Yikes! Instagram has a lot to answer for! After reading a post by Shannon of @shannonfraserdesigns I decided to join in with the 30 Day Improv QAL. Shannon along with Amanda of @broadclothstudio are hosting the QAL and providing weekly prompts (via email), ideas and short videos. If you ‘do’ Instagram then follow #30DaysimprovQAL to see the numerous ways the prompts are being interpreted.
Ah! Interpretation! That’s the rub for me! Improv patchwork is way outside of my comfort zone: no pattern, no cutting instructions and lots of room for interpretation 😱
Anyways, I followed the advice given, chose five fabrics and cut each piece into quarters, one quarter for each week of the QAL. I decided to set aside 20-30 minutes every morning to act on the prompts.
And here’s the photo record of my first week of improv (I’ve copied the daily prompts in red).
- Monday – keep it simple by just exploring cutting and piecing your strips. See how alternating the direction you piece your strips in helps limit (or exaggerates) the wonk.
- Tuesday – play with scale and see how piecing skinny strips feels different to super wide strips and how it can add complex detail to your block.
- Wednesday – lean into the wonk by combining your free hand cutting while piecing your strips all in the same direction. See how much ‘wonk’ you can build into your piece!
- Thursday – pull out that rotary cutter and give your strip sets a fun slice and sew it back together. Then dice it up again!
- Friday – incorporate some negative space in your block composition to see what effect that has on your stripe motifs (this is a great opportunity to put your trimmings from earlier in the week to good use!).
I hoped throwing in some negative space fabric would create improv blocks. I quickly realised that’s not how it works! I decided to try ‘interpreting’ traditional patchwork blocks.
The top two blocks are based on the ‘Blocks In A Box’ block. The block on the bottom left is based on a Four Patch and the one bottom right… Well! That one got made and then chopped and stitched some more and I have no idea what it might be based on! This all took me at least 1½hours – way more time than the 20-30 minutes of the previous four days.
End of Week 1 Conclusion: The short version – I really have no idea what I’m doing or what Improv Patchwork is! The longer version – I think the two blocks on the bottom row provide some sort of exploration of ‘stripes’. From a practical point of view I realise I cut my fabric strips way too narrow. My blocks are a mass of bulky seams that will be a nightmare to quilt! Maybe I didn’t need to use all five of my fabrics? Maybe choosing multi-print fabrics is going to make this QAL quite problematic?
I’ll be glad to have the weekend off from improv! Hoping to return to the challenges of Week 2 in a positive frame of mind!