Category Archives: Quilting

Creating My Own Free Form Quilt: Using the Rayna Gillman Method!

Image

Creating My Own Free Form Quilt: Using the Rayna Gillman Method!

Here’s a photo of my quilt from Friday morning. It is a loose interpretation of Lincoln Park (an awesome park here in Chicago).

I like what is happening in the top 2/3rds of the quilt, but the bottom is feeling too intense — not enough change in value. Plus, I didn’t have many colors for the water. Happily I just received a gift card, so I was able to stock up on watery light & bright blues and calming greens.  (It’s so nice to have a guilt-free shopping expedition–and to support my local quilt shop, Quiltology!)

My computer is having major issues, so I’m sneaking a few minutes on my husband’s computer. (I’m not really sneaking, but it sounds more fun to say I am!!)

I’ll be in touch! Enjoy spring!

Book Review: Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts by Rayna Gillman

Standard

Cover of the book, "Create Your Own Free-Form Quilt" by Rayna Gillman

I picked up Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts by Rayna Gillman from the library. (I love that they will text me when a book I have placed on hold arrives at my local branch!) Unfortunately, I couldn’t read it until late that night. Although I was yawning and my eyes were tearing up, I couldn’t put the book down. Finally, I went to bed, but I was too excited to sleep!

Such is the thrilling life of a quilter!

I see the light!

Cathy holding up fabric for a Kafe Fasset quilt

Getting on my hands and knees for fabric...I find it easiest to use my mat and rotary cutter on the floor.

I’ve dabbled with a couple of versions of free-form quilting, but nothing like this! To me, Rayna Gillman’s methods are a revelation. Rayna makes quilting sound like a mixture of cooking, math and mixed martial arts. In Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts, she explains how she slices, dices, multiplies, divides, rotates and flips!

Once you know her techniques you can find what works for you. As she says, there are no mistakes in free-form quilting.

One step at a time

Rayna gives step-by-step examples of her techniques, each with its own color photo. She auditions many possibilities. Later in the book you see how some of her examples fit into new quilts.

She’s flexible about her methods. If you want to fuse bits and pieces, go for it! (Although she generally sews.) Her rallying cry is, “What if?”

Rayna’s Method: Part A

Rayna encourages you to dive in and sew strips together. She calls this therapy sewing. It helps you see unexpected combinations and gets you moving. If you are really stuck, she says, “Don’t look, just sew.” As you sew you’ll see things you like, then follow your instincts.

Rayna’s Method: Part B

Once you have “strip sets” and modules you like, it’s time to move to the design wall. This begins the “slow design” phase. It is the time to rearrange and reflect. If it works, great! If not, go back to the first phase and more play!

Rayna to the rescue

Rayna Gillman shows how to rescue “the dogs.” By “dogs” she means quilt blocks and tops that you’ve abandoned. You probably are tempted to toss them. Instead, give them therapy! This is my favorite section of the book. She takes some really horrible blocks she made in the 1970s and 1980s and turns them into something current and interesting. Some of her blog readers also accepted the challenge to transform the dogs. I love to see how different people solve the “problem” blocks in different ways.

Quilting color

Rayna includes a terrific chapter about fearless color. She learned from her grandmother, “Nanny,” who embroidered unexpected colors. Her Nanny told her, “Darling, there’s no such thing ‘as doesn’t go’. You can use any colors together as long as you repeat them somewhere.”

Like all the C&T Publishing books I’ve read, the quality is top-notch. (When I write a book, they are one of the publishers I will contact.)

Initial blocks that I created following, "Create Your Own Free Form Quilts".

Blocks on the Quilting Room Floor: Here are first modules that I created following, "Create Your Own Free Form Quilts".

What’s my vote?

I love this book. I’ve already started sewing and slicing a new quilt based on it. Beginning quilters might find this book too free-form. Don’t expect any projects in this book. All the same, you’ve got to check it out. Or, buy it!

You learn more about Rayna and see lots of her work at her website:  www.studio78.net

Enjoy!

P.S. In an up-coming post, I ‘ll show you step-by-step, how I followed Rayna’s methods to create my own free-form quilt!

My latest quilty activity

Standard

I am using extra quilt fabric by making a Flying Geese quilt. For the blue-edged triangles I’m using one of my hub’s old button down shirts (a tiny check). As I work I put the pieces on my flannel design board. In the process I discovered that this block makes several designs.

I’m trying to decide which layout to use.

What do you think?

Should I do Zig Zag or columns?

The Flying Geese quilt block set in columns.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe... I don't know which to choose. I like both designs!

A horizontal zig-zag pattern made of the same flying geese quilt blocks.

A horizontal zig-zag pattern. I would add more blocks with the lavender and maybe other colors too.

Maybe I’ll do both.

Thanks!

Aside
Patchwork Quilt. Photo credit: Katie Pedersen – sewkatiedid@gmail.com

Katie Pedersen's quilts and tutorials are so inspiring!

Serendipity struck again! I had JUST posted an invite to friends to join me for a quilting party when I saw this awesome photo tutorial about quilting! This link shows you how to  efficiently make two-color squares like the ones shown in the picture.

I love Katie Pedersen’s use of color: in this picture she uses scrappy, multi-colored fabric. What holds the quilt together is the contrast between the lights and the brights set in an off-center diamond pattern.

I will show some of MY quilts in future blogs.

See the tutorial by Katie Pedersen of Sew Katie Did!

http://sewkatiedid.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/value-quilts-tutorial/

Check it out: Sew Katie Did — a tutorial