I spent two fantastic days studying with Libby Lehman in two different classes that basically boiled down to using your sewing machine. One class was called Primadonnas and the other was called Super Machine Stitching.

Stop what you are doing (after you read this blog entry!) and then RUN don’t walk to the nearest Libby Lehman class. Do whatever it takes. You won’t regret it! She is a fantastic teacher and I would take another class from her in a hot minute.

Good things about Libby Lehman’s teaching:

1. Dry sense of humor.
2. Knows about more machines than just her Bernina and shows what foot to use for the major brands. Doesn’t treat non-Bernina owners like second class citizens.
3. Willing to take requests.
4. Willing to repeat herself if you weren’t paying attention and explain something again in a different way, if you didn’t understand.
5. No problem with letting students take pictures of her quilts and samples (I do ALWAYS ask).
6. Knows her stuff and can teach it.
7. She uses pieced backgrounds a la the Pushed Neutral idea that Mary Mashuta teaches.
8. She uses any fabric; e.g. she is not a hand-dye only person. YAY! I admire those who can hand-dye, but I don’t want to hand-dye. There is lots of great fabric in this world and I want to use ALL of it.
9. She likes quilts that make her want to look at them some more. She said to keep her intersted.
10. Down to earth and not holier than thou.

In Primadonnas, we learned to couch, bobbin-draw, and use sheer fabric. This is one piece that I made:

In Super Machine Stitching, we did things with satin stitching that I would not have believed possible. This is a techniques class not a project class. You have to think about how you would use the techniques. These are the samples that I made:

I am very proud of the writing as well as the freemotion satin stitching. It is fun, even though I don’t know what I would use it for. I am not planning on making any earthquake quilts in the near future. I was thinking that I could finish See, the piece I started in the David Walker class, using this technique, though not quite as messy, perhaps.

I am particularly proud of my “hippy-dippy flower” (as Libby called it) and the circle. If I have the right threads, I may stitch some of these circles on the Thoughts on Dots quilt. We will see. It would certainly add a bit of interest and dimension. Also, a lot of work.

Libby also has a fantastic teaching set up.

She uses Powerpoint for her presentation as well as video camera projected on the screen to show the details of what she is doing with her sewing machine. It was refreshing not to have to run up to the teacher’s sewing machine every other minute. No more standing around trying to jostle for position behind the tall people who are trying to see what the teacher is demonstrating. No more crowding the teacher. I think it helped provide a relaxing environment for the class and allowed everyone to see the demonstration equally. She has really moved the bar up a notch for quilt teaching. If you are a quilt teacher, step up to the plate.

In all the goodness there is also badness. This may be the most expensive workshop of my life. I want to buy a new sewing machine. My sewing machine performed flawlessly, was wonderful, did not break any needles or cause any thread blobs in the bobbin area. BUT. It also could not keep up with those newer machines and, especially those Berninas (Libby uses a Bernina). They can do things that my machine can’t do, like right and left justify their tapering satin stitch. I never wanted a Bernina before, but the thoughts actually crossed my mind. I feel like a traitor. I tried to assuage my guilt and make my machine feel better by buying two new feet – an open toe embroidery foot (the better to satin stitch, my dear) and the Beading Foot set. I wanted a couching foot, but, apparently, Janome doesn’t make one. I will try the Beading feet for couching and see what they do. I intend to add a lot more couching on my quilts. 😉