Sunday, November 6, 2016

A traditional handquilting class.

This a class I took last week at home. I had organized this class earlier in the year with Alexia Rosfelder who teaches traditional Amish hand quilting on a frame.



Alexia was Esther Miller's student and represents her and teaches her technique. Most people know who Esther miller is, as she is very famous for her hand quilting. She has also designed the most fantastic and beautiful hand quilting frame. Esther Miller is Amish and has always quilted. When she moved to Europe in Germany, she met a group of quilters who created beautiful quilts but the quilting was not as nice as the quilts deserved. Esther discovered then that people were interested in her technique and started teaching it.

I have been dreaming of learning this technique for years. I had met Esther Miller at the Saintes Marie Aux Mines quilt show in 2006 where I had bought my Roxanne thimble and  needle glider (porcelain thimble). I have used both thimbles teaching myself thanks to the only video I had found. In fact, thanks to these many years of practice, the technique was not so difficult to learn. I have also  learnt many tips and I am now a lot better at quilting in all directions. In fact when I quilted on my floor stand hoop, I had the habit of turning my hoop instead of changing quilting direction. Now, I prefer to change direction and not turn my hoop.

Another reason, I had organized this class is that I really wanted to try quilting on a traditional floor frame before acquiring it.

Many people have been interested in the class and we were 12 people attending. I had to make room at home to welcome everybody for two days.

It was fun, filled with laughter and sharing time.... nothing can beat a bunch of passionate like-minded people together.

Alexia's professionalism, attention to each and every one, her clear explanations and demonstrations have helped us all learn the technique. We have not only learnt about quilting but also about batting, needles and thread! Now, only practice will help us master the technique.

I think that I can now quilt easily in every direction using Roxane's thimble when I quilt towards me vertically and diagonally, and Ted Storm's thumb thimble when quilting away from me vertically and diagonally. On my left hand, I wear the needle glider which is a porcelain thimble which helps make tiny little stitches.

Since this class, I have been quilting a little bit every evening. It is a good, relaxing time after a long day at work and I have found that it is also a reflective time that I enjoy more and more every day.

But I suppose you would like to see photos, right?

I had made room in my winter living room upstairs so that the three frames could fit. I also had decorated every corner and shelves with stitched and quilted projects  I had made.






 





A few friends were staying overnight, so I had decorated the bedrooms and bathrooms with fresh little bouquets of flowers from my garden in jam jars and had put magazines in case they could not sleep because of the excitement of these two days ;-)






As you can see on the following photos we were all very concentrated...










 ... and a little bit afraid... but  as Alexia said, "Keep calm and quilt on" ;-)




 We had a design with vertical, horizontal, diagonal lines and feathers... no directions had been forgotten!





The lighting was good on each side of the frame.



Seeing the demonstrations is of great help to master the technique. That's why I think that taking a class is really important.





The workmanship on the quilt frame is incredible, just the frame is a piece of art!!!





Alexia had brought a few quilts that she had hand-quilted.


 



 And one quilt that she had machine-quilted. Alexia is not a hand quilter snob like me and does beautiful work with her long arm too!! So if you look for a long-arm quilter, you can contact her.

 

 To finish this post, a photo of the group taken in my garden, and my quilted piece of fabric after the two days.






I want to thank Alexia for this fabulous class and all the people on this photo. I knew some of them but there were people I didn't know before and I think we all have made new friends :-)

Until later,

32 comments:

  1. Beautiful work! I am envious. I learned in a hoop and have quilted hundreds of quilts that way. I have tried on a floor frame, but I am too slow. It looks like you had a great teacher.

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    1. Thank you Laurie. She was a great teacher! I think I also love the traditional aspect of quilting with a floor frame... but I do like my hoop too ;-)

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  2. Wonderful ! I'm in awe... As an avid handquilter, I have always dreamed of quilting on a (big) frame. Up to now (and due to lack of space in our little cottage) I've always used a simple hoop, but I still wonder where I could order such a frame ?? We must stick to our Dreams, who knows ? :)

    In stitches,

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    1. The floor frame extends from 1 meter to 3 meters and you can choose the size you need. You can see the frame on Esther Miller's website (the link is in the post when you click on her name). She is the person who sells them and for once, it is in Europe! I am saving to buy one ;-)

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    2. Thank you so much for the information !

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  3. What a fabulous experience for everyone. It all sounds rather technical, but I'm sure having an expert teacher made it easier! I've often fancied sitting round a frame with a group of quilters in a traditional quilting bee, as it seems like a very sociable thing to do. By the way, I love the traditional Amish big block quilt ..... beautiful!
    Julia

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    1. Not that technical... just a different technique. We had an expert teacher, indeed.

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  4. I bought the needle glider last summer by Esther, but I need a lot to practice.
    Great to learn how to do. I searched also on the internet and found her video. I both a floor stand and I do a lot of practice!!

    Have a nice week,
    Evelyne


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    1. That's true that a class helps you get the right technique right away. the rest is only practise.

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  5. Merci pour ce beau reportage sur ces deux jours de stage. Effectivement ça a été très agréable et très intéressant.
    Merci pour avoir organisé ce stage et pour ton accueil si chaleureux. Notre groupe était très sympa, Alexia nous a appris cette technique de quilting avec sérieux et décontraction.
    J'essaye de m'entraîner un peu tous les jours et je progresse petit à petit.
    Merci encore pour avoir organisé ce stage, cela faisait longtemps que je voulais apprendre cette façon de quitter. J'espère que l'on aura encore l'occasion de faire d'autres stages aussi intéressants
    Avec toute mon amitié
    Florence

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    1. C'est souvent le groupe qui fait la réussite d'un stage comme celui là, et le groupe était formidable ;-)

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  6. By a welcome home, David! Soviet again to read your posts!))) Photos are magnificent!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by from so far away ;-) and taking the time to post a comment. It is nice to see who is reading and were they are from :-)

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  7. Je suis heureuse que ce formidable stage ait pu se faire, tu en rêvais depuis si longtemps ! It's a dream come true, cela fait du bien dans la vie.
    Le grand métier à quilter est extraordinaire, nous avions pour notre part, lors de ntore stage avec Patricia Valentini, une solution bien plus rustique !
    Toute mon amitié,
    Katell

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    1. Merci Katell... ce stage m'a fait un bien fou, pour de nombreuses raisons ;-)

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  8. Merci David pour ce beau reportage sur ce stade de quilting qui devait être intéressant..... Dommage pour moi d'habiter si loin car j'aurai été très intéressée pour le faire.... Qui sait peut être une autre fois...
    Amicalement.

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    1. Cela m'aurait fait plaisir que tu sois parmi nous... qui sait? peut-être une autre fois?

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  9. As a total beginner I was quite anxious. for 2 days Alexia was so nice with all of us, I can't express my gratitude for such a wonderful way of learning to quilt. It looks very technical, and it is. But once you understand it it's a great way to quilt.
    And what to say about David and his family.... Such nice people. THANK YOU!!!

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    1. You are not a total beginner anymore, Solange ;-) It was nice to have you with us... such a nice friendly group of people :-)

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  10. Fantástica entrada, David!
    Me alegra verte activo de nuevo, siempre te leo y disfruto de tus trabajos y fotografías.

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  11. Hello David, I'm a new 'follower' and approaching hand quilting from the 'beginner' stage! Could you please tell me what are the yellow gadgets on the forefingers of the ladies in photos 16 and 17 (above). Are they to assist a comfortable/correct hand position for quilting?? I look forward to reading through all your blog pages as time allows. Hand quilting seems to be such a gentle art and 'joys yet to come' for me.
    Val E. (Wales UK)

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    1. Hi Val, welcome to my blog. The yellow gadget is very useful. It is a needle puller. It helps you pull the needle through the thickness of the three layers. Once you know how to use and have practiced a little you cannot quilt anymore without it. It is available in many quilt shops and it is not expensive. Click on Esther Miller's name to go to her website and you will see the Needle Puller ;-)

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  12. Voila un bien joli post et ce stage fut apparemment, une grande source de découverte et d'apprentissage !
    Et nous en avons tous besoin à un certain moment !

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    1. Nous avons en effet passé deux jours fabuleux entre apprentissage et partage. Cela fait du bien.

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  13. Very impressive, beautiful work. She teaches in The Netherlands as well, have never attended, but a friend of mine has and she now also has a large frame to quilt on. So these classes are very inspiring.

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    1. Yes, they are. I know that she teaches in the Netherlands too. Is your friend happy with her frame?

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  14. Beautiful work, I could tell where I can buy the white thimble.
    Thank you

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    1. Thank you. You can contact Esther Miller or Alexia Rosfelder if you want to buy a porcelain thimble. Click on their names and you will be sent to their websites ;-)

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  15. Thank you for sharing, David ! It is great to read you had a fabulous time learning such a technique. I would have loved it too :-) Your stitches look perfect, well done !

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