Each month on The Quilt Engineer blog we’ll explore quilt designs within a certain theme. I so often get overwhelmed with the designs that float around in my head that I figured if I picked a theme for the month that I could stay more focused. I know I’ll still keep wanting to skip ahead a month or so but, I’m determined to stay focused on the theme. Occasion will warrant that I go off theme every once in a while but, I’ll try to stay as focused as I can within the theme of the month.
The theme for the first month will be “Measured Improv”. (Check out the first “Measured Improv” quilt posted yesterday called “The Big Log”) I’m sure some of you are thinking what does “Measured Improv” mean? Well, in light of my finally accepting and coming to terms with the fact that my innate design style is very deliberate, calculated and planned, I’ve challenged myself to look at Improvisational (Improv) Piecing and Quilting in a new light. Instead of trying to fit into someone else’s definition of Improv, I’ve decided to make Improv my own. When I was thinking about what my style of Improv would be for some reason, the term “Measured Improv” popped into my head and it kinda stuck. I think that it perfectly describes my Improv style. This is how I define it:
Measured Improv \ˈmezh-ərd ˈim-ˌpräv\- allowing for improvisation within specified constraints or parameters
Those parameters can be anything that you decide. For me, I might measure, I might use rulers for straight lines. I might have one consistent element, such as the same width strip as you saw in The Big Log that was posted yesterday. But, what I wont do is have all of the components of the quilt planned out before I even cut into the fabric. I’ll have a general idea of the desired outcome but, I’ll constantly be making decisions along the way that will affect the finer points of the quilt.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the biggest difference between my standard “follow a specific pattern/plan quilting” is that when I’m using the “Measured Improv” process for piecing and quilting is that I allow myself to relax, trust the process, and I flow more. This has been rewarding so far but, I have found out that for me the process of Improv is much more time consuming than a planned deliberate quilt. Instead of following a specific design, you have to cut, sew, iron, make a decision, and then repeat. Sometime the “make a decision” step takes a lot longer than I anticipate.
Anyhow, so far it’s been fun and I’m liking the results. I posted the first “Measured Improv” quilt this yesterday - The Big Log . . . Here’s a sneak peak at something else you’ll see later in the month:
So, what’s your “Improv” quilting style? Comment and let me know.
Back to quilting!