Joanie Zeier Poole’s Heirloom Machine Quilting Workshop

This machine quilting workshop may not have come exactly when I needed it to, but it did come just in time. I am a little frustrated sending my work to long arm quilters. So sorry to all the long arm quilters out there! I had to learn machine quilting myself, even if I didn’t have a long arm sewing machine.

I worked until 11 pm the night before, came home, slept for a few hours, awakened with a positive attitude and everything on my final supply list, but a free motion foot and a darning/quilting foot. Having these items would have made the process easier because you need those things in order to get through machine quilting! I found out by looking through the final supply list by the fifth time that I didn’t have them! Still, with the machine quilting fairies making elaborate designs in my head, I drove to Madison, Wisconsin, drinking coffee and listening to dance music on Kiss FM, until the station faded out in Rockford, Illinois. Then, I switched to my Shelia E CD.

The local Husqvarna Viking sewing Joanie's Machine Quilting Workshopstore opened at 9 am, the same time my machine quilting class started, but luckily it didn’t start right away. All they had was a free motion foot, which I purchased and used all weekend while taking copious notes. There were more issues when I got there. I had the larger Coats and Clark thread, which made issues with nesting under my fabric bundles. I had a demonstration in Chicago, but still had issues loading my bobbin and threading my machine, but I ascertained that this was all mind over matter. Again, enough was enough. I was machine quilting and that was that.

Joanie was one of the best teachers I had. She was patient and kind and nurturing. She has taught at Road to California and the Pacific International Quilt Festival hosted by Mancuso Show Management. Her work is in the American Quilt Society’s Museum and she learned how to do machine quilting by another art quilter who has had dozens of exhibits throughout museums across the country. She said she had taken this exact same class 15 years ago, so she empathized with any fear and frustration I had.

Joanie gave the pros and cons of buying a long arm, which include having space and, of course, money for it. But when you have made it up in your mind that textiles are apart of your life, you just won’t stop. You keep going, long arm or no long arm. And while I still have the eye sight, manual dexterity and enthusiasm, I plan to keep going.

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