When Worlds Collide – AHIQ Linkup

I haven’t had any quilts to share for awhile, but that does not mean I have been idle in that area.  Just head down and working. I’ve been trying to limit my online time a bit…it is very time consuming and I’d often much rather be making something or doing something else my life might need at the moment – keeping my house decent, cooking, visiting friends, getting out of doors for some exercise.

But I have recently joined a local art quilt group and am trying to respond to two challenges from them. The first challenge has a longer deadline (next fall) and is to do something using only black and white and one color. I’m still rummaging my stash for fabrics and trying to decide on JUST ONE COLOR, which as you might imagine is a challenge in itself, for me. I’m trusting that the answer will come eventually from my night shift workers (those chatty little beings inside my head). Meanwhile, for the more immediate deadline at the end of July, I was to make an abstract quilt. The only constraint is that it could be no more than 24″ high.

I started out sort of channeling Kathleen Loomis who blogs at Art With a Needle. I have seen some of her work in person and find her reportage from the ART side very thought provoking. I really like the work she does with striped fabrics. I have quite a large bin of stripes and love to use them. I also am drawn to her extremely detailed piecing.

IMG_2430I chose a bunch of stripes that looked interesting together (to my eye) and began by cross cutting them into 3/4″ strips. And yes, I used my ruler for this, because I wanted to preserve the effect of the fine line piecing, and I wanted the stripes to run at right angles to the seams.


Then, I sewed four strip sets. The first two were very similar, except that I removed most of the cool colors from the second one.The third had more cool and less warm. And then I made a set of mostly different fabrics, using similar hues, but in darker shades.

Then I cross cut the strip sets into roughly equal rectangles and began assembling them together with some strips cut from the remains of a precut jelly-roll of Caryl Bryer Fallert Gradations solids. As I did this, I began to realize I was doing something like the Rythmic Grid score in the Improv Handbook. Kathleen Loomis meets Sherri Lynn Wood on my design wall. And thus did worlds collide. I cropped it on a diagonal and did some pretty minimal quilting, free-form with variegated thread (what else?). I will also mention that this quilt was entirely pieced and quilted on a 1911 Singer 66-1 Treadle machine, situated in front of a window with an awesome view of the roses in my front yard.

Here it is, all done.

My Favorite Color

My Favorite Color

24″ x 24″

June, 2016

I contend that this was an improv quilt, in spite of my use of rulers. Some people seem to consider it “improv” only if it is “wonky”. That’s been a hot topic discussion in some other places I hang out. In my view, improvisation is working with whatever tools are at hand to create something unique (as opposed to working from a pattern). I do not consider planning and straight lines and even measurement antithetical to improvisation. What do you think?

But, will my group hang it in the next show? Is it art? That’s another discussion entirely.

Linking up with AHIQ.





15 thoughts on “When Worlds Collide – AHIQ Linkup

  1. You will not be surprised to hear/read that I agree with your qualifications on defining improv. LOL.
    Is it art? Well. It as focus. Eye drawn to red. It balance unity and variety–unity in basic grid and stripe , variety in those few stripe sets of solids. Does the eye move around the whole? I can’t answer that well because that is where I always fall down. I think the strong diagonals both ways help the movement–but one direction is stronger than the other, so again, variety. I vote for art.


    • Thanks, Claire. I shared it at my group meeting today. One person commented to me “Sue, you have cut the striped fabrics up so small that we can’t even TELL they are stripes.” Her tone suggested that was problematic. I said, “Exactly!”. Several other people really liked it and wanted to know all about it. So, I guess it’s that ‘eye of the beholder’ thing. It will be included in a show by and by! My first show!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The diagonals give movement, but also do the segmenting of colors. With the strong warm colors in the upper right, and the very cool purples and blues in the lower right, as well as the placement of the striping colors and patterns, it *almost* gives gradation, which gives movement.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You’ve probably seen my comments on this before, but I give a hearty NO, improv doesn’t require wonky. It is a method of creation that doesn’t depend on the tools. Great improvisors already KNOW what they want to say/sing/play/create, in general form anyway. But they can say it in a way that can take us — and them — by surprise. And it is in the surprise that art happens.

    wow a little philosophical here. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your work. It reminds me much more of Loomis than of Wood. I admire work from both of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you…..improv work doesn’t depend upon which tools you do or don’t use. Most of my improv work includes both. I can only go so far with the non-ruler technique and then I need to square things up. I don’t believe my work suffers for it at all. Ultimately, we need to please ourselves – both in the final result AND in the process.

    As always – I enjoy watching you create! And, I think I need to start adding stripes to my stash.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I too agree that you can use a ruler in improv work – otherwise you are just limiting your options when improv, for me, is about exactly the opposite. Sometimes rulers slow you down and cramp creativity, sometimes straight lines are just what a piece needs. This is amazing! Such an interesting way to work with striped fabrics and I like how the sashing and the few blocks with bigger stripes hold everything together. Thanks for linking up with AHIQ.


    • Thanks for providing the linkup! I have found that I feel vaguely guilty when I don’t have a contribution.


  5. I agree with you re: improv. The idea of improv is improvising, using what you have. Ruler or no ruler, it’s just another tool. I happen to use both ruler and rotary cutter and/or scissors, just depending on the effect I want. I don’t see why one couldn’t use whatever tool suits the project.

    I really like your quilt! And yes, I would definitely consider it art. It’s wonderful! And I love how you played with not only the stripes, but the colors as well. And that is my favorite color too – all of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Personally, I think focusing on labels detracts from the enormous beauty and impact of the work. I love it, and I don’t care what you call it or the name of the category or the technique. I enjoy looking at it, period. Beautiful, simply beautiful.


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