QuiltCon was an awesome, eye opening, and super friendly experience for me. I think many people feel the same. My classes and students were wonderful. (I can say that Saturday night was a bit of a rough night for a class, everyone was pretty tired.) Thank you to everyone who came to sew, to laugh, to eat my chocolate, use my fabric, and push themselves. You made my experience for sure.
I did, however, get a little bit of time to sew myself. Taking a few classes was a welcome respite in my busy schedule. To be honest, I felt kind of sneaky being in a classroom. Or maybe it was more indulgent? Either way, I'm glad I made some time to do it.
I spent one morning with the Gees Bend quilters. After my time in Alabama in the fall I was eager for the chance to visit and sew more. The entire class was more of some playtime and visiting, punctuated with gospel singing and laughter. There was minimal direction, if any, so it would have been tough if you were totally new to improv play. But the 4 women made sure each student was acknowledged, helped, and guided. My neighbour spent a lot of time with them as they kept making her redo and redo a certain seam of her piece until it was just right. And when we saw the final seam the effort was totally worth it. Improv can be careful and calculating too.
My choice of fabric for the class were some old clothes of the girls. I cut up two pairs of pants, a dress, and a blouse. It was a miss mash of fabrics and textures. But having seen the original Gees Bend quilts it was a good push for me. And wow, was it liberating to cut up old clothes! I decided to go with their influence to the extreme and based my work on the Housetop pattern so many in Gees Bend have used. That block is all of the clothes, with only a few small pieces leftover. I didn't cut away grass stains that never came out of the knees or the tiny mustard spot. Initially I thought I might keep going with the technique and framing it with more neutrals. Now that I'm home, we'll see. Although, I do see that as a fun family marker.
The other class I took, and my first choice going into QuiltCon registration, was Cristy Flincher's Paperless Paper Piecing. I've been fascinated by this process and what she makes. It is so outside of my comfort zone and usual style. Yes, I like precision and do enjoy paper piecing, but this is a refreshing way to approach the style. Not to mention that Cristy is a great teacher. Seriously, she's good.
She gave us the template for the block so we were all working from the same foundation. But there were so many different fabrics at play that each block looked different. It took all day to make the one block, but that had a lot to do with a steep learning curve and not enough irons. (And for me, having to duck out for a book signing.) Now that I know the technique, though, I can see it being a very handy skill. It won't take nearly as long next time. Bonus: Cristy even told me how to add improv to this so my soul was touched a bit more.
I definitely want to make at least 3 more of these blocks for a small medallion.