I completed my first improv quilt and it holds special meaning for me. I've titled it "There Was That Year." I was inspired to create a memory quilt after reading the Colette Book Club selection for January (read more about that here). I didn't really feel drawn to the type of quilt created in the book, so I decided to use the February Challenge for Mighty Lucky Quilting Club from Lucky Spool as my opportunity to try some improvisational quilting and create the memory quilt. Although I have plenty to learn about quilting and improv, I am really happy with what came together. Keep reading to find out more about the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club and the significance (to me) of this piece, and at the end I've embed a video with further explanation.
I joined the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club this year as a way to learn various quilting skills and techniques. Season Evans did the instruction for this month's challenge on minimalist improvisation and I found it very clear and helpful. Her guidance on reducing, having a clear direction, and thinking about movement and color gave me a good understanding of the goals and how to work on them. I look forward to continuing to practice her suggestions. I also appreciate that she included helpful pictures of real life pieces to illustrate how different principles were applied.
As a new quilter, I don't know if improv quilting is easier or harder to do? I liked that I didn't feel like I had to do anything exactly right - but I also kept wondering if I was doing anything right. When I finished, I wondered if it is okay to have angled seams, or if I should have worked to keep them straight. I did the upward angled seams in that section on purpose, but then I wasn't sure afterward. I also think I could have taken a more minimal approach, but I will work on that more next time. Since I had a clear purpose for this piece, I was less concerned with minimalism and focused more on what I wanted to communicate. I did spend a good deal of time arranging and rearranging the pieces before deciding on the layout I liked best.
Having recently read the Colette Book Club January selection, in which a quilt secretly commemorates significant seasons of a woman's life, I decided to use that as my inspiration and direction for this quilt. If you know me or read this blog regularly, you know I have five children - three boys, then two girls. Between the boys and girls, I experienced four miscarriages over a thirteen months. The details and story behind all that is for another time, but the impact of that period is significant to me. So "There Was That Year" is a tribute to that experience.
I definitely want to do more improv quilting. I like the minimalist approach and would like to work on reducing the size and number of pieces and color. This is the most piecing I have done to date as far a quilting goes. I decided to stretch it over canvas so I could easily display it and because I am so inexperienced with machine quilting I didn't want to mess it up. I'm not even happy with the job I did stretching it over the canvas, so I think I will try again.