The Free Motion Quilting Project: Teaching at Myrtle Beach

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Teaching at Myrtle Beach

You might have been wondering where the heck I've wandered off to this week after Wednesday and I can happily say I've gone to the beach!

Myrtle Beach Quilt Party is a retreat organized by Mardelle Smith now running in its 21st year. This year she added a vendor mall of many awesome quilting vendors along with a nice line up of teachers.

Teaching this week went very well and I absolutely loved every student! This was my first experience teaching a two day class and it was really nice to have more time to remember every tip and tidbit, to show the students a sampling of almost all the design types, and to watch the quilters go from totally unsure of their ability to ready to go home and quilt a real quilt.

More than anything else I feel that teaching is more about building confidence and providing encouragement than actual techniques. So many quilters have convinced themselves that they "can never do free motion quilting" and it's simply not true!

If you remember back to your very first quilt block, was it pieced perfectly? Did all the lines match up? Did that stop you from continuing to piece and quilt more quilts? NO!

So your first quilt won't be perfectly quilted, who cares!? Just quilting one quilt will give you enormous practice at moving the quilt and forming the design and by the time you get done with that quilt you will be light years better than when you started!

All it really takes it one single design. Just pick one beginner level design and get started on a quilt or just plain fabric that you're not emotionally invested in (so maybe not the quilt that took 500 hours to piece and contains remnants of your grandmothers wedding dress).

Just quilt! Make some charity quilts! Make a quilt for a teenager in your family or that nasty daughter in law who you know won't take care of a real quilt. Get all your ugly stitches out (and yes we all have to stitch through a set of ugly stitches first) and get on with quilting and learning so you can get to the level you want.

Whew! So that's my rant. Stop waiting, start quilting. No excuses!

I'm off to bed. Three days of teaching have worn me plain out. I swear I love to teach, there is nothing more inspiring and energizing than a room full of learning students, but traveling and hauling all this stuff is just too hard. Gotta be an easier way!

Let's go sleep!



  1. I'm so glad you had a great time at your workshop / retreat. You seem to have got a real buzz from sharing and teaching - here's hoping you start to get lots of images addd to your Flickr gallery form these 'students'
    You have a real talent and thanks for sharing your experience with us all

  2. Boy did I ever need to hear this right now! I just quilted a quilt that I hoped would be perfect and it wasn't. I felt ready to just give it up, so I set it aside a few days and went back to it and decided that it actually looks quite whimsical and like a child's drawing that is very fitting to the I like it better and it will be great when it is washed. I know I have that perfect quilt in me waiting to get out! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Thank you for sharing yourself with us Leah. I know you are the one that inspired me to take the plunge. I'm still just beginning but every time I feel intimidates, I just read another of your posts and I jump right back into that room and go quilt! You are appreciated. You are making a difference.

  4. Congrats on the teaching! That is a lot of work and I'm sure your students loved it.

    Laura T

  5. "Just do it" , I have a couple of those quilts and a few more still waiting ..
    Thanks for sharing with us I really needed it.:))
    I have come across from another blog and glad I did..
    have a great day :))

  6. You are cracking me up girl---but you always do!!

    "For that nasty DIL" love IT!!!

    "Let's Go sleep!" TOO MUCH lady!!!

    How far is was this retreat from you are at? I am moving to Raeford,NC next month and was wondering?


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