I didn’t have enough time this week to go through my photos of the Big Quilt Room of the Folsom Quilt and Fiber Guild show. It’s been a super busy week for me so I’ll post those photos next week.
Lucky me, I got to take an Improv Piecing class with Ellen Schmidt at Meissner’s Folsom location. It’s hard to find the time to take classes so I’m very picky about what I take.
I was excited when I saw that Ellen was going to offer an improvisational piecing class. I had purchased and enjoyed Sherri Lynn Wood’s book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, but I wanted to be in a guided classroom situation for my first improv piecing. Given that I call myself a “recovering perfectionist” it was best for me to have some help!
Ellen brought along a few small samples of some improv pieces she had done and I loved this table runner.
Her inspiration came from these two photos, and the top photo is one that is also in my inspiration folder! Ellen called the colorful scraps in the runner the “rocks” with the surrounding white fabric the “sand”.
It was a great class and I had a blast. Meissner’s keeps scraps available for students and customers to browse through for their projects. I dug into that pile and pulled out some random scraps that were interesting to me and looked like they might play well together.
She had me cut random pieces from the scraps, using a ruler for a straight edge, without parallel sides. I cut random strips 2-5″ wide from my white background fabric and sewed the “rocks” to the sand. After pressing and extending the cut to the edge of each strip, I added that piece to another strip of white. Now each “rock” was surrounded by “sand” on two sides. I forgot to take a photo of this part. Now the fun begins…
This is my first layout-I literally just slapped them up on the design wall with no thought as to order. Then we stood back and pondered what we had. I realized that I kind of had a calm corner in the lower right and little bit of chaos on the left. So why not go with that theme?
Once I established some sort of plan/order, Ellen suggested adding fabric to fill in the blank spots. This was intimidating. You have this fairly complex collection of random scraps and you have to figure out how to sew them together. Ellen does not do y-seams or inset squares-whew! She explained that you just take it one step at a time, pondering the next piecing line, figuring out if and where to add fabric.
The lower right hand corner is pieced in this photo, right as class ended. This was fun! I really did not want to stop. I can’t wait until my schedule clears so that I can complete this top.
I pondered how or whether to embellish this piece. I think I will add some simple embroidery stitches and very simple vintage buttons for texture. But first I will quilt it. How? I’m thinking about extending the piecing lines with straight stitching, resulting in a very angular quilting pattern. I will not stitch over the “rocks” as I want them to have some dimension. This may be harder than it sounds but I’m game to try it!
And I just got this lovely boot on Tuesday-lucky me! I broke my little toe on the left foot 8 weeks ago and I still could not wear shoes. Obviously I needed to check in with my doctor. He was aghast that I was putting in 14,000 steps a day. He did a bit of a forehead slap, as if to say, well girl, if you’re going to walk that much no wonder it hasn’t healed! Given that I am teaching in Chicago in early April, I knew I needed to work on this now so that I wasn’t wearing flip flops in the (possible) snow and ice!
I am fortunate that my toe does not hurt, it’s just too swollen to put a shoe on it. As I sat in the pedorthists office, waiting to be fitted, I noticed the wall of orthopedic shoes. And I realized, I need to take care of my feet or I’m going to wearing those shoes.
Oh I miss my cute shoes! I’m not a Shoe Girl, but dang, I do have some cute ones that are just gathering dust. I am going to be a Very Good Girl and wear this boot all day for the appointed time. And I am going to be so happy to wear cute shoes again!