Posts Tagged ‘lines’

Freehand Or Improvisational Piecing – The Basics

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

 

detail, Ebb and Flow 2

I’m quite often asked how to go about improvisational or freehand (template free) cutting and piecing which has become very widespread  among quilt makers in the past 25 years- a modern tradition really.  Widely used by art quilt makers who piece their designs, and seen in quite a number of Modern Quilts, it’s all rotary cut and machine pieced.   The following basic instructions contain all you need to know to begin, as I only learned it from watching a short demonstration by Nancy Crow at the start of a several day long workshop, and then plunging in to using it straight away. It enabled us to rapidly get through heaps of exercises in her class on design and colour.  I’ve been enjoying this way of piecing ever since.

basics of improv

 

Hand piecers could use this just once,  perhaps, to make some wayy lines in the one direction  but it really is a machine technique,  even if you’re pretty speedy, as hand sewing won’t allow for more complex cutting, re-arranging, inserting slivers and so on.

Freehand or ‘improvisational piecing’ has become a modern convention – and once you recognize it, you’ll see it wherever there are pieced art and non-traditional quilts.   Elsewhere on this website are two galleries of my original quilts made between about 1990 and the present –  the Color Memories gallery followed chronologically by the Ebb& Flow gallery.  Keep in mind that have been piecing this way for over 20 years, but I too began with these simple instructions way back then.   With practice, you too will be able to achieve more complex constructions if you wish.

Basics of improv blog image

The main things to remember are:

  • to place both fabrics right side up
  • without built-in seam allowances, as you cut and sew each fabric shape its area showing on front becomes progressively smaller – so start out larger in anticipation. Experience will tell you how much to allow, but, if you run short somewhere on a side you can always add another piece as quilters traditionally have !
  • in addition to getting smaller, so, too, the edges become progressively more irregular. Resist your trimming urges until you have finished ALL the piecing.   When you do get round to trimming, discard tiny pieces but keep anything useful – small bits also piece up into lovely freeform mosaics you could use for appliqued or printed designs – see Judith Trager’s work among others for some good examples.

Alicia Merrett ‘s YouTube videos, are good in a very precise, controlled way –but, they were pitched to careful traditional quilters, but even so, you might find them helpful.    In the Nancy Crow class where I learned this piecing, we had a lot of colour and design work to get through in the time, and Nancy showed us these basics that enabled rapid working.  We put all rulers away and did no pinning, just putting edge to edge and sewed.  Some managed this better than others in the workshop; and at home I found my own way of working which includes periodic dots along the cut edges with permanent marker or other pen/pencil/chalk – and even more of these in tight curves.    I usually pin every few inches, more in tight curves –  but it all depends…. there are no right ways to do this, and only one correct result – a flat one.  Once you have learned the basics, experience will teach you whatever you want to know next – think it, try it.  And, if you ever need my advice or help, feel free to contact me through this website.

 

The Bungle Bungles Series Continued…

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Kimberley Dreaming choices made, layered_edited-1

So the question I was considering in the last post was whether to go with the plain fabric domes or the one colour with the black/gold pinspot  – see the top part of this collaged image.   I decided to go with the one colour with gold pinspot.  There’s a panel of gold pinspot below the shapes, and then more black. I’ve layered and begun quilting, and while I do this bit, I am considering whether the previous one in the series, now bound and fitted with sleeves, needs gold dots or not – because, once started, there will  be no going back … that gold paint is  really permanent!

 

A Boring View?

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Yes, seated opposite this chest height window the view is boring, unremarkable, barely worth a glance; but turning to the left,  I can see a past the receptionist’s desk through sliding glass doors to a patio with glass balustrade overlooking the SE part of the city.  From all the treatment rooms there is a gorgeous panoramic view of Montevideo from about Pocitos, with Parque Rodo in the foreground and around to  Buceo in the distance and the River Plate stretching beyond which is great – as that’s where the patient does spend more time, after all.window waiting room 1 blog

 

I’ve been here many times, but the other day I ‘saw’ something I hadn’t ‘seen’ before – it wasn’t the clear graded sky. but that interesting edge formed by the building profile, as featured  here-window view blog

 

 

Finally, the cables are gone and its been fiddled with in other ways to reflect what I am thinking about in relation to that edge, and the subtle textures on the walls.  If ‘do’ something with it there may even be something textural that ‘grades’ the ‘sky’ area.  Maybe not – and the proportions might vary – but its tthat edge that grabs me…window waiting room edited  blog

Just as well I always have a camera with me, as I never know what I will come across to pop into this visual diary!

 

 

There’s Nothing Like a Bit of Scrap Bag Diving!

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

I keep a large bag of small scraps., principally offcuts from projects.  When I’m clearing up after finishing something, anything worth keeping goes into the large clear plastic bag on the floor beside my sewing table.  The bag being clear helps, just a little, when I’m looking for something in particular, as I was this morning.  I needed more earthy colours to add more shapes to the current Bungle Bungles piece I’m working on, you may remember.

earthy colours

Relatively speaking, piecing like this uses as much fabric in seams as shows on the front.  When I’m doing pieced work, I use a large variety of different fabrics in small amounts; and nothing is cut out in advance, its all cut freehand and sewn seam by seam in the technique known as ‘improvisational piecing’. The Ebb&Flow quilts in particular are assembled in this way with a lot of scrap bag diving along the way –

SCRAP BAG  Ebbs and Flows

 

 

Needing more of some fabrics including some of those little one-offs that add spice, I took a deep breath and began scrap bag diving – well, turned it all out on my table, and started sorting though, selecting things I can use, and putting most of it back into the bag.

SCRAP BAG archeology

SCRAP BAG  save all yellows

I carefully save all offcuts of every yellow, partly because although I rarely buy any yellow fabric, a touch of a yellow value here and there in every piece of art, whatever the medium, is vital, literally giving life to the work. The more valuable the fabric/colour, the smaller amount I am prepared to save…. and the smallest piece of a strong almost acid yellow I came across this morning was barely 3cm x 1cm!

SCRAP BAG  save yellow

This piece of yellow with airbrushed red and blue is gradually running out – so its very precious. I have about  3cm x 4cm left of a fat 1/4 bought years ago from Deb Lunn in Denver.

 

SCRAP BAG good grief

This morning I realised scrap  bag diving is rather like archeology, digging down though the past – and like archeology, it throws up some puzzles, of which this is one!  I don’t remember putting it together, but these are definitely my fabrics, and all sewn together by me, for sure – but why?  I certainly don’t remember anything in which this sequence appeared.  It’s a nice yellow in that striped print, though….

 

SCRAP BAG elegant snippets

I really don’t remember the work these offcuts came from – they were trimmed off after the gold stitching along each place the cream meets the print…. quite elegant, really, and I may do something more in these gentle neutrals soon. With gold stitching/quilting.

 

 

 

SCRAP BAG extra units CynthiaSCRAP BAG raided block

I often work in repeat units – and always make a few extra to get the best possible result when juggling them at the assembly stage. From ‘Cynthia’s Quilt’ top, and ‘New Directions’ below, come these ‘spares’ which have useful sized pieces – and the raiding has already begun on the lower ‘block’.  The fabric in that block terminating in the triangle/arrow head is destined for salvaging for use in the next set of strip assemblies I need to put together; I only ever had a small amount of it and I’m down to last few square centimetres…

 

SCRAP BAG one glove

And finally, much to my delight, virtually at the bottom of the heap, I found one of the pressure gloves I’ve been missing for a while, since last spring really….so then I had to tip it all out again and go through more carefully to find the other.   And sure enough, it was there.  The weather’s getting cool again, and some days now my hands are feeling a bit in need of pressure on the arthritic joints – so this find was timely and welcome!.

Bungle Bungles Series

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

What I read about the structure of what’s inside these intriguing landforms took my attention.  So, I thought another in this series would feature the layered limestone and conglomerates using fine pieced strips in beige-cream/off white tones, surrounded by a solid band of brown to signify the outer and inner colours determined by the structure.  This outer colour is due to the tiny spaces in the stone being colonised by cyanobacteria which give earthy browns and golds to the outer few millimetres, and this deepens when the rocks have been rained upon.  Inside the rock remains white and nearly white/cream tones.

The time consuming work was the piecing. so when I’d done enough, I set the shapes I’d cut into the solid colours, darker to go to the front/nearest the viewer so to speak, thinking some sense of depth might result, and in a primitive way I think that’s been successful.  You’d think I’d have been able to work out that the black and white spotted fabric for the background just is not IT, though –

Bungle Bungles 4 blogbut, having just written that I am having second thoughts…..

  • I am not sure now if I will finish this off and quilt it etc, and it might remain a sample or study for something larger.
  • Then again, I could take the shapes out and re-set them in black – and might sometime when I’ve thought more about it.
  • I’m not sure about more cream piecing – but then again,
  • I could do cream cut-out shapes with machine stitched bands on them signifying the layered structure….

However – and here’s the reminder I periodically give about the value of making samples and small studies: this leads  the creative mind onward,  and I now have in mind something, perhaps two pieces, of much larger work.  After all, the BungleBungles are massive …. so with this in mind, there’s a considerable piecing I feel I will need to do now.  So some of this b/w dots plus some b/w print of work by a prominent Aboriginal artist designer, printmaker and painter, the late Jimmy Pike  have gone into a strong bath of black tea to tone down the white:

BungleBungles tea dyed blog

Many of Jimmy Pike’s beautiful linear patterns were reproduced on commercially available fabric and used in clothing principally I think under the Desert Designs label – having been away from Aus for so long I’m not sure what’s now available now, though.

 

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: