Patchwork and Quilting Workshop by Kaffe and Brandon

Date: 8th March, 2018
Time: 9AM- 4PM
Class Fee: AED 700

Class Description:
The Kaffe Fassett Studio quilts are primarily scrappy so the lessons that follow are for scrappy quilts done in fairly low contrast, just the way we like them. All of our quilt classes are essentially the same. We put students through the same exercise that we do when making our quilts. What the student does in one day, typically takes us a bit longer, but the process is the same; select fabric, cut pieces, arrange on a design wall, edit. Sounds easy? Well it is. There are several lessons for each step.

Restraint isn’t the first thing you think of when you visualize Kaffe Fassett’s color combinations, but it is, in fact, the key to his work. The quilts are usually only a few colors with many shades of those few. A typical combination could be purple and green with the purple fabrics ranging from magenta to plum and the greens from bottle to moss. Add a little bit of an accent color, say orange and you have a formula for a successful combination. Determine the combination you want to use. Chose the fabrics from the shop and your stash by standing back a little from the fabric. Try not to analyze the fabric for it’s beautiful design but rather consider only its color. When cut into small pieces and combined in a quilt, the pattern in the fabric will be diminished and the color is what matters most. Once the palette is chosen, spread out the fabrics in a well lit space. Consider the colors in proportion to how they are to be used. For example if the quilt is to be all yellows with a bit of pink and orange, make sure the array of fabrics to consider is many yellow fabrics with fewer pinks and oranges. Arrange and rearrange the pile looking at the fabrics and eliminating any that seem “wrong”. These is not a logical “wrong” but rather an emotional response. Make these decisions quickly. Often the accent color(s) are not selected at this stage, so stick with the sure things, the fabrics you feel strongly that are “right”. Even though these choices all seem to be good ones, be prepared for some of them to be eliminated. Be prepared to “waste” some fabric.

Following the cutting requirements for the quilt, cut at least 4 pieces of the same fabric. If it is one of the dominate colors it is best to cut at least 8 pieces. Repetition is pleasing to the eye and the trick to making a good scrappy is to repeat colors and shapes. Fussy cut only when it is important to the design. Be sure to cut the pieces from well ironed fabric. Wrinkled fabric will not stick to the design wall flannel.

The two most important tools we use are a flannel covered design wall and a reducing glass. Look for a very fuzzy cotton flannel in a medium neutral color like taupe or grey. Flannel sheets work well. Be sure to hang the flannel onto a firm surface, having it swing in the air wont work. Secure the top and sides. Place the cut fabric pieces onto the design wall following the pattern of the quilt. Just place the pieces against the flannel and smooth it down to make it adhere nicely. Place the first few pieces on one of the top corners very carefully so the whole arrangement doesn’t go wonky as it grows.Be sure to slightly overlap the pieces so the design wall doesn’t show. Place the fabrics where they belong BUT do this quickly and do not concentrate on making the arrangement perfect. Think of the first placement as being instinctive and not organized. THEN when the wall is well covered the fun begins.

Stand back from the wall, and using a reducing glass look at the composition. A reducing glass makes it possible to see the work at a glance. It will look tidy and glaring errors will be very apparent. Then begin to reposition patches until the whole thing looks cohesive. If a fabric is particularly bothersome, try taking it away or add more of the same fabric. Try out a couple of maverick colors. See if they enhance the work. There are no right or wrong answers. The wonderful thing about using a design wall is that no sewing has taken place and so changing the location of a color or rearranging a pattern is so simple. Do take out any patches that just wont work well in the design. At this point try adding sashing and borders. It isn’t necessary to cut them to try them out, just fold fabric to about the correct size. Pin them to the design wall and again stand back and assess with the reducing glass. If possible leave the composition up to see in different light before sewing. It may be that in lower light, some colors will present.

When all this is done, sewing is a snap. Just take a tray to the design wall and carefully remove a block, sew it and put it back on the wall.

Note from Your Teachers:
Some participants would prefer that we tell them beforehand exactly whatfabrics to bring to class but the principle of the class is to inspire creativity and work instinctively. We don’t have a theory or work from a planned recipe. We all like different fabrics and colours for different reasons and so we should.

Kaffe & Brandon want each participant to produce a colour scheme that is entirely personal to its creator, not recreating the quilt colour combination from the book. The best suggestion we could give anybody is to bring a wide selection of large-scale prints in either a bright/light colourway or dark/richer colours. It can be in different colour families such as reds, pinks, oranges and yellows as long as they are equal in colour strength – either lighter or darker. Kaffe & Brandon love extremes, so very pale faded tones through to lively colour to extremes of dark tones are what we love to see in a class. We love people to use other fabrics than just ours in the class like Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner and so on. It adds spice and variety, which we love. It’s much easier to have more fabrics to play with in the class to be able to eliminate.

Please do not cut fabrics before class either, as Kaffe & Brandon will be helping each participant with their colour combinations during the day, and will be able to help choose other complimentary fabric designs from the host’s shop supply during the workshop. For those participants who need inspiration to help choose their colour theme, Kaffe & Brandon ask you to visualize a room you have seen on your travels that really surprised and delighted you. Perhaps it was in a grand house you have visited with rich wall coverings, carpets and finely upholstered furniture; a room in a seaside hotel in a foreign country that stays in your memory, or a room from your childhood that makes you happy to recall. Or it could even be a deliciously detailed garden that you would love to make a picnic tablecloth covering for.

Make a quilt colouring that would be at home in one of those memorable places. Maybe it was a rustic log cabin that would suit an arrangement of ambers, wood tones, dull lavender and mossy greens, or a boat you holidayed on, that wants greens, aqua and deep sea blues, or a shabby chic room that would only want the most delicate pearly greys, creams and dusty faded pastels.

Whatever quilt you are creating will require a curtain scale of print – maybe some solids and small to medium prints. Or it could be large pieces that require big blowsy prints but the colour mood and print style of those is entirely up to you. You might like stripes and dots, or big brocade two colour prints or lots of geometrics mixed with florals. We love to be surprised, so don’t attempt to recreate the quilt as it looks in the book.

Even if you come to the workshop with no firm idea of what you want but have a vague memory in mind (as described above), Kaffe & Brandon can help you realize that dream quilt and help you shop for the right sorts of fabrics to best carry out your vision, however undefined it is

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