Jamie Wallen Long Arm Quilting Class – March 19, 2017

Many of you may have recognized the name – Jamie Wallen.

You may know Jamie from his many Youtube Videos and/or his business – Quilter’s Apothecary.

I was aware of both and prior to taking in this class, I even purchased some of his products, specifically his long-arm rulers and I need to say that I adore them.

So, when the opportunity to take a class with Jamie, I jumped at it!  I will tell you now that I was not disappointed.  The class was held at the Long Arm Quilting Academy in Fort Worth.  Because they do not have an actual classroom for this type of thing, the chairs were set up next to a variety of long arm machines and you can also see the rest of the shop in the pictures I took.  This is not the largest quilt shop, but it did have charm.

There were many different classes to choose from; however, due to limited time I finally decided on the Sunday class “How Would I Quilt That?”  At this point in my quilting life, I find that the most important lessons are learned by listening to what others would do.  Jamie’s own quilting is beyond gorgeous, so I was excited to find out what he would do to my quilt top.

For the record, Jamie is a real straight shooter and he does not pull punches.  He also has a few one-liners that he uses to exemplify the points he makes.  One he reiterated often was:

“Learn your lines before opening night”
(Don’t offer what you cannot do)

His advice to practice, practice, practice and be sure you are good at something before you promise the technique to a customer, is well-placed.

Another mantra of his centers on the process of long arm quilting itself.  He addressed the nervousness that many of us feel when we approach our machines to start a new project.  For this he says:

Your machine is just a pencil

This is powerful as it puts into perspective the simplicity of the process when you get to the point that you are grasping the handles (lightly) and beginning to move about your quilt.

I bring up these tidbits because Jamie did more than simply tell us how he would quilt our tops, oh no!  He spent a great deal of time answering all sorts of questions and going into other topics.  Some additional elements covered were:

  • Batting (what kind and how much for different types of quilting)
  • Thread choices
  • Are you quilting this (quilt top) to make money or build a legacy?
  • You Doodle App for marking your own quilt top
  • How to quilt a hand-pieced top
  • Always prewash Batik backing to soften it
  • Hunter’s star (or pinwheel) nubs? Grab a hammer!

We talked about so much more and, ultimately, we ended up going at least an hour over the scheduled class time.  There is no question – we got our money’s worth!

Oh and I also want to mention Rich – who I believe must be Jamie’s right-hand-man.  Rich was the fella that kept the electronic boat afloat throughout the entire process.  Thanks Rich!

Sprinkled throughout this blog posting are many of the tops presented by the other attendees.  Some were just so gorgeous that it would have been criminal to do an all-over meander!

My Project

Below are pictures of the quilt top I brought along.  I consider it a silly little top as it consists of reproduction fabrics in a rainbow of colors, a very large white on white background fabric and drunkard’s path blocks that are anything but traditional. There was unanimous agreement that a purple border would work great for this quilt.

Purple fabric for the borders

As with the other tops, Jamie had some interesting suggestions.  Curved cross hatching in the circles, lines up and down the sashing and a super fun border treatment of circles.  If you look closely at the white on the quilt, these circles would mirror the pieced ones as well as the flowers in the white on white (which are enormous!)

Jamie shared both quilted and printed examples of the types of designs he loves to do and encouraged us to take pictures of everything!

As I said, Jamie was an amazing presenter and I encourage anyone to spend time learning from him.  I had a blast!  The next step is to sew on the borders and get that quilt on my frame so I can apply some of his suggestions.

Has anyone else attended his classes?  What are your thoughts?

A New Year and Lots Going On!

It’s been a while since our last post and it isn’t because nothing is going on.  Quite to the contrary – 2017 projects have made my days busier than ever!

So, let me break down what all the activity was about.


Below are a few of the quilts that came in the door in the last couple months.  Customer 2017 projects include many gorgeous quilts, and I am sure the folks who received them were thrilled!

This stained glass beauty was quilted out using a large meander and black thread! The finished product was so beautiful.


When I was not working on customers’ 2017 projects, I have had a few of my own going on as well.  The first are my entries in the Dallas Quilt Show – 2017

It is not without a great deal of excitement that I refrain from posting images, I just would rather not jinx anything. If you are as excited as I am to see beautiful quilts from artists around our area, join us March 10-12, 2017 at the Dallas Market Hall.

Due to the number of client quilts, I have had less time to finish some of my own.  Below is a patriotic quilt that did make it through the process.

In addition to quilting, I am working on some sewing projects as well. Nearly finished is this green rose cloak.  The finishing touch of adding beads to all the trim will complete this in time for Sherwood Forest Fair 2017.

Scarborough Renaissance Festival 2018 Waxahachie TX Bonnie Charles Photos Wk1

I am also mostly done with a tuxedo-style jacket for Selesti and should be finished with that in the next couple weeks.  And, of course it’s blue!

And… a CRUISE!

Yes, after over 15 years, hubby and I finally took a proper vacation and headed to the Caribbean for a 7 day cruise. I highly recommend this type of vacation for anyone who has trouble letting go and relaxing.  No phone service and limited internet coupled with being pampered every minute made it impossible not to relax!  We had a great time and hope to do it again soon!

Houston International Quilt Festival – 2016

Houston Quilt Festival – 2016

As I mentioned a few days ago, this year was my very first visit to the Houston Quilt Festival.  It took 3 years living in Texas for me to find the time to go and I will tell you one thing – I will be going every year hereafter!

What an amazing day we had, and a tiring one at that.

So many vendors!

First things First!

Although we were tempted to dive right into the row upon row of quilts being displayed, hubby and I tore ourselves away to visit the vendors first. The Houston International  I had some specific purchases in mind, and wanted to get all that out of the way before we ventured into the forest of quilts.

The lanes between vendors were literally packed with people, but a few really did stand out. These lovely ladies were happy to pose for a picture.  I told them how much I loved their shirts and their reply was that a friend had them made custom.  Here went my hopes of finding one for me at the Houston International Quilt Festival!

Stitchin’ Heaven had such a fun booth, complete with longhorn!  At first I got to take a picture of them haming it up, but ultimately, they got Terry and I by the steer for a picture.

So, with list in hand, we went booth to booth and I must admit that I didn’t always stick to my list – there are just some things you can’t pass by!  In fact, I bought some finger-less gloves for both my daughter and myself.  Mine were blue, of course.

Soon enough, I found the Superior Threads booth and was able to check off a large portion of my list.  While I usually do order online, I am in the middle of a couple customer quilts that really benefited from seeing the colors in person.  After stocking up on thread and needles, Terry took a quick picture and I was off to check more off my list. (little did I know that some poor woman would be bending over just at the wrong moment!)

Time to see the quilts

A couple hours later, and I will not mention how much $$ and I was done shopping and ready to visit the quilts at the 2016 Houston Quilt Festival. Next year we plan on doing this in a couple days and not just a one-day trip.

We started at one end of the hall (the one closest to the vendors) and worked our way across to the other end. Here we were met by one amazing quilt after another.  All we had to do was turn a corner and a new adventure presented itself.

So many of the quilts we saw have been celebrated by others who also visited the show, but for me, I found there to be a couple categories that stuck out.  The first category is:

Quilts that Made me Smile!

The quilts above did just that – each one of these made me smile.

Quilts that fed my inner geek

Not all the quilts I fell in love with would fit within a pre-determined category.  This next one can only be appreciated in 3 individual images:

What a masterpiece which consists of three masterpieces!

Some quilts were so popular that it took patience to get a good picture.  This Alligator (or is it a crocodile?) was one such quilt.

As you may know, there are at least 1,700 quilts on display. It is very tough to pick images of my favorites.  All I can say is that it is worth your while to visit Houston for the International Quilt Festival and see which of these amazing quilts are your very own favorites!

So, home we went and I got started on some projects. I can’t wait for next year to roll around again!  Did you go to the show?  If you did, what were your favorite quilts?

Houston Quilt Festival – Here I Come!

I have been so excited because I am actually going to make it to the Houston Quilt Festival this year! This will be Year 3 as a Texas resident and about darn time!  The downside is that I can only afford the time to go Saturday. So many friends have gasped when I told them we will only be doing a day trip, so I am prepared to do all I can.  It is pretty safe to say that they will be proven right and next year we may plan a mini vacation around this event.

There is no question in my mind that this will be one of those Saturday’s when my fitbit earns its keep tho!  And I have so many specific things to find and purchase.

1700 Quilts on Display?

Many friends have already posted pictures of their adventures.

You can be sure that I will be taking a ton of pictures in between the required shopping. So, when I return to post once again about all the treasures I brought back and the pictures I took.

Did you attend Houston Quilt Festival this year?  What did you buy?

From Kits to Custom – Trunk Show and Presentation

I never really thought about it.

Every month, our local guild “Johnson County Quilt Guild” which meets in Joshua, TX, would have a new speaker.  With each new presentation, I was impressed by the beautiful quilts sewn, interesting books written, or historic tales to tell.

Admit I must that aside for the sumptuous meal shared and rich conversation with my sisters and brothers in quilts, the speaker was my favorite part!

I never really thought about giving a presentation myself, but here I was, just last Monday giving one to our own guild.  While trained as a public speaker, I was a tad nervous for two reasons.

  1. I had little time to develop a presentation and prepare and….
  2. This was my home guild and I really wanted to do well!

Needless to say, things went swimmingly and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

I took great care to lay out each quilt in reverse-order so it would be easy for my helpers to lift up each quilt as I talked about how it fit in my “custom” scheme.

This Trunk Show is one part “Show and Tell” and another part information on how to break free from emulating someone else’s project to the letter.  My goal is to provide encouragement to create quilts that show off your own personality and skill set.  By building on the concept of inspiration and breaking down the elements that comprise our quilts, I present ways to customize an existing design or go full on One-of-a-Kind!

I also present many of the tools that I use to make the concept become the reality.  And YES we talk about math and how to avoid being overcome by the technical aspects of creating custom quilts.

Feel free to give me a holler if your own group or organization would like to invite me to speak at an upcoming meeting.

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