Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slash Pillow

One of the three sections of Improvising Tradition focuses on teaching Slice and Insert, a fun improvisational technique with many possible variations.  This Slash Pillow is a very simple project and a great way to try out the technique, especially if it is new to you. I used two colors of Essex linen and a bright accent color for a narrow binding. 
photo by Joe Hancock
I played around with the layout slightly in this variation I made recently for a school fundraiser.  I skipped the binding in favor of a quick envelope closure, and I practiced a fun, pointy free motion design.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Strip Set Pillow

In an interview with Angela Pingel recently, I was asked what my favorite improv spin on a traditional "base" block would be.  I didn't have to ponder long before answering: the strip set.  It's no secret that I love sewing improv strip sets.  Some of my favorite, recent quilts made from strip sets are The Therapist and Partly Cloudy, but looking into the archives I found some good ones too like the Trellis Quilt and the Atomic Quilt.  Strip sets are just so simple to sew and so versatile to use! (It is probably no surprise that there are several quilts made from strips sets in my book, Improvising Tradition.)
I had the idea to experiment with strip sets further by combining strip sets of various widths, using value to create secondary designs.  I followed the sensible path of trying out my idea on a small scale to create this 24" pillow. 
The strip sets vary in width, decreasing from the center out.  I used monochromatic sets in two different values to achieve a high contrast, which made the plus stand out.  I really like the design, and I would like to make a full quilt version.  That means a lot of strip sets!  Good thing I find them relaxing and fun to sew (and an excellent use for scraps!).
I quilted the top free motion, trying out a new design called the Lilypad from Christine Cameli's newest book Step-by-Step Free Motion Quilting.  This book is such a great reference for quilters.  I have lots of new designs to practice.