15 July 2018

Red Wine and my Improv....

It is midnight...Under the influence of a few glasses of red wine,
I am thinking about Improv...I understand the creativity of the wonderful Kaja
Now I am wondering if fabric choice can be Improv...Even though this is a pattern,
I feel that the fabric choices are my own...I called it A-mazing Cats...
Is defining Improv as difficult as defining Modern Quilting used to be?
Can it be the secondary design within???
Here I show it on top of my husband's piano,
with the Christmas candles that were my grandmother's,
maybe 75 years ago.....and
the lamp I bought in Pakistan, made of camel's stomach..
I bought this lamp in Karachi probably 50 years ago.
I think that the camel would be pleased at its ever lasting life
and adoration
In all fairness to me tonight, I spent the day reading a great novel, The Orphan Train,
while dozing off under the influence of Benadryl...from a nasty spider bite.
Just stretching the thinking
Let me know...Diane from O'Quilts   xo

08 July 2018

O'Quilts Potholder Tute

Hi Ann....here is the tute I have posted on my blog for potholders.


I am flattered that you like them.
For me they are the best stress reducer...and the best quick
gifts for folks who go the second mile.

Diane at O'Quilts

07 July 2018

everything is going according to NO plan

This is one quilt that had a mind of it's own all. the. way. through. I started out with one single thought - that I wanted a piece of bold floral in the middle, and I would work outwards from there. I made it up as I went along, hoping each additional border went on ok. 

Now I must admit, I have found 'improv' challenging, but I keep coming back for another go, over & over. And in the end, everything went really well according to NO plan with this quilt. That's improv I guess, yes?


A little while ago I had this quilt machine quilted by Sandy Mayo in an all-over floral pattern. The centre block is a lovely 'Outback Wife' fabric and as I was adding on the binding this afternoon . . .


. . . I suddenly remembered that I was going to add a little extra something to the centre. So for my 'slow stitching' today, I gave Kantha style stitching a go, the simplest stitch in the book! It's a bit hard to capture in a photo but here's a few pics to give you an idea of the texture. 







I came across this comment recently from here -
"Modern quilting is NOT just about clean lines, solid fabrics and negative space! 
It also embraces gorgeous modern prints and is a mindset which embraces ancient arts 
such as #kanthastitching with modern fabrics!" 

Not sure what the thinking is about the 'modern debate' these days . . I just make what I love making. And I have to say, I'm hooked on kantha stitching and I can see just a little more improv happening around here in the future! Love to hear your thoughts too, Linda from kokaquilts

Greetings Improv Quilters!

I've really been enjoying all the posts here, and finally have one of my own to contribute. Though I have been missing from the blogosphere, I have been hovering in the wings and I'm still quilting. And though I'm not doing a lot of "utility" quilting, I am still doing a fair amount of improv.

I do realize that this page is titled "Improvisational Utility Quilts", and though I still do the occasional utility piece, I am primarily focused on making art quilts these days. And, although I have been exploring a variety of different methods of making art quilts, I continue to return to pieced construction simply because I enjoy sitting at a sewing machine and stitching. I am equally happy sewing HSTs and piecing from patterns as I am doing improv, though the improv has the added quality of unexpected results which makes it so compelling. 

Hopefully, this new iteration of AHIQ will motivate me to actually finish my Chinese Coins quilt which was the last challenge I actively participated in here.

In the mean time I am sharing a small art quilt that I just completed, that was definitely made in an improvisational fashion, and which I enjoyed making very much. I've written all about this quilt in more detail on my own blog here.

Without further ado, I give you Sedimental Journey, 18" x 18" (2018).


Looking forward to future contributions from all of you. 

Sue Kelly (aka Sizzlewaggle)

05 July 2018

Impov Potholders

Calming my soul tonight...I did improv on potholders.
No one needs a sedative when they have a sewing machine
and scraps!!!
Little joys are so the best.





Diane at O'Quilts

30 June 2018

Summer Improv Challenge, Rail Fence Medallion Quilt

Original rail fence blocks made for 2017 summer improv challenge.

Rail Fence Medallion quilt, 30" x 36" machine quilting finished.

Detail of back quilting.

And front.


I wanted to post my progress on my rail fence medallion quilt.
I have company so I can't spend a long time writing. I did a write up in my current post on my blog so you can go there for more info, crazyvictoriana.blogspot.com.

Great projects here, thanks for sharing everyone!
Have a great day!

Improv and metacognition -- 2

Well, that first article got mixed reviews. I love that. It means that we're thinking, and you are willing to offer your truths. That's a sure sign that you're interested, and even if you aren't participating, your interest in what the rest of us do may encourage you to revisit these thoughts. Maybe you'll learn something about your quilting vicariously through us.

Before we begin, I want to encourage you to analyze your work without commitment. In other words, you are looking at what, why, how you quilt. But you are not committed to making changes. It's possible that you are exactly where you need to be in your quilting journey and this is just part of the journey. Feel free to use (or not) the information you glean in whatever way you choose.


Let's analyze a little more, shall we? Go back to your notes from the earlier article. Remember that we were naming the parts--determining which ones were intentional and which were happenstance. 
Go back to those parts of the quilt that you identified as intentional. Try to answer these questions: 
   1. Why did you use these particular colors? What does each color represent? A person, feeling, place? What do the colors remind you of? Any question or thought that you have about color should be recorded. 
    2. Take a look at the shapes and blocks. Again, why these shapes? Do they represent anything? Did you use traditional blocks? Why? If you used the idea of traditional blocks but made them your own, how and why did you do so? 

Now think about those other parts--those that were fortuitous. These questions will be different: 
   3. How did you come to this part? Jot list the process. Do you just let things happen? How long does it take or how many times (estimate) do you change your mind. How do you feel as you work this way--happy, frustrated, inhibited, encouraged?
   4. How do you know when you have these parts right? Again, jot list the thoughts or ideas that you think answer the questions.

As I did before, I'll answer these questions here so that you can see my thinking. (I actually did this in my classroom on occasion--I did my thinking out loud so that students could see my brain at work. It's especially helpful when students need to practice a skill that is difficult to name and define.)


   1. Why did you use these particular colors? What does each color represent? A person, feeling, place? What do the colors remind you of? Any question or thought that you have about color should be recorded. 

grayish black--depression and psychological pain

white--a life with hope or at least a life when depression is not the only thing
the green may be happiness and the red joy but I'm not certain

    2. Take a look at the shapes and blocks. Again, why these shapes? Do they represent anything? Did you use traditional blocks? Why? If you used the idea of traditional blocks but made them your own, how and why did you do so? 
the small shapes represent attempts at being creative even when depression strikes
the small black dot on the lower left is the darkest part of depression--a deep, dark place to avoid; thank God that for me it is small
some of the same shapes on both sides to show that in bipolar disorder opposing feelings may occur at the same time 
nothing in this art piece is traditional

   3. How did you come to this part? Jot list the process. Do you just let things happen? How long does it take or how many times (estimate) do you change your mind. How do you feel as you work this way--happy, frustrated, inhibited, encouraged?
  • the process--begin with an idea and color
  • refine that idea through brainstorming and mind-mapping (which can take days)
  • pull fabrics to work on the background
  • begin adding color and shapes that reflect ideas in my mind map
  • keep going (it gets difficult at this point)
  • keep going by editing and refining even more
  • leave the piece alone for a while
  • push back(question, analyze, define what I have)
  • decide how I will finish the piece
I make art quilts using my writing process. Being an English teacher/student is helpful--I've practiced with words. 
I let things happen when I work on an art quilt. I prefer to try out different ideas, though I don't know where they come from.
As things happen, I rework, revise, rewrite my thoughts and my attempts at depicting the big idea in my mind. 

   4. How do you know when you have these parts right? Again, jot list the thoughts or ideas that you think answer the questions.
The quilt and I talk as we go along. I know what the quilt should say. It's done when the quilt says something  true, important, helpful. 

Again, please leave comments telling me what you think. This process can be difficult, but it can also teach you about your work. It may even help you to find your voice. Also it takes time, so don't expect answers to come together and make sense right away. If you are working along with us, feel free to tell us what you discover, especially the insights and surprises. 

Mary Marcotte