2 Days with Jen Kingwell

Okay, where to begin? 

TLDR: Jen Kingwell - I need her to be my fairy quilt-mother. She is the best. 

When I found out that Ali, the owner of Mad About Patchwork (my fav local quilt shop) was bringing Jen in for a week-long celebration of lectures and classes I was ecstatic! I've always admired Jen's handwork, and as an avid hand-sewist myself I knew this was an opportunity I couldn't pass by. So I signed up for the 2-day hand-sewing intensive class - and it was sooooo worth it!

Before I get into the class details I must say, Ali has blown my mind with the work she's done to expand her business and bring AMAZING quilty/sewing experiences and products to all of us. The original shop now boasts a massive new studio with machines and all the things needed for classes, the longest hardwood table I've ever seen for sitting around doing handwork, a revamped longarm room, a massive 4 season outdoor tent for additional classroom space (and its nicer than some wedding tents I've been in!) and an amazing forest quilt walk behind the buildings. During the Wednesday night lecture they had a coffee truck on site, and though the heat was insane (more on that below) they had delicious iced chai, so that was lovely. From what I saw, Jen was treated like a queen by Ali and the MAP staff, and I can't wait to see who Ali brings in next! 



Back to the class! The two days with Jen was fantastic - have I said that yet? We had small group demos of hand piecing, needleturn applique and hand quilting over the 2 days, but throughout these demos Jen had some friggin GEMS of tips and techniques that will stay with me forever. I'm not going to give away all her secrets, because you should really take a class with her yourself (she's going to be teaching at QuiltCon 2025!) but the things I've taken away from these 2 days will 1,000,00% improve my hand sewing game. The one thing I will share, that I never knew about or how to do, is a Lingerie knot. Look it up on YouTube and thank Jen when you see her next. No more bulky little knots at the beginning and ending of your hand stitching! 

As a visual learner I find in-person instruction the best way to learn a new sewing technique. I would have never been able to figure out how to do a lingerie knot if I were to be following written instructions. So this type of class - being able to watch the instructor demonstrate their techniques/skils - is invaluable to me. The small group format was great as well in that we had the opportunity to watch the instruction/demos, then go back to our seats and practice what we just learned while the other group has their turn. Jen would then walk around chatting with the participants and seeing what they were working on. Please enjoy these close up photos of Jen's quilts that she brought along and allowed us all to admire. I had previously bought the "Caution! Curves Ahead" quilt pattern and it was so great to see the cover quilt in person!

While the venue was perfect, we had unseasonable weather for the start of June. On Wednesday it was 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F) full sun and little wind, so that sucked, but the setting, teacher and content was worth it. Thursday found us in a torrential downpour for the majority of the day, which helped with the heat. I personally love to sew on my porch when its raining, so this was fine by me! 

Jen was genuine, authentic, so willing to share her knowledge and tell you where she learnt it first! 

We also have the same favourite colour. So, yes, she needs to be my fairy quilt-mother. And if you ever get a chance to take one of her classes, you won't be disappointed!


P.S. should any quilt designer type folks be reading this, and want an amazing teacher experience, reach out to Ali at Mad About Patchwork - you'll have a blast and will be treated like royalty!

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