Sunday, April 16, 2017

One Patch Layouts & Improv Charity Quilts

"In your Easter bonnet,
with all the frills upon it..."

Over several days last week I had a marathon of sorts. I had some donated fabric I really wanted to use up, and get out of my studio. It might not have been my pick of fabrics, but that's a little bit of the fun involved. Working outside your comfort zone is always a good challenge!

It's not a firm process, but more of an add and subtract method. I know many quilters plan their quilts in detail, but this is more my style. I grab a stack of fabrics that relate, but may or may not 'go together.' Cut into squares. Pick a design layout from many possibilities I keep updating in my little green books, and work it. It can take anywhere from an hour to 3 depending on the size or complexity.

This is center of the first design, and if you take your hands and close off the outer bands--think how an artist frames a scene, you'll see the start. I think the beginning is the hardest because it looks nothing like the end. It's a good place to use color you have a limited supply of, and in this case I had only 4 lavender squares. Easy solution. I also had a lot of the floral fabric so I opted to do a double row around. It made a splashy impact whether or not this floral is your favorite.

And then I just kept testing. I laid up an idea on one side, and compared it to the other. The yellow gingham at the top row just wasn't working at all so I pulled both down to lay up another row of blue. And that's pretty much how it works with trial and error. It involves a lot of stepping back to look from a distance, and is easier here at home where I have more room.

52.5" square

Second Layout

It's always easiest to work with the leftovers from the first design, and that's what I did here. I also added another strong print--the purple, and a brilliant red solid. 52.5" square.

Third Layout

So this one is really out of my color scheme, but the fabric was there. I start from the inside building outward. It's a fair bit bigger as you can figure the size by counting each 4" square finishes at 3.5". This will be 66.5" square.

Improvisational Piecing

There were pieces and parts covering one of my tables. Some were already connected when I trimmed them from pieced backings so I continued to piece in long strips. We improv piece modern quilts so why not charity quilts?

Bright & Cheery Improv

Still using up those leftover backings, I pieced another top. There is a part of me that says the comforter or quilt we're sending into desperate situations doesn't have to be intricately pieced. A brightly pieced center can be the focal point sandwiched in darker yardage. This seems to be a case for remarking how need outweighs beauty and perfection. Warmth, washability, and durability are more important. And maybe a handwritten tag attached to the back. A heart, a poem, or just something to say someone in the world cares about their needs. It's a way for one human being to feel connected to another, and that's the whole enchilada folks! It's enough.

Working Toward Better Balance

I remember the days when I thought someone giving me fabric to work with would be great, but I've found it can also be a burden of sorts. I feel obligated to use it, and find I'm not doing anything but. It's caused me to reconsider how I'm spending my time, and brings a word to mind that many of you have kindly offered. BALANCE. While I feel really good about the work I've been doing, my creative self has been neglected a bit. I'll finish everything I've started this year by the end of the month, but by May 1st I hope to change my focus just a bit. 

Do you have any new plans for spring? 

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


Unknown said...

Yes - BALANCE is the word!! The layout you named "3rd" is my favorite. Love the total look. I counted the small-print-with-white -- 86 blocks I think. Now - I will be watching for a print that will reflect this. In a short time you have gone through a lot of fabric for charitable giving. Getting back to 'your' ideas and designs will feel sooooooooooo good!

Kaja said...

Balance can be hard to achieve, so I hope your plans come good and you get back to your normal creative focus. In the meantime you have made some quilts that will do some good in the world, and cleared out the fabric. I find it hard to say no when I'm offered stuff, but you are making me reflect that maybe sometimes that would be the better path.

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

I love reading about your process, it's always a great learning curve wether I like the finished quilt or not. I would choose the third layout, probably because I am drawn to the darker richer colours. It is a lovely winter quilt too and could be for male or female. I agree why not improv for charity quilts, one man's meat is another mans poison, me included as I'm vegetarian hehe!

Stitchin At Home said...

I like the third layout the best, not that the other two are not nice.

Linda Swanekamp said...

Thanks for showing process and what your thinking is. It helps me when I get stuck or need to try something else. I do get a lot of fabric from people because I make comfort quilts. It makes me feel obligated to use it and sometimes it is difficult to do. I have so many projects, I have no idea how long it would take to finish all of them. The toughest lingering one is a Judy Niemeyer quilt, Sea Urchin, that is so slow that it causes mental pain to paper piece it. Beautiful photos today!

Angie in SoCal said...

Those trips around the world are so pretty. Nice work with the improv.

KaHolly said...

What an excellent post. I am inspired to make time to be a copy cat, say, clear one day and go for it. I have a lot of 'that' fabric. Maybe even clear one day a week (I don't work as fast as most). You've also inspired me to dig my one hand pieced quilt out of the closet and finish it up with your beautiful work.