Are you planning a trip to Nashville to join other MQG members for QuiltCon – the modern quilting event of the year? Or maybe you’re planning a trip to Quilt Festival or Quilt week… whatever the venue, QuiltCon instructor Timna Tarr, member of the Northampton MQG has gathered her TOP TEN TIPS for a fabulous workshop.
Here’s an overview of her suggestions.
QuiltCon is an amazing convergence of beautiful quilts and tremendous talent, all under one roof. A major benefit of attending the show is having the opportunity to take advantage of hands-on workshops. From longarm quilting to unique hand embroidery, the wide variety of classes touch every trend in modern quilting. And all are led by accomplished instructors from far and wide. But with so much going on in a short period of time, how do you optimize the experience and have fun, too?
- Do your research Before any class, visit the instructor’s website and social media pages. Getting a feel for their style will give you an idea of what to expect, and perhaps a peek at their personality.
- Read the supply list beforehand It is hard to know exactly what fabrics to pack, but choose materials that you like. One quilter I know uses holiday fabric in every workshop she attends. She loves Christmas quilts and is confident that blocks from different classes will work together because they all have the same theme.
- Take notes Bring a notebook and pencil, even if it’s not on the supply list.
- Be friendly Introduce yourself to your neighbors and the teacher. The best part about QuiltCon is meeting fellow quilters and making connections within this awesome community.
- Have an open mind The classroom should be a safe place to experiment. And remember—it’s only fabric. As long as no one slices a finger with a rotary cutter, everything will be fine.
- Ask questions Specifically, ask ‘why.’ The instructor may show you a method she prefers, but that doesn’t make it the only way or the ‘correct’ way. There may be a very good reason for the technique, or it may be a personal preference.
- Be patient Keep in mind that anything new takes practice. I recently took a workshop where we all apologized for our beginner attempts. My instructor said, “Imagine how I’d feel if you got it on your first try and it’s taken me 30 years to master it.” Wise words.
- Take a break The quantity of time spent doesn’t always translate to the quality of learning. If you are overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths and ask for help.
- Take your time You might not finish your project in class. You may never finish your project. But I bet you will learn at least one thing from every class you take that will carry through into the rest of your quilting life.
- Make it yours Take the instructed technique and put your own spin on it! Make each quilt your own. As an instructor, my favorite student projects are not copies of the class samples, but those that take a germ of my idea and grow it into something new and more interesting.
As long as you have a good time and learn something new, taking a workshop at QuiltCon—or anywhere else!—will be a rewarding experience for all involved.
Timna has some great advice!
Taking a workshop is an investment in time and materials, so planning is key. While you’re at it, don’t miss your opportunity to pick up this special issue. Download your copy today or order the magazine online. QuiltCon may come just once a year, but this exclusive show guide will give you hours of pleasure with dozens of gorgeous photos, articles from leaders in the modern quilt movement, and 11 fabulous show quilt patterns.
Pick up your copy of Quiltcon Magazine to join in the fun