Archive for the ‘Improv technique’ Category


Nine more small improv pieces finished and ready to roll up and store on a shelf.  Then again, perhaps I’ll try to sell them.  And if they don’t sell, perhaps I’ll find homes for them.  Who knows.

They started with a challenge I gave myself to work through Maria Shell‘s book Improv Patchwork.  I made it through most of the book before it started to feel like homework so I quit.  I pulled my collection of Cherrywood hand-dyed fabrics and got stuck into it.


The applique circles were my idea.  I’m still into circles.  (I might have to do another squircles-type quilt just to get them out of my system.)

I tried not to put too much thought into any of them – just went with the flow.  Didn’t use a rotary cutter except in the final square up stage.


I hand big stitch quilted 3 of them and then did the rest on the Janome.


Instead of binding them or facing them, I tried a new-to-me technique of using a pillowcase turn.  I’m quite pleased with it.  I did this as my hands are getting old and weary and I want to save them for work I really enjoy and plan to keep.


The pictures aren’t the best.  I struggle to get the color right when taking photos inside.  These were taken outside early morning and they aren’t the best either.  They show the texture well, but the photos don’t do justice to the rich colors that Cherrywood Fabrics produces.  When I win the lottery, I’m going to buy a 1/2 yard of every single one of their fabrics.

I like the first one and the purple one the best.


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I’m back to working on my Voluptuous Woman quilt.  I’ve cleared the decks and plan to devote the next 2 weeks to her.

To quickly recap:  The base is a tablecloth that was given to me by my friend Ms. A.   She thinks it was originally owned by the mother of a neighbor of mine.  I cut the tablecloth into pieces then painted, stencilled, dyed and wrote on it.  Then I resewed the pieces back together.  Next, I added some embroidery.  The dancing women stencils are from StencilGirl (Loose Woman 1, 2 & 3).

The drawing was done by Ms. A’s daughter, B.  I coloured her drawing and then using the technique outlined in the book Pictorial Art Quilts by Leni Levenson Weiner, enlarged the drawing and printed it out to size (about 24″ high).  Then I traced it onto freezer paper and outlined the graduated grey scale sections.  My plan was to use this freezer paper template as my pattern pieces.


I’ve changed my plan though.  I’m using this template as a guide, but I’m free hand cutting my fabrics.  All those little pieces would have been a pain to cut out and keep organised.  If my way doesn’t work, I can always fall back on doing it as per instructions in Leni’s book.


These are the 4 fabrics I’m using for shading the body.  Oh, and I used a beige crumb pieced section (left over from “Sushi”) for the base of the body.  The fabric on the left may be used for her hair – it looks ‘curly’ to me.



Anyway – this is the darkest fabric.  It’s all very rough right now.  I attached Misty Fuze to the back of the fabric so once it looks as I want it to, I’ll lightly press it so it will adhere to the crumb pieced base.  Once I have the base as I want it, I’ll attach the body to the background.  Then I’ll do some kind of raw edge stitching to attach it all.  Potentially even try my hand as some thread painting?  Who knows.


One step at a time.  Flying by the seat of my pants.  I’m glad to have finally overcome my inertia to move forward on this project.  As my sidebar indicates – fear of sucking holds me back and I’ve been held back on this project for way too long.

I’ll be linking to the AHIQ (Ad Hoch Improv Quilting) gals tomorrow.  Fret Not Yourself and Sew Slowly

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This is the recap that Sherri Lynn Wood asks us to do.  Evaluate our discoveries, surprises, satisfactions and dissatisfactions.    It’s a way of learning from what you are doing.  Especially important I would think when you are flying by the seat of your pants.

I discovered that not having a plan is a lot of fun!  Every time I sewed a seam together, this piece jutted off into a new direction and just made me laugh.  It seriously was like it was a living breathing THING!

A surprise?  I discovered that I could handle and was open to constructive feedback.  However, I didn’t just take the critic without question.  I asked for clarification and further feedback rather than a) simply ignoring it  b) thinking someone else knew better than me or c) thinking to myself “who the heck do they think they are?  A quilt expert?”.

Satisfaction?  One of the satisfactions is that it was entirely made from fabric and supplies I had on hand.  All scraps for the top.  I pieced 3 sections of left-over batting together and pieced the back.  It really feels good to use up what I have.

Dissatisfaction:  My quilting, although adequate, could be better.  I had a bit of an ‘eyelash’ problem with tension at one point and quite frankly – I can’t be bothered to take it out and redo it.  I did enjoy the WILD quilting/doodling.  Finally – I’m feeling more comfortable with doodle quilting.  I just think I need to slow down when I’m doing curves so that I don’t get the eye lashing.

Recap of processes used:

Wedges:  Ruler-free cutting of wedges.  Bias edge put onto the top and  bottom of the ‘swoop’, pressed under then stitched with 2 rows of overlapping lines of stitching.

Sushi Rolls (yellow & green circles):  Again, ruler-free cutting of wedges.  Raw edge appliqué of edges.  Misty Fuse used.  When quilting, added an extra trapunto-like layer behind sushi rolls to give them more dimension (thanks K2 for the help!).

Chopsticks:  Misty Fuse and raw edge appliqué.  Thanks Debby – your eye is amazing.

It ended up about 60″x40″.  I’m still not sure if it will be horizontal or vertical.  I need to decide though as it needs a sleeve if I’m going to put it in the local show.

And now, a slide show of the finished project.

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In one last ditch effort to try and figure out what else it needed, I sent an email off to my artsy fartsy friend on the West Coast for her thoughts.

img_0380Blue.  She thought it needed blue.  And, she thought it had too many mid-tone values.  Basically – no spark.  I totally agreed with her on the mid-tone values.  It was just too dense with the same values.  But BLUE?  WTF?  Are you serious?

Well, I’m not a blue fabric person.  My scrap bag of blues is not the biggest bag in the tote. However, digging through my Fabric Vomit fabrics, I found a very geometric fabric in a vibrant blue.  I think it might be a Kaffe Fassett fabric.

Debby thought circles but I was thinking something angular because there were already so many curved pieces in the top.  I woke up in the middle of the night thinking ‘glass shards’.  waaaaalaaaaaaa…….  However, my glass shards became chop sticks.  Go figure, eh?

So now, I give you Sushi.  These little chopstick-like pieces just did it for me.  Once I put them on, I knew it was finished.

I quilted it using Christina Cameli’s Wild Quilting style and did some major doodling on this baby.  I added an extra layer of batting behind the sushi rolls (gold) to add additional puffiness.

If you read these 4 posts about this quilt – thank you!  You are most likely as addicted to the art of quilting as I am and I thank you for your interest.  (Either that or you’re my mama.  xo)

Next post – photos of the finished quilt with a recap of my discoveries/surprises/disappointments and satisfactions.



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Next I started sewing the red and green wedges shapes together.  I layered one on top of the other, put a few pins in it, sliced it freehand with the rotary cutter, chalk marked it, flipped and sewed it.  Then pressed the heck out of it to flatten it.

I also finished the background.


Next up –  start putting the bits and pieces back on top.  Keep in mind that each time you sew a section of the red/green bit together, it morphs and heads off into another direction.  It was a VERY hard inflamed intestine/caterpillar to control!  I also spent time at this point trying to decide on final orientation.  A bias strip edge was attached to the swoop and sewn down.  Another decision made.

At this point, it started to feel predictable.  Boring even.  I had to walk away from it.  I didn’t know what to do with it next.  It was so unlike anything I had seen from people using this score that I was doubting myself.  It also seemed to be missing something.  I posted it to a few friends and several said to just go with it.  So the next morning, I did.  I just started sewing all the remaining pieces in place even though I KNEW that there was still something that had to be done with it.  Bottom line – I was ready for it to be finished.

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