Posts Tagged ‘deconstructed circles’

Try Improvisational or Freehand Piecing!

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

I’ve written before about freehand pieced work, including this article working from the scrap bag    This morning, looking around in my photos for something else, I was diverted by a sequence of photos I took last year while making this small piece for my friend Suzie.  I formed this collage to take some of mystery out of this kind of piecing known as ‘improvisational piecing’.  It’s a construction technique widely used by makers of ‘art quilts’ and Modern Quilts, too.

Suzie’s Quilt 30cm x 30cm.
Top left, centre and lower right – cut and remove an approx 1-2cm swathe.  Lower left – finished quilt; upper right shows pencil diagram and a strip insert pinned into place.  The tighter the curve, the more pins I use – just my way – there’s no ‘correct’ way.

Do a very basic pencil diagram if necessary (upper right),  audition some fabrics, start cutting and begin sewing.  No templates, no exacting measurements, and the result is a very organic look.  Improvisational piecing begins with simple steps, and the basics can be found here   If you want to try it at home sometime, thoroughly read through my 2 page notes first, then follow the easy instructions.  If you need any help or advice, don’t hesitate to contact me at alison@alisonschwabe.com

Working without pattern pieces is very liberating; it’s a worry-free way to construct quilt tops.  In my Memories and Ebb&Flow  galleries you’ll find many examples of works pieced this way; and I often use freehand piecing with grids constructed using rulers and different size quilters’ squares and triangles.  Honestly, anything goes, as it’s up to you how you use this technique.  By all means, pay good money and go to a workshop run by someone teaching this technique, which is fun, but if geographical isolation or financial challenges get in your way, you really can learn it by yourself at home.  You’ll find it in books and magazines, as well as online, but I don’t advise starting out by watching online demos. There are so many out there with different emphases, often by people more focused on selling you their book, that you may well become confused in a very short time.   I just looked at some, and found them all rather fussy, very precise and careful.  This is not what it’s about – it’s carefree, organic looking and meant to be very non-traditional in every way.  Using my basic illustrated notes, try working through the suggested few samples, while remembering that

  1. there is no correct way to do this kind of patchwork
  2. the only correct result is a flat one
  3. start out bigger than you want to end up
  4. resist the urges to trim as you go – save it till all piecing is done.

Feel free to use pins, marker pen or pencil reference points right on the cut edges which will be enclosed in the seam anyway  – use whatever you find that works for you.  When you’ve worked out how to do it and can repeat good results with practice, then if you will, spend a bit of time browsing some demos, but I think you’ll find you don’t need them.  Improvisational piecing has become a contemporary tradition, something to be shared in the time honoured way that traditions are passed along from one generation to the next.  So, what are you waiting for?

The SAQA Online Auction Begins Tomorrow!

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

“Whirlwind”,  2017.    12″ x 12″ ,  30.5cm x 30.5cm

Tomorrow, September 15th, is the first day of the annual SAQA Online Benefit Auction.  This year, for the first time, this first day is Diamond Day, on which every quilt offered for auction this is for sale at $1000 per piece – a wonderful opportunity for one of my collectors to secure this piece, “Whirlwind”!  Diamond Day opens at 2.00pm Eastern Time USA, tomorrow, September 15th – which is 22 hours from now as I write.

If it’s unsold on Diamond Day, my quilt will be offered 18-24 September in Section 1  (scroll to row 3) There are some wonderful pieces in this section, so as it’s a reverse auction, don’t linger indecisively too long! Anyone, anywhere, can participate.  For more information on how to purchase a quilt in the auction go to Bidding guidelines and FAQs

Deconstructed Circles For SAQA’s 2017 Online Auction

Friday, April 7th, 2017

The annual online auction to benefit SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates, comes up again, opening on September 15th and continuing through October 8th.  I’ll be reminding you closer to the time, of course.  For further information and updates including some of the works already received, go to SAQA’s website  Right now several hundred SAQA members including yours truly are preparing their 12″ x 12″ donations, and over the last few days I have almost finished mine – shown here with quilting in progress:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excess fabric and batting will be trimmed off once the quilting is completed – and yes, I do darn in the ends as I go!  I may do a fine black binding, but will audition other coloured fabrics anyway, just in case one of them adds a bit more zing.  This is the third in a deconstructed circles theme that has emerged in the last few weeks, and I’m pondering a more meaningful title for what is clearly becoming a series – as ‘Deconstructed Circle #3’ is a bit unexciting.  I’ve started a list, with entries such as ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Cyclone’ and ‘Tornado’ under consideration.

 

 

‘Maelstrom’ 2009  was my first deconstructed circle design, to which I have turned again, and maybe it is now the first of a series of that name; meaning the one I’m nearly finished would be #4, but maybe I’ll come up with something else.

 

Deconstructed Circles

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Someone commenting on my latest work said last week wrote “deconstructed circles are popular now”, and she’s right, they are appearing in more art quilts, though I’ve been using them on and off for some time.  For someone who loves grids and works freehand the way I do, the deconstructed circle has great appeal as a design unit, as these two works in progress show: early stages in the construction of Maelstrom (2006)  left, and Anna’s Quilt (2008) right respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What new work? you might be wondering.  True, it’s been a long time since I blogged, chiefly because I wasn’t creating (not even sewing hexagons) during a long illness late last year and the subsequent recovery period.  But recently I’ve found mental+physical energy coinciding, and have begun exploring ideas that have been on my mind a while.  I’ve keenly followed the the rise of  the Modern Quilt Movement with light clear colours plus greys and white that are so appealing to many that they are even beginning to populate traditional designs.  MQM’s website calls this overlap ‘modern traditionalism’, I just noticed.  A favourite Uruguayan artist, Mario Giacoya uses wonderful greens and yellows with small amounts of other light bright colours in his many rural landscapes.  A primary influence in my work is still landscape shapes, and earthy Australian colours, but I’m finding I’m wanting more ‘light’ and ‘bright’ in my work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I’ve used the unit before, and am always happy with lines that don’t connect, I drew a diagram this time to emphasise that I’m thinking of some units having many lines of fabric in them, others few, one or possibly none, and I’m still mulling over that and will continue as the work proceeds.  This sample has more in common with Maelstrom above as the arcs are segments of colour.  My sample shows a complex set of them.  These were a bit tedious to make, but I’ve been thinking about this too and will rationalise and synthesise what I learned in this sample making stage:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When sample making I normally just go as far as I need to learn something.  But this one I finished and bound because I plan to hand it on as a gift, hence this documentation.  I still have to think about

  • hand v machine quilting ?
  • any role for glitter here ?
  • what about dots?
  • And what a shame I only bought about 20cm of this wonderful striped fabric …
Translate »
%d bloggers like this: