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

5 comments:

  1. WOW, Lisa!
    Please bring this to the next MetroMod meeting. So exciting to see you take a leap of faith!

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  2. It's a map of Modern Quilting. What a journey. Love it!

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  3. So enjoyed seeing this! I followed the same "score" with very different results. Such fun seeing another (very successful, IMO) version.

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