Yet More Improv

And sometimes it’s comedy improv, especially when an errant breeze blows all the carefully arranged bits off my design wall.

What am I cobbling together this time? On our 4,700 mile car trip to Montana and back, I did big stitch embroidery on a wide variety of fabric pieces I had fused to interfacing. My notion was to sew them all together, unite them with connecting hand stitching, and turn out lovely small quilts. I was inspired by Linda McLaughlin’s weekly leaf series.

That didn’t happen. I found to my dismay that trying to achieve any sort of serendipitous harmony among wildly disparate fabrics is impossible. Linda’s leaves have a common theme and colors and her embroidery is way better than mine.

So I grouped my embroidered bits according to how well they seemed to play together.  So far I’ve come up with three possibilities. Two are well underway.

arcs in progressIn Arcs I’m trying to echo and extend the curves I embroidered on four small pieces. I couched on decorative yarns, and may add more. I’m also considering beading this one, and/or adding more color with paint or paintstiks. In person this piece doesn’t have as much value contrast as the photo shows.

In Grasses, made with the same fabric set, I couched on rat tail cord, and I plan to add more embroidery to give the impression of tall grasses. That line of French knots will be extended as well.

grasses in progressThe last group with any promise is made up of pieces of silk screened and stamped fabric I quartered and embroidered. I started playing with strips of that Radiant fabric I love. I may try for a jagged edge and either stencil or embroider larger snowflakes across the pieces.

snowflakes ideaMind you, none of this is fixed in stone. As always I reserve the right to change my mind. And that’s what I love about improv work.

 

9 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, In Process

9 responses to “Yet More Improv

  1. I think they will all be great – I really love how unpredictable they are. That makes them so visually rewarding. I know I would find something new to notice every time I looked at them, if they were hanging on my wall.

    • Unpredictable, indeed. Certainly when I’m making them. It’s been hard to me to learn to hold onto a big idea while at the same time making on the spot adjustments as little ideas come along. Either I retain total control or I devolve into chaos. Oh, but then you like Chaos (insert smiley face.)

  2. Grasses is the one that really speaks to me but they all look like fun exercises.

  3. I like the top one best, perhaps only because it’s more complete-looking than the other two.

    Question: I’m considering adding big stitching/embroidery to my Branching Out quilt, to fill in more lines. Do you think it would be okay to do that NOT going through the back?

    • The first two have already changed as I added more hand stitching. I have no idea if they’ll turn into something worthwhile. As to adding hand stitching without penetrating the quilt back, I assume you’ve already machine quilted or plan to and want decorative handwork. The only caveat I can think of is you’ll need to decide whether to just go through the top layer of fabric or also catch some of the batting. The look will be different so you’ll need to be consistent. If you go through just the top layer the stitches will be more on the surface. If you catch the batting the stitches will sink in more.

      • Thanks. It is quilted but doesn’t have the look I was hoping for. I thought maybe the hand-stitching would move it in that direction. I think I would go through batting, but I wouldn’t want to go through the back as it would only look messy, not skilled. 🙂

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