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.
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.
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,
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