Friday, February 18, 2011

Going in Circles...

The annual Honeybee Quilters' Retreat in Jacksonville was a couple of weekends ago, and the group did their usual fine job of organizing several days of classes and fun for dozens of quilters. This year, I took a class taught by quilt artist Carol Taylor titled "Arc-I-Texture". You can see a series of quilts made using her techniques in her gallery section.

Our supply list included a selection of fancy fabrics like satins, silks, sequined, sheers, and drapery fabrics. We were to adhere them to fusible web ahead of time. In class we then created a background using squares and rectangles of the fabrics cut from the fabrics by fusing them to a muslin base. There are no seams, so we next learned to couch yarn. This method allowed us to cover the areas where the shapes butt up against each other. If you look closely, you can see the red yarn I used to accomplish this. Carol sold an assortment of yarns suitable for the project in class since it requires yarn with a fair amount of texture... but not too thin, not too thick, not to furry. The piece changes quite dramatically with the next step.

Once the background was couched, we got to the fun part... sewing the circles on the surface. Carol is an excellent instructor and we got the hang of doing this quite quickly. The circles are also completed by couching.

The class was very enjoyable, and this is my "practice" piece. That's beacause at the half-way point while driving to Jacksonville, a thought popped into my mind- did I, or did I not, bring my fused fabrics?? In all my preparation of things to bring with me, I did not pick up the tote that had them. Next question- well then, did I pack the red backup fabrics which were not yet fused? They were not my usual color pallette, but fabrics I had on hand. Happily, the answer was yes. So I spent some time the afternoon before class fusing the fabrics you see in this project. I have another potential project waiting in the wings, all fabrics fused and ready.

Lily, who considers my sewing room to be her personal playground, was enchanted by yarn couching. Carol uses a rigged-up drinking straw attached to the sewing machine to feed the yarn smoothly. All that yarn moving was pure delight for Lily, who interfered often, causing several stops and starts for me while finishing up the project.

These photos show two classmates' projects. One, just the background, the other, background with couching.
Love the faux-fur piece in the one on the right, and the plaid at left.

Below is one of Carol's class samples. By the way, these are not large projects. Each of ours measures about 15"-17" square. So I need to think about how to use it. Pillow? Tote? Wallhanging?


Nancy said...

You have really peaked my interest here.....these are in the world did you get the couching circles so even?

I love this idea....I have done art quilts in the past but not lately....I really want to learn to do you think you would need to take a class or could I learn on my own?

You did an awesome job....

Robbie said...

Isn't Carol the best! I love her work and lucky you got to take her class. Love the pieces!!

Susan said...

You have to tell us how you got the circles so beautifully even. These are just gorgeous!

Jan said...

Nice work nancy. Great contrasting color choices. I like your helper too.

Terri Morse said...

Nancy, this is too cool! I love the colors and the energy of the circles. I'd love to make one of those! I see you have a studio cat too. My Arthur spends all his time trying to see what he can get into next. He's my little buddy. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit me. Have a great day! Terri