Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two classes with Barbara Shapel

 Gorgeous, luscious, yummy, free-motion quilting
by Barbara Shapel!!!!

Barbara Shapel's free-motion quilting

Lucky me! I got to take two workshops with Barbara Shapel (from Washougal, WA) at the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, OR on April 14 and 15.  The first day began with Barbara's discussion about which threads to use with which needles, thread tension, ergonomics, and other info necessary for successful free-motion quilting.

On day two, she also covered the "needle-thread-tension-sewing speed" topic before demonstrating her specialty, threadpainting.  If you're not familiar with the term, imagine a scene entirely "painted" with thread, and that's what Barbara creates with her sewing machine.  Flowing lines and layers of thread, laid one upon the next, magically become a graceful heron,

Barbara Shapel's threadpainted heron.

or an owl in flight with shimmering feathers:
Barbara Shapel's threadpainted owl
Her threadpainting is just as beautiful on the back as it is on the front:
Barbara's owl from the back

This gifted teacher spent several years of intense trial-and-error teaching herself to free-motion quilt with her home sewing machine.  Before there were books on the subject and other teachers showing the way, Barbara worked on her own, experimenting with different threads, needles, batting, thread tension, stitch setting and speed, hand placement, hoops, gloves, etc.  Over that period, she developed a systematic method of FMQ'ing that's practically fail-proof, and which has won her many quilting awards and made her a much-sought-after teacher.

If you ever have the opportunity to take one of Barbara's classes, GO FOR IT! (and fast; as they'll be sure to fill up quickly!)

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