Insights on Quilt University’s EQ6 class

While EQ6 comes with an excellent manual and online help, plus Electric Quilt Company provides free online lessons and various ways to learn, there are times when it is simply beneficial to take a class. I strongly recommend Quilt University’s EQ6 Sampler Class by Fran Gonzales. Fran is an excellent teacher, who is an experienced EQ6 instructor and author of EQ books, including EQ Simplified.

Quilt University’s online classes provide a flexible approach to learning with a variety of subjects offered by professional instructors. Typically, a new lesson opens each week during the class sessions with an extra two weeks at the end. Photo galleries and discussion forums allow students to be inspired and learn by each others’ work, as well as receive feedback and help from the instructor.

My experience with QU’s EQ6 Sampler class was very positive. For the beginner EQ6 user, this class will give you the confidence to start using EQ6 to productively create designs on your own. For the more experienced user, it will help provide a refresher and may even call your attention to features you may have overlooked.

The EQ6 Sampler class was comprised of four lessons that were appropriately paced each week. As students completed their work, they posted in a classroom forum where the instructor would provide feedback. This forum was also helpful for students to ask questions and the instructor to provide assistance. I was amazed how much I learned by seeing what other students might ask for assistance with!

I enjoyed how Fran checked the class forum daily, allowing you to get a fast response to any question you might have. She would frequently post little tips to help share insights on EQ6 that were most helpful. I also like how you can print all of the instructor’s insights and class exercises, to allow you to repeat an exercise anytime you wanted.

This EQ6 Sampler class is the first of four EQ6 classes that Quilt University offers. This particular class focuses on basic EQ6 features and functions, exploring EQ6 libraries, tools to draw blocks, create motifs and stencils, create a quilt label, and many other aspects of EQ6. The weekly exercises take you through the steps to create a sampler quilt. There are four lessons in this course,. all with great visuals and reading material that is easy to follow.

The next session of QU’s EQ6 Sampler course will begin March 12. Registration will open on February 5th.

QU also offers EQ6 Applique Design starting January 22nd. To clarify, this is the 2nd in the series of EQ6 classes and QU encourages students to start with the EQ6 Sampler course.

Note: QU recommends that their EQ classes be taken in the proper order. They will repeat frequently throughout the year. Please give yourself time to learn the class materials and practice them before taking the next class.

Quilt University offers more than 120 online classes, from basic quilting to graduate design work.

Upcoming QU Class Schedule

January 8

January 15

January 22

January 29

February 5

SewCalGal highly recommends Quilt University. QU offers a flexible way to learn at an exceptional value. This is a great time to sign up for Spring 2010 classes too!

Quilt University is also on Facebook.


Snowman Quilt, by Pat Welsh

I love this Snowman Quilt design, by Pat Welsh.  It is from Stitchin’ Post in Sister’s Oregon.     Sadly, I’m not certain I’m going to have time to finish this quilt for this Christmas, so I thought I’d share the pattern with you.   There are many delightful quilts with snowman designs, but I liked the ability to do some threadplay with this particular design.  Possibilities are endless!

Pat Welsh will also be teaching a seminar, for Sulky, on March 11th where I’m sure those that are lucky enough to take her class will enjoy learning from Pat.  I’d love to be able to take a class from her!

Sew Exciting™ Seminar Embroidery Seminar
Sew ‘n Sew
1881 N Silversprings Drive
Appleton, WI 54913 USA
Phone: 920-830-9372
Contact: Bonnie Welsch
Educator: Pat Welch

Finding Unexplored Tool and/or Learning Opportunities

How do you reverse sew?

Do you ever wonder about tools that you may have never played with?  Or do you have insights on tools that  you think others may not be aware of? Either way,  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

For now, I want to share with you insights on a tool that I have heard about, for awhile, but haven’t had a reason to play with until recently.

I’ve know other quilters who love using a mustache trimmer to help with seam ripping (aka reverse sewing).  I was just happy to continue to use my trusty seam ripper, when I needed it.  But recently I attended  a machine embroidery class, by Joan McKenna.   Joan was sharing various tools that she liked and when she shared that she uses a mustache trimmer for machine embroidery, I knew I had a good test case. 
I was recently recruited to make 25 aprons for volunteers to wear at a fundraiser.   While I”m embarrassed to admit that I machine embroidered “two” aprons on the wrong side, I feel it is important to share insights on tools that I learned help to “reverse” machine embroider these aprons.

Joan McKenna let me test her mustache trimmer to reverse stich my machine embroidery on an apron.  While I found I needed to periodically use my traditional seam ripper and small embroidery scissors, to help pull threads on on each side of my apron, I found that using the mustache trimmer to shave off threads on both sides of the apron really helped to remove the very dense machine embroidery stitching and not damage the apron material. 

This tool worked so well I was able to re-stitchout the embroidery design, on the correct side of the apron, and it is difficult to tell that there was ever a problem.
My conclusion:  Having a mustache trimmer is truly a great tool for quilting, machine embroidery and sewing enthusiasts.  Yes, a traditional seam ripper is a great tool….but a mustache trimmer really, really, really helps to expedite the painful process of ripping out threads.  I’ve also concluded that this learning experience is another reason why it is good to take classes.  There is always something to learn!

For those in the San Diego County area, I want to share insights on some new classes when Joan McKenna is teaching in the SD Adult Ed program.

MACHINE EMBROIDERY MADE EASY:  Thursdays, 1:30-5:30pm, West City Campus, Nov 6th 2009 – January 22nd – 2010. Joan also has new classes starting for Basic Sewing and Pattern Making. For more info on Joan’s classes chec out  or contact Joan McKenna directly via email or call her at  619-388-4955

If you are interested in reading my prior posts on Joan McKenna,  click here

Cat Week: Can you find your muse by taking a class ?

I’ve wondered if I could I find a muse while taking a class?  Could it be the teacher or a fellow student?  Is it the person sitting next to me, or the person that came to class loaded with a great selection of fabrics in colors that I love?

As I’ve always admired Shelley Swanland, I  must confess I was happy to see that she has a delightful cat that also enjoys quilting!  And Shelly proudly recognizes her cat “Nala”, as her official assistant.  One of Nala’s responsibilities is to collect photos of cats on quilts made by Shelly’s students and post them on Shelly’s website
Here are few of these very happy cats, which I believe provide more proof that cats can be a muse:
I was lucky to be able to take a workshop today, with Shelley Swanland.  She is truly a talented and creative woman, and an excellent teacher.  Today’s workshop focused on learning Shelley’s techniques and made beautiful table runners using her pattern for Berries Jubilee or Black Laquer.  Both designs are absolutely beautiful.
Shelley also has an interesting blog, where she shares her many of her creative insights.  It is very easy to find inspiration when reading her blog.   
While I love all of Shelley’s designs, her cathedral windows quilt with cats is just delightful.

Shelley also has an collection of beautiful 12×12 quilts that she calls “Twilts”.  And she shares a new Twilt every Tuesday.  They are absolutely delightful. 

Shelley’s, first book:  “Machine Stitched Cathedral Windows, Updating an Old Favorite”, Published by Martingale & Co. ©1999, went to print 5 times (40,000+ copies).    While this book is viewed as sold out, you can contact Shelley directly to purchase a copy of it and/or her book:  “Machine-Stitched Cathedral Stars”, Published by Martingale & Co. ©2001

While I’ve not yet used any of Shelley’s books they are on my Christmas Wish List.  I’m sure they are wonderful.
Having taken a class by Shelley, I can truly give her a great recommendation to any guild that is looking for a great speaker and/or workshop instructor.  And I highly recommend anyone having an opportunity to take a class with Shelley to do so.  I’m confident you’ll learn far more than you anticipate and have fun doing so.  I know I did. 
Shelley Swanland

P.O. Box 862, Banning, CA 92220
Shelley’s blogsite:

Joan McKenna

As it is that time of year to prepare for “Back to School”, I want to encourage everyone to consider taking classes and or workshops in their community. These may be offered by local quilt shops, fabric stores, sewing machine stores, and even through your local Adult Ed programs. In San Diego county, we are fortunate to have a an Adult Ed program that offers classes in sewing, quilting and embroidery.

Joan McKenna is one of our talented teachers that teaches various sewing, pattern making, embroidery and serger classes through the San Diego Community College District and Continuing Education program. With the current economic situation it is amazing that these classes are actually offered for free, and many are uncertain how long we’ll be able to take advantage of this, thus if you are local I highly recommend you sign up for one or more of these fun and creative classes.

We are extremely lucky to have Joan teach these classes. Her background includes over 10 years teaching Continuing Education Programs. Her qualifications include:

1. B.F.A. in Costume Design, Syracuse University;
2. California Designated Subject Vocational Education Teaching Credential, CUDS
3. Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development Certificate
4. M.S. in Post Secondary Educational Administration, National University

Joan also teaches Fashion Entrepreneurship classes empowering students with the sewing and computer related skills necessary in order to be successful in a sewn product business. An innovative fashion educator and industry expert, Joan provides creativity with practicality.

Here is some insight on her upcoming classes, for the September 8th – January 22nd schedule.

CLOTHING: OCCUPATION / TEXTILE: Emphasis: Industrial Machine Techniques
Learn to use the school’s industrial sewing machines ergonomically. Practice professional timesaving techniques while making up sewn products of your choice. Build up your repertoire of industry production skills. Both group and individualized instruction.
Course #7220H Fee $0
Mondays: 5:30pm – 9pm WCC-209

SEWING FUNDAMENTALS: Emphasis My First Commercial Pattern II
Choose and construct a sewn product from commercial patterns. Relate commercial pattern to your personal skill level. Receive the help you need to pick your pattern and sew prodct to completion. Gain practice experience in fitting. Build on the basics you learned n previous classes.
Course # 7112K Fee $0
Thursdays 5pm-9pm WCC-209

CLOTHING AND TEXTILES:Emphasis Full Size Hand Drafting Master Patterns
Hand draft a full size bodice, sleeve, and skirt. Master industry pattern making techniques. Cut and sew samples to chck and corect fit. Turn your first patterns into master patterns that can be used over and over again.
Course #6957C Fee $0
Wednesdays 5:30pm – 9pm WCC-209

Learn techniques in clothing/textile surface design for the production of embellished wearing apparel and household items. Create original designs.
Learn to download and unzip free embroidery designs from the internet. Catalog your designs in fabulous free organizing system. Master embroidery editing techniques using Embird software. Stitch out samples to check your growing Embird editing skills. Students need to supply their own embroidery machine and user manual. Limited number of embroidery machines available.
course #6954H fee: $0
Fridays 12-2pm WCC-203
” 2-4pm WCC-209

All of the above classes are offered through the Continuing Education Program in San Diego County ( And they are held at the West City Campus (WCC), 3249 Fordham Street, San Diego, CA 92110 619-388-1873. Registration happens in the classroom.

Contact info for Joan McKenna:
Phone: 619-388-4955

Joan also maintains an interesting blog, which is also used to share insights for her students:

Joan also has a great helper……

Carol Ireland

Carol Ireland is a very talented woman, and an excellent teacher, with a vast range of expertise. She creates beautiful quilts and artistic clothing, as well as many other items. She loves arts and crafts of all kinds, like beading, hand embroidery, card making, as well as many others. Carol is always looking for new ideas and experiences, and loves to share these with her students. While she keeps busy with her arts & crafts, and her family, she also enjoys reading (primarily fiction) and tends to always have a book going.

Inspiration comes to Carol through many ways. She is always actively looking for new ideas, techniques and time saving tips. She finds her inspiration through various quilting and sewing magazines, attending workshops and conferences. She then enjoys incorporating these ideas into the classes she teaches. Thus, the majority of her students have been taking her classes for years! Carol also enjoys seeing her students go beyond the original idea presented!

Carol majored in Home Ec education in college and has been teaching ever since. Her mother taught her to sew when she was big enough to reach the knee petal on her mother’s sewing machine. She has quilted off and on, throughout her sewing years, but considers herself a serious quilter for the last 12 years.

Come join one of these fun classes and explore quilting techniques while creating quilts, home décor items and wearable art. This is a great class for beginners and experienced quilt makers. Classes meet weekly.

Foothills Adult Center,
1550 Melody Lane, El Cajon, CA
Time: 8:50-12:00 AM
Dates: Aug. 31 to Dec. 7
Instructor: Carol Ireland
Fee is $39 for the semester

La Mesa Adult Enrichment
8450 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA
Time: 8:25-11:35 AM

Dates: Sept. 4 – Dec. 11
Instructor: Carol Ireland
Fee is $23 for seniors

This great class lets your imagination fly. The project oriented class introduces to new techniques and methods to expand your sewing experience. Emphasis is on wearable art, quilting and sewing. Great group and LOTS OF FUN!

FRIDAY afternoons:
Foothills Adult Center,
1550 Melody Lane, El Cajon, CA
Time: 12:25 – 3:35
Dates: Sept…4 – Nov. 20
Fee is $46 for the semester

You can register and pay for these classes in the classroom. As mentioned, there are many students that have been taking these classes with Carol for years. It is a great group and new students are warmly welcome. Come have fun and learn new techniques and methods. This is a great value too!

Personally, I’ve learned a lot from Carol and have been eager for her Fall class to begin. I also enjoy the sharing time that her workshop offers, as it provides an opportunity for everyone to share what they’ve been working on, and I also find this an inspirational time.

Carol has taught more techniques than one would imagine to be offered in a quilting or sewing class. For example, she has great insights on fabric painting and fabric dying that she has shared with her students.

If you would like Carol to come to your guild, sewing or quilt shop, to teach a class, you can contact her directly, by send an email to: