Winding Ways Quilts Class Plan

by Nancy Elliott MacDonald

NOTES TO INSTRUCTORS & SHOPOWNERS
Even quilters who are fearful of working with curves and templates will easily master the curved-piecing-by-machine methods in Winding Ways Quilts: A Practically Pinless Approach. My methods are practically pin-free, and students will be thrilled with their neat, flat blocks. These skills will suggest new design possibilities for students' future quilts.

In this class, students will make a plain-border version of "Flowers and Dots," pictured on page 28.

FABRIC SELECTION
Plan to assist students in selecting fabrics with strong contrast in both color and value. I recommend that the first-time Winding Ways quilt be made using a medium-dark to dark print and a light solid or print that reads solid. (Pointers for fabric selection can be found on pages 8-9.)

A WORD ABOUT BATIKS
Batik fabrics make gorgeous Winding Ways quilts, but they pose several challenges to the quilter.

Batik fabrics containing multiple colors tend to "bleed" into each other, making curved piecing indistinct. If you choose such a fabric, neighboring fabrics should be "solid" batiks in a much darker or lighter value.

In addition, batik fabrics are very densely woven and not as manageable under the sewing machine needle.

TEMPLATES
The shop may wish to order my acrylic templates for the class participants. Templates may be ordered through my website, www.nancymac.com

Instructions for making your own templates begin on page 9.

CLASS DESCRIPTION
Winding Ways can be taught in a single 6-hour class. Students receive assistance with fabric selection and master the curved-piecing technique.

Many students in each class will complete all nine blocks for the Flowers and Dots quilt. Some will complete the whole top, while still others will make several blocks and leave with plans for a larger quilt.

SUPPLY LIST
Required textbook: Winding Ways Quilts by Nancy Elliott MacDonald

Fabric requirements can be found on page 29.

I strongly suggest that students bring their "good" sewing machine to class, as well as the extension table that comes with the machine, if available.

GENERAL SUPPLIES

  • Cutting mat (18" x 24" or larger)
  • Regular 45mm and small 28mm rotary cutters with new blades and extra blades
  • Utility scissors or craft knife for cutting template material
  • Rotary cutting rulers: 6" x 12" and 3-1/2" x 24", or your favorites
  • General sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles, bobbins, etc.)
  • Stiletto or your favorite sharp and pointy tool (for controlling pieces as they go under the presser foot)
  • Good-quality, neutral-color #50 cotton thread for piecing
  • Spray sizing (found in laundry starch section at grocery/drug store)
  • 45" square fleece or flannel for design "wall"
  • Masking tape (for design "wall")
  • Sewing machine (cleaned and oiled)
  • Instruction booklet
  • File folder or template plastic to make templates
  • Additional file folder for transporting blocks
  • Pen or pencil
  • 25 sheets of letter-size paper
  • OPTION
    • Sewing machine extension table
    • Quarter-inch foot
    • Mini cutting mat
    • Sandpaper dots or other product to stabilize templates for cutting
    • Bath towel to pad pressing surface

Depending on class venue:

  • Personal pressing station (iron, heat-resistant padded surface)
  • Portable light
  • Extension cord and/or power strip

PREPARING TO TEACH
Instructor should practice the sewing technique ahead of time until she/he is completely comfortable with it. The process is a bit awkward at first and if the teacher isn't comfortable, the students won't be, either!

The class project is Flowers and Dots, pictured on page 28, using the plain border directions from Graphic Medallion. You may wish to choose a name for your class to reflect your sample quilt.

Create an instruction sheet or booklet listing supplies and fabric requirements.

Bring extra typing paper, file folders, and wooden skewers (to use as stilettos) for students who forget these items.

PRESENT THE CLASS

  1. Show sample quilt, if available.
  2. Go around room to make sure all fabric choices are appropriate.
  3. Make templates or prepare purchased templates. (pages 9-10)
  4. Demonstrate cutting and pressing the fabric rectangle. (pages 11-12)
  5. Demonstrate cutting the block pieces. (pages 13-14)
    I recommend that students NOT cut the border pieces until center pieced area is complete. Then they can decide which border to use.
    When cutting the block pieces, have students cut 4 sets from each fabric. Then, depending on which leftover strip can accommodate them, cut A from one fabric and B and C from the other for the 9th block.
  6. Check to see that students have an accurate 1/4" seam. If not, help them find it.
  7. Check to see that students have a pointy thing (stiletto, seam ripper, etc.)
  8. Demonstrate constructing one block. (pages 15-21)
    Emphasize that at first the process will feel awkward. Recommend that students complete one block before chain-piecing the other blocks. Repeat demonstration if needed.
  9. Move about the room, encouraging and assisting as needed.
  10. LUNCH BREAK
  11. Continue supporting, encouraging, and troubleshooting students' work.
  12. At some point during the afternoon, talk about quilting strategies. (pages 60 and 76)
  13. Unsewn blocks may be arranged, placed between sheets of paper and stored in the file folder for transporting.
  14. Request photographs of the finished quilts. Ask permission to share photographs with future students.

TEACHING OTHER PATTERNS FROM WINDING WAYS QUILTS
Each of the projects may be taught as a separate class. Flowers and Dots and Graphic Medallion are 1-day, 6-hour classes.

Colorwheel Medallion could be either a 1-day or 2-day class. The cutting process will take a long time for this one, leaving little time for sewing the blocks.

Two or more days would be required for Amish Stars, Fiesta! and Medallion of Four. The first day would be fine-tuning of fabrics and cutting procedures, followed by sewing method. Subsequent days would depend on the pattern, the teacher, and the experience level of the students.

GRAPHIC MEDALLION
This one requires three fabrics. Value is critical to the success of the quilt: choose very light, medium, and very dark fabrics. Cutting takes longer, which makes it difficult to finish the top in class.

COLORWHEEL MEDALLION
The shop might consider ordering the fabrics ahead and offering a kit for this one, as it is difficult to find all of the colors needed. A plain border may be substituted for the narrow strip-pieced one.

Day 1: Cutting, mastering the technique, and sewing blocks. Students will plan all the blocks and organize unsewn blocks, transporting them in a file folder to sew at home.

Homework: Finish blocks.

Day 2: Construct strip-pieced border. Assemble quilt top.

AMISH STARS
This might be another pre-packaged kit.

Day 1: Cutting, mastering the technique, and sewing blocks. Students will plan all the blocks and organize unsewn blocks, transporting them in a file folder to sew at home.

Homework: Finish blocks.

Day 2: Assemble quilt top. Students will learn to bind curved edge.

FIESTA!
Day 1: Cutting, mastering the technique, and sewing blocks. Students will plan all the blocks and organize unsewn blocks, transporting them in a file folder to sew at home.

Homework: Finish blocks.

Day 2: Make 9-patch blocks and assemble borders and top. NOTE: A third day might be required for the assembly process.

MEDALLION OF FOUR
Day 1: Cutting, mastering the technique, and sewing blocks. Cutting and sewing order is important. Cut patches for the largest blocks first. Sew the smallest blocks first.

Homework: Finish blocks.

Day 2: Assemble quilt top. Students will learn to bind curved edge.

AUTHOR CONTACT INFORMATION
Nancy Elliott MacDonald
www.nancymac.com

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