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    Spring is here and it’s time to do a little spring cleaning – don’t forget to include your fabric scrap bag in this task. Most spring cleaning is not so fun (unless you are a clean freak who takes pleasure in scrubbing and dusting) but this project IS fun.

    Some of us (ahem) just can’t seem to part with scraps easily and there are a number of ways I’ve seen small scraps dealt with. Some quilters shred them and use them in confetti quilts, others pack the shreds into glass jars and call them ‘Quilters’ Jam’ giving them away to friends as whimsical gifts, a friend of mine saves the tiniest of bits and pieces that a friend of hers uses as stuffing in dog beds she makes and yet most quilters (God forbid!) throw them away into the trash! Ladies and Gentlemen – your grandmothers and great grandmothers would turn in their graves if they knew you were throwing these away! I have gone ‘dumpster diving’ into the waste baskets at some of my quilting classes and found what I would consider YARDAGE!. I have made quilts almost entirely from what I glean off of my guild’s free table -as if I did not generate enough scraps of my own.

    One friend of mine showed a lovely twin sized quilt at Show and Tell at the guild several years ago, it was a lovely combination of scrappy stars and when the gasps of appreciation had died down she said “I just wanted you ladies who were at the retreat to see what you threw away”. Lets face it – quilting was born of a frugality by our fore-mothers to make use of every last piece of precious fabrics.

    Some quilters don’t have the patience to work with scraps. Ascertaining that the scrap is large enough to get the necessary pieces from, re-cutting and trimming them to the appropriate shape and size can be labor intensive, especially for a generation who prefer slicing off large chunks of fabric from yardage with a rotary cutter and then fast piecing them for instant gratification.

    This quilt for my Spring Cleaning Stash Buster class is not so fussy. The scraps are string pieced randomly and quickly using chain piecing then reassembled with larger chunks (yes you can scratch your itch to get out your rotary cutters and fat quarters for this part) into carefree blocks that go together FAST to make quilt tops in any size you wish.

    Please consider joining me at this class coming up at Pioneer Quilts in about a week and a half – May 23rd, with your scrap bag and sewing machine in hand. We will make mincemeat of those scraps and you will have not only a beautiful quilt but also the knowledge that those scraps did not suffer the indignity of quietly moldering in a landfill.

    Rustic Windows - Fast, Fun & a Scrap Eater
    Rustic Windows – Fast, Fun & a Scrap Eater

     

    Another class coming even sooner is my Machine Quilting 101 class at A Common Thread next weekend. The first session is on Sunday May 21st followed by part 2 on Sunday May 28th. This is an excellent introduction to Machine Quilting to gain the skills to quilt your own tops with confidence. If that schedule or location doesn’t work for you, I have the same class coming up at Sharon’s Attic on two Saturdays – June 3 & 17 and for you Eastsiders at Pioneer Quilts on June 13 & 20 (Tuesdays).

    Machine Quilting 101 sampler
    Machine Quilting 101 sampler

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  • New Design Class

    I tend to get excited about all my classes, I wouldn’t offer them if I didn’t feel they were something to crow about. Every now and then though, I come up with something refreshingly different from what I have done before and I get particularly enthusiastic about those. My upcoming workshop for Northwest Quilters¬† in March is one such class. I have taught a couple of classes for my guild over the last few years and because most of the members know me by reputation if not by sight, I have felt it necessary to come up with something completely new whenever I have the honor of offering a class through them. I do have a cadre of ‘followers’ who take many of the classes I teach (sometimes more than once) and I feel an obligation to offer something new that I’ve not offered at the shops when I present a workshop for my guild; after all, many of the members have taken my other classes through shops already and I want to try to fill my workshop as well as possible.

    Though I never completed a degree in Art, I did take some fairly advanced classes in college and had a great professor who taught me some wonderful insights into art and what I was capable of. In his ‘design’ course – Form and Color – he encouraged us to use subject matter for our assignments where the preconceived notion of what your are drawing does not take over the process of developing good balance and composition. I still hear his voice telling us that “the moment you decide to draw a fish, that fish takes over your hand and directs what it should look like…” He showed us a unique way to find abstract designs in nature, he called these ‘Discovery Designs’. Those of you who have studied art will probably already be familiar with this design process but for many it will open your eyes to design possibilities beyond your imagination. The best part is that you don’t need to have good drawing skills to use this method.

    This will be a design class only, students will ‘find’ their discovery and then create working drawings to play with, fine tuning the design and rendering some color layouts using colored pencils. When you are pleased with your design, you will have a design you can enlarge to any size you wish and make a working pattern from which to make your quilt.

    I am anxious to promote this as much as possible through my website and social media, I have shown my quilt in progress over the last couple of months at guild meetings but only put the final binding on the finished quilt a few days ago. I was planning to show it again at the Northwest Quilters’ meeting this morning but the weather had other ideas; not only did our out of state guest speaker have to cancel (I guess the weather where she lives was even worse than here) but last night the word went out that the entire meeting was being cancelled due to treacherous driving conditions. It is my hope that I can reach a sufficient number of students through the newsletter and the internet.

    I have posted a photo of my project below. Bear in mind this is my original design, it is not a pattern that you will be working from to create this quilt, you will search for and discover your own unique design.

    A Discovery design, finding abstract designs from nature 'through the lens'
    A Discovery design, finding abstract designs from nature ‘through the lens’

  • Metolius River Retreat

    Just back from a weekend retreat at a friend’s cabin on the Metolius River. We had a great time and got a lot of quilting done. As usual, I brought far more projects than I could possibly wok on but then, I never know what I will be in the mood to do so I like variety in my choices which is not a problem given how many simultaneous projects and deadlines I have.

    Stained Glass Quilt Cyclamen design being quilted
    Stained Glass Quilt Cyclamen design being quilted

    I did make progress on two projects. One is a class sample for a Stained Glass Quilt class I have scheduled at Pioneer Quilts in August. The pattern of a Cyclamen is my original design and I have a couple of other floral patterns that will be available. The quilt top has been done for a while but needed to be quilted and I got most of that done at the cabin; all that remains to do is quilt the border and borders are always a challenge for me to decide on what to do with them.

    The second one I worked on is an ongoing foundation paper piecing project with small ‘medallion’¬† blocks that resemble those you see on Navajo rugs. I drafted the foundation patterns to use in borders on one of my Animal Totem quilts but I enjoyed the process of making them so much that I continued to crank them out for a future quilt. They are precise because of the foundation piecing and they use up lots of scraps. I’ve worked out how large each scrap needs to be for each part of the block and I assemble the fabrics for individual blocks while watching movies on Netflix. I can’t stand watching TV with idle hands and this is a great project to occupy me in the evening. After the pinned bundles of pieces are tossed into a Zip-loc bag, it’s a simple matter to pull out the color coordinated scraps to piece the blocks. These may end up as another border somewhere or maybe even a standalone quilt – who knows?