Saturday, October 1, 2016

Three Days of Judy Niemeyer Classes Taught by Eileen Urbanek

Prologue:  Allison and I bought patterns for Judy Niemeyer's Desert Sky over a year ago and thought we would perhaps do a Judy retreat up in Montana and catch some Bonnie classes along the way.  Well, Bonnie's classes up there sold out instantly and ended that plan.  Since then, we have been attempting to get into a local class with a certified teacher and finally scored a few months back.  Eileen Urbanek is the teacher and I am super stoked to be doing this finally.  It's time to learn something new.  Onward and upward - right?  We sign up for two, one-day classes and bring supplies for two projects.  Shortly after our arrival, we are given the opportunity to add a third day, allowing us to work on one project for two full days.  Score.  The best part of three days?  Elisabeth is doing two days and thus, we will have both of them with her.  Yay us.

Chapter 1 -- 9/29  Now for today.  Allison has located a fun coffee shop for us to meet up and visit for awhile as I have to drop my sweetie off at work and the class doesn't start until 10.  It's a great spot and we are buzzed and ready to go when we arrive at Fabric Fanatics.  Since we are the first to arrive and each person has their own 6 foot table, we decide to share sewing space, thus giving us the second table to lay things out, etc.  With our vintage ladies front and center, we are READY.  Teacher, teach us please.

Our first task is to pair up darks and lights but Eileen gets final approval.  Seems fitting.

Once she has checked both of our selections, our next task is to lay them out in stacks of light and dark, keeping the order through both stacks.  It is definitely time to use all this delicious floor space that we have available.

These classes are designed to allow people to choose their own patterns, thus everyone is working on something different.  As we wait our turn with the teacher, well dang if it isn't a perfect selfie moment.  "We are waiting to cut."

Our stacks are now ready for the next step.  It's time to cut these into all the wonderful little pieces that we will need for our projects.  We are about to become "bag ladies."  Stop it with the comments that I know are going through your heads.

A wonderful advantage (disadvantage?) of taking a class in a quilt shop is the CLEARANCE table.  Oooooh.  I forgot to mention that earlier we found mystery grab bags on it and actually put some into our projects instantly.  Fun, fun.  Well, this time we have found latte mugs filled with wonderful fat quarters.  The decision is made to gift each other with one.  "No, Sweetie, Allison GAVE it to me."

It is an absolute MUST to use all the items one gets with a gift.  Right?  These mugs were bundled with some pretty tulle and thus the tulle becomes a delightful chapeau.

We get back to the cutting task at hand.  Will it ever end?  Eileen lets us know that we are now going to sew.  What?  Crazy thought.

This is paper piecing to extreme.  It's slow.  Painstakingly so.  Can I fall in love with it?  I am giving it a valiant effort but am just not sure of the outcome.

As the day comes to a close, we have NOT completed a single block.  However, Allison (not me), has managed to make a lovely mess at her station.  Role reversal is taking place and somehow it feels so very odd.

Chapter 2 -- 9/30  I have the car today so am leaving from home just as the sun is making it's way into the beginning of a new day.  It is glorious.  Honest.  Trying to snap a quick picture while at a stoplight is the not best scenario, but here's what I got.

After another coffee shop visit, that includes Elisabeth today, we are headed to class for another round.  The big goal is to finish the paper piecing part of our blocks and learn how to add the quarter circles.  I have made no secret of the fact that circles scare me to death.  Here goes.

Must stop and take pics.  Right?  Of course! "Memories, light the corners of my mind."  Who can go there with me?

TA-DA --- yes we have achieved block status.  The "hats" are on.  (I can hear Elisabeth laughing to herself as she reads that.)

Now to tackle the rest of our blocks.  We are doing them in sets of nine so that is how many we are ready to dress.

Allison is playing with arrangements already.  How does she do that? My brain is still in "add the next piece" mode.

It's a break from circles time and patterns are a fun way to eat some candy without actually ingesting anything.  Hmmm, perhaps that analogy falls down as our brains may ingest.  Do they?  Elisabeth can only watch for so long and then she needs to be a part of the conversation too.  After all, they ARE her purchased patterns.

Okay, smiles everyone.  Well, that worked well.

Perhaps I should let you know that there are others in this class too.  Say hi to Cynthia, Patty, Charlene, and Mark.  I do not know where Joy is, but rest assured she is in this class too.

Okay, okay.  Back to the circles.  Once can only avoid for so long.  I settle in and try to put myself back in dressmaker mode.  Sleeves, think sleeves.  I can do this.

Amazingly enough, it works.  They go together quick and soon both Allison and I have our 9 units completed.  Major TA-DA.  Mine are the top row, Allison's the bottom row.  Well, that was probably obvious after I said which ones were mine.

A quick picture of what Cynthia is working on:  (Isn't it beautiful?)

I do not know HOW Elisabeth got a gold star but I do know that she is mighty proud of it and wants her picture taken.  I will oblige and then go back to my seat and pout as I have not achieved gold star status.

Eileen does a show and tell of her Judy Niemeyer quilts and although the thought of working the HUNDREDS of hours that one of these would require is almost numbing to me, I do fall for one of them.  I adore the spikes in this one.  So, so cool.

Now to finish out my day.  I do not wish to start another set of 9 blocks.  I do not wish to start the second project I have brought.  I know, I'll pick up some of the waste from the first nine blocks and start in on a label.  I think it's pretty dang cool, if I'm being honest.  Loving, simply loving these colors.  (I still need to trim the last few and add the muslin triangle along with a top binding but . . .)

Chapter 3 -- 10/1  It is Round three at the coffee shop and we are all together again.  I'm loving these early morning moments with friends.

Two vanilla lattes and a lactose free/sugar free chocolate.  What a pretty picture they are.

As Elisabeth and I are talking, Allison grabs my camera.  It must have been a good conversation.

Oh, what did you say?  "Smile?"

I would like at least one coffee shop pic of the three of us so I approach a young lady who is with her mother.  I ask if she would take a picture and her response is, "Why?"  I look at her for a second before realizing that she thought I wanted her picture.  After explaining, she is more than happy to oblige us.

As we are chatting, our lovely teacher comes in to join us.  Good morning Eileen.  We are delighted to share company with you this morning.  Thank you for including us in YOUR day.  It's a great start to the day but ends as perhaps the teacher should be in class before it starts.  Hmmmm . . . I guess so.

Okay it's Tea Time.  The goal for today is to get these placemats cut out and the first two pieces sewn onto all eight sections.  On your mark, get set, go.  Back to the floor.

For the prep cutting, I am off to the shop.  More room and since the building is being painted today, there are very few customers.  No worries about taking over space that is needed for them.  As we are cutting, Elisabeth has cheated and taken her blocks home to get to the "hat" stage.

Oh, that's mean.  I take it back.  She has worked super hard and perhaps that is why she has a gold star and I don't.  TA-DA.  Once her blocks are complete, she lays them out in the shape of an "S", which will be her layout in the quilt.  Super cool for a Stillson.

Allison and I do meet our goal for cutting and sewing on the placemats.  We also gift Elisabeth with a latte mug and fat quarters so that we can now officially be the "three mugstateers".  Yes, silliness runneth amok.

Our time here is coming to a close so one last picture with Eileen seems appropriate.  The problem is that Janet is the photographer and we don't stand a chance at "appropriate" with her goading us on.  Here is what ya get:

What a truly fun three days we have had.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Eileen, for making this oh such a great time.  Can't wait to see you again.


  1. It was fun to peek in, meet Allison & drool over your projects!

  2. such fun and fantastic blocks