Thursday, February 12, 2015

Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters

Last January, I was lucky enough to be asked to try out
a score for Sherri Lynn Wood's new book,

I had been reading her blog for a while,
and threw my hat in the ring when she asked if people 
wanted to try out her scores for her book.

When I got the email that said I had been chosen to be a tester, 
I was excited,
and I must admit a bit intimidated.

I am very familiar with improv quilting, 
but this challenge took it to a new level.

The challenge of my score was to to fit together 
blocks and sashing to create a rhythmic grid.

My first task was to pick out some fabrics.

Then I started to cut everything up.
No rulers!

With the directions given,
I started playing around with my pieces.
This was a great process for me.
I'm not great at reading directions and figuring it out,
so I had no idea if I was "doing it right."
Which of course is silly, because improv quilting
is all about just "doing it."
Good lesson there, for just about everything in life.

I was surprised when I began my quilt that 
I really didn't like what was going on.
I couldn't see how it would work, but I pressed on and let go. 

As I laid it out and put my rows together, I started to really like it.
I could see my rows coming together in a way 
I had not anticipated.

I learned that even if you aren't thrilled with 
what you see before you, keep going.  
Try different things and put together enough 
to really get a feel for where you are going.  
You can always change it, but don't make any snap decisions 
on what you have, let it brew awhile.

So I kept cutting.
I loved not using a ruler.  I have done this before to some degree, but not for a whole quilt top.  
It was very freeing to just hack away at the fabric.  
And I realized that I could cut a pretty straight line 
without a ruler if I wanted to.

More rows.
I fiddled with the placement of things,
looking for a certain flow.
This kind of design work is
 out of my comfort zone,
but it felt great to jump in and go with it.

I struggled with the spacing between my blocks.
I know it was to be improv, 
and maybe I just needed to let go more,
lose control.

Can you see the flow here?

I added a top & bottom row in contrasting fabrics,
but trying to continue the flow I had established in the center.

I used all the little scraps to make a pieced back.
I really love this too. 

I decided to do straight line quilting on an angle,
about a half inch apart. 

Here is a closer look at the quilting.

I decided not to square up the quilt.
My sides were jagged and I loved the look of that.
Those jagged edges gave me the biggest surprise of this challenge.
Not everything needs to be perfect and square!
I LOVE those edges.

Binding it wasn't so easy, but I honored the challenge
of figuring out all those corners and indents.

This is the pic I submitted to Sherri 
for consideration to be in her book.
These colors are more representative of the actual quilt.

I'm not sure how well I adapted the score.
I'm horrible at reading directions and visualizing what it "should" be.
I just jumped in and let it take me away.  
I feel like anything I create is my version of something else,
so honestly this was perfect for me to own it.

And the finished back. 

I do love that back.

I loved the whole idea of just freely cutting and sewing 
and seeing what happens.  
I think my next improv quilt will be a little bit looser,
 with no grid to the blocks and see what happens.

Sherri had so many people testing her scores,
and in the end she could only pick a few quilts
to add to her book.  
Mine wasn't chosen, but I really loved being involved with her project.
It pushed me out and made me look at things differently.
I cut fabric without a ruler.
I sewed things that weren't perfectly straight.
I made a quilt that "wasn't me," but clearly is me!
Thanks Sherri for the gift of improv exploration.

You can order your copy of 
Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Protege . . . .

Last fall I got myself a Protege.
She wanted to learn how to make a quilt, 
and I was happy to oblige! 

We started with some 5" blocks I already had cut up.
We talked about colors and value.
Design and balance.
She caught on very quickly!

Her favorite subject is math, although she LOVES to read as well.
Math!  Yeah, quilting is tons of math and geometry!

So we met on Sundays for a couple of hours most weeks.

She learned the importance of a 1/4" seam
and how it makes your design line up correctly.

There were only a couple of jack the ripper moments.
(I bought her her own seam ripper, every girl needs one!)

After a few weeks the borders went on and Tada!
A quilt top was born.

Next up basting on the floor.
I let her do this, her back is much younger than mine!

She stitched in the ditch . . . 

And stitched in the ditch some more . . 

Then onto marking the borders with tailors chalk
for some straight line quilting.

One afternoon we had some time to kill between steps,
and I decided it would be fun to fool around with my chevron quilt.
My Protege helped me figure out a much design.

A better shot of the finished top.
She is awesome!  My protege, I mean!  ;)

We practiced sewing on binding on a small block.
Practiced those corners.

Then she was ready to sew her binding on!
I swear she picked this binding herself! 
(Haha, maybe she saw one of my other quilts.)

Binding sewn on,
now to hand sew on the back.

This was a longer process than I thought it would be.

But she stuck in there!
Even had Mocha sitting on her lap one day.

Mocha looks pretty comfy huh?

And now today . . . 
A finished quilt. 
Quite an accomplishment.

I'm so proud of my protege.
She is smart, fun, determined and delightful.

Now I think we will take a turn at making some bags.
Hehe . . . . 
Thanks My Protege for all the fun!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sweat Shop Sewing Monday

Yesterday Gidget, Mocha and the kid came over for a day of sewing.

We haven't done this in a while.  
Need to get back in the swing of sewing with these girls,
we always have so much fun together.  
Don't always produce a lot, but . . . . 
We giggle a lot!

Mocha likes to sit in your lap while you try to sew.
It's all about Mocha!  Hehe.  She is the sweetest.
The kid was quilting a large quilt, so I let her use my Juki.

Gidget had about ten different projects she had started
and couldn't figure out what to finish.  Bags, draft dodgers, scarves.
See, WIP and UFO's are not just for quilters!!

The kid's scrappy trip around the world is so beautiful!
I forgot to take a full shot of it.  I need to do that!

We had two cutting tables, three sewing machines and an 
ironing board station.  All in my tiny little penthouse!

I made this cute little bag.
I'm very proud of myself, I just eyeballed Gidget's little bag
and wung it.  I think I may have caught the bag bug now!
They are cute, fast and fun!

I also worked on HSTs.  I had a bunch of solid squares,
so I have been sewing them up and now I must trim them all.
Hummmm.  Think they may become a quilted bag!  Hehe.

 The kid got her binding sewn on.  
(And her laundry done.)
Now she can hand sew it at her house.

Gidget put binding on a little quilted mat she made too.

and Mocha?
Well Mocha guarded the door.

Mocha is a great guard dog.
Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2014

Can't believe it's that time again!
Thank you Amy for all your hard work in hosting this fun event.

Welcome to new visitors to my blog.  
I hope you like what you see. Poke around and look at my stuff!

For this festival I am showing a quilt that I just finished.

Star Fever.
65" x65"
machined pieced and quilted by me!

I started this quilt this summer at Quilting by the Lake.
Under the direction of the fabulous Victoria Findlay Wolfe.
This quilt is inspired by a quilt in her 15 Minutes of Play book.

But I super-sized it and modified the block layout.
Victoria let me borrow her giant diamond template to get started.
(I'm still hoping she will produce and sell these!)

This is the first rendition.

Then my teacher, the grasshopper, said,
"Turn it around let's see how it looks the other way."
She is always right.

Hehe.  Like it both ways.

The class helped me pick out the setting fabrics.
Loved it.
BUT . . . could find enough of it to finish.
So it languished on my design wall all summer.

Sassy V in her QBL apron for the auction.
She is a great teacher!  Take her class if you get a chance.

Now back to the star . . . 
I kept flipping it back and forth
trying to decide which way I liked it best.

In the end, I went with the original design.
I like the two different purples and oranges in the center,
gives it a bit of pop.

I did echo channel quilting about 3/4" apart, but VERY organic.

a pieced back . . . 

a label . . . 

a rolled end . . . 
ready to go.

This quilt is being donated to the Greenwich Breast Cancer Alliance
for their silent auction on November 6th.
I made them one last year and was happy to be asked again this year.

Kinda hoping this is a new tradition for me too!
Thanks for stopping by, hope you are enjoying all the eye candy 

Thanks again to Amy for putting it all together.