Monday, March 9, 2015

Class to Quilt-Compositional Drawing

As it turns out I am not very motivated to clean my studio. I headed out there this weekend with all good intentions of getting my space clean and I honestly cleaned (or more accurately, contemplated cleaning) for a total of five minutes before I found myself distracted by a drawing I had started at Quiltcon in my Compositional Quilting/DRAWING class.

I have to admit that after returning home from Quiltcon I have felt a little panicked. Panicked that I taught everything I had and that I was going to be out of ideas.
I began looking through some of the pictures I had taken while teaching (admittedly way too few) and that beautiful quote by Leonard Nimoy came back to me again.
"The Miracle is this, the more we share, the more we have."

Some Brilliant student work 

and WOW.

It was either the threat of cleaning or all of the energy and openness that I absorbed from my students that inspired me again....or maybe a little bit of both.
 I wasn't really out of ideas after all. Phew.
I put away any thoughts about cleaning (which wasn't hard) and started drawing and then quilting something I am pretty sure will be a sample for another class.

As a rule I don't generally mark on quilts. A whole cloth type quilt is obviously an exception to this rule. In my Compositional Quilting/DRAWING class we spend the class marking on mylar and then marking on a whole cloth.  Many years ago I took a whole cloth design class from Karen McTavish. It was a full day spent designing a whole cloth quilt that we took home to quilt. If you ever find yourself with an opportunity to take a class with her or see her lecture,
 DO IT,  I'm not kidding.
Whole cloth quilts are traditional by nature and are generally designed using beautiful floral or feathered motifs, stencils and if you have the patience the quilting usually involves some trapunto.

This was my finished Wholecloth quilt from Karens class.

From class to quilt.

In my Compositional Drawing-(expanded version) class it is my hope to merge the traditional with a more modern aesthetic. I don't know that a whole cloth will ever be considered "modern" but I do believe in my heart of hearts that there is a place for this type of quilting and design somewhere.

This is the fundamental basis for Compositional Quilting 

Filling in the blanks

I had to get rid of my free motion drawn swirls, I found I could not follow my own drawings.

I managed to quilt in the areas of feathers I should have left unquilted

Some new moon ideas

This is as far as I got, not bad for a weekend.

As you can see, cleaning is overrated and I am not out of ideas yet. I am hoping to be teaching this class and many others in the near future. I will keep you posted on the details here.

For those of you who feel inspired by this post, awesome. For those of you who enjoyed this post but feel less inspired and more discouraged by this post this last picture is for you.

While I openly admit I have skills,  I know that those skills didn't come without a lot of failures, practice and flat out shitty quilting.  Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, be ok with shit quilting, move on, take classes, learn as much as you can from yourself and others. You will never quilt exactly like me, just as I will never quilt exactly like Karen McTavish. And thank goodness for that, lord knows theres only room for one of her, and me and you. Be ok with that.
You be You. 


  1. Beautiful post Krista! I am so intrigued by your compositional quilting ideas. I would l9ve to 5ake a class from you someday!

  2. I feel so glad you added that at the end!! ;) Very inspiring!

  3. Thoroughly inspired, again! We all start somewhere, and I am so glad you reminded us. I would love to see a wholecloth modern quilt, and I'm betting you lead the way, although I am now off to do some sketching...

  4. Beautifully said! Wish I had just a teensy bit of you in me.

  5. I was in your compositional quilting 3 hour class, I wish I had been with you all day. I was really disappointed in the quality of classes and workshops, so that made yours even more important to people like me.

    I am so stoked about what I took home. I can hardly wait to try it out. Soon, soon.

    glen in Louisiana

  6. Um, hello, I love you. I so admire your quilting, and I totally find it inspiring versus intimidating! I'm plotting how to add some compositional quilting to my latest quilt top, but the encouragement that you didn't start out as a superstar quilter, but had to get there with practice, is a good reminder!!

  7. Goodmorning Krista!
    Love your post! Your pictures inspire me too. I just cleaned half of my sewing room last night. There is now a table that I can actually use, gorgeous fabric stacks and organized rulers, rotary cutters and scissors. I hope to be back to some pieces something tonight.
    I would LOVE to take one of your classes... Is there any chance that you ever will travel to Europe?
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com

  8. So happy to read your post this morning and it's spot on! It does my heart good to see you using (1) a marking pen and (2) things to guide you like the ruler and the quilt pattern. I do free-motion quilting and have only approached it from the "peddle to the metal" stance which just doesn't work well (for me). Thanks to you I'm going to do the sensible thing and plot out my designs and maybe THAT will make all the difference - surely cannot hurt!! Thanks again.

  9. Such a great post. I also had the idea after taking Angela Walters Dot to Dot quilting class to take my sample, draw the shapes on it and practice those. I'm still closer to your last photos than your first, but I am now inspired as to where I might go.

  10. You're awesome and I love how your head works. Thanks for cheering us on. PS Right on, Leonard.

  11. Your wire us amazing. I hope I will be able to take one of your classes sometime soon.

  12. I sure loved learning from you! Your quilt is looking fantastic and yes, I'll be me and you be you and it sure is nice to be inspired by everyone.

  13. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement. What is your favorite marking pen?
    Hugs from Mary

  14. I REALLY enjoyed this post! I must first admit that I prefer a non-puckery finished quilt top (at least as long as I own it ;-), but also realize that it's unlikely that I will get much further than very simple quilting without marking my quilt top, subsequently having to wash out the markings, and thus, puckery-quilting. Can you explain how to achieve the non-puckery look that I see in many intricately quilted tops?

  15. Enjoyed every syllable. Totally inspiring.

  16. I realize this is an older post, but I just ran into it today, and I am so glad. I was looking at your classes on the MQX schedule, and now I know I need to sign up for at least one of them. this is what I want to learn how to do. I am a beginner, so I am sure mine won't look as good, but that's how we learn. so excited for New Hampshire now!

  17. love that last photo - thanks ! of course having said that love all the photos above it too !!

  18. I still haven't found a way that I like to mark my quilts. What do you use?

  19. I read this post on Pinterest. I have never done a whole quilt before, but I am intrigued and inspired. Thanks for showing the last photo. It is a great reminder, for all things in life, that painstaking practice will make pretty darn near perfect.

  20. Okay. I'll try to accept my inability and think more on learning to be ME.

  21. I have never quilted in my life but LOVE these quilts and would really like to make one. Your post has inquired me to try my hand at it. Thank you. Beautiful!!