I had asked to be put on the waiting list of Becky Goldsmith’s class, hosted and organized by Orange Grove Quilters Guild, and by some incredible stroke of luck, I was in!. I arose at 5 a.m., and was out the door by 6:45 for the long schlep across Orange County; traffic was thick, but not brutal at the early hour of 7:30ish. I was among the first there, and watched as Becky Goldsmith of Piece O’Cake Designs set up. She is very prepared. She also set out an array of tools and notions and books and patterns for us to choose from. I picked up a few new tools and a couple of Piece O’Cake books.
After she was set up, she indicated that now was a good time for photographs, and she was gracious admiring about the quilt I’d made from one of her patterns. I’ve taken loads of classes from many of the more renowned quilt masters, and what I appreciate most is when they know how to tamp down the ardor from fans, while acknowledging the fan herself. I found Becky to one of those excellent teachers who are intent on teaching, not on ego-stoking and I knew it was going to be a good day of learning.
We were learning a type of appliqué that was on top of the appliqué piece, with clearly visible stitches that would act as almost an embroidery of sorts.
I took several pictures, but only this one was not blurry. You can see the stitches here, a technique she calls “Applique with Attitude,” and for which the Piece O’Cake team has written a book. I had been contacted by Marie from the guild about the spot in my class, and she had recommended a place for me to order some of my supplies. I was really grateful for that, as I felt well-prepared even though I only found out the week before.
One of the techniques she covered were tracing the design onto a vinyl overlay so as to place the pieces accurately.
I didn’t take a picture of every step, but another tip was the idea of how to pin: we should use the shorter appliqué pins in order to really anchor our appliqué pieces down for stitching. She taught us a fine technique for marking (place your fabric on a sandpaper board, or fine-grit sandpaper, so it doesn’t shift, then mark a strong line). At each step, she helped me refine what I knew about appliqué.
Some really speedy quilter in class finished up their class sample. I know you are thinking what? Just a tulip? But in between we were taught about why we should wash our fabrics, not use spray starch, the importance of good and useful tools, the use of color, the idea of varying our quilts, and of not using a ruler to cut–allowing a bit of wonkiness to slip into our art. I took eight pages of notes, and we only had about a 20 minute break for lunch!
She gathered us round to point out differences in ways of doing things, and I must say as a sidelight, I was really impressed with this guild and this class; such lovely ladies and they made me–a stranger–feel very welcome in their midst.
I liked the little vignette of this quilter’s station. About all those balls of color: we were using perle cotton for our Applique with Attitude and I look forward to fall when I spend less time in major quilt projects and more time hand-sewing to finish this up.
Then it was picture time.
That’s Marie on the left, Linda (I think?) on the right.
Another quilt of appliqué. I found it really interesting when she talked about how she laid out her quilts. While it’s not easy to see, nearly every block background in this quilt is different. She said she cuts out her backgrounds, smooths them up on her pin wall. Then she cut the shapes out of her fabrics (sometimes cutting up to 10 different fabrics, if the first one doesn’t work) and lays them over the backgrounds. She then moves to sashing, then borders, making sure the colors balance and work well together, harmonizing but interesting. By the way, I love the border treatment.
Not the best lighting for a quilt, but I’m trying to capture the varied colors and shapes. I like it when the flowers “break the border” of the block, continuing the eye in movement across the quilt.
The label contains the title, info about the maker, date, her address (blurred out for privacy) and the fiber content. Both labels were of the same type on these quilts. I don’t know if you noticed that she also appliquéd her initials and the year on the front of the red quilt (above).
During class, a folder circulated and we all wrote a short note to Becky Goldsmith. I’d never seen this done before and I thought it was quite sweet. And speaking of sweets. . .
. . . people brought little snacks to share, again reinforcing my belief that this was a really neat group of quilters! I had a great day, leaving right at the end of class to make it home in time for a reception at the outgoing university dean’s house. We were a little late, but I was able to take the class and still make it.
I found this quote by Daniel J. Keys:
Accomplished artists are those who have proved themselves to be the best at what they do. ‘Master’ is the title often given to such a person, and rightly so: They’ve established themselves as worthy of the title through many years of study, and devotion of their lives to their craft.
I have taken many quilt classes in order to learn from the masters of the quilt world. Only a few times have I been disappointed; nearly always I have learned something. I have my favorites, and I have to say the Becky Goldsmith is in that group. A most enjoyable day!