One month after joining the Guild, 5 years ago, I found myself caught up in the bidding frenzy that occurs every February at the UFO auction. Lots of cool, gotta-have-it stuff!!! YES, good stuff. One particular item beckoned me….a huge box filled with solid colored, polyester and cotton, twill weight fabric; EVERY color of the rainbow, but mainly BRIGHTS! Just Gorgeous I think, no one will want them, its polyester! Being inexperienced, I failed to recognize the gusto, the fevered pitch, the determination of MVQ quilters and I quickly lost the bidding war. I suffered massive bidder remorse, depression, and then was obsessed about my loss. I approached the “winner” to ask to buy her out…..and luck was with me as she quickly said “let’s split it”. And so began the next journey of this FABULOUS fabric which has been sitting in my sewing room since that day, five years ago. Stop me if this story sounds familar.
We all know, you can never have enough fabric, so when inspiration struck this summer …I was READY! I attacked those polyester and cotton textiles with a vengeance. I made: 2 personalized “coloring book” tote bags for the great nephews birthdays, they held all of their gifts and goodies; 16 tote bags to hold personal care items for a battered woman’s shelter (a few great accent fabrics added more pizzazz); 2 larger tote bags for shopping green instead of choosing “paper or plastic”; 3 – 17″ Nancy Crow style pillows for the cabin of our sail boat, highly washable; 2 ditty bags to hold wallets, keys, cell phones and items we didn’t want to lose overboard; 2 large ditty bags for containing spare oak mast wedges and a collection of miscellaneous engine parts; and 4 “superperson” capes for the same 2 great nephews and their super friends.
Phew, I’m done, $5 well spent, and a terrific bargain among many great UFO bargains! While sharing this story I just realized, there are bits and pieces of fabric remaining…..absolutely TOO good to toss….Perhaps my chocolate labrador would like a new dog bed! So I’m back to stitching like mad and thinking maybe the rest of this FABULOUS fabric will show up at this years UFO auction on February 18th ….you know, it is possible. ——————————————————————————–
If you ever want to work with wool, Sandi Bard is the go to person. She is a wealth of information regarding wool. She has turned wool applique into an art form. Her work is exquisite. To view a slide show of Sandi’s work click here. As you view the slide show, note how even her stitches are. She does it all freehand. It goes to show practice makes perfect.
If you want to learn about felting wool, ask Sandi. If you want to know where to find wool fabrics, ask Sandi. If you can’t remember how to start a button-hole stitch, ask Sandi. If you want to know the best way to do an outline stitch, ask Sandi.
Sandi shared her experiences with wool both good and bad, where the pitfalls were and what she found worked best for her.
Sandi had us use freezer paper as a template for our applique pieces. We were to glue the pieces in place then button-hole stitch them down. Using the water-soluble glue allowed us to place the pieces without pins. That way the floss would not get caught on the pins nor would our fingers. She found that starting on an edge as opposed to a corner would allow for more accurate points. How to stitch an accurate point was also demonstrated.
Everyone in the class chose to work on a gold star pumpkin. Sandi demonstrated the use of clear vinyl as a guide to accurately place our piece as we worked. Unlike cotton, wool is not translucent so a light box would not work. We started by gluing the various pumpkin pieces together first. Then glued the stem to the pumpkin. Then glued the completed pumpkin to the background. Once all the pieces were secured, we started stitching. I was never a fan of applique. I would get frustrated with turning the edges under. This is much easier. No edges to turn under made the stitching go quickly.
I think I’m hooked. I had purchased a pattern for wool applique a few year back. Now I think I’m ready to tackle it.
Thank you, Sandi. I really had a great time in your class.
Now where can I put all this wool?
Leslie Muir Volpe Lecture and Workshop
Bev Valle, you were right. What a great lecture and awesome workshop. Leslie is a lively speaker and great teacher. I know I came away with an even greater appreciation for miniature quilting.
With the title of the lecture “We’re Talking Small”, Leslie spoke of the difference between little, petite, and miniature. Little quilts is a phrase used by a shop in Georgia. The Little Quilt Shop has a few books out containing patterns where the blocks are small but not miniature. Miniature quilts are quilts made with blocks measuring 1″ finished or smaller. While Leslie’s work is small, she does not consider them true “miniatures”. She refers to them as petite. I like that term. It makes them seem more do-able.
Leslie’s work in miniatures enables her to purchase many – many – many fabrics. As she explains to her painter husband, he can mix up what ever color he needs, but she must purchase her colors separately. Thus the need to purchase more fabric always exists. Sounds reasonable to me.
Leslie considers herself to be a persnickety person when it comes to her quilting. Her quilting may be persnickety but her personality is anything but. She is patient, warm and funny.
Leslie’s workshop was very informative. Whether you are a novice or an advanced quilter, you got something out of this class. The wealth of information was phenomenal, even if you just came away with how to make your own portable ironing surface.
Leslie handed out her list of 20 tips. First, she went through her tips explaining the whys behind each tip. While her tips pertain to working with petite quilts, most are useful in working with larger quilts.
We started off with a four patch block, placed in a nine patch setting. Leslie had sets of strips for everyone to choose from. I thought this was ingenious. It got us stitching right away. Through the process of making these blocks she went through her tips, from choosing fabrics, cutting, stitch length, pressing, accurate seam allowance, snipping seam allowances and so on.
Most of us finished the four-patch/nine-patch around lunch. Some chose to put borders on in class. While others took them home to find just the right fabric for their borders. Leslie demonstrated how she uses the left side of her presser foot to create an accurate 1/4″ inner border. She also discussed her reasoning behind some of her border fabric choices.
Our second project was a friendship star or churn dash block, which would be a finished size of 2 1/4″. Leslie had us choose a focus fabric from what we had brought. Then we were to choose at least 3 more coordinating fabrics. The focus would be the outer border. The others would be background, sashing and accent for the stars.
Next we moved on to half square triangle blocks. Leslie’s tip on making these was to start big and trim. Our blocks were to be 3/4″ finished. So if you do the math 3/4″ + 7/8″ = 1 5/8″ cut. Now that’s way too small to work with accurately, at least for me it is.
Leslie had us cut two 2″ blocks, mark one with a single diagonal line from one corner to another. With right sides together, stitch 1/4″ way from the drawn line on each side of the line. Then press to set the seam. Cut down the drawn line. Then press open. Now you need to cut your block down to 1 1/4″. Using a square ruler that has the 45 degree marked, place the 45 degree mark on the seam and trim your first two sides. Don’t worry about the measurement at this point just trim one corner of the block. Then turn it and trim your last two sides to 1 1/4″.
Once we had our half square triangles, we were able to choose which setting we wanted to use, friendship star or churn dash. Leslie recommended we lay out our pieces before we sew, to make sure we have the half square triangles going in correct way. I think she jinxed me. Wouldn’t you know, I did just that. But of course I noticed too late. I have one dancing friendship star.
Leslie doesn’t just work on one project at a time. She has many going at once. She will cut fabric and sort it for future projects. She will sit and sew 20 or 30 blocks at a time and put them in her possibilities basket. And when the mood strikes she will pick through her basket and make quilt tops. She piles tops up and quilts them while relaxing at night. Once she has a few done, she will bind a few of them at a time. Her reasoning is that you get in the flow of doing one thing and keep going.
I was thinking, “Yeah, I get that.” But as I was working on my friendship stars, the idea really hit home. I can see myself sitting and spitting out a bunch of stars. You do get into a groove and it’s easy to keep going. I actually made enough half square triangles in class to make 8 blocks. I couldn’t decide which color I wanted to use so I used both. Which works out for me because I goofed on that one dancing star.
I really really liked this workshop. I tried hard to keep this short, but as you can see, I did not succeed. I know Leslie teaches at the Maine quilt show, so if you missed her workshop, check next years Maine Quilt show to see if she’s teaching there.
Thanks again for a great workshop Leslie. You have another stalker. Just like Bev, I want to take more of your classes .
On Sunday, August 16th, my sister Ruth and I went up to the United Maine Craftsmen show in Cumberland, Maine. The main reason I went was to see Leslie Muir-Volpe and her work. I want to tell you I was very impressed. Her piecing is meticulous. I can see why Bev Valle wanted me to have her on the workshop schedule.
Leslie is scheduled to be at our September meeting. The topic “We’re Talking Small” will be very educational and awe inspiring. I know I am interested in perusing miniature quilts but have not as yet.
The workshop is scheduled for September 19th at the Plaistow Library. I for one am excited to take this class. Not only do I want to make miniature quilts, I believe that the techniques taught in this class will help me to become a better piercer in larger endeavors. Don’t think you are not advanced enough to take the class. Whether you are a beginner quilter or not, you can learn how to be a better quilter. I love taking classes to polish up my skills.
In the workshop, we will work on two different tops. Leslie will start us off working on a four patch in a nine patch setting. Once we have completed that we will move on to make a friendship star. Leslie feels we should be able to finish the two tops in the class with the quilting and binding to be done on our own.
You can sign up at the meeting or use the Workshop Signup Form to send it in. At the moment there is space in the workshop. But I can not promise you it will stay that way. So sign up soon if you want to take the workshop.
I hope to see you at the workshop.
This was a fun and very informative workshop. Robbi Joy is an excellent teacher. She is a wealth of information. I enjoyed the workshop immensely. I never thought I would enjoy fusible applique, but I did. Some of the other patterns available are just to fussy. Robbi’s don’t have all those itty bitty pieces that some have.
Robbie starts everyone off making a cup. She uses the cup pattern as a technique teaching tool.
- the use of various fusibles
- the concept of dimension within the pattern design
- using the fabric color and pattern as a secondary design
- how her pattern’s are numbered
- her techniques of tracing the pattern
- the use of the arrows as placement guides
- how to match intersecting pieces
- how to assemble the various pieces once you have them cut
Once everyone had made a tea cup, we were given the choice of nine different patterns to make. Quite a few of us chose the floral/gear designs. I found it difficult to choose from the pattern’s available. They were all interesting, with different levels of difficulty. The more intersections you had to match the more difficult it was to be accurate. The class included one pattern, any extras we paid for. I ended up with 5 patterns. It was just to difficult to choose. One of the patterns I purchased was a guitar pattern. I want to make it for my nephew.
For those who were interested, she show us how she made her patterns with the use of Adobe Illustrator. If you are so inclined, you can make your own patterns. I want to try to make one of my dogs.
Everyone had a great time and came away with a new appreciation of fusible applique. I hope to complete my quilt by the next guild meeting. I challenged everyone to do the same. I got a lot of laughs, yeah right’s and dirty looks. I’ll probably be the only one who doesn’t completed the quilt for the next meeting. But we will see. I know Judy Hillner probably has hers done already.
To see a slide show of all the pictures I took click here.
If you took the class and have pictures, e-mail them to me and I’ll post them to the flickr account.
See you at the next meeting.