I’ve been reading Sherri Lynn Wood’s series on Improv Quilting. If you haven’t read it, I suggest going over to daintytime and checking it out. She’s an amazing textile artist, and is starting a discussion on what is “right” with quilting and how we follow the rules of traditional quilting versus how we make our own rules.
When I first started quilting, I was taught by my grandmother and a cousin as well. I was 20 at the time, and an art major in college. I of course wanted to do so many other things with the fabric than cut precise squares and sew them together. I thought all the traditional quilts were beautiful, and the skill with which some of them were put together was intimidating. However, I wanted to go off on my own path. I was told, I needed to learn the “right” way to do it, and then I could break the rules.
In hindsight, even thought I wasn’t 100% happy with hearing that, it forced me to really focus on how different fabrics went together, how to use my sewing machine and how to apply basic design principles to fabrics. I chose to make a quilt for my senior studio project, the first “art quilt” I had done. It turned out well, but looking back there are so many different things I could have done.
When I started reading about improv quilting on daintytime, it spoke to me. I realized that since I got my long arm I’ve rarely made art quilts, or even quilts that weren’t typically traditional. I had gotten comfortable and in a routine of quilts. That all changed when I saw the Mood Mod Quilt. I decided that using that as a springboard, I could ease back into art quilting.
I pulled fabric after fabric down off my shelves, beautiful, bold batiks that had been waiting for me to use them. And then….I just started cutting. Sometimes I used scissors…sometimes I used a rotary cutter. But I never measured (gasp!) or worried if anything was straight. It was so liberating it was funny.
Then I got into a sewing rhythm. I sewed and cut and sewed and cut some more, with a general direction in mind but really just enjoying the process. I got a bunch of these:
Which turned into this:
I pieced a few pieces of it together and have realized I’m going to have to applique some of it down as well. Somehow, I don’t mind. This is so not within the rules as I have been prescribed, but I’m totally in love with the result. I can’t wait to get started on the applique, and then the quilting!