Monday, February 16, 2015

testing improv

Just over a year ago I was sitting on the couch reading blog posts and making plans for some sewing activities to complete over a week or so I had off work coming up. Sure I had a cupboard full off incomplete projects but I was feeling like starting something new. 

Sherri Lynn Wood had put out a request for quilters to try some of the 'scores' from the book she was writing to help refine her writing, with some of these to be included in the publication. In the spirit of improv I thought 'why not?'

 Each test quilter was sent information about the score they had been asked to try as well as videos showing some of the suggested techniques and suggested creative activities to prompt. I've never really considered my self to be arty and wasn't keen on the planning sections of craft classes at school so I was surprised that I found this relaxing and fun in it's own right but I was confused as to how this would translate to a quilt. 
 When it came time for constructions I turned exclusively to my scrap boxes and cut and sewed - ruler free - for little bits each day. In the end I had a pile of sewed sections and no idea how it was going to go together - and if it did, just what it would look like.

When I lay it all out on the floor I thought that I had made the biggest mess. 

But I embraced the guidance Sherri had given us and kept sewing. And to my complete surprise it looked OK, even with sides that where wavy and a top that was not at all square. So I basted it.

It was at this point I submitted the picture of what I had made for consideration to be included in the book.

I kept quilting it and I was much, much more satisfied with it after I had done that. I love the texture of it after the quilting and I feel like it further brought the sections together. 

I felt out of my depth a lot of the time I was making this quilt and so the enjoyment of the process was heavily tempered by that so I think next time I make a quilt from one of Sherri's scores (and there most certainly will be a next time) I will be a lot more comfortable in trusting the process to come up with something I love. 

I love that each of the quilts that have and will be made from these scores will be unique to the maker. Each decision that is made makes the quilt their own. 

Sherri has more information about the book on her blog here. The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilts can be ordered here from Amazon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

...Scrappy Stars - a finished quilt

A very long time ago Rachel hosted a beginning of the year quilt along focusing on quilt made from scraps. 

I started, and finished this quilt top.
Not long after I basted and started hand quilting.

Then for some reason it sat, for ages.

Late last year I finally finished it off! It gone straight into couch rotation.

Now, finally, with the prompt of a Scraptastic link up I've blogged it. 

I find it best not to rush things. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

...2014 - FAL plans Q1

At the beginning of last year I wrote this post as well. And then made very little progress on the items for the rest of the year. You'll see most of the pictures are even the same.So I am going to try again - with hopefully some more achievable goals.

Linking up with Katy from the Littlest Thistle who is hosting the FAL this year.

1. Finish hand quilting and bind Bee {a little bit} Japanese Quilt

 2. Finish the Weekender bay for L, I've only got the outer and finishing steps to go but I should get to this one first as it was a 2012 Christmas gift!

3. DS Strips and Bricks quilting and binding

4. Giant Baby Pinwheel quilting and binding

5.Honerable mention - Subversive Swoon Valentines quilt - this one needs basting binding and quilting but I don't have the batting for it and it will get knocked off the list if it isn't finished before Valentine's day and the chances of that aren't looking good.

Monday, November 4, 2013

...Marcelle is well on the way to done

Given the scrappy nature of this quilt and the rapidly overflowing fabric cupboard I have, despite my more restrained purchases, I wanted to make this quilt entirely from stash.

I didn't quite get there - there are a few new fat 16th in there as well as the pink border but more or less it all came from the cupboard. I'm pretty please about that as a few years ago I would have found that difficult - both in terms of my confidence picking the colours/fabrics and having enough blenders to make it work. It seems I'm fond of a novelty print to the exclusion of a lot else!

I sewed the last of the borders on Saturday morning and got ready for basting. I find these things are best done quickly or they can sit in the un-quilted pile for a long time.

I pin basted to within and inch of its life - partly as I was not convinced of how flat the quilt top was and partly as I intended to free motion quilt it and I have never successfully free motion quilted anything that big.

I spent a lot of time quilting it yesterday - I find it quite addictive and calming and I had to force myself to take good ergonomic breaks and do the washing and other such mundane activities. Taking inspiration from Jess and Jeannette I've quilted each section/border a little differently. I'll be using this one, rather than hanging it on the wall so I tried to find that balance between making an interesting quilting pattern and making sure the quilt still draped nicely.


I've still got about a 1/4 to go, and happily a day off tomorrow because there is some race that 'stops a nation' - perfect for the last of the quilting and binding.

Linking with Penny - Thanks for hosting a great quilt along! Stop by and check it out - there are some great versions of the wonderful quilt there.

Monday, October 28, 2013

...a poke in the eye

I was all excited about marching on with the cross border after I last posted - I was still undecided about the wide un-pieced border and I decided that I would make the cross border and then see how the options looked.

Then I went to Pilates and got flicked in the eye with a resistance bad. A trip to the Eye & Ear Hospital ensued followed by 7 days of strict bed-rest to ensure the injury was not worsened. The injury, and the treatment, caused my pupils to unevenly dilate. And meant that my vision, especially fine detail, was and still is pretty blurry. 

 So Marcelle had to wait. Yesterday though I'd had enough waiting and got sewing again.

I had started cutting the background for the cross border with one eye and I finished cutting and sewing it yesterday the same way. Not recommended, but I still have all my fingertips and a new border so it wasn't all bad. 

I'm just making a final decision on the corner stones and then hopefully I can finish the top this week. Really hoping my vision will return to normal so I can baste and get to the quilting this (Melbourne Cup) weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013

...still getting to know Marcelle

After I last posted last time we had some friends come to stay and the Quilty Cave was given over to bedroom duties. All that meant that the flying geese border didn't get cut and made until yesterday.

Like The Elven Garden I separated my four colours and made the flying geese from the warm colours and the bricks border from the cool colours. I think this works well to ensure they stand apart from each other.

I'm pondering a fabric choice for the next border now. Thoughts? I'm thinking one of these or the pink down the bottom in the more pink colourway. It's patches from Sarah Fielke's new range at Spotlight.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

...more progress on the Marcelle Medallion

After I got the centre star sewn last week and added the first border I felt a little 'meh' about the colours I had chosen. In my head I had strong colours contrasting with black (where the low volume fabrics are used in the original) and on reflection I knew that the fabrics I had chosen weren't strong enough colours. 

So I started again. I used Color Scheme designer to help me clarify the colour scheme I wanted to use - especially as I am still hoping to make this one entirely from stash. 

I was still a little dubious at this point but then I added the 60 degree triangle border and I was sold on the colour scheme. 

I've added border 3 and next up are the flying geese. 

I am hoping to get these cut out tonight or tomorrow as my sewing 'cave' will be converted to a bedroom for guests next weekend so I'd like to have it sewn on this week. We'll see though - they are a funny size!