Friday, August 24, 2007

Inspiration Notebook

A while back I was searching the internet for bloggers who mentioned quilts and Paris. That is actually a real pain in the patootie, with all sorts of bogus advertising blogs showing up. Anyway, I found Crafty Rachel, an American living in Paris, working on her dissertation, taking gorgeous photos and sharing recipes. Her sister in the States had helped her start a quilt, but she was planning on hand piecing the rest of it here. aiyee. I invited her over and we had a great time yesterday finishing up the top. She sewed and I pinned and ironed. At least, I had a great time, hope she did too.

It was great to work with someone who didn't care about the rules, just wanted a homemade quilt to give as a present to a new baby. No stress, lots of fun. If it were always this easy, I could see myself teaching beginning quilters. Hmm the backing fabric is too narrow by an inch, well, just whack the sides of the quilt down a little bit.... My kinda quilter.

The movers were back early yesterday morning to take care of our upstairs neighbors. It was bucketing down rain and I felt so sorry for all of them having to work in that weather. Hope their boxes weren't going into storage with all that dampness. It was waaaay too horrible outside to take pics out there, but here's the lifter rail thingie outside our window:

and the empty platform whizzing by:
The cats ignored the whole thing the second day.
I really appreciate your comments about my progress on Blooming Horrors. It means a lot to me and I'm glad that you are enjoying seeing each stage of the work.

Marge asked about my idea notebooks. I have about eight of them, full of home decorating, holiday decorating, antique quilts, folk art, beading, and just about anything that catches my eye. Most magazines only have one or two articles or pictures in them that are interesting and I find it much more invigorating to look at the exciting bits all together, rather than surrounded by fluff and advertising. One thing that you won't find in my notebooks is patterns.

Here are a few bits from my applique notebook. Beth Reisman described making her quilt Elvis in Baltimore in the AQS Summer 2000 issue. It's a playful asymmetrical quilt and I love how Elvis's face appears in a flower:

Next is a feature on the Allegheny Avenue Album quilt by Katherine McKearn from AQS Fall 1994. This is a fabulous and personal quilt. Each block tells a different story about Katherine and her family's life. There are bees, poison ivy, the giant dirt pile, family pets... It's incredible and I love the way it isn't straight. The blocks are different sizes, the sashing goes this way and that. The zigzags add zing and there is gorgeous quilting all over.

At the top of this page is The Late Show by Dianne Rode Schneck. Isn't it an absolute hoot? A flying saucer, a giant eyeball monster, a rocket ship. The bottom quilt is another personal album quilt by Katherine McKearn.

And here's another folk art applique quilt by Gwen Marson in LCPQ magazine.

I loved how these articles by Gwen were a description of how she made each quilt. What inspired her to make it, how she cut directly into the fabric by hand, why she chose particular colors. Okay, there were also templates for those too nervous to just try it out themselves, but there was always an option. I can't think of any "patterns" that are written this way in magazines anymore. Very unfortunate. I find it much more inspiring than just a picture, templates and straight old directions.

I believe that Gwen Marston's Lively Little Folk Art Quilts has some of the little LCPQ quilts in it, though I believe it's written as a pattern book, not as a series of stories. I've heard varying reviews of this one, so look it over before buying it.

An advantage to keeping notebooks is that you can see all the quilts (or whatever) you love together. For instance, you can tell from just these examples that I love quilts that are very personal, colorful and goofy. The applique is imprecise, irregular, and some of the pieces are quite chunky. Not much symmetry going on.

Would anyone be interested in taking a class with me? I've been thinking about teaching and how I might actually enjoy doing it. The question is, would anyone want to be a student. I don't know the details yet, but it would be along the lines of helping everyone develop a very personal quilt of their own, either doing free-piecing or applique or both. I get too many comments that say "I could never do that, I'm not creative" but you are and you can. You really can. And that's what we'd explore.

I'm thinking of wall-hangings/doll-quilt size quilts but you can do whatever you'd like. I'm willing to coach you through the hand quilting as well, for anyone who wants to try something new there.

We'd have a Blogger classroom. Start a blog and all the class members could post to it. You wouldn't have to have a blog of your own, just a Blogger account, which isn't hard and I'll walk you through every step of the way, if you need it. I'd post the exercises etc and you all could post what you're working on. But everyone could do it at their own pace.

The class admission would be a donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Say, a minimum of 45 dollars. [Hey, even if you don't want to take a class, but have enjoyed some of my tutorials on Quiltville, please consider making a donation through Bonnie. See her post here.]

If you guys are paying to take a class, you are likely to actually do the exercises and make a quilt. Plus you'd be donating to a worthy cause. That's assuming anyone is actually interested. I'm thinking of starting mid-September.

I'd love to hear any thoughts or concerns or questions you might have about this possible class. Feel free to comment or send it in an email. No worries, if this isn't your thing. I don't like taking classes myself, so no one will hurt my feelings if they're not interested.


comicbooklady said...

I am very interested! I look forward to your inspiration! I will look into the donation thing, but how will you know that we have donated in order to participate?

Tonya Ricucci said...

thank you, comicbooklady. wonderful to have a positive comment so quickly. Donations would be on the honor system. I trust you all.

Quilts And Pieces said...

Starting a journal is something I have wanted to do for ages, but I seem to always pick sewing over the journal! It would for sure be a picture book and not writing! :)

Jan said...

Ackk!! I cannot believe you posted about Beth Reisman's quilt today, Tonya! I was going to post about her quilts, too, because one of her quilts is the one with the wild border that I referred to in my last post. And I, too, saved that Allegheny Avenue Quilt article for my inspiration. Gosh, why are you way the heck over there? (Or maybe a better question, why the heck am I here? lol)
Ok, I'm settling down now. Going back to read the rest of your post. :-)

Quiltdivajulie said...

what a GREAT idea - what fun!!

Donna said...

An on-line, informal class, would be most welcome! I love the idea of helping us each develop our own style. I know I have one but I'm struggling to be able to articulate the aspects of mine even to myself :-) I also know though that I have very flexible work opportunities in my studio. There are some times I just can't carve out the time, and others that I've got lots... Count me in!!

Anonymous said...

I think you would be a very good teacher-person who inspires. :-) But since I don't have a digital camera, I couldn't post (boo) & so couldn't participate. But I think you should do it.

Ms. Jan said...

I love this idea and would happily participate. I'll get back to you after the houseguests leave!!! Yippeeeee!!!!

jovaliquilts said...

I would love to take a class because I would feel free to ask more questions -- and it's just fun to be part of the online community! And the class project would move up my list with those other things I "have" to get done! Perfect!

I'd be happy to pay as a donation, but I don't see why you shouldn't get paid for your efforts. Your online tutorials are free, but everyone needs to make a living.

Vicki K could scan in (at a place like Kinko's) a regular photo and send it.

Anonymous said...

I think you'd be a fabulous teacher, Tonya. I just can't get over your articles. Those are really treasures and such an inspiration. I think my tastes run very similar to yours. Unfortunately I won't be able to participate in a class, but I wish you the best of luck!

Tiffany said...

Count me in! When I read your posts I'm always thinking to myself, "She is so creative and so brave with her quilts. I could never do that." And not b/c I'm not willing to take the risk... I'm just inexperienced in following my own lead when it comes to quilting. I think a class from you would be very informative and very liberating!

Anonymous said...

Great entry! Thank you for the information about your notebooks. I enjoyed reading more about how you are inspired. Yes, yes, yes! I have been contemplating designing my own "family album" quilt for a while, and I would love to have guidance with your proposed class. I'm ready to take my quilting to another level.

Teresa said...

Your class sounds like a great idea Tonya.
I love reading your blog, and tutorials - I still have high hopes of trying my hand at free-form fans some day soon

Magpie Sue said...

Interesting that I remember those quilts but that I don't have them in my own notebooks. Probably because I don't do applique. (Or maybe because I didn't own the magazines and couldn't rip the pages out!)

Anonymous said...

I would love to take a class from you! I've been reading your blog now for a few months and just love everything you create and post about.
I'm a beginning quilter. I've made a few quilts but have always had the help of my mother in law when it comes to doing the backing and binding. Applique is on my list of things to learn.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a beginning quilter and only found your blog a few months ago... I think a class is a great idea! I am not positive I would be able to join you in September, but it's something I would definitely do if other things in my life permit. That is, if you will take beginners! I think a class would be a good forum for getting help and learning techniques I might not otherwise try.

carrie said...

I would love to do a class, if it is going to be done at one's own pace?

My only problem with Blogger is that so far I have had 5 different accounts and not one has worked after the initial setting up. Let's see if this google/blogger one works for this comment.....

QuiltingFitzy said...

I would love to participate, let us know the details. I seriously need to GET OUT OF MY BOX! Love those free hand fans, but am afraid to try them.

Anonymous said...

Tonya, I'd love to participate in this! I haven't been quilting for a couple of years now because of eye problems, but I'm about to get that taken care of, and this would be a perfect way to get back in.


Kieny The Dutchlady said...

Could a complete beginner join your class? Tonya, I love reading your post and tutorials. It would be great to have you as a teacher and to bring it all into practice instead of just dreaming about it!

Anonymous said...

What a fun day of quilting we had on Thursday!!! I can't believe how quickly the time (and the progress!) went by. I love the quilt and am going to post some pics of it as it is now that we have all the top pieces together.

I am also browsing through your tutorials. You should definitely teach a class - I thought it daunting to make a quilt, but you made it fun and enjoyable!

Shelina said...

Hi Tonya, I am behind in reading your posts. I agree with you about Gwen's "pattern". I so wish that patterns in magazines and books would have more description about the quilt designer's vision. Sometimes when something works, I want to know how they managed to get it to work.
I hope you have a wonderful class.