Practical Thread Magic

When I come to teach to a group, there's always a frantic rush of questions and concerns. I don't play with the same toys other quilters do. Though I talk about that at length in class, I thought it would be helpful to have that information available in a blog. So here we're going to discuss the nuts and bolts of the kind of thread work I love and teach. We'll discuss products, choices, threads, fabrics, tools, stabilizers and all the things that make my work work for me, and will help your work work for you.

If you have an upcoming class with me, you should know I bring almost all of the things I use for your needs. If you want to try something you've got, absolutely bring it. But if you're having trouble finding it, please don't stress. I'll have it there for you.

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Would You Like To Have A Class With Ellen?

Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Melida at 405-735-3703 .to set a date
Saturday, November 26, 2011

To Kit or Not to Kit: A Teacher's Dilemma

The decisions we make as artists are so different than the decisions we make as teachers.
I came out in the seventies with a primary degree, ready to teach first grade. 
It was after several breathtakingly bad years substituting  when I finally got a job, only to find I was really bad at crowd control. It doesn't help when you're personally leading the riot.

But your life finds a way.  I worked in a fabric store and quilted insanely, until someone asked, "Could you teach a  class on that?"
Well, when teaching adults, it's ok to be leading the riot. It's kind of what they hired you for. They want excitement and new ideas and that roller coaster feeling of a whole new stash of toys they've never tried before. I'm exactly where I should be.
But the decisions I make about class are almost in opposition to decisions about the studio.
When it comes to materials, I believe that more is more. More colors please. More resources. More options. Certainly more choices. So when I've taught, I want that for students too. So how much and what do you pack? I used to bring whole bolts of stabilizers, fusibles and piles of books for design.
Strangely enough, it comes down to weight. The new luggage fees have changed that world and I have to think like a teacher, not like an artist. It's very strange to pack what I'm sure you'll need. And to leave the things that you might want back at the studio.

So I am proud/sad/confused/and conflicted to announce for the first time in my life I'm kitting classes. I'm still bringing fabulous fabrics I personally dye, hand-dyed threads you can't get anywhere else, hand-dyed cheesecloth and a collection of the most beautiful commercial threads I can find. But I'm kitting up the stabilizers/fusibles/and patterns to make your life easier the day before class. I'm also producing small classroom books for project classes that cover the material, give you pattern, how to illustrations, tips, sources and gallery photos all in one one pretty little booklet. Simplification really is a math project.

This is my first year to do that.You as students and fellow artists will have to let me know how that works for you.

The downside is that you can't always be sure what that kit will cost. Your group will ask me for a cost for that perhaps a year before class, usually when they book the class. Prices can raise dramatically in a year, and I've usually sliced it down to give students the best break I can. So if shipping or the price  spikes, I have no choice but to adjust the kit fee. What I've told students is that if the extra means you eat peanut butter for a week, I'll offer you a dispensation. I can absorb the extra for one or two, but for twenty it becomes a problem.
Like all works in process, I'm trying to figure this out. So as students and artist, what do you prefer? Do you want to strictly find and bring your own supplies? Do you prefer a kit? and can you handle a small price adjustment if it's needed?
This little dragonfly was started in my Dragonfly Sky class, a class built and streamlined with kits, a set pattern, and a booklet to help people on their way. 
The booklet is available separately at
Dragonfly Sky
or at Amazon 
If you order from Ellen you get your book personally signed.
Or you can ask your guild to bring Ellen to teach you to make your own dragonfly sky. Ellen's  Teaching information 


Essential Embroidery Stitches

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