I spend more time than I’d like to filing tax returns, dealing with contracts, printing out shipping labels and such but then there are the days that I get to make a quilt like Improv. I had so much fun making this quilt. I exhale so completely when I get to make an improvisational quilt. They are forgiving and flexible. I get to decide on the fly which scraps I’m going to throw in there and I feel as though I really get to explore without having to plan out every design move.
Some of the quilts in Quilts Made Modern, such as Roundabout in the preceding post, require focus and precision. This is just the opposite. The only thing I had in mind when I was making it was that I wanted those little pieces of yellow to be surrounded by other fabrics so they’d look like little windows of light in the finished quilt. I also wanted to be pretty fearless with the fabric mixing. Plaids next to florals, Civil War reproduction fabrics with splashier modern prints, nothing was off limits as long as it was the right palette. To tell you the truth, I had planned on making the blocks chunkier, but I just couldn’t stop slicing and dicing. Some of the pieces are just slivers because I just loved the fabric layering that was happening. If you make Improv, you can make it as finely textured or as chunky as you like, but I will warn you that you will get lost in this piecing method. Your right brain fully engaged, you’ll be in the Zone and you’ll be tempted to tell your family to eat dinner without you because you’re in Piecing Heaven.
And then there’s the photo. The above photo was my choice for the cover. C&T felt otherwise and I love their choice too. But there are so many things I love about this photo. Our photographer, Jim White, spent a good couple of hours shooting and reshooting this quilt. The challenge of lighting that chair, brought back from Italy by its owner, so you could see all of the detail was not for amateurs. Mostly I love the design adjacencies in the photo. The owner of the loft where this was shot had spotted a huge, old metal plate with a wonderful patina on the loading dock of the building. It’s the kind of plate that they use to temporarily cover up a section of a street when it’s under construction. Being an artist, he had it cut up and made into a fireplace surround that looks so clean and modern. So you’ve got the graphic metal plate fireplace surround with the intricately carved Italian chair and a modern version of the Crazy Quilt. As American as apple pie.