My objective as a teacher is that nobody should ever have to work from other people’s designs. While it’s fun to master the technical skills of making a beautiful quilt, it’s downright exhilarating to translate your own ideas and designs into reality.
Yet for people who have always bought their designs, the idea of taking that step alone can be scary. So I try to help my students move slowly toward totally original design rather than jumping into the deep end. I often teach what I think of as "routines" -- processes that will lead you toward a moment where you can put some stuff up on a design wall, step back and look at it, and then decide how to move toward a finished composition. And I always preach the gospel of organic growth -- after you've finished one quilt, evaluate it and develop your next quilt on the shoulders of the first one, rather than starting from scratch.
My book “Pattern-Free Quilts: Riffs on the Rail Fence Block” explains one of these “routines,” the traditional quilt block used as the inspiration for original designs.
I teach a variety of workshops for guilds and groups, ranging in length from a half-day to a week. I hope that we’re not far away from being able to do that again. Since the pandemic has forced us all into some degree of lockdown, I have taken on students for virtual mentoring, working by phone and email, and plan to continue that type of teaching post-coronavirus.
My series of free tutorials, “Quiltmaking 101,” gives detailed, illustrated instruction on every phase of making a quilt, from cutting the fabric to adding a sleeve so the finished quilt can hang on the wall. Every quilter from total beginner to accomplished veteran will learn something from these tutorials.
One of my most popular workshops is called Magic Cross Stitch, a method of hand stitching that looks lush and painterly, spontaneous and improvisational, and can be done by anyone who can thread a needle. During pandemic, I wrote a detailed tutorial for this approach that can be followed without an instructor. It can be purchased in two different versions, for right-handed and left-handed sewists.