Tag Archives: Classes

I LOVE to Talk About Quilts and Quilting!

If you love to talk and love to quilt, there are few things more fun than talking about quilting. Count me in!

GUILD PRESENTATIONS

This year I’ve had a chance to share my quilts and thoughts on quilting a number of times. Guild presentations are the best! Here are some photos from my talk with the guild in Waverly, IA. Click any photo to open the gallery and see them bigger.

I have presentations on medallion quilts, the Mill Girls, and the Underground Railroad Quilt Code. The latter two are very appropriate for historical societies or other groups, as well as quilt guilds. Besides my classes on medallion design and construction, I’m currently developing a couple more workshops. Check my page on presentations and classes, and please contact me if you’d like to know more.

PODCASTS

Besides guild presentations, I had a whole lot of fun talking with Elizabeth Townsend Gard, head of research on the Just Wanna Quilt project. I have two podcast interviews in the can and am scheduled to speak with her again soon.

I wrote about the project and linked my first podcast here. Click on this link to find the recording. It’s 52 minutes, on the long side. We talk about how and why I started quilting, what medallion quilts are, how I see green quilting and our responsibility as quilters to make the Earth a better place, and more. The second podcast is shorter and can be found here.

MY QUILT IN HOUSTON! 

The last fun thing I want to share with you is that I had a quilt at the Houston International Quilt Festival in November! Okay, full disclosure: it was in Houston at Quilt Festival, but it was in a booth, not on exhibit. The Just Wanna Quilt project had a non-profit booth, to reach more quilters and investigate the dynamics of a large quilt show. My quilt Dizzy helped decorate the booth.

Sharing about quilts and quilting, not much better than that!

Advertisements

Class Projects in 2018

My guild has had some terrific workshops in the last few years. In 2018, I participated in three of them and added to my tool kit of skills. I share a bit about them below, in the order I took them.

Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams
Kim Lapacek brings a joy and enthusiasm to her work, and her workshop, that I’ve rarely experienced.

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. 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.

Influenced partly by her own “amazing technicolor dream heart quilt” and partly by a project I’d been wanting to make, I decided to use a rainbow color scheme 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.

This project is like nothing I ever did before. It hangs behind my ironing station, and every time I stand there, it buoys me a bit.

Cathy Geier
Cathy Geier is an art quilter focused on landscapes. Her style would probably be called “collage appliqué,” though she incorporates piecing, especially into the backgrounds. She’s also quite fond of amending her fabrics with paint and markers, allowing some subtleties not available from the fabric alone.

In our workshop with her, we learned some basics of creating a landscape quilt of a forest scene. With commercially-available fabric, we cut tree trunks and glued them to a base background fabric. Diluted white craft paint helped turn the birch trees a paler grey, and silver Sharpie markers applied to one side of the trunks gave a sense of dimension. Flowers and shrubs came next, and then leaves. Leaves were mostly adhered using a fusible web rather than glue, but either would do.

At home I added a border and did the quilting. This was my first “collage” quilt and I’m very happy with the result, and with what I learned. The part that makes me less happy (and I know this wouldn’t bother many people) is that it doesn’t feel like my quilt. I can’t display it because I didn’t design it, and likewise it’s hard to give as a gift. Maybe that’s just weird of me to feel this way… But maybe because of that, I like the back that shows the quilting as much as the front.

The gallery below shows a squared-off photo. Click either image to see bigger and with right proportions.

Toby Lischko
Toby Lischko specializes in using mirrors to create fabric design symmetry, and in curved piecing, especially in New York Beauty blocks. My guild was treated to the first topic for an evening presentation, and to the second topic in Toby’s workshop.

Using her method and rulers, curved piecing was a snap. I honestly was surprised at how easily and well my blocks turned out. In class I made two quarter-circles; at home I made the other two and set them in a background of orange Grunge.

I added corners in purple and designed the Lone Star-style star point. I need to take the star point apart and rebuild it so my seam allowances and sizing are better. This is a low-priority project so will carry into next year.

I am very fortunate to have opportunities like this. My guild has some great things planned for the coming few months, too, and I look forward to them, too.

Christmas Is Coming!

The top of my class Christmas quilt is done, but it needs to be quilted. (I’m still working on the bear’s paw quilt, too. As these get bigger, it’s harder to work on them “at the same time.”)

Here are a few pix. Below is the finished top in as big of a view as I can manage. There are a few “Christmas” fabrics in it, but I rarely buy novelty fabrics. My friend Sharon passed a few of hers to me, so bits of hers show up. Mostly, though, it is other reds, greens, and golds I had in stash. I didn’t buy anything new for this.

Quilt top, laid out on the floor. I can’t get quite high enough to fit the whole thing in view. It’s about 68″ square.

OH, that’s not true. I did buy the green paisley in one of the strip borders. I’d used a different green, cut it and attached it, and simply wasn’t happy with it. This green has more light in it and has more interesting pattern.

A decent view of the center block, which finished at 16″. The green border around it is 2″ wide, taking the segment to 20″ square. Notice how the strip border neither encloses the center block, nor expands it. It is neutral. The swirly line print does draw the eye, but does not direct the eye farther out. This suits, because the center block really is self-contained. With its round shape and circling flying geese, it wouldn’t work as well with something like spraying half-square triangles in the first border.

The outside border is the red plaid at the top of the photo. It helps settle down the riot caused by the pile of packages in the next border, all in scrappy fabrics.

I had fun making the green “packages” with their bows on top. The bows are just flying geese, and they echo the shapes in the hourglasses above, as well as the flying geese in the center and the pinwheels in the corner blocks.

The pinwheel corner blocks are a funny illusion. They’re made of the same block as that ribbon border near the center. It’s called a “Y” block in EQ7. There are 4 of them in a pinwheel block, and using all the same “background” fabric makes it look like a pinwheel on point. The pinwheel spins, as do the flying geese in the center, though going in different directions. Finally, they are one more allusion to a package, as it looks like you’re looking down on the top of a fancy bow.

Over the years I’ve gotten over the wish to make my fabrics match for style. While I do want them to “go” together, there is a pretty broad range, even in a quilt like this. There are 1800s reproductions, a few Christmas fabrics, at least one batik, a fabric sold as wide backing fabric… I enjoyed using the last of a few scraps, evening piecing a few scraps together to make patches big enough. I remember where I bought some of these, including on a family reunion trip in Michigan, on an outing to Illinois with Jim, at chain stores and local quilt shops and one online store. A quilt like this represents a large part of my quilting history, stitching memories into the design.

I plan to keep this quilt. Though we decorate pretty minimally for Christmas, I’ll enjoy having this out, either spread across the dining room table or draped on the stair railing, or even bunched around the two of us on the couch. Some day maybe I’ll give it to one of my kids, instead of the coal they usually get for Christmas. 😉

Class Quilts

My medallion class began last week! In class I help lead participants through the process of designing their own medallion quilts. And while they create, I do, too.

In the few weeks we have together, while each of them is making one quilt, I design and construct two. I start with very different centers and color schemes in order to demonstrate a variety of strategies.

The first one I began has a center block that features flying geese circling a star. The block design came from the Big Book of Scrap Quilts, published by Oxmoor House in 2005. The quilt pattern is called “Dizzy Geese,” designed by Joan Streck. Dizzy Geese is a block quilt, with a 17″ block made with templates.

I re-drew the block to 16″ and paper-pieced it.

Though I’ve made quilts in reds and greens before, I haven’t made one I’ve thought of as a Christmas quilt. This one will have that intention, but I’d still like to keep it lighthearted. I’ll minimize the holiday-focused prints, but refer to the occasion through shaping. For instance, the circling flying geese give the impression of a wreath.

With the intricate center, I wanted a simple first border, but one that would extend the range of color. Because the star points are a forest green print, I chose a citrus green for the border. The corner blocks add to the gold, found in the center’s green print and in its background fabric.

The second border was fun and easy to make. Take a look. The corners are just half-square triangles. The side blocks are each made of three pieces and all the blocks are same. Their orientation gives the look of a twisting ribbon as they circle the top.

And the third border is a plaid with dark green, dusky gold, and burgundy, with bright gold corners. I don’t love the dark plaid, for various reasons. But I think it will serve its purpose as the design develops. It’s easy to get hung up on individual elements, such as the color or shapes or value of a particular border. Just as you don’t have to love a particular block to have it work well in a block quilt, you don’t have to love a particular border in a medallion quilt. Every border changes every border, and it’s the final effect that counts.

I have tentative plans for the next borders, but won’t work on this more until next week.

The second quilt begins with a bear’s paw block in the center. I’m less certain of the direction for this one. I really like the center block, with its beautiful Julie Paschkis print in the large sections. And I love the batik that surrounds the block. I am not absolutely sure they work together. However, some patience is in order as I let the process play out. (Trust the process.)

Though I rarely work on two quilts in the same stage at the same time, the chaos is kind of exciting, too. We’ll see if I still feel that way in a couple of weeks. 🙂

Dizzy

Recently I’ve shown you a few illustrations drawn in EQ7. (See pictures here and here.) One of them was to become a sample for my upcoming medallion design class, and the others will be used to illustrate various ideas for the students. Here is one of two that I started with.

Consensus in comments was that the design was too busy and didn’t look maker-friendly. I simplified it by removing the piecing from the spacer blocks — see the connecting blocks between stars in the final border and between pinwheels in the middle border. I also changed two of the patterned borders to plain white.

I liked the simplified version, so I made it.

Dizzy. 60″ x 60″. September 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Even if I design a quilt prior to making, it almost always gets changed in the translation. Fabric simply doesn’t look the same as pixels. On this one, I found that the density of color and pattern in the center (visual weight) was too much as compared to the middle and outer borders. It was unbalanced. To fix the balance, I replaced the white in the illustration’s outer narrow border with green. As soon as I did that, I was happier with it. The binding of the strong blue adds punctuation.

I quilted it with a double teardrop design. The quilting is pretty dense, making the quilt less cuddly and soft than I prefer, but I like this look. The second photo is of the underside while it was still on the frame. 

The quilt is named “Dizzy.” Between the spinning pinwheels and all the stars, as well as its overall brightness, it reminded me of the lightheaded feeling of standing up too quickly. “Dizzy” sounds better than “Lightheaded” though. 🙂

Just to round things out, here is “Dizzy” by Tommy Roe.