I love the term "winging it." From The Urban Dictionary: to improvise with little preparation. As an artist, needleworker, painter, gardener, and decorator, I "wing it" all the time. I love the act of just beginning even though sometimes that is the hardest part. I remember when I was a teenager and an avid sewer and stitcher - I would finish a project and then feel at loose ends until I had decided what to make next.
I still feel that way. If I don't have something creative going on with my hands, I get crabby and moody. I NEED to be making something - filling the time in the day when I would be bored without a project - watching tv, at the farmers market, or on a car trip when I am not driving. At this point in my creative year, I fill that time with Crewel Embroidery. At other times, I fill that time with knitting or some other kind of craft.
When I design or paint, I am constantly winging it. I usually begin with a quick sketch and then just begin somewhere on the fabric or the canvas. I let the piece evolve as motifs build upon themselves. I am not fearful as I go - I find it liberating and exciting to see where each bit I add will take the piece.
I am not in the Quilt World per se, but I do know about the rumblings about Traditional vs Modern quilter. I'm not sure why there is such a divide but whatever. I say "just do it." With any art, there is no right or wrong way and this is exactly what Sherri gives the quilter the tools to do in her new book.
Sherri Lynn's gives "scores" (I would probably call them guidelines) to make TEN different styles of quilts. They include Floating Squares, Strings, Layered Curves, and more. Each score features a "hero quilt" and then several examples of other versions of the score. Over 250 quilters took part in this project and you can see many of the finished quilts that follow these concepts here.
One of the more interesting and communal scores is called Round Robin. It is a project that you can make with many quilting friends in a day. By following Sherri's score, each quilter pieces small bits of someone else's quilt in 20 minute intervals. Each quilter has put together their own choices of fabric (Sherri suggests how much and types) and each quilter's box travels the room. It is a fun concept which would be a great summer project to do with friends. In the photos interspersed throughout this post, you can see many different Round Robin Quilts.
Once you get past the scores (pp 22 to 104), this book is loaded with lots of helpful information for beginning designers and improv-ers. Pages 112 to 119 are all about COLOR. There are Patchworks Techniques on Pages 120 to 153. This Chapter is a real GEM - it includes instructions for Ruler Free Patchwork, Darting (I might call this Fixing Mistakes Easily!), Patchwork Puzzles, Working with Curves and Wedges.
The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is beautifully photographed and written. If you are a quilter or wannabe quilter, I hope you will search it out. I do not think you will be disappointed.
You can read Sherri Lynn's blog here
Follow her on Instagram here
Join the Improv Facebook Group here.
Listen to an interview with Sherri Lynn on Craft Sanity here.
Here's what I have for one lucky reader today.... A copy of The Improv Handbook donated by STC/Melanie Falick Books. Here's how to enter.....
Tell me how you feel about winging it or improvising? Do you do it? Does it drive you crazy because you are a planner? This doesn't need to be about quilting or sewing or needlework. Open it up to other parts of your life - perhaps cooking or gardening or traveling.
Can't wait to hear what you all say.
US addresses only. Contest ends Friday May 29th at 11:59 p.m. As always, leave an easy way to get a hold of you - email, Rav id, blogger id. Good luck everyone!