Quilts Inc. Staff Goes Free Wheelin’ With Our Rotary Cutters!

Last week I participated in my very first 4:00 Follies at Quilts, Inc. headquarters, and we had such a blast!

In case you are wondering what in the world 4:00 Follies are, once in a great while we gather together at 4:00 so we can sink our fingers into our fabric stashes and celebrate our beloved craft of quilting.

My colleagues’ quilt expertise ranges from newbies to seasoned quilters, so we were looking for our first 4:00 Follies for the year to be fast, fun, inviting, colorful, and creative. It just so happens that one of my TTFQB’s (Top 10 Favorite Quilt Books) is Intuitive Color and Design by Jean Wells (C &T Pub.).

Jean has a lot of great ideas in this book for improvisational piecing, and offers tons of tips, ideas, and exercises to piecing freely while simultaneously honing  color and design skills. So I thought it would be fun to host an exercise in improvisational piecing, a friendly way to get comfortable with quilting since there are few rules.

Using Jean’s book as a premise for our play session, we decided to see how fast we could piece blocks in an hour or so. Then we could turn these quickly pieced bits of patchwork into pillows, pot holders, place mats…you get the idea.

You don’t need much for this exercise:

• Scraps of fabrics (I encouraged people to limit to 2-3 colors)

• Rotary cutter or pair of fabric scissors, a quilting ruler, and a cutting mat

• Sewing machine

• Iron and ironing board

Once we gathered our supplies, assembled the tables, and turned up the heat on the irons, we got to the business of piecing fabrics together. We experimented with skinny piecing, curved piecing, slicing and dicing, cutting sewn strips in half, re-piecing, and cutting again.We worked quickly, not caring if we had perfectly matched seams, just making sure we had 1/4″ seams. (Warning: this is a tough exercise for perfectionists!)

Here I have started to piece some fabrics together, combining my own hand-screened fabric with that of Malka Dubrawsky’s and Marcia Derse’s. (Hey, I wanted to put myself in great company!)

Terri Winsauer (left) with Carmen Valls who surprised herself by successfully sewing a huge hunk of rick rack onto her patchwork piece (hence why she is smiling so slyly).

Judy Murrah was very industrious and had a really beautiful color scheme going. And since she can’t tamp her teacher/nurturing spirit, she was very helpful in guiding some of the newer quilters along.

See how quickly Ann Graf is piecing? The shutter speed on my camera couldn’t even keep up with her!

Here is the beginning of something I was making. It’s no magnum opus, but I had fun playing. I had no idea what I was going to do with this, though.

But it just so happens this past Monday night I found a pillow form in my downstairs closet, so I turned it into a throw pillow.

I also used improvisational piecing to make a couple of pot holders. I added some hand stitching, too.

So that was our first 4:00 Follies of the year. Fun times, and in a matter of a couple of hours I had a finished pillow. I recommend getting Jean’s book if you don’t have it. A few of us in the office have decided to get together once in a while and go through all of the exercises.

Do you quilt with your coworkers or have play dates? What kinds of things do you do?

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12 responses

  1. Looks like a lot of fun! p.s. I totally dig that large, two-tone rick rack on the pot holder. Is it vintage or new?

    • Hi Fryestyle! It is new rick rack. I bought a lot of extra wide rick rack at IQF/ Houston last fall. I wish I could remember which vendor but I don’t. I display them in a huge glass jar in my studio and love looking at them…

  2. We haven’t quilted together since your going away quilt, Pokey, but we had a fun time at our dye party. Missed you, though!

  3. It’s so cute! And I love it in the contrasting black and white…I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled. I have vintage rick rack like that in a smaller size but with metallic threads…it’s amongst my prized treasures of trims and buttons. Thanks, Pokey!

  4. Love this free wheelin and think I will give it a try! Great way to use up leftover fabric and maybe make an AAQI donation.

  5. I love improvisational piecing because I don’t have to worry about matching corners. ;) I love the pillow you ended up making from you piece. That is a great way to use it so quickly! I use a lot of these kind of pieces to make journal covers.

  6. Pingback: Intuitive Color and Design – Jean Wells – Book Review « Diannajessie

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