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Improv quilting is calling my name!

Improv Quilting: Floating The Squares quilt, © Stephanie Boon, 2105 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Floating the Squares

Hello! I’m glad you’re here today because I’m excited to show you my finished quilt top!  (It’s the first one I’ve made following an improv quilting ‘score’ from Sherri Lynn Wood’s book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood.) I’m still rather unimaginatively calling it ‘Floating the Squares‘, but I think I’m in love!  It took me a while to figure out the last section with so little fabric left – that’s one way to force yourself to improvise.  I knew it wouldn’t get much bigger in size and wanted to make sure it was balanced and flowing.

Imrpov Quilting: Floating The Squares quilt, © Stephanie Boon, 2105 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Development of the ‘bottom’ section (the quilt is hanging up the other way on the wall)

Someone suggested that the large pink square on the left hand side in the picture above stood out too much, but that’s one of my favourite areas!  He suggested that was because of the orange!!! I can’t deny I love orange and I like the way the ‘path’ skirts around the square (and the way the same (smaller) shape is almost repeated on the adjacent edge), but what I love most is the way the eye is drawn to that side and takes the focal point away from the expected centre.  I think I might draw the eye to it even more when it comes to quilting it.  I’ve got to get some of my other projects quilted first though!

Colour

Improv Quilting: Floating The Squares quilt, © Stephanie Boon, 2105 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Pastel drawing and the quilt top

When I tacked it to the wall in the sitting room I was surprised by the similarity in colours between the landscape sketch I’d propped up on top of the radiator and the quilt.  Strong blues, reds and orange, a slick of green.  Seeing the connection made me think about how I use colours to evoke place, and what else I could experiment with to evoke that in a quilt.  Shape, texture, maybe pattern.  Improv quilting is the way to explore further and I’m keen to move on. I wondered what I could learn from someone else’s approach to improv quilting but even after just this one experiment I’d say that what it does is broaden your thinking.  Making something in a way that’s characteristic of someone else’s practice isn’t where I plan to end up, it’s where I plan to begin.  I have strong images in my mind of what I want my own improv quilting to become.

Improv Quilting: Floating The Squares quilt, © Stephanie Boon, 2105 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

This way up! The finished top.

Improv Quilting with Strings

Exploring strings is up next in the book and I’m excited by the opportunities this technique might give me. I’ve been sorting through my fabrics and I’ve noticed I don’t have many strips that go the full width of fabric, which is what Sherri Lynn Wood suggests.  It strikes me I’m at a fork in the road: I could follow the score, which would mean buying fabric (and I have an edict that says I can’t!), or could develop the score my own way and improvise with what I have. I always did like unmarked paths best, how about you?

Linking up with My Quilt Infatuation and Finish it up Friday – the first in quite a while!  Have you seen Amanda Jean’s hand pieced and quilted stars quilt? Makes me feel guilty about my own Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt top, sitting patiently on the arm of my bedroom chair waiting for some borders and quilting…

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Happy improvising!
Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

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16 replies
  1. Ann
    Ann says:

    It’s so you! Vibrant and exciting. These are your personal colors; you paint them, too. I love your idea about translating a scene. I need to think about it some more.

    Reply
  2. Ann
    Ann says:

    I’m working on strings, too. My advice is to use the lengths you have. I made mine 40″ long and don’t think it enhanced the project.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh that’s interesting Ann, thank you for the advice. I was about to start this evening but my iron has just burnt itself out – so annoying when you want to get going on something! I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with for the strings challenge – I know it’ll be great!

      Reply
  3. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    Interestingly, when I look at the top photo and the bottom photo of this post, I see the quilt very differently. My eye is drawn in a different direction in the close up. It looks great, either way!

    Reply
  4. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    Beautiful quilt! You are a natural at improv. I applaud you with listening to your own creative voice, and also agree with you… I like that big pink square. I like it because it isn’t predictable, and more often then not it is that unpredictable element that really makes an improv quilt extra special! And as for the strings, I think the improve way is to make do with what you have. I would just stitch the short strips together until I had the needed length. 🙂

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you so much Victoria, that means a lot. I think you’re right, just joining strips together is the best option. There could be a lot of joins though: I have an awful lot of strips that are only about 4 inches long, haha! It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the exercise 🙂

      Reply
  5. paulburega
    paulburega says:

    I have never heard of Sherri Lynn Wood’s book, and of the term quilting score. How fascinating. How did you run across this book, and how do you find it to enable your creative process?

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Paul! I’d heard of the book through Sherri Lynn Wood’s website DaintyTime . I’m one of those people that likes to look through a book before I buy it and just happened to be browsing the shelves of my local book shop… and there it was! (It’s a VERY small section and interesting new books don’t appear that often, so I snapped it up pdq!) I’ve found it helpful to see how other people approach improv patchwork and what their inspirations are. It’s interesting that the author seems to be inspired by the process itself and working with self-imposed ‘rules’. I know I want to make improv quilts that are more closely related to my fine art practice (such as it is these days) and that means I want to be able to create ‘mood’ or ‘atmosphere’ informed by my response to place. Obviously this has nothing to do with the author’s process. But understanding the methods she uses is helping me to see how I can adapt or invent my own methods for my own goals. I’m not at all sure I’ve explained that very well – lots of words – but I guess I’m still at an exploratory stage!

      Reply
  6. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Beautiful, Stephie. Looks to me like you’re gong to be very comfortable working improvisationally (as you say your fine art background must help). I’d go with what you have for the strings – see where that takes you 🙂

    Reply
  7. Zenia Rene
    Zenia Rene says:

    Just gorgeous! I haven’t tried my hand at improv…but I’ve been thinking about it. I also love the string quilt draped over the sofa! Your photos are fantastic too!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh wow, thank you Zenia – that’s rather more compliments than I can deal with and I’m blushing furiously! Have a go at improv, it’s really free-ing and good fun 🙂

      Reply

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