Quilting Ladders, Stems, and Stairs

Fiber Arts

Quilting Ladders, Stems, and Stairs

Learn about "improv quilting," color and composition, and experimental piecing in this first of a two-part series.


$165.00 (any noted materials fee included)


$215.00 (any noted materials fee included)

Sewing Machine Reservation

Free (any noted materials fee included)

Tuition Assistance and Other Policies

Meeting Times
  1. Sat, 7/20/2024 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM
  2. Sun, 8/4/2024 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Sat, 7/20/2024 - Sun, 8/4/2024

See additional date options »

Class, Has Prerequisite

Fiber Arts Studio

Quilting, Sewing


The focus is on learning an improvisational cutting and piecing technique that can be used by quilters and other textile artists to create a variety of intriguing shapes. "Improvisational quilting" is a technique in which a quilt is created without a specific intent in that it develops as the quilter stitches.

You'll learn how to cut and sew a curving, stem-like form using a simple, four-step process. For quilters interested in learning or expanding their free-cutting skills, this is a chance to master a slightly twisty geometric pattern that can be incorporated into pieced designs of all kinds. The quilt pictured here, Anatsui #3, is composed of these forms.


Skill Level: Intermediate and advanced quilters


You need to bring:

  • Fabric
    • Type: Bring an assortment of fabrics in a range of colors and values (light to dark). There should be several different colors, some solids or near-solids, and some patterned. Especially useful will be fabric "pairs" that contrast strongly yet also harmonize so that they look good together but are clearly very different from each other. Bring at least three sets of such fabric "pairs" (i.e., at least six individual fabrics, although preferably more). Students frequently say they wish they'd brought more fabric!
    • Size: Bring odd-size scraps of various dimensions (whatever you have lying around and would like to see in a block), but include several pieces that are at least fat quarters (18 inches by 22 inches) or larger.
    • Note: Some people like to bring their "ugly" fabric to experiment with (easy to chop it up and mess around with if you're not very attached!) while others prefer to use really great fabric that motivates them to make something gorgeous as soon as possible. Either approach is fine, or do both!
  • Pencil and paper for taking notes

You may bring your own sewing machine, cutting equipment, and supplies or use BARN's. If you want to use one of BARN's sewing machines, please reserve one when you register and see "Prerequisites" below.


If you plan to use one of BARN's sewing machines, you must have completed Fiber Sewing Machine Certification.

Class Policies

Ages 14 and up are welcome.

BARN Policies

  • View BARN's Cancellation and Refund Policy.
  • Tuition Assistance is available. Fill out the application before registering.
  • BARN is committed to accessibility. We try to make accommodations when requested; the earlier you contact us, the more likely we can help. Please email accessibility@bainbridgebarn.org to find out more or request an accommodation.
  • Sensory Statement: Makerspaces like BARN can be noisy and cluttered, smell strongly, and have bright or flickering lights.

Instructors or Guides

Barbara Ramsey

Barbara is a fabric artist who sews original abstract artworks using traditional quilting techniques. Employing her own designs, she pieces together fabric shapes with a sewing machine and by hand. Her primary materials are commercially printed fabric as well as fabric she had dyed and manipulated. She is absorbed by the simple acts of washing, rinsing, drying, sewing, and ironing and differs from many traditional quilters in that she designs and cuts fabric in an effort to distort geometry. She works to create irregularity, using various shapes to impel the viewer’s eye to roam over the entire surface of the quilt, seeking the harmonies in the middle of contrast.
After living in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years, in 2015 she moved to Port Townsend with her husband, Kerry Tremain, a photographer, art director, writer, and editor.

Go to Top