Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Enjoying the Improv.

I know some of you readers are not too impressed with improv. but I still find it very interesting. In fact, when I went back and skimmed through old posts, I worked on somewhere around 10 different quilt projects involving improv. just in 2017! It's very exciting to see the start of a new AHIQ blog too. Come join in if you'd like!
Three rows sewn together
That many improv. project tells me that somehow improv. has become a very integral part of my quilting journey. As my mother pointed out recently, I don't always get it right, but occasionally what does happen is a quilt that surpasses anything that I had previously attempted {in the pre-improv. years}. Uh huh, mom's gotten more blunt in her older years and her compliments often come with a sting. But let's be honest. Learning is awkward, messy and uncomfortable at times, but so worth it when the results prove an unmistakable growth.
Auditioning fabric and pieces for the fourth row

 As many of you know, I picked up this book a few years ago and have very slowly been working my way through the scores. Slowly as in the Hare versus the turtle. I'm not even sure the book is on my radar at times and then suddenly I'm deeply immersed in the next score. This particular project is Score #5 and the fabric has been stacked, waiting to go for eons. Just waiting for that inexplicable 'something' to trigger the start button.

This week, like a good girl, I made myself work on the HST Medallion quilt before diving back in again to pick up where I had left off before. Veggies before dessert and all that. Or maybe it was major procrastination, but whatever. It wasn't until I was sitting on the floor unpicking part of a row, that I suddenly realized the stupid grin on my face was absolute and sheer enjoyment. Oh, you better believe that this quilt makes me very uncomfortable and extremely frustrated working through all the design decisions. But funnily enough, it all feels good compared to making a bazillion 'perfect' hst blocks.*uggh  How brilliant to work on the other quilt first, huh?
Overlapping and trimming for sewing the rows together...
I dithered along, first making one long row and then the other, fussing with my four main fabrics {boring, boring, boring} to try and get a good flow going. I was up and down from the floor, over to my sewing machine and then to the iron and then back to do it all over again. After a couple hours of this, I started calling it reactionary. As in, every design decision in this quilt is simply a reaction to what has gone before.  I'm not sure, but methinks the quilt has decided to name itself.
And the middle of the quilt is completed
And this was a good place to stop. The next step will be adding a vertical row onto each side of the quilt, all in different fabrics. That's when I gave myself permission to jump over to my other improv. quilt. The one you didn't even know was started..... Yep, a couple weeks ago, this quilt spontaneously combusted into being. Basically, I have very little control over new starts these days.
Looking at some potential units for the next improv. quilt...
Especially when they are this intriguing and I'm stalling hard core over several open-ended projects that I Don't Wanna work on. And see? This one has lots of hst's too so it's a bit of a head scratcher. What's the difference?
Improv. hst's are more fun....
Well, for one, these hst's are very freeform and there is absolutely zero stress over what size they turn out to be. They will be gleefully chopped into submission however best that needs to happen. And these fabrics are fun. I feel lighter already. Funny how new starts will do that to you. I obviously have no shame....

Feel free to hop on over to the AHIQ post post to read more about these two quilts and other projects our group is working on!


  1. Improv is not for all of us but those that like it - go with it! it is your creativity - I have a hard time coming up with something original and like to follow patterns sometimes changing bits and pieces to suit me - in the quilting world there is room for all of us!

  2. Meanwhile, I like to start with some kind of pattern--and then I almost always fall offa that train and go my own way...sometimes I see something and then make my own version...as in my Pomegranates--and Eye of God pieces...I also have Sheri's book and re-read it frequently for ideas--
    I am on a "smaller" path these days --no more big quilts--so I am trying to find new routes from old pathways...
    I like your Improv quilts a lot--they look like you "sound" in your posts I think...and that is a good thing ;)))
    hugs, Julierose

  3. Improv iz U! Improv is budding in me. I can't relate to choosing a pattern and making it exactly like the directions and in exactly the same fabrics. But I can definitely relate to your comment about your mother. Luckily my mom went the other way, mellowing out as she aged. My sister & I were amazed. Carry on!

  4. "Reactionary" strikes a chord with me. I've been there, for sure. Your green new quilt reminds me of one of the first ones I made, and turning those pieces one way and another on the living room floor, every move pointing up another conundrum. But that's the fun part, right? Love where this is going.

  5. I enjoy seeing your progress and feel free with my humble style, but don't have the deep desire to work improv.
    Funny about moms.....

  6. Your improv enthusiasm has always been inspirational to me. I like that it makes you so happy. But, I'm not a natural, that's for sure. I really have to work hard at it. I don't like failing (does any one?). My latest attempt at improv would assuredly be categorized as a "fail".
    Love the your green and gold combination. It's very intriguing. Look forward to seeing what comes next.
    My mom has been gone almost 20 yrs. I wish she were here to help me with some of my design decisions. She wasn't a quilter, she sewed clothing, but she definitely had an eye for what worked together.

  7. Such a fun post! Love your term "reactionary"! I'm going to quote you when I get back to working on my latest improv quilt... and you're right about the smile that happens when you're in the flow and having improv fun! Must check out the new AHIQ!

  8. improv is great for stretching our creativity. Quilt like no one is watching :)

  9. My Quilty 365 is in my blog header...oh how I loved making those circles. Thanks so much for the project.
    You are very creative...these pieces all look so interesting.

  10. I'm very impressed with your improv and I for one love it when friends (or mothers) are blunt enough to let me know when I am heading in the wrong direction. I wish Blogger would listen to my frustrations regarding their antics! I haven't even been able to comment in days. Keep up the good work and I hope this comment actually goes through.

  11. "I dithered along..." and now I am so glad to know I'm in good company. I often find myself chuckling at the way you describe things because I relate to them so personally. Just keep dithering dear, you do it so very well. xoxo


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