Fast forward to last month when I received an email from Gwen asking if I'd be interested in reviewing her latest workshop, an online class on the American Quilter's Society iquilt platform. The workshop is called Abstract Quilts in Solids - of course I immediately said YES! This would be the perfect opportunity to learn more from one of my quilting idols while playing with a box of strippy scraps I recently bought from an IG destash. The colours are not my usual fare, so I figured having specific class techniques to try would be the perfect way to just use them and not obsess over what to make.
Strippy scraps purchased on IG destash from Pink Castle Fabric. These are leftovers from their Mocassin BOM. A fun colour challenge for me!
Gwen's class is divided into six lessons. The entire class is 2 hours and 20 minutes long, but there's no need to watch it from start to finish. Instead, I watched the intro, then one or two lessons at each sitting. That's the beauty of an online class: sipping your favourite drink in your jammies while learning from a master teacher on your own schedule! It is my goal to make a mini quilt from each lesson to practice the techniques, but also to force myself to use these crazy bright colours and (gasp) brown together.
The centre block of my string quilt.
It doesn't take long into Gwen's introduction segment to know you are in expert hands. Gwen's ease and relaxed approach really set the stage for her no-fuss lessons to come. I especially loved her explanation of why she finds solid fabrics painterly: she says "when you buy paint, it comes in solid colours, it doesn't come in Aunt Gracie." In addition, Gwen goes on to say that solids allow you to see the piecing angles and shapes and even lines of quilting more clearly. So true!
I've modelled this layout on one of the example quilts Gwen shares in her "string quilt" lesson.
Here's my string quilt called "Blowing My Hair Back I" it measures around 22" square. The name comes from the hilarious expression I learned from a taxi-driver in Juneau who said "whatever blows your hair back" - equivalent to "whatever turns your crank". In this case, these wild colours are literally blowing my hair back!
Working in Gwen's style is definitely playtime at the sewing machine. If you're looking to expand your improv piecing repertoire, or just take a break from precision pattern sewing, I highly recommend this class. You'll quickly see why Gwen is a beloved teacher and highly-respected maker of liberated, improvisational quilts. Plus, it's just nice to spend time listening to her wise words and watch her masterful hands at work. Grab your scrap bin and have some fun!
I'll be sharing more class work from Gwen's lessons soon...