Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Don't Wear Blue...

...In fact, with the exception of my blue jeans, I don't own any blue clothes. It's just not me.
I don't use blue to decorate my home either, nor do I use it often when I make quilts.  If you've ever seen blue in my quilts it's probably because it was used by special request.

Recently, Karen, owner of My Fabric Spot, offered Josee and  I each a fat quarter bundle. This one from Denyse Schmidt's new line and this one from Tula Pink. I was hoping to get the Tula Pink Bundle, as it is more in keeping with my preferred colors. But it went to Josee instead. I got the Chicopee bundle in Relish. 

Josee was kind enough to offer to switch with me but, upon giving it some thought  I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to step out of my comfort zone for a change.  I suppose it's good for creative growth. 

So I stared at these fabrics for MANY days waiting for inspiration to strike. But it just  wasn't. 

I searched the web looking for inspiration from other quilters. What were they doing with their Chicopee fabrics? I saw lots of lovely quilts but nothing that really struck a cord with me. 
Then I flipped through Denyse Schmidt's latest book and saw this image:

 It's a picture of the author's inspiration wall (I love seeing images of other people's studios). Somehow that image struck a cord with me. So I thought why don't I just drape the fabrics on my design wall and see what happens. 
I began arranging and rearranging and started cutting and sewing. 

 The first few patches that I sewed together were too 'perfect'.

So I cut those up again and rearranged some more. I still wasn't completely 'inspired'. It wasn't until I caught a glimpse of a little strip of orange fabric that a lightbulb went off. 
I threw it onto the design wall and "Bam!", it started to come to life.  I grabbed every little piece of the orange fabric that I had (I even unsewed some orphan blocks)and kept chopping away. 

The process for making this quilt was COMPETELY improvised. What I call true improv. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with these fabrics even as I started cutting and sewing.  The process was just about the most fun I've had in a long time. I felt like I was in a trance moving from cutting table to machine to ironing board and back to design wall.  I kept working until I ran out of the Chicopee and orange fabrics.  
I had to add a few small pieces from my scrap bins to fill in the gaps.

How I put it all together is  difficult to explain , so "à la Sherri Lynn Wood" , I put together a little slide show to illustrate how  the quilt evolved: 


(It's not best quality, but I'll try to fix it)

UPDATE: to view a better video click here)

Here is the finished quilt:

I quilted it in organic/straight lines, in varying widths.  I left it 'un-squared' and bound it in Kona Navy.


Who knew that I would end up liking it so much. So much so that I am considering submitting it to Quiltcon in the Improv category! 

Go figure.

Oh, and one more thing: I don't wear prints either.


  1. You have definitely rise up to the challenge! I love it, particularly the pops of orange. I encourage you to submit it to QuiltCon.

  2. Beautiful...I love the orange and how it pops out at you!

  3. It's fabulous! Definitely enter it in QuiltCon! Fantastic!

  4. I've been thinking about this quilt all day. So good.

  5. This is a great quilt! Seems so different from what you usually do, but still somehow soureeish. Enter it for sure! The more I see of Chicopee the more I like it.

  6. Nice work! I agree ... you should definitely enter it in QuiltCon!

  7. What a fabulous quilt! I love the improvisational process.

  8. Incredible work--I love it! Julierose

  9. How did I miss this? It is so beautiful. Masterful work with those prints. Did it get into QuiltCon? I should think so! This is like music. The rhythm of your attention is so evident. I can see you were in the flow and present when you were making this quilt when I look at it. Fantastic!

  10. I love this quilt of yours, it's incredible!

  11. Inspiration is your quilt. I am working on one now that is a reaction to having worked with so many greens the past two months combined with a gift of a nice scrap bundle from a recent give away at Modern Quilt Guild here in Washington DC. Now I am deep in the orange and loving it. Thanks for a great read about how yours came together.