Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Adhoc. Improv. #29 Catch-up Post

I can hardly believe we're into the third year of Kaja and Ann's adhoc. improv. challenges! This focus on utility improv. has been so timely for me as a quilter and I'm thrilled they are continuing with the prompts. First up for AHIQ #29 is the completed quilt top for Ann's last challenge, 'Use Your Words'.
Make Beautiful Things a completed quilt top!
This top started with orphan blocks and the idea that that the entire quilt would be a message of sorts. What do I want my quilts to say?  It took awhile to come up with something meaningful as I'm used to ending rather than starting with word additions, but in the end, I was quite satisfied with the results. How interesting that this quilt was also a jump start for their very next challenge, 'Playing With Scale'!  All those little, wonky crosses I ended up appliqueing onto the border {trying to fix the too-bold border without taking it completely apart} are just smaller repetition for the larger yellow crosses in the center of the quilt.

Playing with scale is something I've been nibbling around the edges of for a long time now, ie, making largish, out of proportion basket quilts and of course, adding repeat elements into much of my border work. Continued use of earlier used shapes and/or design is practically Quilting 101 right? But this particular prompt forces us to think about using scale in a more focused and practical way. Love that! And yes, ideas are already percolating on every available burner....
A closer look at Make Beautiful Things
As most of you know, there is almost always a quilt in the hoop around here. This latest one is a {much} former Adhoc. Improv. quilt where I was trying to play with strings in a less inhibited way. Starting with fabrics and a colorway that seemed 'peaceful' felt right. Way back at the beginning, it was a really good way to help me calm those scary, you're-gonna-make-a-big-mess-and-regret-it, sort of panic attack. Onward Ho! Nearly two years later into the Adhoc. Improv. invitationals and I feel waaaaay more confident about working with improv. strings. Just generally more confident about the whole improv. thing altogether if you know what I mean! This quilt feels very satisfying as a 'me' quilt and I'm not real sure this place would have been reached without the improv. linkups and supportive community and conversations.
Blue and Gold Strings quilt in the hoop
I was really hoping to be at the point of starting to sew these improv. basket blocks together by now.  However, there will 20 of them in total and guess what? That makes 80 basket handles to applique.*sigh  A couple of posts really resonated with me this week as I contemplated my personal 'making' approach. Kyle said what I've been thinking with her late 'How do you eat an Elephant?' post and then Cathy said it again, only briefer. It just makes me laugh to know I'm not the only quilter who just switches off on a project occasionally!
Working on the stringy improv. basket blocks
As these improv. basket blocks are a bit tricky to handle, I decided not to cut the string slabs apart until I'm ready to sew them all together. As you can see, the stay stitching is already taken care of so there won't be a delay when all the basket handles are ready to go. At that point I intend to audition the basket handle parts with the stringy basket parts, and then hopefully all will be in perfect harmony. At which point they will be set on point alongside the pineapple blocks and then we will be discussing side/corner setting options!
The Pineapple Quilt
And last, but not least of the open-ended adhoc. improv. projects is Vintage Lily. A little bit has to be trimmed off the top of the center block and then it will gain a 2 1/2" or so border all the way around. I'm kind of taking the wait and see approach with that until all the improv. snowball blocks are sewn together and trimmed. For these, I'm using the 'square in a square' formula from Sujata Shah's book 'Cultural Fusion Quilts'. To get the snowball effect, I'm just not cutting quite as far into the center of each square as the instructions might indicate.
Vintage Lily
As I had mentioned earlier, this quilt seemed to be begging for a very simple, perhaps casual, framework of blocks in order to have that vintage-y look that makes me so happy. After completing Scrappy Tulips last fall, I've been in the mood to try a scrappy snowball look once again. That time I cut little squares and sewed in a diagonal from corner to corner. For these 5" blocks, Sujata's method makes more sense and also seems to result in a bit less waste. {No affiliation, just telling you the method inspiration!} I am loving working with many of these fabrics and have particularly enjoyed adding in several button down shirts of my son or husband. There's just something about shirting fabrics that add to the vintage appeal!

So yes, do go check out Ann and Kaja's AHIQ current link-up and invitation. Anyone interested is welcome to join in! And in a total aside, read this if you have a chance. Some people just GET 'quilting', even under the most challenging of circumstances....

19 comments:

  1. I love all of your improv quilts and the stories to go with them. The words on your first quilt are perfect for any quilter. How many times do we get asked, "who is that for?" It kind of cracks me up because I don't usually make quilts for anyone or for any purpose other then I just enjoy it.

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  2. I love the quilts that are coming from your exploration of improv and am excited to see where it will take you next. Thanks for participating in AHIQ; what you have to say always adds to the conversation.

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  3. Just love your quilt, it is so interesting to follow your progress with improv quilts. I have started one but not finished and find it hard, but I know that I will dig it up some time and workl on it some more. Warm greetings

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  4. I am so loving your Vintage Lily quilt and can't wait to see where it leads you.

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  5. I think "Make Beautiful Things" is my favorite of your quilts so far. I can really relate to the words on this one, but I really love everything about it. It reminds me of my favorite children's story and of how I feel about my quilting sometimes.

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  6. I've read this post three times since it went up and like it better each time. So much to look at, so much to say. Your border for Make Beautiful Things is such a good idea and also feeds to playing with scale. A good reminder of how to reprise elements rather than repeating them.
    I love the way you added applique to the strings. Plus some quilty365-like circles. I tried some on CCII but didn't add them in the end. Must get busy with applique again. Such fun.
    And those baskets. The speaker at our guild showed several free-form basket quilts. Another to add to my list. I haven't made baskets in 30 years but loved them then.
    Thanks for adding your voice and your ideas to AHIQ.

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  7. absolutely love make beautiful things and very impressed that you appliqued all of those tiny crosses - wow ! thanks for all the links - I've just been down the internet rabbit hole for the past hour and its been so interesting :)

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  8. Going to follow your links after commenting. As always I enjoy your quilts and posts :)

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  9. Munching on a herd of elephants keeps quilting interesting and challenging.

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  10. I enjoy seeing the progress people make on their improv quilts. Somehow it just seems so much more creative than the ones that have been designed more methodically. I look forward to seeing continued progress on all of these, slowly, one bite at a time.

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  11. So much to see in this lovely post! Make Beautiful Things is fantastic and just look at that Vintage Lily, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next!

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  12. Yes, you are making a lot of beautiful things!

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  13. You have a lot of intense projects going and they are all so cool! You don't have just an elephant to eat, but a whole herd!

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  14. I do love your work, Audrey! All the quilts shown here are great but your Vintage Lily i adore already!! I do like the sound of this AdHoc challenge, just not sure I can fit it in this year.......thinking......

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  15. Just this morning made a list of all the projects I have in various stages of construction.... munching on a herd of elephants is truly an apt metaphor! You have some beautiful stuff in the works!

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  16. I love seeing the start, the middile and the end of your improv quilts! I never can guess where you are going. So fun and interesting!!

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  17. You've got so much going on here! Just cleaning the studio ate up my week! Beautiful Work is one smart way to use up orphan blocks! Who doesn't have some of those? I want to see Beautiful Work all quilted up. You have many options with this one and I'm curious which way you'll go.

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  18. Lots happening here, my favourite is your Vintage Lily! Off now to check out the links.

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  19. I'm always inspired by your creations. You know, if I was alive 100 yrs from now YOUR quilts would be the ones I would want to collect. After all, how many square in a square quilts do you think a person 100 yrs. from now would want? (snarkiness)

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