Catherine Redford takes the terror out of “quilt as desired” at QU – July 29 and 30

By Susan Weaver Schwandt
May 31, 2017

If the phrase, “quilt as desired” strikes terror in your heart, then Catherine Redford has the perfect classes for you. As a Bernina Ambassador, Catherine knows her way around a sewing machine. She’s comfortable guiding students around the free motion quilting learning curve in a relaxed, no judgment environment. By the end of her classes, you’ll release your inner machine quilting goddess and be ready to return home and start practicing with renewed confidence and finish that quilt!

Catherine comes to Ann Arbor July 29 – 30, 2017 to teach two workshops on Successful Free Motion Quilting and Walking Foot Quilting for GAAQG’s Quilt University 2017 at Washtenaw Community College.

Cost for the class is $130 (GAAQG members), $170 (non-members) and her books and DVDs will be available. Class time is 9-5 each day at the Morris Lawrence Building, WCC Campus, 4800 E Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Register online at the GAAQG website (additional online fees charged).

A national teacher, quilt artist and author, Catherine took a break from her teaching schedule and email reading to share a few tidbits about her sources of creativity and teaching style.


GAAQG: You moved to Naperville, IL from London in 1995 and discovered quilting in 1998. What’s your impression of the United States compared to life in England?

Catherine: I continue to be intrigued by the vast areas of open spaces in the U.S. and traveling for seemingly endless miles across flat farmlands, and cornfield after cornfield. Living in the U.S. surrounded by the “newness” in suburbia gave me a fresh perspective of my country’s history. We don’t tear down old buildings. You can go into a Dollar Store in Great Britain that’s in a building built during the Tudor period.

Catherine Redford demonstrates quilting with your walking foot

GAAQG: Did your fascination with vast open spaces lead to your exploration of modern quilt aesthetics?

Catherine:  What drew me to modern quilting is my preference for making quilts that aren’t overly fussy, yet they’re deliberate in their design and intent. Perhaps my exposure to many cultures led to what a teacher described as my distinctive, clean, clear colors and modern design choices.


GAAQG: What are your sources of inspiration?

Catherine: Sources of creative inspiration include many of the things I see…fabrics and interesting embroideries…a captivating tile pattern on the floor of an Italian church, geometric designs and newly constructed buildings…after all, there must be a good reason why the architect chose this particular design.


GAAQG: In 2013, Catherine was invited to appear on Quilting Arts TV. Her appearance led to producing two Modern Machine Quilting QATV DVDs on free motion quilting and walking foot quilting. What do you want your students to get from your classes?

Catherine: My goal is for students to have a good time and leave class feeling better about machine quilting. I’m not teaching brain surgery …we’re just sewing fabrics together because it’s FUN! Life is good. We’re fortunate to be able to create and have a good time together.

Free motion quilting enhances your quilt

GAAQG: Why do you teach two different methods of machine quilting?

Catherine: I teach both free motion and walking foot quilting methods because I realized when I took Jane Sassaman’s class that, with a walking foot, you can finish a quilt successfully with a short learning curve. You can get your quilt tops done right away without waiting until “someday” when your free motion machine quilting skills improve. I’ve further developed Jane’s walking foot techniques.

You can become a proficient free motion machine quilter with practice. Free motion quilting is like learning how to drive a car. After taking a drivers’ education class, you may know how to be a safe driver, but you’re not necessarily a good driver. The more you drive and practice, the better a driver you’ll become.


GAAQG: How did you become a Bernina Ambassador?

Catherine: Becoming a Bernina Ambassador was an aspirational goal.  I didn’t think I was in the same league as those who’ve gone before me. After talking to Bernina and Quilting Arts TV representatives, I realized that I had what it takes after all—national teaching experience, familiarity with Bernina machines and writing about them, and an intense desire to help students become proficient machine quilters. They sent me a form to fill out and I was accepted.


GAAQG: What’s your quilting and teaching philosophy?

Catherine: I believe we all have an innate need to create in some sphere of our lives. I share my love of quilting as an inspiration to others. All quilters have the right to choose the elements of their craft that bring them joy. I encourage my students to try all the processes involved in finishing a quilt but accept that there will be some people who find joy in making tops by machine, whilst others enjoy handwork and still others love to machine quilt. That’s OK! That’s where teamwork comes in and there’s a whole community of quilters out there willing to help.



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This post was written by Mary Beth Donovan

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