I was fortunate to have my good friend Sue along for the ride. Sue and I met about five years ago at Nancy's Stitch Studio, where we both attended embroidery classes. Three years ago Sue moved to Dunedin so I don't get to see her so much now, though we do keep in touch via email.
|My friend Sue designing her quilt at the workshop|
We started the weekend by going to Kaffe Colour Lecture on Friday night at Expressions Gallery in Upper Hutt (organised by Thimbles and Threads). It was a very interesting and entertaining lecture where Kaffe talked about his love of colour, his career, and how he designs new fabrics - with a paintbrush, NOT on a computer.
On Saturday morning we left home at 8am for the full day workshop organised by Busy Bee Quilt Shop of Wellington. We both had a great time because we went with open minds, and were willing to try anything Kaffe or Brandon suggested. We didn't cut any fabrics before we went, and were pleased that we hadn't. Kaffe started by explaining what we should aim to achieve with the pattern, and we all went off to cut large hexagons for an hour.
About 11am we moved onto the star points. We all trialed many fabric options until we found the perfect fabrics to complement our beautiful hexagons. I kept hearing Kaffe and Brandon say "you won't know til you try it - cut some and put them up".
After a while I removed the star points just below the zig zag block on the left. They were too "flat" when viewed from a distance.
Then I removed the star points at the top right - they were "too black". I'm beginning to sound like Goldilocks, but Kaffe and Brandon really make you study every fabric once it's in place.. Close enough is not good enough, but I now see why their quilts work so well - they put a lot of thought into the placement of every single piece of fabric.
I'm fine with that approach because I hate being rushed and having to make fabric decisions under pressure. I like to stand back and be really sure before I move on. As a result, I got less up on my design wall than some other people, but I love what I have done, and feel confident I've absorbed their messages and can finish building the quilt at home by myself.
The rest of the day was spent filling in our design walls as much as possible, and even thinking about possible borders. Brandon thought the teal blue would make a good skinny border for my quilt, but I'm not 100% convinced yet. However, because the suggestion came from Brandon Malby, I'll continue to mull over it.
Then Kaffe went around the room and made comments about every quilt. He even gave some tips for possible future steps - what to accentuate, and what to be wary of.
It would have been easy for me to work in the blues, greens and purples in the book (because they are my favourite colours), but I wanted to push my own boundaries and try something new. I'm so pleased I did, because with Brandon and Kaffe's help I've started a great quilt. It will be totally different to any others I've made to date.
I took all the above fabrics along because I loved this orange quilt which was on display at the Kaffe Fassett booth at the UK Festival of Quilts 2015. (not that I was there - this photo was all over Instagram)
I thought I would do orange blooms with the black / purple spot for star points. However, once Kaffe explained how to make the most of the pattern, I knew the black / purple spot would be too dark. Fortunately I had some greys with me, and I've ended up using them for the star points. Kaffe described them as "mens' suiting" greys which seemed a very appropriate description.
This was the first time I'd used a design wall, but the day after the course my kind husband went to Bunnings and bought a wooden rail and cup hooks so I could hang my design wall in the hall way. It's perfect because I will just put it up when I need it, but I can stand a long way back and ponder my choices. Kaffe spent a large amount of time just sitting on a chair, studying the quilts on the design walls, so I'm going to do that too in future.
|a wooden rod 16mm thick, and 3 big laminated cup hooks|
And some closing memories of a great day:
|Sue's quilt in the centre|
If Kaffe and Brandon come to New Zealand again I'd be sure to do another course with them. It's not so much about the pattern chosen for the class, but about everything else you pick up from them during the day. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to attend.