This little baby quilt is one of my favourites of all time! I learned a lot while attending the Weight of Love Quilt workshop – from new techniques to the value of a quilting community.
Preparing for the Weight of Love Quilt workshop
In April 2019, The Winnipeg Modern Quilt Guild hosted a weekend with the one-and-only Libs Elliott. She did a trunk show on Friday and two workshops over the weekend. I had hoped to attend her Embrace the Chaos session, but when I signed up, there was only room left on her Weight of Love Quilt workshop. Not wanting to miss out on this great opportunity, I paid my registration fee and got ready to learn y-seams!
Two days before the workshop, it occurred to me that I would need some fabric for this project. Luckily, there was a quilt show happening in Brandon MB (a town about 30 mins away from me) so I stopped on my way home from work and I CLEANED UP! Even though I only had an hour to shop, I managed to make purchases from:
It was so nice to (quickly) stop and chat to all the shop owners. Some I had met before, and some were new acquaintances. Hi new friends!
I went home and got to work cutting out the pile of fabric that I would need for the Weight of Love Quilt. The directions in the handouts Libs gave us ahead of time were very well-written and clear – it gave me a lot of confidence going into the workshop. It was a new experience for me to pack up all of my sewing gear… I had never left the HOUSE with my stuff, never mind carting it all to a different city!
What’s a Libs workshop like?
The morning of the workshop, I was excited and a bit anxious. Why anxious? I don’t really know! Maybe it was because it was something so new to me – I don’t have any “real life” quilting friends. I don’t belong to a guild – I always sew alone in my guest room. Wait, does sewing with Randy count?
When I arrived at the Weight of Love Quilt workshop I was greeted by a large room filled with natural light and pods of tables with quilters seated at them. There was so much room for everyone to sew, press, and cut if needed. I found an empty chair and quickly set up my station. I learned that I was sitting with two ladies who are members of the WMQG and sew in this space regularly. They helped me set up my station and gave me some good advice about not plugging in my full size iron before seeking approval from the organizer. No one wants to be “that person” who trips a breaker before the workshop even begins!
Libs started us off by telling us a bit about the pattern, then she guided us through some basic techniques for constructing our blocks. I had never worked with equilateral triangles or hexies before, and she had some great info for us. And just like that, we were off and sewing!
The joys of community
What a difference being in a group makes! As I scanned the room, I saw several faces I recognized from Instagram (Hi Holly! Hi Bri!) I was so happy to meet them in PERSON! My podmates and I chatted as we sewed, comparing our preferred techniques (we were all “press to one side” team members), compared sewing machines, and talked about our favourite notions. It was SO NICE to chat with people who love quilting as much as I do!
When I felt like I needed a break, I would wander around the room and check out everyone else’s stations. It was so fun to see everyone’s fabric choices – there was a huge array of colours and prints. I was in awe of some people’s bold choices. It made me want to be braver with my own palettes – I felt like I was playing very safe with my colours (aqua and navy). Maybe I’ll be a bit braver in the future? Maybe.
After we had several rows constructed, Libs came around and showed us how to sew y-seams. In a very un-Shelly-like move, I did not prepare at ALL before this class. I didn’t watch any YouTube videos or look up any tutorials. And you know what? Libs was able to teach us quickly and easily! Below is a picture of the very first rows I ever sewed together. Look at those pointy points! It was a snap!
Once I had completed three rows and sewn them together, I decided to do some more visiting. I met more quilters, learned a bit about Singer Featherwieghts (uh oh! the desire to buy one is REAL), and learned we all shared the same love of quilting.
I felt so ENERGIZED to be surrounded by so many quilters. Like, duh. While I enjoy my alone time, it was way more fun to talk to other quilters rather than our cat. No offense, Randy. Actually, he’s not even that great of a listener – he’s always meowing, asking for pets and treats. But I digress.
Wanting to re-create some of the magic of the workshop, I’ve started looking into some local quilting groups. My tiny town even has a guild, and I was very surprised to learn that they meet in the evenings. Meaning: I can actually go and hang out with them! Finding a local quilty tribe is definitely on my to- do list! Let me know if you happen to be local to me and want to hang out!
Finishing the quilt
Shall we circle back to the quilt? I didn’t want to lose any momentum on my Weight of Love quilt, so when I returned home after the workshop, I cut out the remaining shapes. Knowing that I wouldn’t have it in me to make the full-sized project, I decided to keep it as baby-sized instead. And we know that I love baby quilts!
I assembled the rest of the rows, then had to decide how to finish the edges. Having zero interest in appliqueing the hexies to a fabric panel, I turned to Instagram for some advice. Several people suggested that I fill in the outer border with half-hexies which is what I ended up doing. I like that it makes a nice rectangle, and I didn’t have to do any hand stitching!
For the backing, I used an old Cotton+Steel print that I had hanging around in my stash. It’s called Snacks, and it’s from their Black & White line. I quilted it using the Good Vibrations #1 pantograph, and I looooooove the texture it adds. This quilt was beautiful before I put it on the long arm frame, but it is way more gorgeous now that it has these wavy lines running through it. That’s my favourite part about long arming: the way that quilting can improve an already-wonderful project.
The binding fabric is Essex Yarn-Dyed Handspun in Charcoal that I bought on a whim from Mad About Patchwork last fall. Best whim ever! It has such a lovely texture, and I can just picture the binding being rubbed between a little one’s thumb and index finger. It finishes at 38″ x 40″ which is such a great size for carrying around. Some baby is going to be one lucky recipient of this special project.
Lessons learned from the Weight of Love Quilt workshop
In the end I learned a lot while making this quilt. I learned that:
- Y-seams are not scary!
- Sewing with other humans is really fun! You make new friends, people understand your lingo, and you learn all about new tools and sewing machines that you’ll want to buy immediately
- I should DEFINITELY not Google “Singer Featherweights for sale” on Kijiji (American friends: that’s Canadian for Craigslist)
- My love of computerized long arm quilting was confirmed. It has the capacity to elevate a project.
If you have a quilt that you’d like to take to the next level, you can check out my Long Arm Quilting Services page, where I spell out the whole process including pricing and available patterns. I’d love to work with you and get that special project finished!