I needed to make a gift for our good friends. They were expecting their second baby. But I hadn't made a quilt for their first baby, so the second baby couldn't get his own, right? That's my logic, anyway. So I thought a family quilt would be more appropriate. I made a large throw size quilt (75"x65"), big enough for Kristin and her little boys to snuggle with right now, but sorry, Colin and Taylor boys in the future, it's definitely going to be too short for you. Without really planning it, this quilt became a sampler for the classes I took at QuiltCon 2015. I learned to make the circles and pebbles in a class with Rossie Hutchinson. I also chopped up the doodle I made in Sherri Lynn Wood 's class and incorporated that into the patchwork. The construction of the top was improvisational and ruler-free. I thought much too long and hard about what to do with these blocks from my QuiltCon classes. In the end I threw them haphazardly on my design wall and loved this simple layout. I quilted this on my Juki 2010Q and it's far from perfect but I love it. I did echoes in a few spots and then straight lines or grids on the rest. I'm proud of this one. Everything came together beautifully.
In early 2014 Sherri Lynn Wood, an artist whose work I greatly admire, put out a call for pattern testers for her book. Except we weren't really given patterns, we were given Sherri Lynn's loose instructions for improv quilt construction, which she called "scores."
The score I was assigned was called Layered Curves. I won't go into the whole process of creating the blocks. You can check out Sherri's book for that! I will say it was my first time to sew any curve of any kind. And it was my first time attempting to work without a ruler. For those keeping track, I didn't use any rulers or templates when cutting my curves. I wasn't supposed to use a ruler at all, but I struggled to cut my blocks freehand so I did use a ruler to trim them up. From my instruction from Sherri Lynn, which was all done online, I didn't realize the significance of this choice. But later I would understand the importance of going ruler-free in this process, and wish that I had stuck with it.
This quilt was finished in March, but I had to wait to share it until we got closer to the book's publication date. Sherri Lynn's book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is coming out in the spring 2015. I can't wait to get my hands on it, even though my quilt was not chosen for publication in the book.
I had a tumultuous relationship with this one. While in progress, I mostly hated it. When it was done, I loved it. After I took a workshop with Sherri Lynn Wood last month, I realized it is missing the expression of line that could have happened if I had put away my ruler as instructed. Like I said, I put it away for the curves, but couldn't make myself make blocks without it! I regret that now. But I still like this quilt. My favorite thing might be all the hand-quilting I did.
This was absolutely a learning process that made me push myself into uncharted territory as a quilter. I'm looking forward to working with Sherri Lynn again at QuiltCon, and trying more scores from the book when it drops! I'm also happy to say that this quilt will be hanging in the QuiltCon show.
Continuing with my series of seasonal mini quilts for our hallway, I made this mini quilt using summery colors from my stash and an improv curve technique. Earlier this year I made a quilt using improv techniques I learned from Sherri Lynn Wood. I can't share that quilt here until her book is published (my quilt was not accepted for the book but uses techniques described therein, so she has asked her many testers not to share until after the publication date). It also involved improv curves. For this mini, I used the same idea but extended it to the whole quilt, instead of using blocks.
The basic idea is to start with a square or rectangle, layer another over one of the corners, and cut the two pieces of fabric at the same time, creating a curve instead of a sharp corner. Sew those pieces of curved edged fabric together and iron. Then to the same thing on the next corner and continue around in a clockwise or counterclockwise manner (it doesn't matter which way you go). It's like building a log cabin block, but you are cutting free hand curves instead of using straight strips of fabric. I've included several pictures of my process in order to give you an idea of how I proceeded.
I wasn't sure this idea would work... then I saw this quilt on pinterest and it was very similar to the idea in my mind. It's always so interesting when you think you have imagined something and then you see someone else has already done it! I was happy to see this quilt because it let me know the quilt in my mind would be possible to make. I also think Kati did a great job on hers. I love her color choices.
This was not an easy one. It was really difficult to get the quilt to lay flat as I kept adding on curved sections. In the end I had to add a couple of darts to get it to lay flat (another technique I learned from Sherri Lynn Wood). The darts helped, and after it was washed I blocked the quilt to further help it lay flat.
I like the improv curve style of this quilt. However, when I hung it in the hallway, it immediately struck me that it looked like a big piece of tie-dyed cloth. And guess what. I hate tie-dye. And unfortunately, once I saw it, I couldn't unsee it. I think, perhaps, that the colors I chose were responsible for this look of tie-dye. They were too harsh, maybe, too jarring. I should have used some more neutrals and lighter values, perhaps.
I ended up not being very happy with this quilt. I was glad when summer was over and I could take it down and put up something else. Maybe I will try my hand at another summer mini before next year. I will have to put some thought into what makes a good summery color palette.
Even though it wasn't my favorite, it was a good learning experience, as always. Onward.