Last week, I was fortunate to take three days of classes with modern quilter Jacquie Gering. It was a great experience, really adding to my learning. And since I went with my friend M, it was a mini vacation, since we supplemented our classroom hours with walking around the small town where the classes were held, eating nice foods, and laughing and talking in our hotel room in the evenings. When you can combine quilting and carrot cake, you know good things are going to happen!
The first day, Jacquie led a class on improv piecing, focussed on making these awesome house blocks with a mid-century modern look. This quilt was her sample.
I liked how the blocks were both extemporaneous and bounded — the improv piecing added so much fun, colour and freedom to the houses, while the black framework and solid backgrounds provided the contrast of stability that allowed the houses to pop. If the houses were on a busy background, they wouldn’t be so dramatic.
It was one of those fun classes in which everyone happily sewed away all day, with Jacquie occasionally interrupting us for a teaching moment. I enjoyed wandering around the room and seeing what had gone up on everyone else’s design walls — we started by making a couple of houses that were similar to Jacquie’s, and then people got creative and made all sorts of funky buildings.
Here are the three that I managed to finish that day — I especially like the adobe-style one on top. I’m looking forward to trying some other variations now that I’m home. I think these blocks will become a great quilt that will add a punch of colour to one of my walls!
The class contributed to my experimentation with improv piecing. At one time, I thought “improv” had to be a sort of lawless chaos. I wasn’t sure I liked that. But as I work with improv techniques, trying them in different projects, I have come to view improv as an approach that can be experimental, freeing, whimsical, and expressive. I can control the colours, shapes, or quantity of the improvisational pieces in a project, and use improv to the degree that it contributes to what I want to accomplish.