Making Dragonflies Fly! You’ll find it here and on youtube. I hope it sends you skittering into your sewin room wanting to stitch. It features Inn Fuse, Innovative Craft’s new Fusible film.
It’s one of my favorite techniques. But it’s certainly not the only one.
There’s a phrase I use in class that I know drives people nuts. They’ll ask me if this is how I always do something. And I’ll say”Yes, except when I don’t.” Idt sounds flip. It’s never meant that way. It is what I do except when I don’t. The world is a complicated place and my studio is too. And for reasons of effect and energy, I don’t feel tied to one way of doing anything.
What we’ve showed in these three videos is free motion applique. It’s a great way to make a bold statement with fragile fabric. It’s a way to use really beautiful textures in a piece.
Is it the only way? Why in heaven’s name should there be only one only way?
I also feel that way about people’s life decisions, child rearing, dog taming and general weight control. The world is wide. Try different things.
But most especially about art.. Art has two componenets. There’s the making of art, the skills involved. And then there’s what happens while you’re working. If you don’t develope the skills, you limit yourself. That’s ok.. Tomorrow is another day and you have days after that to stretch and grow.
If you don’t go in and just make art, you have no reason for those skills. It’s like having a very powerful engine that’s not connected to anything. Of course the point is balance. You know the edges I’m dancing on here. The person who makes the same quilt forever in the same way over and over. The person who takes class after class and everything looks like the last class. These are points in process. They’ll get there. So will you. So will I.
So I thought I’d walk you around the ways technique changes me. I have a number of dragonflies (they’re myself traveling, so I can’t help but do them) done in different technique.
Free motion applique is fused and then stitched with a free motion zigzag. It gives lots of impact, lots of presence. It’s a great way to use amazing fabric.
There’s dragonflies made strictly of thick thread in the bobbin. If they’re stitched directly into the cloth they’re more subtle and more part of their environment.
Then there are dragonflies made as separate embroidered appliques of pure stitching. They’re done with thick thread in the bobbin.These are bold and electric images.
Could I choose? Would I choose? Like most things, everything has it’s season and time. And I will do them all.
What we bring as quilt teachers to you and your guilds is options. Choices. Information about what is available and how to use it. Can you gather that information on your own? Of course you can. With world enough and time.
But isn’t it nice to learn from people who can help you know?
There still are spots in my schedule for 2014. If you’d like to have me come to your guild with a suitcase full of choices and skills, check out my class catalog at Issuu, Or check out my classes page at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/classes.php
We’ve had a great week. I hope you’ve learned some great new ways to approach color, past picking the colors off the wheel. I need to thank Caryl Bryer Fallert, Kathy Weaver, and Susan Shie for letting me explore colors in their magificent work.
I need to thank Monique, Kleinhans, Rebecca Dorian Brown, Lauren Strach, Joan Davis, and Roberta Hoover Ranney for letting me put them in places of honor on the refrigerator gallery.
I have the answers to your tests here. Not that that matters. The real test is, does this change how you think? What you choose? And that’s as much a test for me as for you. But here’s your answers.
Color cast is
C. whether colors lean towards the sun or the shade.
2. The color wheel is
C. a map of color relationships.
3. Differences in value
A. help us sort things visually
4. We all recognize the same color names
5. Color temperature is about
6. Color theory works the same for mixing colors as picking colors.
7. All blues are the same.
8. Everyone sees color the same way
9. Differences in hues are
B. differences in light and dark
C. Pops out the figure from the ground
11. You should never use a color your hate.
12. Color theory is
B. A theory that works up to a point. C.
As a gift to my students. I’ve packaged up this class in an ebook you can enjoy and work with at home. Thanks for being such good students. And go color off the wheel. You can download it at issuu.com or click the picture for a link.
Our color master today is Kathy Weaver.
Tone is the dark side of colors. In dye and paint a color can be darkened either by browns, blacks or by the complement of the color. Tint is the lightening of colors either with white or water.
We somehow fear the dark. We sometimes forget the colors that dark or muddy. But diamonds show up best against a black cloth. Darks are our shadows, our depths, the underside, the forest glade and our art is sorely limited without them.
Pastels offer us a pale world, a shadow delicate mist. I find it hard to go there. I want all my colors bright. But bright colors gleem against a pastel background. In both cases it is a contrast in tone that focuses us exactly onto the art and lights our excitement.
Kathy Weaver has created a quilted world of robots that have always astonished me. She’s color master, part for her choices but largely for her painted imagery that jumpstarts her work. And she knows how to work contrast to make her images shine.
I’m also going to introduce you to one of my favorite online tools. Big Huge Labs is a site that has all kinds of free and fabulous photo tools. This is their swatch generator. It’s an easier way to look at the colors in a piece.
Here is one of Kathy’s works and a swatch list of the colors she used.
Robo Sapiens, Agent 5 has a glowing yellow robot against a deeply toned set of bars.
In Robo Sapiens Agent Four, we have the contrast of this wild pink robot against a beige netral.
Robo Sapien Agent 2 glows against the darkly toned background.
When we look at the swatches we can see the contrast in tone, the light and the dark. In all cases, she chooses the difference in tone to accentuate the figure from the ground.
The figure is our focus. But if it do the same as our background, our ground, the eye has to somehow figure out where it is. Making a visual obvious distinction between the figure and the ground pops it all into view. And making it with differences in contrast is a clean and clear way to that.
It doesn’t matter whether we choose a lighter or darker backg round. The difference itself, either way sets the figure fore and center in our perception. Cyyborg Femail has yellow arms that echo her background. But the difference in the tone pops her out against it. She glows against the background because there’s a contrast.
Fire Slinger glows against the dark because of the differences as well, although this time she’s gone to the darker contrasts.
And Invader has both soft background and foreground, but she lets the edges darken enough to pop the contrast.
Explore more of Kathy Weaver’s fabulous world on her web site at http://www.kweaverarts.com.
Or you can learn from her at her classes coming up at Arrowmont, September 29th through october 5th. Here is the website info. http://www.arrowmont.org/ workshops/venueevents/196-
Make your images pop by choosing differences in tone when you pick backrounds. Go light. Go dark. Go different!
On our refrigerator today we have Lauren Strach from St. Joseph, MI. Lauren’s nature quilts have attracted attention (and prizes) both locally and nationally. Her work sings with color and contrast!
You’ll find more of Lauren’s fabulous work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lauren.strach
Tomorrow I’m heading up for Ann Arbor the their Quilting Unlimited Festival, where I’ll be teaching this weekend. I’ve got my usual pile of thread, books, kits, toys and quilts and I’m ready to go. I’ll be teaching the Stitch Mastery Book, Applique Master, Bobbin work Flowers and Button hole Binding. If you’re anywhere near, come and join us. You’ll find more information on their web site at http://www.gaaqg.com/qu2013/.
When I get back I’m going to start up Thread Magic Summer School Session. If you joined us last year, you know it’s an intense week of blog classes, this time on color theory outside the box.We’re going to talk about how and why color works the way it does. It’s kind of like class camp for grownups, where we focus on quilting, color, art, expression and fiber. The first lesson will start August 12. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s a great way to stretch your knowledge.
Join me both places! This is going to be fun.
One of the horrors of growing up a teacher’s child is that everyone expects you to be good at things. And to be good. Good luck!
I made a best effort try over the years being a goody two shoes mixed with just a bit of a smart Alec. But I never could write or spell. At all. My spelling was practically Shakespearean ( meaning any way it could be phonetically guessed at.)
I was in grad school studying dyslexia when I realized I was one. Is it a gift? Absolutely. It’s a born way to see the world differently. If you can actually show someone else a different world, they are richer by far. If you can show the world that, you can change it. I’ve taken far more joy from my dyslexia than sorrow. You just have to make it make sense to everyone else.
This does not mean it’s not a complete humiliation when you spell the world catalog incorrectly on the cover of your new catalog.
Enter the modern world.
Spell check! Online ( and therefore instantly correctable) publishing! And hopefully a forgiving world of people who know they hired you as a teacher and artist and not a English teacher.
My mother is surely rolling in her grave. But I hope the rest of you can celebrate this moment of creative dyslexia, corrected by some much appreciated modern science.
I’ve taught for almost 30 years. And you would think that would be tired, but it’s like the old history joke. The history teacher is asked, “Did you change the test?” and he says “I don’t have to. The answers changed anyway.
The answers change as you teach. So do the questions. But the best question always is, ” What cool thing can I learn today?”
You also learn that people learn different ways. Do they want to make something? Learn a skill? Work on color theory? Work on design? Just do something silly for 3 hours? Create their masterpiece?
Over the years I’ve crafted classes to fill all those needs. Because I believe in teaching people where they really are and what they really need now. I’ve put together this catalog to help you figure out what you really want to learn and how you want to learn it.
So here’s a fun list of all the classes and lectures with all the materials, supplies, class outlines and available books.
Ask what you’d like to learn and how you’d like to learn it, and there’s a list of classes that will meet your needs.
I’ve done tutorials and on line sharing. But the truth is that nothing is like the synergy of a classroom where you’re energy and that of everyone in the room is focused on what we’re making today. I invite you to experience that by going to all kinds of classes. There’s nothing like the real thing.
I teach anywhere as long as my travel costs are covered. The way classes happen is if you ask your group for them. Please share this with your guild, favorite store, retreat or art center. Share their information with me. Tell them what you want to learn. I’ll see you on the road.
Find the full catalog at http://www.scribd.com/doc/141189249/Ellen-Anne-Eddy-s-Classes-Lectures-and-Seminars
Why? Because I believe something truly magical happens when you try to draw.
Three things I know:
- Everything worth doing is worth doing badly. If you ever want to do anything well, you need to be willing to do it over and over again. Badly at first. You need to be willing to weather that through.
- There’s no can’t like won’t. You really can’t do anything that you won’t do. Get over the won’t and then you really can. Particularly if you drop the need to be perfect.
- You’re always better than you think. Once people get over the won’t thing and the perfection thing, usually their learning curve is pleasantly steep. But even if it isn’t, if you’re willing to try you can really, really, do anything.
I also thought it was lazy art. Then I ended up in a gallery with a show of Degas pastel tracings.
I’m not Degas’ biggest fan, but he’s my idea of a completely respectable artist. He did brave explorations of art that was highly unacceptable in it’s time. And created an amazing body of work.
At one point he started tracing over his pictures and coloring them in different ways with pastels. I believe it was a color study. But no one can deny the beauty of them. He took the same image, over and over, to see where it might go.
With that being said, I’ve begun several years ago to bring patterns into class. And in the process, I’ve started using them myself, partially because it was part of demo and partially because it gives you a way to rework things in different ways. Again, another definition of series.
What changed my mind? Well you pick your battles. If I have a lady in class, I’ve already made her work upside down and put weird thread in her machine. It’s sometimes time to cut a person some slack.
But it also speeds up the process. I will teach stick drawing for animals in class, but I only do it on request or when I’m doing master classes. Most people just want to go boogie on their machine. Sensibly enough. So I’ve consistently handed out a series of patterns from quilts of my own.
So what happens when you rework an image? All the other good series that happen
- You get to ask, what if?
- You remove some decisions so you can focus on others.
- You speedline your work.
- Are you interested in a book of patterns drawn from my quilts?
- What animals would you like to see in it?
- Would you be willing to honor my request to use it strictly for classroom or personal use? (Not for contest or sales)
- Would you want a disk to go with it of jpgs?
- Would some other format work better for you?
- Would you want a smaller number of patterns with full color insides or a larger black and white book?
- Do you want advice and help in coloring and shading?
- Do you want information about stitching or do you just want patterns?
- Is there something else that would make this book more useful or desirable to you?
I learned a long time ago that I am not making books for me. They are always for you, fellow artists. So it helps to know, what would help. If you respond ( and leave your email), I’ll send you 6 patterns as a thank you.
You can either leave your comments on the page or email me at email@example.com
or you can call at 219-921-0885.
Here’s the information on my class!
Ellen Ann Eddy is coming to Smith-Owen to teach her most popular class, Dragonfly Sky. It focuses on soft edge applique, angelina fiber, and bobbin work with fabulous thick threads.
Ellen Anne Eddy is an internationally known fiber artist whose wall art goes beyond the traditional concept of quilting, and now she is coming to teach you her specialty techniques using bobbin work, soft edge appliqué techniques and more.
Join us for this 6 hour workshop and leave with a beautiful finished wall art and the confidence to do more.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Location: 4051 Plainfield NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49525
Phone: 616-361-5484 800-383-3238
When I learned to do embroideries as appliques, it changed the way the elements look. Instead of being ephemeral in the hand dye, they have raised up solidity. It changed their presence.
After a while I realized how much of my life was like that of a dragonfly. I’d flit in, talk and teach with people, and float out. It was exciting and ephemeral. And it made me aware how even very small encounters with people enrich and change you and them. You only have a moment at a time. But there they are, moment, after moment, after moment.
So something small becomes, as St. Teresa once said, large with love. Of course a large dragonfly is a statement all of it’s own.
It’s a floating world. And I love flitting through it.
This quilt almost never got finished. I put it in a corner 3 separate times expecting to throw it out. Somehow I didn’t. I cut it up, put it back together, added flowers and dragonflies. And then added big left over bug bits ( and don’t we all have those lying around the studio?) All the while I had this voice in my head saying the damnedest things. I wont’ give them words. The jist was that I was a bad artist and this was a waste of time. I don’t feel that way now. I love this quilt. I loved it all the way through.
One of the best classes I had in college was a class on teaching P.E. I hate P.E. I hated that class. It was humiliating, embarrassed and I couldn’t see what I was learning from it. Actually I learned quite a lot. It just wasn’t about P.E.
It did teach me about people.We were supposed to be the children for our fellow classmates to teach. We certainly were. We were the rudest, less manageable, most messed up kids you can imagine. We were ourselves. And every judgement made on us we acted out in full. It’s true. Some of us get taller, but we never really grow up.
Since then, I’ve been in several classroom situations where I was the student, and got to see just what you can do to a well meaning group of adults by simply being unkind or dismissive. You can regress them into a room of 8-year-olds who either hate you or others or worst of all, themselves. I had a choir director in Illinois who was practically a poster boy for this. It resulted in a choir so unsure of itself we called them the “Chicken chokers”. If it sounds vile, you got it.
With that in mind I’ve learned there are things that just shouldn’t come out of any one’s mouth in class. It’s partially an anti bullying thing. It’s largely about judging people and what they do. It’s partially that negative tape that plays when we’re tired, hungry or stressed. All of it is just bent and wrong. I always stop it in a class when I hear it.
Here’s a partial list of things I just don’t let anyone say.
Personal negative judgments: “I’m dumb. I’m not an artist. I’m don’t have an eye.” Fill in the blanks. These are never true of anyone. Art is not about intelligence. And the gift for art is much less vital than the will to try. Being an artist is part of being human. It’s a part of the human genome, which we share with other related species like apes as well. Who are less bright but still do amazing art too.It’s about sharing a vision. Like a nose, everyone has one.
Judgments on other people: These come in so many flavors I don’t know where to start. It usually is a joke at 9 AM. What is unnerving is that the same person who is laughing away at the jokester at 9 AM is in tears in the bathroom at 3 PM when their blood sugar dips. So let’s just not. Who do you really want to do that to? Don’t tell me about “not being able to take a joke.” If it makes someone miserable, it’s really not funny. It’s really worse if it is your friend. Nastier if it’s to yourself.
Judgments on work: We’re back to love your ducks. But it’s so true! Nothing happens to your art if you don’t take it all the way through. It may be appropriate ( and absolutely I do this) to stop a project that isn’t working and go on to something else. But keep niggling on the idea. And a piece you take to the end is a jumping off spot for the next thing. Most judgement on art are made formally 50 years or more after the art is done. That’s because we really can’t take it in at first, or know how it will affect us and others. So make things, make more things, and then figure out how great it is 50 years from now. That leaves you free to explore, try, be, do and all the other things we do as children.
Which brings us to the good news about never growing up. The passion and play that fuels childhood is there forever in us. It dims if it’s abused, humiliated or hindered. But it’s always there. And nothing that comes out of your mouth or mine is going to harm it in my class.
Which leads us to my final word on it.
- If you wouldn’t say it to a 5 year old you love, don’t say it to yourself or anyone else. You are that five year old. And you deserve to never be judged, harmed, humiliated, embarrassed, or made fun of. So don’t let it happen. I’ll try too.
We build all our reality in our head. We can refurnish someone else’s reality by what we say and how we act, but we are responsible strictly for our own. Except when you’re teaching and you’re laughably in charge.
So teaching aesthetics really doesn’t work. What you do is expose people to what you see as a wonder and let it take them where it will. Most of this is about color. A bit of it is about design. All of that is just a toolbox for seeing things differently.
With that in mind, there are things I say, just to open the doors a crack on that regard.
Break the match instinct. You’ve matched thread all your life. You want it to show up here. Pick the brightest thread you can find that will shine against your backdrop.
Complementary colors are the definition of excitement. And you can’t have too many. If you’re bored, add the complement.
Use a shocker and a shader in your color choice. A darker color anchors your piece and puts it into dimension. A bright shocking color gives it a final shimmer that puts it into the light.
A three legged stool always stands. Designs with three elements balance almost automatically. It’s easy design.
Built a visual path. Create a path for your eye to follow and your eye will move through your work. It will make your work seem to move too.
Design so that your piece is as exciting up close as it is at a distance. Details and design are both vital. Detail brings excites up close. Good design brings them in.
- Hang it up and look at it. You’ll know in six months. You don’t see a piece in whole until you hang it on a wall and look at it for a while. Unless you’re in a crushing hurry it’s always worth doing that. Especially if it’s large.
- Build a frame and break out of it. We crave structure. We celebrate release. if you build a frame into the work and then break out of it in the design, it gives you both feelings at once.
- All art depends on contrast. You have contrast between hues (basic colors), shades (darks and lights), and casts (golden, blue, clear and muddy). You can create contrast with colors, textures, shapes and sizes. Without contrast your eye has nothing to grab onto. Everything is sadly the same.
- Of course all of this works except when it doesn’t. Which is so true to everything I say it all the time.
Art tricks are just tricks. They’re easy ways to think about building your personal aesthetic, the rules that really work for you. And they’re the only ones that count.
I teach a lecture called the Visual Path that walks people through this pretty simply. If you have a group that would like some real design tools, it’s a good starting place.
I teach color theory on all classes. Can’t do it without it.
One of the really hard things about teaching is that what you’re teaching isn’t always sexy. It may be vital, needful, essential information, but those kinds of things are rarely something you wake up and smile about in the middle of the night. I teach about sewing machine needles, stabilizers and how machines work, The thread part is endlessly fascinating and fun. The needle part, not so much. Unless you’ve figured out a way to make it either funny or sticky.
I first ran into the concept of “Sticky” information in a book called The Tipping Point. It was in terms of advertisement, which is the kissing cousin of education. Both are about saying things in a way that stays with people. You see it in political campaigns as well. Most people can’t give you the full details of “Remember the Alamo”,” Tippecanoe and Tyler too”. or “We will not crucify humanity on a cross of gold.” But those phrases, whether you remember the context ,stick. Most people with even a rudimentary education or a TV know them. The phrase needs to almost ring through you;re head. If it’s funny, well that helps too.
So here are some of the technological things I say in hopes that they will stick. In class I make students say them with me. I’m shameless.
- Lefty Loosy, Righty Tighty: This is the way the screw world works most of the time except when it does. It’s vital information. Like most things the theory and practice can be different.But when you’re trying to figure out how to turn a screw, this is a really good bet.
- New Day New Needle, New Project, New Needle: Just really good advice. Needles don’t just break. They get dull, bend, develop burrs and generally stop working. A bad needle is a really bad day. Change it out whenever you’re having trouble and get your good day back.
- Thick Thread, Straight Stitch: You can zigzag with 8 weight thread. I could also eat chocolate and toss it down with rum and coke. Bot h of these are really bad ideas ( Trust me!) I’ve sewn my needle plate to my piece that way more times than I care to count. Should that happen ( I know you’re listening, but just in case) don’t pull anything. Cut your bobbin loose, remove the needle plate and shave or rip the stitches out. You won’t mess up your machine’s timing that way.
You’ll find the Tipping Point on Amazon.com and probably at your local book store. It’s a fabulous book about why things become fads and why we all do them together.
I come complete to every class with as many good tips, ideas and helpful stances as I can pack in my suitcase and /or my head. And that’s what teaching is all about. Making people more able with what you know. Check my class page for the new and classic classes I offer guilds, groups and stores.
Like anyone who teaches, I’m aware of the steady stream of things that come out of my mouth, particularly in class. I talk alot. It’s part of the craft. You can’t teach anyone if you can’t get their attention. So you keep a stream of verbiage going on during demo to keep them focused on you. It helps if it’s funny. Few of us are really still Sesame Street watchers, but that 30 second attention span for learning efforts started there and is still where most people are. You have to keep the students with you.
And there are certain things that are really worth saying. You don’t always say them at the same time in a class, because you’re waiting for the context to say it in, but it should be said. I have a list of them. Actually in different books of mine I. have different lists covering the topics. They’re the things that should be said. They’re going to make things easier for students. Easier is good. If it’s technical stuff that will make their world work better, I make them say it with me. Childish? Well, of course! How grown up are you?All learning happens in that child’s space. We can be any age at any time. The child space is where we can try, play and work without being so desperately concerned about being good enough.
So I thought I’d share some of them outside of class. These are my Ellenism’s: the things that come out of my mouth in class.
One of my favorite ones is “Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly”. Yep. You heard me right.
I always have an intake breath from someone in class on that. What did she say? What did she mean?
I don’t really mean that things shouldn’t be good. I mean we can suspend judgement on what is and isn’t good for an awfully long time. And that really good things happen for us in doing that. Most art history suspends that judgement for 50-100 years. Within that waiting spot, within that time of action without judgement, we can explore, try, succeed, retry, retreat, go forward, step back, and accomplish the things that come only in time with lots of repetition and odd trials.
If you are in love with your product, you’ll live your life in a series of disappointments. Either it will be the most wonderful thing in the world, and then you’ll have to be disappointed with all your less wonderful efforts, or it will not measure up to that one wonder. IF you are in love with your process, there are no judgements. One process gets you to another. That in itself is a huge win.
Everything you love is worth doing badly. Step by step forward and back you will find yourself doing it well simply because you’re doing it. Drop the judgement. Drop the fear. Simply do it and be amazed at how what you do ebbs, flows and changes into something wonderful in time.
Have I made enough dragonfly quilts? I can still imagine them dancing in a way I haven’t seen yet, over skies and waters unknown. Its worth doing. Badly or well. Simply because it’s worth doing.
I’m from a long line of Hobbits. It’s pretty actual, actually. My father’s people came from Durham and he topped the clan at a whopping 5’6″ in his loafers. I might have been taller if I hadn’t fallen down staircases as a child for a hobby. I am now officially 4’11.5″ We count it all.
I believe that Tolkein tapped into a basic fact of English history. Very short, very smart, rural people who were always England’s backbone. Thumbalina was my family’s unofficial theme song. And he was totally right about the need for Shroooms! So every so often, I feel a desperate urge to do mushrooms. Fried. In Pizza. Sauteed with bacon. and in Quilts!
Handdyed cheesecloth makes the most wonderful background for mushrooms. I fuse it on with Steam A Seam 2 and free motion in a painterly way. I had some British friends at church explain to me that these are not mushrooms. They are toadstools. Either way, how can you resist.
Look for the premier of this great 3 hour class, making mushrooms at Ginger’s Spycewear Sewing Center in Crown Point. Kit and classroom machines available. You’ll come out of class with a great embroidered mushroom that can seamlessly go on any quilt, jacket, or other project. And some new great thread painting skills.
You’ll find more information about Spyceware Sewing Center on two of my blogs
New Apron Class and
On their face book page
and their web site
It’s no secret I love aprons! It was one of my mother’s few kitchen sensibilities. She would have died rather than sew on a button, but she found a woman who made new aprons for us twice a year. None of those silly half aprons either. If you’re short, you know that the top half of you is the target area whether you’re eating a salad or mixing a cake. They were full length and had huge pockets. When I learned to sew I made them for us. But the first fabric I remember picking out was for aprons.
But what about the rest? Since I have a garden, a studio and a house I’ve noticed messes are a 360 degree situations. They just don’t happen in front. I’ve sat in my fair number of mud puddles and dye muddles. What you need is a full coverage apron.
Enter my favorite apron pattern! This came out around ten years ago. It’s so much nicer that they keep the good patterns available nowadays. This dolly covers the full fundament. I still make them several times a year and wear them into the ground.
But I have a secret! I use two special tricks to make this apron really slick and easy to make. First off, I use a rotary cutter, mat and bias tube to whip out miles of bias tape in a flash. Bias is always the most beautiful finish for aprons and quilts, but hand cut bias takes forever. Commercial bias doesn’t match, and is made of miserable poly cotton prints. And it’s expensive. Your own bias can be specially chosen for your project, and with this method is very fast and easy.
Secondly, I use a serger and an edging foot to apply it. There’s not a hand stitch in it. Hand is a four letter word. I don’t do hand sewing.
This class is not just about aprons. You’ll learn the quickest method for making bias and the slickest method applying it. And a new use for sergers that will turn your head around. And f you’re new to sergers, here’s a way to try them out that’s quick, easy and has instant help for you.
I consider sergers the safest machines in my studio. I often start kids out sewing with them because of that. The needles are safely tucked where little fingers don’t go, and they have instant success with them. So will you. Once you start serging, you won’t want to stop.
Saturday, October 27th. 219-663-6973
Don’t have a serger? Don’t want to have to pack up your machine for class? Spyceware has Bernina’s in the classroom, both sergers and sewing machines so you don’t need to pack up your machine and carry it around. Or worry about knowing sergers. We’ll help you through. It’s a stress free class.
Spyceware Sewing Center is located at 116 North Main Street in Crown Point, Indiana, just over the Illinois border.
Come and join us! Call today to reserve your place. You’ll have a new apron for the holidays and two great new skills in making and applying bias.
Whenever I’m in class teaching and I hand out a source list, I tell everyone to support their local store first. Inevitably someone pipes up, it’s on the internet! We can get it cheaper on the internet. It is and sometimes you can. But it doesn’t always buy you what you need. I’m the first one to say I shop on line. I even bought my microwave that way. And I have a sweet enough UPS person to bring that huge honking box into the kitchen. Those babies are big. Amazon, here we come! I’ve bought vacuum cleaners an books, and mp3s and mp3 players. I’m looking for a new dog, on line.
But it falls apart for me with sewing and quilting stores. Why? Stores are your community. I don’t need a vacuum cleaner community. But my sewing community is vital. It’s the heart of much of what I do
Just like people, what we are said to do is not the bulk of what we accomplish. Sometimes there are unintended consequences. A store is ostensibly there to sell things. They do that. But what the do on the side is much more valuable. They’re a stable place to go to for answers, ideas, help, friendship, support, and like minded souls. They are the backbone of the quilting community.
I was reminded of all of this when I was pulling together my preparation for the Quilting Arts Taping .Pokey had asked me for three segments.Timing got a bit messed up and there wasn’t a lot of lead time. And I was working with things I just don’t ordinarily use. Where did I go for what I needed? Stores to the rescue!
Now I’m in Northwest Indiana by the dunes. This is not a store rich community. But we do have some local treasures.
Threadbenders Fabric Shop in Michigan City is a delightful shop full of great fabrics and Peg, who has a the heart of a generous lion. She fished out different bats for me ( needed 4 or 5 samples, and I use felt now-a-days.) And the coolest trim ever!
Ginger, from Spyceware Bernina in Crown Point found me all the feet I needed to do a segment on all the different oouching and daarning feet! Not an easy task, but she hunted them down like yellow dog dingo. I walked into my taping ready and able because I have great little stores that care about folk.
What is the secret to that? If you have great little stores, they can only be there for you if you are there for them. They will reward your support by providing you not only stuff you need but the community that happens only if you have a great local store to go to.
- Care for your stores!
- Buy things from them. They are in business. If you’re buying things at the big box store 3 times out of 10, your little store won’t be there next year.
- Bring in your projects and talk about them. They want to see and you’ll meet people. And get great ideas and inspiration in return.
- Go to a class. You’ll meet all kinds of new and wonderful folk, and learn new stuff.
- Bring other sewers with you. Anything this good is worth sharing.
- Ask them if they can and will special order for you. You may be able to get things from them you didn’t know were possible. And it saves you postage and hassle.
- Talk about them at your guild. Or ask them to your guild. They have a world of information they can share with you.
I’ve written about this before because I really feel it’s vital, true and important to all of us who sew and quilt. I also get to see the vacuum formed when a store goes away. You don’t just lose a place to buy fabric. You lose a place of community and joy.
What if your little store isn’t the best little store in the world? It can only be what you help it to be. Get involved. It’s better if you’re part of it.
You’ll find Spyceware Sewing Center at ,116 North Main Street, Crown Point, Indiana 46307 (219) 663-6973
It’s that time of year when guilds start to pick next year’s line up. As a teacher I spend a lot of time figuring out how to really give students what they need in a class. This is some of what I think about when I’m building my class line up.
It helps that I came out to teach. I have a degree in Primary education. The economy of the time had other notions. And when it came down to it, I’m good at imparting information and lousy at crowd control. When I ended up teaching 8th grade, that was fatal. I’ve come to love teaching quilters, where everyone wants to be there, and every one wants to have fun.
I’ve learned two things about guilds. First is that guilds are all different. Their members, skill levels, interests and passions run the gamut.Secondly that you don’t teach classes, you teach people. You take them right where they are and they learn from there. Thirdly is that class is just people, so toss the class plan if it isn’t working,and give them what they really need. I’ve learned to offer several different kinds of classes so students really get the teaching day they want. And I’ve learned to change class on a dime when I can see they need other and want other skills not on the plan.
Lectures are visual snacks. They need to hit the spot: Does your group want to learn about color? Thread work? Design? Pattern Free Applique? Or talk about development? I have a lecture for each of those, focused for differing skills and interests.
Of course I have classes based on my new book,Thread Magic Garden.You can check the rave reviews from Amazon.com
Thread Magic Garden, includes a pattern-less method of flower design, special skill builders on couching, machine beading, corded buttonhole binding, and Angelina fiber, 6 different stitches for free motion applique, 25 flower designs (which can be used to mix and match), 50 new quilts and 2 fabulous projects to get you started in your own thread magic garden.
I’ve got all kinds of new classes focused on patternless floral applique.
The Thread Magic Garden lecture is brand new.It shows fabulous gardens in life and fabric with wonderful ways to make fabric flowers out of simple shapes. Recommended for groups interested in flowers and in beginning abstract design.
Classes based on Thread Magic Garden
Thread Magic Irises
Thread Magic Roses
Thread Magic Bleeding Hearts
Thread Magic Abstract Florals
Then I like to offer classes focused on how you like to learn
Do you want to design your own projects? Master Classes are the place for that. I offer master classes in
Abstract Floral Design
Thread Magic Mastery: Every Kind of Thread
Thread Magic Jacket/Vest
Free Motion Applique Mastery
Thread Magic: Painting with Thread
Do you want a One day classes that focus on a specific achievable project? These classes offer that.
Dye Day Workshop
Do you want classes that teach technique and don’t work on a project but teach a specific skill? Here are some great skill based classes
Thread Magic Technique Book
Thread Magic Overview
Are you looking for an easy entertaining class,just for fun?
These achievable projects are a great afternoon sit and sew.
Perfect Pin Cushions
Guilding the Lily
Thread Magic Badges
Tea Towl Sampler
So why do I set up so many kinds of classes? I really want to teach groups what they really want to know. If you ask me for a special class, of course we’ll set it up. That’s how new classes start.
How do you get classes with me? Just ask. I’ll say yes. But your best venue is your local guild or shop. If you ask them for my classes as a member, they’re so much more likely to respond than to my my adds or offers. Guild requests are responsible for probably about 70% of my teaching invitations.
Don’t belong to a guild? Well, you’re missing something. Guilds have always been the backbone of the quilt community. They offer companionship, fun, fabric opportunities, and inexpensive classes from world class teachers. And you get to touch the quilts.
For a complete list of lectures, workshops, and pricing please visit my web site at
http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/classes.php for all her class and lecture offerings.
Sarah Hinman will be handling Ellen’s Scheduling. You can call Sarah at 616-485-5646 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your class time with Ellen today!
There’s two really great things about quilt classes at the National Quilt Museum. One is that it’s the National Quilt Museum and the people who come to class here are spectacular. The other is that it’s the National Quilt Museum, which is the epicenter of support, information, and exposure for quilters and especially art quilters. Don’t think you won’t see spectacular traditional quilts. You will. But the art quilts there are of a caliber that makes my heart sing. It’s a bit of quilt heaven in every way.
I taught a three day class here that made my heart sing too. Astonishing students! We worked mostly on flower studies out of my new book Thread Magic Garden. But what they came up with was their very own.
Top it off with a lunch at Caryl Bryer Fallert’s Bryer Patch Studio.Caryl is a quilting legend whose work has revolutionized the quilt world for 30 years. Caryl graciously had us all to lunch and showed off her latest work and her fabulous Paducah studio.
Here are some images from class. If you’d like to see more, check my facebook page at Thread Magic Studio.
What a class like this does is really build all kinds of skills. The luxury of three days in class (and a late evening session) means that people get to refine what they’re learning into what they do.
From my point of view, I’m still bending my head around the notion that these people have a quilt of mine in the museum. It’s still a moment standing in front of Dancing in the Light in a museum setting and saying, “Yep. That one’s mine. I’m still looking for the other Ellen Eddy who must have quilted it.
So support the National Quilt Museum either by visiting or by becoming a friend of the museum. Take lovely 3 day classes when you get the chance to really dive into a new technique with a teacher. And celebrate this brave new world where we have real museums that support, preserve, show and educate quilters as the artists we know that we are.
You’ll find more information about Caryl Bryer Fallert on her web site at http://www.bryerpatch.com/.
You’ll find the gallery pictures on my face book page at https://www.facebook.com/ellenanneeddy. If you’re from class and you want to tell more about those pictures, log in and you can!
I met Pat Jones at the Mountain Laurel Guild in Georgia. The whole guild was full of wild gardeners and astonishing fiber artists. Pat fits right in. She lives in a cabin up the mountain where birds sing to her right off her porch, looking down the gorge. It’s another world.
Pat tells me I gave her permission in my first book to try things. And she has. She’s this quiet and very proper southern gal doing wonderfully wild things with her thread and fabric.
She took my flower class, and being a master gardener herself, she build one incredible flower garden.
Here’s what she had to say about it.
This is a guild I’ve visited before. There’s nothing nicer than coming back to a guild you’ve taught at. Firstly, they’ve told you they like you by asking you back. I don’t know a nicer compliment for a teacher. But secondly you get to see the wonderful ways they’ve grown.
This is an arty guild with a lot of passion for new ideas. So you can only imagine. And they didn’t disappoint me.
They did three classes .Guilding the Lily is a class where we take a great print and embellish it with beautiful straight stitch thread work.
Bobbin Work Flowers is a little class where we make bobbin work applique flowers with lovely thick threads.
Here’s some of the fabulous things they did!
Heaven’s knows what they’ll do next. I can barely wait to see!
If you had a teacher you loved in class, consider more classes or retreats with them down the road. As they say you can’t walk into the same river because the river has changed and so have you. But the new things you’ve learned and that they’ve learned help you reach a whole different level. And your new people in the guild will be thrilled with their new skills too. And isn’t that what class is all about?
You’ll find the Ilini County Stitchers at their web site at http://illinicountrystitchers.com/
The Illini Country Stitchers hold regular meetings on the second and fourth Thursday of each month except in November (second and third Thursday) and December (second Thursday only) at 7 PM at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 905 S. Russell St., Champaign, IL. Visitors and Guests are always welcome. What a fabulous heartland guild!
Thread Magic Summer School is out! But for those of you who missed it all, the blogs are up and you can build your knowledge. As Bing said, “You could be better than you are.” And so can we all.
I’m putting in the quiz with the answers because that’s really what a quiz is about. It’s a learning tool. Multiple guess was the bane of my childhood because I could always see at least two answers that could under odd enough circumstances work. And, of course, this is one woman’s opinion. The final authority on how thread works is how it works for you and your machine. But that being said, here’s the answers.
|Question 1. How is embroidery thread different from sewing thread?|
|( )||It’s of nicer colors|
|( )||It’s rayon|
|(+)||It’s two ply rather than 3 ply|
|( )||It’s thick.|
|Question 2. How do you use #5-8 thick threads in the machine?|
|(+)||Through the needle|
|( )||In a regular bobbin case|
|( )||You can only couch them|
|( )||Through an adjusted bobbin case.|
|Question 3.Which weight of thread is thickest?|
|( )||50 weight|
|( )||20 weight|
|( )||30 weight|
|Question 4. Which kind of thread is most colorfast?|
|Question 5. What thread would you never use through the needle?|
|(+)||Candelight #8 weight|
|( )||Poly Neon #40 weight|
|( )||Sulky 30 weight rayon|
|( )||FS2/20 Madiera 20 weight|
|Question 6.Is a cross wound spool better used horizontally or vertically?|
|( )||It doesn’t matter.|
|Question 7.How many times does your thread go through your needle before it lands in your fabric?
|( )||30 times|
|( )||10 times|
|Question 8. What is mercerized thread?|
|( )||It’s specially colored.|
|( )||It’s regular sewing thread.|
|(+)||It’s treated with lye for extra strength.|
|( )||It’s blue.|
|Question 9.What thread is strongest?|
|Question 10. Can thread get old?|
On another note, anyone who knows of a good free quiz software, please let me know. I haven’t quite worked the kinks out of this and need some help on it.
Our winners are, every one who read this and learned something from it! But I’m sending an ebook to everyone who commented on this. I’m closing the contest today. If you didn’t give me a preference to your book, I’m sending you the binding book because it was the most requested. Three people won printed copies.
Nancy Pieper email@example.com won a copy of The Dye Day Workbook
Vivian Ahern PoopayTwo@aol.com won a copy of Dragonfly Sky
Katherine McNeese firstname.lastname@example.org won a copy of Quick and Easy Machine Bindings.
If you’ve won a book, please send me your mailing address so I can get it to you.
I’ll be sending other books through Dropbox.com, so if you get an email from me, that’s your ebook.
A word about Thread Magic Studio Press:
The books we’re giving away are from Thread Magic Studio Press. This is my own publishing company, setup to do small classroom project books and stories. It lets me me put together small books that are perfect class handouts as opposed to the dreaded stapled white sheets. It’s also a service I can offer you as well. Do you want to do a pattern book? A printed portfolio? A family story? A show catalog. Thread Magic Studio Press can set that up for you for one copy or thousands. For public sale, or just for private. Just the way you want it. Email me if you’d like information about that.
Would you like to do something nice for me in return?
(none of these things will cost you anything)
If you ask…….?Here’s several things that really help.
Like my facebook page.
We all know facebook is one of those group happenings everyone uses and no one really understands. But it is a lovely connection with folk, and it builds reputation. Like the Thread Magic Studio page to get more information about where I’m going, what I’m doing, and what is on my blog.
Follow my blog:
At the bottom of the blog page there’s a line that says RSS feed. If you click that you can set up following my blog. Or you can follow it through facebook through networked blogs
Review a book of mine:
Ask your guild or local store to have me come teach for them.
I can call, write, send pictures and packages to venues right,left and center. None of that has the impact of you asking your guild or store to have me come teach. If you have a group that is interested have them email me and I’ll get teaching information out to them.
I love what I do, but it’s not my hobby. For thirty years, it’s been how I paid my bills. Your support helps me to continue to give to you, quilters, the best I can for the best people I know.
This was too much fun not to do again. I’m taking suggestions if you have an idea what you’d like for the fall session.
Morna McEver Golletz just wrote a review of Thread Magic Garden on her blog for the
International Association of Professional Quilters.
She says “At first glance, it’s clear that Ellen is a teacher. Using simple step-by-step instructions, you’ll learn basic skills that build upon each other, for example, special stitch techniques, building edge-to-edge color and progressive shading. Then she offers more than 20 floral studies to understand the shapes of the flowers. She notes that you cannot create a flower through fabric without first seeing and studying a real one, so she includes close-up photographs for this purpose. She also includes a good discussion on color theory. If you are interested in learning or expanding your skills at machine embroidery, you’ll enjoy this book and appreciate Ellen’s attention to detail.” Thanks, Morna!
I just taught a class at Mountain Laurel Quilters in Clarkesville, GA based on the book. We did the abstracted florals class. These women are master gardeners. They took me up and down the mountain to see their gardens, which were spectacular. I’ll post on that later. What a dynamic group of women!
I ended up demoing on hostas and lady slippers, in honor of their forest and clearing gardens, that absolutely make my heart sing. What a lovely trip!
You’ll find the International of Professional Quilters on their web site at http://www.professionalquilter.com/index.php. They put together a very useful publication called Professional Quilter that serves the needs of the quilt community that sells, shows, teaches, writes and quilts professionally.