Birthday Books and an Improv Quilt

Recently I turned forty-nine, which was quite lovely; I spent the morning with the burrito, the afternoon with Buttercup and her folks.  My eldest is only a few weeks from motherhood, but this abuela didn’t feel aged, only pleased for adult kids who proffer babies and incredible chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream.

And fabrics!  I received all sorts of sewing-related pressies, but the best presents were two books about improvisational quilting, given by my husband.  That man, what a dear, especially when I send him links to said gifts.  One was on pre-order, the other a last-minute find.  The latter arrived on the day, while the former came yesterday.  And now I’m feeling like I can’t complete my WIP fast enough to slap more fabric on the quilt wall, then under the needle.

But first, let me note just a little about that WIP, and I don’t mean The Hawk, which I’m currently revising in the mornings.  I’m speaking of a quilt that ushered in my improv craziness, one that I wasn’t certain would even amount to more than a wall hanging.  Right now it’s looking to be baby-quilt sized, but the end result is still up in the air.  I’m thinking some borders, maybe.

I’m thinking all kinds of things since receiving two books which have broken open a whole new quilting world.  Yet, in reading Sherri Lynn Wood’s The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters, maybe this was how I started in the first place.  I didn’t use a ruler, I didn’t even know about a quarter-inch seam!  All I knew was slapping together fabrics that made me feel good, and voila, I had a comforter to stave off my dad’s chemo chills.

Alexandra Ledgerwood’s Improvising Tradition is my other food for thought; in this book, outlined quilts bristle with excitement, providing this newbie with necessary guidance.  I want to make her Nesting Squares Quilt using Wood’s no ruler mantra.  But first, I must complete my own take on improv quilting….

There’s awesome liberation in improv quilting; choosing a piece of fabric, laying it here, then moving it there, then turning a finished block upside down.  I even toyed with the notion of jumping right into Sherri Lynn Wood’s no rulers ploy within this quilt, but decided to continue squaring off scraps and blocks, not wishing it to be that wonky.

I also want to note that I came across improv quilting due to one of my fave sites, Film in the Fridge.  It was this quilt which caught my eye, and while it wasn’t featured in Wood’s book, I am in love with this score, called Floating Squares.  I’ve chosen some fabrics with which to get myself started, but this afternoon, as my husband and I watch the Giants and Angels, I’ll be sewing together my own little experiment.

This is the part of getting older that I love; discovering I’m still plenty young enough to acquire new skills.  I didn’t start noveling until I hit forty; my fifties tease with the idea of more quilts than sense!  Which, for me, isn’t all that hard to achieve, hee hee….

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