(Not So) Free Motion

In Susan Scott’s beginning Free Motion Quilting class, you could feel the anticipation and fear from the students who had never been shown, or experimented with this technique before. Even I, who took the class last year, felt nervous.

Susan demonstrating loops
Susan explaining loops

We each had a packet of “quilt sandwich(s)” – made with 2 pieces of muslin and batting in the middle. Some were blank and others had lines drawn on them. The lines were hauntingly familiar. They were the same lines used in grade school to teach kids how to write:





We were learning how to write with our sewing machines. Some were naturals,  others struggled to loosen up and have fun with it.

Many Questions
Many Questions Were Asked
Intense Concentration
Intense Concentration







It’s not the technique that’s difficult. Susan guided us through the “exercises”, reminding us to breathe and have fun with it. Fun?!

The tough part is practicing enough to develop the self-confidence to do it. Susan sent us out into the world with the know-how. It is now up to us to do our homework and practice, practice, practice.

The homework? Finish our exercises and quilt a comfort quilt.

Setting up machine
Setting up the machine
Nice loops!
Hey – Nice loops!

Constructing a Quilt Faire Application

Measuring Correctly is a must!

Our construction crew first discussed how to measure a quilt correctly.  There have been many creative techniques used in the past resulting in incorrect sized frames to hang them in the quilt show.

Re-building frames during the hanging phase is not a happy chore. Please ask for help if you are not sure how to measure after reading the instructions.


Just the facts, ma’am.
Dazed and Confused? Ask a member or chairperson. They will point you in the right direction!
Thank you, Sue, Phyllis & Candy for your entertaining reminders!


The next demonstration was about  descriptions being too lengthy.

Please stay under 50 words so the display cards look professional.


There’s A New Shop In Town!

Members of the Independence Hall Quilter’s Guild are doing a happy-dance over this fantastic news.

A Friendly and Knowledgeable Business Woman

Not only is this a place we can shop for our goodies, but it is local, right here in Arnold!

I met with Megan  Rosenhart, proprietor and instructor at ‘Big Heart Fiber Arts’, to see what items she had for sale, classes to take, all the information quilters and crafty folks would want to know.  The first workshop she is offering is a 2-day course in “felting”. I had no clue what felting was, and even after Mara explained it and showed me the cool scarves the class would make, I still could not tell you about it. If you are interested in learning about and doing this craft, her workshop is September 27th (6-8 pm) and September 28th (1-3 pm). The $48.00 fee includes both sessions, plus all the materials needed to make a gorgeous scarf.

Felting Kits, Materials, and Scarf.

Knit and Crochet Kits
Knit and Crochet Kits

For information on class schedules, registration, workshops, and things newsworthy, check on Megan’s website.  It is there you will get the latest scoop.

Prior to her grand opening on July 19th, Mara taught 3 weeks of “kids camps” at the Hub in Arnold. Each week had a theme (or two):

  • American Girl Doll Clothes Making
  • Quilting
  • Lego’s
  • Duct Tape*

* For kids only, husbands and grown boys cannot attend.  I asked.

SpinningWheel & Fiber
Learn to spin wool into yarn! – Mara has a variety of wool robing for spinning.

Mara, a 4th generation fiber arts expert, learned quilting and crewel (embroidery) work from her great-grandmother. Her grandmother taught her to knit and crochet, and her mom taught her to sew. They mostly used the English (UK) style, and sewed by hand.  Her mission is to teach these “lost” arts to young people and carry them forward. Mara’s favorite patterns are ‘historical’ – taken from the “Godey’s Ladies Books, written in 1837 – 1890’s. The books are compilations of the Godey’s magazines which were comparable to the “McCall’s” publications.  A more in-depth look into these historical books will be explored at a later date…

Mara’s resume also includes sewing custom wedding dresses, she owned 2 bridal shops – one in Menlo Park, the other in Santa Cruz. She also taught at the Art Institute in San Francisco between 2004 – 2006.

Mara teaches classes for all age groups. Home-schooled and after-school kids sessions are available. She has a scholarship fund for kids who can’t afford the cost of classes but want to learn. Donations of $5 are suggested at the adult “open studio” and ‘community project” hours.

The Quilter’s Section!  Notions/Tools (not shown).

Classes for adults begin in October. See website for details, as schedules may change.  She provides basic ‘kits’ with materials and instructions to make an item for $20.00 – this  includes a lesson.

Mara’s family owned a cabin in Arnold and she has  been coming up here since 1997. Two years ago in 2012, she moved to Arnold full time and now calls it home. In between running a shop and teaching, Mara is also busy being a ‘soccer mom’. Her son, William, an athletic 3rd-grader, has practice 3 nights a week, and games on Saturdays. In November, when soccer season ends, Mara told me her shop will have different operating hours, but they were not decided yet.  Beside Mara and William, their family includes 3 rescue dogs – 2 chihuahua’s, and a Jack-Russel terrier.

In case you didn’t know: September is Learn to Crochet Month, October is Quilting Month – Big Heart Fiber Arts will be one of our vendors at The 37th Quilt Faire!
November & December are Knit Months.

Note: Our guild gets the big news first! The  2-month anniversary of the shop’s grand opening, is the weekend of Sept. 19th and 20th. To celebrate, Megan will take 20% off regular priced items and 10% off sale prices! The shop will be open both Friday and Saturday 11:00 to 4:00

So, stop by the shop to congratulate Megan and take advantage of the savings!

Big Heart Fiber Arts
Fiber and Textile Art Supplies, Classes, Gatherings.
Create and Learn craft kits
Located at Cedar Center, Arnold. Next to Sierra Photo.
  (209) 770-1174  ~*~ Website  http://www.bigheartfiberarts.com/
Email Megan

Check out their Facebook Page!