The second class with Rayna Gillman at Quilt Wyoming was also a lot of fun. It was described in this way:
Hate paper piecing? This modern way to use a paper foundation has no lines to follow, no precision required, and barely any paper to rip off. Improvise a modern crazy quilt or free-form square-in-square with this method and don’t worry about perfection.
I love that last phrase; I certainly don’t sew with perfection, but I do love paper piecing. Still, what I wanted to learn was how to improvise when sewing blocks. This was the perfect class not only to learn about it, but to take the plunge, so to speak. In my case, I had purchased the books long before, but had never gotten started. I needed the right setting and support to get started, and this was it.
Rayna started by showing us many of her experimental blocks. She’s always asking herself, “What if…” and the result is literally chopping blocks in half, adding strips, turning fabrics different directions, adding a piece of a previous block, literally anything your mind can conceive.
You can begin with a teeny, tiny rectangle of fabrics, sewn together in an interesting way. I was amazed to see all the tiny bits of fabrics Rayna had used in this tiny example.
Here is a pretty example from another student.
I made these blocks, but something didn’t seem right yet.
Rayna had taught us to look at the blocks in monotones, in order to see if there’s enough value differentiation. As you can see below, I did not have enough contrast.
I kept trying, though, seeking help from the teacher, and adding more black and white fabrics for contrast. I ended up with the block you see below (upper left corner). I was ecstatic! Finally a block I loved!
When seen in monotone, you can see that the upper left block does show more contrast; that’s why it “pops” more than the others, and is more appealing to the eye.
I have much more to show you about this project in future posts, because I came home and made several more blocks that I love. I made them out of the previous, rejected blocks — by chopping them up into tiny pieces and sewing them together with contrasting fabrics. I’m very pleased with the results, but it isn’t quilted yet, so you’ll have to wait a little.
While in the class, I progressed with each block (from top to bottom); I was learning and improving along the way. You can clearly see this below. Each one gets a little better, as I learn to experiment and keep values in mind. Thank you Rayna!