For Sherri Lynn

Thanks for your kind and generous response to Cotton Sophisticate! That quilt was a long labor that still hasn’t quite dawned on me as a finished reality. It bridges quite nicely into today’s post and today’s newly finished quilt, though; their improvisational spirit proudly connect well to the work of my friend Sherri Lynn Wood.

We have a few tasks herein: (0) I’ll gush a little about Sherri Lynn. (1) I need to tell you about her new book. (2) I need to tell you about my brief adventure using a bit of the book. And (3) I need to tell you about my giveaway of the book.

Let’s get started!

For Sherri Lynn

(0) About the author: First of all, you need to know that Sherri Lynn is one of the most amazing folks I know. She is brilliant, gentle and kind and produces some badass patchwork of which I’m often jealous. Follow her work on her blog and you’ll be treated to the meditations of an unfailing dynamo of creativity who uses a wide variety of materials. In particular, I’m pretty sure Sherri Lynn is the best polyester patchworker out there right now! You can get the chance to dance with her and hear the lilt of her Southern accent at a retreat in July. She’ll be doing multi-day intensive workshops from the book at Quilting By the Lake in Syracuse, NY during July 24-31. Having participated in a workshop with Sherri Lynn this past autumn, I can highly recommend the experience. Go!

(1) About the book: So…ready for BIG opinions? Yeah. Sherri Lynn wrote the best book on improvisational quilting since our grand guru Gwen Marston liberated us back in 1996. Improvisation is not a technique meant to be taught, in my mind, because the result can be that everyone improvises in the the same way, sadly. But I admire the way Gwen and Sherri Lynn approach this task because they both build confidence and skills in their students and then relinquish control so that each student may express themselves freely beyond the framework they’ve provided.

Get yourself a copy of Sherri Lynn’s book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters! Just do it right now. Unlike the step-by-step pattern-based books on the market today, this is a manual for true expressive quilt art in the improv tradition. She provides ten “scores” with basic building techniques and then tells you to go off and explore the possibilities. A strength of the book is the variety of results. Several test-quilters helped build galleries of quilts illustrating how different quilters making different choices may create lovely things.

(2) About my experience: As an example, consider the score for layered curves. It’s a technique that I’d boil down as stack-and-whack with freehand curves. I tested out the process before taking my sneak peek at the Layered Curves gallery just to get a feel for it. With scraps, I stacked and whacked and practiced sewing curves to come up with this.

For Sherri Lynn

Now, if you know my work, then you know that I like to make stuff that looks like it’s been put through a Cuisinart a few times. This process, combined with my phobia of curves, was a little too slow for me, so I sped it up. Why start with fresh yardage all the time? This log cabin (see below) was veering off-course so quickly that I knew it would have to find its life in parts and pieces elsewhere. So why not do some layered curves with it?

For Sherri Lynn

For Sherri Lynn

For Sherri Lynn

Really, I had no idea where I was heading. But straight lines are still curves, of course, and they ended up contrasting dramatically well in my experiment, if I may say so myself.

A scrappy border, some quick dense quilting, and a scrappy binding tied it all together.

On Crafturday.

Binding time.

This is my favorite bit of the curves, with slivers of crescents and fun.

For Sherri Lynn

Here’s the whole quilt.

For Sherri Lynn

Were I to do this again, I’d make more of the big blocks to make it bigger and show off the piecing more. But for a quickie, it’s okay, I guess?

(3) The Giveaway: Now, as a reward for sticking with me for this long post today, we’re offering a copy of Sherri Lynn’s book as a giveaway! Just leave one comment before Monday, June 1 at noon for a chance to win. I’ll choose someone at random.

Check out the rest of the blog tour:

May 2: Sew Mama Sew – Score for Floating Squares Gallery

May 4 STC Craft – Score for Rhythmic Grid Gallery

May 4: Plaid Portico – Score for Strings Gallery

May 6: During Quiet Time – Test Quilter Amy Friend – GIVEAWAY through May 10

May 8: Wise Craft Handmade – Score for Get Your Curve On Gallery

May 11: Studio Notes – Test Quilter Penny Gold – GIVEAWAY through May 15

May 13: Quiltville – Score for Modern Block Improv Gallery and GIVEAWAY

May 15: Peppermint Pinwheels – Test Quilter Stacey Sharman – GIVEAWAY to May 22

May 18: Quirky Quilts – Test Quilter Kim McPeake – GIVEAWAY to May 25

May 20: PoppyPrintCreates – Score for Patchwork Doodle GalleryGIVEAWAY to May 23

May 22: The Last Piece – Test Quilter Sara Fielke

May 25: Cauchy Complete – Score for Layered Curves Gallery

May 26Diary of a Quilter – Score for Bias Strip Petals Gallery

May 28: Getting Stitched on the Farm –Score for Improv Round Robin Gallery

May 29: Spoonflower – Score for Showing Up Gallery

May 30Fresh Modern Quilts – Test Quilter Rossie Hutchinson

Disclaimer: I didn’t profit monetarily from this post. Of course, I don’t use any affiliate links; I bought my own copy of the book; I made the quilt from my own stash. The giveaway book, however, will be provided by the publisher.

cotton sophisticate

I’m sorry that I’ve been less talkative lately. It’s always rewarding to reflect on my work here and get the chance to interact with you, but energy for it is scarce these days.

And then there this quilt here that makes me speechless because I can’t believe it’s mine. It was a year-long labor of selfishness, a pure indulgence in everything I love to do just for the sake of doing it: improvisation, meaningful text (due to Eartha Kitt), colors, colors, colors, handquilting, and of course…cotton. It really needs to be viewed in person; the photos don’t do it justice and it begs to be fondled, draped, swaddled in, smooched under…

If you’re in the Chicago area, you can see this one on exhibit—along with 8 other quilts, some not yet revealed here!— at Tallgrass Arts in Park Forest, IL during June 19-July 25. I’ll be there for the opening on Friday, June 19 (7-10pm) and for an artist talk on the morning of Saturday, June 20.

Is it okay if I just blast out some photos? Come back on Monday for a book review, another new quilt, and a giveaway.

sophisticate

Work-in-progress.

sophisticate

sophisticated

Handquilting like crazy.

Stitching like the wind!

sophisticated

sophisticated

Thanks!
.

The Details

Materials: AMB solids; muslin on back; # 12 perle cotton
Techniques: improvisationally-pieced by machine; machine quilted by Pam Cole; hand quilted by me; hand bound
Finished size: about 72″ square (maybe wider than that? too lazy to measure)
Started: August 2014
Finished: May 2015

kiss my chocolate box

Hi folks! I’m hunkered down preparing for an exhibition of nine quilts in the Chicago area in June (more details soon!) and trying to finish up a few projects for that. Eeek! Deadlines are approaching quickly.

Meanwhile, you can read a brief interview over here at A Gathering of Stitches and consider joining me and much more interesting folks like Carolyn Friedlander and Rebecca Ringquist for a retreat in August in Maine.

And you can join me in this impulsive indulgence of a quilt I finished this past weekend (that isn’t in the show in June…it’s a procrastination quilt!). Just some super super quick improv with those flippin’ pastels and some naughty dye-bleeding handdyed scraps.

kiss my chocolate box

Here is the top chillin’ in the snow back in January. It just took a few days to slap it together.

kiss my chocolate box

I left the top to marinate in a corner while working on the contractually-obligatory ones. Until I couldn’t take the pressure anymore.

My trusty longarm quilter/partner Pam Cole pumped out some hand-guided circuitry stitches that I then echoed with chunky hand-stitching in perle cotton. This step just took two weeks total: one week on the other coast in Washington state on the machine and one week back home here helping me avoid doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

kiss my chocolate box

kiss my chocolate box

kiss my chocolate box

Sticky sweet pastels surrounded by dark cherry and chocolate browns? Yes, please!

The Details:

Materials: various commercial solids; muslin on back; #12 perle cotton
Techniques: improvisationally-pieced by machine; machine quilted; hand quilted; hand bound
Finished size: about 54″ square
Started: January 2015
Finished: May 2015

(mostly) mute monday: Bobby Does the Twist

New idea

New doodles.

Twisted

Twisted

Twisted

Twisted

twisted

twisted

The Details:

Materials: various commercial solids; muslin on back; nylon monofilament thread for quilting
Techniques: foundation-pieced by machine; machine quilted; hand bound
Finished size: about 17" square
Started : October 2014
Finished: May 2015