Talking your ear off: part 1

Seems with all that’s going on this year, I’m having trouble focusing on any of my own projects.
Luckily, there’s a round of BAM conversations to distract me. It’s been especially nice to spend a little time with a new fabric palette each month and figure out what I want to ‘say’ within that context.

For February, I’m intrigued by A’s print choices. Jewel-toned diamonds, graphic flowers and purple! Well, I like purple.2016BAMNewConvoFOnce I decide to use pink kitties as my signature fabric, I make my Half Square Triangles with the Magic 8’s Method, which incidentally you can find here.2016BAMNewConvoG1As I lay out my blocks they seem to work best along the right-hand side. Actually, one even creates an unexpected house motif. Along with my finish, here are a few of my favorite parts:

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Are you a Square, or do ya’ got Rhythm?

This month, our Quilty Improv Group explored the fifth Score, “Rhythmic Grid,” in Ms Sherry Lynn Wood’s book.
As I looked over my meager stash, I found a lovely bag of ‘destash’ scraps with blue and aqua 2” strips, reds and pink 5” squares, plus a bit of extra fabric. There isn’t a lot to work with, but that makes it more interesting, right?
2016SquaresGotRhythmASkimming the instructions, I started building my grid by adding red strips to blue squares.

2016SquaresGotRhythmBAs I laid these out in my normal 18” format, I realized that they were too predictable, so I switched to a diagonal. 2016SquaresGotRhythmCStill an expected layout, but I’ve yet to work the blue, stripped red squares into the Score. Here are some of the options I played with:

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A New Year, A New BAM Conversation

I just couldn’t stay away.

The round robin format that started last year with our ‘yes, and…’ conversations continues and I am able to share little pieces of my creativity with my sewing friends.

Losing no time in January 2016, I start with MN’s fabulous conversation:2016BAMNewConvoA

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Adding to the BAM Conversation

Let’s start another conversation.
My Modern Quilt Guild also started an Improv Round Robin after Ms Sherry Lynn Wood’s presentation this summer and I signed right up since I’m always happy to play with other quilter’s fabrics.

2015BAMAddingtotheConvoAFor my September 2015 start above, I came across the ‘orphan block’ I’d originally made for the St Louis swap last summer, (I ended up making another block for that project) and it was perfect! My fabric pull included similar colors, plus some coral and, after ‘adding some shinies’ to the block, it was good to go. Easy Peasy!

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Adding to the Conversation

Our Quilty Improv Group explored another chapter in Ms Sherry Lynn Wood‘s new book. This month, the third Score, “Yes, and,” challenges us to an improvisational round robin conversation. The idea is to listen to what is presented (be it starting fabric or patchwork passed), to affirm and then respond in the moment. Well, within 20 minutes, that is.

Centered, ready at our sewing machines with our chosen fabrics, we begin. Truth be told, I pulled my fabrics just minutes before everyone arrived. I did plan my signature as this little tiger print in teal, orange, lime and pink, that I’m using for another BAMalot “yes, and” group. The rest of my fabrics are similar color scraps: pink/orange strips, partial fuchsia blocks and orphan blocks, including my first 2 Tula City Sampler blocks before I changed up my fabric scheme.

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Honing my Improv Instincts

Improv Sewing is a fabulously relaxing way to spend a Sunday! During today’s workshop, Improvising from a Score with Sherry Lynn Wood, we start the process with a centering meditation breathing deeply in and back out. My thoughts drift away as words are spoken and when I open my eyes again, my fabric choices are shiny and bright. Although I brought just a few options, my first three fabrics call clearly to me.  Once again, I’m reminded to trust my initial instincts.

When starting improvisational sewing projects, knowing where to start can be a hurdle for my creativity. For this session, we are using the first Score: Floating Squares. I’ve made my fabric choices and began to cut various sized squares from two fabrics, leaving the third as filler.
2015OctSLWScore3My process is simple: choose two squares, sew together, then choose the next square and add the filler so that it fits the first two squares (if needed) and sew together. Turn clockwise and continue the process. Yes, I started with a ‘log cabin’ mindset and while it seems like a static idea, it actually freed me from over-thinking what fabric to add next. It also doesn’t look particularly like a ‘log cabin,’ so I’m pleased with my first block.

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So many Strings, so little time!

Over the past couple months, my Quilty Improv Group has really delved into Ms Sherry Lynn Wood‘s second Score: Strings. Yes, we liked it so much that we decided an ‘encore’ was in order! Our quilt studies include strips of strings, negative space strings, gem-shaped string petals and yes, string triangles. 😉

With Score for Strings, I started with the solids from a baby quilt I made last year and curated fabrics in analogous color schemes: purple/orange, sky blue/yellow and green/brown/navy.2015SoManyStrings1

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Conversations with Shiitake

After a recent trip to the emergency room for labored breathing, Shiitake was diagnosed with restrictive heart disease and kidney issues. I’m somewhat dismayed that my cat actually has a cardiologist and takes more meds than Orion did this spring. But it really has been nice to work on smaller Quilty projects with him happily curled up in my lap.
2015Shiitake1We have these really interesting discussions, too.

🐱 So what’s all this ‘slow stitching’ about?
😊 Well, I guess in a world that’s so fast-paced and distracting, it’s about remembering to slow down, be fully engaged in the creative process, sharpen skills at every level, and truly honor your own journey.
🐱 K, but don’t u already do that? I mean, u started ur ‘Labor of Love’ quilt when I was just a kitteh, with the last few spent hand quilting. Are u part of the movement?
😊 Nope.
🐱 Huh. Why not?
😊 Ah, mostly because my creative journey has always been inherently contemplative, yet spontaneous whether I’m quilting or painting, gardening or cooking. For instance, when my client asks for 40 hand-made cards with silk flowers, I pull out all my goodies and consider colors based on the seasons and shapes of the petals, as well as if would I give this card to my own friends. Then, I kreate!
🐱 So it’s not just hand-piecing/hand-quilting?
😊 Not really. The movement is open to any of the fiber arts and it’s more about focus and mindfulness.
🐱 What happens when ur mind gets full?
😊 Um… I guess I take a nap.
🐱 Ah, then I’m gonna join the slow stitching movement myself now!💤
And then this gem from just the other day:
🐱 Doesn’t everyone have too big a heart and too little time to waste?
😊 No, little one. But yes.

My Improvisational Journey Expands

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been honing my ‘Modern Improv’ techniques on some exciting quilt projects. You may recall, several Cheryl Arkison workshops, which were crazy fast-paced fun. Then, the more relaxed session with Tina Michalik, who taught an easily scalable Improv block and quilt design. Now with my mindset primed, I recently began another ‘Improv Journey’ that will undoubtedly keep me busy well into the next year and beyond!

Improvisational Quilting isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. Quilts have been sewn without patterns from clothing scraps and remnants for many years. However, Ms Sherri Lynn Wood recently published a book directing modern quilters to consider sewing quilts using ‘scores’ and parameters instead of patterns and rulers.2015ImprovJourneyHandbookWorking without a set pattern makes me particularly giddy after focusing on my traditional Shaded 4-Patch and Carpenters Wheel projects in previous years. My life has been a blur of HSTs (half square triangles) for SO long!

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