Karen writes about life as a Quiltmaker in Austin, Texas; surviving in an empty nest, marriage, cooking, gardening and (did I say?) Quilting...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Learning a "New" Thing or Two: Cotton Theory and a Good Teacher

I had the great pleasure to attend Austin Area Quilt Guild's "Gift of Quilting" workshops on Friday evening. Unfortunately, I only was able to extricate myself from a single day's work to attend. This wonderful two day event is put on every other year - in between "Show" years. The idea is to provide member-taught workshops, as a reward to volunteers (and members) who work so hard to make the biennial Quilt Show happen.

The workshop I signed up for was a 3 hour reversible quilted Table Topper, made using the Cotton Theory technique. Offered by veteran sewing and quilting teacher Nancy Voegele, I was hoping to not only pick some new quilting skills, but also to see an expert in action.  I was not dissapointed.
Here's my finished piece:

Table Topper: Dinner "Side"

Table Topper: "Breakfast" Side
The project entailed creating a reversible table quilt, the completed size is 15" x 26.5" wide. The technique is very unusual. The individual patchwork pieces are layered, front to back with quilting in between, then quilted, and combined in a most unusual way. Entire quilts can be constructed in this way, with the quilting done in concert with the piecing - eliminating the need to layer and piece the entire quilt - a difficult prospect for many quilters.

So, if you are having difficulty quilting a large quilt, this may be a great way to complete a quilt with just any resonably good quality Sewing Machine.

Another fun aspect to the technique is that it allows you the fun of using those often ignored decorative stitches to provide further embellishment as part of the assembly technique. I used several of the mock "hand embroidery" stitches in the construction process. I also used some of my new found piping skills (from my workshop in March with Susan Cleveland ) to add a small corded piping edgeing to the binding, To further gild the rose, I embellished the binding with a varigated blanket stitch...

 I am VERY happy with the way "DD" performed in this somewhat tricky maneuver.  I used the "blind hem" foot - which rode smoothly over the uneven piped edge with ease. The piping foot handled that chore wonderfully too!  If you've always wondered what those special feet can do for you, this project provided me with pretty compelling proof that the foot makes the difference in stitch quality. Here's a close up of those embellishments:
Decorative Stitch and Quilting Detail

Piped edge and blanket stitched binding - how about those corners?!
I give a big thumbs up to teacher Nancy Voegele, who really kept the class moving along (inspite of one totally unprepared student!). She handled the situation with grace and actually had at least one finished, ready to bind quilt done by a student. I had to add the final two parts to mine - so felt like I really did well in class.  Nancy teaches at a number of locations around Austin, including that cool new hip sewing lounge, Stitch Lab.

I was REALLY happy to have a completed project today - I am so close on several projects, including one full size quilt - stay tuned for an update as they get finished!

- Keep on Quilting...
- Karen

1 comment:

Judy said...

How nice to have an almost completed project from a 3 hour class! And it's very cheerful and bright. Bet you'll love having it on your table.