My local quilt guild hosted Frieda Anderson last week. I took both of her workshops, one on free-motion quilting and one on fusing. Our guild is lucky to have as one of its members Jean Lohmar, who regularly wins national awards for her superb machine-quilted quilts. Jean regularly offers classes for the guild, and all I knew to this point was from her. I know it's good to learn from more than one teacher, so I signed up for Frieda's class, and am glad to have learned new tips and gotten ideas for some contemporary-style quilting. The fusing class was the big surprise. I took it only because Frieda was here in town, and because I know it's good to try out techniques/styles, even if you think you won't like them. I don't know that this workshop will have the same impact on me as the similarly-motivated class I took with Suzanne Marshall in 2004, which so enriched my life with the addition of hand-appliqué, but I can think of a couple of projects I've had in mind for which fusing would make construction a great deal easier. After the many months of the very challenging construction work on "Shelter," it's probably not a bad idea to give myself something a little easier for the next idea-centered quilt. It might also work to do a fused version as a first step, and then a pieced or appliquéd version after that.
The quilt above (about 17x17") is a version of Frieda's "Laughing Leaves" quilt. I'm more interested in geometric shapes than organic, so I put in squares and rectangles instead of leaves. You can see the obvious influence of Melody Johnson's work as well, another member of the "Chicago School of Fusing." Below is a detail of the quilt. Click on any of the photos for an enlarged view that will allow you to see the stitching. Following Frieda, I've stitched "in the ditch" around each design element. This is for the sake of appearance only; the fusing alone holds down the pieces. This is fine for wall pieces; if you put a fused quilt through the wash, the pieces would stay fused down, but the edges would fray.
And here's a little piece (5x6) that I made with scraps: