I'm not sure I even know where to start. The beginning maybe?
I've been watching the Judy Niemeyer and Quiltworx phenomena for a few years. The patterns are really stunning and look very complex. Last fall I saw the new teaching piece Vintage Rose and fell in love.
OK, I have to make this.
Thus begins my search for a workshop. I consider myself an experienced paper piecer, but I have never made a Judy Niemeyer (JN) quilt before and it seemed a little daunting. I won't go through the list of workshops I looked at - suffice it to say I was looking at everything from Montana to Phoenix. I found the perfect workshop at Kinderhook Lodge in Barry Illinois. It was sponsored by JN Certified shop Peddler's Way in Washington Illinois. Perfect place (4 hours drive), perfect time (beginning of May), and did not break the bank.
Diane and Linda, the ladies at Peddler's Way Quilt Company were so nice and helpful in getting me started. I ordered my pattern - the instructions and foundation papers - from them. On their advice, I signed up for Quiltster, an online program that enables quilters to design color placement on JN quilts. Given that there are hundreds (or more) pieces and thousands of coloring possibilities, there is no way I could have chosen colors without using Quiltster. I worked up four possibilities and finally decided on a turquoise, orange, and pink colorway.
Since the workshop was only four days and the project quite intense, we had some prep work to do. Here is where it really started getting challenging. I've done a lot of paper piecing, but Judy's process includes cutting and stacking pieces so that the quilter can assembly line sew or chain piece. This was new to me.
Judy's foundation papers are printed on newsprint, and included in the pattern are cutting templates. The directions indicate what size to cut large chunks of fabric. I pinned the newsprint cutting template to the fabric chunk and then cut along the indicated cutting lines. Most of the time my color choice required a stack of eight fabrics. So now for each section I have lots of stacks of fabrics clipped to the newsprint template.
Ok, so I have my fabrics, most of them precut; pattern read, reread and highlighted; sewing machine and supplies packed; I'm ready to go.
Kinderhook Lodge is just across the Mississippi River from Hannibal Missouri. Good luck that there are at least three quilt shops between here and there - I decided to stop at two - Missouri Star in Hamilton and Hickory Stick Quilt Shop in Hannibal. Let's just say I left some money at each one.
Kinderhook Lodge is a beautiful facility - great food, and a peaceful setting. I'm hoping our guild can arrange some retreats there. Our Vintage Rose cohort is already planning a reunion next year.
So, are you curious about foundation piecing the Judy Niemeyer way? Stay tuned for Part 2!