The first thing I have to say about Dusty is that he does not look like a quilter. He is relatively young, male, tattooed, and the baseball cap on his head is always backwards. He has been quilting for about 8 years and uses a Nolting. He also owns a quilt shop in Camebridge Springs, PA called “Country Stitchin.”
Dustin admits that he is entirely self-taught, although now is influenced by his fellow quilting teachers. He likes doing utility quilts. He likes his thread (YLI has designed a line for him) to show, so you won’t see any light-weight thread disappearing into Dustin’s work. He does entirely freestyle quilting and saves the heavy custom work for his own quilts.
What I love about Dusty is that he has a very relaxed approach to quilting. He quilts the types of quilts that he enjoys doing; he doesn’t do what he doesn’t like. He is also very fast and does not use a stitch regulator.
This class taught some alternatives to meandering. These included ribbons (essentially doubling back over your meander but crossing the lines); barbed wire (adding little “x” lines along your meander; loops; loops and stars; loops and hearts; flames; and feathers. These are standard freestyle designs, so I can’t say that you’ll learn anything too original, but his presentation is very entertaining and the class is an easy way to be introduced to freestyle quilting. I was pleased that I could draw out the designs this year … whereas last year I just sat with my mouth open and stared at the whiteboard.
Here are a couple of his thoughts on becoming a better longarmer:
1. Stop piecing and focus on longarming only.
2. Have fabric in your longarm at all times. This way you can play around when you just have a few minutes to spare.
3. Most people can only make feathers and stars in one direction. Go with your strength and don’t try to make them in all directions.
4. Make your designs similar but not identical. This way imperfections will not stand out, because none will be the same. If you’re stitching leaves, for example, use slightly different sizes and different numbers of points on each side of your leaves. Some leaves will be smooth, some will have one point on one side, some will have one or two points on both sides. No leaf will look out of place.
Dusty is a combination of laid-back and intense. He is very entertaining and does well with questions. He is clearly artistic and I love his “get them done quickly” approach to quilting. It was a very enjoyable 2 hours and I came away with some easy freestyle designs that I could implement right away. I took an edge-to-edge class from Dusty last year that was also excellent, so clearly I recommend him if I’m a repeat customer.
Here is an amazing Youtube video showing Dustin’s quilting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29g7zQmfJyM.
You can find out more about Dustin’s quilt shop at http://www.cscountrystitchin.com.