I was fortunate to spend this Friday taking a class with Victoria Findlay Wolfe. My friend Deb set it up – she has FANTASTIC connections. Of 8 people taking the class, 5 were from the Jersey Shore Modern Quilt Guild. It was a fun day, and a great way to get to know my fellow guild members a little better.
In the past I have been reluctant to take classes. I didn’t want to spend the time or money, and I’m arrogant enough to think I can figure out whatever technique I’m curious about on my own. I’ve gotten over that this year, and its a good thing I did. I have learned a ton.
The Thunderstruck quilt is based on the LeMoyne star pattern, and not the contemporary one that uses 1/2 square triangles to avoid set-in seams. Victoria is hard core, baby. Not only does she not avoid the set-in seams, she insists on them. She doesn’t just make a LeMoyne star quilt, either. She makes it harder. Why make it with 8 diamonds, when you can make it with 80? And take 16 of them and do some improv piecing. And you better match your damn points, or you will be ripping them out and trying again. I love her.
We spent a good portion of class learning to pin correctly to get our diamonds to line up. I don’t think I got any of my first 9 attempts to line up on the first try. Number 10 was magic. Number 12 disappointed me. I’m not very good at eyeballing my 1/4″ seam allowance for pinning purposes, but I’m getting better.
This is what I finished in class. I deviated from her color placement a bit, turning my diamond units around, so that my green wasn’t touching green.
Improv piecing has never appealed to me before, but this slashing business was fun. Maybe it was because we spent so much time being so precise, and the slashing was so easy.
I chose fabrics from my stash for this project. After getting all of the parts up on my wall, I was very disappointed with the look. The fabric I chose for the corners is just too bold, and takes away from the star. Let me tell you – if I am going to spend all this time getting those points just right, you are going to notice them. I tried to talk myself into just putting it together this way, but the quilt was practically screaming at me.
I decided to soften up the corners, reversing the colors. I like it much better now. I turned the diamonds around to their original placement, too. (Of course, that meant I had to take that big piece all apart again. I think just about every seam in this quilt has been sewn more than once.)
One pet peeve of mine is a pattern that generates a lot of scraps. My bins are already overflowing. Look at this pile from making the improv diamonds! My owl is stunned.
Victoria mentioned piecing the scraps together to make other blocks in class. I used them to make a border. This is a technique I will be playing with again in the future. The border might be my favorite part of the quilt.
Check out this perfect point. Not bad, right? Too bad I put the damn thing together wrong and had to take it out anyway.
Here is the final piece fully assembled. The setting triangles must not have been cut perfectly – I struggle with cutting larger pieces of fabric. I believe this piece will be getting a fluffy batting to take up the fullness. I still have to finish the improv borders, then figure out how I am going to place them with other borders. I am thinking a really narrow inner border in a mildly colorful batik, like the one near the center, then the improv strips then a slightly wider border in a creamy batik. I don’t have enough of these in my stash, so I’ll have to do some fabric shopping. The horror.
Have you taken any classes this year? Did you enjoy them? I think I will be taking a lot more next year. I’m already signed up for three!