The Circle Game - Gary's Journey - Part 1

Wednesday, January 10
Happy New Year, everybody!
The first post for 2018 and I have to admit, I am really pleased to be sharing this one with you!

I mentioned in a previous post that we aim to utilise this blog more often to share news about Amitie, but also about our community (the broader craft community and also our local community in Torquay). I also made note that we would be including content from guest contributors... and here we are!

I'll admit - a male quilter is rare in our patchwork but that isn't why Gary stood out to us. It was his work and passion for quilting that really caught our eye.

Hi Gary!
He participated in the Delilah (Template Only) program and by the powers of Instagram, Jen and I followed his process and often found ourselves discussing his work with Fussy Cutting.

Let's just say... his fussy cutting is UNREAL!
I mean, just look at it!

When Gary contacted me about doing The Pretty Circle Game (Our latest Template of the Month Program) it was clear he might not want the soft and pretty fabrics we were shipping every month. As beautiful as those fabrics are, they aren't his normal colour palette!

That's when the idea struck to have Gary as a guest contributor to this blog!
I was thrilled when he said yes and I am so thankful to Gary for being open to this as I know his aesthetic will be greatly appreciated by you, our loyal customers!

So, without further ado... here is Part 1 of Gary's Circle Game Journey!

Happy Reading!

How did you get interested in quilting?

I started quilting about 5 years ago, before that I had always knitted and sewn. I mainly knitted jumpers, beanies scarves and waistcoats. In the UK we lived in Sheffield, where a good jumper and beanies were essential. I had always knitted with lots of colours and as well as designing some of my own patterns. I knitted lots of Kaffe patterns, amazed as always at the use of colour.

Moving to Australia I soon realised that I might need a jumper three mornings a year, at a push. The kids wanted beanies and there was a call on cowls but nothing that would let me play with big colour. Then I discovered Material Obsession (Sydney). I remember when I first walked in, the colours, the range of fabrics and a team led by Kathy that started me on my way. The journey from there has been amazing and I am constantly learning new skills and techniques.

That’s the long version, but in short, quilting let me lay with colour on a large scale and a lot quicker than knitting a jumper!

What about hand-piecing?

I have been hand piecing for less than a year. I blame David of Southern Cross Fibres, I was watching his instagram feed and he had a video of him hand sewing. I had tried EPP but the basting/glueing and everything was not me, but David’s video had me intrigued.
A few videos and blogs later and I was wanting to give it a go.

Two things happened, Jinny Beyer launched a mystery BOM that took you step by step through hand piecing of different blocks and around the same time on one of my work trips to Melbourne I finally managed to get to Gardenvale and Amitie where I managed to score a place on Jen’s Delilah TOM and now officially hooked on hand piecing.

And there starts a whole new journey.

What’s your approach to the blocks?

When I got the first templates for ‘Delilah’ I realised that the bulk of my stash was all big prints, mainly from the Kaffe Collective and really no smaller prints. I found that the contrast for the blocks wasn’t happening so I wanted to try a different spin... what about a limited colour palette, and a non-scrappy scrappy quilt?

I have lots of Parson Gray  fabrics that I wanted to use but again they often have big geometric patterns so I wanted to use them as highlights against a palette of blues and greys from Janet Clare’s ranges. I started to look at how I could combine these.

I had never really Fussy Cut before and was keen to see how the fabrics changed when cut and pieced. Jen’s ‘Behind The Scenes’ range just carries the blocks, perfectly.

What are you doing with The Pretty Circle Game?

Now officially hooked on hand piecing, when Jen and the team announced the pretty circle BOM I was wanting to try this but the pastels were not really for me. On a trip to the US I found some of Jen’s new ‘Behind The Scenes’ Wovens and payed with how these might all combine together for The Circle Game.

I’m one of those people who always wants to develop new skills and up for a challenge. So many people have said not to hand piece with shot cottons or wovens, which got me thinking why not?! Well, maybe I’m going to find out but will have fun seeing if I should have heeded their advice.

So Block One - Thank you Jen for an easy introduction to curves (which also taught me something about woven fabrics!)

 Jen’s video (supplied to The Pretty Circle Game Participants) is a great intro into how to check template placement to maximise bias and mark up ready for hand piecing.

I wanted a contrast and movement so decided on just 4 of the wovens. They are beautiful, silky and feel about the weight of a cotton lawn, but I soon learned that you need to minimise handling as the looser weave can fray if handled too much – first note to self.
But, this slightly looser weave means that they take the bias of a curve really well!

Curves can be daunting, however I was once taught to look at curves as just lots of straight lines - the tighter the curve the smaller each little straight line is. This appealed to the technical  part of my brain and so curves became less scary. The gentle curve in this first block plays to that notion.

In order to get the contrast of the circles against the background for the books I decked to step out of the wovens and use Jen’s new 'Circulus' fabric in black. I want my quilt to have some echo of Jen’s original. Looking ahead I am planning how to approach the borders, but more of that in another post!

Another lesson here was to watch how to press - the looser weave means the fabrics stretch if punched and you can see that in one to the lighter fabrics.

Using solid  colours rather than patterned means that it is not so forgiving on points and joins, which in this quilt is going to be a technical challenge especially with a lot of tight curves coming.

So lots of challenges but as I once read if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.

Thank you to Gary for sharing his experience!
To view more of Gary's work, you can find him on Instagram @live.breathe.create

Loving Jen's Woven's?
Shop the range HERE
Purchase The Circle Game Pattern HERE
If you would like to learn more about Fussy Cutting, you may be interested in our up coming workshops with Angie Wilson from Gnome Angel. Find out more HERE

1 comment:

Caroline Heinrichs said...

Thank you Gary for your good advice on starting hand piecing once my Golden Days Template of the Month starts. I really love your varied Grey tones on these blocks. Cheers from B.C. Caroline