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Meet Road@Home Teacher Kathleen Riggins

During Road@Home, Kathleen Riggins will be teaching 3 Longarm Quilting Classes, each from 1:30 – 4:30 PM:

On Wednesday, W129 – Swirls Intensive

Kathleen Riggins

On Thursday, T124 – Feathers For Modern Quilts

Kathleen Riggins

On Friday, F134 – Creating Contrast With Free Motion Quilting

Kathleen Riggins

And a Longarm Lecture Class on Saturday from 8:00 – 9:00 AM:

SL08 – Free Motion Mix Tape

Kathleen Riggins

Quilting is in Her Blood!!

Canadian, Kathleen Riggens, comes from a long line of quilters. Her mom, grandma, great-grandma, and great-great-grandma all quilted. Consequently, Kathleen learned all about quilting at a very young age.

When she was first starting out, Kathleen learned how to quilt using her mom’s sewing machine. With all her practicing, Kathleen got to know every decorative stitch on that machine really well. Imagine Kathleen’s surprise when she realized that Santa’s workshop used the very same machine as her mother’s as Santa left one just like it for Kathleen under the Christmas tree!!

Kathleen Riggins

Free Motion Quilting

Kathleen Riggins started free motion quilting when she was about 13 with a phone call to her mom at work: “Mom, how do you free motion quilt?”Her mom replied, “You drop the feed dogs and pretend the needle is a pencil.” And that’s exactly what Kathleen did.

Kathleen always liked free motion quilting. When she lived in England after University for a while, she worked at a quilt store there and did a lot of free motion quilting for them—that’s when she “really got into it.” When Kathleen returned to Canada, she kept quilting, taking lots of classes and practicing pretty much nonstop to bring her to her expertise level she enjoys today.

Kathleen’s longarm machine occupied her family’s dining room until just recently when her family moved to a larger home. Today, her longarm is in a spare room in her basement. It’s great having a dedicated space for her machine, but Kathleen says she does miss the natural light found in her old living room.

Favorite quilting tools for Kathleen are rulers and thread. Kathleen commented, “I love thread so much, and love to use a million colours of threads in a quilt. I also love quilting rulers, particularly straight ones. The ones from The Quilted Pineapple are my favourite.”

Lessons from COVID-19

Quilting has taken a back seat for Kathleen Riggins since the beginning of the pandemic. Instead, family time has been her number one priority. Kathleen has a toddler who is 20 months old. She is expecting her second son soon after Road@Home is over which means she has spent most of the lockdown “sleeping, puking, or playing with my toddler.” She has gotten into hand embroidery “which has been lots of fun.”

Patience with herself has been Kathleen’s biggest learning experience during COVID-19. She regrets that she hasn’t actually quilted anything on her longarm since the end of June. She says that her “day job has been extra busy, parenting a toddler, and being pregnant has just meant that the last thing I want to do after kiddo’s go to bed is go back to work, so I’ve been letting myself not. I’ve actually had time to do what I want for the first time in about 7 years. Unfortunately, it seems that most of what I want is to sleep, but it’s been really nice to give myself the time to do that.”    

Teaching During Road@Home

Kathleen Riggins has been teaching classes for around 20 years. She began teaching kid’s sewing classes in her family’s quilt store when she was just 11 years old!!. So, for most of her life, she has been involved in teaching. Kathleen started teaching free motion quilting classes when she was in England in 2011/2012.

Teaching virtually is also not new to Kathleen Riggins. She has already been doing it for years and feels that she’s gotten a pretty good system down. The hardest part of teaching virtually, Kathleen feels, “is not being able to see when students are struggling.” But she adds, “Hopefully they will let me know! I’ll also be 8 months pregnant, so I’ll be extra glad to not be travelling to teach.”

What Kathleen likes most about teaching is “seeing people improve! Its so fun to watch someone struggle at the beginning of class, but then really get into the grove by the end of class.” She hopes her students with Road@Home will gain confidence and realize for themselves that Free Motion Quilting isn’t hard– and is a lot of fun!

To learn more about Kathleen Riggins, please visit her website.

2 Responses to “Meet Road@Home Teacher Kathleen Riggins”

  1. I appreciate the lengthy blog posts for the teachers at Road @ Home. Kathleen Riggins looks especially interesting!

  2. Cassandra D says:

    I would love to get a longarm machine like the one pictured here.

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