LIVE from Alaska!

I arrived in Los Angles on Friday, March 13 to teach for the LA Modern Quilt Guild. By the time I left, life as we know it was being shut down across the world. Since then, historical events continue to explode on our personal, political, and emotional time lines. If life were a game, we would be playing at the VERY DIFFICULT level.

I checked out. I took up biking and sock knitting and berry picking. 

I spent two months in McCarthy, Alaska where we have an off-the-grid cabin. 

Meanwhile, many of my peers were traveling via the internet– teaching around the world from their home studios.

I resisted. For the first three months, I thought I could wait Covid out. But when every single  one of my teaching events for 2020 was cancelled, I realized that I better get with the program.

I agreed to give a few lectures in September. 

Then, I joined a group of quilt teachers who were supporting each other in learning how to teach online. 

Two brilliant members of that group—“>Lyric Kinard & Sue Bleiweiss— created Global Quilt Connections. This website is your portal to discovering quilting teachers who teach online.

I participated in the first event which featured 30 quilt teachers sharing information about their virtual classes and lectures. If you missed it, don’t worry. You can watch the entire event on YouTube. 

FYI- I was the second to last presenter, so my presentation is at the 1:31 marker of the video. 

Since the popularity and demand for these presentations continues to grow, Sue and Lyric continue to host these events with the next live presentation scheduled for Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 4PM – 6PM EST.  Visit the website to sign up to watch past and future events. 

After that presentation, guilds began to contact me about teaching for them virtually. So, this blog post is to say—It’s Happening. I am teaching from my studio in Anchorage, Alaska to wherever in the world you might be.

If your guild or festival is interested in having me teach or lecture for your community, email me at and we can talk about how to make that happen.

Additionally, I wanted to tell you about two other bits of news.

First of all, I invite you to join me as part of the Vermont Quilt Festival @ Home. My events are happening next week and I would love for you to join me.

Building Community through Quilts
Thursday, September 10, 2020
7:30PM EST
Fees—$12 for Lecture

Linear Blocks—Line into Shape
Saturday & Sunday
September 12 & 13, 2020
Fees- $80 for Entire Workshop

Anyone can sign up for these events! Here are the links to the workshop and the lecture.

Mary Puckett from Zippy Quilts wrote a blog post sharing the fact that she has signed up for the workshop. You can read about what she thinks here.

Second, I have been seriously thinking about offering my own workshops. No guild, no festival—just all of you and me and a super savvy ZOOM moderator. 

What do you think? I am very interested in what you are interested in learning virtually. Have you already taken a LIVE virtual class? Did you like it? What worked for you? What didn’t work for you? I would love to hear from all of you as I try and navigate this next phase of my teaching life.

Thank you folks! I hope to see you in the workshop next weekend!

This entry was published on September 6, 2020 at 6:10 PM. It’s filed under About Teaching, News And Events, TEACHING and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

18 thoughts on “LIVE from Alaska!

  1. I’ve taken two virtual workshops, one from Sherri Lynn Wood and the other from Sarah Goer, a modern quilter from San Jose, CA, and I know you can do this, Maria! You’re uniquely talented as a presenter, and your long experience as a quilter and teacher will carry you through. I’m sure you’re ready to welcome this new adventure.

  2. I’m so glad I registered for your class before you sent this email out to your mailing list !! I read about your virtual Vermont Festival class this morning on my friend Linda’s Flourishing Palms blog and although I won’t be watching live I look forward to learning lots anyway 🙂 I haven’t taken any virtual classes so can’t help with any thoughts but I’m looking forward to your class and I’d be interested in other classes although time differences is a bit of an issue with “live” if you have global students. I’m in Australia so it will be 3am for your Vermont class which is why I won’t be live – not sure I should be in charge of machinery at that hour – but as you’re finishing for the day I’ll just be waking up so I’m sure it will work well !!

  3. Hello! I have taken 3 or more live art classes in COVID times. I enjoyed all of them. In both the instructor had a camera on them and the art on the wall behind them and another camera above their work while they demo’d. It was fast for me, but I know I go slow and don’t worry about keeping up. I do the best I can. I liked that we can still do our passion “together.” Another hard part was that the instructor couldn’t see what we were doing and if we were on the right track. Of course, I like art where you can’t mess it up. It was fun to listen, watch and work. Then hold up what i had so far for feedback. It’s all good and if you can live off the grid in Alaska for periods of time, then a little old Zoom class will be no big deal for you. Do a couple of practices with your helper and you’ll be good.

  4. Maria- I’ve taken two online workshops both with Joe Cunningham and enjoyed them both. And I’m just starting a year long monthly class with Sheila Frampton Cooper. I think great tech is a must, but I find I can see and hear everything better online in these sessions than I can sometimes in an in person workshop. Westside Quilters has had two Zoom lectures and one Zoom workshop and we are planning to be virtual through most of 2021. Some of our members seem to prefer being in their own sewing room! I encourage you to take the plunge.

  5. Margaret Schilling on said:

    Hi Maria. I’ve taken a couple of quilt classes on Zoom this summer – one on my own, with strangers, and one with my guild – so I’ve been thinking about this lately. With the guild, the students have a built in camaraderie, and are happy to see each other. Don’t think we chatted a whole lot off topic, but there were no awkward silences. With the group of strangers, we did not interact with each other at all. The teacher couldn’t necessarily see what folks were doing. We mostly don’t have professional video setups, and it’s hard to point your computer at the work you’re doing and keep an eye on the screen at the same time. Our guild’s programs coordinator handled the registration details and payment, and was a sort of assistant to the instructor during the class. She kept an eye on attendance, and on the chat box, so she could let the teacher know if there were questions piling up, or a number of people asking the same question. An excellent Zoom assistant would definitely serve that function for you and a group of strangers – I think it’s a lot to keep track of when it’s just you and a bunch of folks in little squares on your computer screen. Both teachers had some portion of their classes as prerecorded short videos, which worked well.

    Of course, the best thing about taking workshops at home, is being at home! In your own sewing room, with ALL of your tools and fabrics, and your first string sewing machine. Not having to pack for a one day workshop is just lovely. Obviously Zoom classes can not replicate the experience of a weeklong workshop in some cool place with lodging and meals, and the opportunity to make new sewing buddies or just meet interesting people. Those days will be back in another year or so I hope. The workshop I took with you last fall in NY state(seems like years ago!) was the first I’d done away from home. I’m still planning to see you in Vermont next year. ________________________________

  6. Paolina Milasi on said:

    For what’s it worth, I think you should teach on your own.  I took a great zoom class from Joe Cunningham and am taking another class this Saturday.    Joe is incredibly charismatic, his class is fun and I learned so much.  The icing on the cake is that the cost is only $35.00!   Good luck!

  7. Hi Maria. Thanks for linking to my post. I am SO looking forward to your class!

  8. I learned about your workshop from Zippyquilts blog, and I’m so glad I did! You were supposed to have been at the April 2021 Broward Quilt Fest in South Florida, and that’s where I expected to take your workshop. I too am an instructor (free motion quilting) at that event, and anticipated going a day early to take your class. When I learned you had a conflict with the rescheduled October 2021 date, and wouldn’t be at BQF, I looked for a way to take your workshop. In August I took Jenny Hayne’s virtual two-day (six hour) “Twice Cut Drunkard’s Path” workshop, and thought she did a very thorough job of teaching. She used three cameras (two on work stations) and recorded her teaching which she emailed to students afterward. I’m a regular blogger, and this is the link to my “Being a Virtual Student” post about her workshop (if you’d like to see a few pictures).
    I’m looking forward to Saturday!

  9. Yay Maria! I’ve sent this post along to several quilty friends. The quilt that is at the top of this post is gorgeous! Is it exhibiting anywhere?

  10. Michele on said:

    ” If life were a game, we would be playing at the VERY DIFFICULT level.”

    Brilliant observation.

  11. Cindy Beal on said:

    Go for it!!!!! I know you will be FANTASTIC!!!! I love the thought of getting to do a class with you online, as the odds of in person are slim. But I know nothing about Zoom or any other portal. Is there a How to Zoom for Dummies?

    • has some “how to” videos, but they went a bit fast for me when I first watched. If you watch more than once, you will be able to see the mouse better to know where to click. You might Google or You Tube it for instructions. After you do it a couple of times, you’ll have it figured out. I think the moderator will help. I think it will be fun.

    • has some “how to” videos, but they went a bit fast for me when I first watched. If you watch more than once, you will be able to see the mouse better to know where to click. You might Google or You Tube it for instructions. After you do it a couple of times, you’ll have it figured out. I think the moderator will help. I think it will be fun.

    • There’s a free ebook, called “Take Control of Zoom Essentials” at Take Control Books, which is a long-time publisher of computer how-to ebooks. I own several of them. They also publish a much longer ebook on Zoom, which is for sale. To get the free book, you’ll need to create a login id. Go here:

  12. Laceflower on said:

    As you say, you checked out, so I didn’t check in with you and missed your early September class. I have not taken a live class but have done video classes like craftsy. You were supposed to visit our guild and teach but that didn’t happen. So I’m very interested in taking a zoom class from you. My guild members are not very interested in virtual classes so I can’t muster up a group, I’d have to join an independent virtual class to be able to participate. I’m very motivated to do that and will check back often to see what you are offering.

  13. Dear Laceflower! Thank you for your interest. I sent you a personal email about what I am currently offering for individual quilters. Most of my gigs are sponsored by guilds for their members, but others are open to the general quilting public. Check your email for my information, and let me know if you have questions. Thank you!

  14. Sheila Toomey on said:

    Maria — I’m a fan — took a class from you years ago. Have your book (of course:). But I haven’t quilted in a year and am rusty to say the least. I’m reluctant to take a live class but would love to do a video class. Please post whatever you are offering so I can sign up. I’ve registered for your blog and will keep watch. Best regards, Sheila

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