Thanks to some very generous blogging friends, you know who you are :o) , I have been having a play with stitching curves. Before I started I watched Alicia Merrett's videos on YouTube as Sandra suggested. This was a good introduction and demystified the process to the point where I felt ready to have a go.
Having said that, I did decide to start with the top-stitch curves as I thought they may be a little easier. Annabel had sent me some detailed instructions which walked me through the technique.
The main premise of this method is cutting the curve, turning the edge and stitching the curve down onto the next fabric after pinning. (Please ignore the top piece of orange fabric in the photo above, it shouldn't be there).
The beauty of this method is that you can arrange the curves so that some are set as 'valleys' with a fabric stitched on top on both sides, and some become 'ridges' being stitched on top of two other fabrics.
For the other method there is no top stitching but a 'normal' seam is stitched with the edges being pinned round the curve and the fabric eased. I am assuming that with this method you cannot have valleys and ridges in the way that you can with topstitching.
Putting the two techniques side by side the curved piecing on the left does give a smooth feeling of landscape or rolling hills. I can see that you would have to work with tone to achieve the feel of a landscape or seascape and I can see exciting possibilities with this method. I would add though that I found it very tricky to do, but that may have been more to do with cutting across the grain - or not! The top-stitched curves on the right were much more comfortable to do and I do like the idea of including 'valleys'. Karen Eckmeier is a proponent of this technique and both teaches and has written books on the subject. Her quilts are lively and my trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show on Satruday will definitely have me looking for her books!
Obviously I have only just started to explore this technique and my efforts are very raw but I am excited by the possibilities. I think my next task is to explore combining both techniques to get the effect I have in mind, to see if it will work. If it doesn't I think I will explore the topstitched curves for my final journal quilt for the Contemporary Quilt Group. Or maybe I could go mad and try a reversible quilt with one method on each side!!!! Oh no! Forget I said that! :o)) Thank you, everyone, for all your pointers to instructions for cutting and stitching curves. Bloggers are wonderful!