Fun with Fabric

It was kind of exciting to wake up this morning and know I was going to be working with fabric at my class today. It's been quite a challenge to get this far. Don't you suppose I was feeling pretty smug setting up the little iron caddy in my motel room so that I could iron and sew strips this morning?

It worked great! Pfelicity was set up across the room on the desk, and I got to work sewing three strip sets of each of two fabrics.

Yesterday, Ann  was explaining to me how to do the slats in my Adirondack chairs, and I wasn't quite getting it. Last night, I suddenly had an epiphany about how this could work. The fabric in the center serves as the gap between the chair slats, and I'll show you how it went together below.

Here's how it will look for the red chair.

If you paid attention to the comments from yesterday's post, then you might have read my friend Kate's assessment that this technique is a little like making your own paper-piecing pattern. And I think she really hit the nail on the head. It isn't paper-pieced, but that's the reference point I was needing when I was struggling to understand how to label my pieces for sewing order. When in doubt, I can just ask myself how one would paper piece it, and then the answer will reveal itself.

So here's how my red chair started out this morning. I was working from right to left.

None of the pieces are sewn together yet, and they won't be until after I get the project home. For now, we're checking to see if our bright and bold fabrics will work together. When I'd taken it this far, Ann encouraged me to try out the fabrics for the green chair.

And my classmates and I agreed that all of this was working so far. I used a polka dot for the arm of the red chair, echoing the polka dots in the back of the green chair. For the green chair, I used a stripe, echoing the stripes of the red chair. There are also some different fabrics that serve as the edges of the arms, and I've used it for the legs of the red chair. It's a little hard to see in the image below, but I'm happy with all the fabrics I've selected. 

In order to work the design this way, sometimes little tiny pieces need to be cut off to be picked up later, and those are pinned inside a zip-lock bag behind the yellow sand fabric. I haven't selected my sand fabrics yet, but we're hanging those there to get some idea how they might work. Also, if you notice at the top left of the green chair, I've sewn a little piece of the rock fabric to the top of the left-most slat. In my mind, that's a better way to deal with those little pieces, but Ann wants us to wait and sew them on later. For now, I'm doing it her way. In my own sewing room, I think sewing the pieces together as I need to makes a lot more sense. We'll see...

So I thought you might enjoy seeing what my classmates are working on. This woman is doing a begonia (I think). The original image with vellum pattern is to the right of her quilt. 

Here's the grandfather and grandchild. I love the way she's putting the shirts together.

This woman is sharing a table with me, and she's doing one of her dog.

This design is by one of the women from Alaska. Hers is of starfish in a tide pool.

This is another of the women from Alaska. She's doing a sort of stylized cat. It's a statue she saw in a public park in Seattle.

Finally, this is another of Ann's quilts. She explained that this was made from an image of her husband when he was three years old. In Ruth McDowell style, the details have been left off the face. 

This one made me excited to try a picture of my brother that was taken when he was five. He was wearing overalls and holding a snake out in front of him. It's one of my favorite images of my brother, and since he passed away in 2004, it would be a nice memento of him. I would post the picture here, but I don't have it on my laptop. I'll try to remember to show you when I get home. That alone would make it worth it for me to take the class a second time.

When I left today, I took a few pictures of the quilt shop. This is the Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, Washington. Cheran, the owner, has been very hospitable to our group, as she was when I signed up for the class. She remembered to take down my Oregon driver's license information since, as an Oregon resident, I'm exempt from paying sales tax in Washington. There are two long arm machines located in the front of the store, and those have been going full time quilting quilts for other customers.

When you walk in the front door of the shop, this is what you see when you look to the right. I've drawn an arrow indicating where the double doors for the classroom are. You can see one of my classmates standing back there.

Look to the left, and this is what you see. Isn't that a pretty quilt?

It's a small space, but laid out well so that she has a good amount of fabric with good variety and plenty of room to stand back and admire. In the image below, you can see one of Ann's chicken quilts hanging on the wall. The chickens are available as a pattern, and she also teaches a two-day class to make them.

In this section of the store, she has a good supply of civil war prints to go along with the other brighter fabrics.

This is the back room of the store. I taped my design to the far window when I was transferring it to freezer paper. On the opposite side is a hallway that leads to the restroom and to the classroom, and there are also some sale fabrics back there. 

So now it's day's end. I ate a container of fruit that I picked up at the grocery store the other day. It staved off hunger, but it won't keep me from getting hungry later in the evening. There's still plenty of daylight left, and so I'm going to get out for a walk. I'm hoping to get my 10k steps today, something I've missed the last two days...too much sitting around, even when I try getting out more.

There's one more day of class tomorrow. We won't start until the shop opens at 11:00 a.m., and I'll probably leave early in the afternoon to head for home. I'll fill you in on the last day either tomorrow or the next day.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sew Surprising said...

Ive really enjoyed reading your class journey, now I am really going to sound like a prize wally, but why wouldnt you take the image and put it in Quilt Assist and do the line drawing and colouring, even though this isnt paper piecing as such how is it different from paperless piecing, really makes me sound silly so I do apologise :/ just very curious on what is different in this process :)

Terri in BC said...

Now I'm really confused! I thought this was paper-piecing. I can't wait to see how you put it together.

Marlene said...

I'm loving the look of your chairs and the fabrics you are using and can't wait to see the ongoing journey. It does look like a lot of work for the results. The other students projects are also looking great-the dog looks so life like.

Cath said...

Oh yes, now that you have made a good start on your piece, I can see how it is going to work out with the different fabric patterns becoming the shadow play.....I like your design (but then I am a sucker for deckchairs and Adirondack chairs)and I admire the Grandfather/grandson design and also love the dog design...In my opinion you top of the class!

Debbie said...

Wow....I thought you would paper piece this.....what a brave child you have become to tackle this. Your fabrics looks great for the chairs.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You have a nice start to your pattern - interesting technique.

Synthia said...

I am totally impressed with what you are accomplishing! It's going to be a terrifically beautiful quilt.

quiltzyx said...

Holy moly, you have come a long way since class day #1! I love the photo you chose & the meaning it has for you & Mike. Glad that things clicked into place for you as well. I can see where it would be difficult with so many in the class being returning students or with a head start already, but you definitely got there! Congrats!!
That is a cute quilt shop too. Lots of yummy colors....

Kate said...

Your chairs are really coming together. Love the fabrics that you are working with. Can't wait to see it all finished. The others in your class have some really fun projects going on as well.

Dana Gaffney said...

Thank goodness for Kate, when she said it looked like paper piecing I saw it too, not a favorite thing, but it helps put things in perspective. I'm so happy to be seeing chairs in your project, LOL.

Celtic Thistle said...

This looks amazing Barbara, those tiny lines would give me headaches!