How I Began Teaching Machine Quilting

In an earlier post I talked about my machine quilting routine. It's a routine that is broken down into "5 Beginner Steps to Mastering Machine Quilting". In part, these steps were a catalyst for teaching machine quilting.

How it Began

It all began with a need for new relationships and a desire to learn the final step in the quilting process.

A native New Yorker, I moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to begin a photojournalism career at the Los Angeles Times. After a successful 11-year career that garnered a Pulitzer Prize, I moved to Virginia in 2005 to work for a worldwide Christian magazine.

Fulfilling a Need

I was in a new town with no friends or family. I guess we all begin a new journey to fulfill a need for ourselves or others. I traveled so much that the ladies at church always thought I was a newcomer. So I decided to join the church quilting group. This is how my quilting journey began.

I soon learned and enjoyed the process, but didn’t know how to quilt those “fancy” designs made with stencils. Someone said I would need to learn free-motion machine quilting to use the stencils.

Learning a New Skill

When I decided to learn free-motion machine quilting, I became keenly aware that I knew nothing about thread and sewing machine needles. That had to change. So I purposed to learn as much as I could about thread, needles and tension. I watched, read and practiced free-motion machine quilting constantly.

As I began sharing my successes, albeit beginner results, ladies in a quilt guild I later joined, noticed I was improving. I taught my first free-motion machine quilting class to the ladies in the guild a year later.

Teaching Locally

I continued to be a student of machine quilting as I taught others what I was learning. I truly enjoy helping others with a desire to creatively quilt art and bed quilts.

Soon, word started to spread and I taught free-motion machine quilting at nearby guilds. Then a door opened to teach at two quilt shops in neighboring towns, Suzie’s in Manassas, VA and Sew Easy Sewing in Occoquan, VA.

National Educator

Next, I learned a new machine quilting technique, acrylic ruler quilting on a home machine. Interest in this machine quilting technique was growing in the quilting community. As I learned the technique, a door opened to team up with Westalee Design and be a Westalee Design Accredited Teacher. I began traveling the United States teaching acrylic ruler quilting on a home machine with Westalee Design rulers and templates.

While this was happening, I attended the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival where I met the lead educator for Juki America. As I was showing a friend a quick free-motion machine quilting lesson on a Juki, the educator liked what she saw and heard. She offered me a job as a national Juki educator.

Branching Out

As a Westalee Design Accredited Teacher and Juki America Educator, I had the pleasure of teaching at quilt shops, retreats and guilds throughout the United States.

My quilts have exhibited in local and regional quilt shows, national touring events and shows with Hoffman Fabrics, American Quilt Society Quilt Week at Paducah, Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, curated exhibits at the Virginia Quilt Museum and juried Sacred Threads exhibits.

I was featured in the “Designer Spotlight" article published in the July/August 2019 issue of Quiltmaker magazine.

I am a contributor to the following quilt books: 1000 Quilt Inspirations 2015, The Quilter’s Planner 2017, 2020 and 2021, and Free Motion Framework, 2018. View my quilt designs in McCall’s Quick Quilts, Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting and Pre-Cut Patchwork magazines.

My work as been featured on the websites of quilt industry partners: Island Batik, AccuQuilt, Sew Steady, Quilter’s Dream Batting, Fat Quarter Shop and Quilt in a Day.

New Season

I finally moved into recording videos!  LOL.... It has taken me a while to get over the fear. Now, I love it!  Now I have committed to teaching in video and a LIVE format. A great and logical place to start was YouTube. Living Water Quilter YouTube channel shares weekly free-motion and ruler machine quilting videos. Also, join the weekly LIVE event, Quilt Conversations LIVE! Every Friday, at 7pm (EST). We go LIVE on YouTube and in the Living Water Quilter Facebook page and talk about machine quilting.

I hope you can join us. Quilt Conversations LIVE! discusses topics like 3 Mistakes Quilters Make When Starting Machine Quilting. Each episode features "How did she quilt it?", where I share steps, techniques and designs used to quilt various projects.

What's Next

If you can’t travel to one of my classes, you will have the option to take an online course in the near future. Yes, Living Water Quilter will soon begin Stitching Lane Society's Machine Quilting Mastery Courses.

What YouTube watchers are saying...

Thanks for stopping by. I hope my machine quilting teaching journey is an inspiration. 

Maybe you have more concerns or want to get started on your own. Then let me help with solutions for 3 things that may be road blocks. Read, 3 Mistakes Quilters Make When Starting Machine Quilting.  

Happy Quilting!