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Laura Murray Designs

August 2017

Creativity can seem magical, since it's sometimes difficult to see the origins and evolution of a design. As a Harry Potter fan, the idea of making something that appears beguiling, bewitching and beautiful appeals to me.

I've always thought of my design process as "everyday magic" that requires only a willingness to play with shapes and color on a background fabric. I've been working on a new quilt using my Xanadu, Leaf Medley and Exotica stamp sets, paintstiks and fusible web. No magic at all; it's a journey that begins without much thought to the outcome.

This process includes lots of side trips vs a straight path. Read on for highlights, and consider launching your own journey.

~ Laura


Get Started - Playtime for me involves pulling out my basket of unused blocks from other projects, along with an assortment of individual painted and fusible backed shapes. I think of these as my building blocks, which can be easily moved around on a background fabric while playing my favorite "what if" game.

The shapes are created by using these stamp sets as the texture for paintstik rubbings. Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 fusible web is repositionable and very handy for this task.

Find something inspiring -- Look for an inspiring idea, which arrived when I cut an Exotica curved square into quarter-square triangles, and placed around a Tileworks 5 1/4" block. This is a new combination of shapes for me, and seems like a perfect focal image from which I can build outward.

Find more information about the basic techniques in the Learning Center.

Getting traction -- Background fabric (1/2 yd) taped to the table, marked with horizontal and vertical chalk lines, and the inspiration block placed in the center. Soon, the focal image expands to a trio, and I'm liking the concept. Now, I move forward to find a supporting cast that surrounds the center. The more you get involved with the shapes, the more you realize what isn't "quite right" to your sense of aethestics.

Auditioning -- The emerging design outgrows original 1/2 yd of background fabric, and is switched over to a larger background fabric. Lesson learned.... should have started with a full yard in the first place! Continuing to audition shapes until the overall design feels complete, a process which goes quickly because shapes are moved around in just a few minutes and can be easily exchanged for new colors/shapes.

Nearing the finish line -- Nearly done, just need to paint a few more shapes. Then, I'll pin the quilt top on my design wall for several days of contemplation and possible tweaking, followed by final fusing and quilting.

I've spent just 2-3 hours a day for about a week (including painting) on this project, which would be a daunting, lengthy challenge if seam allowances and piecing were utilized. I'm happy with the magical aspects of my playtime!

Save money by purchasing Tileworks and Exotica Specials. Each of the stamp sets used in my new quilt are available separately at $22.95 each; technique booklets are $12.95 each. I highly recommend the booklets because they provide important information about paintstik application with easy to follow step-by-step instructions for numerous original block designs.

Tileworks Special -- Save $20.00. Includes Xanadu and Leaf Medley stamps and two technique booklets

Exotica Special -- Save $5.00.
Includes Exotica stamp and technique booklet

On The Road

Husband Jim is recovering spectacularly well from hip replacement surgery. He declares that his new hip is "just wonderful", and he can walk 2+ miles with nary a limp just 5 weeks post surgery. Which means he can manage the physical aspects of loading our Sprinter van and booth set-up. Since I cannot manage these tasks by myself, Jim is an essential part of vending at shows, and I'm delighted he is now able-bodied.

Visit our booth for new silk batiks, overdyed kimono panels, handcrafted buttons and loads of inspiration for quilts and garments.

Heads up to Novi sewing show customers.... Now that the Novi, MI show is discontinued, we hope to see you at the AQS Grand Rapids, MI show instead!




Aug 16-19

AQS Quiltweek
Grand Rapids, MI
Booth, demonstrations


Sept 7-9

Quilt Expo
Madison, WI
Booth, workshops*


Oct 5-7

Original Sewing and Quilt Show
Fredericksburg, VA
Booth, workshops


* Do you like coloring? How about coloring on fabric to easily achieve fabulous results? I've taught thousands of people to use paintstiks and would love to see you in one of my "Color your Fabric with Paintstiks" workshops available daily from 9:00-12:00 at the Madison quilt show. It's guided fun, playtime with paintstiks and rubbing plates provided for class use. No skills or artistic talent needed; if you can hold a pencil.... you can do this! Here's a few of the techniques:

Rubbing, Stenciling

Masking, drawing directly

Shading, torn edge

Registration info available at: http://quiltexpo.com

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