Improvising Designs #4

improv3If you keep playing with fabric shapes, you’re sure to find a use for every piece.That red leaf was just hanging around my fusing table waiting for an audition. (Sadly, it was discarded from the Acorn design a while back.) So I stuck that jolly red leaf on the roof of the house. Isn’t it jaunty?

improv4Sadly again, red was set aside for it’s younger, greener sister leaf. I guess that red was just a little to jaunty even for me.

Which leads to this tip when improvising a design: Try a variety of colors and shapes. Be willing to take a chance. Experiment. Be jaunty but know your limitations.

Improvising Designs #3

improv2Next up for this improvised design: Design triggers. See that green leaf-shaped fabric to the left of the sky fabric? Several shapes like that triggered the first elements in my design, the 4 little trees. When you cut the green shape in half you have 2 trees. Then trim those 2 trees in loopy shapes and place them on the horizon line.

improv5Here’s what the house shape looked like before I free cut it. This shape was chosen for the color and then cut to resemble a house. That purple really zings when you place it on the hill and sky. And it makes me happy. More improve tomorrow!

5 Tactics for Improvising Designs

improv1Things are moving along at a fast clip here in the studio. Once space is cleared on my Teflon covered fusing table, the improvisational art making begins. Here’s the start with fused scraps I’ve found: a light blue fabric for a sky and a lovely flowing green silk fabric for a hill.

Ah ha! I am making a landscape!

It always surprises me to discover what I’m doing. But in thinking it over, I’ve come up with a list of tactics I use when improvising. Try this at home:

  1. Look for fused fabric shapes that trigger an object. It’s like looking at clouds and seeing elephants or the face of Oprah.
  2. Look for colors that blend and find their contrasting color. Gather them around and use them as a color palette.
  3. Look for odd shapes and see how they can be used in whimsical ways. (I know you have your whimsical ways.)
  4. Keep pre-cut shapes from other projects near so you can test them as design elements. Why cut another shape when a pre-cut one will do?
  5. Be fearless! You are not recreating nature, you are playing with color and shape.

Improvisational Fun

studiotable4It is with great delight that I return to the studio. It seems like forever since I’ve been able to play and improvise with fabric. Where to begin? Why with my ton of fused fabric scraps, of course! Here you see a pile of design triggers. What will they become? Please stay tuned this week and we’ll make something together. It’s a fun, fast, fabulous, fuse along!

Last Chance for Class Sale


Pop on over to the Craftsy sale. Ending today!

Wow! I almost missed this. Today is the last chance to get up to 50% off of Craftsy Quilt classes. I’m going over to the site right now to see what I want to add to my watch list. And you may want to check it out too.


Sister Tuesday by Leslie Bolling at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I like to watch Craftsy classes when I iron, just like Sister Tuesday. This sculpture by Leslie Bolling was carved from poplar with a jack knife in 1934. Too bad she didn’t have a Craftsy class back then. Would have made ironing that wooden shirt more fun.

Guest Artists Finished Work


Maxine’s beautiful quilt.

The best part of traveling for a month straight is seeing the work of my students. Maxine was in my class at the Palmetto Quilt Guild on Hilton Head Island. Note that she quilted a 18′ square and attached the quilt to it as a frame. Great idea!

barbaraAnd Barbara designed and made this quilt in the Zen Doodle class. Every student in this class sketches a quilt design, creates a pattern from the design and makes the quilt top with fused fabrics. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your lovely work!