by Joen Wolfrom
Patchwork Persuasion's concepts have been divided into seven complete classes. These classes could be one long-term class or seven individual classes. The suggested class titles are: (1) Creating Wonderful One-Block Quilts; (2) Creating Great Quilts with Beautiful Block Blends; (3) Merging Patterns Through Block Explosions; (4) Creating Super Quilts using Wonder Blocks; (5) Creating Amazing Traditional Quilts Through Innovative Ideas; (6) Fascinating Block Contortions; and (7) Creating Exciting Innovative Quilts from Old-Time Favorites. Feel free to change the names of these classes to fit your needs.
Most classes are divided into four sessions of three-hour length. You may change this plan to fit your needs. Feel free to divide these concepts into more classes, if you wish. Also you may decide to add more hours to each session. Generally, each class covers one concept or related group of concepts. Each class includes one or more design projects. All classes have several quilt project options from which to choose. The degree of difficulty for each class is listed (novice, intermediate, advanced).
It is not necessary to make or have quilt samples to teach this class. There are too many concepts for this to be time effective for you. Therefore, you have my permission to use any illustrations in Patchwork Persuasion for examples in your class discussions. You may reproduce and enlarge these color illustrations specifically for class use.
CLASS ONE: CREATING WONDERFUL ONE-BLOCK QUILTS
Goals: Each student will design and create a beautifully designed one-block pattern quilt. Before beginning the quilt, students will experiment with several design ideas. The concepts presented in this class are taken from Chapter One: Setting the Stage, pages 17-27, and Chapter Two: Enhancing One-Block Designs, pages 28-42.
Novice and Intermediate Levels
PROJECTED CLASS DIVISION
Four sessions (minimum: three hours each session)
GENERAL STUDENT EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Bring several large sheets of drawing paper (plain white paper, e.g. 13" x 17"), ruler, paper scissors, eraser, correction fluid, glue stick, masking tape, pencil, pen, and color pencils (or water color pencils, if you have them); optional: 12" colored drafting triangle (either 90/45/45 degrees or 90/60/30 degrees).
Also Include: Bring approximately 100 paper copies of a favorite block with which you wish to work. These paper blocks should be large enough for easy cutting and repositioning, yet small enough to incorporate many blocks on one sheet of paper (suggested size: 2" minimum size; 4" maximum).
Additional: Template material, several paper block copies of selected block pattern for quilt project; sewing machine, extension cord, thread, needles, fabric scissors, cutting board and rotary cutter, and other sewing tools; fabric for the project; flannel or other fabric for design wall.
CONCEPT ONE: FOOLPROOF QUILT DESIGN BASICS
Present ideas for creating well-designed quilts: horizontal uneven rule; fitting the block design to the bed mattress size (source: Chapter One, pages 17-27).
Note: If some students wish to make a wall quilt, be certain to present the Golden Mean ratio for good proportions between the width and length of a wall quilt. This information and a proportional chart can be found in The Visual Dance, Chapter Five: Proportion and Scale, pages 64 and 65. The Golden Mean should be presented as a guide rather than an unbroken rule.
Have students make two paper quilts with part of their paper blocks: (a) Using sixteen blocks, glue in place four blocks horizontally and vertically on a background sheet of paper. (b) Using twenty-five blocks, glue in place five blocks horizontally and vertically on a background sheet of paper. Have each student place her two paper quilts on the wall. Discuss the design changes in each set of paper quilts.
CONCEPT TWO: BLOCK CHARACTERISTICS
Introduce the different block personality traits. Show examples of isolated block patterns; then show these patterns in a multiple-block setting. Next show examples of block patterns that naturally interact with their neighboring blocks. Point out these pattern characteristics. Show these block patterns in multiple-block settings. Provide examples of each type of block pattern, so the students can see clearly the difference between the design styles (source: Chapter Two, pages 28-35).
With the exercise from Student Activity A (above), have students observe which paper quilts were made from isolated patterns, and which were made from interacting blocks. Have each person decide which type of block design she prefers, and which she thinks is least effective. Suggest each quilter work with blocks in her preferred pattern style.
Present the idea that some patterns will look better if the blocks are placed in a diagonal setting. Show examples of this concept. Explain the gain of block and quilt size, if the original block is not decreased in size for a diagonal setting. Show an example of how the block increases its size diagonally. Also show how small a block must be designed to fit the original block size when set diagonally. Present the Pythagorean theorem and its uses when working with diagonal settings. Show the diagonal-measurement chart for block-size conversions on page 37 of Patchwork Persuasion.
Have each student make a paper quilt with her blocks placed in a diagonal setting on the background paper. Place the paper quilts on the wall. Observe the design changes between the traditional and diagonal settings. Also notice the size difference between the two quilts.
Have students measure the difference between their traditionally-set quilts and their diagonally set quilts. Have each student figure what size block she should have used, if both quilts were to be the same size. Students should first work with the Pythagorean theorem. Have them check their measurements with the chart.
USING A PATTERN TO CREATE AN UNRELATED DESIGN
Present the idea of using a multiple block setting to create an unrelated design, such as a scene, a close-up picture of flowers, or another equally innovative or unexpected design. The block's pattern pieces become mere design tools to create a design (source: page 36). To create such a quilt, construction may be done in blocks or rows.
Each student should glue a paper quilt (optional size: 5 horizontal blocks x 6 vertical blocks) onto a background paper. Have students study their overall pattern. As ideas evolve in their minds, have them write down their thoughts. They should ignore the individual block boundaries; instead, they should use the entire quilt surface for their design. When one idea becomes firm, have the student color her design. Once completed, have students place the designs on the wall. Allow students time to make suggestions to enhance either their own designs or another person's design.
Present ideas for using fabric to increase a design's interest and beauty. Only a summary of ideas is found in Patchwork Persuasion (source: Chapter Two: Enhancing One-Block Designs, page 35), because this subject was covered extensively in two earlier books.
To provide a more detailed presentation to your class instruction, however, please present the information give in these additional texts: (a) The Visual Dance, Chapter Seven: The Quilter's Palette-Fabric (pages 104-110). Ideas presented include buying and selecting fabrics; making wise choices, staying away from problem-plagued fabrics, looking for the elusively clear fabrics, and providing individualism through fabric choices; and (b) The Magical Effects of Color, Chapter Seven: Blending Fabric and Design Harmoniously, (pages 51-58). This text provides information about buying tint fabrics, buying fabric in innovative ways, using a large variety of fabric designs, using solid-colored fabrics, working with calicos, recognizing problem-print fabrics, using fabrics which provide special effects, working with fabrics requiring special considerations such as plaids, stripes and checks.
Have students finish any exercises not completed in class.
Also each student needs to select a block pattern to use with her quilt project. Have each quilter use this selected block pattern in four different paper settings: (a) traditional - even number of blocks horizontally; (b) traditional -- uneven number of blocks horizontally; (c) diagonal setting; and (d) an unrelated design using the block pattern shapes as tools to create an unexpected design. Have students bring these four examples to class. At least one design should be based on the Golden Mean ratio.
Quilters should begin selecting fabrics for their class quilt projects.
Have students put their homework on the wall. Discuss the different paper quilts: their strengths, weaknesses, and successes. Have each person determine which plan she shall use for her quilt project design. Also, quilt size, block size, and number of blocks needed should be determined.
PLANNING A BEAUTIFUL BORDER
Present the border's purpose: to support, enhance, complete an effect, or give visual closure to the overall design. Also introduce the border guidelines for color, fabric use, shapes, pattern, and size. Discuss other border guidelines: (a) the border is not the place to introduce a new idea or image to the design; (b) the border is never to play the quilts dominant role.
Only a summary of border ideas is found in Chapter One (pages 26-27), because this subject was covered extensively in The Visual Dance. To provide a more detailed presentation for your class instruction, also present the information give in The Visual Dance, Border Enhancement-An Area of Great Concern, pages 127-131.
Have each student determine her quilt's appropriate border size. Then have her begin designing at least one border design to be considered for her quilt.
DRAFTING A PATTERN
Present drafting instructions, if this skill is not adequately known in the class. If you wish to teach drafting with proportional gridding, you will find a summary of drafting instructions given for patch-pattern blocks and eight-pointed star designs in Appendix II, pages 120-123 of The Magical Effects of Color.
Have students draft their block pattern in the size they wish. Then have them make the needed templates from their favorite template material. Make certain seam allowances are drawn, if the quilt is to be machine pieces. Templates should be labeled.
Present any fabric straightening hints, construction hints, and other technical tips you believe will be needed by your students prior to commencing on their projects.
Have students working on their quilt projects as time allows.
Have each student plan at least two additional borders for her quilt project. Have each student construct as many blocks (or rows) as possible in her quilt project.
Have students place their border designs next to their overall designs. Discuss the different border plans: their strengths, weaknesses, and successes. Have each person choose the border plan she shall use in her design.
ADDITIONAL TECHNICAL HINTS
Present any additional construction or technical suggestions you think are important to share with your students.
Have students work on their quilt project. Give help whenever needed.
Have students attempt to finish the blocks (or rows) of their overall quilt design at home. Have students draft and make templates for their border design.
Have students share their quilt projects with each other. Discuss any construction or design problems. Give suggestions or ideas.
Have students begin working on their border design.
QUILTING AND FINISHING TECHNIQUES
Present the tasks of the quilting stitch: to add texture; to add a secondary design; and to enhance the overall design. For a detailed presentation about quilting, present the information give in The Visual Dance, Chapter Eight: Enhancing Through Texture-The Quilting Line, pages 111-117. Share your favorite quilting tools and techniques for both hand and machine quilting.
Have students complete their quilt project at home.
Plan a quilt show or informal group gathering in the near future to share the class' finished quilts.