Sunday, 9 October 2011

I'm really stuck...

I started this project a few weeks back with the idea that I would get a full day workshop out of it for later this year (for my Bearpaw Craft Classes venture at the shop). I have made these string blocks using the QAYG (quilt-as-you-go) method which I first tried out making blocks for the Quilts for Christchurch appeal back here. I love the fact that the quilting is all done with piecing (and very neatly for me!), and that all you have to do to finish is hand sew the big blocks together on the back.

As I was sewing this together I was really falling in love with the colour palette I'd chosen. It's quite an unusual one for me but I had just got all this lovely new fabric from Dolores, Leila, My Fabric House and as extras with my DQS11 from ladmquilter, and I felt really inspired and excited to put them all together.
The original idea was to make a 4 block mini quilt as a finished project. But as I worked on this I realised I would not fit this into a day workshop and also each student would need quite a bit of space to lay out the 4 blocks as they worked. So when I had got this far I thought I would leave it and make it into a full sized quilt and offer it as an evening class block of 5 next year.

But as time has gone on I am sure about it less and less. First of all I am not sure about the grey sashing (it is Moda Bella Grey), maybe white would be better? Also I think the sashing is too wide and maybe a half inch width would look better (and would be much easier for students to achieve).
And now I am wondering about the whole evening class idea again - I think it would be too boring to be sewing these blocks week after week and, as my students all seem to be quilting beginners, they would be not learning any of the more traditional quilt making instructions. Maybe I could base a full day workshop on teaching the actual QAYG technique, where everybody tried out the method but we weren't under any pressure to actually finish anything?

Aaarrghh! I am not getting anywhere here but maybe you lot could help? You are all so wise and creative and I would really appreciate your honest opinion. I don't like to leave stuff unfinished. Even if I don't turn this into a class would this make a nice quilt with 16 blocks and white sashing?
Any help would be gratefully received (and let's just hope you actually get to read this post - fingers crossed Blogger!).


  1. The gray definitely does not work with those shades;)
    It depends on the ladies likes, but how about a thinner black sashing, that would make the colors pop and work with any colors in the strips.


  2. hmm I agree the grey sashing isn't working and I like the idea of black instead.

    I think this would make a lovely cushion. I would use the string block as a paper piecing workshop. Show the ladies how to paper piece the four blocks they would need to make a cushion cover.
    As for QAYG I like log cabin blocks and they are pretty beginner friendly as well. The ladies could decide if they'd just like to do one block as a mini quilt/placemat/cushion cover etc. or carry on and do a whole quilt.

  3. I agree the gray isn't doing it for me, needs more pizzaz for those colours. As for the classes, I used to teach evening classes at the local school and most people wanted to learn something new each week, or build on the skills they had already larned. For a whole days workshop I would concentrate on one thing and getting them through as much of it as possible so there was not a lot to finish off at home. Good luck with whatever you decide, it's not an easy one and depends very much on the personalities you have in the classes. :)

  4. I have never made a quilt before, but I do really like your string blocks. I agree with the other ladies about the gray not working but I would think that a bright color from within the blocks, like the orange or pink, in a thin sashing would complement without taking away from the beauty of the blocks. It is certainly possible that I don't know what I am suggesting, though:) As I stated earlier, I have never quilted; I just really love the blocks you made:)

  5. I agree that the grey is not working - I like Leila's ideas for smaller projects - which, with a little homework could be done over a 2 or 3 week evening class - but I know your problem as most folk want to come to a class and finish what they are working on - I'll have a think and see if an alternative solution comes to me

  6. Hi Jo ... I'm with the others ... a darker grey like Kona Pepper would look wonderful I think ... or even a dark bright like eggplant? narrower sashing too, yes ...

    I think a longer project is still great for evening class... if they have the other 3 blocks for homework and then you start something different the next week.

    ... you could then have a 'surgery' class at the end where they can bring all the stuff they're having trouble with, perhaps?

    I'm so sorry I haven't replied about your blogger problems I've been up to my neck in work poo ... email me if you're still having probs and I'll have a dig around ...

  7. Just a thought . . . you could offer the QAYG blocks classes with the spin of charity quilts on it . . . Jan Mac is always collecting QAYG blocks and turning them into amazing quilts for causes around the world.
    OR:- I do think QAYG blocks into a pillow would be good
    And I think black sashing too . . . and this would make an awesome quilt!

  8. I am on a big stitch kick... You could use some bright perle cotton stitches to give the grey a little pazazz : )

  9. Well I am with all of the above on the grey. Maybe if you want to do this method as a quick finish you could so a small mug rug - I made one with some really skinny scraps as QAYG and it was very fast and satisfying!

  10. Or maybe the four blocks in Christmassy fabrics, to be used as a table runner or candle mat?

  11. Oooo I like the blocks, but would sash in white I think, or the Kona pepper which is a gorgeous colour. As for the classes, how about a cushion cover using those techniques? Achievable and take-home-able!

  12. Sorry, I'm another grey-hater for the sashing. I'd go either white or very dark, and narrower round the edges.

    As for the classes, as it's a position I'm in myself, I'd like to do either a day and walk away with something - eg a cushion, place mat, mug rug, OR an evening class with a different block a week - so a series of QAYG blocks where this was just one of them - and I don't think you'd have to have 4 of them, a single block would work to attach to other things learned on other weeks :o)

  13. Sorry I have not read other comments so might repeat some of the suggestions.

    I do agree with making sashing white and narrower, but I warn you that I'm going through white phase and I'm using it far more that it would be normal.

    As for the class. Quilt as you go is a great skill I'm yet to try out. If you are scared it will be moring make the four blocks different. Sort of 4 block sampler and each block can be quilted slightly differently (perhaps a mix of straight line quilting and free motion quilting). So they would learn different piecing and quilting skills AND QAYG technique.

    PS I love your colour scheme.

  14. As a beginner, who has made abour 20 of those string blocks, I agree it could get monotonous and there's not much to be gained knowledge-wise. Could they perhaps make a table runner, placemats or even a mug rug and learn the required techniques?

  15. I like the idea of white sashing, black is dramatic, but white will make the blocks brighter. I do think doing a string quilt would get boring as a class, how about a wall hanging with four string blocks as the center and build from there. Sashing, borders, other blocks as corners. I actually just made a quilt like that and it came out beautiful.

  16. Nope the grey doesnt work .....Id be tempted to use a bright cheery yellow but narrower as you suggest yourself.
    Could you ask the group to make one larger strip square, but then cut them diagonally into 4 triangles.
    Then piece them back together into the square but mixing up each colour banding to give a 'patchworked' effect?... Either blanket stitch the triangles back together ( sort of alternate sides for each blanket..stitch) and band between the square blocks as you have done.....
    Maybe group members could swap a couple of triangles with their neighbours, so they have a real mix of sized strips and fabric choices? It might make a good cushion front or wall hanging in its own right?

  17. I'm afraid I agree about the grey not working and would try either a darker grey/black or perhaps an orange or aubergine. I think it would be good as a class - how about either a string or log cabin QAYG Christmas table runner or shopping bag, that way they're learning the QAYG technique (and how to join the blocks) and how to either bind or make a simple bag - at least two techniques (plus some colour theory!) in one!

  18. Love the fabrics in the quilt. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I've out a note in my comments about the wool. xx

  19. So much great advice, I agree with all of those clever commenters. I like the idea of a darker sashing, black or eggplant would look great! And a table runner with a log cabin in the center and two of these block each side?It's about learning the technique and if anyone wants to do homework and make a quilt they can. It'll all work out once you start.