The San Diego Modern Quilt Guild hosted Sherri Lynn Wood on her recent teaching tour promoting her book,The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously. The Guild choose her “Floating Squares” score for our class. Check out other Floating Square Quilts made below:
Aside from being excited about learning another improv piecing technique, I was very interested in working with Sherri herself. The quilts made for her book interest me and I wanted to hear more about her improv approach. I also knew Sherri makes a mind, body and soul connection with her work and was energized about seeing that in person.
I had a slight advantage going into the class. While she asked us to bring a variety of colors and scraps, I knew a few people who had taken her class the weekend before and gave me the tip to pick three colors and work with those. This piece of advice allowed me to focus the scraps I brought to class and include a bigger range of choices.
I picked black, gray and fuchsia. (Yes, there was a purple shade in there. Not surprising, I know!)
As Sherri talks about in her podcast, she talks about improv, the class assignment and then begins the sewing session with a centering exercise. We then proceeded to work in silence for thirty minutes. It was somewhat liberating to not talk. You could focus on the decisions you were making instead of making and hearing from others. We worked for a bit and then conducted an analysis of our work.
We had quite a variety of color combinations and styles. The analysis in the middle of class was really helpful. It gave us a break from our machines and the opportunity to be inspired by others. After lunch, we were back at it.
Sherri is a hands-off teacher who is there for you when you need help. She shares her experiences and encourages you to make what you want/need to make. After working on the floating squares concept, I wanted to explore something else. With Sherri’s guidance and support, I played with curves a bit. You will see them on the top of my finished piece. Oh yeah. I was determined to finish something in class. And whatever was finished would be finished. Regardless of its shape, I was not going to add anything to it nor add it to my pile of unfinished objects.
Here is what I had finished by the end of class (and a picture of Sherri!):
For the Improv Quilting Challenge, I finished my piece. It will be a door hanging for my sewing room. I quilted it organically. There was no marking done. I echoed the curved piece for the top of the piece, horizontal organic lines for the center, and vertical straight and curved lines for the bottom. I used a variegated thread from Sulky.
Here is a close up of the quilting:
For the binding, I used a lovely aqua print from Cotton and Steel. Want to see it?[twocol_one][/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last][/twocol_one_last] If you get a chance, I would recommend taking a class from Sherri. Aside from her stellar improv skills, she brings an unique perspective about quilting and it definitely changed how I think of my work.