Saturday, May 12, 2018

Improv Quilt Blocks

Improvisational quilting is a very old idea.  Still there are several fairly new books on the subject. I have read a couple of those books.  I have also taken a week-long class with the Gee's Bend quilters.   What I have learned from it all is that you need to trust your instincts and have fun playing with your fabrics.

I took two blocks that were in my orphan pile and decided to "re-imagine" them.  I started with a simple nine patch. Sorry, I forgot to take a before photo of this one.  I then cut a couple of  strips and crossed it in both directions.

You can see that this makes the edges get a little wonky.  So it needed trimmed.  I trimmed it to 9 1/2" square.
At this point I am not loving it, but I will let it sit a bit and work on the next one.
For this one I started with a big half square triangle block.
By itself it is not anything special. So I took some scrap strips and sewed across the corners -trimmed off the corners and sewed them to the outside edge of the strips and squared this one up to a 10 1/2" block.
Hmmmm... now I have two blocks that don't go together colorwise - and are different sizes.  More scraps of the yellow strip and the blue fabric with squares to the rescue.  I did more sub-cutting and adding strips.  Two inside the block one direction and then two were added to the edges in the other direction.
9-Patch: Take Two
The blocks are now the same size and because I repeated fabrics from the other block - they don't look so bad together.
When these are added to a quilt top with lots of different fabrics they will play very nicely together. . Seriously, I know with just the two blocks it isn't great.  I really need to see if I have more of the light pink from the 9-patch to make an applique shape for the other block.

The art concept of repetition with variation is what makes this work The idea is that you repeat elements (in this case fabrics) but in different sizes (or shapes) so that the subconscious connects them and the viewer's eye follows through the design.

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A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Nice improv blocks! - "Repetition with variation" might also explain why my blocks don't always come out the same size - LOL - ;))

Pamela Arbour said...

Nice. Thanks for the art lesson!

Jeanna said...

Interesting concept. It will be interesting to see your complete quilt top.