Building a Square with Scissors


10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting


Lesson Info

Building a Square with Scissors

So is anyone working on the ones with the scissors? Jenny please weigh say a quoting comes in the category off hobby so it you don't like the word hobby I know, you know I know it's a perfectly legitimate no, I mean it's it's a lot of sewing yes, ok it's yeah, yeah, I don't know I just whenever sometimes people say hobby, whether it's hobby selling or hobby on a model airplane building word hobby in front of it implies that it's not doesn't have the same kind of value, but so yes doesn't come into the category of selling absolutely hobby. I can't speak to that's your vision, okay, you know that there's so I think that there's so it started off back in the good old days, you know, there was a traditional quilts, there were the the quotes that you think of the, you know, I don't know that the new nine patches or the double wedding rings or whatever, so you think of a traditional block and then in the sea, seventies and sixties and seventies and eighties, there started to be this like mov...

ement toward what they called art quilting. So you took the techniques that you learned in making a quilt, but you made a piece that was definitely meant for the wallet wasn't mentor gallery, it wasn't meant for for, you know, bed anymore, but it used the same techniques and that's what a lot of folks got into dying fabric, and so it it you nose, and and that that was one aspect, and then and then from there, I think some people, especially lately I have taken some of the inspiration that's come from art quilty and said, no, I don't really wanna pace, it just hangs on my wall I wanted and that's actually, what brought me to making more kind of functional quilt is that, you know, you run out of wall space and you run out of, you know, it doesn't feel that for me, it didn't feel as as much like I connect people through my quotes and really quilting is is a great way to feel like you connect to other people there really nothing better, even if they if the person doesn't appreciate the quilt as much as he'd like them to this, no more like you were saying holly, about that you said that you made your husband quilter? Yes, yes, there's is there a better way to tell somebody how much you care about them than to make them? Something is fabulous is a quote? I don't think so, you know, motivates me is I like maybe making things and giving it away so I made my husband and he's an animator so I made him I took all his swag t shirt to matus sir but then he works with a bunch of other animators so I was able to grabbed their t shirts and even though they had worked on similar films it was so funny to see the different paths that they take it told the story right in the path and they loved it and they you know yeah it's it's good to give the other artists because they definitely appreciate it but then their kids love it so it works it goes all around I think I work for the ah ha factor you did that that's definitely one of the parkes is being able to say you know when someone says you know you made that yeah, I made that you know? So all right making some progress on my um my scissors cut one and this would be even more scissor cut if it was really cut you know, if the strips were cut with scissors as well hangings yeah, I've seen I'm quoting done in a church, huh? Yeah, with cross and all right, I think done by one of being, you know, a group of older ladies uh huh and it was something like this brought me to my now was very well done yes I mean, oftentimes in a in a church or community center there'll be a group of women primarily women men are men are allowed to call to the tokyo it's ok, we'll give you a special like dispensation um and uh um yeah and they'll ville collect fabric or and they'll make quote oftentimes for for charitable purple sounds great, okay, so yeah, I'm almost done with this one and it's not is different as the little sample ones I made because when I made these two guys I mean they were this one was the whole thing was cut with scissors the search were cut with scissors, everything was cut with scissors this one mostly it's just been trimmed away with scissors, which is not that different than when I you know, when I make it otherwise um but, um e but I'll tell you what I'm going to show you one that I made exclusively with scissors is a slightly different pattern it's the same idea one of the nice things is as you're working, you get all these little bits, you know? And you know, what do you do with all these little bits? Well, you can't possibly throw them out that's like, you know, sack religious or something like that, so what I decided to do is I was making these samples and making other sam als is to collect some of these little bits but I hear to I had to organize them I just talk to you about how I had to organize them in some way it has to have some kind of parameters so I decided my parameters we're going to be that I was going to make a cool center and then I was gonna have black and white bits around that cool center and then ah a siri's of ah and by bits I mean teeny tiny pieces of fabric that I've sewn together I was going to have a warm kind of concentric square around that and then and then go back to the black and white and back to the kind of colored cotton's in cool colors and then back to the black line I could keep going on and on and on but these all all of the little squares were cut out of with scissors so you can see that the edges air muchmore much more raggedy um but if I continued on if I say made it into a pillow or made it into a quilt it could it could go that way or I could make a second block there was just like it make a syriza blocks again I would want to keep up with the pattern because otherwise if I changed into something completely different this point there's enough going on in terms of the energy of all these kind of off kilter bits I don't need to add even more energy from you know, a completely different patterns then you know I could put these together I mean this could be a single block in a whole series of blocks but again, if the edges are different than they would have been had I cut all this with with a rotary cutter that's going to go together they'll go to get the great but it's just a slightly different feel it's a little more truer to the tradition of these kinds of quotes there's an amazing coulter anna williams who is so a lot of these quilts most of these quotes in fact as far as I know all these calls come from an african american and so people like I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with quarters of gee's bend geez bend alabama these women worked for the sears company this is back in the sixties and seventies and had all these leftover like corduroys and stuff and they would come home and you know they were allowed to take the extra they so whatever they needed to so for sears and they were allowed to take the extra bits of fabric home and they made these amazing roth go like quilts based on traditional patterns they were always based on a block or I mean a log cabin block or a star something that they felt like they totally divers from that but they were big and bold and colorful and just and using corduroy to sew them those together I mean that's a difficult fabric to work with and s o they made and they their quilts their books published about their quilts and they tour tio museums I mean it's it's been incredible to see those quilts even before though I learned about those quotes there were quilts that were featured in a book by eli leon who is a cool historian uh well, you know, all the people that he mentioned in his book are from oakland you know, right? But rosie lee tompkins they're all from oakland they're all women who live in the oakland area and so his book I mean, I have a copy of his book and my coffee is just like it's in tatters. I've looked through it so much and imad southwell woman she also a woman she also wrote signs and symbols which has been since republished and you can see you can see quilted kind of pre date of explosion of the jeez ben quotes. And anna williams is a woman who used to work for she used to work for this woman who own who was a textile professor and cold store owner in louisiana I don't remember I think it was in baton rouge but pretty wrong catherine watts and she had been her cleaning lady and one day I mean she cleaned her house for like I don't know twenty years and one day she says to her oh yeah I'm a quotes too and she says, oh yeah bringing shown to me you know she thinks all it'll be these, you know, cute little whatever quills she brings her and they're these amazing improvisational, colorful quilts I mean, you can you can find them online these days and she brought those quotes to the attention of nancy crow if you're pretty familiar at all with art quote nancy crow is just like, you know, she she is the queen of the quilt art movement on brightly so and and that's when anna williams started to get some attention but the way she made her quote, she had like a fair bedroom in her house and she would, you know, gather up a lot of bits no bigger than these, you know, and then just sit there sewing machine and cut and put things back together and cut them apart and put them back together and that's how she made her quote and and they're just they're breathtaking um so this is definitely a method that that could work for you now jenny was telling us earlier that she's seen some examples of quilt used in churches access to review for make quilts that tell a story or do you just like that whole improvisation, yeah, e I think quotes that aren't necessarily improvised, but I've never made pectoral quilts because you showed us only that one that says spelt out love, although it was slightly abstract. Yeah, I do a lot of designing four magazines and books, and a lot of those projects have to be something that can be reproducible by somebody who's a home sewer and has to have some kind of usually often it usually follows some kind of theme a magazine will come to me and say, you know, we're looking for x, and so I'll try to we're I'll try to produce around that I I myself really like text a lot, so you know that that really spoke to me and also thought about that that robert indiana sculpture in the big love sculpture um so, um, but I've never made a quilt that say, you know, I was supposed to be a portrait of somebody or, you know, a scene from a but there are within this tradition, this african american tradition, if you think about faith ringgold and tar beach and there's, a big tradition of of making pictorial quotes, one of the most famous kind of quilts, and I think it dates back to the eighteen hundreds what by harry and powers, are you familiar with this quote? Yes it's called the bible called it tells the story of genesis basically and some of the early stories of the bible you know so um and he was trust me it was improvisational e piece that s ok so what? I wanted to talk about what I wanted to make sure I talked about it I did kind of talk about this in terms of the sewing so you'll all understand about sewing the block the strips so that the top edge you're focusing on the on the quarter and steam allowance as it relates to that top edge um I do want to point out that let's say you make this block and you say I really love the energy of this block but I do want to square it up this is my one moment where I'm going to show you all how to do that okay? And then I'm pretty much not gonna talk about this thing hardly at all until we get to binding a quilt you know you could just like put these away so or if you just wanted to cut strips if let's say this was you know what I will do this piece because it's big if if I wanted to square this off first thing I probably do is pressing a fair amount of lay's is flat is humanly possible so I want this to have all the edges be even um so um and I'm going to measure it just to get an idea let's see it's it's twelve maybe by twelve d c it's twelve by twelve okay um but I want to make it a little smaller so I'm going to make it well ten by ten so first thing I'm gonna do is folded in half and the reason I'm going to fold it in half it is because when you fold something in half when you fold a piece of fabric and half this line right here it's a straight line it's your guideline okay, so I'm gonna do the same thing with my block I'm gonna treat it like a piece of fabric and again if you I was right handed place the my my ruler on the on the right side and line up one of these uh ruler marks along that my guideline edge my folded edge use my left hand and cut it cut it with my with my right hand um but y'all don't even want to see what would happen if that happened so I'm going to do it but I'm going to do it so that I don't cut myself I'm going to apply pressure with my with my right hand open up my cutter and just trim that ok and now it's not perfect because my ruler shifted a tiny bit see if I can make it a little more perfect okay, now I've pretty much got a straight edge here, okay? This bottom edge that just trimmed is straight and I'm going to go ahead since I'm taking off quite a bit and trim these straight all of them and then I'm going to measure my ten inches all have a ten by ten inch square so I'm gonna cut that off a swell and then again rotated online that up and, you know, obviously here I'm going to lose a lot more than here because it's that it's that kind of wonky all right, ok. And now I'm going to measure it and it's gonna be and still I've got a lot of room if I made a ten by ten and be like this by this, I'd actually be cutting up quite a bit and then I could but then what's the point of that last rose I'm going to actually make it about ten and a half and so I just kind of wanna I from both edges here's ten and a half right here on my ruler just kind of one eye from both edges I want a market here and then go ahead and cut that same thing here I wanted to be about ten half too so otherwise what is the point of the that last outer ring of black and white fabric? Okay, now I can just measure oh ten and a half from my corner there so here's my ten and a half inch measurement I just kind of market by making a brief slice with my rotary cutter and then in the same thing on the final side, I've squared it down to ten and a half by ten happen square. I could make mohr make them all ten enough by ten half inch, and then they would go together. They would go together as quickly. I wouldn't have to make any adjustments as I piece the blocks together, so that is squaring off. Well, that's about the less I'll talk about it and there we go. I would go together just like, you know, just like cookie cutters. Um all right, so why don't you show me what you've made? Very nice. Oh, so you've decided tio ring them in? Um, cool. Yes. Oh, so red all the way around. Warm all the way around. Blood. Cool all the way around the camera of his for a second. Very nice, but what did you think of the process? It's at the moment? Yeah, just came to me. Good. Good to think, you know. Yeah, yeah. Get by improved doesn't yeah, it's good about you, holly. I miss like like to get all my colors in the things that I'm not very far but okay but so you two are kind of state sticking with this idea of ringing it and either a warm or cool completely maybe not maybe it just like all right alison shows what you got so I did the warm and cool yeah that looks great and it seems like you've also gone with sort of why too thin thin too wide as well which is also giving it another new dimension yeah a little bit movement but you feel like you did it on purpose or just kind of happens serendipitously I don't know where it on purpose that's great so you made a different kind of parameter you made you know I'm gonna focus on going to the warm and the cool thing but I'm also going toe so you made it another little rule for yourself that's great yeah okay well I'm here I really like this strike one I one of those colors yes drives really work with this process we're going to do a quilted totally our block to totally focus on stripes but yes drives really worked with this process. All right? We're in a very short time we've actually got some really great designs and patterns going terrific um so I'm going to actually talk real briefly and just kind of start to touch on what happens when you've got two blocks that that aren't the same size, like miraculously, these two blocs, they're not the same kind of trash cans on the other side. Um, and I talked about in my, you know, little spiel on the ten ways to love improvisational quoting and that's gonna kind of touched on it, though in the next segment, we're going to talk about it a lot. And so if I was doing a regular traditional log cabin, I'd want these kind of cool colors and warm colors to kind of match up together. So kind of like this, um, what happens if, you know, I got one block, you know, substantially smaller than the next that's where actually all your decision making comes in. So I have to decide at this point whether or not I want them to meet appear do I want them to meet up here? Maybe I want to do it in the middle, okay, um either way is fine, but I have to in order to make it work, the pieces that I, the strips that I'm going to add are going to have to compliment or work with think existing color scheme or plan, so I've got two blocks that are half cool and half warm, so if I add a strip here it's going to need to be a cool strip if I had a war a strip here it's going to need to be a warm strip so what I'm going to do is is do that? I can also make decisions about how I want things to meet up so earlier j k o mentioned that someone had asked about points, so if I want if I want this drift in this strip to meet up so that they form a point right at that intersection, I can do that if I were to get another warm color, say this one and actually I might want to give myself a little more wiggle room and then, um and I sew that on and I'm going to go ahead and do that, okay? And I press it open and I'm just gonna trim it just because it'll be easier to see I can make sure that these two guys line up together it's going to happen when I when I sew them together, so I'm going to go ahead and add a cool strip here I'm gonna have some of the screen I feel like that's, not that's, not white enough, I'd rather air I rather it's easy to trim, adding, is it it's easy, but it's a it's a different process, so I'm going to go ahead and so this on I might even go ahead, and so, um, just so that it feels even I might go ahead, and so a, uh, a warm strip as well, just so it feels more balanced, but that that's just a personal instead of kind of thing. That's not a well, none of this is a must kind of thing, but to so this piece on, and then add this piece when I so these two blocks together, I'm going to make sure to align these two seems and one of the things that you can d'oh to make sure that they really nest inside each other is I think both of these seams are facing towards the edge of my table. I can actually even if I don't press it, I can actually move one of the seems to face to the other direction, to their nesting into each other, and that really gives you a nice, tight kind of fit. Um, so I'm going to sew the warm colored c'mon and in that cool colored seem and show you how to put together the two blocks so that they at least fit on that edge. Are they the same size? No, they're not the same size, but they're the same size along that edge, impressive. And mark it looks to me well I can't tell the necessary from here got terrible ice turbulence that you're using a white thread for all sewing yeah you never worry about what color when you're using this kind of technique no I never worried about it if I was sewing a white dress and I use black thread that probably be a bad idea but no I don't I like to just use a neutral color threat just because you can use it for everything you don't have to worry about changing it when you're piecing yeah I just use white or you can use a gray or cream color something that's you know, not goingto make any kind of statements is going toe function toe hold your fabric together um I guess I should also point out the one of the things that that I I said that y'all should could include in your tool kit is our pins and if you'll notice none of us have pinned anything um and even now when I tried when I put these two blocks together I won't pin them together I mean if you feel more comfortable pinning them together there's no harm in that but the only time I ever pin things together is when I worked this way is for curves, which we'll talk about later but other than that I don't really find it necessary what I will do is flip them over put the two blocks over, I remember I said I wanted to line up these two points so that they they meet, so I'm going to flip the same over and I could press it to the other side if I wanted to and we have kind of that's going to be my kind of holding point and since they're not they're they're kind of cut close but they're not exactly the same edge the top on the bottom square, but really all I'm concerned about is the quarter inch as it relates to that top square, you must be psychic mark, because as soon as you started saying that we had a question from elizabeth saying, do you pin your fabrics together? Three and so there you are! You got in there quickly, you can but just like you can, but I don't, I don't find it to be necessary and even here I could go and press this the other way I'm not going to feel the feeling thie only one that's going to know that the scene is twisted is the batting and it's not going to talk? So we got no problem here on, so you see, I managed to make those two points me because I made a design decision that that was important to me and I'll trim them to the same size even here, maybe a little bit there you go. You got two blocks and fitted them together to kind of more traditional. I mean, for more traditional in the sense of this is how you make a log cabin block where it's made out of these logs of these strips. I lost track of the o hear this so I could go on and finish this one up. Probably will and make a fourth, and I would have a much larger kind of grouping of blocks. So here I am. I'm ready to add some more warm colored strips. Does anyone have two blocks down? All right, on. May be at this guy. I mean, this process is so great for using up just like bits of fabric you might have left over from another project. It's it's. I mean, yes, you could go out and just buy a whole bunch of fabrics he felt like coordinated with each other, but I think that that takes away some of the fun, you know, it's fun to just kind of discover something that you're going to use. Um, as for for this process, once you've made your parameters, like alison was saying, she knows she not only wanted tio do the dark, the warm and the cool, but she wanted them to kind of ahh, change in terms of their with once you've made your parameters, it's fun to just kind of collect fabrics from your stash and, uh, and use those tio to make your to make your blocks, as opposed to going out and and, you know, necessarily buying fabric said that all worked with with your idea. So here, too, I e. I would probably not. I probably would. I would make another block, and then I'd make the two blocks fit together. And then I would try to fit the two blocks to this foursome that we've got so and then you would have, you know, you would have this kind of cross shaped this x shape in the middle of of the cool color blocks. Um, so I can either start another one or yeah, probably start another one, that's, what I would do.

Class Description

Custom quilts are the kind of heirloom craft everyone longs to create, but stitching together a unique pattern can be seriously overwhelming. In 10 Ways to Love Improvisational Quilting, Malka Dubrawsky will introduce you to new forms of quilting — with fresh color combinations, techniques, and patterns.

Malka will get you started by showing you how to cut and create a simple log cabin nine-patch block. You’ll learn how to incorporate triangles, pinwheels, and curves into your designs to make them more versatile. You’ll build the skills needed to take any quilt block (and even other patterns, like wallpaper or a painting) and deconstruct it so you can create something similar.

If you want to create bold and memorable quilts and learn new ways to express your creative style through quilting, this course is for you.


Me F

Another great class. I love the approach that encourages spontaneity and decision-making throughout the process! I was not at all put off by Malka's speaking style -- I found her informative, articulate, thoughtful and funny. I would, however, have appreciated much less time watching her sew, although I realize she likely did that in this class to allow her in-person students to have time as well. A bit tedious, however, when it's not live or you're not sewing along. I loved the idea from another reviewer to have samples of Malka's quilts hanging in the studio throughout all the sessions so we could refer to a finished piece that demonstrated the skill she was teaching. I would recommend this course to anyone who loves quilting or wants to learn.