Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bali Bedrunner Class Part 1

On Saturday, I took the Bali Bedrunner class at Heart in Hands with my friends Joannie and Nancy D.  It is a two session class. Saturday was session 1 and session 2 will take place next month. The class was taught by Ginny Radloff, who is a certified Judy Niemeyer instructor. Ginny has made more than 36 of Judy's intricate paper-pieced designs. I am in love with Judy's bed size double wedding ring pattern with appliqued flowers, but thought maybe it would be smarter to start with something small...in hindsight, perhaps a place mat?

On Friday night, before the class took place I was having serious second thoughts. First, I hate paper piecing. I've done it before and it is tedious, plus half the time the fabric never covered the section correctly. Or the paper ripped while sewing was in progress. Second, not only was this class about paper piecing, it was INTRICATE paper piecing with curves. Third, there was homework to do before class. Cutting, lots of cutting, mostly paper, but some fabric too. I picked up my kit and my homework about a month before the class started, but of course, I waited until the week before class started to begin. At least I didn't have to pull an all-nighter.

Paper foundations make a lot of mess.

The classroom at Heart in Hands is spacious and bright.
The pattern has about a zillion pages. If I had taken a closer look at it before class, I NEVER would have signed up. As you do your homework, you are instructed to put the various pieces and foundation papers in five labelled plastic bags. I began to get a little nervous.

Here is my friend Nancy D. I think that her beautiful blue
batik shirt would look nice in my quilt. Don't you agree?
The classroom at Heart in Hands is sunny and bright. Each student got her own table, which was great because we were all able to spread out. We got there early and I was able to sit with Joannie. Heart in Hands also offered a fabric kit for the class, and they selected gorgeous rainbow colored batiks. Drool!

Ginny was a GREAT instructor with lots of enthusiasm. We started off by making some of the curved ring units. Using Judy's techniques, which were a combination of strip piecing and paper piecing, the curved sections were fairly simple to make. The foundations are printed on newsprint which was easy to sew through. If you've never done paper piecing before, you are actually sewing on the paper and the fabric is underneath.

Some paper piecing tips: use a size 70 microtex needle and
a short stitch length. On my Janome, I used a 1.8.

I also liked this foot on my machine because it was
clear plastic with a red arrow that aligned with my needle.
The red arrow made it easier to see for my aging eyes.
After my all-day class, I have seven of the "A" rings nearly complete.
I think that I only need to make 36 more of these units.
But wait, there are "B" rings to make too!
I also finished two triangle shaped pieces. Yippee!
True confession time? To my surprise, I LOVED the class. The instructions are extremely detailed, and once Ginny demonstrated the various steps, everything fell into place. Judy's methods are ingenious, yet logical. Is it possible that I will become a paper piecing addict?

My only suggestion was that the class would have been more digestible if it were broken up into shorter segments. After a full day of instruction, my brain was full and I was exhausted. I am definitely bringing a bag of M&M's to session 2 to keep my body sugar going!

I'm not sure if Joannie was enamoured of the class as I was...it is seriously going to cut into her place mat making activities, especially if she does all the homework we now owe for session 2. She has already recruited her elderly mother into working in her nefarious place mat making sweat shop. How else will the next 127 Christmas place mats get made? Unfortunately for Joannie, only Santa has elves.
Joannie is all smiles here, but this was the start of the class.
Like all good classes, it required that I add some new tools to my collection.

I really like my new Add-A-Quarter ruler. It does exactly what it says--
you use it to add a quarter inch seam allowance when you are trimming.

And I have a new glue pen with a refill.
We will be using this in session 2.
With only a month before session 2 starts there is A LOT of sewing homework to do for my class. Next month we will be putting our bedrunner together. I hope that I like sewing curves as much as I did the paper piecing.

Did I mention that I'm taking a new quilting class with Pat this coming Saturday? And there is some homework to be done...

Can a girl ever have too many unfinished projects?

Linking up with Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday, Esther's WOW and Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday. On Friday, I am linking up with Can I Get A Whoop! Whoop?, Link a Finish Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts. I am enjoying visiting all the other wonderful blogs from these great linky parties! Please say "Hi" if you come for a visit.

Pugs and kisses,


  1. This will be beautiful! I love the double wedding ring too, but I've always shied away from it. A bedrunner would be doable!

  2. I had the same experience when I went to a workshop by Judy Niemeyer - prior paper-piecing had ended in unladylike words and even tears. But she made it all so easy for me! I did become a bit of a paper-piecing fiend after that. I have 3 Niemeyer tops waiting to be quilted. Just wait - her techniques make sewing the curves easy, too!

  3. This looks like a gorgeous bed runner. Visiting from Fabric Tuesday

  4. This sure looks like an intensive technique, but the bed runner will sure be worth it, it's stunning!

  5. I will be interested to hear how you get on in part 2.
    My DD has asked for the Bali Star Wedding Ring Quilt for her Wedding - It certainly is a huge box full of paper!

  6. I love that pattern! I'm sure your finished runner will be gorgeous!

    Do you know a lot of quilters named Nancy? I am finding that the most common name among the quilters I've met is Nancy. It made my day to see a "Nancy" in your class!

  7. I applaud your courage in tackling this project. It's gorgeous, but it makes my knees quiver! It's going to be beautiful!

  8. I am new to your blog. Found through Crazy Mom Friday finishes. I'm with Snowcatcher. I admire your bravery in doing this project. I am sure yours will be beautiful and I'm looking forward to seeing it done. Paper piecing makes my brain feel like I am wading through pudding. Yuck. Good Luck to you!!