I spoke recently at the Edmonton Creative Stitches show about all the things I wish someone had told me when I first started my quilting journey. For those of you who missed it, or who were there but missed the handout, here is the link to the document.
Since acquiring some vintage kimono silk, I've been doing research into the safest cleaning products, including Orvus. I found two very helpful articles on the web, which I've combined into a Google document for your information:
Workshop 1: Technique and Artistry of Set-in Circles
Set-in circles are scary stuff to many experienced quilters. As a result, many hesitate to undertake making a quilt that uses set-in circles as part of the design. Truthfully, there is nothing to fear. With instruction in some simple techniques and a bit of practice, anyone can learn to easily cut and sew blocks with set-in circles. Beyond the technical skill is the art of using the design of background blocks to create a sense of movement and flow that enhances the drama of the circles which form a focal point for the quilt. This workshop builds on ideas presented in Reynola Pakusich’s “Circle Play” book, and adds a number of practical techniques for both design and construction.
In this workshop, we will learn to:
Fabric requirements (for a 5 x 7 block quilt, about 8” finished blocks):
For each of two colours, bring about 6 cuts of ¼ meter ranging from very light to very dark in that colour
For one accent colour, bring 4 cuts of ¼ meter ranging from medium to very dark
About 1 meter of a focus fabric in colours that are harmonious with the other two colours you’ve selected (for the circles)
Supplies to bring to the workshop include:
Sewing machine in good working order, with a presser foot that has a ¼” seam marking
Extension cord and task light
Cutting mat, rotary cutter, 6” x 18-24” ruler
A “framing window” of light cardboard with a 6” or 7” circle cut out of the centre
Piecing thread, straight pins (small appliqué pins (optional) and longer quilting pins)
A design wall of some sort: flannel sheet, Styrofoam, batting – must be at least 60 x 60
Lots of pins for pinning blocks to the design wall
A personal ironing station, or shared with a friend taking the workshop
Circle-cutting rulers and quarter triangle rulers will be available for class use in the workshop. A handout will be provided. The book by Reynola Pakusich, and appropriate rulers, will be available for optional purchase after the workshop.
This workshop will run 2 days from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM, with a 45 minute break for lunch. Set-up of working stations will take place from 9:00 until 9:30, at which time instruction will begin. Take-down of working stations will be from 3:30 to 4PM.
Fabric Selection Review (or Purchase) Opportunity:
If you would like assistance with your fabric selection, I will set two drop-in days at my studio/shop for class participants. Irene and I will be there at those times for you to bring along the fabric you intend to use, to get our thoughts on whether it will produce a quilt you’ll be happy with. Or you may choose to have us help you select some or all of your fabrics from those for sale at my studio. Address is 2726 W 38th Ave., Vancouver, BC (between Trafalgar and Mackenzie). Phone is 604-250-8698. Alternatively, you may email me photos of your fabric choices and I will respond with any suggestions I have.
Alternate Design Option
It has become clear to me through discussion with some participants that the “learning outcomes” I aim for in this workshop can still be achieved while choosing a design approach that is simpler than the half-square triangle based design which is shown in the quilt photo on the first page. This simpler design approach would yield quilts like these:
Both of these designs are characterized by more subtlety in the movement because there are not clear lines created by the value play in the background block design. They are also, in my experience, somewhat easier to design and faster to construct.
If your preference is to construct a quilt using one of these design approaches, here are your fabric requirements for a quilt that is about 52” x 70”.
For a quilt design such as the one on the left above, select 12 fabrics for background blocks. If you want high contrast as the leftmost quilt does have, these fabrics should range from very light to very dark… about 3 very light, 3 quite dark, and 6 in between those in value. Bring ¼ M of each of the 12 fabrics. Also bring 5” x WOF strips for 4 fabrics that will be your quarter-circles… these colours are intended to be in clear contrast to the background fabric tones. Finally, for 8 of the 12 background fabrics, bring an additional 5” strip x WOF for the colourwash border. If you want low contrast such as the quilt on the right above, but want to use the design approach of the leftmost quilt, make all your fabric selections lights to mediums… including the accent fabrics for quarter circles.
For a quilt design such as the one on the right above, select 11 fabrics. For this quilt design I recommend staying with a low contrast palette, so make your fabric selections range from lights to mediums only, in a harmonious scheme. Bring .6 M of each of the 11 fabrics. This quilt requires more fabric because there is a lot of lost fabric due to the size of the circles relative to the size of the blocks.
Please don’t hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions about any of these, and please run your fabric selections by me so that you don’t find yourself disappointed with the design you are able to create in the workshop. Thanks!
Workshop 2: "Feature This" Quilt Design and Construction
This two day workshop is for quilters who have a stash of favourite fabrics that seem too beautiful to cut up, but also too beautiful to stay hidden in your stash. Day one of the workshop you will develop your design concept. You will bring your feature fabric along with any fabrics you are hoping to use with this fabric in your finished quilt. We will discuss different quilt styles that can be used to feature a particular fabric; give you time to work on your design ideas for your fabric individually, and then discuss these design ideas one at a time as a class... giving everyone a chance to hear others' ideas and to share and get feedback on their own ideas. We will finish the first day with a discussion of the characteristics of the supporting fabrics you are looking for to allow you to create your design.
You will use the week between class days to gather your supporting fabrics and to further explore ideas you may want to incorporate in your quilt.
Day two will be your day for turning your design concept into a completed design on your design wall. We will start with some basic principles I've developed that make the design process more fun, less stressful, and less wasteful of fabric. You will then spend the majority of the day alternating between designing your quilt top on your design wall and getting and giving feedback on the designs in progress. Before concluding the day we will spend time discussing strategies for incorporating accent features into your quilt design, and discuss the construction process each person will use to take their quilt top from the design wall to completed quilt top state.
DAY 1 Supplies:
DAY 2 Supplies:
Your design on graph paper along with the Sketchbook/Notebook from Day 1.
A design wall large enough for your complete project and a means of attaching this to the wall/making it stand upright. I use a king size flat grey flannel sheet that I bought on sale and push pins to secure it to my wall. You will want to be able to take your project home on your design wall so think about portability of the project.
Fabric, feature and supporting, for your complete project… with alternate choices only where you are uncertain of which supporting fabric will work best.
Straight pins for attaching cut pieces to the design wall.
Tape measure, ruler (6 x 24), cutting mat, rotary cutter, fabric scissors.
Irons and ironing boards.
Sewing machine, extension cord.
Optional – opera glasses or binoculars, peeping hole, digital camera, iphone(all of these help with getting a more distanced view of your design in progress and with comparing alternate versions of the design as it progresses.
A sense of humour… not optional.