The Free Motion Quilting Project: Elaine Zinn and Lyric Kinard

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Elaine Zinn and Lyric Kinard

I've mentioned before that this year I've been the program chairman for my local guild. This means that my job for the guild is to find awesome quilters to come and present lectures and workshops for us once a month.

This is a really fun job because not only do I get the chance to pick the presenters, I also get to take them out to dinner and get to know them!

free motion quilting | Leah DayBack in July we hosted Elaine Zinn, a quilter I actually already knew quite well from back when we lived in Asheville, NC.

Elaine lived in Hawaii for many, many years and presented a wonderful, extremely informative lecture on Hawaiian quilting. If you remember a PBS series that came out several years ago on Hawaiian quilting - Elaine was the quilter behind that wonderful program!

The quilt above is Elaine's mother's traditional Hawaiian quilt. I absolutely fell in love with it - both the symmetry and complexity of the design and the bright, hot pink fabric!

I'm very interested in creating a Hawaiian quilt myself, but I asked Elaine if it was a terrible idea to try to fuse and machine applique something that has such a rich history in needle turn applique.

She was all for me giving a Hawaiian quilt a try in whatever format I wanted. Quilts and quilters are continuously evolving, so there's absolutely nothing wrong with trying this style in a faster way.

At the lecture, Elaine gave us all a free pattern to take home and try to create a small block or pillow cover. I decided to use this pattern as a base, but to play with it a bit and make it more my style:

Hawaiian quilting | Leah DayWhile the pattern was done and I was excited to try Hawaiian quilting, I didn't really have a plan for how I was going to do this. Fuse? Machine applique? There were a lot of different options, and life caught up with me at the end of July and with one thing and another, I put the small project on hold.

But then last week we had another guild meeting and I met Lyric Kinard, a fiber artist from Cary, NC.

Lyric brought many beautiful quilts with her to show, but the main event was her wearables. These amazing garments were made using fabrics not typical for quilting - silks and rayons that have a beautiful drape and flow.

I modeled two garments and here is the purple skirt and jacket I absolutely fell in love with.

free motion quilting | Leah DayDuring the lecture, Lyric mentioned many different and unique techniques she uses in her quilts and garments. She actually created a DVD of several techniques and written a book about exploring creativity with Interweave Press.

One technique she mentioned that you can see a bit of on the back of this jacket is a reverse fusible applique technique.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis sounded really interesting and immediately I remembered my Hawaiian quilting project. So I pulled it out today, marked my fabric, fused some Wonder Under, and viola! I have a reverse fused Hawaiian quilt block ready to machine applique and quilt!

free motion quilting | Leah DayBecause I spent a little time thinking ahead on this block, I was able to save the negative space too so this made 2 blocks at the same time!

free motion quilting | Leah DayIt just goes to show that guilds are truly amazing places where you can meet wonderful quilters, learn innovative techniques, and get the inspiration to run home and try it out!

I don't think I would have stuck with quilting 5 years ago if I hadn't joined the Asheville Quilt Guild. Some things you really need to learn in person and even just attending a lecture can open your mind to many new possibilities!

So if you're not involved in a guild, consider trying one out this month! You never know who you might meet or the techniques you could learn from having more access to inspiration and information.

Now I'm off to watch Lyric's DVD on mixed techniques. Who knows - I might be applying gold foil to my next quilt!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Thank you for a delightful post! I've been in love with Hawaiian quilts forever...and hope one day to have the courage to join you in this adventure!

  2. I also love Hawaiian quilts.. Many years ago I was in Hawaii and bought a pillow kit and did the needle turn applique, I am NOT a hand worker! But it went quickly and I framed it as a wonder reminder of my vacation there. Your method would be wonderful! Claire

  3. Beautiful squares! Love your color and fabric choices!!

  4. I couldn't agree with you more about the benefits of belonging to a guild. That's where we get so much of our ideas and inspiration, learn things and make wonderful friends. I probably wouldn't be quilting now if I hadn't joined a quilt guild five years ago. And now I've just finished my term as president. So glad I joined.

  5. Ditto on the benefits of guild membership. I was program chair last year and loved it!

  6. I love Hawaiian quilts! They remind me of paper snowflakes. I'm too scared to tackle one since I have no idea how to piece or appliqué! Hee hee! I did join my local guild and am going to my first meeting soon. I can't wait to share ideas. Well, mostly absorb them!

  7. I think Elaine Zinn was one of my professors at the University of Hawaii. I enjoyed her class. I think it may have been an interior design class. Btw, your Hawaiian quilt block looks great!


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