Sunday, March 8, 2015

Precision piecing with templates - an extreme sport

Yesterday, for our first workshop of the year, eleven of us gathered in the classroom at Kim Bradley Creations in Castle Hill, with Catherine Butterworth teaching us the benefits of using Marti Michell's multi-sized templates for precision piecing.

We chose to work with two templates to make Catherine's Jolly Star blocks, using three contrasting fabrics. We are all quite experienced quilters, but we appreciated Catherine's emphasis on precise cutting, nipping points before sewing (the templates are designed for that), precise 1/4" seams, and precision pressing. The templates provide precise measurement for blocks of several sizes.

We did only make one block on the day, but we also had the opportunity to look at blocks and quilts from Catherine's portfolio that demonstrate the versatility of using just one or two templates to create many designs. She showed us how fabric choices and fussy cutting fabric can enhance and broaden the design potential of using one or two templates.

Seeing how the blocks work together making a more complex design, especially when set on point, will motivate us to make more blocks and we will see those finished quilts here in no time!

Getting started - the large quilts on the walls to the left belong
 to other teachers who regularly teach at Kim Bradley Creations.
Catherine's Jolly Stars is on partial view at the end of the room.
The other end of the classroom. Some of Catherine's teaching
blocks and units are on the far design wall.
Concentration - we needed to focus on every step - fabric choices, 
precise cutting, placement of the pieces to make the design work, 
sewing precise 1/4" seams and precise pressing. 
Some of us adjusted our fabric choices as we saw just how the blocks would look finished, some of us took exactly the right fabrics, some of just took a lot to choose from on the day, and there may have been a little shopping. The advantages of holding the class at a fabric shop were immediately obvious.

Here are just some of our works in progress, caught on the camera on the day:

Dawn broke out her collection of US patriotic fabrics and auditioned
various red and white blue complimentary fabrics

Miriam's cut pieces - she cut the corner pieces on the bias
to enhance the design of the secondary star point.

Pat chose three fabrics that work beautifully together
- she plans to make her whole quilt using just these three.
Georgie chose some of her favourite vibrant blues from her
considerable stash, but ended up choosing the yellow
background fabric from the shelves in the shop.
Lyn finished her block during the class!
Great choice of background fabric.
This finish is a bit of a cheat - Jill finished her block at home. 
Thanks to Georgie for organising the workshop, to Catherine for her generosity in sharing so much of her expertise in technique and design, to Kim for allowing us to use her well set-up classroom, Gillian for opening up early to allow us to maximise our time, and those who provided a delicious morning tea.

Footnote: Kim has a lot of new fabric to clear space for, so there are even more fabrics now on sale at $3 per metre to help that happen. They are excellent quality - well worth a visit. No affiliations, we're just happy customers.

Kim Bradley Creations 
Unit 7/9 Packard Ave, Castle Hill 2154
Phone: 9659 2912

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