Welcome to the Quilter's Academy Journal

Harriet and I are glad you visited... we established this blog as a sort of question and answer forum for all of you who are working through the Quilter's Academy book series.
It is also a place to find a list of the errata from the books-
You can find those by looking back through the archived blogs.

So, welcome, and please post a comment if you have any questions or topics you would like us to discuss.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Volume 3 coming in spring

Volume 3 is due to be released this spring - I think in April. It is totally about triangles and very detailed. We actually went over on page count, but C&T graciously allowed the text to stay and have given the book a few extra pages so that we didn't have to eliminate anything. You will be working with 8 different methods of half square triangles, quarter square and 3-piece triangle squares, four methods of flying geese, and feathered stars. There is an amazing amount of information in the book, and a lot of really pretty and fun quilts. I'm giving you a heads up to hopefully motivate the home study quilters to get through the first two Volumes so that you are ready to go when this book is released.

I do hope that if you are enjoying working with the Quilters Academy books that you are sharing your enthusiasm with your friends and quilts guilds. The biggest problem all authors and publishers have is to get the word out about books that really need to be in the hands of many. I was dismayed that almost every quilt guild I was at last year, the number of members that had not heard of the books at all. There is no way I can travel with enough books to supply to those who really got excited once they found out about the series. Local quilt shops also didn't seem to have a clue. There are not enough advertising dollars to get books in front of everyone, so we rely on our students and readers to help. Please write a review for your guild newsletter, do a review at a meeting, tell your quilting friends, etc. to help us continue to help struggling quilters improve their skills and truly learn to piece and quilt.

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm. Please post what you are doing so I have an idea of how people are using the books and what your successes are.

I can't believe that it has been 2 months since we posted anything. Needless to say, I am not a good blogger. If you haven't checked out Lesley lately (patchnblock.blogspot.com) you will be amazed and I hope very motivated to keep up your work with Quilters Academy and Heirloom Machine Quilting. I got a lot of wonderful Christmas cards from students sharing their successes using my books and it was the best gift I could get. As I am trudging through getting Volume 4 written, it is really evident how important it is that you work through all the books as they are written. I am making a quilt for Class 430 in Volume 4 that is 60 degree diamonds that create 15" stars. So far, every point is coming out spot on, but only because I am checking every strip set one strip at a time, pressing to get exact seams, checking and double checking each 60 degree cut from the strip sets, and carefully aligning each seam as the segments are joined. I am making one star an hour, so think this is coming along really well, and I love the look - 20 fabrics in all.

I hope that everyone working through Quilters Academy have a desire to make these wonderful, but more complicated and time consuming quilts in the near future. Remember, we are not looking for perfection, but excellence. Perseverance really pays off, as demonstrated so perfectly by Lesley. She is my inspiration when writing, as I want to make sure the instructions are complete and explicit enough that she can continue to excel on her own. I know all of you can do it!!!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and wish you the very best for the New Year. Make more quilts!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

While we are addressing issues, I overlooked adding yardage for the large 9-patch blocks for the quilt Four Patch Chain on page 70 of Volume 2. The yardage should be 2 2/3 yard of white. Carrie and I are really hoping that everyone using these books are truly doing what we are teaching and figuring each quilt on your own to develop the pattern and yardage for yourself and to really understand the process before you start. We apologize for any thing we have overlooked, such as this, but also hope that if you are truly studying this as a college course, not using the book as a typical pattern book, you will discover these issues and know that there is an error and also know the correct answer. This is the whole reason we are doing this. We are not trying to get off the hook for our mistakes - believe me, it is humiliating to find the errors after the book is in print. We read the books a minimum of 7 times and think we have found the problems, only to find that an obvious problem crops up - like Townsquare in Volume 1. However, as Lesley stated in the very beginning, she knew she was right and the book was wrong because she did her own math and her numbers were right. That is truly what we want for everyone. By doing this, you are getting closer and closer to being able to take a photo and dividing it down to a block, a grid, a recipe, and a yardage chart - all on your own. The step after that is to design your own original quilts and be able to write your own instructions.

I will share with you that one of the hardest parts of writing instructions is that you have no idea what your readers do and don't know, and what they do and don't do as far as following instructions. This being said, there will always be problems with the written word and having everything perfectly understandable for everyone. We really want to teach our readers to contemplate and analyze the quilts and the patterns, not just follow the pattern.

We would like some feedback on this if anyone has any thoughts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Volume 2 Sashing Instructions

Well... there seems to be some problems with the sashing for the Cabin in the Cotton quilt on pages 43-48.

Using the formula on page 85, you get a sashing strip that is 25 1/2" long. However if you have cut your side setting triangles the full 8" as stated in the instructions for this quilt, you will have a quilt top that is not even at the outside edges.

My quilt was this way when it was completed because I then trimmed the quilt down so that the binding would be right at the edge of the corner of the sashing, meaning most of the fabric that hangs over on the side setting triangles is trimmed away.

This not being well explained has caused some issues, here are a couple of thoughts/ considerations for you to take into account.

First, if you know that you are not going to add another border to your quilt or don't want your blocks to "float" in the background, only add 2" to the measurement of the block to get the needed size for the side setting triangles... in the case of Cabin in the Cotton you would then be cutting 7" squares in half twice diagonally (see page 47, at the top).

If however having an uneven edge on your quilt makes you crazy, you can amend the formula on page 85 to read this way:
(Finished block size x number of blocks) + (cut sashing size x number of sashes) + 1/2"

By figuring using the cut size of the sashing, you add extra inches to the length of the sashing as well as the 1/2" for seam allowances, giving you more sashing length to play with and space for trimming.

I apologize for the confusion this may cause or have caused and hope this will help.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hello to everyone that have posted. I do realize that if I wrote more, you all would too! LOL Welcome to all the new quilters that are finding out about the books. We really appreciate your help in spreading the word to new quilters who could learn so much by working through the books. Carrie and I truly are interested in helping everyone improve their skills so that we can get back to making awesome original quilts without having to be an artist or designer.

I have been busy piecing hexagons and diamonds, and actually having fun doing it. It is time consuming, and I am finding it hard to illustrate and write about the different shapes. By the time you are all through Volume 3, you will be ready to settle in to some really fun piecing. It is really restful, since you can't speed piece these shapes.

Boot Camp - we are having the first one this month. The ladies are really up for some long sewing days. We are going to try to get through the entire book in 5 days. They will be making 3 - 4 quilt tops, depending on how fast they sew. I am excited to see how this all goes. I know they will be long days for some - we will be working most days from 9:30 in the morning to 9:30+ in the evening. The best part is Carries meals - my personal favorite part. We will be scheduling more Boot Camps for machine quilting, machine applique, and Quilter's Academy 1 and 2 later in the year for 2011. The new web site will enable us to notify everyone about what is going on and making the supplies more easily available.

Keep the postings coming. It's really good to hear from all of you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Can you believe that September is already here? We don't feel that we got anything done but work all summer. Not one day in our majestic mountains or sitting on the porch. Now is canning season and this weekend will be very busy in the kitchen putting up this winters food. Yes, Carrie and I are very old fashioned and we still can - tomatoes, peaches, pears, beets, pickles, and corn, beans, and brussel sprouts in the freezer. Can't wait to till up the garden and be done with that job for the winter.

I do have two new kittens that have been fun. The lure of babies in a cage is dangerous. My enabler daughter didn't try to talk me out of it, so there are now three tabbies wandering around, walking on keyboards and hindering progress at the sewing machine. A lot of re-typing has been taking place, as their keyboard skills aren't up to speed yet.

We have been busy planning and writing Volume 4. Volume 3 is in the works, due to be released in April 2011. It is heavy on technique and lessons, every conceivable way to make half square triangles, quarter square and 3 piece triangles, four methods of flying geese and feathered stars. That being said, we are finding that those of you working through the books are having trouble keeping up.

I was in McKinney, Texas last week and taught a 2-day Volume 1 and a 2-day Volume 2 class, and found that most of the students that took the Volume 1 class last year had not worked through the entire book, and found it more difficult to work through Volume 2 than it should have been. So, I want to emphasize again that these are not project books. Each quilt and lesson build on the previous ones, and by skipping around you are likely to miss some very valuable hints and techniques that you will be using as you go forward. If you are keeping up with Lesley in Tasmania, she did every lesson in depth in Volume 1 and has quilted (she is new and learning this also) and finished every one of the quilts. The progress she has shown is awesome! If you haven't checked out her blog, please do, as it is truly inspirational for beginners and more experienced alike (patchnblock.blogspot.com). If any of the rest of you are blogging your way through the book, please post your address so we can keep up with your progress.

Volume 2 still uses blocks made of strips and squares, but things change a lot with diagonal sets - especially the math and figuring yardage. Please try the design work using the linking blocks and chain blocks in the worksheets. If you do not know how to use graph paper, this will give you a good start in designing your own original quilts.If you can't find our graph paper packet, call the store and we will get it to you. It will be on the new web site. 303-424-2742

So... with the things I have been hearing and seeing on the road, we have decided to have Volume 4 and on come out once a year instead of every 9 months. Many have told me that they weren't done with Volume 1, now 2 is out, and 3 is looming ahead of them and they know they can't keep up. C&T has agreed to go to every 12 months, with each book coming out in the spring. This give everyone more time to get through the books, and we also are going to need more time, as the more difficult the techniques, the longer it takes to make the quilts. We are having a lot of fun working on the set-in pieced lessons for Volume 4. 60 degree and 45 degree angles afford endless design possibilities.

We will have a new web site up and running the first of October. Our old one is 12 years old and limping along. We will be able to feature the books as well as the rulers and tools we use in each book and make supplies easy to get for those of you having trouble finding some of the items.

If you still haven't discovered the true joy of piecing with Presencia 60/3 thread, please let us know and we can supply you with it. We have about 98% success the first try on getting the perfect seam allowance with the Perkins Dry Goods ruler and 60/3 thread in a 70/10 needle. If you are having any problems with accuracy, seam allowances and pressing are most likely the culprit.

If you have never used the Reliable Digital Velocity iron, you don't know what you are missing. In every class I teach, we try to have at least one of these irons, and within a few hours, students are waiting in line for the "good" iron instead of the typical cheap irons. If you are a Rowenta owner, you need to look into these irons (page 39, Volume 1). They are not that much more expensive, but do not leak and last for years.

It seems that I like to post LONG messages instead of lots of short ones. Hopefully I will hear from you out there and get an update on how you are progressing. I'm here to help if anyone needs it. The long evenings of fall and winter are looking inviting to get lots of sewing done.

Looking forward to hearing from you.....

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book update...

We are sorry to have not written for a while!
Just a quick update- Harriet is feverishly working on Book 4, Carrie just completed one of the editing rounds on Book 3 and is starting to make the quilts for Book 4.
We have our first Quilter's Academy 5 day boot camp coming up in September- it is full and so we are looking at other dates in 2011 to schedule at least two more QA 1 boot camps. You can check out all the information of the boot camps on Harriet's website at www.harriethargrave.com and click on the "Retreats" link on the left hand side of the home page.

Keep your comments and questions coming so we can keep tabs on your progress!

Happy Quilting!
Carrie & Harriet

Monday, May 24, 2010

YEA!! Volume 2 is in the house! We just got back from Quilt Market and did a couple of book signings for Volume 2. We talked to many shop people who are using Volume 1 in the classroom with really great results. We were really excited to hear the progress and success of their students.

Carrie just finished quilting her quilts for Volume 3 and her quilting is wonderful. I can't believe the progress she has made. Like Lesley, she makes all the tops first, then settles in for the quilting marathon. The last two were almost twin size, so she really got a workout. I am really excited about Volume 3 - will be out next March. There are about 20 projects!

We would really like to hear of your success and progress if you are working through the series. Lesley is great about posting regularly on her blog showing her progress. How are the rest of you doing? C&T forgot to put the blog address in the 3rd printing of Volume 1 AND in Volume 2, so this is going to be much slower to get the address out to everyone without access of all the book buyers to the blog site. Please spread the word.

I am now working on the quilt designs for Volume 4. The quilts are getting more difficult, more beautiful, and lots more quilting. I can't wait for the quilting part.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hello out there to anyone checking in. It seems I can't get my thoughts together more than once a month. If anyone needs any help or information, please let me know, as that would make this easier and more applicable to those reading it.

I just checked in on Lesley and am really excited about her progress. Her problems with quilting Asian Nights though brought up some things that I would like to address. I really need to do this on the Machine quilting blog site, (heirloommachinequilting.blogspot.com) but no one knows about it yet, so I will start it here.

I had a lecture at the store a couple of nights ago - my 10 top tips for being a better quilter. What struck me about the audience was that they all wanted to learn to do their own quilting, but didn't want to put a lot of time into the practice and learning process. Just get it done. I got a bit like a mother, but I think it started to sink in by the end of the evening. Let me review some of the points that I want you to think about.....
1) Quilting is a skill very different from piecing. Piecing is pretty quick to come along and get under your belt. Quilting is a skill that not only takes time and practice, but involves a multitude of other subjects that are very foreign and unknown to most new quilters. Marking tools, batting choices, size of the quilt choices, threads, and on and on.

2) It takes at least 20 minutes to warm up before free motion quilting is comfortable and your muscles get the hang of the motion. Way too often, we just jump in and start to see improvement - on the quilt - after 20 minutes or more of quilting. Warm up off the quilt until you are comfortable, then go to the quilt. Work on stitch length, tension issues, and thread choices on the warm up piece. My warm up pieces are about 45" x 30".

3) Make sure you test your marking products to be sure they are easily removed from the quilt top after quilting, or don't rub off during the quilting process. Pouncing chalk is very easy to mark with, but rubs off very easily with all the movement of the quilt while quilting. Yellow has sulfur in it, so avoid using yellow or test it thoroughly. For more information, refer to the marking chapter in Heirloom Machine Quilting.

4) Start to learn about the battings available. Your batting choice can really affect the end product, as well as your experience quilting the quilt. Although cottons are thinner, if they are heavily needlepunched and/or have a scrim binder added, they can become very stiff as you quilt them, making it difficult to manage in the machine. If you have never used Mountain Mist products, look into them. You can get a batting pack of samples from my web site with Mountain Mist samples in it to play with and test. Also Cotton Classic. This is not needlepunched and is very flexible. Most quilters choose their battings by the feel of the batt, not the construction. Bamboo is an example of this. It feels very soft, but bamboo batts are needlepunched and most often have a scrim, making them no different after the quilt is quilted than a cotton like Quilters Dream, at a whole lot higher price tag! If you make the batting samples, you will see how they feel to quilt them, as well as what they look like after washing, before committing a quilt to a particular batt you know nothing about.

5) For those of you going through the Quilters Academy book, I would strongly suggest that if you are learning to quilt at the same time you are learning to piece, that you stick with the quilting suggestion we offer at the end of the book. We choose these designs based on Carries quilting ability, which was beginner when we wrote that book. She is now quilting the quilts for book 3 and is into feathers and harder stencils. You need to be patient and learn to stay on lines and keep your stitches even before getting into harder quilting designs. You might think that some of the quilting designs are boring, but we are letting you learn to manhandle the bulk of the quilt with easy quilting before you have to worry about staying on a line AND manhandle the bulk. I know everyone is very impatient with this process, but respect quilting for the skill it is. Take your time and work within you abilities so that all your new quilt tops reflect your skill at the time.

If you have any issues with machine quilting that I can help with, please post at heirloommachinequilting.blogspot.com where it is more appropriate than here. I am happy to help anyone that wants to be a better quilter.

We have the preview copies of Volume 2 and are really excited about the new book. C&T plans to ship them the 3rd week of May, and we are likely to get them ahead of anyone else, so if you want an autographed copy before Amazon or anyone else has them, let us know.

I would love to hear from more teachers that are using the book in the classroom. I met one in Greensboro, NC a few weeks ago and she is having so much fun, as well as great success with beginners. The students are very excited too. Please help us by spreading the word about the books. Word of mouth is the best advertising. Thank you!!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I was so excited to hear from Annie. I had such a grand time in Ohio with all the wonderful ladies in my classes. I was certainly jazzed in each class by the enthusiasm and work ethics of my students. No whining and diligent work and great results.

Annie has started a blog to record her progress, and I agree with her that this is a wonderful way to start a community of students of Quilter's Academy. The camaraderie that could be developed and the support system could be wonderful. I know that I enjoy checking in with Lesley and adding any tidbit of info I can to help things along. I would love to have the opportunity to do this for anyone working through the book. It gives me a direct link to students that don't have an opportunity to be in one of my classes.

We just received the preview copies of Volume 2 yesterday and Carrie and I are really excited about this book. Now we just need to see the graph paper.

Please go to Annie's blog and check her out - annnonomus.blogspot.com - and please pass on this blog sight to anyone you know that might benefit from it, or wants to go through the book. We can handle it much like homeschooling!
Keep in touch

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thought it was about time to add something to the blog. As you can tell, I am not up to speed on this. Just wanted to let you know that we just got the preview copies of Volume 2 today, and Carrie and are really pleased and excited about this book. It will take you through more complicated looking quilts without leaving strips and squares in the blocks. We turned in Volume 3 March 1 - everything about triangles, flying geese, and on and on.... and are finishing all the quilting of the quilts for that book. Then on to Volume 4! We are hitting a wall a bit - this is an amazing amount of work in a very short period of time. We have a couple of weekends planned out of town in April, so that might help.

We will have Volume 2 in the store before most everyone else - we hope early May - so if you want a copy early and signed by Carrie and me, you can pre-order them from us. Call 303-424-2742 to place your order.

I started a Session 1 class at the store today, and again was reminded at how important pressing is. It can make or break your quilt top. A good iron - our very favorite is the Reliable Digital Velocity - and a Big Board are SO important to good ironing and control of the seams. After ironing is straightening (be sure to tear the ends to be able to actually see and work with the crosswise grain) the fabric and cutting accurately. If you haven't tried the 2 1/2" x 12 1/2" rulers - we especially like the Creative Grid rulers - try one for cutting. The narrow width really helps you hold the ruler without slipping when cutting strips up to 2" wide, which is most of the quilts in the books. If you have any problems finding any of the supplies we talk about in the book, please feel free to call our store and order what you need. 303-424-2742.
We don't have everything on the web site as we are in the planning stages of rebuilding it, but the girls at the store can help with anything you need.

If you can't find a foot narrow enough for your machine for the scant 1/4" seam allowance, try the Little Foot. It comes in several different shank sizes and might help you with your seam allowances.

I have had several people contact me that they were going to start the book as a course and set up a blog like Lesley. Please send me your addresses if you do this so that I can keep track of your progress.

As we come up against anything I think needs to be shared from the current class, I will add it here as we go. Would love comments from any of you as you are working through the book.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

I want to share with everyone a new quilter that is working through Quilters Academy Volume 1 on her own. I found out about her when she let us know she had found the errors on the directions for Townsquare. Lesley bought the book and has been working through it just as we had hoped people would do. Her blog is a diary of her progress, and I am so proud of her!!! She lives in Tasmania, Australia, is brand new to quilting, and is on the final. She can't wait to start to add borders to all the quilt tops - yes, she made them all! - and get to quilting them. Talk about a teachers dream come true in a student! I would encourage everyone to visit her blog and give her a big pat on the back for a job well done. The blog address is: patchnblock.blogspot.com. She has photograph of her step by step progress and her finished tops. You will love the skill improvement you see as she goes, and her insight as she finished each class. Just wanted to tune everyone in to her - how inspiring!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I was teaching in Arizona last week and wanted to report on what made the class really go smooth - Big Boards! Are you ironing on a regular ironing board with a squishy pad and cover? If you don't know about Big Boards, they are 22" x 60" and is made of hard plywood. We put a think layer of cotton batting (like Hobbs Natural) on the wood surface and then cover it with a heavier cotton cover. The hardness of the board helps the iron really push the seam allowances over themselves without distortion. The softer ironing boards and pads can cause quite a bit of distortion. Also a good heavy iron is really helpful. We LOVE the Digital Velocity by Reliable. Have had them in our classroom for a few years now without a bit of trouble. The 20 students in Arizona kept saying by the end of the class that they now figured out it is really about pressing and trimming! If you are working through Quilters Academy Vol 1. let us know how you are doing.

We are editing Volume 2 next week and it should be out in May. We are also finishing up the writing and the quilts for Volume 3 and REALLY excited about this book! Once you get the precision down in Volumes 1 and 2, the designing and fun with triangles in Volume 3 will be really exciting. Imagine - you will be learning to achieve beautiful piecing AND design your own original quilts!

Happy sewing

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Volume 1 Errata found so far

Below is a list of the corrections that a few of our readers have brought to our attention so far. We apologize for these problems, but they are a good way for you to check to see if you are able to catch them. The Townsquare project on page 63 is going to be turned into a mid-term exam, giving you a chance to see if you can work out the correct answers. We have had several students tell us they thought this is how we set it up. We wish we had of thought of that, as it is a good check on your progress for making your own recipes.

Please email us with any questions you may have about these or other things in the book.

Corrections for Quilt Academy Volume 1

Page 12 In the note box, it should be 112, not 12

Page 41 Harriet's Triple Rail Fence Project:
Make sure you read after the * on the bottom of
the page, starting with "* To determine how many strip sets.... "
The yardage is not wrong, but if you just cut the number of strips we tell you to cut it
will seem that way...

Page 64 2nd paragraph from bottom in first column
Four four-patch units per block = 2 segments for each unit = 8 segments. Each segment is a 1 ½" cut. There are 8 blocks and 8 segments each = 64 units total. Each 42" strip yields 28 units 1 ½" wide. 64 ÷ 28 = 2.28 strips needed, rounded up to 3 strips.

2nd column
6 strips 1 ½" wide dark green
3 strips 1 ½" …….
3 strips 1 ½" ……..

Page 65 center column- #5
Make two stacks of 16

center column - #8
Make 32 of these……

Page 81 - this is fairly obvious, but the 18" side of a fat quarter is the lengthwise grain and the 22" side is the crosswise grain

Page 87 - we have been told that there are a few confusing things here. After step 2, we meant you need a total of 36 segments for rows 1, 2, 4, and 5 - not 36 for each.
Rows 2 and 4 - there is no need for white strips
Under Making Block A - For Row 3, you need 1 strip blue, 2 strips pink and 2 strips white.

Page 90 17 – B blocks


Okay folks- we are here!!! ;)

Now that we have Volume 1 in the series on the shelves and Volume 2 is on it's way in May, we thought it might be helpful for you to find out more info and ask questions here. You will also get updates on errors found or patterns for quilts we didn't include in the books.

Fair warning- we are not terribly technologically driven and are giving birth to a new "baby book" every nine months from now until 2013, so we may not update this weekly or even monthly. But, we will do our best to keep in touch with you as you work through this series of books.

We are so excited about the opportunity to offer this series of books to you, and that you are willing to do the work and take the course.