A New Start

I have been absent from this place for quite some time. Our holiday season was fun, and full of food and family get-togethers, and somewhat hectic, what with one thing and another, and there hasn’t been much time to spend in the “new” sewing room let alone to write about it. Finally on Boxing Day, we had the time and some chilly but sunny weather favorable for one of our hikes, so we went out to Pt. Reyes and walked the path along Abbott’s Lagoon to the shore. Here is a photo that I took that day, which I decided to use for inspiration for an improv piece, knowing that the AHIQ linkup was coming. I have enjoyed being part of that, and want to keep my hand in.


I chose fabrics fairly quickly; that’s always the easy part for me. Then I cut up the photo in a grid shape, as a tool for deciding on the proportions of the colors, and hopefully to give me some ideas about how to compose the piece. abbots-process-2

I liked the resultant collage a lot! For my first attempt at a composition I tried making one large square block, free-pieced. I thought I might make a series of these and then put them together somehow. img_3235It is a nice looking block that I might use for something else some day, but it was way too literal for my improvisational purposes. Next I thought maybe I would riff on a traditional block and put together a more geometric, abstract rendition. I made four large-ish dissappearing nine-patches and cut them up. img_3234

I like these too, but they were not going in the direction I wanted to go. Finally I just started cutting up strips and putting them together, plus some wider bands of piecing. This was more what I was going for, an abstraction of the image of the lagoon, but using the colors from the photo, in approximately the same proportions. I’m fairly pleased with this result…and now I am pondering where to take it next.

img_3273Better late than never, linking up with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters.

Happy New Year everybody!


20 thoughts on “A New Start

  1. I’ve been to Point Reyes years ago, brings back salty memories, especially the tidal area in your photo. Love the color range with quite a few brights. The choices seem endless, guess you have to work until your,gut tells,you it’s right. Part of it is to convey the feeling, which you seem to have done well. Nice to meet you, Sue.


  2. Loved seeing the stages of the evolution of your design! I too usually start out more realistically than I want to end up, and it takes quite a few stages to get beyond it.


  3. What I love about this post is that you’ve showed your thought process through an improvisational work. This provides insight into the effort required. “Off the top of your head” may or may not be your best version. Sometimes it’s just a warmup to get started.
    Your first one is more a typical art quilts and most of us would have been happy to stop there. Very nice but you had so much more depth when you dug #3 from your subconscious.
    The plan to use colors in proportion to the photo works well. A good idea to remember when we want to recreate a scene.
    Thanks for linking with AHIQ. These are the kind of posts we all love to read.


    • Thanks, Ann. While I have not been blogging, or even sewing much during the holidays, I was doing a lot of reading. I plan to write about some of the reading eventually, but the suggestion about assigning proportions of colors came from Jean Wells’ book Intuitive Color and Design: Adventures in Art Quilting. Come to think of it, the piecing in mine is reminiscent of hers as well, but I did find that really studying the photo and trying to pick out all the colors and how much of each was an interesting way to work. I will use this method again.


  4. I like your inspiration photo a lot – great colours – and the idea of cutting it up to play with ideas and look at colour proportions is very clever. I really enjoyed following your process – both the first two ideas you tried looked promising but then I saw the third piece and thought ‘oh yes!’


    • Thanks, I like to read posts where people share their deliberations with us. Every one I read gives me a new idea. It’s such fun to be able to communicate with so many different people with so many different ideas!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your process, Sue. Really like your third attempt. I too love the progression – it’s like a little glimpse into your creative mind. 🙂 I really need to get myself organized and participate in AHIQ. I follow everyone’s work – I have no excuse.


    • Yes, our California coast is full of many wonders! I feel so lucky to be within an hour’s drive of such places. Very inspiring.


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