Monday, 13 February 2012

Monday Memories #11

My initial foray into teaching P & Q seemed to go quite well, so at the end of that first session in 2004, I made enquiries at the community centre where I attended Carrick Quilters, and booked a room for the August.
I made up some posters and put an ad in the local free phone call in July resulted in my first booking........and then I started to fret and worry that no one else would be interested.
Oh, and I have just remembered - we also moved house that summer.
In early August, the phone started to ring........even though most of my students were not young mums, it seemed as if everyone was waiting for the school holidays to be almost over before thinking about Winter pastimes.
So, I filled my new beginners class. Four of my "dining room" ladies came with me to my new house and did another term in my sewing room there.........and I had yet another non beginner group. It was all a bit haphazard, looking back.
Back then, the beginners' quilt was finished by Christmas, the classes were weekly. Come January and they were all wanting to make big quilts - that's where Contrary Wife came in. This simple block is amazing. Like so many other patchwork blocks, it is easy to put together and when you make multiples it has infinite possibilities.

This is the same block with the colour values swapped around.

 I chose this block as I thought it would provide good cutting practice for my new quilters, a bit of practice with HSTs and would show the importance of colour value. I do have to say however that back then one of my ladies chose 3 cream fabrics for her quilt and I was terribly anxious - but, it was a total stunner and had taught me that you don't always have to follow "the rules".

 All of the above are variations of just one block, Contrary Wife, repeated..........
I believe Contrary Wife originated in the US during the 40s when, probably for the first time, women worked outside the home for the war effort, and inside the home too, Contrary Wives!
The eagle eyed among you will have recognised that I had a helper with my class prep - Electric Quilt, couldn't have done it without.
If you check out my flickr photostream you can see some of the lovelies that have been made in class.
As well as regular classes, I decided to try holding all day workshops - my friends and I used to enjoy a good workshop, a full day of indulgent sewing.
I opted for a different venue, Alloway Village Hall, just opposite Robert Burn's cottage, very picturesque.
I think my first workshop was for making a quillow - everyone loves a quillow and it's lovely to see the surprise and delight when someone makes one for the first time.
I really thought I would have different students each year but when it was obvious some wanted to come back, I had to come up with a new plan to accommodate old and new .....and so the classes became fortnightly (every two weeks!)
Eight years on, the classes have settled into a sort of pattern. Some people drop out and each year I add in a new batch of beginners. One year I plan a biggish quilt project, the next, we make smaller stuff, like table runners and bags.
I run about 6 workshops a year too and they are just what I hoped they would be, days of self indulgent sewing, when you don't have to leave your quilting to peel the potatoes................


  1. Love seeing how one block can make so many different looking quilts. The variations seem endless.

  2. It is fascinating that one block can look so totally different. It is really interesting to read how your classes have developed. Di xo

  3. Love that block!
    So love that you are 'up there' converting the masses to sewing and quilting!

  4. That is pretty cool all the variations off one block.
    Stop by for my quilt givaway to guess my babys b-day and weight.

  5. What a great block to teach, so many possibilities! You've had amazing success with your classes S! I hope I can be the same in 8 years time! Jxo

  6. What a great way to develop your workshops, and how fab that it's grown so much!

  7. Those quilts are all beautiful and I love how one block can make so many patterns. There is no way a quilter is going to get bored, or ever run out of quilts to make!

  8. I didn't know about the contrary wife, and it's variations. Wish I could come join one of your classes!

  9. Love the CW variations - EQ seems marvellous! It's really interesting to hear about how your classes got started and developed - you're an inspiration to us all!

  10. wonderful to read this and look at how many variations you can get from one wee block! I have a v basic quilt design wizard from the same peeps and one day hope to get the biggie!



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