Learn Paper Piecing with Judy Niemeyer Classes at a Quiltworx Retreat in Kalispell, Montana

taking Judy Niemeyer classes

Last Updated on 10/27/20 by Rose Palmer

I enjoy taking quilting classes and learning new techniques. Not long ago, I had the opportunity to learn paper piecing in one of the Judy Niemeyer classes at the  Quiltworx retreat center on Flathead Lake, Montana, near Kalispell. It was a relaxing week with lots of instruction, lots of food and lots of sewing.

What is it like taking Judy Niemeyer classes at Quiltworx?

The Quiltworx tag line is “Teaching the world to paper piece”.  Judy Niemeyer, creator and owner of Quiltworx, has made a lifelong career of designing and selling intricate and beautiful paper pieced quilt patterns. Many quilters have used her patterns to develop award winning competition quilt designs. I have seen distinctive Quiltworx designs incorporated into winning quilts at both the Tokyo International Quilt Festival and the  AQS Paducah quilt show. Now, you can also attend a retreat led by her in a home developed specifically for teaching retreat groups in her paper piecing techniques.

View over Flathead Lake from the Quiltworx retreat house porch

I like to attend quilting classes in interesting location (like the one I took in France with Crafty Retreats). As a passionate traveler, the location of the Quiltworx company and retreat location on Flatheat Lake, near Kalispell, Montana, is, in my opinion, one of its greatest assets. With its diverse and beautiful scenery, Montana is one of my favorite states to visit. Kalispell is a half hour drive from the entrance to Glacier National Park and is also the closest airport gateway to both the National Park and to Quiltworx.

The retreat house is a big home that has been converted specifically for quilting retreats. There are four bedrooms that accommodate up to ten people in single beds.  If you are not attending with someone you know, then you will need to be comfortable sharing a bedroom with a complete stranger, as well as sharing the three bathrooms with others.

The whole house is decorated with many examples of Quiltworx quilts – on all the beds, on the walls, and on display in the common living and dining area. They are a great inspiration for various color schemes as well as providing marketing samples for purchasing more patterns.

The sewing area on the lowest level is large and well equipped to house 10-12 students comfortably.  There were a number of large cutting stations and ironing stations with really good, hot irons. Each student’s  work station was set up with large cutting mats, and some of the supplies specific to Judy’s technique for paper piecing like glue sticks and small binder clips. Each participant also received a roll of mixed quilting fabric as a gift.

Most ladies brought their own sewing machines though you can rent one for the week if you want. A list of recommended supplies was included with all the registration material.

At the class I attended, the level of previous experience with Judy Niemeyer patterns ranged from quilters who had never paper pieced, to quilters that were very experienced, having previously completed many designs. Some of the quilters brought Quiltworx projects that they had already started and were working to finish them up during the week. Others, like me, just brought a pattern and the fabric needed to start a new project.

Regardless of the level of expertise, Judy spent four mornings with the group, providing detailed instructions on her specific techniques and tips needed to successfully make her intricate Quiltworx patterns. In the afternoons, one of her certified instructors was present and available for help and provided more instruction as needed. The last day of the retreat was a free sew day, or a sightseeing day if you so chose.

The large sewing room

All the meals during the class were included and were catered in. The food was good and there was a lot of it. Water and tea were always available and also included, but sodas, beer and wine were not and were paid for on the honor system. You could also bring in your own drinks and snack if you so chose.

There was a lot of sewing time each day, but if you needed a break, a few shopping excursions were also scheduled. Kalispell supports two independent and unique quilt shops: The Quilt Gallery and Glacier Quilts. Both shops were well stocked with the Judy Niemeyer patterns, with her fabric lines as well as with a very wide selection of other fabrics and patterns.

There was also a Quiltworx shopping opportunity where you could purchase their patterns from their warehouse at a discount. The week started with a trunk show, showcasing many quilts with the latest Quiltworx patterns and fabrics which was a great inspiration for future projects.

I went into this paper piecing class with very minimal previous experience, and left feeling significantly more confident with the technique. Eventually, I finished the Prismatic Star pattern that I started in the class (and which I exhibited at the 2019 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon).

Prismatic Star Quilt
Prismatic Star Quilt

Once the quilt class ended, I spent a few days in nearby Glacier National Park and the adjacent Waterton National Park in Canada.  Glacier NP is one of my favorite US National Parks, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit it again. Then, because I had to make a flight connection in Seattle, I also spent some time sightseeing in the Seattle area as well. Being able to combine the quilt class with such great travel experiences really made for a fantastic vacation.

Glacier National Park

If you have always wanted to learn to paper piece and make one of the beautiful Quiltworx patterns, then I recommend taking a class with Judy Niemeyer at her retreat center in Kallispell.

You can find the latest information on Quiltworx classes at  http://www.quiltworx.com/venue/quiltworx-retreats/

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Thanks for visiting.


Sharing my experiences at a Quiltworx retreat #quiltworx #quiltiretreat #quilt

Learn what it is like to attend a Quiltworx retreat #quiltworx #quiltiretreat #quiltEarning how to paper piece at a Quiltworx retreat #quiltworx #quiltiretreat #quilt