Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hive 4 March 2017 Tutorial by Patty

Hi, Stashbees!  I am Patty Fox, of the Woodlands, Texas.  Welcome to my brief reign as Queen of Hive 4 for March of 2017!  My greatest wish while donning my tiara is that you have fun and learn a lot with the project I have chosen.  It is a bit different, but really cool, in my less than humble opinion....The past couple of months, I have been studying the Liberated Quiltmaking and Minimal Quiltmaking techniques of Gwen Marston.  She, in my esteem, in a true Queen of Quilting.  She is a dedicated educator, although seldom teaching anymore, she has a relaxed philosophy of quilting and is open hearted in sharing her skill and creativity.

Gwen Marston at an exhibit of her 37 Sketches Project, in which she experimented with design elements. 

My plan as Queen for the March Hive 4 block is to introduce you all to Gwen via some links I have found online.  I will share my interpretation of some of her techniques, such as inserting a thin wedge and making curved inserts, as I build my example block for you with images of my process.  You will be able with these, and the other links below for similar techniques by others, to go crazy with your own inventiveness.  Admittedly, I have purchased her online classes and several of her books recently, but you can learn enough with the resources provided herein to proceed without purchasing these yourself.

Gwen Marston books in my Quilting Library

Here is an image of the first foray into my studies of her techniques and process, a 15x15 inch square mini quilt.  I recently gifted this to my son, Conner, and named it Stitches in Time.  It is hand stitched in an unconstrained manner.

For this block study, I unabashedly picked a quilt from Gwen Marston's book, Minimal Quiltmaking as my inspiration.  In this example, she is working with Minimal Color, using curved inserts and skinny wedges in a improvised log cabin.  One of the great things about Gwen is that she suggests it is impossible to duplicate herself even herself.  She encourages quilters to study her and to jump in and go for it.

Trying the first time around to emulate her larger scaled quilt on a tinier scale, I then played more originally with the scraps leftover and pieced another small top, which I am in the process of hand quilting....

I liked the muted palette of my Stitches in Time, with a couple of darks thrown in, but thought it could be fun to add a splash of a brighter color, like the yellow shown here.  

My experiments continued using other colors, but I have decided this is the basic palette I would like you to work with.  Some, but not all of these fabrics are shot cotton (peppered cotton), which are really nice to hand quilt with...  but not required from you in your creation for me.  It is okay to sparingly use prints, preferably tone on tone, but do what excites and is interesting to you.  I just ask that you not use batik fabrics or similar tightly woven fabric, just in case I go wild and hand quilt the results....

The second block made with leftover fabric used.

The same fabrics above, here are combined with others pulled from my stash, that I  hope works to show you the range of colors in mind.

Please use mostly minimally colored lights and mediums, with little dashes and splashes of dark and bright fabric as accents.

Let us look at some of the resources I have found explaining Gwen’s process and techniques  (if you do not want to study up on her, skip to below, where I show the block I made for this tutorial): This is a terrific article, by See How We Sew, giving background on Gwen and her process. Another article explaining the evolution of Gwen’s quilting published on th AQS blog.  AQS sponsors the iquilt class series, where AQS members receive a discount.

Hive 4 March Tutorial:

This is the block I have created for this tutorial. As you can see, basically I have built a log cabin block that is trimmed to a 15.5"x15.5" square. 

First, I cut 2" and 2.5" strips of the light and medium fabrics (you can vary these up to about 3").  Then I cut 3/4" strips (and some wider) of the dark and bright accent colors. Also cut was a 5"x6" rectangle.  These are guidelines only.  The center square (or rectangle) can be whatever you choose.  If you want your skinny wedges to be wider, you should cut the strip about 1" wide.  The log cabin block construction can be any variation that pleases you.  Please construct it so that I can trim it to 15.5" square.

The block construction begun, I now add a skinny wedge insert.  Here I have sewn a 3/4" strip onto the block to begin. 

Press the narrow strip.  For me, it works best to press it toward the inside of the block.  Now, this is important:  Note that the ruler is aligned atop the strip so that the 1/4" seam allowance, for the next strip is shown under the ruler, to the right edge.  To the left edge of that, you can see what your skinny wedge will look like once the next strip is sewn on.  You can vary this as you please, being sure to keep a 1/4" seam allowance.  Notice the little strip of fabric to the right side of the ruler.

Keeping the ruler in place, trim the strip of fabric to the right of the ruler off.

Align the next strip (I cut it a little larger) atop of the narrow strip that is now trimmed as above.  

Press the newly added strip to the side and trim the block to keep it aligned.  Viola!  There is the skinny wedge insert!

For more clarification on how to accomplish this task, here is a free link from one of the iquilt classes where Gwen teaches how to insert a little narrow wedge in a Liberated Log Cabin block:

The wedge tutorial above is a free online excerpt from one of Gwen’s two classes on iquilt, which includes:

There is a charge for these classes, but to make your March Hive 4 block, it is not necessary to buy them, although, I highly recommend you do.  Watch for special pricing, as both of these classes are terrific.

Continuing, as shown in this image, I went along building my block by adding strips and another skinny wedge insert.  Now I prepare to create a curved insert using the blue strip shown on the right.

The blue strip was placed atop the yellow strip, both RIGHT SIDES UP,  with about an inch of the blue overlapping the yellow.  Then I drew a curve, ensuring that the curve had both of the fabrics beneath it.  Then the curve was cut.

Remove the extra pieces of fabric and note the curved pieces fit together like a puzzle.

Place the two curved strips right side together and SLOWLY sew them together.  I keep the top piece held up in my left hand and, sometimes using a stiletto, ease the bottom piece carefully keeping its edge aligned right in the very front right hand edge of the presser foot. If any puckers develop, stop to smooth them out with your finger smoothing toward the left.  Otherwise, you will have a puckered curve.

Press the curved seam toward the outside (if this works best for your curve).  I needed to clip the curves a bit to get it to lay flat and neat.  Viola!  A curved insert accomplished!

If you need clarification on making a curved insert, there are many free tutorials online different ways to make curved inserts.  These include: by See How We Sew

Continuing to build the block out to size, I added some more skinny wedged inserts, a little triangle and some stripy pieces as accents.

Some other creative methods for making pieces that can be used in Liberated Quiltmaking include:

My wish is that you have fun learning about Gwen Marston and enthusiastically embrace her guidance to finding your own creative quilting space.

Peace in Piecing,  Patty

No comments: