Friday, September 26, 2014

Put into Play: DVD Class Review & Blog Party!

Who doesn't need a creativity jump-start?  While I've spent countless hours, every day, petting fabric and flipping through books and blogs and planning projects to sew -- I haven't actually stitched up much in quite some time.  Sound familiar?  I'm really missing that natural high you get from creating.  After two years of almost constant sewing productivity, I'm calling this a sophomore slump.

The prompt was: "Landmark"
I recently participated in Spoonflower's August drawing-a-day prompts on Instagram. (Search the hashtag #spoonchallenge.) That was a real boost and the feedback was instantaneous and positive which was uplifting.

The prompt was: "Skyline"
Then I heard about the opportunity to preview Carrie Bloomston's Art Techniques for Quilt Design video class; it really intrigued me.  I love a class.

So welcome to the blog party!

Bloomston bills herself as an artist and creativity enabler.  She really stresses trusting your self and your inner vision but she also provides gentle exercises in drawing and two quilt projects which could be taken at face value -free patterns!- or used as a jumping off point for your own designs.

The whole class is a little over an hour but it's packed with tips and confidence building exercises.  While I did take notes along the way, I also paused the video a couple of times to directly participate.  Early on, while Carrie was describing drawing warm ups, I stopped to gather pencils and newsprint.

Then, when she timed her figure drawing segment, I just drew along with her...using her as my model.  It was easier to sink into the meat of the class since I was practicing while she gave instruction.  It helped that I was watching in my sewing room with everything near at-hand.  Just like the Spoonflower drawing challenge, I was more impressed by what I was able to capture than distressed by the shortcomings of my composition skills.

I stopped the video again later on as she was demonstrating the process behind her beautiful Nest Quilt.  Carrie used a Marcia Derse fat quarter as the basis of her design and that reminded me to dig out a stack of the designer's fabric I won a long time ago in an online giveaway.   This stuff is beautiful but doesn't fit in the hip, modern quilt fabric box.  Bloomston works with her own line of fabric but also loves scrap material from saris.  I've heard from many quilters about getting too wrapped up in fabric lines and specific palettes.  It's true that beginner quilters are rarely stymied by such things, they just use whatever they have.  As my stash grows, I find it more difficult sometimes to choose  fabric in order to start a project.

Riffing off Bloomston's prompts as she built her nest, I made a note or two of other forms suggested by her technique.  Afterward, I looked at my fabric stack and suddenly saw possibility where I hadn't been able to before.  Carrie rips fabric or quickly cuts freehand with scissors and then uses a school glue stick to create collage images which she later uses the sewing machine to stitch down.  I decided the best way to utilize the class information would be to put it directly into play.

I decided to go with a series of small projects to stretch my creative muscles in a controlled environment.  For practical reasons, my mini quilts will be place mats.  I took my inspiration  from an all-over bird print that I have a little more than a yard of.  Clipping the edges of my background and backing print, it felt good to rip them apart into platter size and sandwich them with scrap batting.  She's right too, that ripping sound is awesome!  Then, I picked the pencil back up and rough sketched some of my favorite images from the bird print before diving into a simple palette of scraps and solids, letting my intuition guide me.

What you see here is one-night's progress.  And it was fun!  While my projects aren't finished yet --and my camera is giving me terrible problems-- I wanted to get this post out. (I'll add more photos as I finish up the little quilts.)  For now, I just want the world to know that I'm sewing up a storm again and also that you have a chance to win a copy of Carrie Bloomston's DVD.  All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog post between now and October 4th.  On her blog post, you'll also find the links for all of the other participating bloggers.  I especially love this post at einfach bunt -- it's in German and English.  And you can see a beautiful nest mini quilt constructed at Shimmer Skys.

And I'd love to here about how you fight the creative slump.

That's it for now but more's in store!

Keep stitchin'



  1. Kristin! This is so awesome. I love that you drew along with me. That is one of my fave things...figure drawing. You really got what I was teaching and I love your inspired leaf/vine creations!!! xo, cb

    1. Thank you! I'm sure I will draw from this experience more in the future; looking forward to it.

  2. Awesome!
    I love your drawing.
    And the stitching looks perfect!

  3. RE: creative slump? Take a bubble bath! That's were all my ideas swirl around and multiply like crazy. It's the state of relaxation that allows creativity to flow. And have a cup of tea:-)

    1. This is a great idea! (And tea has always worked for me too.) Just the things to turn to as the Minnesota weather turns cold. :)


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