Monday, August 10, 2015

Design Wall and Weekend Sewing

I don't actually have anything up on the design wall today (not yet, at least), but there was something up yesterday that I want to share. 

Scrappy half square triangle quilt

This is Jerry's quilt and I'm loving!

On Saturday, I was joined by a group of 10 people who agreed to be my guinea pigs for a color value experiment/workshop. They really didn't know what we were going to do other than work with half square triangles and it was going to be scrappy. (It kind of scared a few of them to join because they love the idea of scrappy but struggle with working with scraps. They are much more comfortable with organized and matching fabrics. I feel their pain, as I was that way for a very long time!) 

Here's how this all came about. My sister Ann and I were at the April guild meeting listening to the guest speaker, Mary Huey who showed a quilt that was done as a color theory exercise. Unknown to each of us at the time, Ann and I both came away from the meeting really intrigued by that quilt. All of the quilts were wonderful, but there was something about that quilt that was special.

Mary had shared with us that she uses the book "Color from the Heart" by Gai Perry as a guidance for her color choices in many of her quilts, so I just had to read it. I found the "no longer in print" book from the library and read through it in one day. I knew I needed this book and finally found a copy to purchase at a reasonable cost. I love this book and have referenced it numerous times in the months since Mary's visit to the guild. 

Fast forward a month of two when Ann and I were talking and Mary's quilt made it's way into our conversation. Ann said she thought it would be neat to do something like that and I laughed out loud and told her that I had been jotting down notes about it since the meeting. I contacted Mary and she was gracious enough to send me information on how she handles her workshops and that was all it took. I was off and running and started making decisions on how I wanted to do this.

After I had somewhat finalized the "rules," I started asking people to join the activity and explained that this was a test group to see if I could actually offer this as a class or workshop. I put a lot of thought into who I wanted in the group. I wanted people with a variety of skill levels and I also wanted to stretch the comfort zone of some people. I knew that I wanted to make this a learning experience and not just a "end up with a quilt" class. I was pleasantly surprised that the first ten people I asked agreed to join the group. YEAH!!

We met at M & E Quilt Shoppe on Saturday and each participant brought the pre-determined number of 4" squares to be shared with the group. 

Color Value Group

Color Value Group

Of course I made a math error and they needed more squares but I took care of that yesterday. 

Color Value Exercise

We exchanged fabrics, discussed the concept of value, the techniques they could use to make half square triangles (I'll share more on these techniques in a future post), and the process I want them to use to layout their blocks the first time. 

They are going to randomly pull a completed half square triangle out of a bag and place it on a design wall with the dark triangle in the bottom left corner. (Jerry's quilt above is following this order.) After all of the blocks are up that way, they will take a picture and then the fun will begin. 

They are free to rotate the blocks anyway they'd like to create new designs. I don't really want them to move too many blocks, but they are free to do so if they feel the need. I shared a few ideas with them about possible layouts and border options to get them started.

The two bordered quilts shown above are actually identical to the first quilt shown here. They simply have two different borders on them. And the second quilt is the same as the first one, but with the blocks rotated (not moved) to create diagonal lines across the quilt. 

When we left the shop, I think everyone was excited and looking forward to the challenge. We shared a number of e-mails, texts, and pictures about the progress throughout the day yesterday and that was fun.

Here's Jerry using a Collins Seam Guide  to check for value between two fabrics. Jerry was using a bag to randomly pull his fabrics.

Color Value Exercise

You can also use the Red Sew Glasses which are not only awesome, but fashionable. 
Sew Red Glasses

Ann had Tony and Claire put her fabrics together. They are using the seam guide too; and as you can see in the picture, the squares are being "blind pulled" from a box.

 Color Value Exercise

Color Value Exercise

Ann, Jerry and Connie were sewing at my house and as usual, it was a ton of fun!

Color Value Exercise

I am a bit worried though. I may have driven Ann to drink. Can you see the bottle on the floor next to the machine?

It's Long Island Iced Tea!

What are you working on these days?

I think you'll be inspired and amazed.


Nann said...

What a great exercise! I'm sure that it was helpful to the scrap-hesitant to be in a workshop with fellow hestitaters. You might look up "Spectacular Scraps" by Judy Hooworth and Margaret Rolfe for more ways to set HSTs.

Rebecca Grace said...

Fun exercise! And the bottle of Long Island iced tea cracked me up. At first glance I thought it was whiskey or something! When I'm working outside of my comfort zone, there is usually a glass of wine or a margarita sitting next to my sewing machine. I always feel a little guilty about that but hey -- at least I don't have the whole BOTTLE of tequila, right?

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Super, fun bit of play. So many have trouble with doing 'scrappy' and/or working HSTs.

Kate said...

Sounds like a very fun test!