Thank Goodness It’s Finished!
I belong to an art quilt group at a local quilt shop that meets monthly to learn about an assortment of techniques and to get ideas about how to use them in quilting. Often, I end up with some small pieces of fabric that have been painted or stitched or had flowers pounded into them or something–and then I don’t have a plan for using them. Sometimes, a project pops into my head and I whip up something small and feel really good about myself.
Other times, I just kind of forget about things until they resurface when I clean.
Last month, we played around with some simple improvisational piecing. I’ve been working a lot with improv lately, so I just kind of dialed it in and made six little blue and orange rectangles. Right after I finished, there was an unfortunate incident with my old tomato pincushion and a glass of wine, so I grabbed one of the rectangles and threw together a quick and functional rectangular pincushion. Then I promptly forgot about the other five pieces until our next meeting, when I decided I’d better do SOMETHING.
I got to thinking about the rule of improv comedy where participants aren’t supposed to reject an idea that’s thrown at them, but instead accept and expand upon the idea. The concept is known as “Yes, and…”. So I decided that rather than just put together a mini quilt exclusively from the five pieces, I should expand upon them and mix them up with some other ideas I’d wanted to try.
The way I laid out the rectangles on my table made me think of a flower, so I grabbed some tracing paper, put it on top of a rectangle, and drew a petal. Using that petal as a reference for consistent (but not identical) size and shape, I drew four more. I took a piece of linen blend that I had no plans for and arranged the petals, then used an embroidery transfer pen to mark the petals on the background fabric. I thought it would be fun to try reverse applique for the first time…so that’s what I did.
After that, I drew a center for the flower, plus a stem and leaves, directly on the fabric and used scraps for the reverse applique. I thought I needed a word on the quilt, I used Adobe Illustrator to draw the word GROW into the shape of a flowerpot. I reverse appliqued the top of the pot, but I just fused the letters and satin-stitched the rest of it.
The Finish Line!
I used my walking foot and monofilament thread to quilt it, then finished the binding by hand. Voila! A finished banner to celebrate the arrival of spring (finally!) and to remind me to GROW by continuing to try new techniques and mix them up to my heart’s content.