Last but not least. Saturday evening I took Conquering Curves with Janice Ryan of Better Off Thread. Going into the class, I was exhausted from three full days of QuiltCon excitement, including my first four classes. I didn't know how much I would be able to absorb. And I wondered what I was thinking taking a curves class (probably the most technically challenging of my classes) on Saturday night, at the end of the whirlwind that was my QuiltCon experience. At least I brought a pile of fun orange and teal fabrics to work with. ;-)
I'm so very glad that I took the class. Not only did I do some fun and awesome work with curves, Janice was an amazing teacher! Her command of the subject, her thoughtful organization of the handout and progression of the class, the amount of stuff she packed into a mere three hours - all awesome! She led an introduction to the full group (24 of us in class) and then worked her way around the room to demo the detailed example to small groups. Then, in an act of teaching perfection, she supported everyone in working at their own pace through the four different skill sets being taught by demonstrating each lesson numerous times as small groups were ready. This meant she showed each skill numerous times, but nobody had to wait around for very long before she was demonstrating the next part of the lesson. Even in my exhausted state the class was a wonderful experience. I would take any class Janice taught!
I think there's generally two schools of thought on piecing curves: the don't pin technique and the pin the heck out of it technique. We used the pin the heck out of it method. I sewed one seam of the first block, molehill curves, then moved on to the whole circle (12 1/2" unfinished block). We had four sections of the quarter circle drunkard's path units (6 1/2" unfinished), in decreasing size of piece (and increasing difficulty), and I made two of the four sections. I think I was losing steam mentally, and this is where I ran out of time. I did watch her demo on part four: the clamshell, and eventually I'll get to trying that out.
I'm not likely to put these four blocks into the sampler that Janice designed for the course. Instead of one finished mini, I think I'll use each block differently. I'd like to make a drunkard's path lap quilt, so I think I'll put that block on the back of my quilt. I may finish the circle block to be a mini of it's own or use it in the center of a medallion style quilt. The molehill and clamshell blocks will most likely be used to make a zipper pouch or some other small project. All that said, these aren't the highest on my to do list, so it'll probably be a while.
While I might not recommend taking 21 hours of class in three days at QuiltCon, I'm thrilled with my new skills and new projects. And I'm definitely glad that I took the opportunity to immerse myself in learning while I was there. Next time I attend QuiltCon I'll probably be more selective about what classes to take and settle on just one or two in order to give myself a little more balance with downtime and social time for the weekend.
This first quilt is Sinuous by Valerie Shields, in the Small Quilts category. I was drawn to the simple yet striking color palette and love the combination of curved and straight line piecing in each block. I imagine this block would be a lot of fun to play with different layout opportunities. I love the movement of the quilting lines. Valerie’s artist statement reads:
The block was created by my friend, Karen Cunagin. I wanted to use it to create a modern piece with a limited palette yet pleasing design. I like the simplicity of using one block and getting the strong sense of both curves and straight lines.
Design Source: The block was created by Karen Cunagin and taught in her class at the San Diego Adult Continuing Ed. School. The overall design using her block was my own.
Also in the Small Quilts Division, this one is Holyoke 1938 by Timna Tarr. This quilt stood out to me first on Instagram when I saw photos from the show. I was even more impressed upon seeing it in person, due to its size. It's so small for all that detail, both piecing and quilting! I've included the 8 1/2" by 11" artist's statement in the photo for scale. (Also, check out the beautiful ribbon! Congratulations, Timna!) The detail and precision in this map quilt are amazing. It also struck me that it is a map of Holyoke, where my late father was born. Timna's artist statement reads:
Holyoke, Massachusetts was one of the country's first planned industrial cities. The city is powered by a dam on the Connecticut River and a canal system. The juxtaposition of the natural river and the planned gridded streets is fascinating to me. It is also just across the river from where I live -- the little blue star in the upper right is where my house is located.
I'm sharing some of my goodies from QuiltCon with one of you. I'll draw one winner on March 24th (tomorrow!) at 1pm PST out of all entries on my five posts about my QuiltCon classes. (This is the last of the five posts.) The drawing is open to everyone. To enter, please comment below and tell me about the best quilting class you've ever taken, or a quilting class you'd like to take. Followers can get a second entry by posting a second comment to tell me how you follow me (Bloglovin', Instagram, etc.). Thank you! Thank you to everyone who entered. The winner is Anja of Anja Quilts!