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The Art of Mutual Learning / Episode II


Many of you know that April and May are busier-than-usual months at AGF because it's show (International Spring Quilt Market) time! That's why the time between episodes of this series has been a bit long, but today I'm back with updates (insert spark emojis). To start I want to say that Steph has been an awesome student, focused and serious about learning the art of sewing.

I made up my own curriculum so before we began anything, I gave her a piece of grid paper and told her to design her mini quilt. The only rule was that she could only use squares and rectangles (for her own good at this initial stage), and to use the lines on the paper as stops for each shape. To me that would make the deciphering of the construction a bit easier to explain/understand. So we took a couple of days to define our inspiration and fabric choices. While Steph drew, I designed my mini on the computer. I plan on teaching her that way of doing it in the future, but I feel that grid paper and in general designing analogically at first, would be better in the long run to really understand basics. Sometimes I still prefer that over digital. I know she was inspired by a piece of art, but she will talk more about that on her post. My mini was inspired by one of my favourite themes: Vintage circus (think of the colours, shapes, and performance art, not about the sad animal cruelty that went on in some of these). So these are our very rough drafts in black and white:




They're both very modern, and we will both use prints mixed with solids. So after we revealed our designs to each other, it was math time! I asked her if she liked geometry, and if she had ever played Tetris (my best approach was to tell her to think of a quilt top as a puzzle, and how you have to build it up). We went over some books about the history of quilting, and traditional blocks. 



hint: our outfits reveal a bit of the colouring that will go into our quilts. Steph is the one on the right wearing denim (wink).

Then it was cutting time! First I went over the actual tools and main tips: rotary cutting, cleaning the edges, making sure the ruler is aligned and that you put enough pressure so it will stay in place. How to extend the life of your blade and not ruining both the blade and ruler by using the tools correctly, making sure the blade is parallel to the ruler and not hitting it at an angle. Then I explained to her one of the key things of quilting: The *accurate* 1/4" seam allowance, which is different from garment making (she's also interested in that).

So we calculated all the pieces she needed and added the seam allowances. Her design was a bit tricky to decipher, but she will write about the experience from her point of view. Since my design is all made with HST, I also went over those since they're fun and super versatile. Jeni Baker's book The Half-Square Triangle was very helpful + pretty to look at.

Of course we've laughed a lot. The whole process has made it clear to both of us the amount of knowledge that is needed for the awesome craft of quilt making. While I was teaching I kept on remembering other tips and things I learned from my mentors and from my personal experiences, and it extended our class time a lot. So many things to know about this subject. I can't wait to keep sharing the process with all of you, and of course the final product.


circus poster designed by vecteezy