In a recent post on Daintytime Sherri Lynn Wood wrote about how images seen daily might be translated into patchwork possibilities, and invited us to share our sketches on the Facebook page Improv Workbook for Modern Quilters.
By coincidence, around the same time I had posted here some photos from a recent walk that gave me some ideas for possible improv projects. I thought I’d use them as a starting place to explore. Usually I just start cutting and sewing, but it occurred to me that perhaps if I was aiming for a more specific result, the result would be better, and perhaps the way to get specific was to draw a picture. Thanks Sherri Lynn, for the lightbulb moment. I chose this photograph of an old apple cannery on a grey day, and made a rough sketch on my tablet. The features of this image that I wanted to emphasize are the tall, looming vertical walls, the strong diagonals of the roof line, and the way all these details occupy the lower right hand half square triangle, leaving the open sky as negative space above.
I thought the simplest way to render the corrugated sides of the building was alternating shades of the same color. I did not spend a lot of time looking for particular fabrics, but took the first few things I laid my hands on. It only occurred to me later that I could have chosen a striped fabric for that, and I may try that next time.
I freehand cut some narrow strips and stitched them into three sections, but then took each of these apart to make six taller, narrower segments of strips. I liked the look of the strip sets. Then these were sliced diagonally in a series of progressively taller trapezoids to get the perspective. I added a narrow strip of the dark color to my “sky” fabric to represent the roof line. I got stumped by how to put together the peaks of the roof line and the downward sloping roof sections, (see photo and sketch) so I changed plans and left them out. Part of my intention was to make this a quick rendering and I didn’t want to get too far down in the weeds. I tried to just sew, without worrying about whether it would be successful. I stitched some roof and sky to each of the vertical pieces, then joined them together, off-setting the roof line to get the perspective. In this step I lost some of my vertical dimension, due to my failure to accommodate the off-set in cutting. I should have started with much longer strips for the buildings, and a wider piece of sky. I was not able to achieve my goal size of 12″ square.
In the end my proportions are decidedly un-square (about 9 x 17″), but the general effect is at least on the right track…and it was a good exercise trying to replicate an image and seeing what worked and what didn’t. I actually like the resulting piece, though it is not quite what I set out to make. Here is Rendering #1.
The other day Stephie posted about When Improv Quilting Goes Wrong, and it really struck a chord. I’ll be going back to re-read her post again. I was feeling disappointed in this exercise, but I guess I could also view it as an opportunity to try again. So I will do that eventually. Linking up a little late this week with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters, and wishing you all a very pleasant day after Thanksgiving. And now, for something completely different, while the turkey carcass bubbles in the big pot, I’m off to do a “Buy Nothing Day” cyber sew-in with my Treadle Quilters group. More on that later!