I think I met Alli in Middle School, but we really became friends in high school. We were in the same homeroom and took all the same art classes. Art class was where our friendship blossomed. I loved art class, but became increasingly aware of the fact that I didn't have real talent.
Alli on the other hand was a natural. So it's no surprise that she has built a business around art. I moved away from Penfield in my junior year and except for attending one wedding we lost touch. Now, twenty years later, we have reconnected through facebook. The internet is amazing!
On to quilling!
Quilling is the art of paper curling. To quill you measure off a strip of thin quilling paper and then wind it around the slotted quilling tool. When you get a coil, you place it in the measuring tool to size it. The length of your paper strip and your own winding tension determine the size of your coil.
After you have the basic round coil, you can crimp it in many ways to make all sorts of shapes.
Alli was a mechanical engineer and she brings that kind of precision to her quilling. The directions are clear, well documented with photos and easy to follow.
For my first project, I decided to follow the directions step by step. This is pretty rare for me! I am tend to fly by the seat of my pants most of the time. I followed the directions for the little ducks and guess what? They came out nearly perfect!
Next, I decided to try my hand at some smaller ducks. I had to look through the booklet to figure out the ratio between paper strip length and coil size. These too came out good. There is such a quick learning curve!
If you look closely, you can see that one of the coils inside the small duck heads got all glued together and isn't really coil-ly but more of a hollow circle. Managing the amount of glue to use was perhaps my biggest learning curve. All four ducks took about half an hour because I was watching TV, reading the directions and going very cautiously. Once I relaxed into it, the quilling went much faster and turned out better. Finger pressure is important for an even coil. I found the less I paid attention, the looser and more even my coils were.
Not that I am the least bit perfectionist. I definitely put the craft in quilling. Letting go of perfection makes it fun for me. And, frankly, unless you have read Alli's book or have seen other true quilling artists, less even coils are hardly noticeable. I have to say, I spent the weekend quilling and made some mistakes, but there was no cursing. Most of the paper packs Alli sells cost about $2 for 50 strips and many coils only require a few inches of a single strip. The biggest mistake only cost pennies.
I had first thought I would save these ducks to use with a framed birth announcement, but since the baby hasn't been born yet, and I like instant gratification, I decided to play around with another idea. I wanted try a paper ruffle with scrap book paper and thought I could make a little sign. I was in a "use what you have" mode, and the stickers I had are just off. The letters are too big, too overwhelming, and some are the wrong colors.
I don't think this project is up to stand alone gift standards, but I might glue it to a plain gift bag and fill the bag with baby sleepers, ear plugs and a blanket.
My first quilling projects were very relaxing. I typically sew to take my mind off of my stressors. Quilling is another nice escape. It requires some concentration- but less than sewing. It produces satisfying results with a quick learning curve. (No curses!) The colors are so pretty - it's like having a paper rainbow in your lap!
Tune in tomorrow for my second project where I ditch the directions and make up my own design! In the meantime, Ann has amazing quilling projects on her blog All Things Paper. She is clearly no beginner. It's exciting to see what can be made!