Needleturn class, part II

The class yesterday was good and bad. The good part was that I learned some new tips and tricks, particularly with outer corners and preparing applique pieces. The bad part was due to how the teacher treated me for the first half of the day.

I went with Deana, and there was only one other person (a gal named Sharon) in the class with us. Deana and Sharon both teach classes at this store, while I have never set foot in the store as it’s almost an hour from my house and I’m never in that part of the Austin metroplex. The teacher made a big show of “Well, let’s introduce ourselves since I don’t know you” and pointed at me while emphasizing the “you.”

Then she starts talking about how wonderful the Civil War repros are, and they’re just fabulous for Jo Morton quilts, blah blah blah. Sharon had bought fabrics akin to the ones in the book’s quilt; I brought the ones I posted Friday and Deana brought black for the background and some of her hand dyes for the colored parts. The teacher seemed really surprised that we both went with bright fabrics, and later in the day she made a snarky comment about my using blue and purple for leaves – really? (Deana, did you hear that one?) It’s not her quilt. And I didn’t WANT a traditional colorway for this quilt. Nevermind that my fabrics go well together…

For the rest of the morning, every time she talked to me it was in condescending tone and like I had never touched a piece of fabric. Did she ask what our experience levels were? No. She assumed that because she had never met me I was a brand-new quilter that couldn’t tell a fat quarter from a pincushion. Deana picked up on it, too, which meant it wasn’t just me being sensitive.

The teacher would say something like, “OK we’re going to cut bias strips now…anyone need help?” When we all indicated no, I got up to use the cutting mat. I was positioning the ruler to square the edge of my fabric before turning it to cut along the bias. As I’m doing this, the teacher comes flailing up behind me saying, “No no no not like that you don’t cut along the straight, no no!” When I told her what I was doing, she looked suprised and was like, “Oh. Well. Okay then.” Sheesh.

You would think that when I a) didn’t have any questions, b) had all sorts of handy notions that she would talk about and realize that I had them (e.g. the mechanical marking pencil) and be surprised that I already had them, and c) brought a high-end sewing machine with me that maybe, just maybe, I *might* know something about quilting.

As the day progressed, and it became clear that I was “getting it” as I was the fastest worker, she got better and started talking to me as a fellow quilter. Sharon is new to quilting but has been doing garment sewing for years, so she was still trying to figure out handwork, rotary cutters and such; Deana. while not new to quilting or handwork, is a perfectionist and OCD about handwork, so she was slow because of that. 😀

At least I learned a few things, and I got to spend some time with Deana as it has been awhile. Here is the start of my piece:


I’m getting better, bu it’s not perfect. I purpose did the leaves where not all of them are attached at the stem; I like the freeform movement of it like that. The little bit of turquoise isn’t out of place; the print fabric has that same turquoise in it. Also, the orange middle of the “tulip” flower is much more distinctive in person, and doesn’t really show well in this picture. There are leaves that go on the inside as well; I took them off for now so I can finish stitching the stem without the leaves getting in the way. I don’t think I’m going to make the whole top (with the pieced border), but rather turn this into a throw pillow and give it as a gift.


5 Responses

  1. I teach quilting classes. I think the teacher was totally out of line. And I like your fabric choices MUCH better than the ones on the front of the book.

    By the way, I have tried fencing. It is the hardest sport I ever tried.

    Waiting for pictures of your project….


    • Thanks Gayle! It may take me forever to finish (time constraints and all) but here’s hoping it’ll turn out okay. I am going to send a letter to the shop owner – it’s just not right to make assumptions and treat people like that IMHO.

      Fencing is a very complex sport – and it’s not intuitive at all, at least in the beginning! We tell people they are beginners for three years because it takes that long to get the hang of the basics! Which weapon did you fence?

  2. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooo, I wish the picture was better, but I’ll see it in person in a week or so 🙂 I love how it is coming together.

    And ya know my opinion on the instructor.

  3. It’s looking really good! I can’t wait to see that all finished!!

    Once I switched to beading needles at home, mine sped up. Also, after I iced my hands/wrists and took some Aleeve. All that hand sewing I’d done in the two days before really aggravated my tendinitis. I couldn’t bend my fingers on Sunday!

    About the teacher… I won’t mention her name here but I think her behavior was rather out of line though not intentional. I think writing Ronna a letter would be a good thing. One of the things I’ve talked about with Ronna is the problems you and I and other younger quilters have at some of the stores in this area. She’s expressed to me many times (in her words and in her actions) that she wants to make her shop a welcoming environment for young quilters and I believe she really does value us.

    I don’t know why the teacher behaved that way. I can only guess that it’s rooted in insecurity and shyness. But that doesn’t excuse it. I don’t treat my students like that.

    Oh, I don’t think Sharon teaches at RTS. I think she’s a high school teacher in Home Ec.

  4. Your piece is beautiful. I have always wanted to learn needleturn.

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