Sunlight on the Water

Linking Up with AHIQ Month 2

Earlier this month Kaja posted a suggestion for AHIQ that we should use what we had.  I accused her of spying on me, because I had already picked some fabrics for this quilt. Here follow the details.

The Back Story 

I spent a lovely ‘girls’ getaway’ weekend with my mother and some cousins at a mountain lake; a favorite childhood haunt of all three generations present. As usual I took too many photos.  I am always intrigued by reflections in water, so I may have taken more pictures of the water than of the actual surroundings. I loved the colors  pattern effects of sun and wind on the water, and decided to use these inspiration for a new improv project.DSC09586DSC09636

DSC09603      DSC09596


I pulled out a group of “watery” looking pieces that seem to live in this color palette.  IMG_0731

Along the way I found this sunshiny sheet of strips, made with some purpose in mind that now eludes me. (Yes, those are bananas on the right-hand end.)  It sat there on the sidelines; and every so often I glanced at it, but could not figure out how it fit in!


I started making blocks by stacking three or four pieces, cutting them in freehand curves and switching layers.  I made three sets of blocks in this way, each using a different range or fabrics. The first was medium range, mostly blues and greens shown below, left.IMG_0787 IMG_0789

The second and third sets were darker green/brown, and lighter blue/silver, on the right. I now had 50 blocks all rectangular, all with curving seams, and in varying sizes. I assembled the top by sewing blocks into rows of approximately equal length; then splicing rows together, by overlapping them, cutting and stitching together along gently curving lines. And toward the bottom, on a sudden impulse, I added in three narrow inserts of the sunshiny strip piecing. It seemed to be a good transition to the golds and browns towards the bottom. And thus, I used what I had!  IMG_0795

I didn’t notice the little hopping frog until after I had taken the photo, but he looks right in his element, don’t you think?


As I prepared this post, I went searching for photos among the tens of thousands of pictures I have stored on my computer in the past four or five years. After looking at a number of images that were not just what I was looking for, I realized that I’ve been following a similar process with my improvisation for quite awhile now.  Is this my style? I’m not satisfied. Except for the lower right, they are all in the UFO bag being neglected. The falling leaves was lucky enough to be hand colored, quilted and hung in the kitchen.

IMG_1889 - Version 2 IMG_4645 IMG_2345 IMG_1984 See the similarity?  I have a vision when I start out, and I work in much the same way in all these pieces, joining, slicing, re-combining, and so on. I’m going to have to think about what it is I am going for. I do like the way this month’s effort turned out, however, and I will proceed with quilting in hopes that it becomes something I am really proud of. And for next month, I’m hoping I can make myself do something a little different! Just being aware of the group of you spurs me on.


19 thoughts on “Sunlight on the Water

  1. I take lots of photos of water too but have never gone beyond that so this was very interesting to follow. I like your end result a lot – you are good at capturing the essence of a landscape. I made a lot of quilts that I think were in a recognisable style (which I like, so that’s okay) but recently I have been challenging myself to try new things. For instance I am trying to limit myself to just a few shapes, or to use colours I wouldn’t normally start with.

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  2. Besides liking the lower right,I really like the lower left. The contrasts appeal to me as well as the shapes (and the near color pieces that make up the shapes). It is fun to review works and see process patterns and make decisions from there.

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  3. So much to think about in this post, Sue. I really enjoyed reading your process on this quilt and was delighted to see we got rid of our discarded UFOs the same way – cross cutting the strip set. It adds the perfect punch of sparkle in these skinny cuts.
    And you’re figuring out how you work. Such an insight. I can’t always figure myself out. Must pull some quilts and discards to see.
    I notice you made an interleave top. Mel led a class at our guild on that recently. (Peace, Love and Happiness! blog.) I wonder if you know her or “fine minds think alike”?
    Thanks for linking such a thought-provoking post with AHIQ.

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  4. Yes, it does take awhile to figure out your style so just keep making pieces! Over the last 5 – 8 years I have figured out how I like to work and found a way to work that still gives me opportunities for further exploration. This is helpful when I am under a deadline and I don’t have to think to much! Your comment on my blog was a no-reply so darning socks – well, I don’t do anything fancy except start in the middle of the hole and close that up, then work a whip stitch one way and then back to the other side of the hole. I keep my knot on the outside of the sock. The quilts I posted on Tuesday, well they are part of a series that I have been working on which is influence by professional bicycle racing. The bit of yellow is for the color the general classification leader wears in the Tour de France.

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  5. I’ve come back a few times to look at your quilt….I especially like the first set of blocks in blues/greens. Each one is a different scene; I can’t stop looking at them. Maybe because I like water and reflections on water too!

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  6. I really appreciate all the thoughtful comments! It’s important to me to be in a community of people engaged in these ways. This gets me energized, and I’ve already re-started another project that has been languishing. More later!

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  7. Thank you for your comment on my blog post! You’re coming up as no-reply blogger, and I cannot find an email address at your site (do I overlook it?) so I’m leaving another message here for you… I agree with you completely about improv. The way you describe it would mean that most of my quilts could fall under the improv banner, even if many would not think that, looking at them. I love working without pattern or preconceived plan, or at least to feel free to change my plan while working on a project. Lovely to have found you through the AHIQ linkup!

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  8. I love your photos of the reflection on the water, and I think you captured reflections beautifully in your piecing. As for style, I think it’s fine to explore a particular way of designing over time. It’s interesting, though, that you finished the lower right one, but not the others. To me, the difference is that that one has more movement, maybe, in color, lines (diagonals vs horizontal and vertical) and forms (rectangles, and rounded shapes). Perhaps that is what led you to finish it. Or maybe I’m full of beans. Anyway, I like all of your work.


  9. I really like your approach and writing style. I will be getting your posts by email to see what you are doing next. I think we work in very similar styles, except doing abstracts is a smaller part of what I do. The pieces in progress are very similar to work I have been making but not showing on my blog. The piece near the bottom, resembles islands in mist to me, very nice. LeeAnna at not afraid of color


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