Tag Archives: online classes

I Really Have Been Sewing

Recent posts to the contrary, I have been giving my sewing machine a workout between a fantasy, glittery collage piece and assignments for my “Mod Meets Improv” online class.

The fantasy piece evolved from the latest bunch of sparkly scraps from the theatrical costume shop, plus some donated fabric (the birds) that was going begging.

The Costume Shop Jungle

Much of the fabric was leftover from dresses for “Dreamgirls.”

The green fabric was tricky to work with as it shreds easily. I hope to give my jungle a pillowcase finish and then outline quilt some of the birds and flowers.

My online class, taught by Elizabeth Barton, has pushed me to develop several quilt designs on paper. The class title may say improv, but if it’s a class with Elizabeth you know you’ll be designing on paper first. Some of the homework has been a bit basic for me, but the feedback has been helpful, as always.

The top row are practice pieces: floating 4 patches, curved piece grid, and half square triangles in a complementary color scheme. In the bottom row are some of my better colored pencil designs. The one on the left follows the lines of the traditional rail fence. The middle design is based on outside stairs I saw from our Airbnb in Quebec.

I’m now working on an original mod/improv design that has lots of negative space, in white of course. I’d forgotten how you need to press towards the darker fabric when you work with white fabric. Otherwise, the darker color shows and when the darker color is red, it really shows.

The class has been fine, but I’m sorry more students aren’t active in the online forum. It’s a great chance to get feedback and see what other students are up to. You can watch a video of work done in previous classes.

I’m linking to Nina Marie’s Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Modern Quilting

Left Brain, Right Brain

I know some quilters who focus on one major project at a time. They may mull over ideas for other new pieces, but the actual cutting, piecing, sewing, and quilting  are confined to just the one piece.

Then there’s yours truly. Without consciously deciding to work this way, I always seem to have at least two big projects actively going. They are often quite different kinds of pieces. It’s as if my brain needs to have both hemispheres stimulated.

Right now I’m finishing up the top for a paper pieced project that features four color gradients. I just need to buy more of the narrow rickrack as I want to place it differently than shown. The hand dyed border strips aren’t sewn in place yet, so that’s why they may seem off kilter, and the end of the day photo doesn’t help.

leaves_topMy inspiration was a Craftsy course on color taught by Joen Wolfrom. I’m only about halfway through the videos but I just had to do a color gradient or two. The leaf pattern was developed by Deb Karasik.

My other work in progress is also related to an online course. I mentioned earlier that I’m taking a landscape quilt class and am using photos of a salt marsh in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, for my inspiration.

Mack_marsh_pinnedThis piece needs a lot more work than the leaf one. Right now it’s tenuously pinned to a board. None of the edges are turned under. Because the pieces are cut oversize to make sure there’s enough fabric for complete coverage, they are larger than they will finish up. There’s been lots of trial and error and some creative adjustments based on the fabrics I had available. I’ll be fiddling with fabric choices for another day or so, and possibly longer.

Each of these pieces has called on a different skill set. For the leaf one, choosing the gradient fabrics was the most creative (and fun) part.

leaf fabrics

I paper pieced little bits of fabric together the same way 32 times. The biggest challenges were to make sure I covered all the edges with fabric and to remove the paper. I also did a lot of ironing and starching to get the blessed things to lie flat. I did fiddle with block arrangement. Once I sew on rickrack and the borders I think quilting will be straightforward work with my walking foot.

The landscape has required much more auditioning of fabric, and stepping back and squinting at the effect. I had to be ready to change the pattern shapes to accommodate the amount of fabric I had and the coloring of the fabric.

After I make final fabric choices I’ll have to iron under exposed edges for invisible applique or prepare the fabric for fusing. Some of the water pieces are so skinny that I think fusing will be the only way to go, and the grasses in the foreground will be fused. The quilting will be improvisational and free motion.

Both pieces satisfy different parts of my quilter’s brain. With the leaves I enjoy predictability; with the landscape I flirt with ambiguity. Now I need to keep focused on these pieces and not hare off to begin yet something else.



Filed under In Process