Tag Archives: improv quilt

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A few weeks ago I shared my new daily project, WIPs Be Gone with Leanne of Devoted Quilter. Here's a wrap up of all the works in progress I worked on during the first 25 days (of the last 100 days of 2021).

My commitment to myself is to spend at least 15 minutes (though often it's longer) making progress on a WIP. My goal is to finish 4 larger quilts before the end of the year as many of my finishes in the last year and a half have been mini quilts. You'll see that I'm still also working on mini quilt projects. In the next 25 days I'm gonna work to knock a couple larger projects into the finish column.

There's a bit of a theme in my projects so far: GREEN!

I spent the first week putting my Tac Tac Toe blocks into a finished quilt top. My WIPs Be Gone kickoff post lists all the Kona colors in this quilt and I absolutely love the palette. I'll be quilting it myself, but haven't yet basted it. This is atop my WIP priority list for the next few weeks.

I added hand stitching on my series of Personal Symbols mini art quilts from a summer class with Deborah Boschert. (hand stitching during Zoom meetings is great!) The next step on these is to add some free motion quilting before they are trimmed and mounted.

I finished the Positivity mini quilt that I shared recently. This was the project I spent the most time working on. I love the Kona Peapod background and always enjoy creating Scrappy Slabs.

I trimmed up my Waterfall quilt. It just needs binding, so I'll be finishing this in the next couple weeks, too.

And lastly, I worked on sewing together all my samples from the Improv Cutting Tips demo that I gave at the beginning of October. This blocks turned into a series of five mini quilts.

And I'm not just working on WIPs. I'm preparing for my first Improv Log Cabin guild class this weekend. And I'm also participating in Nicholas Ball's Improv Triangle Sew Along (in blue).

Oh and one more green thing I made recently. I'm taking a paper mixed media collage course and one thing we did this month was watercolor flowers and leaves with ink details. This is one of my favorites.

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear about what WIPs you're working on.

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Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans and goals. I took six weeks off of blogging from mid-October to the end of November. It was unintentional. When I got close to posting again I was surprised it had been that long. I'd been sewing. But something had had to give. And blogging was one of the somethings.

Today is my Dad's birthday. Two years ago, on his birthday he was diagnosed with cancer. He would have been 66 today, but he lost his battle with cancer on October 27th of this year.

The past two years have been very hard emotionally. Many hours have been spent discussing death, dying, and cancer with my now 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 year old children. That is an exhausting task. I feared how I would help my small children through their first experience with death and with the loss of their grandfather.

His health was a roller coaster, up and down over the last year and a half of his life. In the bad times, I watched him in pain, physically and emotionally. In the good times, he was back on his bicycle, where he loved to be.

I found out about the cancer diagnosis right about when I was working to launch my blog. The news shocked me and delayed my blogging plans. My first post featured a quilt I made for my dad when I found out about the cancer. It was what I could do. At a time that I couldn't even talk to my siblings about it because they didn't know yet. I could throw myself into quilting and make something for him. That's one of the things that quilting does for me. It provides comfort in times that are hard. While the quilt was given to Dad, that quilt was more for me that it was for him.

 

This project is the first project that I started after my dad passed away. An improv quilt had been on my bucket list, but I wasn't intending to start anything new before the new year. Somehow in that lost space of having lost my father, I did what I knew would comfort me. I started a new quilt. I cut out fabric. And I did it without a ruler. It was liberating. It gave me a place to spend time thinking of him while I worked on this project. It's healthy to grieve. But I think it's also healthy to not let grieving overwhelm you. As life went back to normal in the sense of my day-to-day routines, this project gives me a break from the routine. I don't know when I will finish it, but as I work on it I will be reminded of him. And again, this quilt is for me. I hope the process of making it gives me the space to process all the feelings I'm having. I hope that once this quilt is done I will be able to look back and think that things are somehow just a little bit easier. Right now things are still feeling very hard.

I haven't really done a lot of improv, mostly just a few bee blocks. And when I "improv" I usually still use a ruler and 90 degree angles. This project was born from my own set of adaptations to Sherri Lynn Wood's Floating Squares score, from her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. I really enjoyed hearing her speak months ago and bought the book when it came out. As a perfectionist, rule-follower I really appreciate that her improv has some guidelines. In practice, I am enjoying it all just going together, without the picky worry of perfect points or perfect seam allowances. I guess the true test will be how much I love it when it's done.

I know Sherri presses her seams any which way... I was struck by the slide she showed us of the back of one of her projects. As a press-seams-open-er I thought it was complete madness. You can see here that I tried desperately to stick with pressing seams open. That middle seams was just wonky enough for that to not be happening there. I've darted in a couple places and I've pressed seams how the fabric wants them to be pressed. I can definitely see how important this flexibility would be in a project that had more curved piecing. I'm already seeing that the longer my seams get the more likely something is a bit amiss.

For those of you who are familiar with Floating Squares, one of the adaptations I've made was how many different fabrics I'm using. Seven. While I love the look of the basic three fabric versions, I wanted to work from my stash, and the larger cuts of fabric just weren't speaking to me so a number of my chosen fabrics are from half yard cuts. I have a vague notion that I'm working in three zones; these are parts of zone one.

I'm a bit of a blender addict. I don't buy much in the way of multicolored prints, and when I do, I find it hard to use them. I decided to use the stripe fabric as my filler fabric, and cut my squares from the blenders and bicycle print. I'm trying not to overthink the selection of pieces to put together and I'm enjoying the process.

I think one of the challenges of improv is knowing when you're done. In my case, when I run out of fabrics, I think I'll be done. I have no idea how big the quilt will end up being. That feels so weird and backwards. The solid black will be used in another zone of the quilt. Since I want some of my fabrics from the other two zones to cross into the zone with the black, I've started making some units with the black. And true to form, I'll likely jump back and forth between the three zones so I don't get bored. There's a rough vision in my mind. Time will tell if this is going to come out as I'm envisioning it.

Thanks for visiting.