Sunday, May 15, 2016

TKDAA 2016: Appliqué Heaven!!

"Gypsy Roses" was a main conference class at TKDAA 2016.

I’m more than a little late posting an entry about The Kathy Dunigan Appliqué Academy but that’s how things have been for the past year.  Moving, it turns out, is time consuming, distracting, and energizing all at the same time.

TKDAA2016 was a fabulous time as usual.  The women in both my classes were an absolute delight! I hope they enjoyed the class as much as I enjoyed them.  In the two-day class, we worked on a classic acorn wreath with a center of dogwoods and a hummingbird.  Yes, I’ve mixed my seasons but I’m partial to stitching things I love.  Here are the lovely ladies who took the acorn wreath class.

The main conference class was a “beyond Baltimore” wreath of roses.  Again, I was fortunate to have a room full of wonderful women eager to stitch.

The highlight of the class was the dragonfly, which was stitched in hand-dyed silk organza and embellished with embroidery and beads.

Everyone accomplished this beautifully as you can see in their blocks in progress.  I’m hoping to see some finished blocks soon.  The many, many French knots for the Queen Anne’s lace may be slowing progress.  You can’t imagine the happy dance I did when I stitched the last one! 

Kathy Dunigan and Joann Hudgins, the owners of TKDAA, did a lovely job of making everyone feel welcome in the festive atmosphere they create.  Once again, a huge thank you to my friend, Barbara Carper, who came all the way to Dallas to assist me.  Honestly, I couldn’t do it without her. 

One of the highlights of TKDAA 2016 was the shopping and there was plenty of that!  But a great shopping experience happened online during class when I noticed a student’s sewing case.  It is actually a make up case built for professionals who have to haul around twenty different kinds of mascara, eye shadow and lipsticks.  It has stacking divided layers and wheels!  

We called it the “Joni” after its owner.  There were important color decisions made followed by some fast and furious Amazon ordering.  For some students, the “Joni” was going to beat them home.  For me, the “Joni” is an amazing discovery.  We spend four months a year in a Florida rental where I do not have a sewing space.  The “Joni” is my portable sewing room.  It was love at first sight.  For those of you who fall in love with "Joni," here's the link.  She's a little pricey but so worth it!  Alas, Amazon is not sending me a cut of the sales from this blog.

The pre-registration period for TKDAA 2017 begins today when the web site goes live.  Regular registration begins June 1st.  Give yourself a wonderful experience this year and plan to attend.  You’ll go home energized, inspired and exhausted in a good way  after a week of fun and appliqué immersion!!
The amazing Stella.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Huge Fun at TKDAA 2015!!

I’ve just returned from a wonderful week of teaching at The Kathy Dunigan Academy of Appliqué in Rockwall, Texas.  This was the inaugural event and a "passing of the torch" from Elly Sienkiewicz to Kathy Dunigan.  Those of us who were regular attendees at The Elly Sienkiewicz Appliqué Academy were saddened when the academy closed after the 2014 conference.  But Kathy Dunigan and her mother, Joanne Hudgins were brave enough to jump in and start their very own conference with Texas style.

Well, let me tell you, the experience was simply the best.  TKDAA had a relaxed and happy atmosphere.  The array of classes showed thoughtful planning and a desire to broaden the offerings to include art quilting and unique methods.  The Hilton in Rockwall, Texas was the ideal facility for the event: great rooms, good food, happy hour. Did I mention that it was super fun?

I was honored to teach two classes: a one day class on Wednesday and a main conference class on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  My one day class was "Tulip Mania" and students learned how to do prepared edge appliqué while making a leaf, a tulip, a thistle, and a padded silk rose with 16 (yikes!) petals.  It was a lot to pack into a one day class but we did it.

Here they are, at the end of the day, a little tired, but happy.

Being a little silly.
The main conference class was entitled "Bee Happy" and the students lived up to the name.  What a wonderful bunch of women!  The class was large with 26 students but we all got on as if we were old friends.  Our goals for the class were to completely prepare and begin to stitch one quadrant of the wreath and the center motif including the beehive, the bees and some embellishments.
By the end of the class, our bees were buzzing!  Here are my wonderful students:
And another, just for fun:

I managed to talk them into being the first ever kazoo group at TKDAA.  Kathy Kelly was the band leader.  We practiced and practiced and drove the classrooms next to us a little crazy. At the farewell dinner, we played "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and dedicated our performance to Kathy Dunigan and Joanne. 

My friend, Barbara Carper, has been my class helper for the last four years and this year was no different.  She was simply an angel and I couldn't have done it without her. Thanks, Barbara!  You're the best!
So now I'm resting up and clearing the decks for some sewing time which I haven't had in quite a while.  Thanks, Ladies, for being such terrific students!  

You made TKDAA 2015 one of the best times ever!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Driven to distraction

I’ve decided there should be no deadlines or "shoulds" in quilting as in, "I should be doing this or that."  This is a good thing for me because I have been going in different directions lately.  You may recall in my last post that I had fallen in love with an English paper piecing project from the most recent issue of Quiltmania.  Here is the completed center of that project and I am well underway with the next round which are stars like the center hexagon.  But more on that later.

One day last week, I undertook the task of cleaning up my fabric stash and donating fabrics and planned projects that I know will never see the light of day.  The reason for this was to help me focus on what I "should" be doing. Well, I did get some reorganizing accomplished but, I also came across a stash of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and a Kim McLean pattern called "Flower Garden" that I purchased last year.  My fabric stack was larger than I remembered but the two shops that I frequent in North Carolina:  The Quilt Shop in Boone, NC and Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough, TN both carry a large selection of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and I have picked up fat quarters here and there to satisfy my fabric fix.  Some of them are irresistible!  Anyway, I was having my own little "truth or dare" moment.  Was I EVER going to use this fabric or make this pattern or not?  The pattern looks simple enough (until you get to the borders). Take a look: Kim McLean's Flower Garden  What could I do to answer this question but give it a whirl?  And so, I did.

It's a very happy block, don't you think?  For this one, I had the fabrics that were used in the original.  But the next one required some choices of my own.
This one looks very happy too!  As anyone can see, I was driven to distraction!!

Sometimes distractions are good because this one spurred me on to focus on a block that has been waiting for my attention.  If you look at the gallery on this blog, you'll see that I'm working on a large Baltimore Album quilt with blocks I've designed.  I will be teaching two of these blocks at The Kathy Dunigan Academy of Appliqué.  Next up is a wreath of roses.  Here it is with most of the leaves placed and ready to stitch.
The Flower Garden blocks above have a total of 5-7 pieces.  My rose wreath has 54 leaves!!!  I realize I have been facing the same dilemma many quilters are considering these days.  Do I choose detailed, complex, Holy Cow!!! it will take me a month to do this block?  Or do I go for something that is beautiful in its own way but has a shorter time commitment?  I think I can have both, but I will have to use my time wisely.  I love the Baltimore Albums and I have a big commitment to the quilt I'm working on now.  Once that complex, multi-layered blocks is finished, it will really sing!  But sometimes, I really need a break, something simpler, to recharge the batteries. 

And speaking of breaks, the English paper piecing project was supposed to be one of those breaks!  It is very restful to make and stitch together diamonds and hexagons.  Fussy cutting to achieve certain results is also entertaining.

Here are a few tools and tips for successful English paper piecing.
You can get a multitude of papers for piecing from Paper Pieces as well as templates for fussy cutting.  The templates come with a 3/8" seam allowance but, by clicking on the drop down menu, you can choose a 1/4" seam allowance which I prefer.  Use a tiny hole punch to make a hole in your paper pieces.  This gives you a way to grab the paper with tweezers to remove it from the fabric after stitching.  Use a marking pencil with the template for fussy cutting your fabrics. The glue pen and stiletto come in handy when making the fabric pieces.
Use the glue pen to place a line of glue on the paper edge.  Notice that the glue is not right up to the edge of the paper but at the edge of the seam allowance. If you put glue to the very edge of the paper, it makes it harder to remove.
After finger pressing one side of the diamond against the glue, use a stiletto to score the point.  Finger press that edge and then lightly press both turned edges with the iron.
Follow the same procedure for the remaining sides of the diamond.
These clips come in handy to hold pieces together for stitching.  English paper piecing is the perfect complement to watching the World Cup.  Go USA!

Whatever your distractions, embrace and enjoy them!