In 1992 I took my first quilt making workshop with Nancy Crow. It was on improvisational process and one of the first things Nancy said to the class was, “You don’t need a ruler to cut and sew fabric together.” This seems so obvious now but at the time it was a light bulb popping on in my head.
Step 4: Get your line on
A. Cut wedge shaped strips across the width of the rectangles you created in step 3. All your strips should be approximately the same length (equal to the width of your rectangles). Your wedges can vary in thickness according to the parameters you set earlier.
B. Don’t use a ruler and cut with intention. The cut is your signature. Be present and imagine that you are drawing. The result is your distinctive, hand-drawn line.
C. Mix all of your strips in a pile or a paper bag. Begin piecing them together with your sewing machine. Choose them quickly, intuitively and without much thought. After doing this for awhile, try choosing them blindly and randomly out of the paper bag. Compare and contrast your experience of the intuitive vs random process. Compare and contrast the results of these two approaches. Do you have a preference?
D. Don’t worry about seam edges that don’t seem to match. Pretend like they do. Line them up, right sides together and sew your 1/4″ seam anyway.
E. After sewing several wedges together to make a section, use a lot of steam and iron the hell out of it. Iron from the center out.
F. Special tip: You can control the intensity of your curves by alternating the fat and thin sides of your wedges. Create gentler curves or even straight edged sections in this way.
G. Continue to create sections from your strips according to your moods. A section is like a block but it can be any size or shape. They do not need to be consistent. Work on a section until it feels intuitively done to you. You don’t have to think about how they will all work together. In step 5, we will put all of the moody sections into place like a puzzle to create an overall composition.
Rowing the Boat:
Please post any questions you have about the process or techniques and I will respond. Share images of your process on the Mod Mood Quilt Flickr pool. Any surprises? Discoveries? Satisfactions? Dissatisfactions? If you are working on your mood quilt, give me an update!