Saturday, September 7, 2013

Serendipity Circles meets Fairholme community quilts

Time for another workshop, said our tireless workshop coordinator, and booked up Brenda Gael Smith of Serendipity Patchwork and Quilting, to teach us how to make Serendipity Circles.

Georgie points out the prepared fabric kits, and the
 go-to stash for replenishment or supplementing kits.
Brenda and her beautiful quilts are in the background.
Then Georgie put on her genius hat -  since this would be a new technique, challenging to many of us, we could offer the opportunity for participants to use fabrics from our community quilts stash to make our blocks.

The genius of this idea, was the proviso that we donate those blocks back to the community quilts project.

Several people took the offer up, and did the whole workshop with community fabrics. Each of the 15 participants made two practice blocks with community stash fabrics (= enough blocks for one quilt top in about 30 minutes!)

Win-win! We got to practice new techniques (free piecing, no rulers, no measurements, freehand cutting of curves with very sharp rotary cutters, no seam matching) using fabric we didn't need to buy. And the community quilts project will  benefit  with enough blocks already made, or in the making, for six gorgeous quilt tops, possibly more.

Fabric kits were prepared in advance, and everyone could choose their own, as well as add further fabrics from the stash as needed.

Brenda provided prepared fabric squares for practising the fused circles
technique, and we cut and fused the decorative shapes -
they too will contribute to a community project
We spent most of the workshop making free pieced circles.
We started simply with 2 fabric squares, a single free-cut arc
and machine-stitched curved seam (no pinning required) ...
... and quite quickly upped the ante with multiple arcs,
adding dimension and zing to our designs ...

Three of us with fabric kits that looked as though they would play
nicely together worked in concert ...
... and by the early afternoon we had enough blocks for a quilt, that we
will trim, sew together and baste at our next community sewing day.
Here's a nice coincidence - both Roslyn and Ginny have Elna sewing machines
that have done sterling service for many years (they might even qualify as vintage -
the machines, that is), and they happened to set up side by side ...

... Ros only sews on this machine, although she has made one high-tech modification!
Might this become an annual event?  Choose a workshop focused on a technique or process rather than an individual project, and let the participants loose in the community fabric stash ... well worth considering.

It was a fun and productive day - low stress for high achievement.  Thank you Brenda for your expertise, encouragement, and challenging us, and for the opportunity to examine your quilts so closely. And thank you Georgie for coming up with a very bright idea, and putting in so much work to make it happen.

Thanks for the photos, Sue.

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