I'd Rather Have Chocolate
I took two Accuquilt classes at one of the quilt stores in town yesterday, although “class” is something of a misnomer. These were actually more like infomercials—and both the store owner and the instructor were quite up front about that—but I took them anyway expecting to pick up some useful tips and tricks. I wasn’t disappointed.
The husband and I had a discussion before I left in which I pointed out the difference between tool shows for men and women. He has been to plenty of tool shows at local stores that featured a scantily-clad Miss Makita cavorting through the displays. I noted that there was no such corresponding Speedo-wearing Mr. Accuquilt holding up fabric cutters and dies at these events. He suggested that perhaps they needed a better marketing director.
The instructor was a former quilt store owner-turned-Accuquilt instructor. She was very pleasant and knowledgeable. The store provided comfortable seating for the 25 of us as well as plenty of chocolate, cake, cookies, coffee, tea, water, and periodic door prize drawings. (Who needs a half-naked man when there is an unlimited supply of chocolate?) The morning class was billed as “beginner,” although even those of us who already own Accuquilt machines came away with a much better understanding of the product line. Until now, the only place to buy Accuquilt dies locally was Joann Fabrics, and they carried just a small fraction of what is available. (I’ve noticed, too, that they are quietly phasing out their stock of dies and don’t seem to be replacing them.)
Accuquilt has a product called the Qube, which consists of eight dies in a package, the combination of which can produce up to 72 different quilt blocks. Qubes come in 6”, 8”, 9”, 10”, and 12” block versions. They are a great option for someone just starting out with a cutter, but they came out after I bought my cutter and I have several of the basic dies already. It was interesting to hear more about them, though, and see how they work.
The afternoon “advanced” session went into detail on using some of the more esoteric dies. It was a smaller group, too, so we had more hands-on practice. We all wanted to learn how to cut bias binding with the Accuquilt strip cutters. I’ve watched the Accuquilt videos on how to do this, but it involves a lot of folding of fabric and arranging it in an origami-like fashion on the die, and we all know that I am horribly challenged in the spatial perception department. The instructor demonstrated it for us and then, because I happened to be standing next to her, she tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Now you try it.” I did manage to replicate what she had done with only a tiny bit of prompting. Having seen it in person and then done it myself in class, I am confident I can do it on my own now.
The store offered some great discounts to students after the classes. I am under a self-imposed moratorium on buying, though—I am limiting myself to buying things only as I need them for a current project and working from the stash as much as possible—so I bought only the circle die for cutting out wool pennies.
I met Cathy for lunch during the break between classes. I sometimes wonder if people overhear our conversations and wonder why these two women are discussing cows over their meal. (And we discuss cows in gory anatomically-correct detail.) I got to see pictures of the newest baby heifer, who is very cute. The next batch of calves is due in June. Hopefully the snow will be gone by then, but this is Montana so you never know.
The husband and the employees made some progress on setting trusses:
I asked him if they had made as much progress as he was hoping to, and he said they got as far as he thought they would because they had to wait for the ice to melt off the top of the walls.
[It’s snowing again this morning. Sigh.]
I’ve got purple polka-dot binding made for the flying geese quilt. I’ll attach that to the quilt today and then sew it down over the next couple of evenings. The time change—of which I am no fan to begin with as it messes up my sleep pattern for a week—means that eventually, I’m going to be working later in the day with less sewing time after dinner.
I am having issues with that blue and white sampler quilt, too. It’s up on the design wall with some sashing and cornerstones set between the blocks and I am just not happy with it. The quilt seems to want something else. I just don’t know what that something else is. I’ll wait a few more days to see if it tells me what it’s thinking. Otherwise, I may put it away for a while.
I picked up more batting yesterday. Getting that black and white and red quilt basted is on the to-do list for today, and of course, I am going to play with my new Accuquilt die.