Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Surprise No More

The one class I took at Quilt Festival this year was taught by Charlotte Angotti of Quiltmaker's Studio and called 'Let me Surprise You! More!'. Charlotte has been offering Surprise classes for many years and this year she took it up a notch.

The regular classes are traditionally based on the attendees getting ziplock bags of pre-cut pieces of fabric for a twin size quilt top. As the day progresses, the attendees sew the bits together and the top takes shape. You never really finish the whole top during the day and Charlotte always offers add-on packages that contain enough to turn your kit into a much larger quilt. Besides making a quilt top that is a complete mystery until late in the day, Charlotte is a one woman comedy show and a bottomless store of quilt making knowledge.

I have taken her regular classes three or four times and happen to be a friend of a big fan of Charlotte's. As a friend of a member of her posse I have had the distinct pleasure of being included in many dinners with the posse and Charlotte after the Festival has closed for the day, shared in stories from the quilt retreats that Charloatte runs, added a block to quilt being made for her by the posse and once had the pleasure of escorting Charlote and other members of the posse on a fabric shopping trip to a couple of the bigger quilt shops away from the Festival site.

I guess you could say I am a wanna be posse member.

I was extremely intrigued to see that Charlotte had a whole new mystery quilt class for Quilt Fetsival this year. It promised to be more challenging, produce a bigger quilt... in fact to be More!

I was not disappointed. For this mystery class Charlotte designed a simple New York Beauty style quilt block that could be machine pieced. There was curved piecing, wacky mirror imaged bits and straight edges that weren't. Here is an example of a more typical New York Beauty Block courtesy of Quilters Corner Club.

There is no way that block could be pieced together in a typical mechine sewn manner and is in fact pieced using paper as a foundation to assist in getting all those points to match up correctly. Charlotte's fabrics were purchased at last year's quilt market, the essential block was hand drafted by her in the past few months and the fabrics were laser cut by John Flynn (a quilt super star on his own). The combination of these three elements came together to help me put together four of the blocks shown below:

There was enough fabric in the kit for thirty-six blocks and the add-ons would add sashing, corner stones and three borders to produce a king size quilt. Heck, the basic kit itself will produce a quilt that it is 72" square. I did not purchase the add-ons as I have some other ideas to increase its size. I , also, have not used the setting of the blocks suggested by Charlotte as I thought it took away from the wonderfulness (is that even a word?) of the block itself.

If you ever get a chance to take a quilt class with Charlotte you will not be disappointed. The stand-up comedy routine itself is worth the price of admission.

Other Charlotte quilts I have posted about are here, here, here and here.

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