Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pearls From The International Quilt Festival

I have been traveling the last couple weeks and while in Houston I spent a day at the International Quilt Festival. I took two long arm quilting classes, one from Linda Taylor and one from Jamie Wallen. When ever I go to lectures or classes whether they be seminars through my work as an ultrasound technologist, or quilting or even Bible study classes, I always like to jot down the "pearls", those little bits of information that are new or interesting, and reread them for a week or to until I can remember them.
Sue McCarty - Winner of

Sue McCarty - Winner of "Best Of Show" at Houston
Linda Taylor interviews Sue McCarty - the winner of the Best...

Linda was not only teaching at the IQF, she was also one of the judges of the quilts entered in the show. I thought it was very interesting that she mentioned the difference between ribbon winners and quilts without ribbons was the starts and stops in machine quilting...whether that be long arm or domestic machine. She went over starts and stops in the long arm class and her "pearls" were to start and stop on a long edges in quilting not an intersection or corner. As far as long arm quilting starts and stops she actually guides the hopping foot on the machine with her index finger to take those 5 or 6 small locking stitches thus insuring she goes neatly over the previous line of stitching. Some of Linda's other "pearls" were to stabilize the quilt by doing all of your quilt in the ditch first for the whole quilt and then go back and do the quilting motiffs and background fillers. She emphasized that this is slow work and I think that the most important thing I picked up from the class was that this is still meticulous work even on a long arm machine. Linda Taylor has a quilting school online at with wonderful videos, drop by and check out some of the free ones.

This is becoming a wordy post so I will quickly add some of Jamie Wallen's "pearls":

Do not tear out quilting until you are finished quilting the whole quilt, sometimes what you perceive as messy or an error blends in just fine when the whole quilt s finished.

He also said several times to remember a great quilt is just one "wash" away, meaning that when a quilt is washed the shrinking effect shows off the quilting and mistakes you thought you were making never show.

He encouraged keeping a sketch pad to practice quilting motiffs while watching TV, building muscle memory. He practices his quilting motiffs with pencil and paper daily.

When I get home I have pictures of quilts in the show, but I am sorry to say IPad and google blogger do not play nice together

Happy Stitching,


  1. Sorry about the chane in color, again an instance of iPad and google blogger not liking each other

  2. Thanks for sharing the pearls of wisdom. There are so many good tips around but we often don't get to hear them.