Pattern or Improv?
This quilt was made over a year ago, as a special gift. Looking through my old photos I realized I hadn't shared it, and as it applies to my thoughts today, I'd thought I'd include it here. (btw, I think of this quilt as improv, although the feathers are made with a pattern)
My thoughts have been... should I make improv quilts? or pattern quilts?
Now, you can say, 'make whatever you feel like!' and of course that's true. But the reason I'm pondering it is that for me it's a deeper question.
Improv quilts, which I think of as a quilt that doesn't follow any pattern or traditional block layout, take extra mental energy for me. If I followed my first impulse when planning a quilt, I would choose a pattern. (This may have a little bit to do with my stage in life which includes four young kids and quilting needs to be therapy!) Improv work takes energy out of me, it's draining.
The quilts in which I follow a pattern or use traditional blocks I find relaxing. It doesn't feel risky because I usually like the finished product. There are limitless options to customize and make these quilts feel original, even if they have been made so many times.
So why do I even consider quilting improvisationally? Why am I asking myself this question? I've thought of it often in the past, but the passing of Gwen Marston (this deserves it's own post...) brought it to the forefront. The fact is, when I look back on past quilts, the ones I feel the most proud of are the improv quilts. The ones that I took the risk on, that don't look at all like any one else's...
So realistically I'll continue to do a combination of improv and pattern following, but I think I want to push myself to step outside my box more often. I've made a few improv quilt tops lately which I'll hopefully show you soon!