Guest Blogger Danny: Angela Walters Class Review

PHXMQG Member Danny blogs at Mommy For Reals.

This past weekend, I had the rare opportunity to attend three classes on long arm quilting lead by the absolutely fantastic Angela Walters. Now I know you’re thinking, “But Danny, you aren’t a long arm quilter” and you would be correct. I don’t have a long arm nor have I spent much time playing on long arm machines, but it is a skill I have been dying to learn and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity like this one. (I’ll leave my first experience with long arm quilting for another post.)

Also, these pictures were all taken on my IPhone. I wasn’t about to lug a big camera with me to the classes! They were taken just to be a reference for me so I didn’t worry about lighting or composition. This blog post wasn’t planned until after the classes. If you dislike dark images, just pretend they aren’t there! And I don’t know which of the long arm samples are mine or Angela’s. If you think it’s absolutely amazing, it was probably hers!


I’ll admit I was nervous for the first class. I had almost no experience with long arm quilting but somehow mustered the courage to throw myself into a room full of women who make quilting their career. I was pretty certain everyone was going to hate me since I would have a bunch of lame questions they surely already knew the answers to (“How do you quilt a feather?” Yup. I went there.) Obviously, as revealed by my presence, I was “ready” for the onslaught of hatred and murderous sideways glares because this was a class I was NOT going to miss. It’s ANGELA-FREAKING-WALTERS! I knew I was going to waste precious class time because of my naivety. I knew I was throwing live bait into a shark tank. But I was strong! I was confident! (And I drug Alyssa {Pile O’ Fabric} along with me as a shield, I mean, for moral support!)


Much to my chagrin, the class participants were kind, welcoming. They were excited to have someone as green as I am join their ranks, and shared an overwhelming amount of advice and information on the ins-and-outs of long arm quilting with me. I think the largest class of the three days contained 12 students so I had an ample opportunity to stroll around and chat with each and every one of them. (Go ahead. Pretend you’re shocked that I spoke to EVERYONE.) I won’t go into too much detail regarding who I met or what we discussed. The point I’m trying to make is everyone was super friendly, more so than I ever could have hoped for. The positive energy and creativity flowing from the group was permeating and I left each day 100% exhausted, yet riddled with the uncontrollable urge to speed home so I could quilt!


Angela was awesome, and I say that in the sense that she was truly awe-worthy and not in the way a teenager haphazardly throws around this adjective, diminishing its power. It was obvious quilting is her passion and her energy (albeit fueled by a couple Redbulls and a Starbucks latte) was invigorating, helping to keep us all on point even after our post-lunch sugar crash! She told jokes often and altered the pace of the class to be sure none of us had missed a thing. She was very cognizant of our needs as students, and made sure to check our understanding of a topic before moving on to the next. She even took time to discuss how certain motifs and designs would be quilted using a domestic sewing machine (DSM) because SOMEONE in the class didn’t own a long arm. :) The class structure was conducive to learning, running in a series of segments including lecture and visual, when she would draw the design and its variants on the white board, application, when Angela would stitch the design on the long arm, and practice, which gave us the opportunity to attempt the design she taught. Even though there was only one machine set up in the classroom (it had two heads), we all got the chance to stitch and ask questions. I was unsure leading up to this class how it would be managed, but I was excited to see how flawlessly it ran.

When I walked in to the Creative Space (where the event took place), Angela was standing around talking to some of the other ladies in the class. I recognized her from her Handi Quilter ads and other little quilting-themed haunts online, but had never met her in person. And even though we had never met, Angela greeted me with a huge smile and a hug. It completely set me at ease and tore away some of the barrier I had imagined between us, her being a quilting superstar and me being a lowly peon who doesn’t even own a long arm quilting machine. During the class, she kept reiterating that no quilting is perfect and discouraged us from trying to attain that impossible standard. I really wish I had recorded some of her Angela-isms so I could perfectly recall the words. I remember something like, “Deciding to become a perfect quilter is like deciding you don’t want to breathe any more. All the practice in the world isn’t going to make you stop breathing, and all the practice in the world quilting isn’t going to make you perfect.” It was something like that, though probably much more eloquent and lined with humor. Regardless, she made quilting attainable. She made it personal. She made it fun. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from her, I highly recommend you do so. She has three (going to be four in the next couple weeks) classes available on Craftsy, which I think you should all take full advantage of if you were unable to attend her classes.

So, I suppose you want to know about the classes themselves?


The first day of classes was dedicated to Dot-to-Dot Quilting. We learned about how to find points on the quilt to use as guidelines while quilting. These designs were predominantly angular, great for use in borders, squares, rectangles, and triangles; basically any defined, modular space. I hear all the time about quilters who struggle with quilt top designs and fabric selections specifically for men, but because I’ve never made a quilt specifically for a man, I’ve not run into the struggles associated with creating less flowery, more manly designs. These quilting designs, made using a variety of straight lines, would be PERFECT to add a masculine touch to a quilt. Brent is always talking about how he wants me to make him a quilt, but that I need to leave my “swirly whirly junk” out of it. Now I know how!




For this class in particular, Angela mentioned that we should consider using rulers to keep our lines nice and straight. I was struggling to make straight, diagonal lines using the Gammill Vision. I’m not going to lie: I felt a little more proud of my lines after seeing a dozen other women struggle with the diagonal lines too! I’m not usually one to compare myself to others, comparison is the thief of joy and all that, but when I’m learning a new technique, I want to make sure I am doing it correctly.


The second day of classes was dedicated to Negative Space, the class I was most amped about after registration. The designs were meant to add texture and depth and interest to a quilt, filling in the negative space. Something I love about Angela’s quilting designs is how they vary in every quilt. She doesn’t typically do an all-over design. She does a little bit of this over here, then a little bit of that over there, and she’ll add in a little twist of another in between, just for good measure. Her quilts are dynamic. They have great movement and it is the negative space quilting that gives that aesthetic, or so I think.


We started with basics, learning the value of the back and forth line (which she will sometimes use a ruler for) and moved into a diverse mix of modular and curvy designs. We learned to create offset squares and merged lines, then how to create ogee and pea pod/pebble patterns across the quilt. She brought small samples of each for us to see and feel. Tangent: I have a new found love for Art Gallery Fabrics. She brought a few completed quilts made entirely of Art Gallery Fabrics, which is the manufacturer she designs fabric for (I know. Jack-of-all-trades!) I am a tactile person. I love touching things, especially when I’m not supposed to! I’m the girl the white-gloved ladies watch out of the corner of their eye while at a quilt show. Many times I hold my hands behind my back just so I don’t accidentally jump out and rip the quilt off the wall, snuggle into it, and rub my cheeks across it. Yeah. I’m that girl. Angela’s quilts were so smooth and cool. They had a nice loft, which I know is batting, but the surface itself was just magnificent. I really want to go buy some yardage of Art Gallery just to play with because it feels so amazing! End Tangent. If you want to see some of the designs we learned in this class, Google her Quilt Market wall quilt for Legacy. It was full of the designs we learned in this class, in particular.


The last day of classes was dedicated to moving beyond feathers, although we spent the first half of class talking about feathers in general! In this class, I learned about scrolls, swirls, and a ridiculously confusing rope design that I couldn’t master to save my life! In every class, Angela talked about turning corners with the designs since we all quilt borders at one time or another. Again, could not do the rope border or motif for the life of me, but I was able to manage the others.



Over the whole series of classes, Angela showed not just the designs, but also their variations, demonstrating how each design is versatile and how they can be used in different areas of the quilt. Her expansive knowledge of long-arm quilting was mind blowing. She knows how to quilt anything! (Well, except for hearts. It’s nice to know she struggles with SOMETHING in the quilting realm! She’s so super amazing!)


Here are some general tips Angela shared during the classes regarding quilting:

- Practice, practice, practice!
- Work in different directions. You can’t reposition a quilt on a long-arm for directional quilting. Practice your designs in every direction so you can be confident when quilting them.
- Use a thread color that matches the quilt top. That way, your quilting gives texture but doesn’t detract from quilt, especially if you make a mistake.
- If you make a mistake, do it a few more times on the quilt so it doesn’t look out of place!
- Echo your quilting. Echoing can set quilting apart so it doesn’t all blend together and it can help you get to where you want to go on your top. End in the wrong place? Echo back to where you need to be to start your next design.
- Quilt where you are. Don’t leave a section of your quilt until it is all quilted.
- When you are practicing your designs with pen and paper, always draw a square first and doodle inside. This will help you learn what to do when you get to edges and corners.
- Use elements of the quilt, like quilt blocks, to help keep you on track. No need to mark on your quilt.
- Search Google and Pinterest for straight line drawing and rod iron work for quilting inspiration.

I know it is going to be years before I can afford a long arm but I feel the skills I learned from this class are invaluable. I’m going to practice constantly on my DSM and hopefully, when that illustrious day comes and I am the proud, new owner of a long arm machine, I won’t have to take a year to learn how to use it. It was a pleasure to meet Angela. I love her personality and teaching style! There was a rumor swimming about that she may be back later this year to teach more, and if she comes, I will SO be there!

You can find Angela Walters online at:

Website –
Blog –
Business of Machine Quilting Blog –
Craftsy –
Amazon (She has a new book coming out soon!) –


April 2014 Meeting Reminder

Hello Spring! The April meeting will be held at 1pm on Saturday, April 19th at Scrapbooks Etc (the Etc is fabric!). The location is on the Northeast corner of Lindsay Road and University Drive (2820 E University Dr #111, Mesa, AZ 85213).

This month we have lots of activities on the agenda starting with a tour of the MQG Community site. See how to log into the site and join our Phoenix MQG group as well as connect with other MQG members on the site forums.

The MQG Michael Miller Fabric Challenge fabric arrived and has been cut and bundled for participants. We will be reviewing the timeline and rules for the challenge as well as look inspiration from the recent Riley Blake Fabric Challenge. And thanks to Fat Quarter Shop we will have bundles of coordinating solids for a few lucky winners!
Evernote Camera Roll 20140408 110914

Vitamin D Bee will meet with completed blocks for Danny and see what the next Bee Queen Kirsten has in store.

It is a swap month so be sure to bring your quilted potholder! If you need inspiration check out out Pinterest board for ideas.

There will also be a demo of the Economy Block for our first sew-along of the year. Learn one method for putting together an 8″ version of this block, see some ideas for an Economy Block quilt from scrappy to planned (there will be coloring sheets to capture your ideas). In May we will also be collecting 8″ Economy Blocks to create a charity quilt. Want to sew along at the meeting? You will need one 4.5″ square, two 4″ squares, and two 5″ squares.  
Evernote Camera Roll 20140408 110915

Have any projects you’d like to share? Bring it for Show and Tell!

Hope to see you all there on the 19th!

April Swap – Potholders

Hello hello! A big thank-you to those who came out on the 15th to the sew-in. It was a lot of fun and so many inspiring projects going on. Don’t forget that this Saturday we are having a meet-up at the Arizona Quilters Guild show in Mesa.

March 2014 PHXMQG Sew-In

March 2014 PHXMQG Sew-In

Next month we will be back at Scrapbooks ETC and one activity will be our second swap of the year. The theme is potholders! Fun and functional little projects can be just right for trying out a new block or technique. Create and bring a quilted potholder (size is up to you but just be sure it is functional) and let’s swap!

We’ve started a Pinterest board full of inspiration to get you started. There is also a thread over in our group on the MQG Community site if you want to chat about favorite tips or techniques.



March Sew-In Reminder

This Saturday, March 15th, is the first PHXMQG Sew-In of the year. There will not be regular business but the Vitamin D Bee will be meeting (see your email from Danny for details). We will be meeting at the Chandler Police Department in the Community Room (250 E Chicago St, Chandler, AZ 85225). Parking is available at Chicago and Washington. As you enter the Police Department main doors the Community Room is to the left. There is also a direct outside entrance to the left of the main Police Department doors.

The Community Room is reserved from 9am to 6pm so there will be lots of time to spend time with other members and get in some good sewing time. We will have the design board set up and at least a couple of irons, power strips, and cutting mats. Bring a project (or a dozen) for a fun quilty day.

Also make sure to follow the directions in your email from the Modern Quilt Guild for creating your login to the MQG Community. There you will find forums as well as our guild group. At the April meeting we plan on doing a demo of the MQG Community website.

There will be another post with more details later in the week but the swap for April’s meeting will be potholders! 

And remember that the Gilbert Historical Museum Art of Quilting has started and runs until June 1st. And on Saturday, March 29th we will be having a meetup at the Arizona Quilters Guild Quilt Show in Mesa.  


Modern Quilt Guild Michael Miller Challenge and Upcoming Events

Good morning!

Guild members should have received two important emails in the past week.

One email from the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) with your logon information to the MQG Community site. Once you are in click on the Groups link and put ‘Phoenix’ in the keyword search to find our group.

The second email is from Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild (PHXMQG) asking you to take a survey to indicate if you would like to participate in the upcoming MQG Michael Miller fabric challenge and an opportunity to win free fabric for a year. So far half of the guild has responded and most everyone is planning to participate. Responses are due today so that our guild signup for the challenge can meet the deadline of February 28th. Fabric for the challenge should arrive and be ready to hand out at the April meeting. If you are a guild member and have not received these emails please contact us via email or the contact form on the blog.

March is fast approaching and we have two events!

We are not having regular business on March 15th but will have a Sew In at the Chandler Police Department Community Room instead. The room reservation has been expanded to 9am to 6pm! Drop in at any time to come sew with everyone else. Vitamin D Bee participants will be meeting during the sew in and you should have an email from Danny with details.

On March 29th we will be meeting up at the AQS Quilt Show in Mesa. We plan on meeting by the front doors of the event at 10am.

February Meeting in Pictures

PHXMQG February

PHXMQG February – Lots to Share and Swap

We shared a lot at the February meeting! Upcoming events, cupcakes, cookies, quilts, polka dot bags, and a new design board. Here is Bonnie showing off one of the many uses we will have for the board in upcoming meetings.

Bee blocks and ideas up on the new board

Bee blocks and ideas up on the new board

Polka dots abounded at the February PHXMQG meeting! Twelve swappers brought polka dot zipper bags of all shapes and sizes.

Happy polka dot people with their new bags.

Happy polka dot people with their new bags.

Vanessa shared some adorable Valentine’s Day pillows featuring chalk board fabric centers and fabric confetti letters.

Valentine's Pillows by Vanessa

Valentine’s Pillows by Vanessa

Barb shared her Radio Way quilt top in fresh blue, yellow, green, and gray.

Radio Way by Barb

Radio Way by Barb

Nancy shared a tote bag she made with an Art Cloth interfacing. Tip from Nancy, though the bag pattern came with the Art Cloth two or more layers is a challenge to sew through.

Art Cloth interfaced bag by Nancy

Art Cloth interfaced bag by Nancy

Stephanie shared a delightful table runner she made using a Quick Curves rule she won.

021714 015

021714 016

Quick Curves table runner by Stephanie

Sarah made an applique Christmas wall hanging for her home. Left with an empty space once the season was over she’s planning on new wall-hanging for each season and brought along her Valentine’s Day hst wall-hanging as well.

Christmas wall-hanging by Sarah

Christmas wall-hanging by Sarah

Valentine's wall-hanging by Sarah

Valentine’s wall-hanging by Sarah

Michelle found a good use for a Candy size (2.5″ square) charm pack. She combined it with white and yellow for this baby quilt.

Candy pack baby quilt by Michelle

Candy pack baby quilt by Michelle

Theresa shared a lovely quilt she made for her sister. It sat complete for a while so she is finishing up the binding.

Quilt by Theresa

Quilt by Theresa

Guest Tricia said she wasn’t sure if she was a quilter yet, look at this fantastic quilt she made and see what you think. :)

Quilt by Tricia

Quilt by Tricia

Thank you everyone for sharing and inspiring everyone!

Meeting Minutes for February 15, 2014

Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild Meeting Minutes

Date: February 15, 2014

Location: Scrapbooks Etc.

Vice President Michelle Hart called the meeting to order at 1:20pm. Approximately 25 people were in attendance.

Five new members (Stephanie, Olivia, Vanessa, Donna, and Bruce) were welcomed along with guest Tricia.

Thank you to Kirsten and Bonnie for snacks.

Secretary’s Report from Rebecca Whaling

January meeting minutes were approved and seconded

Vice President’s Report from Michelle Hart

  • Enrollment into MQG has been completed. The members will begin to receive their welcome email with details on creating a login to the MQG online community soon. MQG Michael Miller Fabric Challenge announced.

  • Samantha, president for 2014, will be moving out of state and a call for nominations for a replacement was made.

  • Formal vote for Chelsa Knight for treasurer passes.

  • Presentation of new portable 72” square design wall. To be used for Vitamin D Bee, Show and Tell, Workshops, and Sew Ins.

Treasurer’s Report from Chelsa Knight

  • Balance at last meeting: $1,555.47

  • Money in: $450.00 (18 new members)

  • Money out: $6.18 (Paypal fees)

  • New balance: $1,999.29


  • Kim from Gilbert Historical Museum spoke about the upcoming Quilt Show and the inclusion of a Modern Quilt section. Submissions are due by February 22. By appointment, the Quilt Documentation Project will be available to document quilts. Goal to to document all quilts in Arizona. Contact is Jan Hackett (

  • Phoenix Area Quilters Association Quilt Show in Phoenix February 21 & 22.

  • Call for Quilts at the Vision Gallery. Juried show in Chandler with theme “Permission to Play”.

  • Future ideas include Mini Tutorials on favorite techniques and the organization of a guild retreat. Call for workshop\lecture requests.

  • March meeting will not have regular business but instead be a Sew In at the Chandler Police Department Community Room. Times will be announced.

  • Meet Up scheduled for the Arizona Quilters Guild 2014 Show in Mesa on March 29th. Meeting at 10am by the front doors. Donna mentioned that her booth, Sew Batik will be offering a discount if you say the work cactus at the booth.

Door Prize

Donna won an Indigo Junction dress pattern. Olivia won a package of Quilter’s Dream batting. Tracey and Pam each won a Moda Candy pack.

Break for refreshments and Vitamin D Bee meeting followed by Polka Dot Zipper Bag Swap and Show and Tell.

Prepared by: Rebecca Whaling, February 17, 2014

February 2014 Meeting Reminder

The February meeting will be held at 1pm on Saturday, February 15th at Scrapbooks Etc (the Etc is fabric!). The location is on the Northeast corner of Lindsay Road and University Drive (2820 E University Dr #111, Mesa, AZ 85213).

We will be holding the Polka Dot Zipper Pouch swap (details posted earlier in the week February Swap – Polka Dot Zip Pouch) so bring your polka dot zippy bags. It will also be the last day to sign up for the Vitamin D Bee. Have anything you are working on or have finished that you’d like to share? Bring it along for Show and Tell!

Alissa has made it to her new home (we miss you!) so we will also be having a special election for Treasurer. Chelsa Knight has volunteered for the position. We will have another special election for another board position that will be discussed at the meeting.

Upcoming in March there will be a Sew Day on our regular 3rd Saturday (March 15th) at the Chandler Police Department Community Room and a meet-up at the Arizona Quilters Guild Quilt Show in Mesa on March 29th.

Don’t forget:

  • AQS Quilt Week is in town through Saturday, February 8th at the Phoenix Convention Center
  • The Gilbert Historical Museum is accepting quilts for their annual show until February 22nd
  • Polka Dot Zippy Bag for the Swap!


February Swap – Polka Dot Zip Pouch


It’s Swap time again!

 I loved how excited people were about the polka dot swap idea!

 SO fun!

 Who doesn’t like polka dots?

 If you would like to participate,

 Please bring a POLKA DOT zip pouch to our February meeting!

 Give one, Get one!  I really love to see what others create!


I’ve made a Pinterest board of zip pouches, it’s under Chelsa Knight, ‘zipper pouch swap ideas’

This time, we’re looking to swap a zip pouch that’s at least 9” x 9” (if you are making a boxed bag style that counts as part of the size)

 You can paper-piece it, FMQ it, piece it, anything goes!

It just needs to have a zipper and polka dots!

And, if you Really love polka dots… wear them to our meeting !  

Happy Sewing!