Bella Bella Quilts

Detail: Bella Roma

When I visited the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice I was delighted and enthralled by the floor! As literally hundreds of tourists passed by, necks arched to study the magnificent mosaic ceilings; I scrambled to make sketches of the incredible inlaid patterns under their feet. I've now learned that these designs were created centuries ago from marble scavenged from the ruins of ancient Rome. The rare materials and colored marbles were set off with more readily available stones to create beautiful patchworks. One family of tile makers who specialized in circular patterns were know as the "Cosmati" and their work is adaptable to quilting. The Victorians too appreciated Cosmati work and used many of the patterns to restore churches and cathedrals in Britain in the 19th century.

I offer 4 classes related to this topic for guild/shop workshops: Drawing in the Round, Sewing in the Round, St. Marks Wallhanging ( an abbreviated version of Venice Rose), and Cosmati Rings I.

Other quilts in the book can be taught at retreats and conferences. Complete, pre-printed foundations to use with the book are available in my shop.

St. Mark's Wallhanging

This workshop will show you how easy it is to make this stunning quilt! Day 1 covers the many design options for this pattern, preparation for foundation piecing and foundation piecing. Day 2 covers curved seam piecing, assembly, and machine appliqué. Each quarter of the quilt takes about a day to assemble. The appliqué and final assembly take about two days more and you have a really special quilt top!

Drawing in the Round

This workshops shows students simple, step-by-step, NO MATH techniques for building patterns. Instead of the usual grid of squares for making patchwork designs, these grids are simply a set of circles and spokes. Easy techniques are used to divide a circle into slices with inexpensive tools like a compass and pencil. Once the "grid" is drawn, the possibilities for designs are only limited by your imagination.

Sewing in the Round

This workshops can be accomplished in several ways from traditional templates to freezer paper foundations to a combination of techniques. My pattern, "St. James Rings" is used to show students two of these techniques. When both "Drawing" is included, students may choose to work with their own pattern.

Cosmati Rings I

This workshop introduces ring foundation piecing using two easy “blocks.” The center roundel can be a compass, plain fabric, or an applique design (those variations are available for class) making this a very versatile pattern. Easy methods for making multiple foundations for the pieced border are included. Construction for the curved corner sections is readily accomplished use a few clever tricks and the large curves are easily machine pieced. Beginners can make this quilt!

cosmati rings 1


Sweet Sampler

Sweet Sampler Quilt

This workshop teaches the basics of piecing and machine applique while it allows individual students to design a quilt uniquely their own. This project is perfect for a retreat or conference, or for a series of classes. Blocks used in the quilt can be mixed and matched to fit 9” x 18” spaces or an 18” square. This project also allows the beginner to learn about secondary patterns, something traditional single block samplers do not do. Included in the class are suggests for design variations to enlarge or reduce the size, for machine embroidery to create woven effect, and for quilting design.


Fees and Requirements

For fees and requirements, send an email, or call me, (805) 962-8511.

©2006 Norah McMeeking