“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!!!

Pat Speth Workshop…

Today I had the privilege of spending the day with Pat Speth of “Nickel Quilt” fame. 

 DSC02460 She is a wonderful teacher, with the perfect mix of organization and improvisation!!  She gave us lots of excellent ideas, advice  and techniques and then set us lose to work on our own quilts.

Her “Nickel” method is this…..

Start with two 5 inch squares, one light and one dark..

Draw a diagonal line on one of the fabrics and then sew a scant 1/4 inch seam on each side of the diagonal….


Cut along the diagonal…..DSC02459

Press open to form 2 half-square triangle blocks and trim them to 4-1/2 inchesDSC02461 Now for the important part…..slice this block in half from top to bottom at the 2-1/4 inch mark….


And, without moving the two cut pieces, cut horizontally  at 2-1/4 inches…..DSC02463

And look what you get…..DSC02464 …..two PERFECT 1/2 square triangles, one dark square and one light square.

The VERY best part about this method is that you only square-up ONE square and yet end up with four perfectly sized patches.

These can be used for any block that uses this combination of squares.

My first block came out looking like this…..

DSC02457  and Pat sweetly pointed out that I had a rogue patch facing the wrong direction.  Oh well, I know how to un-sew!!

At the end of the day, I had put together 10 blocks and am happy with this start to my next project…..DSC02493 Pat also showed us how to use her 5 inch squares to make picket fence blocks, hourglass blocks and combination blocks with half square and quarter square blocks.


In looking at this technique, I really like the idea, but think that I might prefer to start with 5-1/2 inch squares, trim to 5 inch and make the sub-cuts at 2-1/2.  This seems to be a format  and size that fits me better.


Now for this next photo, we couldn’t decide if this was cute or just creepy.   Sherry had a stuffed bear that her Mother had made many years ago.   Not really knowing what to do with it, she turned it into a pincushion……


A little more beading (part 2)…..

On the second morning, Lyric went back to beading and showed us a few more neat techniques….


First we made “stacks”.   To do this you bring the needle to the front of the piece, add how ever many beads you want, then add one securing bead and pass the needle thru all of the stacked beads (skipping the securing bead).


The next step was to us the stacks to form a Bezel to hold a Cabochon (flat bead or stone with no hole).   The technique is to trace around the cabochon (button in this case) and build stacks just outside of the line.  You then place the cabochon in place, fold over the stacks and run your thread thru all of the top beads, adding beads between if necessary….DSC02088

Look at all of the different ways that Lyric was able to use her Bezels…..


Here are a couple more of her sample pieces…..DSC02099

Look at these fun stacks…….


Lots of fun inspiration…..

Where to start….

Today, I had the wonderful pleasure of spending the day with Lyric Kinard as a part of a two day “Surface Design Sampler Platter” workshop.   We went full tilt for 6-1/2 hours with about 20 minutes for lunch.  Over the next few posts I will try to show what we did, but I wanted to start out with my favorite…..stamp carving!!!!

We used white rubber erasers as our palette and started out by sketching out a few designs…..

DSC01983 We used these drawings as rubbings to transfer the design to the eraser….


….and then started cutting, first with an X-Acto knife……

DSC01977….and then adding some details with a linoleum carving tool.  DSC01980 The most fun thing to do was to cut a circle.  The technique included inserting the knife point at an angle into the eraser.  You then turned the eraser in a circle until the knife arrived back at the starting point.


The circle popped out easily!!!!

My second design (cut on the other side of the eraser) was done almost entirely with the Lino-tool

DSC01987 Now came the moment of truth….what would this look at when printed!!!

We used a foam brush to pat the paint onto the stamp…..




Lyric has a “signature” fabric where everyone places their stamp and then signs.  It was fun to see all of the designs that have come out of her workshops…..


Well, there is one technique…..we also did beading, screen printing, foiling, and image transfer…..and there is still another day to come!!!!

More later…..

Class Time

A few weeks ago I took a two session class at my local quilt store (Dragonfly Quilt Shop) about doing hand applique.  It was taught by my friend Cleo…..


and she proceeded to teach me several new techniques!!!!

The first thing that she taught was how to applique a stem…..

….  Cut a bias strip that is 1 inch in width.

…..  Fold in half lengthwise.

….. Pin the folded edge to the inside curve  


…..  Applique into placeDSC00519

….  Use sharp scissors and cut away 1/2 of the underside layer of the stem fabric

 DSC00520 ….  fold the wide fabric side over the smaller one

DSC00521 …..pin in place and applique!!!

DSC00523  This method provides a smooth and thin bias strip for stems etc.

Now, my friends cant believe that I am actually planning to do some hand work, so my photo had to be taken…..

DSC00477 Now I just need to find times to actually practice the technique!!!!