Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Class Review: Dot to Dot Quilting

Hi! I'm here to share more of two of my most recent finishes with you, and review a Craftsy class.

If you want to see more, Craftsy has provided me with sponsored links that take you right to the class, Dot-to-Dot Quilting
And Craftsy is having a big sale on classes for Valentine's Day, too!

The class I'm going to review is Angela Walters's "Dot to Dot Quilting".

First off, Angela is a great teacher. She's very personable, supportive, and loves her job. She truly cares about helping everyone learn how to quilt and have fun. She's great about answering every question and giving feedback on photos and progress that students post.

Second, I love the Craftsy platform. I love that I can watch my classes anytime, anywhere, however many times I want. There are lots of cool features, like Playback, last 30 seconds playback, taking your own notes and bookmarks. I love the ability to ask questions, post pictures, and the instructors answer.! Even fellow students can answer and comment! Class materials are easy to find, easy to view and print in PDF formats.

On to the class itself!
Angela teaches 3 different designs in this class: Starburst, Diamond, and Lattice.

(Some of the lessons.)

She breaks down each design into theory with diagrams, then shows us how to actually mark the dots and quilt a practice quilt.

(Lattice lesson breakdown)

(Starburst theory)

(Basic Diamond)

I'm going to walk you through how I used these basic designs and variations on my own quilts!

Here are lots of pictures of the back of my Hope Star quilt. This is the back of one of the smaller pinwheel stars. I love how the Diamond and half-Diamond designs seem to make the star swirl and turn. 
(Back and front of a pinwheel star--the blue and green one)

(Back, and front, below. Simple red pinwheel with a Diamond inside, then the pinwheel blades are echoed with parallel lines in the background white)

After each main design, there's an extra lesson with variations on the design. That also includes how to fit the designs into different shapes! Below, in the background, you'll see the triangles filled with "triangle" echoes...Angela explains that they're just half Diamonds! Inside the red pinwheel and the green diamonds around it, I quilted the complete Diamond design.

(Echoed Starbursts, fit into a corner star point. Almost looks like a butterfly, right? That's definitely a different kind of shape.)
(And the front)

Here's the center star medallion. I filled each background triangle with the half Diamonds, growing from the corners of the triangles. I marked my dots in red and silver on the white triangles, so I knew where to aim in the center of the triangles.

In the background white in the very center, I quilted loops that started small in the narrow corners, grew bigger as the triangle opened out to the 90 degrees, then grew smaller into the corners again. In this case, my "dots" were the corners of the patches themselves.

In the red center of the medallion, there is a loopy motif. I echoed once around it to fill the square. Then below, in each large square, and the center of the smaller star, I used the same loopy motif. I like to be consistent as much as possible.

Angela mentions that she likes to mix traditional-type motifs with her dot-to-dot designs. It all makes everything more interesting!

Another example of traditional motifs, is the continuous swirl in the white latticed sashing and the green outermost border.

(Front and back of that motif and the little star with the motif)

(More half-diamonds, echo lines, swirls)

Here below, in the Lonestar, you can see the Starburst in the background triangle, and a modified Starburst in the corner background square. I combined the Starburst variation, growing from the center corner outward, with a Diamond in the outer corner. I liked that better than splitting the corner with Starburst points. Do I get points for creativity?!!

(Angela's Starburst variation--see how the burst points "split" the corner of the square?)

Angela even talks about adapting her dot designs into border designs, including how to turn corners. You can use dots to make curved designs, too.
Here in the Lone Star blue border, you can see the Starburst border that Angela teaches. My border is narrow, so it only allows for one pass of Starbursts, not two layers that interlock. It still looks nice!

If you look closely at the background triangle, you can see my white dots to mark where I wanted my Starburst corners to land. Yes, I cheated and measured a bit to make them balanced across the triangle!
I finished the Lonestar diamonds with traditional curved wineglass stitching. I've seen that in Lonestars for a while, and really wanted to use it, but didn't know how to do it...especially how to make it continuous. It's the ultimate dot-to-dot quilting, since you use the corners of the diamonds as the dots that you connect together with the stitching.

Angela teaches Dot-to-Dot Quilting on a domestic machine. I love it, because that's what I use; I don't have a long arm. She does make comments about how to adapt her techniques back and forth from domestic to long arm, like using rulers or marking more dots.

So here's the finished Lonestar wall hanging. 20" square. I used King Tut by Superior in the variegated red/white/blue to emphasize my Patriotic Americana theme.

And my finished "Hope Star".
(Fabric: Pieces of Hope for Autism by Riley Blake, Kona Bleached White, backing: Keepsake Calico in a blue by Koann fabrics. Thread: Connecting Threads Essential Cotton, Masterpiece by Superior, and Coats & Clark in White.)

To sum up, this is one Craftsy class that has really influenced the development of my FreeMotion quilting, and improved it. Angela has given me a lot more creativity, courage to let go and try something new, and the courage to keep practicing. And she helped me be more confident and not be self-conscious about every little bobble, wobble, or missed point. Her favorite mantra in this class? "Close enough is good enough." At first glance of her finished quilts, no one notices anything inconsistent or's her practice and experience. However, she also embraces her wobbles and goes with the flow, as you can see when she's demonstrating the actual stitching. Her calmness and supportive nature help boost confidence.

Thanks, Angela, for a great class! I can't wait to take more classes from you!

If you want to take advantage of a great sale and try Dot-to-Dot Quilting for yourself, click here

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