What I Learned from 20 High School Girls

Santa, FMQ

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct privilege to demonstrate free motion quilting  to Mrs. Schellinger’s Creative Quilting Class at Forest Lake (MN) High School.  The class of twenty girls have been working on quilts all semester and Mrs. Schellinger invited me to give a quick tutorial on quilting options.  While the girls politely listened as I began the lecture and demonstration, it was plain to see what they really wanted to do is try it for themselves.


The classroom machines were less than ideal for FMQ.  The machines sit on top of a bench (not set-in cabinets) and they did not have darning feet, Supreme Sliders, new needles, etc.  (See the Seven Steps to FMQ here).   The students were undaunted. We used the standard sewing foot, lowered the feed dogs and lowered the pressure on the presser feet.    It was a “Make It Work” moment.

LESSON TWO:  Use what you have and find a way to “Make it Work”!

Creative Quilting ClassI demonstrated a few motifs for the class and brought several samples of my work to share.  The students tried the recommend patterns, but were soon creating their own motifs.  They did a fabulous job developing their own stitched doodles!

LESSON THREE:  Follow patterns, but don’t be afraid to go your own way.

Creative Quilting Class

My return to high school gave me new ideas and inspiration for my own quilting.  (In January, we will have a tutorial inspired by one of the high school students.)

LESSON FOUR: Surround yourself with creative people.  Their creativity will rub off on you.

Creative Quilting Class

I had a great time teaching Mrs. Schellinger’s Creative Quilting Class and while I hope I inspired them, I know they inspired me!