Friday, November 23, 2012

Improvisational Piecing - Trees

Improvisational piecing - making it up as I go along - is something I keep coming back to over and over again. The recent books published by Jean Wells, Rayna Gilman and Gwen Marston have reminded me of this. I realize that many of the quilts I have made using this approach, have been the ones that resonate most deeply in me. So this fall I spent sometime working on several small pieces and working improvisationally. I used a print fabric with images of trees on it as my inspiration, and grey fabrics as the perfect counterfoil for brights, and these are two of the pieces I have finished. I used Jean Wells method of facing the quilts, doing it in two parts - first the inner image, and then the second "quilt", which serves as a frame for the first.
In this close-up, you can also see that I'm choosing to add hand-stitching to these new pieces. I have always loved hand-stitching, and have noticed how I am drawn to pieces which use it for emphasis, line and added texture.
This second piece uses the same tree fabric, different colour choices, and different piecing methods, but is still made improvisationally.
Only the trees are hand-quilted in this, at least at this point. I think I might add a few lines of more visible stitching along those curves in the middle and the bright green curve at the top. The third of the three small quilts is still being hand-stitched. The finishing definitely takes longer doing it this way, but I am so pleased with the results that I think I'll be using this a lot in newer work. And there's something about working while holding your own piece in your hands, a meditative quality that goes into the making of it, that greatly appeals to me.

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