Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vase of Tulips

I just finished the hand-applique on this, and thought I'd make it into a pillow cover. I designed it last weekend in a class with Gwen Marston.


So I laid it out on the back of the couch to see how it would look. It just so happened that I laid it on top of a quilt that lives there. I really liked the way the points looked around it.


So I made some points and tried them on the design wall. Hmm, lay them out like this?


Or this?


Ah, I like this. What next?


How about a solid border. I tried gold, orange, red, yellow and fuschia, then decided on turquoise. What next?


This quilt represents a recent day at the tulip fields. Part of the day was seeing thousands of cut tulips dumped into the back of a truck. So I wanted to have some loose tulips falling around the border. Will it work on an 8" wide border? Yes, but...


After measuring the grey fabric I have left, I found I only had enough for a 6" border. Will that be too narrow? Shall I piece some other fabric with it? Hmm, I'll have to sleep on that.

Meanwhile, I have a question for you. Is this process improvisation? I know it's the process that many of us use. Design as you go, use what you have, don't use a pattern, follow your heart.

But there's no wonky lines! And my points match! And the quilt will hang straight! Does that mean it's NOT improvisational? There are a lot of wonky cut quilts, with points cut off, that don't hang straight. I've made plenty of them. We call them "improvisational quilts." Yea, they're design as you go and all that. But I wonder if quilts like this one can also be called improvisational. My process is the same, although I'm using a ruler this time, and the look is more traditional. Is "improvisational" a process or a look? Or is it both? What do you think?

I've been following the very thought provoking conversations called "Improv Mondays" over at Sherri Lynn's blog, Daintytime. She calls improvisational quilt-making a process of self-discovery. I love that. Plus her quilts are fabulous. I don't think there are any right or wrong answers, but it's a fun topic to think about!

21 comments:

Theodora quilts said...

That is pretty much how I work and I don't really pay attention to points if they look like points it doesnt really bother me if not perfect,and this is quilt as you go ,but you started with an applique that is pre designed ,and then started adding around it ,what ever you whan to call it is fine it is for you and go with what you feel,and the blue is very nice it sort of brightens it up and frames it nicely and 6 in. is not narrow at all I would even try narrower so it doesn't steal the show if you know what I mean, sometimes less is more try it with a bit less and then decide of the final before taking the cutter, happy sewing .theodora

Clare said...

It's got style. It's spontaneous!

I love it.

Sujata said...

For me, this quilt would definitely fall into improvisational category. When I take something from point A to B with my evolving thought process and without a definite outcome in mind, I call it improvisational way of quilting.
Often times we start with an idea but during the making of the quilt changes happen.. forcefully or intentionally.. We improvise either because of lack of fabric or simply because we feel like it.. It is the freedom in designing and executing the plan in however way it fits. I believe it works even if the quilt is traditional.
I love your quilt and where it is going.. Follow your heart as you always do. You make magic with your hands and heart.

Tonya Ricucci said...

of course it's improvisational. no pattern, no plans ahead of time, listening to the quilt to see what it needs... have to admit though, I think you're little tulips are wonderful the way they are. wondering if a big gray border wouldn't be too overwhelming.. much lighter color??? oh, and I completely forgot to say: sooo cute and I love the triangles.

Buffy said...

The pink plaid moves the eyes around--magic! Ditto for the bleeding turquoise. Buffy

Alexis said...

I love it! It is definitely improvisational, but you pointed out that wonky and improvisational are totally different things! Happy sewing!

YankeeQuilter said...

Improv...definitely. I think whenever you design as you go it is improvisational. BTW...Really like how this one is coming along!

Kathleen C. said...

Thanks for posting about your improv quilt-yes, i agree with everyone else that you are making an improvisational quilt. And using improvisational methods.
I'm going to follow the improvisational discussion at the blog that you mentioned-thanks for that link.

Julie Fukuda said...

If I had to make things wonky to be improvisational I wouldn't have even one quilt. I always improvise making changes as I go but in handwork, wonky would be difficult. I think machine piecing makes wonky easier or more likely.

The Scrappy Bee said...

I think a lot of people think improvisational means wonky. There is a difference and yes, this improvisational. I took this class many years ago and loved just cutting pieces by eye and sewing them down. That is the was I feel about my tile blocks. I am working on "setting" them, but that is am improv work in progress. Bonnie

Nancy said...

Yeah.. improvisational would be my take. And the plaid is the perfect fabric to make this a standout! Very nice.

Janet said...

I'm with the others, I would call it improvisational. I don't think it has to be wonky, you're improvising as you go. This is a very neat project, I love the way you took note of it sitting on the other quilt and launched off that.

Barb said...

the HST look great on the border!

Bonnie Hull said...

I think "wonky" is a word we might need to say goodbye to. Improvisational is really the correct term to describe the maker responding to her own mind and eyes. As there are NO new ideas in art,the same goes for quilting. We're all building on what came before us. To hold true to our own vision is the only path...and...I have to say...the path you've always taken. Recently you said to me your quilts aren't improvisational but I disagree entirely. You see something you like and then instantly set about making it your own. Watching you work is very fun for me as you have an absolutely clear idea of what you're doing and are fearless about making changes. PS I like the whole border thing a lot...Just the flower border on one side only pleases my eye...all the way around would be a lot...xo

Chris said...

Hi Lee Ann, First of all, let me just say Yay! that you didn't make this stunner into a pillow. Not that it would be bad, I guess, but this quilt is going to be so much more. Speaking of more, I would love to see more of your special triangles, maybe on another border later on? and how about a different or pieced background on your long-stemmed tulip beauties? whatever you do it will be great, your quilts all have reflect your great artistic eye. thanks for sharing!

Quilter Kathy said...

What an interesting thread to ponder! And thank you for the link - I'll hop over and read more!

Vesuviusmama said...

That's definitely how I work, and I believe it is improvisational. I don't think improvisational and wonky are synonymous or mutually inclusive. And I love what you are doing with it!

Miki Willa said...

Improvisational and wonky are not really that related. Improve is starting with one small idea and building on it as it goes. It doesn't matter if you use a ruler or just whack a piece without measuring. It is the "what if I tried this next?" without pre-planning that makes it improvisational. A traditional looking quilt can be improvisational if it is done with no pre-planning beyond the seed of an idea. I work many ways, but improve is my favorite. This piece of yours is a gem, and as improvisational as it gets.

Sharon said...

It's fun to see where you are taking this wonderful block. I loved it in class, and I think it's just getting better and better! I love your triangles.

I think you're working "improv" style. I agree with what most everyone has said. Wonky and improv are not necessarily the same thing. Thanks for the link - I'll be checking that out.

Sharon said...

Definitely improv. But I think some give themselves permission to be sloppy with the technical aspect of quilt making. No matter how creative and/or original, I think the piece should be flat and square (if you want it square). Merrie put 1/2 sq's around her piece, I saw it yesterday. I LOVE yours, the colors are fabulous.

Daintytime said...

Hands down improv! What's next?!