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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quilting Class in Wausau with Paula

I know I just wrote a blog last night about the kids' new cabin, but I wanted to get this blog posted too about my busy, busy yesterday.

My friend Paula Stuplich asked me a few weeks ago to attend a quilting class over in Wausau, WI.  It was being taught by a lady named Pat Gaska, whom Paula had taken a class from years ago.  She promised it would be well worth it.   Pat's email is:

The class was being held at the Sew Smart shop in Wausau, right on the main drag if you come in on the exit for County N from the highway.  Link:

I got up early and headed out before daylight... the winds were blowing and blasting snows across the highway, but we weren't due for any new snowfalls in the forecast.  The temps were ABOVE zero for the first time in 3 days!  It felt totally balmy out there at 14 degrees!  Never thought I would say that, but after 60-70 hours straight of below zero temperatures, with nostrils freezing shut, skin tingling, lung burning COLD.....  this was wonderful!   Wausau is 120 miles from here, so I had to leave early enough to ensure no delays with traffic backups around Appleton or bad weather.  Things did slow up around Appleton, but soon I was past that and heading west towards Stevens Point, then north to Wausau.

I got to Paula's about 45 minutes early, and we shared coffee and her fresh baked sweetrolls... (thanks Paula!)  Then we trekked over to the shop and set up our sewing machines and supplies for the class.  Six of us were taking the class, and they had an area set up with tables for our machines, separated from the rest of the store.

 Paula and I were set up next to each other....  
so we could giggle and whisper as we learned!

This class was specifically for learning "free motion" quilting designs on the quilts once you have all the pieces together and sandwiched with the batting in between and backing fabric in place.  I have only dabbled in this technique and wanted to learn more.

You need a sewing machine that can "drop" the feed dogs, and then a special darning foot that hops along the top of the surface of the quilt.  You guide the fabric around carefully, and let it "draw" the thread into patterns on the quilt.  It takes some practice and patience, for sure!

Here are the stitches we were going to learn...  This is the teacher Pat's sample of what we were going to do today!  I mostly wanted to learn those leaves and feathers!

Pat was a very prepared teacher.  She had great handouts, good explanations, wonderful samples and most of all, she was very patient!   She showed us 2 or 3 sections at a time first on her machine.

Then as we went to our own machines, she helped us figure out our machines and settings to get just the right tension.  She went from person to person helping and adding tips and hints for things we never knew before!  I bet I learned 15 new things in a matter of a few hours.

 and yes, I learned how to do those leaves and feathers! 

 Then she showed us "echo" stitching along the edge of a design, to make it "pop" out even more!

We worked our samples up with various stitches
and learned a lot of ways to do this easier than the old ways....


At the end of the class, Pat showed us various samples of her own quilting, implementing the stitches that we learned.  It was amazing how the fabric quilts are highlighted by such wonderful stitching!






As the class ended, we packed up all our gear and supplies and newly gleaned knowledge.  We shoved all of our stuff into my car.  Paula then instructed me to drive on the tiny one way streets of downtown Wausau to a special little deli for lunch.   It's called La Prima Deli on the corner by the Doctor Who type telephone booth! LOL 

Boy oh boy am I glad we came here!  They have my FAVORITE all time sandwich -- a Muffuletta! It's a delightful concoction from New Orleans.

(from their menu)

 Ham, provolone, genoa salami, olive tapenade and olive oil and herbs on our own Focaccia Bread – large enough to share or to satisfy a hearty appetite!

After our lunch out, plus dessert, we went and did some "girl stuff".  First a quick stop at the little meat market we always buy tenderloin steaks from, plus she got a hot sandwich to drop off for her husband Mel who was waiting at home (with no lunch... awww).  She ran in the sandwich and we took off again! 

We went fabric shopping for MORE quilting fabrics!  hahahaha  I was looking for some more of the backing fabric I needed for my newest quilt I am working on at home.  Now I can put some of my newly learned stitches onto my quilt.  Also I bought a chalk wheel from Fons & Porter company that will let me mark where I want to stitch on my quilts, and brush away the dust when done. 

Soon our afternoon was over, and it was time for Paula to get to her hair appointment, and for me to head on home.  I had 120 miles to go. I drove home and got there just after dark.  Both dogs totally missed me and I was met at the door with barks and yelps and bodies almost wriggling out of their skins with tails wagging so fast!   

Oh, and I was met with a kiss from Steve and he had a hot supper ready on the table--- What a guy!

Steve had a picture for me that he took with my camera I had left at home. Seems when I left, the little pup was soooo lonely and missing me.  He barked and whined for a while at the door.  Then he gave up and went into my Loom Room.  

He found an extra piece of scrap quilting fabric I had recently touched, and pulled it to the floor from off of the cabinet.  He curled up and made a bed of it.  Awwwwwwww  I guess he missed me.  


  1. So sweet of Finnagin. Looks like a fun class, I would love to try that.

  2. Wow--you are getting into this quilting business--good job!! I love our fur babies so much!!


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