Learn to quilt by hand, following your intuition and improvising as you go. In this class, you can make a ‘wholecloth’ quilt, using a single cut of fabric as your quilt top, or you can use an existing quilt top.
This workshop is both conceptual and technical. Heidi will begin with a trunk show, during which she will explain both why and how she quilted as she did. Stitch density, exposed or hidden knots, overlapping lines of quilting, and color choices will be expanded upon. Heidi loves to quilt with pearl size 8 thread for its high visibility and strength. Students can work with an existing quilt top or a ‘wholecloth’ single piece of fabric. We will cover basting, quilting with a tabletop and a heavy book to create tension, hand positioning, hand care, thimble use, and a variety of ways to balance planning with improv. We will not use pens to ‘mark,’ our fabric, but will learn a few tricks to anticipate our stitching. Heidi is an expert at creating areas of visual interest and activating the quilt top with the quilting functioning like a ‘drawing’ on the surface of the fabric. Students will not complete their quilt in class but will get a solid foundation on improvisation and hand quilting.
-Needle, like Dritz milliners
-Thread that fits with the needle, like DMC pearl size 8 (a high contrast thread color for quilting)
-Gripping thimble, like the Little House gripping thimble, you can get $5 off on it with this Snuggly Monkey link
-Pushing thimble, like clover protect and grip
-A quilt top, anywhere from 2x2’ to 5x5’
- - - Be careful with bedsheets, since they can be pretty hard to sew through if they have a high thread count. Cotton muslin is a favorite fabric of mine. You might really enjoy using naturally dyed fabric. For a wholecloth quilt top, be weary of prints as they can take away from the visual appeal of your wholecloth quilting
-A quilt back, about 4” larger than your quilt top
-Quilt Batting, about 3” larger than your quilt top
-Baste these together with safety pins using a 10-12” gap between pins on a grid. See this YouTube video for insights on the way I baste. Especially if you plan to bury any knots, this approach to basting is important. Please don’t spray baste or sewing machine baste.
-Safety pins for basting
-Straight pins, just a few for mapping out your quilting lines
-Needle threader (optional)
-Hera marker for pressing a crease/mark into your fabric (optional)
Before Heidi Parkes was born in Chicago, IL in 1982, her grandmother organized a collaborative family quilt to commemorate her birth. This set the tone for a life centered on the handmade- raised in a home where sewing, mending, cooking, canning, woodworking, photography, ceramics, painting, and plasterwork were the norm.
Now based in Milwaukee, her quilting and mending celebrate the hand, and her works tug at memories and shared experience. Often using specific textiles, like an heirloom tablecloth, bed sheet, or cloth teabag, Heidi adds subtle meaning and material memory from the start. Ever curious, she works with a variety of quilting techniques including visible hand piecing and knots, improvisation, patchwork, and applique. Heidi pursues her passion for teaching by lecturing and leading workshops across the country and shares her creative process with thousands on Instagram. Heidi has exhibited in art and textile museums across the country and was an Artist in Residence at Milwaukee’s Lake Park through the ARTservancy with Gallery 224 in 2020-21. Additionally, Heidi lives a handmade lifestyle, sewing her own clothes, fermenting, eating from pottery she made a decade ago, and practicing hand yoga, which she shares with other creatives on her YouTube channel.