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Dec 09 2015

Going Modern with Improv

I’m in LOVE with this process and the results!

Modern Improv Quilt I wanted to try, force, my hand at improvisational quilting and do lots of negative space so I could get creative with some free motion quilting from the latest class I took at Craftsy.com from Ann Peterson.  I quilt on a small machine, so this was always beyond my ability to quilt such detail on a full sized quilt.  Not anymore! Ann has so many tricks and tips that in no time I was zooming away with so much ease. I also switched threads and stopped using discount thread that was always breaking and giving me issues.  I now only use Auriful Thread and the difference is like night and day! I buy it by the cones for the best deal and it even is less expensive than buying cheaper big box threads.  I now use exclusively for piecing and quilting.

So how this all began!  I have these highly coveted fabrics I collected and have been hoarding for several years.  I had not decided what I wanted to do with them.  I also wanted to make a modern improv quilt that I could really play with shapes and color.  So one day I just decided to do it! LOL  I put the fabric pieces up on the design wall and played and played with placement for color.  The background started out as an off white cream but changed half way through the playing to black.  Main reason? This would be a quilt for our couch and I have this big black dog that thinks he’s a person and sheds more than you can imagine. LOL  But, in the end, I am really glad I changed this to black.

This is what it looked like at first on my wall. (Yes, still waiting for BF to bring me some insulation board to make a real design wall!) lol  I wanted sweeping color/design from one end to the other. From here I just grabbed pieces of the fabric and began to create very improvisational blocks and areas. This was NOT easy for me, I always follow a pattern either someone else’s or my own. Design Wall Improv

Then it began to take shape and kept adding to it. The plan was to do a small area each day.  Well… I loved the process so much I couldn’t help myself and in a few days it was completely pieced! LOL

Improv design progress

Improv design progress

Then the real fun began! marking all the quilting.  I don’t use traditional marking tools any longer. I now use a welder’s marking chalk pencil.  It works awesome! Marks beautifully and comes off easily.  My BF suggested it when I complained about the normal white marking pencils and how difficult it was to come off.  He brought me some from work and works great and VERY cheap! Box of 50 for like $5. I also use the Fixitron pens for light fabrics.  Iron’s right out!  I don’t use those quilter’s markers any longer that I might accidentally iron over and make permanent.  Yea, ask me how I know. 😉

I knew I wanted a very geometric design to compliment the geometric piecing design.  Can you tell the engineering draftsman is trying to come out?! LOL  WISH I still had all my old drafting tools! But I figured it out using what I had. I also wanted to soften it up a bit using some circles and swirls in the quilting. I have a ton of inspirations on my Pinterest board, and even tho most are done on a long arm machine, after Ann’s class I felt ready to try my hand at doing on my domestic sewing machine. Marking the Quilting

It was quite the learning process.  And yes there are several mistakes or oops in this but only myself (or my daughter Kallie) will see and point out. LOL But I’m chalking that up to lesson’s learned.  It was VERY difficult for me to let go like this.  I’m such a planner and over think my designs.  I forced myself to let it go and have fun! I really worked out of my comfort zone.  I had designed the entire thing on the computer, but soon realized my intuition of working with the color and improv was proving out to be a much funner process! No measuring! LOL So I let it go. I couldn’t be happier!

And half way through this I got a new free motion foot also for my sewing machine.  WOW! What a difference that made also! It’s a ruler foot that I got as a set with some rulers.  I wanted to be able to quilt straighter lines like the big girls in free motion and not have to turn a large quilt so much on my machine trying to use my duel feed walking foot with a straight stitch setting.  There is no looking back now! I am hooked! Still learning how to use fluidly, but it’s coming along!  I also want to add some better lighting at my machine.  I found that the machine’s light reflected on the ruler and made it difficult to see where I was going. (Hence some of the boo boos that happened). Want to take that out and have more indirect lighting.  But all in all, I am improving by leaps and bounds now doing this on my small machine.  Thank you Ann!

Some of the details. quilting detailsQuilting detailsQuilting Details

1 comment

  1. Vicky

    It is JUST beautiful, Cilenia!

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