Friday, May 20, 2022

Am I addicted to taking quilting classes?

 Many of those who have known me for a while would probably answer yes. Of course even those folks probably have no idea how many classes I've actually taken.

 Ever since I turned 70 back in April I have been contemplating things about my art. These are my latest questions. How many classes have I taken and what did I make? Were they worth taking or does that even really matter?

When I started quilting 35 years ago I learned how to quilt from books taken out of the local library. I only worked on one thing at a time, did not have a bunch of unfinished projects, and did not have a huge book and fabric stash. Boy have times changed! The first class I took was one on making a double wedding ring quilt at a local quilt store. This was made back when I only hand quilted and there was a lot of hand quilting in this queen sized quilt....800 hours worth.

Wedding rings and white roses

Once I found Quilt University I started taking lots of classes online. I estimate that I took at least 12 classes from dying fabric to free motion quilting to painting fabric to making an art quilt. Many of those classes did not result in making anything. I did make some pieces.

Forest Cathedral, dyeing fabric

Crazy About Daisies, learning to FMQ

Orange Sky at Night,  painting fabric

Over the Sea to Skye, first art quilt

Snap, Crackle, Pop, elements in fabric class

Blue Flower, flower power class

So 6 quilts for at least 12 classes. I guess that's not too bad. I have an Hawaiian quilt that is only 1/4 appliqued at this point. I doubt that I'll ever finish it. I hate needle turn applique. I guess I leaned that in that class!

I've taken other online classes from independent teachers. In each of these classes I did make something.

Winter Solstice, Ellen Lindner class

Midwinter Visitor, Ellen Lindner class

Blue Portal, Portal class with Natalya Khorover

Apple, Double reverse applique class

Connected to the Moon, text on textiles class

Beneath a Turquoise Sky, in person class with Gloria Loughman

So I guess not a bad showing from these classes.

Then of course I took Elizabeth Barton's master class twice. These classes lasted an entire year. The first time back in 2014 we made 10 quilts. Those quilts can be seen here.

The second time I took the class as an independent student in 2018. I made 4 quilts that you have seen many times.


When the Dark Night Seems Endless

Taking its Toll

Light in Darkness

Then there is Academy of Quilting. I've taken plenty of classes there as well. I did make something in several of the classes.

Midwinter's night, abstract art for quilt makers

We are Broken, abstract art for quilt makers

Sunlight in the Forest, abstract art for quilt makers

Stained Glass quilt with Elizabeth Barton

Then there are all those classes with Natalya Khorover. In each one I made something.

Abandoned Cement Works, plastic class

Boston Collage in progress, Sense of space class

Pittsburgh in the Snow 1: Waiting for the Trolley, Sense of space class

Pittsburgh in the Snow 2: Cathedral

Looking back at this makes me think that I accomplished a lot in all of these classes. They certainly have turned me into the artist that I am today. When I started this blog I was sure I hadn’t made many things from all of those classes. The thing that I am least proud of is all the classes I have taken at Craftsy and made nothing except some great sticky buns and failed attempts at sourdough bread. And there are other classes I have taken to create original fabrics. So if I had to guess how many classes I have taken in total I would have to say maybe about 50. Is that good to take so many classes? 

I'm sure I will take many more classes. Already Natalya has said that she is teaching the Sense of Space class in the fall and it will be different this time around. I was tempted to take it again, but decided that I am crazy. I have enough on my plate with projects.

Do you take classes? Do you always make something? Can we take them for the pure joy of taking them without doing anything?

Thanks for reading.

Linking to Nina-Marie.



  1. That really is a lot of classes but a lot of great quilts too. I have an independent and stubborn streak that has led me to be self-taught on a lot of things, including quilting. First it was learning through books, then watching the quilting shows on PBS. I'm also exceedingly frugal so I determined I'd only take a class if it taught something I didn't think I could figure out on my own. I can probably count on one hand the classes I've taken, most notably a week class with Judy Mathieson to learn how to make mariner compass blocks - totally worth it. I have a top together but it still needs the border pieced - a very fussy thing I wanted to add that will have to be paper pieced. I also took a class from Judy Florence to learn how to design your own unique quilting motifs, and another one from another person teaching how to work with traditional Welsh quilting designs. I used what I learned from both design classes on various quilts. Oh, and then there's the beading class I took from Mary Stori so I could add "rain" to an art quilt, and an applique class at one of the major quilt shows that I absolutely hated and never used that method again. And machine quilting classes from two different teachers plus a hand quilting one where I never could get the hang of the teacher's method. Well, more than I thought and perhaps a few more at those major quilt shows, but all in person class offerings covering techniques that I didn't think I could learn from a book.

  2. I was first struck by how many places our lives have overlapped. For example, I turned 69 in May and started quilting in 1985. I was definitely a class junkie in the first decade or so. Prefer to take technique classes if take classes these days. I take them on an as needed basis. I've taken dying from Elizabeth Barton, was part of Fiber Revolution along with Natalya and am acquainted with Ellen Linder. We depart when it comes to actually creating something in or post a class. I can only think of two very ancient quilts, made the late 90's or early 00's. I enjoyed reading about your adventures, just as I always enjoy seeing what you are working on.

  3. You're a great example of someone who seems to have synthesized your class experiences to make fabulous work in YOUR UNIQUE AND RECOGNIZABLE VOICE. Bravo!

  4. (Oops! Didn't mean to comment above as "Anonymous." I'm always suspicious of those...)

  5. My first quilt was started in 1962. It was a Star of the Blue Grass, made from a Mountain Mist batting wrapper, given to me by my grandmother. It took 11 years to finish. Since then I've taken every class I had the time and money to take. To be fair I was also learning hand embroidery, and teaching both that and quilting, at the same time as I took classes. A few years ago I decided it was time to stop taking workshops, and just get down to it. But, with the Covid lockdowns, I, again, enjoyed on on-line workshops. An early mentor told me "If you only learn one thing, it's time well spent". The people I met on this journey became the basis of much of my social life over the years. For many years I sold my art pieces at art shows and my craft pieces at craft shows. By the way, I also had a 40 year professional career, have been married for 57 years, and have and raised two children to healthy, successful adulthood. I have no regrets, many fond memories, and still love working with both fabric and thread.

  6. If there is anybody who is more addicted to classes than you - its me! I love this post and seeing your work en masse! Than you for inspiring a new blog post!

  7. Reading belatedly...but yes, I enjoy taking classes -- and not just re: quilting or art quilting. In mid-June I'm taking a Basic Spinning class -- i.e. with a spinning wheel, not a bike! I can spin, but am largely self-taught, so am finally buckling down to improve my skills and break any bad habits, as well as to learn what I don't know (and that's quite a bit!)


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