Monday, September 30, 2013

Ugly Fabric and Thinking Outside the Box

One of the classes I took at Sewing Summit was a class called Stash Mixology with Alisa Ashbury.  It was quite possibly my favorite class of the weekend.  Alisa is a fellow SLMQG member, but since I'm so new to the group I didn't recognize her name when signing up.  It wasn't until I got to class that I realized I knew her. 

Alisa is definitely not your average cookie-cutter quilter.  She has a distinct style that I find quite endearing.  She uses any and every kind of fabric, including batiks, non-cottons, and (by her own admission) lot of uglies.

a woman standing on a chair holding a grey quilt and showing it to others

She creates beautiful quilts with lots of texture and depth to them.  I was fascinated by her work.  
I guess I would consider her part art quilter, part scrap buster, with some modern thrown in the mix.

a miniture modern art quilt with a blue border
Here is a small wall quilt she is in the process of creating.

She does lots of hand sewing on her quilts, both with regular and chunky style threads.  Again, adding much depth and texture to the piece.  Her hand quilting is beautiful!

But her main point of the class was to help us break out of the mold of using only one line of fabric in a single quilt (I don't have much issue with this) and instead to think outside the box.  She taught us to create quilts with depth and personality using a wide range of different fabrics, including uglies!

a bunch of folded fabrics laying on a table in a wide array of colors and patterns

We were asked to bring some FQ's to the lecture so we could mix and match everyone's picks.  As you can see, at my table there was quite a mix.  We were then asked to pull fabrics from what was on the table to create a fake quilt.  For some, this exercise proved harder than for others.  

We talked about adding depth through color value as well.  The black FQ's were put on the table by Alisa.  Her philosophy is that every quilt needs a little black (or navy) to give it depth.  It was quite fascinating to see what a little black will add to a quilt.  Again, for some in the class this was a hard concept, I could see the uneasiness in their eyes. Haha!  But for me it proved to further educate and enlighten.

After her lecture my table did a little fabric trading.
Here are the pieces I came home with. 

folded fabrics in an array of patterns and colors

Some are definitely "uglier" than others, but I'm hopeful that can integrate them into my stash and use them freely.  Quite honestly I'm seeing my quilts in a whole new light after this class.

So, what do you think?  Are you stuck in a "one line of fabric" rut?  Does the thought of using something "ugly" in a quilt make you cringe?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, whichever way you lean...


the momma said... Reply To This Comment

I'm not stuck on one line, and love to collect fabric for a quilt. My first designer fabric purchase WAS an entire line, though, because I loved it so very much. And I did use it all in one quilt. I have also added it to other fabrics....

Hmmm. Using ugly fabric. I guess I'd have to ask why? WHY use ugly fabric, when there is so much that is pretty?? And what is attractive to us is so much more enjoyable to work on and with... If I found an ugly fabric that was JUST the right color I needed and it played well with the others and I couldn't find a prettier suitable fabric, then yes, I would use an ugly (and I have) but to use an ugly, just for the sake of using an ugly - ain't nobody got time for that ;-)

Renae said... Reply To This Comment

Sounds like this would've been a really good class. I am working on the randomness in my quilts. Sometimes it is easier than other times, but so far it has always worked out.