27 March 2008

Mini-demos for the preparation-time starved

I started a quilt group on the college campus where I work and a small band of us have kept it alive for our one hour meetings every 2nd Tuesday of the month. Generally, I come up with a small demo and the rest is talking or show-and-tell.

If you've ever tried monthly demos, you know that the idea factory can run dry of easily transportable things so I thought I'd share a list:
  • Molas. I gave a background on this reverse applique style complete with a "kit": 10x10" stack of Kona solid cottons in characteristic mola colors so everyone could have a try.
  • Yo-Yos. After showing a yo-yo garment in progress and talking about other uses, we all made a few. As it turned out, the whole group let me take theirs home to use in my, uh, our project!
  • Ruching. People seem to get a kick out of ruched flowers on Baltimore album quilts and wonder how they are made. I cut bias strips in a small buttercup-and-white lightweight gingham. The little squares made it easy to sew the sawtooth pattern without marking.
  • To create a nice handout, I searched the internet for free download sites for graph paper of all kinds and provided URLs and images so everyone could see the range available out there (even honeycomb ones which could come in handy for planning grandmother's flower garden quilts or whatnot).
  • I let everyone have a look at my samples from a wonderful course on bindings I took a couple years ago from Narelle Grieve. The samples we came out with are great reminders. Our group used them for inspiration and discussion (because I don't believe in wholesale using the courses of others without permission!). By the way, you have permission to use any ideas in this post.
  • I showed a quilt that makes use of the fantasy fabric I learned to make from Chrissy Sheed. I also showed a piece of fantasy fabric at a much earlier stage of preparation and we had a good talk about all the things one might use in quilts. It made a good jumping off point. We did a lot of "I saw a quilt once that had..."
  • I have a faux chenille vest made from a commercial pattern which I broght in for everyone to see. I also brought in a stack of charm squares with the chenille in various stages --partially stitched, some channels still closed and a couple already clipped. This made it very easy to explain the process.
  • We've talked about fusing and stablizing a fair bit so one day I hope to bring in samples of several types and weights so people can feel them. I'd like to make a big labeled sample cloth with several different fusing agents on it and run it through the wash as a test.

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