Monday 9 March 2015

You want me to do what?

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend my Guild's workshop on Improv Piecing taught by Val from Purple Boots and Pigtails. I was excited and terrified by the prospect of improv piecing. You read about people who are freed by the process, who throw away patterns for the creativity of piecing something original and all of their own.

Let's be real here people, I love me a pattern. I feel creative through patterns and am ok with it. Am I less of a creative person because of it? Who knows, but I really don't care. I like what I like! That being said, I wanted to challenge myself, step outside of the proverbial comfort zone and try something new.

Our first piece was trees. Val wanted us to piece a tree. Not scary, until it became clear that I would not be provided with measurements. Just cut a trunk about "so big". You want me to do what? But how do I know if it will work? How will I cope without my ruler? I wanted to sneak up to the teachers table and measure her sample. Legit right? NOT! I needed to break out!

So we had trees, and I did not spontaneously combust, my ruler did not hold a grudge, things were looking up. Then a house was born...and a churn dash...all bravely without measurements. But then, things really started to cook. Letters!

This was when I found my groove. Truth be told, this is really why I wanted to take the class. I want to make word quilts and wanted to know how to piece letters. By the time letters came I had put my ruler under the table and was slicing randomly. I felt awesome! The whole process gave me hope - hope that I could be creative without a pattern!

These are all of the components that we made in class. Next step will be to make some "joiner" pieces and make this into something. It may be a wall hanging, it may be a quilt. Who knows? My ruler doesn't know, and is wishing me luck!

I have to thank Val for such a wonderful class. This was her first foray into teaching and I think she was sweatin' it! But she was born to be at the head of a class, I can't wait for the next one.

Are you a pattern girl, improv girl? Either way, have fun out there!


  1. I laughed put loud when I read this. I am SO left-brained. I rarely sew without a pattern cooking with no recipe scares the living daylight out of me. But I have tried improv piecing log cabin blocks and loved it! Your little blocks look amazing and I cannot wait to see where you go with these. :-)

  2. Love your description of the process. I did chuckle as you could be writing about me. Give me a pattern!! Love the blocks you made and look forward to seeing more.

  3. You know I was right there with you...physically and mentally. I did, too, enjoy the letters. I'm happy with my pieces. It was fun to the share the journey with you.

  4. So glad you found your groove! It was a great day!

  5. I have ventured out of my comfort zone once. BUT I have not let myself go completely yet. I like what you have done and may have to just let loose.

  6. Love this! Your work looks great, and I'm glad you had fun. :-)

  7. I love it all! It is a little scary to work without boundries....but it all turned out great.

  8. Pattern girl. I tried improv once but found it a bit tedious. I love traditional blocks, although I'm pretty confident using a pattern as a starting point and my creativity gets fed playing with the endless variations possible in colour, shape, and value.

  9. Way to go for taking a risk with improv piecing! Though it is sort of funny that you're doing it well after the finish of ModQImprov. How on earth did you manage a year's blocks? :) As for me, I love both patterns and improv. But there's something about improv that makes me feel like I'm really creating something all my own.