Making Fabric

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, past president of the New York City Mod Quilt Guild and author of 15 Minutes of Play. The lecture took place in my hometown of Waupaca, Wisconsin, and was presented by the Pieceful Hands Quilt Guild, which just happens to be the guild my mom is a member of. What a great event! The guild provided snacks and drinks beforehand. And some of the members even created quilt tops, using Victoria’s techniques, to cover the tables (how thoughtful was that!).

Victoria tablecloth

Victoria tablecloth 2

About 140 people attended the lecture, and every single one of them left inspired.

Victoria quilts

Victoria talked a bit about her central Minnesota upbringing  (those of us from central Wisconsin could relate) and shared her inspiration for 15 minutes of play, on which she based a website and the book. And, of course, she showed some fabulous quilts. I didn’t get any good photos, I’m afraid—just the peek of the table afterward, above.

My two main take-aways from the lecture were: If you have some blocks that no longer inspire you (or ones that you’ve bought or have been given), look at them to find what you like about them. Then use that as the starting point for figuring out what to do next. If it’s a project I’ve set aside, I know I tend to only see what I don’t like about the project, so that was actually a helpful revelation for me. Secondly, in those 15 minutes that you play each day, consider making fabric (Victoria’s term for sewing together small bits of fabric to get larger pieces that you then use as you would a non-pieced piece of fabric). The made fabric can be used to tie together random blocks, or it can be the starting point of a quilt. And those bits of fabric don’t need to be scraps from other projects—you can make scraps by cutting apart your yardage fabric, too.

Mom and I were among those inspired by the lecture, so the next morning, Mom pulled out some blocks she’d made many years ago in fabrics much darker than her current palette.

star blocks 2

Our first step was to look at the blocks and say what we liked about them. Mom said that she liked the scrappiness of the stars (which are pretty much made fabric themselves) and the bits of white that pop up in many of the blocks. (I said I liked the bits of pink that popped up—Mom cringed.) So next, we went through her stash, pulled out the white or white-ish fabric (plus a few pinks), and started to make fabric.

making fabric

From that fabric, Mom may make sashing (maybe making it wonky so the stars become dancing stars), or she may mix it with the stars in some other way. However it turns out, she is excited about these blocks again! And we’re both excited to cut into our yardage to make scraps to make fabric! (We haven’t worked up the courage to actually do that yet—but we’re excited about the possibilities once we do.)

Thanks to the Pieceful Hands Quilt Guild and to Victoria Findlay Wolfe for a truly fun and inspiring evening. To read Victoria’s take on the event, check out her blog post here.

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