Thelma and I signed up for three classes in the four day week of course offerings the Buggy Barn provided. Initially, we intended only to sign up for the two quilt classes offered by Paula Barnes of Red Crinoline Quilts (formerly Bonnie Blue Quilts). Both of us are crazy for Civil War reproduction fabrics and patterns, and had been fans of Paula's forever. We knew we could not possibly go wrong with that choice and we were right. Ultimately, we chose an additional class in an area in which neither of us had any experience, but that's anotherpost!
Paula Barnes is a soft spoken, and extremely gracious Southern lady, who was also a very effective teacher. The first day of class the project was one of her Bonnie Blue patterns called Hill Country Baskets. This pattern would be ideal for a stash reduction project, but because of time contraints and simplicity, a kit was offered as part of the class price. Just take a look at the photo above, every Civil War scrap in your stash would work together in this quilt. The thing that holds it all together is the lattice--a border stripe print. TIP: when you see a border print fabric in colors that you often use, just buy it. Don't even think twice. Of course you can use it as an outer border, but doesn't it add the coolest effect in the lattice? We commonly pass right by these border prints, but come on, let's use our imaginations. These fabrics are fabulous when used well.
The fabric you choose for the setting triangles and the border are going to set the over all look of this quilt. My opinion? Why not wait until you lay out your blocks and lattice and see what "speaks" to you? Sometimes after you finish your blocks, all will be revealed and you will know in just what direction to proceed. If you make this project, you may have a preponderance of greens or blues or browns in your stash (and your finished blocks), and those colors might be more effective in your setting triangles and borders. Just wait and see is my advice.
Aren't these blocks adorable? Another TIP: buy fat quarters or half yards of good background fabrics constantly. If you are on a shop hop, don't come home without some good backgrounds. Every stash benefits from a good and plentiful assortment of these. Scrappy backgrounds are wonderful, and are going to be with us for the foreseeable future. Our quilting predecessors used multiple scraps of what they had on hand, and it makes for a much more authentic Civil War reproduction project.
So here is another TIP, this time from Paula. She likes to lay out her block units on a tray and assembly line sew them together in sets of five or six blocks. She was telling us that she recently purchased a baker's rack (you know--you've seen them a million times--it's a metal rack with very narrow slots for holding baking sheets that contain rolls or other baked goods). She organizes her block units on rimmed baking sheets and pulls a tray out and sews her units whenever she gets a chance. Brilliant, huh?
Most of us either don't have access to a baker's rack, or the room to squeeze it into our sewing rooms, but one little tray could achieve the same purpose. I kind of like how my units to be sewn are all organized and together there.
I will be posting all week and probably into next week on this marvelous trip and all that we learned. I have another vacation coming up, and will set some posts to publish while I am away. This time I will be organized, and also have enough blog fodder to keep you all entertained while I am off.
Where am I going next? Ireland!! I am going to visit my son and his fiancee Mary Ann, and cannot wait!