I was a little skeptical when I saw the supply list and began trying to gather the items required for the class. I talked about this class a few times in various posts in the last few months. The supplies required me to get out of my comfort zone, which is good, but never welcome.
The effort was totally worth it. There was nothing on the list that was a waste. This class used A LOT of freezer paper. The above circle steps use two layers of freezer paper and, apparently, I can only use the freezer paper template once, because of something to do with the amount of glue stick glue required for the process. I didn’t really ask, because it was so early in the process I was still floundering a bit. I’ll have to try using the templates over and see if there is a problem. If I were going to make a circle quilt, as I had planned, I would use TV time to make the freezer paper templates.
Ms. Fleming was an excellent teacher. I found out later that she has magnificently minded (LD) children so she was very cognizant of the different learning styles a teacher has to teach. She had detailed step outs for each part of the process, to which we could refer. She also explained the process and then showed us the process.
I didn’t find Ms. Fleming to be a prima donna. She was generous in allowing us photograph her quilts, step outs and her demos.
I feel really confident, after the class, that I can piece a perfect circle. The circle + background above is my second circle and I think it looks great! I used a pairing of fabric that you may be wondering about. I wanted to use fabrics that were really different that I could see well. No, they don’t really go together, but the above block will stay in my class file and not become part of a quilt. Perhaps that circle quilt that has been on my mind for a few months will come to fruition?
If you don’t want to take a class with Dale, or there is not one happening in your area, you can buy her book: Pieced Curves So Simple. If you don’t like that either, check out Becky’s blog where she talks about creating and using a circle stitcher.
Dale taught us a variety of techniques, including hearts (tips and cleavage!), layered circles (see photo below) and waves. There just wasn’t enough time for me to focus on learning all of them. 6 hours was definitely not enough time with her and I really could have spent at least a whole additional day just working on really getting the technique in my mind. I suggested that she have a work day for students who had taken a workshop. She said she had never thought of that, but would contact me if she decided to do it.
One that I tried was the waves. Her version is a lot easier than the version that I learned in 1989 when I was taking my second quilt class at the adult school. It took a lot of freezer paper, but I finally found a use for the freezer paper roll I have had for a long time. Also, it is possible to make the strips on your piece really thin. Borders are rolling around in my head, especially for the Original Bullseye.
Dale said that after making 5 circles, you can make them on your own without notes. I got up to three during the class and in the few days thereafter. I haven’t gotten back to it.
I really like technique workshops rather than project workshops. I like to be able to put a technique into my arsenal and then pull it out when I need it. I think I will be a lot less reluctant to think about adding circles to my quilts now that I have taken this class.
To date, I haven’t gotten back to circle making. The circle above is hanging, all alone, on my design wall. As I mentioned, my original thought in taking this class was to make a circle quilt. I think the above fabrics don’t express the idea in my mind, but I am also thinking that, perhaps I don’t really want to make a circle quilt. I haven’t decided. I think I need to make a few more test blocks just to see. I definitely want to try making a really small circle and see if I can do it.
An unexpected bonus of this class is that I am now not reluctant to change feet.Changing the snapoff feet is not an issue, but changing fee that required the foot holder to be removed somehow stopped me. After putting on and taking off the zipper foot 37 times, I have no reason to worry about changing feet.
Gallery of Dale Fleming Quilts
Notice the slightly wonky sashing.
This was probably my favorite quilt. She did this using a different method than we learned. I tried to understand it, but my brain was very full.
This quilt was made using the method we learned. After putting on the first circle, the maker uses that piece (circle and background) as the background.
These look like flowers. I really like how the quilts show she is exploring the technique a lot of different ways. I think that shows mastery.
Summary: I highly recommend her as a teacher! Get her book! Take her class! Make some circles!
N.b. I think my camera is acting up, so I apologize for any bleary photos!