Sunday, September 05, 2010

Making Parts

As promised, here are the pictures of the nearly completed compositions from the Design and Improvisation fusing class. I am so proud!
To begin, I had them choose a colorway and begin to make strip sets and log cabin blocks, with no design ideas (or my short lecture about design) to inform them. Just make parts. Then we examined some design concepts which focused on organizing principles. Luckily we had been furnished with an exhibition catalog with pictures of art quilts and we took advantage of them to discuss layout. And because we  had wi-fi in the hotel I showed some of my quilts which employed parts and how I arranged them into a pleasing composition. They jumped right in and made more parts, experimented with arrangements and here are the results. 

This was the easiest design class I have ever taught and I wish I had been able to offer this last exercise to my previous classes. But alas, I had not 'discovered' it until I had retired and started fooling around with parts myself.
YOU can do this. It helps to have a piece of fabric with three analogous colors, like yellow orange and red, or blue magenta and purple. Or one great rainbow piece! Each of these were made with a half yard hand dyed piece, with the exception of Kate's piece with the leaf, and right next to it,  Sarah's piece which was made from several pieces of closely related crackle dyed fabrics.
I have a few leftover pieces in yellow, lime and green, blue purple magenta, as well as pink red and orange. A half yard does the trick, and the cost is $10. Email me.
Whoa!!! I am all sold out. What a response! Perhaps I will offer these as a set later after I dye more of them. Stay tuned.
I had a wonderful time with my students, loved the food at the hotel and the relaxed atmosphere at the workshop was perfect. For me it was a test to see if I wanted to return to teaching again. But it was an unfair test. Not all experiences will be like this, and the part that remains difficult is getting there and back. I had forgotten how often I got sick on trips and this one was no different. Sore throat and a throbbing fever blister on my lip, while mild is a great reminder. At the end of each day I flopped into bed and did nothing but change the remote and snooze through tv shows.
Well almost nothing. On Wednesday night I gave a slide lecture which was so much fun, hearing the audience laugh, and I loved that part. But as you know I worked on those slides for weeks and then rushed through them so quickly once I saw a few heads nodding. That always happens but being out of practice, this time I took it personally even tho I know a dark room and a full tummy are like a drug. Silly me.

So in the end, while driving home, I made the decision to really stay retired. I like the pace and freedom of  having plenty of time to experiment and not feel that whatever it is has to be finished in a hurry. And I do have the opportunity to teach knitting, which will be that kind of fun interaction that is so fulfilling.
And of course the blog offers me the space to explain and show techniques of all kinds. Thank heaven for the blog.


  1. What a great class that must have been! But I understand your reluctance to come 'out of retirement'! I really like the freedom to do what I want without any long-term time commitments, although I have been thinking of teaching an occasional class myself... meanwhile, I bet you had a bunch of happy dyer/quilters when you were done with them!

  2. I'm with you Melody! I also made the decision to use my blog for teaching rather than lugging dyes all over the place!

  3. Melody, I'm sure you have broken many hearts with your decision. I cam tell from the wonderful pics that that was one heck of a class. Those women had to have had so much fun and they'll be using the techniques they learned for years to come. And when others see the pics they'll come knocking!
    I understand the "staying retired" stuff. I'm retired too and can't imagine working. But selfishly, I fantasize about someday taking one of your classes so I'll just sit back and think that you might get the "bug" to teach again someday. A girl can always change her mind.

  4. I really admire your quilts, and love your use of color. Thanks for sharing part of your process of putting things together.

  5. Glad you're back :) They did a wonderful job of creating! Must have been the teacher...(wink)!

  6. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Love the photos of your class projects and I feel so lucky that I was able to take several classes with you in the past. Looking at the photos and hearing that for the most part only a half yard of fabric was used, can you give me some idea of the size of the strips that were cut to make the strip sets and log cabin blocks? Love your blog and read it daily.

  7. I really really really wanted to be there for your classes but felt sooo much better getting to watch you on the blog. Thanks a million!
    Cathy B

  8. You are not retired - you are living a full creative life, and generously share your expertise and ideas (for free!) through your great blog - Thanks, Melody!!

  9. It's hard to believe that thesse designs came from half a yard of fabric! Like 'anon' I'd love to get some idea of the scale of the work.

    On another note, congratulations on working out what you really want from life - that's not always an easy thing to do.

  10. For scale see the second picture at the top. The scissor will help you see how big the strip pieces were. I didn't tell my students what size to make them, they figured that out by themselves.

    As for being retired, I meant that I am no longer going on the road or to airports to teach, and no longer having to pack clothes or supplies or dye for a workshop etc.

  11. Those are gorgeous!

  12. Thanks for sharing results of your excellent workshop! And welcome "home" to unwind, feed the fish, and rest up. How did your fabulous wardrobe work out? No doubt you can continue to astonish the fashionista of the knitting world.

  13. Anonymous3:46 PM

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  14. I just love this! Any chance of paying to receive your lecture on Organizational Principles of Design, the Melody Way?

    I hear you on being tired. I'm still a teacher (year 32) and greatly look forward to the kind of retirement that will allow me energy and time to play and explore with so many things, including fabric! Thanks for sharing the photos of your class!

  15. Anonymous7:04 PM

    Are these projects fused only or stitched or both?

  16. I would really like to learn about this and purchase the dyed fabric to go with it. Since I don't live close enough to attend any classes, I'm not so disappointed that you're staying retired. If you do offer the tutorial or pattern plus the dyed fabric, I'd be interested.

  17. Looks like it was a great class! Wish I could have been there.

    Kristin F. in SC

  18. Hi Melody! But I don't want you to retire from "on-the-road" teaching! I was fantasizing about having you come to St. Charles to teach a class! Guess we'll just have to learn by blog! Thank you for your generosity in sharing! From one of the PSQG Dyeing Bee (2 Dye 4) members!

  19. Hi Melody,

    I want to comment on the "falling asleep" part you mentioned . . . When I'm at a conference, taking exciting and challenging workshops all day, with the best will in the world I CANNOT stay awake during a lecture, and it makes me so cross with myself! SO I'm sure those people you saw nodding off were desperately trying to stay awake.

    I do hope you'll share some of the material of your lecture with us on the web.

    Enjoy being home with Dave and the animules..


  20. Melody-- I loved hearing about your classes and seeing the student work. As another writer said, you are breaking hearts with your decision not to head out on the road and teach.

    But I love to read your daily events and am so happy you will continue to teach in your blog. We ALL benefit.. :-)

  21. Anonymous1:30 AM

    Thank goodness for your blog - we're all so lucky!

  22. You have a bunch of "mini-me's"! Their work is wonderful! So? Are you going to make a workbook with step by step instructions? I'd get one... I check out your website daily for inspiration. Colors are exciting and bright. And you have your own drummer...

  23. Your blog is inspiring and a great teacher to me. I recommend it often. Thank you.

  24. It was wonderful to spend the week with you for both the Lazy Dyer's class and Fusing. Your relaxed approach was a delightful environment to learn and explore in.

    ~kate =)

  25. I had such a great time in your dyeing class. You have a lot to share with others. I'm so glad to have shared the time with you in your last teaching endevor......

  26. hope you are getting better…sore throat is not a lot of fun its just uncomfortable and difficult to swallow.

    usually, i would take the Nim Jiom Cough Syrup which has a thick consistency formulation. it coats the throat and includes herbs that are particularly good for that application.

    i hope it works on you as well.

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So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com