Category Archives: Longarm Quilting Class

Dawn Cavanaugh Classes at Sparrow Studioz

ANNOUNCING! Our First Guest Teacher for 2013
We are over the moon with excitement about the Teacher that will be honouring us this June with her passion for quilting.

Dawn Cavanaugh Classes – June 18-21, 2013

Pasted GraphicDawn Cavanaugh – APQS’s National Director of Education – 
Class list at the bottom of this email (Tentative dates of of June 3rd or June 17th) Let us know which works best for you by replying to this email
Since 1994, Dawn Cavanaugh’s custom freehand quilting has been winning awards for clients of her business, Rockin’ Bobbin Quilting, Inc. Her work has appeared in publications such as Century of Quilts, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, American Patchwork & Quilting, Leisure Arts, House of White Birches, and Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting publications and TV shows. Dawn also designs patterns, most recently contributing to 505 Quilt Blocks by Meredith Publishing.
She has taught at Machine Quilter’s Showcase for ten years, plus Longarm University, MQ Innovations, Quilting the Quilt, Quilting on the Waterfront, Canadian Machine Quilters’ Expo, the Australian Machine Quilters Showcase, and several regional guilds. Judging machine-quilted projects in quilt shows has also kept her busy. In addition, Dawn is the National Director of Education for APQS, Carroll, Iowa.
REGISTER TODAY – Classes are filling fast
DAY 1 -AM- Tuesday June 18, 2013 10am-1pm


Machine Quilting Skills for Newbies—Practice Makes Perfect—hands on

DAY 1 -PM- Tuesday June 18, 2013 2pm-5pm


Continuous Curves for Newbies–Hands On

DAY 1 -EVE- Tuesday June 18, 2013 6pm-8pm


2-hour Lecture: Solving Tension Headaches EVENING

DAY 2 -AM- Wednesday June 19, 2013 10am-1pm


Background Gridwork Fillers – Hands On

DAY 2 -PM- Wednesday June 19, 2013 2pm-5pm


Border Designs in Half the Time — Hands On

DAY 3 -AM- Thursday June 20, 2013 10am-1pm


Best Backgrounds Design Collection–Hands On

DAY 3 -PM- Thursday June 20, 2013 2pm-5pm


Stipple No More—Backgrounds Galore — Hands On

DAY 4 -AM- Friday June 21, 2013 9am-3pm


Weave a Quilt on Your Stand Up Machine – Hands On

DAY 4 -PM- Friday June 21, 2013 4pm-7pm


3-hour Hands-on Project
Piecing On Your Stand-Up Machine — Hands On

REGISTER TODAY – Classes are filling fast


A new breed of quilter & the cutest Miniature Pinscher Puppy EVER

Is it just me or is there a new breed of quilter emerging? Seems to me that more and more of the clients walking in to Sparrow Studioz to rent our longarms are new quilters. Just a short year ago, we spent most of our time convincing veteran quilters that finishing their quilts on a longarm was not only acceptable but fast and effective too.

As I sent an email out to our list this morning, I realized that many of our clients are eager new quilters. They don’t need to be convinced that saving time is a good thing. That seems to be the first lesson they learn when taking our beginner longarm class.

I thought I should share that email with all my blog readers in case you were wondering what I’ve been up to when I’m not quilting.

Here goes Nothing.

No, I’m not talking about the fact that I bought my daughter a puppy & Bradie is going to kill me!

Here’s the scoop. In our last newsletter I announced that our pre-paid (silver & gold) packages come with a (brand new) FREE class.

I made the

Miniature Pinscher Puppy Pic
Miniature Doberman Pinscher Puppy Pic

mistake of limiting it to two classes and have been turning people away left right and center. We have been overwhelmed with sign-ups and although we had originally only scheduled two classes, we are extending this sale and booking several more Freestyle Quilting Classes to accommodate everyone that is interested.

This is the perfect class to learn how to disguise troubled piecing. As many of you know, no quilt is perfect and there are NO quilt police at Sparrow Studioz. We honor the time and love you put into every quilt. We are here to help you effortlessly finish your quilts, without judgement. Did you know that many of our renters finish 3-4 small quilts in a single session. No kidding!

Here is another look at the free class…

FreeStyle Quilting – 3 hours $150 Experience the front of the machine like never before. Let me show you how to choose fast, simple designs that add texture and character to those quilts that require a quick little something to get them on and off the frame in no time at all. Learn how to get in and out of corners without hesitation. Move from one side of the quilt to the other in no time flat! Let me show you the difference between pantograph and freestyle quilting. You will love the amount of control you gain by looking down at your quilt instead of at the pantograph.

Here is a look at the pre-paid packages…

Save BIG with our Prepaid Packages – Reg price is $20/hr
Bronze $250 – Save 10% (Hourly rate is $18) 14 hours of quilting time.
Silver $500 – Save 20% (Hourly rate is $16) 31.25 hours of quilting time.
Gold $1000 – Save 30% (Hourly rate is $14) 71.5 hours of quilting time.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – You can share the Gold Package with a friend!


While I have you here let me make a couple announcements…

Bradie just ordered TWELVE bolts of Hobbs 80/20 Heirloom batting. I said TWO bolts not TWELVE I yelled! To be quite honest, I would prefer to sell you guys batting at $22/M. Bradie on the other hand actually likes saving you guys money. She is pre-selling the first ten bolts for $299/ea. That works out to less than $10/yrd. Call her soon to reserve your bolt.

Bradie also ordered the entire line of GLIDE thread. That’s 180 magnificent colors. AND I get first dibs 😛


Claudia Pfeil’s Quilts now on display as her August classes quickly approach. Have you signed up yet?

Not sure how to quilt your top? The design possibilities are endless. Bring your quilt tops and notebooks to class and let Claudia dissect your quilt block by block giving you tons of ideas and inspiration. You may never look at quilts the same again.
Check out all her funtabulous classes here


Did I tell you about the sale that APQS just announced on their top of the line Millennium & Freedom Quilting Machines?

$3400 Cash Discount on new Millennium & Freedom models which include Motorized Feed and QuiltGlide.
Download our Machine Brochure here

You could be quilting in your Pajamas or less while watching TV! Just sayin…

All The Wonderful Things Karen Taught Me…

… That McTavishing is just the foundation of a style that will soon become your own. She even suggested that McSparrowing has a nice ring to it. ;). I still call it McTavishing though!


… That APQS makes the best Longarm on the planet backed up by unrivaled customer service.


That quilty tattoos are far more common than you could ever imagine.

That bringing a world famous longarm quilter to Canada to teach will be a huge success.

Just over a week from now, me and my iPhone will be at the airport with my live stream running as Karen walks out of customs with a giant army duffle bag full of hand quilting stencils. Be sure to Join us throughout the week for candid little updates and photos of all the fun that is going to be had.

To blog or not to blog? That is the question!

If you look back at my last blog post, you will see that this is far from a regular gig. Even with all the knowledge I possess about the power of blogging, I find myself constantly procrastinating when it comes to keeping my blog current. It’s not like I don’t have anything to say. Even the most uneventful days offer valuable lessons in parenting, longarm quilting, running a new business, being a positive influence, and the list goes on…

Moving forward, I am going to adopt the following motto!

Better brief than nothing at all.

That is how I am going to approach blogging from now on. It may come across as a bunch of little rants, but that’s how I roll. Maybe that’s why I love Facebook so much. It feels more natural to blurt out random thoughts in my status on fb than it does to waste an entire post on my blog.

When I look back at the conversations I’ve started on my wall, I sometimes wish I would have blogged them instead. Then, at the very least they would be ‘searchable’ and wouldn’t feel like they were slowly pushed off my wall And forgotten. Isn’t the whole point of creating content on the web to ‘create a timeless resource for years to come? That’s how I look at it anywayz.

I have decided the best way to keep my blog current is to force myself to blog every day for a month. That is my goal for December. That and not ‘eating out’. Shit! Where did that come from? I love eating out! but seeing as I am not getting any taller yet keep gaining weight, it’s time to take a few precautions to ensure that I don’t hit 250lbs any time soon. That might have the reverse effect as I will now cook bucket loads of food on Sundays and freeze it for the studio throughout the week. Mmmm, can’t wait to start planning recipes.

What’s your favorite festive recipe? crockpot ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Calgary Alberta – Heritage Park – Festival of Quilts – May 28-29

It is my pleasure to participate in the Merchants Mall this year at Heritage Park’s Festival of Quilts. The Festival takes place at Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary, AB – Saturday, May 28th and Sunday, May 29th 2011. The event plays host to exhibitors, merchants, demonstrators, guilds and thousands of quilt enthusiasts for a weekend devoted to the craft and art of quilts.

I am very excited to bring Sparrow Studioz to the merchant Mall. The last vendor’s mall I participated in (as Manquilter.Com) was in the Creative Stitches show in both Calgary and Edmonton. I was extremely dissapointed at the Calgary show as 3/4 of the booths were dedicated to scrapbooking. Not sure where the word ‘stitches’ fits in there but I have recently learned the reason for the lack of a quilty presence in Calgary. Edmonton on the other hand was a much better show with lots and lots of quilters encouraging the growth of the quilted crafts by coming out and supporting the vendors.

What am I brining to the event next weekend you ask?

Why my buddies GEORGE and LENNI of course!

Who is George you ask?

George is a space-saving stationary APQS machine with an amazing 20″ of throat space. George uses the same sewing components & belt-driven technology as our other machines but in a smaller, basic package. A fast, affordable way to move to a professional longarm machine without sacrificing quality. Warranty: 8-year (96-months) parts/labor.

APQS George portable longarm quilting machine
APQS George Complete quilting system

Although I look like an extremely happy George owner, looks can be deceiving.

Although George is in my Studio, it is only temporary as this little man belongs to a brand new APQS owner in Cochrane, AB. She has graciously allowed me to use her new portable longarm to demo in my booth at Heritage Park next weekend. I’ve been having a blast playing with her new toy even if I lack any skill at all. OMG did my first samples look terrible. It didn’t take me long to realize I needed practice, practice and more practice.

So what does a longarm quilter do when they want to improve their skills?

Easy! They take a class. Seeing as how I teach a Longarm Quilting Class at Sparrow Studioz, I decided I just might be the best teacher for the job. So off to my filing cabinet I went to dig out my Muscle Memory handout. After only twenty minutes I could see a noticeable improvement. I plan to spend at least an hour/day practicing my muscle memory so I look somewhat competent while demo’ing the George in my booth this weekend. Drop by my booth and see how much I have improved after only one week. You can meet George and I’ll tell you everything about him while you sit and sew. Bring your husband along as he may want to remind you later how well built APQS machines look. In the mean time, watch Claudia Clark Meyers (who just happens to use the APQS George long-arm quilting system to machine quilt her projects) kick ass with George.

Tickle My Quilt With Feathers – by Sue Patten

Sue Patten Class
Tickle-My-Quilt with Feathers

SUE PATTEN Classes in Edmonton, AB, Canada – MARCH 09-10-11-12-13, 2011
Great News… I have booked Sue Patten to teach in my Studio early next year. I will continue to book world renowned machine quilting teachers. I am so proud to be able to offer Sue’s classes to my Canadian friends!

Click here to sign up for Sue’s classes.

This is a class for the wild at heart!! This class will take your tradition feather techniques to a whole new level in design and texture. This free motion class explores the feather in all sizes and covers everything from traditional to a full out feather frenzy!! If you have ever wanted to take your feathers to the next level or offer new and exciting feather designs to your clients for that cutting edge, then this is the class for you. We will explore design ideas that will help you create a flourish of unique feathers that can be used for borders, blocks, sashings of all sizes, and yes even background fillers. This class includes tricks and tips for the left handed quilter, thread options to add that extra punch of WOW! And how the batting we use affects the texture of our feather designs. So put away those pantos, stencils, and marking tools and come free motion your way into an all out feather frenzy!!

Moving to a new Studio! Girls Gone Wild!

I feel all grown up as I get ready to move out. No I’m not going to college, although my days WILL be filled with hormonal women. Just not the ‘girls gone wild’ type you’re sure to find at college. We all know there’s a difference between girls gone wild and women gone wild. I know my classes are going to be exciting and we’ll soon find out just how excited quilter’s can get! Right! Reminds me of a little Louis C.K. stand-up I saw the other day.

I just leased a small space for my quilting studio. It is twnety minutes from home and there is plenty of room for my students. It will also be the home of ManQuilter’s APQS Showroom where you’ll be able to test drive a longarm quilting machine any time of day.

I am signing the lease tomorrow so I’ll keep you up to date on my progress. There is a very good chance my APQS Beginner’s Class (Aug 17th) will be held in my new studio. :):):):):):)

The Mecca for Long Arm Quilters welcomes Toby Lischko

Machine Quilters Exposition

41 days and counting…

As MQX’s biggest fan, I am going to be talking obsessively about it over the next, let’s say, 41 days.

Today I would like to tell you about a Non Long Arm Quilting Teacher. This quilter, author and teacher is bringing a set of classes to MQX this year to teach all us long arm quilters that we may want to consider piecing a few quilts in our spare time. Toby may just remove my fear of paper piecing and sewing curves. I can always hope. Here is a list of the classes that Toby Lischko will be offering this year at Machine Quilters Exposition in Providence, RI.

Toby Lischko – 102 – Unfoundation Piecing

Tired of tearing off foundation paper? This beginner class is for foundation piecing and sewing curves. Learn a foolproof method using freezer paper for the founda- tion and sewing curves. Easy, fun and lots of ‘light bulb moments’!

205 – Glorified 9 patch with a Turn

The Glorified Nine-Patch or Improved Nine-Patch block has been made famous by retired teacher Sharyn Craig. Toby has adapted her class to create her own unique pat- terns using John Flynn’s template sets. If you have been fearful of curved piecing, then this is where you’ll have a breakthrough!

303 – Stars Over St Louis

Every quilt in this class comes out unique! Featured in Toby’s new book, St Louis Stars, students will learn the secret to piecing this 8-point star block with no “Y” seams. Improve your accuracy using mirrors in this fasci- nating, cutting-edge class.

423 – Fast Easy Appliquéd Circle (or Appliqué for Dummies)

Not being much of an appliquér, Toby wanted to share this surprisingly easy technique. Using circles cut out of a pieced block, create easy quilts that you can make in a weekend. This is a fusible appliqué technique using a decorative zigzag stitch to finish.

Do Quilters even like Cinnamon Buns

While the day has nearly arrived and I’m driving myself crazy trying to get everything ready. With the help of my amazing wife, my quilting studio is spotless, the kitchen is clean, carpets all vacuumed, bathrooms as clean as they can possible be but yet I keep adding things to the list I had made for myself. As I check items off my list of things to do before the APQS beginners class I am teaching on Tuesday, I seem to find other things to add.

You see there are good and bad things about hosting a 6hr class in my home studio. The biggest plus is that I get to spend a full day with six eager quilters, the minus being that my studio just happens to be in my home. Not so bad that it’s in my home but that it’s in the home of my messy eight little kids. The sooner I get an area of the house ready for company, one of the littles mess it up right behind me.

For instance, today I woke up to our 2yr old Sophie running around the house with a sharpie (permanent) marker. So now it’s either paint the walls or complete the last thing on my list which just happened to be ‘Make cinnamon Buns for my guests’. Which brings me to the question, Do Quilters even like Cinnamon Buns? Please tell me they don’t! I may have to knead dough with my right hand and paint with my left.

We’ll see how it goes 🙂

Wish me luck!