Cut-Loose Quilts Class Plan

By Jan Mullen

Editorz Note: We have left Jan's personal spelling quirks as-is in this lesson plan!

This is a book with a multitude of uses, outcomes and ways to teach. I would like to introduce you to the some of the ways I have taught techniques from Cut-Loose Quilts: Stack, Slice, Switch, and Sew by Jan Mullen.

Here are five different approaches to start you off:
1. Cut Loose Completely - 8 x 3 hour sessions
2. Covering the Basic Units - 2 days
3. Cut Loose by Chapter - 1 day
4. Cut-Loose Deconstruction - 1 day
5. Cut-Loose Project - 1 or 2 days

I teach quite informally and tailor each class to the participants. I tend not to restrict classes to any set level. I often find the beginners adapt better to my techniques than those of great experience, but you must be prepared to let the faster students make extra blocks rather than waiting.

The book is full of recipes to re-size the units but I tend not to teach with math dominating. Concentrate on teaching basic techniques first, then combining units, then finally you can get to re-sizing if it suits what you are teaching and the math capabilities of your students. Generally I will demonstrate the unit or block and get them straight to the machine while the technique is fresh. Sometimes it is fine to demonstrate a few units that build on each other before they stitch. If you are teaching them to re-size a block, remember that most of your students have better visual rather than mathematical capabilities, so get them sketching with this method:
a. roughly sketch the block shape,
b. write on the finished size, both length and width
c. roughly sketch the outer seam allowances,
d. write on this 1/2", along both the length and width
e. roughly draw in the slice lines
f. write on the extra 1/2" along each slice line
g. add up the length and width measurements

Required text: Cut-Loose Quilts by Jan Mullen
Chapter 2 will give you all the information on equipment needed. I encourage participants to bring a basket of fabrics that they want to use; yardage, scraps or fat quarters can all work well. You may like to put a general fabric kit/pack together - 10-12 coordinating fat quarters, presented nicely, should get them well underway - they can then go shopping to add individual touches - they love to slip away and do a bit of spending! It is easy to cater to different tastes by offering a few "flavors" of these packs - bright, country, pretty, etc. ...

CUT LOOSE COMPLETELY - 8 x 3 hour sessions
Makes a Sampler Quilt like those in Chapter 8. Demonstrate each block or a group of blocks followed swiftly by group stitching. You can use block sizings in the example boxes or work out/help them work out more uniform measurements, e.g., 12" divisible to make settings easier. They can make more blocks for homework as desired.
Week 1 - Rectanglez
Week 2 - Trianglez
Week 3 - Logz
Week 4 - Curvez
Week 5 - Combining Units: Pinwheelz & Beggar Block Butterfliez,
Week 6 - Combining Units: Churn Dashez & Milky Wayz
Week 7 - Combining Units: Snailz Trailz & Devilz Clawz
Week 8 - Putting them together. A group play session where blocks are arranged ready for stitching together. Talk about color, texture, different settings, and general design to help them understand why a block will look better placed this, not that way.

Makes a small sampler quilt. Two days of demonstrating blocks using the sizes and recipes in the example boxes. Almost math free! Show each unit and get them stitching.
1. Rectanglez & Trianglez
2. Logz & Curvez
The quick and canny can start to make extra blocks or combine techniques without holding up the beginners.

Makes a variety of blocks to be used as desired (floor cushion, mat bag, etc.) Choose Rectanglez, Trianglez, Logz, or Curvez. Demonstrate using the recipes in the example boxes (or give them resized uniform recipes, e.g., all 6"). Get them stitching. Introduce them to changing the size of the units if you like. They can also make a block from the projects at the end of the chapter. You may enjoy taking them through the "Extending the Options" pages - this can be a lot of fun and a great way to end the session.

Here we look at the blocks in Chapter 7 and work backwards - we learn how to deconstruct a block and make it up from the applicable units. For example: RECTANGLEZ + TRIANGLEZ = CHURN DASHEZ The original Churn Dash block is made of a nine-patch, two-patch, and half-square triangles. In Cut-Loose Land we use Nine-Patchez, Cover Corner Rectanglez, and Cover Corner Trianglez. Demonstrate the units involved, then the Churn Dashez block. Teach them how to resize if desired. Look at other blocks with similar make-up (Sawtooth Starz, Milky Wayz). Look at constructing your own block with these units (cut 16 patchez, squish or stretch the blocks, cover different parts - have fun!) Makes one repeated block or a variety of similar look. Students may choose to continue to make a quilt at home.

CUT-LOOSE PROJECT - 1 or 2 day
Choose one of the 18 projects in the book. Show the class how to make the block. If it is from Chapter 7, I suggest you show them first how to make up the basic units first, then the "combined" block. Have them make a sample block. Talk about what sort of quilt they want, what size quilt, what size blocks, what type of setting, their theme, and fabrics. Show them how to use the recipes to resize if need be. Get them stitching! Makes a quilt to their requirements.


Jan Mullen - Stargazey Quilts
9-100 Stirling Highway
North Fremantle, Western Australia, 6159