Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beginning quilters learn basic block units, and a lesson on design walls

On week two of my Beginning Quilting class, my students learned several basic quiltmaking techniques and are working on two versatile block units—the two-patch unit and the half square triangle. Here is their progress with their first quilt block—the Churn Dash.
Churn Dash blocks from Beginning Quilting students.
We also discussed pressing seams, pressing for construction, nesting seams and design options. A design wall is indispensable for auditioning fabrics, values and determining unit placement. It can keep you organized and provides a visual platform for experimenting with design possibilities.

For class purposes, I carry a flannel-backed plastic table cloth (you can pick one up at the dollar store) for a design wal. It is inexpensive, portable, and folds up quickly for transporting to and from classes. In my studio I have flannel fabric wall that I made with two lengths of white cotton flannel sewn together.

On a recent visit to a quilt shop, the "light bulb" went on during a conversation with the shop owner—flannel wide backings for design walls! Blank Quilting has a new line of flannel wide backs. The putty color is a good "neutral" background color [anyone remember 18% neutral gray from Photography classes?], or you could use the back (unprinted) side. I remember a workshop with Kaffe Fassett where he recommended a neutral gray or taupe color (as opposed to white) as a backdrop for viewing painting, quilting and knitwear designs.

Oh, I wish wide back flannel was available when I was making my flannel design wall. The wide backing is 108" wide, a better yardage buy for your dollar... and you don't have to piece it!

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