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Road 2015 Faculty Spotlight: Meet Heidi Stagno

Heidi is teaching two day classes: 1008R Grid It and Stitch It on Monday; and  2011R Texturize on Tuesday. She will also be teaching three evening classes: 4075R Super Size Your Sashing on Thursday, 5078R Super Simple Stipple on Friday and  6077C Make It and Take It on Saturday.Heidi Stagno headshot

Heidi Stagno learned to love and appreciate quilting from her Grandma Leota while growing up in Pocatello, Idaho. Remembers Heidi, “Grandma Leota came from a humble household.  She put grandpa through medical school and he later became the Chief of Staff of the Idaho State Mental Hospital.  So needless to say grandma was no longer poor.  My sister and I did not learn to piece quilts because that was for ‘poor people.’  Grandma Leota would purchase yardage and match the print and sew-up two widths of fabric for the top and it was nothing but flannel for the back.  We stretched the fabric and attached it to the frame and hand tied each quilt.  Grandma Leota found many other ways to keep my sister and I busy on those cold, long Idaho nights.  That’s how my quilting journey began.”

Today, Heidi lives with her husband John and twin, 6 year old daughters. Her mother Judy is also an accomplished quilter.Heidi Stagno work3

Heidi loves to quilt on her Longarm machine. “I bought my first longarm machine 14 years ago.  For the first year my machine and I just dated and we got to know each other.  The second year we got engaged and I really started bringing in the customers.  I was booked with more quilts than I could keep up with.  So sometime between year three and four we got married and I quit my full time career job.  At that time, I also let go of a husband. He just didn’t get the quilting thing, so out he went.  I spent two years single, supporting myself completely on my longarm quilting.  Then I found a new husband.  The quilting machine gave her stitch of approval and we got married, to Mr. Right this time.  In the span of one year I got married, bought a house, bought a quilt shop and I was pregnant with twins by the end of the first year.” Heidi recently sold the quilt shop and is back to quilting full time.  In addition to her machine, she also has two machines that she rents out and she teaches longarm quilting on. And, she is a Handi-Quilter Dealer. Heidi Stagno work

What is Heidi’s method for longarm quilting?  “I love developing the depth, dimension, and texture on quilt tops.  My students ask me, ‘How do you know what to quilt on so many different quilts?’ My answer is: look into the quilt and it will tell you.  While I have not experienced a quilt that will actually talk to me, I do investigate the piecing, the fabric, and the scale of design, the style or theme.  The answer is very simple “opposites attract.” If the quilt has busy fabric or lots of piecing, I go simple.  If the quilt is plain and simple I dress it up with fancy stuff.  Then I go to work auditioning designs with preview film.

During her two years of supporting herself with her quilting, Heidi says she learned a thing or two that can help other longarm quilters:

#1 If your machine is broke you will be too.  So keep it clean!!  Keep it happy!!  Keep quilting!!

#2 Learn how to fix your machine so you don’t have to live with-out it while it’s at the dealer.  No machine=no quilting=no money=homeless. ( lol)

#3 Some quilters say “get known for one style” No way. I love all types and style and techniques. Learn them all.Heidi Stagno work2

Heidi hopes the students in her classes first learn to relax a bit.  She says that her quilting went to the next level when she finally said to myself, “Well… either they will bring me their quilt or they won’t. Get over it.  Let go of the unrealistic self-inflicted pressures.  Just enjoy and have fun and it will come.” She also tells her students that they will not leave the class being proficient at that particular technique.  What she teaches is HOW to practice the technique. She also likes to share her “pea brain analogies.” Heidi has a specific thought process while quilting each and every design.  She likes to teach her students the theory behind free-motion quilting not just tricks.  For Heidi, it’s all about the ELEMENT, REPEAT, ROTATE and TRAVEL!!!

You can learn more about Heidi on her blog: http://quiltingwithheidi.blogspot.com/

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