Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quilt Odyssey - Sharon Schamber...

My second class at Quilt Odyssey was 'Planning Your Quilting' with Sharon Schamber.  It was a 3 hour class on Friday night.  I think everyone in it was already tired after a full day of classes, shopping and the quilt show; however, the convention center was great about keeping the classrooms filled with Hershey chocolate!

Unless you've just gotten into quilting, I expect you've heard of Sharon Schamber.  If not, check out her free video classes.  She is an award winning quilter who is particularly skilled at machine quilting.  Here are a couple pictures of the quilt she brought as a visual aid.

Sharon Schamber's Spirit of Mother Earth

 Just to let you know, this quilt is 100" x 100".  She says she makes most of her quilts that size.

Closeup of Spirit of Mother Earth

All of the gold on top of the black fabric is her quilting.  I only had a chance to take these couple of pictures, but she has a gallery with tons more here.

But on to my class...  I was very excited about taking a class with Sharon.  She came to our guild several months ago but I had a nasty case of the flu and missed it.  However, a number of guild members who attended her lecture and classes filled me in a bit on her personality.  She is a colorful character and she's the first to admit it.  She believes she is psychic, has synesthesia and can see auras around people.

But whether you believe in that or not, I think everyone can agree that she's a very talented quilter.  (She even won the $100,000 Quilting Challenge in 2007.)  The 3 hour class covered the basics of planning and drafting your quilting designs - particularly feathers.

Sharon in class

She's also a big believer in the Fibonacci sequence in quilting (and life).  If you don't remember this from your math days, starting with 0 and 1, you add 2 previous numbers to get the next number in the sequence.  So 0+1 = 1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3; 2+3=5, etc.  So the sequence goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and so on.  She concentrates on 3 and 5 as the most important numbers when you're doing feathers.

Sample feathers drawn by Sharon

I promise the class really wasn't as dry as I'm making it sound.  Between the demo, her pointing our people's auras and the practice time, the whole class was a hoot.  I had a ton of stories to tell my friends after class.

More samples drawn by Sharon

She also made a good point about the ratio of quilting to piecing/applique/feathers.  I had never heard it put this way, but she suggests that one third of your quilting should be background fillers - like stippling.  The other two thirds needs to be some combination of piecing, applique or feathers.  This variety helps to hold your interest when looking at a quilt.  And after perusing the quilt show, I see what she means.  I'm going to have to pay attention to this when I quilt my next quilt.

Another tip she gave is that feathers need to be clockwise in a traditional quilt.  If your quilt is a mix of traditional and something else, your feathers should be either clockwise or mirrored.  And if you're doing an art quilt - well, pretty much anything goes. 

In class, we focused on drawing our own feathers.  First on a horizontal spine...

My practice feathers

And then we drew them in triangles and a heart...

More practice feathers

The class was also supposed to cover how to transfer your designs to your quilt top.  However, we spent so much time on the drafting portion, she had to zip through that at the end.

But she did give me a tip that I'm really eager to try.  You know the water-soluble blue marking pens?  I've used them a number of times in the past for marking my quilt tops.  You draw your design on your quilt top, quilt it and then wet it to erase the lines.  But I've always cautioned anyone using them not to iron over the marks or they become permanent.  That's always been my experience as well as everyone I've heard use them.

Clover water-soluble marking pen 
(picture copied from their web-site)

Sharon said that if you use the Clover brand (and only this brand) and pre-starch your fabric, that even if you iron over it, it will still come out.  I'm definitely going to have to test this and see if it works.  She also uses starch instead of water to take it out.

I have another marking pen that I also want to test out and when I do, I'll let you know how they both hold up.

Until later...

Lord, please help us to remember that we are always one step away from stupid. 
By Pastor Richard Mills

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