Winging it

??????????????????????When I started this blog I promised myself I would post quilts in progress and not just finished quilts, so here are the first steps of my first improvisational quilt. Some time ago I wanted to try my hand at Jean Wells’ style of quilt design. At the time I thought of it as a wonky coin-meets-log-cabin-style quilt and I set off to the LQS for help. Jean’s book Journey to Inspired Art Quilting wasn’t yet published and I bought her Intuitive Color & Design, but that book didn’t quite do it for me.

???????????????????????????????As luck would have it, a search of our local public library catalogue turned up Rayna Gilman’s ”create your own free-form quilts”. And off I went. This was the most quilting fun I ever had. I got the book on a Friday and spent many hours in my sewing room that weekend just playing. It really was playing because there were no rules whatsoever, there was no goal as to how anything was supposed to look, and I worked only with fabrics I liked.

??????????????????????It seems I worked in fairly small proportions. Without borders, the quilt is 14″x16″. This wasn’t a conscious goal but I always seem to err on the side of making blocks too small rather than too big; perhaps that’s because I dislike the clunky look of over-large strips and blocks. Plus, as much as I wanted to play, I was somewhat reluctant to risk much of my stash on this first attempt.

After making several blocks it was time to put them all together, but there were just too many to get them all into one piece. Here are a few of the layouts I tried, with a variety of border options.

Layouts 1-3 and 5 are each different. Layouts 3 and 4 are the same except for the border fabrics.

Layouts 1-3 and 5 are each different. Layouts 3 and 4 are the same except for the addition of border fabric in #4.

Here below, is the final quilt top. (The picture is a bit crooked; the quilt is not.) The bottom right-corner block in layout 5, above, seemed a little weak, so I added extra strips of orange and pink prior to sewing it all together (below).

My free-form quilt top

My free-form quilt top

Unlike with lap or bed quilts, art quilts don’t have to “fit” anything. That meant the finished border width was completely at my discretion. And I had no idea what I wanted to do! To play it safe I attached excessively wide borders and hope that once the quilt is finished it will tell me how wide the borders should be.