Improv Design

Even though I am new to quilting, I completed my first quilt 2 years ago, I don’t really like to follow complicated patterns.  Combinations of colour interests me the most so I have just taught myself some techniques and then worked out a basic design as I started to put the pieces together.  This has worked reasonably well so far, but now that I have some of the basics sorted I am trying to be more considered in how I work out a design, especially since maths has never been my strong point.

One thing that troubles me is how to work out correct scale, something I have in my mind works well at a small level, but often doesn’t work well in a larger design.  When I came across an article about Gwen Marston’s book 37 sketches I immediately thought that this could be a technique to help me learn more about design.  Not long after I got word that Gwen was coming to Australia and I jumped at the chance to spend a day learning more about her techniques (especially since I could take a day off from my work!).

She really is a delight – so much energy and enthusiasm, a great sense of humour which always goes down well with Australians, and inspirational with her design approach and her skills.

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I spent the day making this small block – as usual over thinking what was meant to be an intuitive process, plus this even smaller block.

I proudly came home with them only to be confronted with “you spent the whole day making that?” by my flatmate!

Anyway a piece of Gwen’s advice stuck in my mind – which was to think of three things you want to concentrate on with each small study – it may be colour, a specific technique or improving a skill.  So I decided that I would try making a series of small pieces which I would later join into a quilt.  As one of my favourite colours is orange, and my team at work gave me a bundle of orange fabrics for Christmas, I decided that I would concentrate on a series of  small pieces with these three things in mind:

  1. reasonably limited colour palette – mostly orange/reds but some accent colours as well;
  2. log cabins as I had never tried them before; and
  3. improv/wonky technique using colour inserts.

These are the first couple of pieces – more to come.  I’m finding it takes more time than I thought, but it is a great way to force myself to be a little more intuitive, rather than analytical.

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I’ll post some photos of Gwen with some of her quilts sometime soon.

It’s beautiful autumn weather here in Sydney – around 22-24″ with bright sunny skies.  I hope your week-end is bright and sunny too!




4 thoughts on “Improv Design

  1. I could have guessed orange was a favorite color from your header! It looks like Cosmo and Pepe like it too. I love the log cabin block! It has so much potential.

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