The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. We traveled to see family; I finished four quilts with binding and gave two of them away; I gave away another; I began the 100 Day Project and successfully made it through the first seven (eight now!) days; I cleaned up my own guild presentations flyer and created one to represent my guild; and I took a full-day workshop.

Hopefully I’ll get around to talking about all of those things, other than the family trip, of course! But today I want to tell you about the workshop. Yesterday my guild (Old Capitol Quilters Guild, based in Iowa City, IA) hosted Kim Lapacek, best known for her Project Quilting challenges and the amazing Dresden Neighborhood pattern. (Kim, give me a link to your pattern for sale, please!)

Kim led a workshop in the style of her Project Quilting challenges. Nine guild members spent the day inspired by her take-no-prisoners style of quilt-making. She goes ALL OUT, with techniques, embellishments, color, and pattern. As our challenge, she provided fat-quarters of base fabric as well as two more fabric pieces to each of us. We were to create and FINISH a quilt top in the six-hour time slot, using those two printed fabrics and NO straight-edge ruler. In addition, we were given a limit on how much fabric we could bring — only the amount that fits in a brown paper lunch sack. (I eat a big lunch…) Also the fabric pieces we brought were supposed to be scraps, less than a fat quarter. While that lays a lot of constraints down, the subject or direction of our individual projects was completely up to each of us.

As she spoke, my thoughts turned to a project I’ve wanted to make for about a year-and-a-half. Inspired partly by her own “amazing technicolor dream heart quilt,” I decided to use a rainbow color scheme. Mine was not because of my love of all colors, but rather my intention to recognize LGBTQ rights as basic human and civil rights. It might be a poor shorthand, but it is eye-catching.

The verbal message is plain in black letters.

A guild friend asked me what I am resisting. I said I’m resisting racism, sexism, disenfranchisement, sexual assault as a norm, … Though I stopped at that in telling her, certainly my resistance is more inclusive.

From a technique standpoint, I used a piece of muslin about 28″ x 31″ as the backing. (This is bigger than the one Kim gave me. We joked that I was disqualified from the challenge for that, and for bringing a slightly bigger bag of fabric than she was picturing.) I drew lines through the center to divide the piece into eight wedge sections. My first take on filling the sections was to start “improv-piecing” green bits together. Quickly it was clear that would take too much time.

As an alternative, I got out my bottle of Elmer’s school glue. In the green section I made a wavy line of glue and started adhering bits of fabric. When the green section was covered in green fabric, I stitched down the bits in straight-ish lines, trying to move along most of the edges but not being very fussy about it. After all, this needed to be FAST to meet the completion part of the challenge.

I continued around my rainbow, adding in teal/turquoise and compressing the indigo/violet. After adding each section, I pressed it with my hot iron.

Once all the colors were on, I used fusible web and a strip of black fabric to create the letters and attach them. Yes, I remembered to draw the letters in reverse!

Make no mistake, the glue did leave a mess. I needed to wash the table top where I did the glue work, and I cleaned up my machine, where the glue-y fabric rubbed along it under the presser foot. Also I cleaned the bobbin area, to pull out any remnants of dried glue underneath. I do still need to wash the presser foot and change the needle. For the future, if I do this again, I’ll use my less-valuable sewing machine.

My project is not done, after all. I have a concept for the outer edge of the muslin, still uncovered by color. Also I need to decide whether I will quilt it or simply leave it as a poster for myself.

The workshop was the MOST FUN I’ve had at a workshop. With encouragement and inspiration, Kim helped me unlock a portion of my brain. I wonder what else is in there… πŸ™‚


23 thoughts on “RESIST

  1. Cindy Anderson

    What an awesome opportunity to have Kim come to your guild. She is a member of our local Modern Quilt Guild. I really like this piece….the colors as well as the message! Way to go for putting it out there. πŸ™‚

  2. Kim Lapacek

    This is so wonderful! It was such a pleasure to have you in class and be able to have dinner with you the night before. I love it when folks “get” me and let go, just enjoy the process and be ok doing something they’re not used to. I’m excited to see more from you!

  3. Kerry

    Wow! That is certainly a break away from the norm – I thought it was going to be about buying more fabric and being strong to fight that urge! LOL!
    I think it’s good that you have done something so different. Sometimes a change is like a breath of fresh air! Gets the creative juices going and thinking outside the box. Certainly a burst of colour! πŸ˜€

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      πŸ™‚ Nope, I don’t have much trouble with resisting purchases when I mean to. Yes, trying something new is almost always a good idea. Thanks for taking a look.

  4. snarkyquilter

    I can see you now, with a “green woman” headdress on (you will be giving an update on that, right?), slicing away at scraps without a ruler, and improving away. One tip on the glue, use an iron to set the glue and dry it out before running it through your machine. Also, spread it thinly. Of course, if you had the number of fused fabric scraps I have, you could cut them up and iron them on your muslin.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks for the glue tip — that helps so much! And yes, fused scraps, if available, would have made a big difference. For something planned with more time, that would be a good way to go.

      Update on the green man — yes, I think I might get a blog post done on that today. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. KerryCan

    I have this image of frenzied cutting and gluing, you with bits of fabric stuck to your hair and a big smile on your face! It really does sound like fun but I also like that you made a statement through the fun.

  6. tierneycreates

    Where is the “Super Like” button for this blog post? I love the diversity in your work Melanie – one moment you are the goddess of the medallion quilt and next moment its awesome protest art! Looks like it was a great workshop – no prisoner style quiltmaking sounds spectacular πŸ™‚

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Tierney. I think you would have enjoyed it, too. I think the only drawback, if any, was the time constraint. There was really NO time to change my mind about anything, if I’d wanted to. Just had to keep moving forward. But it was very fun.

  7. katechiconi

    I love the contrast between the message and the freedom you’ve clearly had such fun with in the assembly process. This is such a departure from my expectations of your quilting style, and and I think if you enjoyed it, you should try it on a bigger scale.

  8. Claire

    You know I am into political and protest art, so your project is right up my alley. Great to have fun working on something so serious.And a pleasing result.

  9. jmn111

    Wow, Melanie, definitely outside your box. However, I notice all the straight edges – next time, you might want to go wild with your rotary cutter – have a try at curved edges and see how the work turns out. The first time I tried freehand curved edges I panicked each time I put the rotary cutter on the fabric. Now, I cut out garment patterns with my rotary cutter – way easier than using scissors.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      There are actually a lot of curved edges under there. This isn’t pieced. I just had small bits of fabric to start with, very few bigger than my hand. I allowed my cutter to go wherever it went, but with short cuts, they were mostly more straight than not. I’ve done some curved piecing and it doesn’t scare me now. Pretty simple stuff! πŸ™‚ Thanks.

  10. Cjh

    I’m glad you had so much fun! That is a workshop I would have enjoyed! Thanks for the detailed description.

  11. laura bruno lilly

    Okay, I have to admit, I thought by the Title Resist you were going to talk about resisting going whole hog on a massive project after your whirlwind weeks…
    Obviously, I stand corrected!
    Good luck with that newest project.


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