Category Archives: workshops

A Shout Out and a Catch Up

      Just wanted to shout out about the wonderful Elizabeth Brandt who had a piece at .Fiber Art International 2013.  Congrats Elizabeth for making it in to this prestigious event.  I can’t wait to hear about the opening.

     This will also be a catch up post as I keep meaning to tell you about these things:

1. I am about 75 percent done on my large piece that I am free motion quilting. It is getting easier     although I still bribe myself to work on it. I guess that’s why they call it work.

2. I took an online class at the beginning of the year called “Setting Goals” given by Lisa Call. It was a great class and I haven’t taken the time to blog about it. One of my goals was to blog more consistently and I am finding , that if I don’t meet the mark on a goal , I just feel more and more guilty so I do nothing about it. Oops-time to correct that. Upcoming post on that class this week.

3. Because of that class, I have had my head down working on a piece for the upcoming Artprize exhibition in September. It is where it needs to be to apply , but not yet quilted. Again, I’ll share once I get my artist profile up.

4. The house in Vermont has not sold so at this point, we will go there this summer with the kids. I will wait and do the majority of the fabric dyeing there.

5. Historic flooding here in Grand Rapids. I am going to try to take pictures tomorrow when it peaks.

6.  3 kids graduating in May: 8th grade, high school and college.

I hate the phrase “I am so busy”.  Everybody is busy. So, I am saying instead that I am using my time wisely and keeping my head down.. 🙂

Introducing Curves

     No time for pictures yesterday. The day floated by me.  I started this piece at the Nancy Crow’s  Lines, Curves, Circles and Figure Ground workshop last  December.  It has been taking up my big design wall for way too long and is one of my few workshop pieces that I want to finish.

     I really enjoyed this class and loved learning how to piece curves.  I can’t believe I was so fearful of sewing a curve. I felt like I had been set free. I didn’t want to make it too complicated as I wanted big, bold and chunky. The assignment involved using bold, bright colors, too.

©Colleen Kole, 2013, Set Free  -work in process, 74 x 75

I haven’t quilted it yet, of course. But am looking forward to free motion quilting it. I folded it up for later to finish as I need to get going on my original goals of 20 Roofline pieces.

 This was my favorite class from the Barn workshops.  What great memories I have of spending time with a wonderful teacher, friends and creating together. What more could you ask for!

Dreaming at the Beginning of the Year

     I spent last week down and out with a bad cold and then promptly joined this week with a bad back. But I have used the time to dream and plan for the year. I ran across this clip when I was looking at future workshops.

     I went to a workshop a few years ago  and Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan were the teachers. It was a privilege. I use that word too sparingly but it is true. They have a new space which is called Potter’s Farm studios. Enjoy the video.

….it’s the energy of like minded people working under one roof. Yes, magical.

Lines Study #1 on the Barn

      This is a great way to start 2013 with one workshop exercise completely pieced. I was unable to make the last cut as I only have one cutting mat here which is only 24×36. Well, I could have done it but I really didn’t want to make that last cut in error.

©2013, Colleen Kole, Textiles. Line Study #1 on the Barn, 52×72

©2013, Colleen Kole, Textiles, Line Study #1 on the Barn, 52x 72
©, Colleen Kole,  Textiles, Line Study #1 on the Barn, 52×72
©, Colleen Kole, Textiles, Line Study #1 on the Barn , 52 x72

This was started in Sets and Variables #3 in October with the wonderful Nancy Crow teaching. This was an exercise varying line, shape and a value gradation. I hesitate to tell you more as that is part of the intrigue of taking her classes -not knowing exactly what the exercise is before you are there.  I can’t wait to do more lines. Love them.

 I think I have 7 more workshop quilts from 2012 and I need to decide what is necessary for me to complete. Maybe they were truly just exercises and I need to take the ideas and move on.

Now to decide how to quilt it.

I"ve Been To Mars

     Last week,  a friend and I traveled to Muskegon, MI  to take one last workshop for 2012:  Lines, Curves and Figure Ground taught by Nancy Crow. It was given by the Muskegon Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibition titled: Innovators and Legends.

The exhibit: Excellent venue and very fine textiles from some of the great legends. Opening night was Thursday so it was great to take a break from the huge final project and be inspired by lots of different styles of work. If you have the opportunity, you need to see this. It is traveling to the Schweinfurth after this venue.

 The first book is a exhibit catalog. (The second book is a book showcasing Nancy’s new monoprinting work that I bought at the workshop directly from her).

The workshop: As always, it was intense. The pace is fast, the mind spins with new ideas and the hands struggle to do the work as quickly as possible. I found this workshop really enjoyable. I am very excited to incorporate curves into my pieces as I truly never knew how to do curved piecing. I always marvel at the gals who have grown up sewing garments as they never struggle with the piecing. This is a shot of the first exercise before I started piecing it.

Unpacking: not done yet.

I kept leaving class and would hear Christmas music playing.  I felt really oblivious to the season. But when I got home, I felt like I had been to Mars for a week and dropped right back in to the Christmas season.

It was a great time with Nancy, old friends and new friends. Fantastic memories.

Now back to the season .

Sue Nickels at the WMQG

     I had another great privilege this week via our local quilt guild, the West Michigan Quilt Guild. Every two months our guild brings in a teacher and this month was two days of classes by the wonderful Sue Nickels. Sue is a traditional quilter and has been involved for over twenty years in teaching machine quilting. Her classes and lectures routinely sell out when she is at the national conventions.

     Two classes were offered: Machine Quilting Essentials and Machine Quilting Flower Basket Appliqué. I took the machine quilting class since my next goal is improving my free motion quilting skills. Sue is thorough and very attentive to detail as is evidenced in her workmanship.

Sue Nickels beautiful quilts

Sue Nickels: Day 2 Demo

It was nice to spend time with traditional quilters and a traditional teacher as their craftsmanship is so amazing. I have to say I was a little discouraged at the end of the machine quilting workshop(something else to work on….:) and Sue immediately gave all of us a pep talk. I think the biggest thing I took away is that machine quilting is a learned skill.

 I will take her advice on the the 3 P’s she coached us with : patience, perseverance and practice.

I can’t imagine drawing a design and then quilting it, but you never know. I never plan that much when I quilt. But I was very happy to gain a little knowledge in machine quilting and happy as can be with Sue as a teacher. If you ever have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to take her workshops!

Wonder how many years I will need to work on this skill:).

Clamping with Resists

     Last week’s class with Elin Noble was definitely a techniques and knowledge class. So, my goal for the week was to try everything at least once so I would have a good understanding of how to do it when I went home and tried to reproduce it. I was rotten at taking notes with my gloves on but I made a boatload of “samples”.

My Fabric Samples Wall-mid week

 That’s a better picture for you. I even did a shirt!

Linen  (clamped) discharged with Thiox and over dyed 

Linen (clamped) discharged with Thiox and over dyed

Cotton Bamboo blend clamped 

Cotton clamped and overdyed
Betsy having fun with her formulas

We looked like mad scientists mixing and fussing with all this color and fabric. I didn’t take enough friends pictures and the ones I did have others work in them so I can’t post them. Class rules. The procedures were time-consuming but it was great fun unwrapping what we worked on.

All the samples I have shown above are done with Procion Mx dyes. More results tomorrow. Elin is a great teacher. If you have the opportunity to take a class from her, do not hesitate for one minute!

Elin Noble at the Barn

The Crow Barn

      I am home after spending last week at the Crow Barn. I took a class with the lovely Elin Noble called Additions and Subtractions.  We moved quickly and were able to spend extra time with some additional things not originally scheduled.

    We covered three different types of dyes: Procion Mx dyes, acid dyes and vat dyes.  And  I learned a bundle of techniques: shibori stitching and pole wrapping, clamping, discharge with thiox, using a pleater and also how to mix and make all the solutions. Just writing this makes me a little tired! We were busy as always and Elin kept the day packed with lecture and then trials of all the principles.

Clamping with resists and Mx Dyes

My work table in the wet studio

More clamping with resists
Early in the week- my fabric wall

     Sorry this picture is so dark as I didn’t turn the lights on to take it. I need to process some others I took later in the week.

    Elin was another fantastic teacher -kind, extremely knowledgeable about dyes and surface design and just plain fun to be around. I had way too much fun!  More results coming up this week.

Off To Class Again

     I know, I know I am supposed to be buckling down and doing the work with new focus. I am still machine quilting so that does indeed count. I am continuing with my little mini master’s art degree as planned this year. Scheduled next week starting Sunday is a class at the Barn taught by Elin Noble. I have been busy gathering supplies in between machine quilting. And getting a little nervous and very excited. I have always admired Elin’s work so I am sure it will be a great adventure.

    I also had signed up for the Sets and Variables # 3 at the Barn taught by Nancy Crow in October. After this, my money tree fund is all gone. I am also realizing that the next class or the next technique learned doesn’t get the work done. You have to do it yourself. 🙂 I love all these life lessons. Geez. Fun though.


A Really Lovely Workshop with Lyric Kinard

     I spent the last two days at a workshop sponsored by our West Michigan Quilt Guild. We bring in a teacher every two months and this month we had the real treat of hosting Lyric Kinard. I remember mentioning this in my last post and someone commented that Lyric is just lovely and that is exactly how I would describe her.

     I took the first class which was Surface Design sampler platter: thermofax printing, using textile paints with carved erasers , citrosolve photo transfers  onto fabric, using grey gel and foil, wonder under and foil, wonder under and ….many techniques to create a small journal cover.

Lyric Kinard and surface design

Lyric starting out the day with a carved eraser stamping demonstration. It definitely was a taste of the various techniques and I made lots of little samples to remember them. The next day was the” Bead It Like You Mean It “class. She has a new DVD out about various beading techniques which I purchased but didn’t watch yet.

Lyric Kinard -beading demonstration

 I really appreciated how she uses a small camera to display the beading demonstrations.

Lyric using the overhead screen 

Lyric’s box of cabuchons 

She had a beautiful box of cabochons to attach  with beading. Oh so pretty .

Lyric Kinard’s beading sampler

Lyric Kinard’s work displayed for class

 She  also gave a marvelous lecture on the elements of art and it passed by so quickly with all the beautiful quilts she used to illustrate her lecture. 

    I really appreciated her calm professionalism and her absolutely wonderful teaching demeanor. I walked away calm and confident to try new things and use all of her beading techniques. So it was a treat and a privilege. Lyric was lovely and no wonder she was awarded 2011 Teacher of the Year by the Professional Quilter Magazine.