Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bbb... bargello ...jello...lo...o...

Is there an echo in here? After finishing my first bargello quilt top in February...
My first bargello quilt top: Surprise! They're pastels!? 44-1/2" x 36"
...I have already completed my second!
My second bargello quilt top: Twisted Minds 62" x 46"
I just love the incredibly dimensional look!

What is "bargello?"

Bargello is a traditional, needlepoint technique and style of design motif that dates back as early as the 17th century. Many think of bargello as Italian, because the name seems to have originated from chairs with a "flame stitch" pattern found in the Bargello Palace in Florence.

Surprise! They're Pastels!?

Surprise! They're pastels!?

FYI, I don't do pastels. Yeah, right! When I picked the strips for this, they looked like a collection of very light-to-medium valued strips. When it was finished, Hillary (who taught the class in which I made this) said, "Wow -- I've never seen a bargello done in pastels before!" My response was, "These aren't pastels!" I'll let you be the judge.

Because the pattern of this one was continuous -- not twisted, like Twisted Minds -- we used a tube-based method, which was fast and fun. We determined the order in which we wanted the colors, sewed them together in order, and then sewed the first strip to the last strip to form a tube. We then cut the tube across the strips to get skinny, little "rings" of fabric snippets of various sizes ranging from 2-1/2" to 7/8" wide. At that point, we "unsewed" the seam in each "ring" between the top-most fabric in the row and the bottom fabric, placed each row in position, and sewed them all together.

Simple enough! It's actually very easy; it just sounds (and looks!) complicated. After you've done it once, it all makes perfect sense! The key is to be organized! If you're anal retentive (oh, was I looking in the mirror?), the bargello techniques will be right up your alley!

Twisted Minds

Twisted Minds

I needed 20 colors, 4 1-1/2" strips of each, so I started with 4 Tonga Treats Strips collections -- 2 each of Meringue and Coffee Cake (I had to cut down the strips that I used from 2-1/2" to 1-1/2") -- and added 2 marbled browns (donated from Mom -- isn't she nice? :), the orangey-red (which also appears in the border), and the blue with the orangey-red bits in it.

Because this is a twisted bargello pattern, the tube method won't work. For this one, we sewed 4 identical strip sets, cut (again, across the strips) a number of "strips of fabric snippets" of varying widths from 2-1/2" to 7/8", and then used those strips as the "raw material" for the rows in the pattern. Then, for a row of a particular width -- say 1" -- we "unsewed" whatever was necessary from the pile of 1" strips to create a set of strip segments that we then re-sewed in the new order. In other words, each row was sort-of "hand made" from the chunks of strips that we cannibalized from the cut strips.

Again, looks complicated -- this time, the twist looks really complicated, I think -- but once you've gone through this method once, it makes perfect sense. And again will appeal to your anal-retentive side.

Next on the agenda?

Well, I just wouldn't be me if I didn't start designing my own! I've got some books, and Hillary's willing to teach a class on it this fall, but I suspect I won't be able to wait that long, if I find any scraps of time to work on it on my own. I'll still take the class, though -- you can never learn too much from others, and Hillary's a great, creative quilt artist whose brain I enjoy picking.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Summer 2012 class schedule posted!

Looking for some summer fun and creativity? Check out our Zentangle art classes and quilt-making classes. Class sizes are limited, so be sure to register early.

Friday, February 03, 2012

We've moved! (Sorta...)

I started a new blog, called Think More, Write Less, to separate my professional content from my personal content, which is primarily quilting, SCUBA diving, and dog training and enthusiasm — if you are interested in that content, you're in the right place.


I’ve transitioned to the new one for the weighty stuff  primarily technical communication, user experience, information and content strategy and architecture, professional development, and leadership. If that's what you're here for, join me "over there." All of my professional resource links (which used to be in the right-hand column of this page) are also in transition.


I'm revving up my quilting content, so stay tuned. I'm teaching several classes over the next few months, and I plan to share tips and tricks, sample and (with permission, of course) student-project photos, etc., here. Looking forward to changing the direction of the conversation, here, to much more fun, relaxing topics!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leadership at LavaCon

Techwr-l (@techwritertoday) Special Writer Jacquie Samuels (@writin) wrote a nice summary of yesterday's LavaCon leadership session called Andrea Ames on Leadesrhip. The "tips" list is really great. Thanks to Jacquie for the great coverage. :)

Don't forget: Be the team member that you want on your teams. Be the model. Set the example. Be the team member that everyone else wants on their teams, and you'll be more likely to be the leader on whose teams everyone else also wants to be! Check out John Maxwell's The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teams.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Myth of the Roundtable (John Maxwell)

Disclaimer: I was shamed into finally getting this blog going by a colleague, friend, and fellow leader (@AndrewWorking). At a breakfast meeting this morning, I mentioned an upcoming #LavaCon presentation about getting things done through others, of which much is based on the work of John Maxwell. Check it out in Austin, TX on Monday, Nov 14. If you are interested in leadership and you aren't familiar with John Maxwell, read on.

Here is the point I mentioned that instigated Andrew to suggest that I post: The fallacy that all members of a team are equal (Maxwell's Myth of the Roundtable) -- the belief that life is a democracy, even at work. Not true.

Maxwell (The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teams) and Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith (The Wisdom of Teams), for example, have discovered through experience and research something to which I can attest: The best team leadership is shared and situational. As human beings with rights, we are all equal. As members of teams, we are all important, but not equal.

Putting it in technical communication team terms, we can't all be editors or information architects or project managers. In a team composed only of IAs, who will write? Who will ensure that we have the right technical publishing infrastructure? The responsibilities of a good leader of a successful team are to:

  • Determine and leverage the special capabilities of each person on the team
  • Acknowledge and embrace her own strengths
  • Not just allow, but fully enable and actually rely on, every team member to "step up" when the time is right and lead appropriately

How well are you doing this?

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