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Box Kite Class with Bonnie Hunter

Serendipity.

Bonnie and I posing with Box Kite from Addicted to Scraps

Sometimes things just come together. A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night, I was scrolling my Instagram feed and came across a photo posted by Bonnie Hunter. The photo was of a quilt shop I recognized. I had recently visited Mary's Quilt Shop in Bedford, PA for the first time. Bonnie was teaching workshops in Bedford over a two week period and she mentioned in her post that she had some openings.



I have wanted to take a class from Bonnie for YEARS and was ecstatic that she was just over an hour away. I checked the class offerings and decided on the Box Kite class. As soon as Mary's opened on Saturday morning, I called to see if I could get into class the following day (Sunday). I could not believe my luck. They had openings!  I spent much of the rest of the day packing my supplies and cutting 2.5" strips for the class.


I have been to Bedford a couple of times recently and love driving the back roads when I can. I arrived right at 9 a.m. to get set up for the 9:30 start time.  Quilters are notorious for showing up early for things and plenty had already arrived before me. :)

Mary and Bonnie get the class started.

I shared a table with a really fun group of ladies. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the day. Bonnie was great, Mary and co. had things set up very well, and the other quilters were wonderful!

See me and my fun table of quilters in the center photo.

I expected that Bonnie would be an excellent teacher and I was not disappointed. I have never taken a quilt class that was this size. It was interesting to see how a professional quilt instructor manages a large class. She had a really good system to divide up the room into two groups. One group would have a task to work on while the second group was getting a demo.  Then they would switch.

One thing which Bonnie was adamant about, and I appreciated, was that everyone test their seam allowance by sewing some strips of fabric together to see if they needed to adjust anything to get a block to turn out the correct size.  This was the first thing the groups worked on. I discovered that for this particular project, I needed to use a different seam allowance that what I had been using for the curved piecing in the Halo blocks.

After getting our seam allowances straight, we were to start out making half square triangles. I have used the Easy Angle before and decided to purchase Bonnie's new Fast to Cut ruler. There are some differences between the two but you use them essentially the same way. Layer the light and dark strip right sides together. Bonnie suggests putting the light on top to see the ruler markings more easily.

If you have never used one of these rulers before, it can be confusing to figure out how to line it up with your fabric at first. It helped me to remember to start with the blue 8" mark down at the bottom. Cut.



Then flip the ruler so the blue 8" mark is at the top. Cut. Repeat these two steps across the strip.


Bonnie had good tips for how to lay out and piece the blocks so as not to mix the pieces up and turn them the wrong way. She explained pressing this particular block and when to alternate piecing one block and a second block. She focused a lot on efficiency and accuracy while being very positive and maintaining a sense of humor in her teaching.

During the course of the class, she discovered that the pressing directions in Addicted to Scraps were edited incorrectly. She said she will have them added to the errata page on the publisher's site. When sewing the block, you want to press the pieces of the top and bottom rows of the block toward the outside squares and the middle row should be pressed toward the center square. When sewing the rows together, press the outer rows toward the middle row.

Bottom block illustrates correct pressing.



I managed to finish 4 blocks.

Lunch was a nice opportunity to talk with more of the quilters there. We had great weather and were able to sit under a pavilion at picnic tables. After lunch, we had a show and tell. It was so fun to see what others had made!
This mother-daughter pair was awesome! I had a great chat with them at lunch.

I brought my Scrappy Trip Around the World from 2013 to share.

After lunch, we worked some more and learned how to make the border. Then we took a group photo of all the blocks the students had made.

Student blocks
Neat idea for an alternate layout that someone in the class was playing with.


I had signed up for the lecture/trunk show after dinner. I headed to Jean Bonnet Tavern and had a nice dinner on the patio. If you are ever in Bedford, definitely check it out! I highly recommend the sweet potato fries.

Beautiful! So many tiny paper pieced flying geese. Was inspired to start saving small triangle scraps.
I may regret this later. :)

The trunk show was great. One of Bonnie's biggest messages about making successful scrap quilts was to use contrast in the blocks. She showed examples of old quilts she had picked up that had some issues, not the least of which was that there was no obvious pattern due to the lack of contrast. This was something that I have always liked about Bonnie's quilts. She makes scrappy quilts that are interesting and coherent. A lot of that has to do with contrast and sometimes using a single fabric or color throughout a quilt in conjunction with scraps to tie it all together. I really enjoyed seeing so many of Bonnie's quilts in person. They were stunning and inspiring! I started making a list on my phone of Bonnie quilts I need to make in the future. :)  Another message from Bonnie is to save your small scraps because they cost as much as the rest of the yardage you bought/used. I agree that this is true and a good point, but I am perhaps not as hard core about it. :)

I loved some of Bonnie's pieced quilt backs that used orphan blocks. I have never been motivated to make anything with my orphan blocks until now.
An awesome quilt back made of leftover blocks

Another fabulous quilt back using orphan blocks.

After the trunk show, I made a run to The Meadows, which has awesome custard. I am a sucker for pistachio flavor.

And my eyes are bigger than my stomach.


One last look at Bonnie's beautiful quilt.

One of my favorite blocks in Bonnie's quilt because of the awesome Hello Kitty fabric.


I realized that it had been years since I had taken a quilting class. I am so glad I had this opportunity to learn from Bonnie and enjoy the day with the other quilters. Bonnie's coming back next August and I am planning to be there!


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