Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Goal 3 for February: Begin Harriet & Carrie Hargrave's Quilter's Academy Freshman Year "Woodland Winter"

Feb. 2011 goals

Harriet & Carrie Hargrave's "Quilter's Academy Freshman Year" 
"Woodland Winter" 33x33 without 5 1/2" border

Here are the 1 1/2" strips all cut out and ready to chain stitch to create "fence posts"

I attempted to capture the first five blocks in the CWC BOM I've been working on, but it's actually already too large for my big dining room table!  This quilt will finish 108x108.  

My dear quilting buddies,
You may wonder why I would be creating simple quilt tops....the reason is that I am taking lessons from a master teacher and her daughter - Harriet and Carrie Hargrave.  Last fall, they gave a workshop at our local guild and I attended two days of valuable lessons.  I had never been taught to quilt, had no one to teach me, but I found extremely knowledgeable teachers that day.  Harriet said something that made me think.  She said, you are not a quilter unless you finish your quilt.  So many of us have quilt tops piled up, but may not be able to afford to hire a longarmer to finish all of them.  Harriet taught me and 23 others how to machine quilt in two days.  I created a beautiful double feather using free-motion.  This can be done and anyone can do it!
Here are the pictures from that first class in the fall of 2010 so that you can see what Harriet Hargrave can do with a total beginner like me in just TWO DAYS:
First of all, have two dozen 16" squares of muslin or more and one dozen 18" squares of different types of batting (Harriet sells batting variety sets here at her online store and in her store in Colorado)
 Lower the feed dogs, put in the correct needle, YLI Nylon thread in the top and embroidery thread in the bobbin, add your open toe foot and off you go!  (All the directions can be found here in Harriet's book)

Mark and date each practice piece.  This is marked #2 6/11/10

 #3 6/11/10 (sixth of Nov., 2010) and I traced the patterns from pg. 158 of Harriet's "Machine Heirloom Quilting" book onto this third sample.  If you can doodle, you can quilt!

Here is the back of sample #3.  Notice my chance to learn something valuable before working on an actual quilt?

Sample #4 from Nov. 6, 2011.
Harriet asked us to bring in a 16" checkerboard block.  It being November, this is what I had leftover in my stash at the time.  With this block, I was able to "eyeball" - not even mark! - and free motion quilt this beauty:

(Please remember, this was only my FOURTH attempt at quilting - ever in my life!)  Isn't Harriet a miracle-working teacher???

Looking for sample #5, but it hasn't shown itself yet...will look later, sorry!

Harriet had asked us to also bring in one piece of simple, large applique, so I created mine without a's my 6th sample.

...and the back of the 6th sample.

Here's the one that made me think I couldn't do it, but guess what???

I DID IT!!!  This is only my seventh attempt ever working with free motion quilting.  Even my husband likes it!
I hope you do, too :-)

  Please refer to the very beginning of my blog for the notes from the lessons I took if you are also interested in finishing your own quilts.  Harriet has a book called "Heirloom Machine Quilting" which ties in perfectly with the "Quilter's Academy" series that she and her daughter are creating.  The "Quilter's Academy" series takes a person from piecer to quilter and involves every detailed step along the way, PLUS teaches you how to think for yourself.  See a quilt?  Love it?  Recreate it yourself and figure out the math.  They teach you how.  

This series requires dedication.  That is why I decided to blog my way through it, as did Lesley from  .  Her blog deals almost exclusively with Harriet and Carrie's techniques and if you're looking to improve and quilt your own quilts, I would advise you to begin by reading Lesley's blog.  Lesley is already almost finished with the Sophomore Year of the series.  The Junior Year will be available on March 10th and you can buy it (autographed) from Harriet's store:

The Civil War Chronicles quilt comes in to play because of my love for history that both my husband and I share.  I just couldn't let that quilt pass me by.  As I'm learning Harriet's techniques, I'll be applying those to my CWC BOM, too.  

On a side note:  In August 2010, this whole journey began with a question from my husband, "Honey, what would you like for your birthday?"  I surprised us both when I said, "I'd love a sewing space!"  After reading Quilter's Academy Freshman Year, which in the beginning discusses the important things to have on hand for quilting and other reference books on sewing and quilting areas, I have now (with hubby's help) put together two nice spaces in our home - one downstairs in our finished basement and a smaller space upstairs in the dining room.  Once you're organized and ready to go, then next was to choose the fabrics and purchase the materials for several of the projects in the "Quilter's Academy" Freshman Year.  This being done, I'm on my way to completing my third goal for February 2011 by completing the "Woodland Winter" quilt top from the book. (Once you have finished several quilt tops, then you practice quilting them by using a warm-up piece of batting with muslin and then practicing on the quilt tops that you have sandwiched, pinned and marked yourself.  I can't wait and I'm thrilled you've decided to follow along and help keep me on track and motivated - thank you!!!


  1. Wow! I enjoyed looking at your blog, and found it helpful.

    Four years ago I started piecing a quilt by hand, a year ago I started quilting it by hand on the dinning table, now I am at the ends and find it hard to finish without a quilter's frame. Not sure how to complete the task. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. It really would help. I want to give it to a family friend.

    I took the quilt to Hobby Lobby and people just feel in love with it. The person there thought I could finish is on the sewing machine, but when she saw it was all hand stitched by hand, she told me don't I dare. But I really would like to finish so I can do another one. I think I am going to do a postcard quilt. Something simple.

  2. Creating a quilt all by hand is an amazing undertaking. I quilt completely by machine, and have never had the opportunity to finish a hand-quilted quilt. I would recommend contacting Harriet Hargrave, whose mother was a fantastic hand quilter, and she may have advice for you. Her website is
    You may also succeed by placing a google search for "hand quilted blog" to see if you can find blogs about those techniques. Hope you will find the assistance you are searching for! Thank you for stopping by rocknquilts, Mary Ann


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