Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

“Looking Up” (with Sally Manke)!!

Don’t you love it when inspiration strikes?  I was preparing for Sally’s snippet workshop and, quite frankly, I wasn’t all that excited about it.   I wanted to learn the technique and thought that the sample quilt was great but I didn’t want to just make a quilt like all of the others in the class…..in retrospect, I shouldn’t have worried about that as there were LOTS of people with equal and better inspirations!!

Anyway, the idea of the quilt is that you are looking upward thru the branches and leaves of gorgeous trees.  I hit the internet looking for inspiration photos and came upon an Aspen forest….ES6-Blue-Sky-and-Aspen

and knew that I had found my niche.

I had so much fun pulling fabrics and came away with these as the color basis…..IMG_4924

When I was thinking about snippets, I was imagining small bits of fabric, probably  a 1/4 inch in size….boy was I wrong!!  Sally encouraged us to keep on cutting until the pieces were super tiny….almost dust like in some cases.  

She was a master of snippet cutting as evidenced by this VIDEO…..

After this demonstration of her cutting dexterity, we all returned to our stations and started madly cutting fabrics.   I found it a bit disconcerting to have my hands in the way when the first cuts were being made (probably because I already bear the scars from errant rotary cutter blades) so I developed the technique of using a plastic “credit card” to hold the fabrics in place while I made the first cuts…..


The plastic cards were actually part of the supply list and were invaluable for scraping the bits into piles so that more slicing could be done…..


After we all had many piles of confetti fabrics, we started placing them on our backing and batting, trying to emulate the photo that we had chosen.  At this point, my creative process started breaking down!!…..


As I added more and more confetti, it just became more and more muddled and didn’t seem to improve when I started adding the trunks and branches….IMG_4990

Sally showed us a few things that I really liked, including adding small snips of threads to define the smaller branches. 

When I had “finished” my designing, Sally placed a piece of light brown netting over the snippets and we pinned and pinned and pinned until the entire piece was held together enough to get it home.

The next step in the process is to cover the snippet areas with meander quilting to hold the layers together.  That part went well, although my clothes were covered with little bits of yellow when I finished.   Next I worked on the tree trunk and that ended up being the only part of the piece that I really like…..IMG_5018

I used a grey Tsukineko marker to add some interest to the plain grey fabric and then added more interest with the quilting.

At this point, I decided that I wasn’t really interested in finishing the project….


Since leaving it, I have thought about what I liked and didn’t like about it.   Firstly, I should have just used a solid piece of blue fabric for the sky rather than trying to achieve it with confetti.  When I look at the inspiration photo, I realize that I have WAY TOO MANY “leaves” and not enough sky behind them.   I think that this happened because I was paranoid about covering every inch of the batting.

I also can see that my tree trunks are not the right size or at the correct angle for the perspective.  I think that if I had been working on it at home, I would have spent more time and kept working it (or started over) until I got it looking the way that I want.   As it was, we had to pack up and get out of the room so I just finished it where it was.

I really do like this technique and can see using it to depict water, especially when I think about the shiny bits that I can add to it to achieve the sparkle of moving water.

I also learned something about myself……when I am in a classroom setting, I become very shy and uncertain about my work, but when I am in my studio, I am willing to tackle almost anything even though I know that it might fail.    I guess that I simply dont want to fail in front of others!!

In the final analysis, I am glad that I took the class and really enjoyed Sally Manke’s teaching style.   She was open with her comments and suggestions if you wanted them but also let people travel their own paths.   

One of my favorite quilts in the class was by Linda Z. who worked on this marvelous path……IMG_4998

I cant wait to see it finished!!!

2 thoughts on ““Looking Up” (with Sally Manke)!!

  1. To work with those tiny snippets of fabric- I have never seen anything like it! Very artistic and I actually love what you made.

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