Hey everyone, I just got the confirmation that my quilt ‘Vintage Falls’ has been accepted as a finalist in the 2017 World Quilt Competition at World Quilt New England. Produced by Mancuso Show Management, Inc., the event will take place at the Radisson Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, August 17-19, 2017. I am thrilled that it has been accepted.
This is the same show where my quilt ‘Low Tide’ took the ‘Best of Country’ award several years ago though I don’t think this quilt is quite of the caliber of that one; still – one can always cross one’s fingers and hope though the simple acceptance of the quilt is quite an honor by itself. Wish me luck!
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.
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).
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.