Sunday, March 22, 2015

Playing with Strings with Gwen

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to take another class with Gwen Marston.  I actually took two classes, but this post is on the Strings class.  The other class will be another post.

I've made lots of string quilts, but I've never done Gwen's method of strings - sewn without using a foundation.  Of course, Gwen started us out by talking about her method and doing a demo for us.

Here are some of the quilts Gwen brought to show us.

This one is all in solids and Gwen quilted it (by hand, of course) in black thread.

The blocks in this quilt started with a base square.  

Same with this quilt.

A cute little dolly quilt!

In this photo, Gwen is showing us how to cut up strings sewn into a strata.

Laying out the blocks.

And then sewing the blocks together.

So, we all got to work and sewed furiously.  I went around the room and took photos of everyone's work as the class was coming to a close.  I thought everyone's blocks looked great, no matter which method the student used.

Made using men's old ties.

One student brought a log cabin top she had made, and was making string blocks to go in the border.

And these are her border blocks.

I loved these blocks!   Both the colors and the design.  This person told me she was using a jelly roll!  I'd never thought of that.

Rectangular blocks.

These blocks were made by sewing a strata together first.  You'll see more of these blocks in the next post.

Also made by sewing a strata first.

And these are my first blocks (on the top right).  (The others were another student's first attempts)  Incredibly, and in spite of a huge stockpile of strings, I wasn't actually using strings.  I brought yardage and cut strips to use.  That was a first for me! 

And, miracle of miracles, I managed to get my quilt top finished this last week!

I think this quilt has kind of an African and/or "jungle" vibe to it, which was unintentional.  It's made with all batiks, but no actual African fabric.  I was making this little quilt to go on the wall in my guest bath downstairs.  There's only a toilet and a sink in there, so I'm not worried about the water.  (I don't know that I'd put a quilt in a bathroom where someone is taking a shower on a regular basis.  In this Pacific NW environment, it would probably grow mold before too long.)  This bathroom is decorated in a fairly sophisticated style (it was that way when we moved in), with beige striped wall paper and some fancy mirrors over the sink and I wanted it to fit with that.  And that room is kind of on the dim side (no natural light), so I didn't want anything too dark.  I think I actually succeeded in having it fit in the room both size-wise and style-wise, and it looks good in it's appointed place.  I'll get some photos when it's done and hanging in there.

It's been quite a while since I made a wall quilt a particular size (25 x 30 inches) for a specific place.  Kind of fun to challenge myself that way.  So, it feels good to feel successful!  Also, I knew that, being on the small side, I could get it finished in a reasonable amount of time. So, now to get it quilted.  Hopefully that won't take too long either.

My sister is coming to visit this week.  As a matter of fact, she'll be arriving in a couple of hours.  This will be her vacation and she wants us to sew together.  The Potter is OK with us taking over the living room!  What a great guy, huh?  I think we'll have fun!

I hope you have a creative week!


  1. How fabulous to spend time with Gwen and learn from such a master!

  2. p.s. I love her quote in your sidebar (so much that I've added it to my sidebar, too). Thanks (I love her books with Freddy - SO much information, inspiration, and color)

  3. Lucky you! I think Gwen's string quilts are my favorite. Thanks for sharing works from the class.

  4. I ALMOST came to Seattle at the time Gwen was there and would have attended a class. But major projects here at our new house kept me home. I'm hoping there will be another year when I can come and play along. The String quilts that came out of the class are great.

  5. what a wonderful post...I so love Gwen. ANd your sharing lifts my spirits!

  6. So jealous I could spit, lol!!! She is so inspiring....I was reading her book last night. LOVE your quilt, it does have an African feel to it, lovely! Enjoy your visit with your sis!

  7. Lucky you! Looks like another great class.:) Enjoy your time with your sister!

  8. An actual class with Gwen Marston is on my bucket list. This one looks like LOTS of fun! Thanks for sharing! I'm eager to see what you make!


Thank you for visiting my blog! I'd love for you to leave a comment - your comments really make my day!