(Any Sex and the City fans out there know to which I am referring? Stick with me, we will come back to that...)
It looks like I am going to teach a virtual Turning Twenty class!
I am sooo excited!!!
Thanks for all the great feedback on my last post... it was just what I needed to kick-start this idea...
Here are some things you should know if you are interested in taking the class:
• This class is aimed at the absolute beginner! Don't be shy if you have never made a quilt before: I like 'em that way because then I can teach you all of my good habits before you get "corrupted." You will need to be familiar with your own sewing machine, though, and know how to thread the machine, wind and thread the bobbin, etc. Each machine is so different that a virtual class will never be able to help you as much as some quality time with your machine and your manual will!!! If you are a little uncomfortable with these functions on your machine, I recommend setting your manual out beside you and threading the top of the machine ten times in a row and stitching a little on a piece of practice fabric. I know it sounds a bit boring- and it is - but it's the only way to learn it good!
• The class will begin in early April, giving me about a month to prepare. I will nail down the exact date and time for the start of class in a few days and list it on our class page, but of course I will keep you updated via this space as well.
• All students will be required to purchase the Turning Twenty pattern booklet. I would love it if you purchased your copy from us, but you are not required to do so. You will need to buy or borrow a copy from somewhere, though, as it would be super-duper illegal for me to provide you with a copy free of charge and I am way too pretty to go to jail! However, we will be able to offer students a 10% discount on the pattern booklet!
• All students will be required to sign up ahead of time and pay a class fee. I don't yet know how much this fee will be, but I will confer with my esteemed colleague (Mom) and get back to you as soon as possible with that figure.
• I will set up a space on the website to purchase the virtual class: look for it on the class page. Once you have purchased the class you will be e-mailed the materials list for the class and the address for a top-secret website containing the virtual lessons. I am very confident that I can translate the process into a series of photos and written instructions, but I am a first timer so I will count on you all to point out where my instructions need improvement. The website will be in blog format, so you will be able to comment with your questions and please do speak up, because everyone will learn from your curiosity.
• Class size will be limited... I have never done this before and most of me is very excited but part of me feels cautious not to bite off more than I can chew! I want it to feel intimate like a "class," too, and I want us to get to know each other via the internet as much as we can, so let's say that this time around we will only be taking 10 students (not including the 2 lucky students who will win free seats in the class... keep reading for more info on that!). Hopefully this experiment will be a huge success and once I have recorded the lesson plans I will be able to do it again much more easily. For now, you are all my guinea pigs!!!
• I will also be setting up a Flickr group for the virtual Turning Twenty class so we can all post pictures of our progress and more importantly of our fabric choices!!! I get such a thrill from seeing so many different versions of the same project and I think you will, too!!!
• The class will be divided up into "lessons" and each week I will post a new lesson. Most lessons will only require about 2 1/2 hours of "homework" ... that's just 30 minutes of sewing a day over the course of five days! And the beauty of doing this at home is that you can divide that 2 1/2 hours however you like. And if you aren't quite done by the time the next lesson rolls around it probably won't matter at all.
• The class will cover the following (some of these will be their own lessons and some will be grouped together into one lesson):
1) Purchasing and preparing your fabrics, including how to calculate how much fabric you need for the Turning Twenty size you want to create. You can make any size from baby to king!
*Alewives will offer a 10% discount to anyone taking the class who purchases their fabrics from our site/shop. Again, you don't have to buy your fabrics from us, but we would love it if you did! We will gladly hold your hand and work with you on an individual basis to get your combo right... that is our job, after-all!
2) Learning how to cut your pieces with a rotary cutter, mat and ruler.
*Alewives will soon be adding these items to our online store, again with a 10% discount offered to anyone taking the class. So, if you do not live near a store that carries these supplies, we will be your one-stop shop!
3) Learning to "Assembly Line" piece your blocks (this is a great technique! It will blow ya mind and save you time and make your thread last longer!).
4) Proper pressing and pinning techniques (In my opinion the most under-utilized part of the sewing process!).
5) Sewing the blocks into a quilt top (Again, I have some great tricks for this step that ensure even the most novice-y of novices will have perfectly matching seams!).
6) The proper way to add borders (Yes, there is a "proper" way!)
7) Sewing your backing (Including how much to buy for your quilt size).
8) Choosing a batting.
*Alewives will be putting battings online soon, as well! You will have many different options to choose from, and I will guide you ad-nauseum through all the different choices! And of course, if you choose to purchase your batting from us, you will receive that 10% discount.
9) Sandwiching your backing, batting and quilt top (no matter how big your quilt is, I have some great tips for doing this at home... and at no point will you need to crawl around on your kitchen floor!).
10) Machine quilting your quilt (We will be learning simple, straight line quilting with a walking foot, which looks great on a Turning Twenty quilt!).
*A note to anyone who does NOT want to machine quilt their own quilt: Alewives has an arrangement with a local long-arm machine quilter. This gal is very affordable: as a frame of reference, she can quilt a Queen-size for about $80. She offers a variety of different quilting patterns and she has an excellent turn-around time, too. It may be a great investment to send her your finished quilt top and let her do that step for you, particularly if you are making a larger-size quilt, which can be bulky and difficult for a first-timer (this is due to the fact that the larger your quilt is, the harder it will be to fit it under the throat of your machine). Machine quilting a larger size is possible, but it may not be the most "encouraging" process for your first time. I know a lot of you want to make a quilt that is large enough to use on your bed and would prefer your first quilt be a larger one... because that is exactly how I was when I made my first quilt! Should you go this route, you would also skip the "sandwiching" of the three layers, as machine quilters need the three layers separate. I admit that machine quilting is not my favorite step: I hand my quilt over to this lady any chance I get and so do lots of our students and customers at the store. I know she would be happy to have some "mail order" customers, as well, and will work with you on an individual basis to come up with something perfect for your quilt!
11) Making and applying binding. There will be some hand-sewing required at the very last step, but I find this step so relaxing and "full circle" that I have never minded doing it and it goes by quite fast in the end. Good "in front of the TV" work.
I believe that is it... it will be very interesting to see how our business changes with the addition of virtual classes and the offering of quilting tools and battings as well.
Let me know if you have any questions and look for the class listing on the website soon.
I have one last tidbit for any of you who are still with me...
We have a giveaway coming up with SouleMama the weekend of February 27th where we will be debuting a brand new Turning Twenty kit (assembled by yours truly!) and as part of the giveaway we will include one free "seat" in our virtual Turning Twenty class!
Look for it on Amanda's site next weekend (not this coming weekend) and good luck!
Here's another deal for you... I will provide one free seat in the class for anyone who leaves me a comment and correctly tells me what "Alrighty Then!" refers to... If you are a "Sex and the City" fan like me you will have no problem remembering this one! I will have Ollie randomly pick one of the correct responses to receive the virtual seat in my class! Good luck, ladies! Make me proud!