I’m Back! A Workshop, and a Finish!

Wow! It’s been nearly three weeks since I wrote my last post. What happened?  Life, that’s what.

It was not bad, just busy. Well, maybe a little difficult. One week featured an expensive visit by a plumber and the simultaneous failure of several appliances. Then another week was taken up with dental appointments and a meeting with my art quilt group. The next week, a fire in the furnace, a 9-1-1 call and a potentially serious medical problem that turned out to be not serious. Then a weekend out of town.

But that is not to say I got nothing done in July. On July 18, I attended a workshop called “Broken Color” by Denise Oyama Miller. This was the first actual sewing/quilting workshop I have ever attended, and I enjoyed it very much. The Broken Color technique involves fused raw-edge applique, where each piece is outlined in the background (foundation fabric) which lends a definition and line to the individual pieces. The cutting of the fusing web and pieces simultaneously keeps the edges of each piece fairly clean. I have an idea you’ll hear more about later, and have been searching for the right technique to execute it. This technique will help, but I am still looking for the best way to keep the edges of the pieces clean and free of ravelling. For that, I’m working with Lara Buccella’s technique explained in her book Crafted Applique.

I had a very hard time choosing an image for my learning piece for the workshop. I didn’t want to do a flower…so many people have done them and they are very beautiful, but I wanted something different. After much dithering, I chose a photo I had taken on a weekend visit with some dear old friends at their second home in Fort Bragg, CA. We went to the museum there, at my request, as I have ancestors who lived in that town for a time and I hoped I’d find some information about them. The photo was of the stained glass windows in the stairwell in the old building that houses the Guest House Museum. The building was constructed in 1892, using local redwood lumber. There was no attribution for the windows, but they were very ornate and beautiful. IMG_2534I enlarged the bottom center panel to use as a design for my workshop project.

IMG_2534Of course the first words out of Denise’s mouth were “be sure for your first project, to choose a design without too many small pieces, and try to keep them at least 1/2″ in size, not smaller”. Uh-oh. I started counting and came up just short of 200. Most of them were under 1/2″. But I was stuck, having drawn the cartoon/pattern for it and so I proceeded with my design. It was a fun workshop, a very nice play day with nice people, and though I didn’t make much headway there, I was excited enough to come home and spend time working on it until it was done. I have given it as a gift to our old pals who hosted us on our weekend in FB. Here is the photo I based my piece on, and a detail of the panel I used for my design.


And here is my finished quilt, 11″ x 17″, fused applique, machine quilted using invisible thread. I was not able to find fabric colors that were exactly like those in the photo. In particular, I had trouble with the light background pieces. In my rendition they are a pale blue-gray, which was purchased, as was the mottled dark gray background, to simulate the lead in the stained glass. The rest of the fabrics were more successful, and inspired the piece. They were mostly hand-dyed fabrics that I won in a drawing on Vicki Welsh’s blog Colorways earlier this year. I used a piece that I colored myself with Dye-na-Flow fabric paints, for the yellowish border. Only the light and dark gray background pieces were purchased. Even though the colors aren’t a perfect match to the original, I’m satisfied with the piece. I like the way the lines echo the original, and are imprecise and wavering. It is what gives some of the old stained glass windows much of their character, and this technique, with its hand drawing, and hand-cutting of pieces, helped to maintain that look. I gave it to my dear friend and hostess yesterday, and she seemed delighted with it! It will hang in their weekend home!


And, I have not totally neglected my Made on Monday pieces. Stay tuned, I’ll be back tomorrow with the latest on that!



8 thoughts on “I’m Back! A Workshop, and a Finish!

  1. Good to see you. 🙂 The stained glass window is very effective. What a great gift for your friends. Do you think you’ll try this technique again? I have a picture drawn by my son when he was about 10 that I’ve long thought to turn into a quilt. I think this would work, at least the idea of it. Thanks for sharing.


    • Thanks, Melanie! Yes I do plan to work with this technique some more. I enjoyed the process, as a matter of fact. Like making a mosaic or puzzle.

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  2. Wow what a wonderful image to work from and what a beautiful piece you made! Glad everything thing is okay and life stays quieter for you (and just full of fun art projects!)


  3. Good to see you back here, and I’m glad that life has calmed down a bit for you. This workshop sounds fun and it’s a technique with lots of possibilities. Your finished piece is lovely.


  4. I was enjoying random improv for quite awhile, but found that this particular technique has taken me in an interesting new direction. I had an idea about a use for it going in, but now have something completely different in the works.


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