Saturday, April 2, 2011
The Round Barn Quilt
A couple of years ago I became aware of Susan Brubaker Knapp, and while reading her blog I became a fan. I admire the way she works equally well in traditional and art quilting. I was thrilled when I was able to arrange for her to be invited to the ECQG for some workshops. To say that she is a great teacher is an understatement. She really understands the processes that she teaches about and has a great way of enabling students to leave their fears at the door and just go for it. In addition to her teaching skills and artistic gifts, she's a lovely person. I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few teachers over the years, many of them are "heroes" in the blog world. It was wonderful to meet Susan and find that she is just as wonderful to have lunch with as she is to read on her blog. I've enjoyed our internet friendship very much and I'm hoping to hear this week that I've been accepted into one of her workshops at the NCQS this June.
When she was at the ECQG last year she taught her "Round Barn" quilt which involved taking a photograph through the pattern making process and into thread painting. It was a fun project and the image is perfect because it was easy to work with not a ton of details and yet so much possibility for the confident quilter. I worked with solid red, white, and gray fabric, and a black on black for the window glass, mottled gray for the stonework and a patterned green for the grass.
I really enjoyed this class a lot. I'm confident with free motion quilting but had not ever worked quite as indepth as this class called for. Taking that red fabric from plain to the side of a barn wall was addictive. I actually had to convince myself to stop, kind of like knowing when to take a drawing away from a 5 year old and tell her it's finished just before she takes the purple crayon and scribbles all over it.
The stone wall was fun, too. All the stones were threadsketched in without guidance. It was like meditation to me, just moving it under the needle deciding where the stones would lie and how much thread was needed for each one. The only part I didn't love doing on this was the grass, I loved working the edges into the stone, but over the expanse of the green fabric it was a lot of work without a lot of "pay-off" as it couldn't really be seen well. If I did it again, I'd cut a few inches off the bottom of the quilt and have less grass.
I recently took it out of my unfinished work pile and got it finished. Susan has kindly given me permission to submit this piece to the ECQG Small Treasures Auction in September. It's the first time I've submitted something to the auction, thanks so much Susan for your encouragement and inspiration!