30 July 2018

'City Streets' Could Be a Kind Of Map.

One of the first arrangements.

The left row and corner were changed. Final arrangement layered and pin basted. 

Backing for Log Cabin blocks 'City Streets.'

This quilt could be called a map quilt. I'll probably name it 'City Streets.'

Last week I finalized my Log Cabin block quilt arrangement that was stalled for a while. I had to keep asking myself, 'What is the intent here? Log Cabin blocks have something to say and just what is that?'  I decided movement was important and color could work that out.
I was thinking Log Cabin blocks mean houses (to me) and what if this was a city and you had streets and apartments and houses all lined up along sidewalks. So that helped me figure out the final placement so it made sense.

The bigger blocks are 7" finished with the small blocks at 3.5". I roughly followed Tonye Phillips' pattern 'Welsh Folded Log Cabins.'
I chose to machine piece, instead of hand piece and arranged the blocks my own way. 

That's the latest 'Map' installment.

Have a good week. 

Another mapping idea

Found this quilt today.  It goes right with our current improv theme.  Julie did a lovely job.



What is This?

I'll tell you it is part of the latest map challenge. 

The rest of the story, if you are curious, is on my blog: 

More later, 

29 July 2018

Making Progress - Slowly!

Moving on from my first post on this dedicated
blog I have made a little progress on my 'un-finished'
quilt. Kaja left a comment saying that she hoped I would be able to
make some progress, this was the push I needed to get on with it!

Below was the state of play on the 28th June.

Playing around in my 'spare parts box' I found a strip of
6" Churn Dash blocks made for an earlier quilt (never used).

I cut the strip in half

and this gave me just enough for two borders.

Thinking time needed, I wasn't inclined to make more
 Churn Dash blocks so decided on something completely
different for the remaining two borders, this echoed the
previous round of borders in that two different blocks were used.
I opted for 6" kaleidoscopes.

Just the one border to go and then corners to fill in, I already have a plan for these.
I've also decided on a name for this little quilt

Hopefully the completed top will be posted within two weeks,
after that I can devote time to making plans for our new
Maps and Mapping challenge.

Happy Quilting

28 July 2018

The Beginning of My Maps/Mapping Challenge

This is my most recent finish -- EPICENTER.

48" wide x 64" long

Created using the free from Rail Fence design

This is the fifth free form rail fence quilt I've made
and I challenged myself with a not-shown-in-the-book
layout that involved four different versions 
of the basic freeform rail fence block.

My off center bulls-eye design named itself
almost as soon as the blocks first went on the design wall.

I quilted this with an outward-moving circle,
like ripples on a pond, using a liberated wavy line
rather than the usual smooth evenly-spaced version.

You can read the story on my blog 
behind the decision not to add 
traditional binding HERE
and you can see more photos 
of the quilt in process in THIS POST.

* * *

Click here for image source

I've thought a great deal about Ann's challenge
for the second half of this year.

Rather than creating a new-from-scratch quilt 
based on a map or to represent the mapping of something,
I want to explore the mapping of my own quilting journey
using the quilts I've made along the way
as well as Epicenter and two or three more
that are waiting in the wings.

I want to go back through my annual quilt journals
and choose the quilts that became milestones 
on my now fourteen-year quilting timeline.

I'll share these in a series of posts here
over the next few months.

I think this will be an interesting 
(and perhaps unexpected way)
to explore Ann's challenge 
on a very personal level.

My Purple Challenge Improv

I just found my favorite improv on the floor behind the Christmas fabric..
Lord help me.
The bottom picture is the example of our purple challenge.
Those are the blocks and Terri has finished her top for her granddaughter.
I took the same blocks and cut them up
See below...my latest adventure in improv.
Even the picture is wonky.
My friends think that I do not understand the challenge.
I love the challenge.
Always trying to do it my way.
Diane Muldoon at O'Quilts

26 July 2018

Improv and Metacognition -- 3

It’s been a while since our last metacognitive discussion. I finished another bipolar art quilt since then, but I'm going back to the first one for this essay.
Bipolar 3: Balance
Are you ready to talk again? First let’s review some of the discussion from last time.We talked about color, their representations and the feelings they invoke. We also talked about shapes and blocks and how we use them. Then we jumped into those parts of the quilt that are unplanned. They just sort of happen. If you made a quick jot list of your processes, take a look at that list. We’ll come back to it in a bit.

Let’s have one more conversation with that quilt from last time. Think about how that quilt started. Did you pull fabrics? Did you begin with a block that you wanted to use? Sometimes it’s a beautiful fabric that begins the work. What specific idea started this quilt?

You’ve jot listed your process already, now it’s time to determine whether that list is accurate. If necessary, make changes and think about what you usually do. Did you do anything differently on this quilt? If so, which method do you prefer? Which works better for you? Can you pinpoint why? Make notes of any responses you have to these questions and any other ideas that strike you as you think about your processes.

Bipolar 1: Creative
Take a moment to think about your other notes from the previous discussion. This time dig deeper. Think about your thinking. Ask yourself why and how. Why did you feel these emotions? How did you handle the negative ones? What do you do when you feel encouraged or happy?

Think about your space and its atmosphere. How does it affect you and your work?
  • ·        Sound: Do you work in quiet? Do you have music playing? What kind—upbeat, soft, soothing, etc. Do you sing along? Do you focus better with or without sound?
  • ·        Sight: What does your workspace look like? Clean, organized, creatively messy, etc. What colors surround you? What impedes your work or focus?
  • ·        Smell: Do you have candles or other scents? Which are your favorites? Do you always include scents when you work?
  • ·        Tactile/Logistical: Which are your favorite fabrics? Do you “pet” your fabric? How often do you clean your workspace? Does dust, clutter, etc. affect your mood? Is it difficult to move around physically? Do you have enough space to put your work down? Can you walk out and close the door or must you clean up after every session?
  • ·        Taste: What foods and drinks do you generally have nearby? Coffee, tea, soda, etc. Snacks, healthy snacks, etc. How often do you stop to refuel? How convenient is refueling?
  • ·        Mood: Think about your moods when you are in your studio space. Why do you feel this way? What actionable things can you do in your space to improve your mood? How will you put those to work?
  • ·        Visitors: Do you allow visitors in your space? Why or why not? How do you defend/share your space?

·       Think about any other effects that are in your space. Can you increase the positive ones? Can you decrease the negative one? Make a list that you can return to at a later time when you are ready to begin this work.  

As I’ve done before, I will answer questions so that you can “see” me “think out” my answers. To make this post a little more concise, however, I will remove the parts of the paragraphs that are not applicable.
how that quilt started. What specific idea started this quilt?
I started this quilt with an idea of wanting to extract or render my thoughts about bipolar depression as a way of dealing with the feelings associated with my having the disorder. The idea came from my pondering how I was handling this complex frame of mind. It has now morphed into management skills for manic episodes. 

Why did you feel these emotions? How did you handle the negative ones? What do you do when you feel encouraged or happy?
I didn’t write what my emotions were as I worked on the quilt. I remember feeling happy with the quilt as it moved forward. I had worked out several techniques and had a plan before pulling the fabrics. I was not concerned so much with the fabrics because I knew I already had them in my stash. The techniques are relatively easy ones. My plan did not include all the techniques I used, but I tend to play and work in an improv kind of way, meaning I tend to give myself leeway to choose as I go along.
I’ve always been an expressive person with many moods. Opposing moods can occur at the same time—I am bipolar. On those manic-all-over-the-place occasions I must fight the urge to abandon everything and try to find something small to focus on. 
When I am pleased with my work, I tend to sing, dance, move more. It’s as if my mind and body work in tandem and are more fluid. Of course, the opposite occurs when I get stuck. In those negative times I walk away from the project that frustrates me. I try to work on a philanthropy project. If I can convince myself to do something for just a few minutes, I generally overcome the blah of a depressive mood. Of course, it helps to take my medicine.

I’m not going to answer the laundry list of questions about my studio. That would bore you half to death. Instead, I’ll let you get to your own answers.

24 July 2018

AHIQ 35: Maps

I thought the next AHIQ invitational was ready but have found myself repeatedly drawn to a new idea. Whether my mother’s passing made me consider past events or all the journeys by plane and car allowed time for reflection, traveling through history and over these long distances refocused me on diaries, connections and maps. I propose Maps and Mappings for our next six months’ study.

"Maps ultimately testify to our belief in the value of exploration, whether the compass is pointed inward or out. To do so is to appreciate the value of the mind as a dynamic vessel of exploration; it does not travel according to the limits of the compass rose, but moves by association. And when the mind comes to rest, when it ceases its orientating leaps and shunts and association, we find ourselves back where we started, where Here intersects Now." Stephen S Hall

Wikipedia defines a map as "a symbolic depiction emphasizing relationships between elements of some space, such as objects, regions or themes" that  "may represent any space, real or imagined, without regard to context or scale."

Road maps, geologic maps, treasure maps,

Texas Geologic Map, UT Austin 1992

landscape and house plans.

Eichler home floor plan

Instead of large-scale geography, it could also be the location of genes on a potato chromosome ...

 Schematic representation of the shape of DNA and the base pairs from PotatoGENE website

Or an imaginary or spiritual journey. My mother had an old needlework picture of the human heart. Not the Valentine heart but a realistic model with all the veins and arteries showing. Religious virtues were inscribed in different regions. I'm not sure where that picture went. She did have some downright scary art.

It could be as simple as a garden or as complex as the paths of every person in a city. Ed Fairburn combines portraits with maps. It could be as small as a pin or as wide as the cosmos.

The Milky Way Collapsing by Kukicho-san

"A map is a means for discovery, to be used for any kind of territory. It is a way to get from A to B, sometimes by way of Z. Most simply, a map is a cry from the wilderness, saying 'I am here!'" Katherine Harmon

Maps can relate time and frequency. David Ramsey’s post on cartographic mapping  revitalizes all my the timelines we made in grade school. Who knew they could convey so much? Many bloggers map their label frequencies on the sidebars.

Want to read up on mapmaking?

Map Art Lab by Jill Berry and Linden McNielly (2004) is a series of creative weekly exercises for mixed media. Only a few directly address quiltmaking. This book is also suitable for teenagers.

Map Art Lab by Jill Berry and Linden McNielly

Alicia Merrett has made map quilts since 2008. Her book, Mapping the Imagination (2014), is out of print but she has three Contemporary Quilt Demonstration videos on YouTube. You can find examples of her work in her gallery.

Valerie Goodwin's Art Quilt Maps (2013) specifically addresses making map quilts reflecting her training as an architect and professor.

Art Quilt Maps by Valerie S Goodwin
Her work involving imaginary and real places can be seen at:
Other artists working with maps as the foundation of their painting, collage, or quilting include
"Maps have been used to demonstrate position, location... but they can also teach history. They can be used to hold stories and feelings about a place." Diane Savona

This Pinterest board has more links but is certainly not inclusive.

The opportunity to express history and feelings in patchwork, collage, stitching, painting, and stamping makes me believe this could be an interesting challenge. I hope you'll join us.

Also posted on Fret Not Yourself  blog.

Enjoy the day, Ann

21 July 2018

Quilt 'Licorice Allsorts' Finished, Started Last Summer as an Improv Quilt Challenge

Licorice Allsorts was started last summer as an improv challenge quilt.

Back view, I pieced the strip from scraps.

Happy Weekend improv quilters!

My quilt, Licorice Allsorts is finished. As I stated above I started it last summer 2017 as an improv quilt challenge. 
I first pieced the 'liberated' rail fence blocks; the center medallion, and then added units/blocks of triangles, strips, squares and rectangles for the borders. Read more details here @crazyvictoriana.blogspot.com.

I forget what the challenge called for. I think I got inspired and went in my own direction.

Have a good day and I'll be by to visit.

'Is this improv?' link

A couple of recent posts have prompted some discussion around how we define improv, so I thought I'd just share this link  to an article by Melanie at  Catbird Quilts.  (I first saw it on someone else's blog, but can't remember where - sorry!)  I really like what she has to say on the subject.

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