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keep it simple, but pack a punch


This is the online version of the Virtual Live Zoom Class

Recordings of the Virtual Live Zoom Class are included in this Class

Play on Curves

Learn the art of creating quilts to showcase simple but effective designs. We will discuss color, values and design concepts, then sketch out a rough design on paper, keeping in mind that “simple” often makes more of a powerful statement than “busy”. This class will involve mostly improv piecing and cutting without a ruler.

Rachel Derstine is an award winning fiber artist and educator who believes in the potential of everyone to find their creative flow given the right tools and encouragement.  You may see Rachel’s artwork at


What is included in this class?

This class will involve mostly improv cutting and piecing. We will be mostly cutting without a ruler.

Some simple fusing may be added.

We will draw a rough sketch of ideas for our quilts on paper.  Don’t let that intimidate you.  It’s just so we all have an idea of where we want to go.  Keep it mind that it is totally fine if you change your mind about some things as you progress through the day.

Choose from your stash or purchase your hand dyed or commercial fabrics: an interesting focal fabric and various values in other hand dyes, batiks, silks or prints. Gradient fabrics are always fun. We will cut and piece our quilts. Quilting and facing will be demonstrated and discussed.

You may want to create a small quilt for this class in order to get more done but there are no restrictions on size if you are feeling confident.

We will discuss color combinations that work and why.  We will also discuss how to minimize clutter or distracting elements. We will also maximize the use of negative space and you will be given ideas for how to quilt in that space to create the “wow” effect.

I will demonstrate couching as an added feature to add emphasis to certain lines in a quilt.  This means I will show you how to stitch yarn to the surface of your quilt to add definition and texture.

I will demonstrate how to use a blanket stitch around the edge of a sun or moon.

You will also have links to the Live Zoom Class Recordings so you may learn from student interaction.


You will be given 24/7 access to all the videos used in the class.

Supply List


Choose simple solid fabrics, gradients, ombres, or hand dyes in your favorite colors.  You may add silk fabrics and some prints or textured fabrics for your focus fabric.  Think of value and be sure to add fabrics in related colors of several values.


These are my favorite threads so they are suggested but purely optional.

Aurifil – cotton 50 wt.  for piecing

Glide thread for quilting


Sewing Machine – Please have your sewing machine set up before class.  Your sewing machine must be in good working order.

Fabric scissors, rotary cutter, cutting mat, iron and ironing surface.  It’s always great if you have a design wall.

If you will be couching:


Pellon 806 Stitch n’ Tear – 38” x 18”

Madeira – Super Twist #30

YLI – Monofilament Thread for the bobbin.  If your machine doesn’t like monofilament thread just use regular thread.

Wonder Invisible Thread

You must have zig-zag capability and know how to raise and lower the feed dogs.

Zig-Zag presser foot, also a cording foot or braiding foot for couching is good to have.  I like the Bernina #21 but any open toe foot will work.  See if your brand of machine might have something similar.

    Bernina Braiding Foot 21

Single Cone Thread Stand  like the one in this link :

    Single Cone Thread Stand

Large Starbucks Straw, masking tape.


If you plan to fuse applique pieces to the surface of your quilt.  Mistyfuse or fusible of your choice.  If using Mistyfuse please have several sheets of parchment paper or nonstick Goddess sheets handy.

Below is an example of a quilt where I used couching (stitching yarn to the surface) to add definition to the long curvy lines and small rectangles.  I also added some couching to create the suggestion of hills.  Rectangles were fused to the surface using Mistyfuse.



Desert Calm

Here are some comments from students in my classes:

“What a wonderful class! I learned so much and am eager to take my art quilts to the next level, thanks to you, Rachel.”  – Lynne

“This class is filled with so much information!  Thank you Rachel for all of the efforts you have put into your class and the videos to help reinforce the new approaches for my quilting. You have helped me step out of my box:)” – Barbara

“I enjoyed not having to pack up my machine and supplies. Easy access to my quilting studio. No worry of the weather for this time of year. Not wearing a mask! And great instruction with repeat access to videos.  Your work is inspirational!” – Valletta


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