Strings – 30×36
At the risk of repeating myself, one of the most inspiring quilt books I’ve bought in a long time is Sherri Lynn Wood’s book called Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. It resides on the arm of the couch in front of the TV and I thumb through it several times a week.
I have been doing freeform quilt work for years – but this book brings together a lot of ideas I haven’t explored before. I am motivated to work through all the ‘scores’ in this book in 2016 and have just finished Score 2 – Strings.
I started with a bag of Reece Scannell shot cottons that I bought at a quilt show several years ago. This bag contained 2-4 inch off-cut pieces the width of the fabric.
First job was to separate these fabrics into colors. Next, per instructions for score 2, I decided on 3 combinations of colors. I went with 1) high contrast, which ended up being primarily purples and yellows 2)neutrals and 3) low contrast/analagous, primarily oranges, golds and reds. I discarded the beige/white fabrics.
Cutting (without a ruler) I sliced the strips to 18″ lengths and 1-3″ widths. Off to the sewing machine, I made 3 separate strip sets. I LOVE the way the curves developed. And, I loved the WHIRL and HUM of my sewing machine as I mindlessly sewed the strips together!
Hanging the 3 strip sets onto my design mattress, my initial thought was that I didn’t think the neutral set went with the other two sets. I posted this picture to Sherri’s Facebook group – and although I wasn’t exactly looking for opinions, I had several people suggest I give it a whirl with all 3 strip sets. So, I did.
The cutting and design process was the MOST fun. After I had a fairly appealing layout, I auditioned the beige/white strips and some dark brown strips thinking that might add to the design. I ended up liking it WITHOUT the additional strips. I probably spent about 5-6 days cutting and thinking and rearranging until I arrived at what I thought was a good arrangement.
While working on the final arrangement, the thought kept coming to mind “how do I know when it’s finished?”. Funnily enough – that’s the same thought I have when I paint. And I think that’s a thought that many artistic people sit with. How DO you know when a piece is done? I guess it’s done when you say it’s done, right? Students of an art class I once attended joked(?) occasionally that their art wasn’t done until the teacher SAID it was done. That never really sat comfortably with me. Yes – the teacher had more experience – but did that necessarily mean that she knew best about someone else’s work?
Once I had the top finished, I found some butt-ugly fabric in my bin and quickly pin basted the quilt. My quilting plan was to once again try free-motion quilted concentric circles. I thought briefly about doing the concentric circles with the walking foot but thought the free form might continue the improv/wonky style. BAD MOVE. I HATE my concentric circles. I have tried several times before to do concentric circles using free-motion technique and I’m just not good at it. My circles are NOT circular. Note to self: next time you decide to do free form concentric circles….DON’T!
I added some spirals to the outside and then called it good enough. I used my favourite facing tutorial from Terry Aske to finished the edges. The only part of this wallhanging where I used a ruler was for the upper edge of the quilt as I wanted that dead-on straight. The sides and the bottom I cut with the rotary cutter without a ruler so there is a slight curve.
All in all, I really like this quilt! That surprises me. It isn’t a color palette that I would instantly gravitate toward but you know what? It feels like art to me. And, whether it lines a dog kennel, is rolled up on a shelf or hangs on a wall – it really doesn’t matter to me because I had so much fun making it. It seriously had me smiling every time I worked on it. There was an excitement factor to making it that I am struggling to communicate.
I’ve already started on my next score. Well….truth be told, I have 3 going right now. Yes…..I said three! K3’s quilt includes multiple scores, plus I have started a Patchwork Doodle using Japanese taupes and the third one is called Rhythmic Grid using my retro crumb blocks. Stay tuned for more WHACK-JOB quilting…..I’m on a roll.