THE PUZZLE QUILT: Simple Bocks, Complex Fabric: A 2-day+ Design Class

Beginner to intermediate skill workshop

Maximum: 20 students
Beginner, Intermediate
Recommended Format:
2 day workshop although I will consider a 1-day class

I’ve distilled twenty years of complex quiltmaking into simple theories that explain my idiosyncratic patchwork sensibility and define my way of thinking about fabric.A Puzzle Quilt is a clever vehicle for combining these elements into a sampler with a secret: each block design is used twice. By using totally different fabric combinations, an illusion is created: each block appears unique. The “puzzle” is to pick out which two are the same. I promise: you will see possibilities in fabric in a whole new way. The half-day demo is aimed at the quilter who wants to embrace the potential offered by a wide range of fabric choices rather than be overwhelmed by it. The focus is on design, specifically learning to use fabric to create unexpected results.

Supplies (* will be available for purchase at seminar) Guild program chairperson can inquire about the price for a kit for each student including graph paper, package of template plastic (Visigrid), ruler, and marking pens for templates and dark fabrics. 

1. Graph paper, 12” x 12” with four or eight-to-the-inch grid. Bold inch line is important.
*2. Sheets of see-thru plastic template material with an eight-to-the-inch grid and a bold inch line. (Do not purchase long sheets in rolled format; they will never obey your will and lie flat.)
3. Thin rulers and sharpened pencils with ample and accessible erasers
*4. Extra fine-point permanent marker. Ex: PILOT7 Extra Fine Point Permanent Marker, SCA-UF
*5. Method to mark dark fabric. My preference: light-colored (ex: silver), extra fine-point permanent gel pen.
6. Fabric scissor
7. Template/paper scissors: A template scissor should not be the discarded kitchen shears or shaped for a five-year-old's hand. It is the essential, indispensible tool from which all other acts follow. I use OlfasCS-1 multipurpose scissors.
8. Set-up for rotary cutting, including a rotary cutter, ruler and mat
9. Sewing machine with well-defined quarter-inch seam allowance guide + a single hole throat plate

10. General sewing supplies

11. Ziplock baggies to hold templates
12. Scotch tape
13. A simple, child-like compass

NOTE: Bilaterally symmetrical fabric is often available for sale in class.

One day class:  
Bring one yard each of at least two (three is better) fabrics with bilateral symmetry. In other words, the motif can be divided into identical halves by a line passing through the center.

Also, at least four to six different 1/2 yard cuts of allover prints that read-like-a-solid. One of these should be a color similar to the background color of your intended print. Others can contrast or blend. Include one or two of the following: dark, rich painterly fabrics that evoke luminosity like a batik; a pattern that presents a lot of different colors in a few inches; a fabric with an ombré or gradation; a black and white all-over such as dots or dashes; a classic stripe in the colors of one of the bilaterally symmetrical fabrics.

Multi-day class:
If it catches your eye, bring it! The palette of fabric does not have to match rigidly. Diversity is the key.  Remember, more is more! Think luminosity, translucence, iridescence. For lattice and backing: Quantity is determined by quilt size.  

Bring one yard each of at least two fabrics with bilateral symmetry. In other words, the motif can be divided into identical halves by a line passing through the center.

A beautiful patterned print, the kind you love so much as is, you don't want to cut it up! It doesn't have to be symmetrical but it can be but it must have at least 4 repeats. Extra large repeats work well as long as you have four repeats.  

Also, four different 1/2 yard cuts of allover prints (two that contrast, two that blend with the other fabric), including one or two dark, rich painterly fabrics that read-like-a-solid. Bring one of these read-like-a-solid prints in a color similar to the background color of your intended print. 

Also:  a wide variety of 1/4-1/2 yards of small to medium all‑over prints, textures, gradations, classic and wacky stripes, marbled and stuff speckled with gold (a black splattered with gold is excellent.) Include rich, saturated jewel tones and painterly fabrics that evoke luminosity, translucence, iridescence. Black and white all-overs such as dots or dashes are useful. So are classic stripes, perhaps with wide bands, irregularly spaced bands or shadings of color, or a wacky stripe with lots of visual motion.