Craftsy Class Review: Small Changes, Big Variety with Angela Walters


I'm celebrating Valentine's Day weekend by writing up another Craftsy class review!

Yep, another free motion quilting class. At this point I'm just looking for inspiration for designs. And this class was chock-full of that! So, here's my review for Machine Quilting: Small Changes, Big Variety, with Angela Walters.

Do I have to say again that Angela Walters is an enjoyable teacher to watch? I've lost track of how many of her classes I've reviewed on this blog now. And although I've done several of her classes and own several of her books, I have to give her props for not noticeably repeating herself. This class really felt like all new material. Sure, I'd already done spirals before, for example, but getting a few ideas for how to change it up to look like an entirely different design was very helpful.

As always happens with every FMQ class I take, just watching the teacher do the design helps me grasp more easily how to travel from one section to another, how to work my way back out of the corners I almost inevitably end up in, and how to ignore the couple of bobbles here and there and simply drive on. After all, as Angela Walters continually points out, for the most part I'd be using a thread that blends and those little bobbles would be completely unnoticeable. 

I decided to practice some of the designs on a practice quilt sandwich, but to make it interesting for myself I used one of my [less favored] hand-dyes to make the sandwich and then played with a lot of my funkier threads while I was quilting. I intentionally used contrasting thread so I could see what I was doing, so it's clear where my brain and hands periodically refused to play nicely together. But still n' all, I can definitely see the improvement in my FMQ skills after a full year of so many classes and practice. And that's nice. 

In any case, this class is just jam-packed with designs. Packed. I think I counted up something like 32 total designs, and that's just to get you started. Once you see her suggestions for variations it gets your mind running with "What ifs". 

Detail of practice 

Detail of practice 

If you've never free-motion quilted before, you'll need to start somewhere else because she really doesn't spend any time teaching about how to set up your machine, basting, tensions, threads, or any of that. But if you at least know the basics, you'll have no problem doing this class. Each lesson goes from a fairly simple version of the design to increasingly more complex variations. 

The Basics

  • 7 lessons. The 1st is a short introduction; the rest range from 19-27 minutes long.
  • The main designs include pebbles, swirls, ribbon candy, feathers, squares, and clamshells. For each design, she gives between four and six variations, plus ideas for additional variations you can try. 
  • The downloadable class materials are set up like her Free-Motion Quilting Workbook, with a drawing of all of the designs, each with a blank box next to it for you to do your own practice drawing before trying to stitch it on the machine. Although part of me struggled a bit with printing off so much blank space, I have to admit it was useful having the reference drawing directly next to the space I was drawing in rather than on a computer screen or something where I'm bouncing my eyes back and forth.

So, all in all, two thumbs way up for Machine Quilting: Small Changes, Big Variety, with Angela Walters.. I got a lot out of it, I'm still practicing some of the designs, and I'm brewing ideas for some of them on current projects.

By the way, it's on sale this weekend, too! Just click any of the Craftsy links on this blog and it'll take you to the sale.

(Using Craftsy and Amazon links on this post helps support this podcast and blog. Thanks so much!)