Friday, February 10, 2017

Improv, Baby, Improv!

It had been a hot minute since I had the time, energy, or inspiration to make a quilt but I righted that wrong with fury and determination just a few weeks ago.

I'll get to the quilt in a moment.

Earlier this year, our new quilt guild president asked me if I would lead a presentation over some aspect of modern quilting.  As a speech teacher, the presentation part gave me no worries but the content...the content gave me butterflies aplenty!  When I stepped back and looked at my quilting work, I felt like the common theme was improvisational quilting so that's what I agreed to talk about.  By no means do I think of myself of an improv expert but I do think I've gained some experience over the last few years, especially with my recent foray into the world of potholders
The more that I prepared and researched, the less qualified I felt to speak on the subject!  Improv piecing is something that I just do, I don't really think about how I'm piecing things when it's actually happening.  It wasn't until I decided to look at a chunk of my quilts as a collection that I began to see their common threads (pun intended) and my style of creating.  It was a fascinating to delve so deeply into this aspect of modern quilting.

So the presentation.  I DID NOT feel prepared on that day to present.  Last week was a shit show, to put it lightly.  I was sick, I was emotionally spent, and horribly run down.  But I did it and I'm SO glad that I did.  I informally spoke for about thirty minutes to a room of approximately forty folks.  There were many that I respect and admire and there were many that I did not know at all.  It was unnerving and wonderful, all at the same time.  It was the highlight to an otherwise crummy week.  If I helped to inspire just one person, then I feel like my job was done.

Back to this quilt.  I had not planned on having a finished quilt to accompany my presentation but somehow, that happened.  During the weekend of our recent inauguration and worldwide marches, I had an overwhelming desire to ferociously make and I went with it.  With my upcoming presentation in the back of my mind, I would periodically pull my phone out and take a progress photo.  What resulted was (from my point of view), a strong, bold, grounded, and vibrant work.
It's not a square!  Or a rectangle!  Sacré bleu!  I'm finding myself wanting to play with random shapes in quilting more and more since the potholder project.  There's something so gratifying about it for me.  Using such a high contrast binding really makes the different shapes stand out.

It's the size of a baby quilt but could also be used as a quilt throw, bed accent, or a funky table runner.  I quilted it in modern straight lines with red, turquoise, and grey thread.  It's pretty sharp, if you ask me.
I backed it with my tried and true - a soft vintage sheet.  You can never go wrong with that.
I've made this quilt available in my shop.

If you'd like to hear me babble about what I learned from the potholder project and the benefits of taking on large projects, I'll be speaking at the upcoming Owl & Drum Stitch Society meeting on February 26th!

¡Hasta luego!

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