Craftsy Class Review: Designing Modern Quilts with Weeks Ringle

Online Quilting Class

I feel like I'm a little behind in my Craftsy class reporting--I know I missed doing my update at the end of September. I'll catch up with that this week. 

Meanwhile, in the midst of all the cooking classes I've been having a ball with, I have done another quilt class. This one was a theory class rather than a project class, so I mostly watched the lessons and took notes. But more about that below.

Here's my review of Designing Modern Quilts with Weeks Ringle

The main thing to understand with this class is that although the phrase "modern quilts" is in the title, the information in the lessons applies across the board, regardless of the type of quilting you're doing. Weeks does give some definitions of modern quilts and modern design in lesson 2, and there are some design ideas towards the end that are related to modern quilt sensibilities more than traditional. Of course, all the quilts she uses as examples are modern quilts as well. Still n' all, even if you have no interest whatsoever in modern quilting, you'd learn quite a bit from this class and be able to apply it to your traditional or art quilts easily. (Lesson 9 is probably the most "modern-quilt specific" as it deals with deconstructed traditional blocks and moving beyond blocks altogether, which are definitely modern quilt material.)

Exploration on color inspiration from "Old Masters" paintings

Exploration on color inspiration from "Old Masters" paintings

There's no class project but she does include "explorations" in the material--exercises meant to help you practice the ideas from the lesson. Although I chose not to do most of the explorations myself because they were things I was already quite comfortable with or was already practicing in other ways, I enjoyed the fact that she incorporated a review of the explorations in the classes themselves, using other student samples from past classes. It's a helpful way for you to do your own practice and then compare it with what she describes from others' work, to get a feel for what you did well and where you may still need expanding.

I enjoyed Weeks Ringle's presence. I've been familiar with her and her husband Bill's work for years, and I have a slight recollection of having seen a lecture by the two of them some time ago at one of the Houston festivals I attended, but I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to experience her as a teacher. I'd love to be in an in-person class with her--I suspect she'd challenge you gently, if you will. In other words, she'd make you want to reach further than you're comfortable, but you'd feel like she was doing it with kid gloves. 

I can't say I had any earth-shattering insights from this class but I've been studying design pretty intensely for the last couple of years so Weeks was going over familiar ground for me. It does always help to see different types of examples of the same principles, though, just to broaden my vision of how things can play out. It's always worth getting the same information in a variety of ways to  help you understand it more deeply, so although all of this was known territory for me, I still think it was worth my time to go through her lessons to get a different perspective.

As stated above, this isn't a project class and there's really not much in the way of specific class projects even in the explorations. The explorations are meant to be done as tests, not completed quilts. The class materials include one pattern for a quilt if you're looking for something like that.

I'd definitely recommend this class if you're new to studying design principles. It's one of the few true design classes on Craftsy, so take advantage of it! I'd also recommend it even if you've done some studying of design and want to look at it from a different angle. 

And, if nothing else, there's tons of eye candy with her quilts!

The Basics

  • 10 lessons, ranging from 11 to nearly 40 minutes in length.
  • The introduction is a serious introduction. Weeks spends a little time telling you about herself, of course, but most of it is about the importance of studying design and how to lay your groundwork for the rest of the class. It's a 33 minute lesson, so you jump into the learning fast!
  • Lesson 2 is where she talks about what makes modern modern, and what is available to us today that wasn't available in generations past.
  • Lessons 3 and 4 address color theory, and although she covers the basics here (color wheel, color schemes and so forth), she does also talk about the messages that color sends, which is a nice touch.
  • Lesson 5 addresses using prints, which gives good information about benefits and challenges; lesson 6, on the flip side, is all about using solids.
  • Lessons 7 and 8 talk about composition and execution. I enjoyed the lesson on composition (over 40 minutes!) because, again, she talks about some basic information you've likely seen in other places but takes it in slightly different directions; lesson 8 also has a very helpful section on avoiding design pitfalls.
  • Lesson 9, as stated above, is one of the few that's probably more closely related to modern quilting than other lesson topics, because it's all about messing with tradition or going in completely new directions. 
  • Lesson 10 talks about quilting and finishing, but to be clear, you'll get a lot more information about quilting from classes devoted to that part of the process. That being said, in many of her examples throughout the whole class she also talks about the quilting motifs and why certain ones were chosen, so you get a lot of inspiration here.

And so, my final review of Designing Modern Quilts with Weeks RingleI'd give this class two thumbs up!

(Usual transparency statement: Using the Craftsy links in this post helps support this podcast and blog. Thanks!)