Photo from Jacquie Gering's blog, Tallgrass Prairie Studio
Improvisational patchwork in the modern style has been a difficult technique for me to master. I think one reason is that while studying for my Fine Arts/Fiber Arts degree, we always had a solid plan before starting on a new work. This usually included sketches, snips of inspiration for colors or content, and would be a blueprint for finishing our piece. As a result, I feel like I need a solid idea and sketches before beginning to work. Improvisational patchwork, on the other hand, can be about having an idea for a finished piece (like color combinations or size of the blocks or finished piece), but the specifics of what the blocks or piece looks like are left to work out as you go. And your piece can change as you start sewing!
The class was double-plus good, and as Jacquie explained some of the techniques she used to make her own modern log cabin block quilts (like her Mod TV Quilt pictured above), and I started to really see how the technique worked. I chose to use a monochromatic palette (all colors based on one hue from the color wheel) as a continuation of my independent color study - my favorite color of course, red!
My first block was a simple wonky log cabin. The seam puckering was apparently due to the classroom machine needing a new needle - I sure missed my sewing machine at class. Funny how you get used to sewing with your one favorite machine, right?
The next block started to look too similar to the first, and Jacquie suggested adding another element so I slashed and inserted the white lines.
My last block started with a pieced center, and instead of finishing the block with white like the first two, Jacquie suggested the red! Love it!
I started to sew the three blocks together in a kind of triptych at the end of class, but still want to square it up a bit before finishing it off (kind of difficult to do in the tight space of a full sewing class). I'll share some photos of the whole thing when it's all quilted and done.
This is definitely a technique I want to do more with, I feel like I'm only just starting to get the hang of it. So, as soon as I'm caught up again with my sewing again I'll definitely be making more modern patchwork log cabin blocks!