Wednesday 11 March 2015

WIP Wednesday - Zen Chic Workshop

Just finished quilting my Lost in London bed quilt for Make Modern, here’s a sneak peek!


Binding this baby tonight for photographing at the weekend.  Baby is probably not the right term for this 84” x 84” quilt!  (Biggest quilt I’ve made!)  So glad to be coming to the end of deadline projects,  I feel the need to play for a bit now!

Image courtesy of Limerick Quilt Centre Facebook Page
Speaking of playing with fabric, I got to attend a course this past weekend at the Limerick Quilt Centre with Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic. 

Brigitte designs fabric for Moda and gave a wonderful 2 day workshop on a very playful pattern technique and curved piecing.  On day 1 we made our own versions of this quilt: 


Using jelly roll strips and some bondaweb we stuck rectangular strips to our background fabric, placing them to overlap in places and pull the eye to certain spots on the quilt.  Starting with random and then being more deliberate in terms of colour and direction, this was lots of fun.


Everyone had different ideas and Brigitte worked with us all to tell a story with our strips.  Some had the ocean or a wind blown quilt.  Not sure what I had! I used art gallery grey print as my background instead of solids and used an old jelly roll of Valerie Wells Karavan for my rectangles.  I managed to get them all ironed down though not all sewn in place.  WIP!


I was in the purple corner for the day!  I might be a bit obsessed with purple, trying to find just the right shade is quite tricky!  Though in the shop there is lots of choice.

Anyone passing by Limerick should definitely drop in for a look.  I went home with 5 spools of YLI thread to add to my collection in addition to extra backing fabric!

We were treated to a trunk show of gorgeous quilts and quilting.  There were some themes in Brigitte’s quilts that were different to what I had come across before.  Brigitte likes to quilt the background to recede and leave the coloured prints or solids quilted in the ditch only so they stand up from the quilt.  Using monofilament thread to applique and travel stitching along the length of the prints to move from place to place with the all over designs.


To get that puffiness Brigitte likes to use polyester batting and advised us no to be afraid of it, battings have improved in recent years and to give it a go!


Another characteristic of Brigitte’s quilts are the beautiful backs, incorporating leftovers from the fronts in unusual ways.  And then there’s the quilting!  Love the numbers hidden in this one!


The second pattern we were making involves curves!  This is the OHO quilt.  I love the outer border, so densely quilted with different sized circles.


And a feather in the middle of the O’s!  Again with the prints left un-quilted.


The materials list called for background yardage in white with a layer cake.  I originally chose Moda Bella Porcelain for the background and Mimosa for the layer cake but changed my mind after the first block.  One handy thing about making a quilt in a quilt shop is you can change your mind!

Anne at my table bought her fabric on the day and chose the most gorgeous Kona Charcoal and when I put Mimosa up against it it just popped!  I cut 4 more background pieces out of porcelain and kept thinking that charcoal is really lovely!  Once you get something in your mind like that you just have to go with it.  Eventually I gave in and bought the charcoal!
I can use my white another day – I have a project in mind for it already.

So using lots of pins for the first few I found it slow going but not too difficult and managed to get 4 blocks made on the day.  This one could be a while in the making!

It was a great workshop - thank you ladies and to Limerick Quilt Centre for bringing Brigitte to visit!
Linking up to
Sew Fresh QuiltsWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


  1. Hi Ruth, It looks like they were 2 great workshops.

  2. It sounds like a great workshop. I really like when you get to see new quilts for inspiration and ideas. She is not afraid of curves or really interesting quilting patterns, and that is really fun to see even from just your photographs.

  3. Dark backgrounds for the win! Brigitte is so right about polyester. There are some awful ones still about but there are some really cool synthetic ones made from recycled plastic bottles and such too :) I stick with my 80/20 as it's a very good price and available locally whenever I want some..... I may change my mind if I trapunto soon!

  4. What a fun workshop! I haven't worked with polyester batting much, except for some trapunto FMQ samples that I did once. I'm currently quilting with 80/20 for the first time instead of 100% cotton and it feels very daring... Hah! I love the charcoal background fabric that you switched to. I agree; it takes WAY too long to make a quilt to trudge forward using fabric you don't love just because you bought it and feel obligated to use it. That's what the stash is for...

  5. I love this quilts. Must be fun and inspiring working together. I love your quilts.
    Lots of love from Amsterdam.

  6. What a great workshop! Looks like one I'd like to do one day. She designs some really great quilts that have tempted me before...

    Love the charcoal you went for with the Mimosa. I think it was the right choice to switch !

  7. That sounds like so much fun. I really like the dark background you selected on both quilts. Thanks for sharing all those close-ups of her quilting. So interesting to see different techniques.

  8. sounds like a great workshop. I really like the charcoal background, you made the right decision.

  9. Looks like a great workshop--lot's of creativity!

  10. What an awesome workshop!! The quilts you are making look fabulous! Thanks for sharing the quilts from the trunk show, what inspiration!

    Umm, sewing in a quilt shop would be very bad for my wallet!!! LOL I love that you changed your mind and went for it :)

  11. Lost in London is looking good Ruth, and that workshop sounds like it was time well spent. I love the numbers quilting, what a great way to quilt a quilt!

  12. I love the quilts you started at the workshops, thanks for sharing!

  13. That charcoal fabric looks great. I like blacks and dark greys with brights. I like your version of the first quilt too. Your strips are so vibrant! I also really like that grey dot quilt of Brigitte's. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Looks like you had a fun day. I've discovered Charcoal myself recently...wonderful Kona....

  15. I really love her quilting style of quilting in the background/negative space only ... and I really want to try that tape quilt!! I have just the jelly roll for it :) Do we buy the pattern from somewhere - or just have a go ourselves?

  16. What an amazing opportunity! I'd dive into that class ASAP. Love love love what you've made with curvy Mimosa.

  17. That looks like a fantastic experience Ruth! Love your gray version of the playful jelly roll quilt and your curved pieces on the charcoal! My gosh what wonderful quilting Brigitte does! my favorite is on the navy quilt - it looks mid century modern.

  18. Sounds like an awesome workshop, I love your quilt

  19. Looks like you've had loads of inspiration lately. Lucky you! Your Lost in London is sweet!


  20. I have long admired Brigitte's designs. You are so lucky to learn from her.
    (And yes, more than 80 inches square is no baby!)

  21. how amazing to be able to go to just a fun workshop :-) And you sewed curves - yay!

  22. Lucky you! What a great workshop to attend. I agree with you: charcoal is much more sophisticated than porcelain and makes the prints shine. Beautiful!


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