Archive for the ‘Teaching / Classes’ Category

Vermont Quilt Festival–come play with me!

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Wanna come play with me?  It is time to look forward after a very busy winter and spring! I’ll be teaching at Vermont Quilt Festival at the end of June.  I’m so looking forward to it…pretty much my three most popular classes and a new one.   Balinese Garden teaches you decorative machine applique in your choice of pillow top, small quilt or table runner.   Fussy-Fiddly is about how to use those  (not really) challenging threads successfully; we’ve got so many wonderful thread choices available to us now, so let’s USE them!   Birch Pond Seasons teaches you skills and techniques to make not only this “north country” pattern, but go on to work on your  own designs.  Finally, Sunday’s half-day class, Easy Peasy Inside Out Bags, is about making quick and easy, lovely bags:  any size you want, easy zipper installation and addicting like potato chips–bet you can’t make just one!  I sure couldn’t–I keep making (and giving) them!

Here are my classes:
115    Balinese Garden                                                                    Thursday, June 25
218    Tame Fiddly Fussy Threads for Machine Quilting        Friday, June 26
314    Birch Pond Season                                                               Saturday, June 27
410    Easy-Peasy Inside Out Bag                                                Sunday, June 28

To sign up, click on this link:  http://www.vqf.org/all_classes_view.php .  Once there, look just below the purple “Basic Sewing Supply List” for “view by instructor.”  Use the dropdown list to select Sarah Ann Smith, and it will pop up information on all these classes.   Also, I’m happy to answer emails with questions!

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Balinese Garden Table Runner–Class is Thursday June 25.  As always, I encourage students to cut loose, be creative, and make the project their own.

115    Balinese Garden  Thurs June 25

Here are four versions of my tossed leaves.  You learn to make a freezer paper stencil and paint on cloth.  While the paint dries, learn key tips to success with metallic, holographic, heavy and shiny threads, then free-motion quilt your piece.

Here are four versions of my tossed leaves. You learn to make a freezer paper stencil and paint on cloth. While the paint dries, learn key tips to success with metallic, holographic, heavy and shiny threads, then free-motion quilt your piece.

Here’s a closer view:

The original quiltlet which happens to be on the cover of my book!

The original quiltlet which happens to be on the cover of my book!

218    Tame Fiddly Fussy Threads for Machine Quilting        Fri June 26

Learn all sorts of fun tricks for making free-form fabric collage quick and easy

Learn all sorts of fun tricks for making free-form fabric collage quick and easy

And the autumn view.  I encourage students to personalize their quilts.  Bring a photo of your favorite mountain and make it the featured hill.  Make it any season you want!  Be creative!

And the autumn view. I encourage students to personalize their quilts. Bring a photo of your favorite mountain and make it the featured hill. Make it any season you want! Be creative!

314    Birch Pond Season        Sat June 27

These bags are so easy and fun to make.  They are wonderful to use (in all sorts of sizes), to give as gifts, and can even be turned into iPad or notebook covers.

These bags are so easy and fun to make. They are wonderful to use (in all sorts of sizes), to give as gifts, and can even be turned into iPad or notebook covers.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

If you watch Quilting Arts TV, these may look familiar, as they are on one of my episodes in season 1400 AND were in the 2014 Quilting Arts gifts magazine.

410    Easy-Peasy Inside Out Bag  Sun June 28

For all my classes, you can check here on my “Classes” page for more information and PDFs of the supply lists, or look on my “Resources” page for the downloads.  I’d love to have you in class!

Hawaiian Applique in Florida, Part 2: Ladies of the Lakes, Lakeland, Florida

Monday, April 20th, 2015

What fun we had, even if it was a small class!  More attention for everyone that way.  So the past few times I’ve taught this workshop, I decided I really needed to come up with a couple simpler “test drive” blocks in the 6 inch size that aren’t so fiddly.  I had Taro and Turtle blocks.  Everyone loves the turtle, but it really is pretty challenging.  So I thought I needed more options that were easier than the turtle.  I tried a whole bunch of ideas, but not much fits into a block as small as 6 inches (most students like to try one small before committing to one of the larger class patterns from my Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul pattern, here) and still makes an interesting design while also being simple.  I thought about what is Hawaiian and would also be Florida?  I ended up with two new blocks:

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This is the cutout version of Flip Flops–I actually managed to keep one of the new blocks fairly simple.

And the stitched version.  I left one  flipflop unstitched to show what a difference the thread makes!

And the stitched version. I left one flipflop unstitched to show what a difference the thread makes!

The second block is adorable, not as fiddly as the turtle, but not exactly easy-peasy:

The cut-out version of cats.  I liked the whimsy of black cats on bird fabric.  But...those busy little birds kinda moosh into the cats.

The cut-out version of cats. I liked the whimsy of black cats on bird fabric. But…those busy little birds kinda moosh into the cats.

Red thread to the rescue!   I learned when making Under the Bali Sea that thread can save a project--before I added the aqua stitching on the nautilus shells the quilt was SAD.  Here, the red totally pops.  And we LOVE the kitty-circle!  Maybe I should name this the Zeus block in honor of our cat who departed this earth a few days after I got home.

Red thread to the rescue! I learned when making Under the Bali Sea that thread can save a project–before I added the aqua stitching on the nautilus shells the quilt was SAD. Here, the red totally pops. And we LOVE the kitty-circle! Maybe I should name this the Zeus block in honor of our cat who departed this earth a few days after I got home.

The students in both workshops (how lucky that I had the same workshop in both venues, which were–I did not realize this for a goodly while–HOURS apart) did such a great job with the blocks.  I’m honestly not sure which of these photos were taken which day:

Swirly turtles in progress--those little feet and tail are pretty fiddly!

Swirly turtles in progress–those little feet and tail are pretty fiddly!

And another set of turtles

And another set of turtles with dusty pink thread on a pale pink background.

Flip flops in progress--she's doing my colors!

Flip flops in progress–she’s doing my colors!

This student got a lot done.  She did the taro block, cutting the leaves in the + position instead of the X orientation, but used them as "X" on the second block.  AND she got her cats cut out, too!

This student got a lot done. She did the taro block, cutting the leaves in the + position instead of the X orientation, but used them as “X” on the second block. AND she got her cats cut out, too!

This student brought a gorgeous Jane Sassaman print fabric for her blocks and a black-on-grey background, but learned that in these blocks what is a great combination for piecing may present some challenges in Hawaiian applique.  The black background merges with the background.  As with the cats, thread to the rescue!  She luckily had the perfect green.

This student brought a gorgeous Jane Sassaman print fabric for her blocks and a black-on-grey background, but learned that in these blocks what is a great combination for piecing may present some challenges in Hawaiian applique. The black background merges with the background. As with the cats, thread to the rescue! She luckily had the perfect green.

Done!

Done! And a great job using the bold straight stitch to accent the outside edge.

Doesn't this flipflop block shout "Florida!"?!!!

Doesn’t this flipflop block shout “Florida!”?!!!

Two more cat blocks...gosh I hope these ladies sent me pictures!  The guild president was in the class and was already thinking up a mini-quilts display with the blocks.  I TOTALLY WANT PHOTOS Debby if you do this!

Two more cat blocks…gosh I hope these ladies sent me pictures! The guild president was in the class and was already thinking up a mini-quilts display with the blocks. I TOTALLY WANT PHOTOS Debby if you do this!

GOOD student--testing thread colors on scraps!

GOOD student–testing thread colors on scraps! Practicing mitering and points!

And this student followed the instructions to bring a wide range of threads--it really helped her pick just the right color!

And this student followed the instructions to bring a wide range of threads–it really helped her pick just the right color!

Despite being fiddly, the cat block was a hit.

Despite being fiddly, the cat block was a hit.

Happy Birthday Marie C.!  Hope you enjoyed the giftie tucked into your bag.  I sure enjoyed driving from Orlando up to Lakeland and having dinner with you, and having you in my class.  Keep in touch!

Happy Birthday Marie C.! Hope you enjoyed the giftie tucked into your bag. I sure enjoyed driving from Orlando up to Lakeland and having dinner with you, and having you in my class. Keep in touch!

So as you might gather, it was a FUN class!  The trip home was relatively uneventful compared to the trip down, although my suitcase got soaked in Boston where it was raining not snowing, and a few things inside were soaked.  Luckily, the quilts in the suitcase were inside a ginormous Ziploc Bag (I swear you could fit the contents of a stuffed laundry basket in one they are so big) and protected!  I’ve already ordered a hard-sided suitcase since the zipper pull also got trashed.  Mo bettah!

Hawaiian Applique in Florida! Part 1

Sunday, April 12th, 2015
With the ladies of the Gold Coast Quilters of Boca Raton.  I was so busy I think this was the only photo I got that day!

With the ladies of the Gold Coast Quilters of Boca Raton. I was so busy I think this was the only photo I got that day!  Because my Nourish quilt and the machine appliqued Haleakala Sunrise are touring with the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit put on by Quilts Inc (the wonderful folks that bring you International Quilt Festival in Houston and other  locales), I made two new, pillow size Taro blocks.  This one will fit a 26″ Euro Square pillow.

So there’s a reason why I haven’t been blogging much–I’ve been too busy!   First I had another kerfuffle with the person who made the apparently derivative copies of my A Sense of Place art quilts (blogpost a couple of posts below this one in early March).  She sicked an attorney on ME (!!!) for saying that she appeared to have clearly copied my work!  She made all sorts of demands, only one of which I agreed to:  I removed the letter she wrote to me from my original post.  I had to spend two full days, right before the trip to Florida, dealing with this nonsense because they wanted a reply within  8 days–days when I would be away teaching!   Sheesh!  Anyway,  I refused all requests other than the one above, such as I refused to retract my assertions that her works were derivative, refused to request the removal of the discussion of copyright from both of the closed art quilt groups on which I mentioned it (without EVER mentioning her by name or identifying her site!), refused to retract my requests to Etsy and Pinterest to remove her apparently derivative works.   I wrote the attorney a LONG letter, starting with images of my works, a photocopy of a widely distributed book in which one was published (500 Art Quilts), and basically said “can you see what the problem is?  Can this end now?”  So…no reply to date from either of them so hopefully she will go away and learn  her lesson.  And I can get on with FUN STUFF!  Like Florida.

The trip began with a flight delay leaving Maine (after getting to the airport at 5:20 am):  the previous day there had been yet another snowstorm that messed up travel up and down the  Eastern seaboard.  There was no problem, however, because I had a four HOUR layover in Boston which, thanks to delays on United, turned into a six hour layover.  Luckily, I was easily re-booked onto a later connecting flight and only got in about 90 minutes late, and didn’t have to teach or lecture until the following evening.  AND my luggage showed up!

I had down time the first day--we had me come down a day early just in case, as it turns out we needed, there were weather delays.  That meant I had several hours on Tuesday to tootle around Boca Raton.  So I went to an area called Mizner Park after my gracious hostess gave me a quick driving tour of downtown Boca.

I had down time the first day–we had me come down a day early just in case, as it turns out we needed, there were weather delays. That meant I had several hours on Tuesday to tootle around Boca Raton. So I went to an area called Mizner Park after my gracious hostess gave me a quick driving tour of downtown Boca.  Thank you Marlys and Chris for taking me around!

This was one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen…yes, that is a ROLLS ROYCE Pick-up truck.  One has to ask WHY?  The guy wandering buy seems as confused as I was!

So I saw this pick-up truck and figured I'd never seen anything like it.  It looked to be a Rolls, but do they make pick-ups?

So I saw this pick-up truck and figured I’d never seen anything like it. It looked to be a Rolls, but do they make pick-ups?

Here's a shot of the front--yes, that's the winged lady on the front with the RR.  One has to ask WHY?  I googled, and no, they don't really make them, but people "convert" them.  WHY?

Here’s a shot of the front–yes, that’s the winged lady on the front with the RR. One has to ask WHY? I googled, and no, they don’t really make them, but people “convert” them. WHY?

After months and months (literally) of single digit and below zero air temps and colder wind chill, it was lovely to sit in the air in shirtsleeves!

After months and months (literally) of single digit and below zero air temps and colder wind chill, it was lovely to sit in the air in shirtsleeves!

I’m also taking an online photography course with Ricky Tims, so I was on the lookout for “texture” photos, and loved these palm fronds:

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No idea why the (C) didn’t show on this image, but it’s mine!

The first day I had a light supper with the guild board at QuiltStitches in Boca Raton (FB link here) owned by Johanna Felderbaum.  It’s a great shop–stop in if you are in the area!  She has a great range of fabrics.  Waving hullo!   That evening I gave my “How did she do that?” lecture, followed by Hawaiian Applique the next day.  Then on Thursday, I flew from there (well, Fort Lauderdale airport) to Orlando where I was booked with the Ladies of the Lakes Guild in Lakeland, near Orlando.   More on that in a few days!

Quilting the Garden: Thread Coloring the Flower

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

In my last post, I told you about my new series of workshops.  Click here  (or scroll down) to read the previous post.  The first workshop, From Photo to Flower Collage, can be a one or two-day workshop.  This time, it will be two-days (click here for more information, there are just a couple spots left).  The second workshop, ThreadColoring the Flower (click here) is booked this time as a one-day class.

The Pink Water Lily from my ThreadColoring the Flower workshop.

The Pink Water Lily from my ThreadColoring the Flower workshop.  www.SarahAnnSmith.com (c) 2015

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith.  PS:  Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices--after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I'm being even more  diligent about marking stuff.  So sad to have to do this!

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith. PS: Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices–after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I’m being even more diligent about marking stuff. So sad to have to do this!

Again, students begin with a choice of two images:  the pink water lily or the orange day lily.  This time, however, students choose in advance which flower, because I provide them with a photo printed onto cotton sateen (done at Spoonflower).  Why?  You know how you go to a workshop, and are lucky if you get the top done in time to begin quilting at the end of the day?  I wanted students to have the entire day to learn how to use and blend the thread so that they learn the process.  If they begin with the image already on the cloth, they can get straight to the thread-coloring without worrying about “messing up” the top on which they worked so hard.

Along with the approx.  11 x 14 inch photo-on-fabric, the kit includes five spools of Superior Threads 40-wt. trilobal polyester thread for quilting the flower (students need to provide their own greens or purchase additional–I wanted to keep the cost of the kit down by requiring only the threads needed for the flower), and stabilizer to help prevent distortion from the dense stitching.  We’ll talk about tension, needles, stabilizing for dense thread-work and more.  However, if students wish, after working a bit on the photo-on-fabric, they are welcome to switch over and start quilting their collaged flower (if they were in the Photo to Flower Collage workshop, of course).

Detail of the Pink Water Lily shows the dense stitching.

Detail of the Pink Water Lily shows the dense stitching.

For my Water Lily quilt, I took a second photo, cut it up, and used it as a frame for the small quilt.  The Day Lily is simply quilted and aced, as are most of my art quilts, with no border.

Quilted DayLily.

Quilted DayLily.

I’m so psyched about the trip to North Carolina–I’ll get to meet internet friends who are taking the class, and spend THREE DAYS with some of them, plus visit Program Chair Debby Harwell, whom I met in a dyeing workshop with Carol Soderlund (at ProChem in Massachusetts) lo these many years ago.  This is gonna be a blast!  I can’t wait to share what the students do.  Now, I just need to figure out how to take photos and blog from my ipad!

Quilting the Garden–NEW Workshops! Photo to Flower Collage

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

I am SO excited to share with you the first of two new workshops that will debut with the Charlotte (NC) Quilters Guild next week!   The first workshop, From Photo to Flower Collage, can be a one or two-day workshop.  This time, it will be two-days (click here for more information, there are just a couple spots left).  The second workshop, ThreadColoring the Flower (click here) is booked this time as a one-day class.

Orange Daylily collage in batik, part of the Photo to Flower Collage / Quilting the Garden workshop

Orange Daylily collage in batik, part of the Photo to Flower Collage / Quilting the Garden workshop

I designed these workshops so that a guild can book what will work for their guild:  a single day or a two-day  workshop for either of the two.  With a little added content, the workshop can be expanded to a full five days allowing students to really work in depth, with one-on-one assistance, to create their own collaged and thread-colored art quilt.  I’ll post in detail about the ThreadColoring workshop in two days.

The students learn how to see value (light and dark) and how to translate the imagery in a  photo into their own working pattern.  I provide two photos, the day lily (taken by the roadside near my home) and the water lily (taken by me at the Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor) for the Day 1 class project, which will finish about  9 x 12 inches:

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The water lily photo for the workshop. Photo (c) SarahAnnSmith

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith.  PS:  Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices--after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I'm being even more  diligent about marking stuff.  So sad to have to do this!

The Close up of the wild Day Lily, also used in the workshop. (c) Sarah Ann Smith. PS: Sorry about all the watermarking and copyright notices–after the incident where someone created derivative copies of my work, I’m being even more diligent about marking stuff. So sad to have to do this!

When I created the class sample, I wanted to do one in fabrics students can get, such as the batiks in the example above.  However, I also wanted to try the image using only hand-dyes.  This next sample is just that.  I used one of my thermofax screens, Squiggles (available here at Fiber on a Whim) and textile paint to create the green on green background on my own hand-dyed fabric.

Another verion of the daylily, made exclusively with my own hand-dyes and thermofax screened hand-dye.

Another verion of the day lily, made exclusively with my own hand-dyes and thermofax screened hand-dye.

And no, I don’t know which one I like most!

Here is the water lily, made from both commercial batiks and my own hand-dyes:

Pink Water Lily (c) SarahAnnSmith

Pink Water Lily (c) SarahAnnSmith

The second day in this workshop, students will bring their own photos (or use my second photo), select one, and create their own larger art quilt.  I’m so excited to be able to teach my collage process and help folks learn to see and create their own artwork by understanding some of the basic elements and principles of design with strong composition, lighting, and fabric selection.