Who/What has had a major influence on your quilting style?
For Road 2019 teacher, Valli Schiller, that would be Harriet Hargrave. When Valli started quilting 28 years ago, she lived in Colorado near Harriet’s store, Treadleworks. Through Harriet, Valli was exposed to magnificent examples of domestic machine quilting before anybody planted the idea in her mind that domestic machine quilting was hard to do. Valli taught herself to do domestic machine quilting using Harriet’s “excellent book,” Heirloom Machine Quilting as her primer.
Another influence as Valli was starting out in quilting was her local quilt guild. A friend invited Valli to attend her first meeting where she immediately noticed how the guild ladies gave lots of love to people who brought show and tell and that really motivated Valli. From that point on until today, Valli is challenged and fascinated by all aspects of quilt making, especially free motion quilting.
Valli’s domestic machine quilting space comprises three, small basement rooms. One room has her design wall, an ironing station, and three sewing machines. Each machine is set up with different feet and thread. This room is where her quilt tops are constructed.
An adjacent room has a big cutting table and tall open bookshelves where Valli stores her ever growing fabric stash, arranged by color and type. She took over a third room when she added a sit-down, long arm machine to her “stable.” None of the rooms have windows, however, and she misses having natural light in her “quilting cave.” But each room does have a bluetooth speaker. Valli says she is “in my happy place when I can listen to audiobooks and podcasts as I work.”
Valli has been teaching domestic machine quilting since 2006. She says that her classes “are designed to be supportive settings where structure is provided, but individual creativity is encouraged. I want every student to leave my classes equipped with the all the information and inspiration they need to apply the techniques they’ve learned to future projects.”
Valli will be traveling from her home in Naperville, Illinois, to teach her 3 classes at Road to California 2019:
What does Valli hope for her students? That they each have their own “Aha!” moments when the technique that she’s teaching starts to click for them. She also looks forward to them asking their own creative “what if?” questions because then she knows “I’ve done something right.”