Terry Skrabanek, the owner of Lone Star Quiltworks, THE quilt shop in the Brazos Valley, Texas, recently announced that the shop would start offering in shop classes again. Terry has outdone herself in getting some of the most talented, creative, and patient teachers to teach a wide variety of courses at the shop. I thought it might be nice to get to know some of them and, over the next several months, we’ll shine the spotlight on some of our excellent and gifted teachers.
The first teacher in the spotlight will be Debbie Walker.
Debbie grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and met her husband, Roger, in the Fall of their senior year of high school. They have now been married for 45 years and since Roger was in the oilfield business, they moved around Texas quite a bit. Debbie, a high school teacher, taught Physics and, for good measure, a few Chemistry classes. She works with clinical teachers at Texas A&M University. Debbie brings an infectious enthusiasm to her teaching and she thoroughly enjoys helping her students, at all ages, to develop and learn. Debbie and Roger are the proud parents of two, now adult, children, a son, and a daughter, and they have two beautiful (and intelligent, as any grandparent will tell you) grandchildren.
To learn more about Debbie, I asked her a series of open-ended questions.
Q: How did you get started sewing/quilting? How old were you when you made your first quilt? Who taught you to quilt?
A: My mom taught me to sew. She helped me learn to make garments, and she was adamant about the quality of my work. She always said that if you did not want it to look homemade, you needed to take your time, press every seam, and be very particular that the inside of the garment looked as good as the outside of the garment. I don't know how many times I ripped out zippers while learning to make lapped zippers. She was pretty exacting, and I learned so much from her. I guess I was twelve when that lesson began.
My mother-in-law was a quilter, and I always enjoyed looking at her pattern books. When our daughter was an early teen, we moved, and I wanted her room to be special. I sat down and taught myself to quilt. I had a bag of stuffing, and there was a quilt pattern on the outside of the plastic bag. I bought the material, sewed it up, and the quilt became the spread for my daughter's bed in our new home. I had no clue what I was doing. I put scallops around the quilt edge, made bias binding, and got it finished. I had sewn garments for years, so the learning curve for me was not too steep.
Q: You are teaching several serger sewing machine classes this Fall at Lone Star Quiltworks. Why serger classes?
A: I had a serger that I had used to make my daughter's clothes. However, the threading of the serger was a tad challenging. When I found a serger that threaded with air jets, I couldn't wait to own one. I think that was 2017. I began to see all the fantastic things that could be done with this machine and couldn't wait to get started. I made a few things, taught a few classes at LSQW (Lone Star Quiltworks), and was hooked. I always have loved a challenge, so after the first few classes, we worked on some challenging projects. I think everyone enjoyed seeing the beautiful projects this machine could do.
Q: What do you like best about quilting/sewing?
A: I love to create, and I love to challenge myself. I have enjoyed all aspects of quilting. I love to see the end result and know that I have grown with each quilt I have attempted. I believe I have probably ripped out as much as I have sewn together (or so it seems). This doesn't bother me because I want my project to be done correctly. I'm not good at getting it done in a sloppy manner. I want it right!
Q: What was your worst quilting/sewing disaster, and were you able to fix it?
A: I don't believe I have had a quilting disaster. I have made plenty of mistakes, but I always go back and fix them before moving on. (Thanks, Mom!)
Q: What is your greatest quilting triumph?
A: I would say my greatest quilting triumph would be the double wedding ring quilts I made for my son and his wife and our adopted Aggie and her husband. They are being used regularly, and that makes my heart so happy.
Q: What quilt are you working on now?
A: I am currently working on the Nebula quilt, two Lone Star Trails, and a king-sized log cabin. They are all in various states of progress. I hope to have them all completed by the end of the year.
Q: What quilt do you want to make that you have never made?
A: I want to complete an appliqué quilt. I don't want to use fusibles; I want to needle turn (applique) the entire quilt. I am bound and determined to complete such a quilt. I have one that I have just started, and I will not give up until I get it done!!!
Q: Any advice for quilters?
A: My best piece of advice is to get your quarter-inch seam correct from the very beginning. Without that, nothing will piece together accurately.
Q: What is your favorite sewing tool/notion?
A: My favorite sewing notion currently is the wooden clapper. While piecing the Nebula blocks, many seams come together at one point. The clapper ensures that my seams lie flat. The blocks look lovely with the help of that tool.
Q: What is your favorite quilt block?
A: My favorite quilt block is just about any star block. I love the variety as well as the complexity or simplicity of the star blocks.
Q: What is your favorite color?
A: Not really sure I have a favorite color anymore. When I was a classroom teacher for forty-plus years, I loved the color red. Now that I am a quilter, I just want to see the colors play well together.
Q: In addition to teaching classes at Lone Star Quiltworks, you recently started a longarm quilting business, BCS Longarm Services. What made you decide to start a business?
A: I have been using a long arm for the past year, and I have to say I have enjoyed learning more and more about the machine. I recently finished my APQS (American Professional Quilting Systems) certification. I didn't really care about the certificate, but I just knew that if I took a class with due dates and assignments, I would persevere and get the lesson done. This allowed me to learn so much and pushed me very hard. I'm so glad I did the class.
I bought the long arm because I wanted to say I did the entire quilt myself. It has been fun meeting new people and helping to guide them as they complete their quilt.
Debbie will be at Lone Star Quiltworks this Fall to teach two serger classes.
- On Friday, October 15th, Debbie will teach a Serged Christmas Stocking (Stocking Were Hung with Care) class from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM.
- On Friday, November 12th, she will teach a Modern Serged Table Runner class from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM.
Sign up for one or both of these classes and have some fun with Debbie and your classmates, creating beautiful projects while learning more about using your serger sewing machine!
You can sign up for Debbie's classes online or in the shop. Once you've paid for the course, you'll receive your class supply list.
Other Fall course offerings at Lone Star Quiltworks range from Beginning Quilting to Collage Quilts to several new projects from some of our other excellent teachers, Norma, Barbara, Teri, Helen, and Debbie. Also in the offering are Judy Niemeyer Sit n' Sews with Jan Mathew and in-house and virtual Machine Embroidery with Kerry and Lori.
Check out our website for the most up-to-date information about our classes . We look forward to seeing you there!