Author: Rachel Petterson, VP Education Programs
Kicking off the workshop circuit of 2022, we had Jenny Haynes of Papper Sax Sten come teach her Cogs, Thistles and Caterpillar Wheels workshop. This workshop focused on the freezer paper method for foundation paper piecing and piecing curves without pins as techniques but also touched on the design methodologies that Jenny uses for her quilts. Jenny taught us virtually from her home studio with a great multi-camera set up that allowed us to see everything she did while also viewing her animated presentation style. As a bonus, Jenny provided us with the recording of the workshop. Since this workshop was full of info, this was great for reviewing afterwards and getting a chance to reinforce some of our new skills.
For the paper piecing, Jenny sent over templates ahead of time that we printed and had ready for the workshop. She walked us through each step of using them for the paper piecing, peppering her instruction with lots of tips and tricks. I’ve personally used both the traditional sew-through-the paper method and the freezer paper method, but only had instruction in the former. After Jenny’s class, the freezer paper method felt so much more comfortable and I love that you can reuse the templates a few times! By my second cog quadrant, it felt natural. Jenny thoughtfully gave us time as part of the workshop to work through our individual issues while being on hand to answer questions as they came up during actual implementation of the techniques.
Once we had the chance to make some cog curves with our paper piecing, we moved on to the curve piecing which we’d use to form them into a complete block. Jenny demonstrated her method for piecing curves without pins which is a big win in my book since it allows you to move so much faster. Although Jenny’s instruction was straightforward, this is definitely a technique that will take practice. However, I like that Jenny’s templates build in allowance for doing it without pins which gives students much more confidence to try out the technique while having the assurance their sample will still turn out successful.
Finally, Jenny covered some of the principles she uses when designing her cogs and thistles quilts. She explained how she decides when to stop and start, how many teeth to put on her cogs and ways to accent the cogs using fussy cutting techniques. These were all great for those of us looking to use the techniques from this workshop to put together our own quilt!
Overall this was a really fun way to spend the morning that stretched some creative muscles I hadn’t used much. Jenny’s teaching style is easy going, but informative. She focuses on her topics, but you also pick up so many general quilting tips that she tosses in along the way. Jenny shared some of her other workshops coming up that make creative use of curves and I have to say I was intrigued!