Earlier this year, I read Sherri Lynn Wood‘s book: Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. I heard so much good about her and her approach to improvisational piecing, I thought it was about time I give it a try. I did participate in an Improv Round Robin last year at the meetup between the Montreal and Ottawa MQG. But, doing it with a limited amount of time, was just to much for me. I decided I should give it a second chance by doing a quilt at my own pace. Still, improv really is a challenge for me. I have a hard time letting go and doing a quilt without a plan. Also,usually when I have a plan, I do all the math at the beginning and stick to using a ruler. So, I thought it would be interesting to try something freehand.
I really enjoyed reading Sherri Lynn Wood’s book and I like her score approach. For me imposing some constraints can help creativity. For my first quilt, I decided to use her Score for Strings. I first chose tree colors and a few fabrics for each, all solid colors in different tones.
Then I started cutting some strips to build 2 panels for each color, one darker and one lighter. Unfortunately, the only picture I have of that step is the one I posted on Instagram. Then, I recut my panels into strips in the opposite direction. I must say that at that point I did have to plan what I would do with my strings. I did a few sketches and finally chose this one which was inspired by artist Carlos Cruz Diez.
For each color, I sewed my strips together alternating between the lighter and darker ones. But for the lighter strips, I removed a length of the strip by cutting it at a 45 degree angle and replacing it with a strip of Kona cotton in Bone. The length I was removing was increasing at each row.
When I started this project, I had a lap quilt in mind. But, when I finished assembling the 3 panels I realized I would end up with a much larger quilt as the height was almost 90″. To balance things out, I created side panels with all Bone fabric I had left home. This is the largest quilt I ever made. Here is the quilt top on my son’s twin size bed.
Here it is on our queen size bed, it’s a bit to short for it on the sides but it gives you a better overview.
I was wondering how I would quilt such a large quilt on my home sewing machine. But, the answer just came up to me unexpectedly. A member of our guild who is moving to a smaller space was selling her Little Gracie II quilting frame for a really good price. I could not miss this opportunity. I spent some time last week making space for it in our basement and setting it up.
This is a frame for which you set up your domestic sewing machine on a carriage, and the carriage moves on rails in two directions. If you want to know more about it, you can look at this YouTube video. Now, I have to be patient. I have a few projects to finish first before my boys finish school. So, I might not be able to play with it right away. But, I look forward to it. And this quilt might be one of the first project I’ll do with it. I’ll keep you posted! As for improv, I will certainly try it again. The Score For Bias Strip Petals from the Improv Handbook is something I’d like to try.