Stretching My Comfort Zone

 April 28, 2010
Posted by Cindy

I’ve spent the last two days taking a class in machine quilting from Ann Fahl–an award-winning quilter from Wisconsin. I had seen her quilts at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival for the past few years and really admired them, so when she came to my area to teach a class, I signed up. Although I’m happy with my quilting expertise, I think there’s always more to learn, especially from people who’ve won prizes for their work.

Ann creates wonderful applique quilts of gardens and animals, especially her cat, Oreo, and adds inspiring machine quilting to the backgrounds, pulling the viewer in and giving something interesting to look at close up. I don’t do much applique, so I decided I would learn more if I made a class sample that was more me, so to speak. Thankfully Ann seemed to understand.

My goal with this piece was to create a variety of quilting motifs going all over the surface of the quilt without regard to the piecing. This is harder than it sounds. Although I’ve done it before, I thought the time dedicated to this in class would be well spent. You have to really think about what you’re going to do next and where you’re going to go using this technique.

The jury’s still out, since I haven’t finished the piece. In addition, I used a different kind of thread than I’ve used before–a shiny rayon–variegated of course. It gives a nice little sheen to the quilt surface, although it takes more concentration to “drive” than the cotton thread I usually use. If you click on the image above, you can see details of the quilting.

As I hoped, I did come away from the class with several new “nuggets” that I’ll be able to incorporate into my own work and hopefully make it better.