Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fun with Gwen Marston

Warning: This is a very photo-heavy post!

My Small Study #1
8.5 X 10.25 inches unfinished

My 3-day class with Gwen Marston was so much fun!  We were learning how Gwen made her Small Studies quilts and how to make our own as well.  These are the Small Studies in Gwen's book "37 Sketches".  We only had 10 students in the class, so we got lots of attention from Gwen.  We had long discussions, got to see lots of her newer quilts, and learned how to make the "parts" she uses to make her Small Studies.  

My first piece, above, uses one of the wonderful hand-dyed pieces I got from Kelly.  Those pieces are just the right size to use in a small study - I even have a little bit left of that yellow/orange.

Below are examples of some of the parts we learned.  (None of these examples are mine.)

inserted squares
a great example of utilizing a striped fabric well

curved inserts

inserted strips

we learned triangles of all kinds

more inserted squares

log cabins, of course!

strips with & without inserts

more strips

It was a good thing the class was 3 days, as it took most of a day just making the parts.  Gwen says hers take about 17 hours each - just the top!  After we all made a bunch of parts, the real learning started - how to design a quilt and put them all together!

Here are everyone's pieces that were up on the design wall near the end of the third day.  (I'm sorry but I didn't get the names attached to the pieces.  If you know who should be credited, please let me know so I can give credit due.)  Many people managed to make 2 or even 3 pieces in the 3 days.  All of these little "studies" are approximately the size of a piece of printer paper, some are a little smaller and some a little larger.

Aren't these all fantastic?!  What a fun, creative group of women we had in this class!

And now, I'll show you what I was trying out for my second piece.  I was really struggling with this one - I was rushing, trying to get done before the end of the class, as I wanted Gwen's input on what I was doing.   I managed to get two pieces done in 3 days.  (these little parts take a long time to construct.)

first attempt
I was trying for a kind of Amish vibe here - I wanted to do simple.  Not too successfully.  So I decided I needed more parts.  Back to the sewing machine!

2nd try - not there yet!
I made some log cabins, some inserted squares and someone gave me a 4-patch to try out.  Gwen told us that trying out some other parts, even if the colors are wrong, will give you a good idea of something more you could do.  We also laid our partial pieces on top of her little quilts for more ideas.  It really worked well.

now I'm up on the design wall, taking suggestions from anyone
I made still more parts!  Getting closer, but not quite "it" yet.  

My Small Study #2
8.5 X 9.5 inches unfinished

After moving some things around and some trimming, it's finally done!  

I would say this was a very successful class.  We all made good pieces, had a wonderful time and I learned a lot. I was exhausted at the end, but it was a good, happy exhaustion.  Candy said she had a great time too.  

I'm already working on #3!


  1. wow! that looks like a great class!

  2. Looks like a very fun and creative class. I will have to see about putting a Gwen Marston class on my bucket list.

  3. Very interesting! Sounds like a wonderful class. Would love to take a class from Gwen. Thanks for sharing so many photos. Your study #2 is wonderful. Like the idea of just making parts without a plan.

  4. WOW Lucky you...looks fabulous!

  5. yes, exactly exhausted and exhilarated all at the same what you came up with...looking forward to #3!

  6. That all looks amazing. So glad you got the chance to do the class. Can't wait to see what you do from here on out.:)

  7. I love your pieces! Everyone else's are wonderful too. I'm so happy you got to spend all that time with Gwen. She's such a gem.

  8. what a great class you took , I love that book and look at it a lot. I just don't have the thought process to put the pieces together! this would have been the perfect class for me learning how to be liberated! LOL
    I love the last one and then the one with the strips and inserts...and without inserts....
    its it really just what looks good to your eye when your making them?
    so glad you were able to take this class. lucky you!

  9. What a great class and what wonderful wonderful quilts.

  10. Great class and wonderful results! Glad you had the opportunity to use those hand dyes, they look perfect!

  11. Great post! Wonderful examples. Looks like you got a lot from this class.....your little quilt top is terrific. I have not tried anything like this...I am intrigued!

  12. Looks like a great time and lots of learning.Your piece is very interesting, I love the mix of colors.

  13. I've bookmarked this page of your blog to my file called "Cool blocks and quilts"! Im glad you had such a wonderful time with Gwen. Boy are you lucky with only 10 of you in attendance. Love your efforts, too. Good inspiration for me! I need to revisit the small quilts concept. That's what I can do in Maine! Thanks for sharing all this wonderful stuff!

  14. All those sketches are fabulous!!! It's interesting to see the sketch shapes broken down into parts. You're lucky you got to spend 3 days exploring these wonderful pieces! I think we'll be seeing more of these special sketches made by you.

  15. Great photos! Thanks for posting about this class. Really interesting!

  16. I am so happy your class was a success. I love those multi-day classes. You can get so much done and receive so much input from the teacher and the other students. Glad you are home safe and sound. Thanks for sharing all the pix.


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