Quilters are always ready to learn something new!

And so are quilting teachers!

In the last few months quilting teachers have been gearing up for the a new way to reach their students. While some presenters and teachers have been presenting online for years, the majority of us have been showing up to guilds and conferences in person. Enter the fall 2020 when guilds normally reconvene to meet up with old friends, listen to lectures, see great trunk shows and attend workshops. While we can't meet in person, we can still connect online and we can still welcome visitors into our guilds.

For those of us on the teaching side, we've been rewriting our contracts, purchasing new cameras, ring lights, microphones and for some overhead booms to hold cameras for those up close shots of their sewing lessons. For me the change isn't quite as challenging as my presentation was and still is a PowerPoint lecture, I only had to buy a new webcam and a very big zoom subscription. I can host over 100 guild members and talk for as long as I want to talk, or should I say as long as the guild wants me to talk.

I was disappointed not speak at Quilt Week in Lancaster, Pennsylvania or at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, but I'm looking forward to 2021. My previously booked Toronto and area guild talks have all requested Virtual presentations and I'm booked to speak "in" California, Washington, Virginia, Vancouver and Hello - New York! I'm happy to teach in any time zone, I just may not look as "healthy" as usual if its past midnight my time. Now Quilt Guild's can learn from textile experts from all over the world, with no travel expenses. In April I spoke to the Akoma Ntoso Modern Quilt Guild, based in in Indiana. It was so hard not to post "Indiana wants me, but I cant go down there " on Instagram, but I didn't. If you are interested in sharing "Sew Smart - The Ergonomics of Healthy Quilting " with your guild, visit my public speaking page to check availability, fees and other information. I can host your guild or can be a co-host on your online platform. Just like a regular a guild meeting, most online speakers are not allowing their presentation / workshop to be recorded by the organizers.

Many guilds are saying that even after we are able to gather in person, they will have a few virtual meetings a year - like maybe in January and February when the weather is unpredictable and driving at night isn't fun.

Conferences have also gone virtual. The Festival of Quilts offered a great line up of workshops this summer and the Fall Virtual Quilt Show runs November 9-15th, 2020. QuiltCon Together will be a virtual event from February 18th to the 22nd, 2021. The Road to California Quilters Conference will be a virtual event ,January 21st to 24th, 2021.

If your guild is looking for virtual presenters, visit globalquiltconnection.com

Sue Bleiweiss and Lyric Kinard have done an amazing job of organizing several meet the teacher events and the website is a great resource.

Your pressing station is a big part of your sewing room. It's worth taking a few minutes to set things up correctly.

This board is just a tad too high for me. Notice how my wrist is raised and slightly bent ?

That's because the ironing board is set too high, which will place strain on the wrist and the shoulder as it raises as well. The shoulder scrunch is so slight and difficult to see, but the tension will accumulate and eventually place strain on the neck as well. This can also lead to tension headaches.

We want the motion to come from the 90 degree angle of the elbow – from elbow to flat hand, neutral wrist while holding the iron – not to the top of the ironing surface, because then we need to bend wrist up. For most people its about hip height.

Too often we set the board up at waist height. Today's irons may not be as heavy as older models but they are larger, which means we need to compensate for the size.

The Family and Consumer Sciences department at Ohio State University provide a simple calculation to determine the perfect height for your ironing board.  "Measure the height that will allow your elbow to be bent at a 90 degree angle while you iron.  Subtract 4″ from that.  This will be the correct height for your ironing board" states Lisa Barlage, from Ohio State.  In addition she suggests keeping a footstool, six to nine inches high, near your ironing board. By placing your left foot on it when you stand to iron, it may prevent back strain.


What do gamers, workaholics and sewcialists all have in common? Tight chest muscles!! This can lead to poor posture by causing the shoulders to roll forwards, increasing the risk of shoulder and neck problems. Poor posture results from certain muscles - the chest - tightening up or shortening while others lengthen and become weak which often occurs as a result of one's daily activities. Therefore it's important to stretch the tight chest muscles and strengthen the underused back muscles.

Chest Stretch for poor posture

Chest Stretch:

  • Lift your arms up to shoulder height with your palms facing forward

  • Take a deep breath in, on the exhale gradually push both hands slightly behind you, while squeezing your shoulder blades together

  • Look up and feel the stretch !

Strengthen your back for better posture.

To strengthen your back :

  • Attach your therapy band to a doorknob

  • Stand tall, with palms down, grab both ends of band

  • Slowly bring the band in tight to your body contracting your shoulder blades

  • Keep tension on the band