We worked on more freehand feathers in the morning on day two of the workshop, and I discovered that it wasn’t just me having trouble with the feathers on the inside curves looking deformed, it was a common problem. I can make great feathers on the outside curve of a spine, but the inside ones look like awkward thumbs or something! It’s just a practice thing, but Diane did say that the inside curve is a trouble spot for many, so I felt a bit better about it. Diane talked about adding tendrils and extra flourishes to feather designs, and briefly touched on a couple of other freehand, non-marked designs.
It was tempting to just follow her around…just to hear every word she said!
We also learned more background and filler patterns, like Dianeshiko (a sort of curved pattern built on a grid that looks like overlapping circles), Tsunami (wonderful filler with wavy lines, a brand new technique not in any of her books!), Bouncing Bananas, Headbands, Clamshells, Ripple Stipple (another new background filler), Spirals, Mosaic Meandering, etc., etc., etc.! I think there’s never a reason to use plain old boring stippling again! Throughout the workshop while we worked on designs, Diane would come around and talk with everyone personally, helping with machine issues, or giving advice or feedback. It was tempting to just follow her around to everyone else, just to hear every word she said!
Some of the students were at Hancock’s Fabrics at 8:00 a.m. on day two of the workshop, begging their way in the door before they were open to shop. We were in class during opening hours, but Hancock’s was happy to let them in early evidently! Some of these ladies bought assortments of silk dupion fat quarters that were half price, so Dawn and I made the mad dash to Hancock’s ourselves on the lunch hour to get some. What a steal! There were seven different assortments of six FQ’s each left by the time we got there (there might have been nine or ten to begin with, but some were sold out by then), and I bought one of each. They are so luscious! Diane quilts with the #100 silk thread on the silk dupion all the time, and the results are incredible. I can’t wait to try something with my fat quarters! Heck, I had fun just getting them out of the boxes and rearranging the colors so they all blended!
Toward the end of day two, we were treated to a guided tour of the Museum by Diane. We looked at machine quilted (and some hand quilted) quilts, and she pointed out techniques and designs that supported what we were learning in the workshop. The quilts there are simply stunning, breathtaking, but really, no words suffice. I truly almost cried during that tour, the quilts were so beautiful. A recent addition to the museum is the miniature collection, including Diane’s quilt “A Visit to Provence,” a miniature whole cloth quilt that truly takes her signature look to a new level. She quilted most of it freehand, only drawing outer boundaries for the feather designs, and used a magnifying glass attachment on her machine to quilt it! I also saw the finest (regular size!) machine quilting I’ve ever seen, on a quilt by Philippa Naylor. Her machine quilting stitches are so perfectly consistent, and her designs are fresh and original. She’s next on my list for a workshop when I can catch up with her somewhere!
Jessica, our wonderful workshop coordinator at the Museum, stayed late on day two so that we could all come back after dinner to quilt some more! Dawn and I hung in there as long as we could, but finally had to call it a night since the quilting quality took a downward turn as it got later and later. I was still jet lagged, too.
Sometime during the day on day two, a reporter and photographer from the Paducah Sun came to visit, and interviewed some of us for the paper. How cool is that?? When quilters from ten states and three countries come to town for a workshop, it’s headline news in Paducah! Day three brought some excitement and multiple copies of the Saturday paper into the classroom. I brought a copy home, and my kids thought it was pretty neat that their mom got her picture in the paper! See the story here.
On day three, I set up Dawn’s extra Pfaff machine to try it out with the silk thread and some of Diane’s techniques. Remember that I had been using the Bernina from the Museum up until then. I was kind of wondering how it would go with the Pfaff, since I hadn’t had such success at home with Diane’s techniques on my Pfaff as I had on the Bernina. For all I knew, it was the machine, though I doubted that would be the case. While my quilting designs looked just as good on the Pfaff, her machine didn’t like the silk thread very much, so the stitch quality wasn’t great. I wasn’t too worried though since I have a different model at home, and I’ve used the silk thread in it just fine. Her machine doesn’t like monofiliament thread either, so maybe it’s just finicky. I also think that sometimes the older a machine gets, the harder it is to make it work well with very fine threads. There were a couple of people in the workshop with older machines, and they had a few issues with the silk threads.
Since Dawn and I were planning to stay in Paducah for two days and quilt in the hotel after the workshop, we made the mad dash at lunch time to English’s Sew & Vac across town to rent a Pfaff 2056 for me to use, since I didn’t want to try to quilt with the silk on her machine if it was going to be finicky about it. English’s let me waltz in and take one of their display machines, without even asking for my credit card number or anything. Incredible. I didn’t even pay the rental fee before I left. I guess that’s small towns for you.
All in all, Diane Gaudynski’s workshop is far and away the best workshop I’ve ever taken. The workshop is best for intermediate to advanced machine quilters with some solid free motion experience. When she started the workshop on day one, she said that the goal was to move your machine quilting skills up at least one level, and if you did that during the class, it would be a success. I have to say that I took my skills up way more than one level, and the actual machine quilting advice and instruction wasn’t even the half of it. Her tips and tricks about everything related to machine quilting, quilting in general, and entering quilt shows are worth their weight in gold. If you ever get the chance to learn from Diane, grab it, because you won’t be sorry for a minute.