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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?

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