Learning Something Completely New
During the Great Pandemic Lockdown of 2020, I found that I wanted to learn new things, and of course this meant finding online class options. Fortunately, I found out about the Graffiti Quilting Master Class by Karlee Porter! I won’t go into too much detail about what that is, because it isn’t my class to teach. But, I will share an overview of what I got to do. I loved taking this class, and the steep learning curve it gave me!
The Class Format
Karlee is a very organized teacher, and I found this helpful to me for planning and keeping up. Before the class began and after I had signed up, Karlee sent out a class packet. This packet had a welcome letter, some goodies, her book, and a supply list. Also, Karlee has you request to join her Facebook group for this class. She taught her lessons on Facebook Live, which also records the videos for later review. People from all over the world took this class!
Any quilter will be familiar with the supplies. Since this was the first quilting attempt I was making, all of the information was new to me! Karlee did a great job covering the basics and what to expect, so there was time to get supplies after the first class. You need fabric, batting, thread, and of course your machine and the class packet, and a Facebook account. Additionally, Karlee recommends getting a sketchbook to practice drawing out the motifs.
The Drawing Homework
Karlee has her students practice drawing in between classes, and this helps you to learn composition and scale. You also practice the motifs she teaches, which helps enormously once you get to the stitching. I’m including two pictures of practice composition I did. One is in a single color ink, and one is in color pencil. Adding in more than one color definitely changes how you lay out your art! Be assured I also practiced drawing each motif separately before these attempts at a whole composition.
All of the stitching for this class is done in a free-motion quilting style, most often called FMQ by quilters and sewists. I had a huge learning curve with FMQ, because I have mostly done sewing and machine embroidery. Many of the class participants had dedicated quilting machines, and some of us used domestic sewing machines. As long as you can drop the feed dogs on your domestic machine, and have the right presser foot, you can FMQ. I was fortunate that my machine came with a stitch regulator foot, which helps to keep the stitch lengths more consistent. Since the class I have also practiced FMQ with a different free-motion foot, but for this class I used my stitch regulator. I also put a clear quilting footplate on my stitch regulator, and I decided that worked well. Here’s a picture of my very first attempt at FMQ – there are plenty of imperfections, but I can tell you I was thrilled with my first try!
Class Practice and Final Project
Throughout the weeks of class, Karlee gives you homework to practice the motifs and techniques. You can stitch along with her in class as well, and you can rewatch the videos when you do your homework. At the end of class, you will probably have a nearly complete composition. Then you work on a final project. All along, you can share pictures of your work with your classmates in the Facebook group for the class. I used a single color thread for all of my class practice work and homework, but I used several colors for my final project. I’m including pictures below.
Cumulative practice and homework from class – single color thread.
Final project for class – several colors of thread!
Take This Class!
If you are at all interested in learning how to free-motion quilt or in learning this art style, I highly recommend this Graffiti Quilting Master Class by Karlee Porter! She is a very accessible teacher, and is very encouraging and fun. I had a few moments of overload as I grappled with my learning curve, and then I would find my flow, and it was just so much fun. I can apply what I learned to my future creative projects, both stitched and drawn. Would do again!