Friday, April 22, 2011

One Step Closer to UnRuly

I finally did it. I ditched the rulers and am making a quilt using only my scissors and rotary cutter (and sewing machine and thread and fabric - did I need to add that?). Woohoo getting more UnRuly all the time. At first I admit it was scary. But now?

Love, love, love it. Very freeing.

There are other quilts and backings and bindings class write-ups that I should be doing. For a few weeks there I froze. Couldn't figure out which one to do, struggled, didn't have enthusiasm for any of them. And as a result did nothing.

Finally broke myself free from the stagnation by rebelling.

I've been wanting to go ruler-free for awhile, but haven't had the courage. Okay, I tried it once on a very small One Patch Quilt - and I even hand-pieced that one. But I didn't push any further.

(Yes, I am a hypocrite. I'm always trying to convince quilters to get liberated, to try the UnRuly Letters and get wonky, and yet here I am trapped inside a box as well. Maybe a bigger box than some folks, but a box all the same.)

You know how I love Anna Williams. I read that first article about her in 1997 and there was a photo of her working with scissors. That was the first time I ever heard of a quilter working that way. I wasn't even tempted to try it back then - waaaay more than I could handle.

I finished this quilt top last spring: Love Anna Williams Style (aka LAWS) inspired by one of Anna's quilts.

but is it truly Anna Williams-style? sigh. Not completely. I used my rulers. I wanted straight lines to sew with, even though I wasn't measuring.

But this time? I'm going all the way, baby! or at least, getting closer...

Okay, I'm still using a rotary cutter, cuz I like it and it's fast, but no rulers, no perfectly straight edges. um, well, that is.. okay I'm not cutting any NEW strips but I am using old strips that were cut perfectly straight. c'mon. I've got lots and lots and lots of fabric already cut. I gotta use it! That's all the solids, hand-dyes and Cherrywoods. Of course I have to wrestle them away from Lily first.

I'm also using shirts. I've got lots and lots of them and for the most part they're not already cut into strips.

I did quite a few joins where I laid two pieces of fabric right-sides up and then cut through them both, with a gentle curve or two, so that they'd match up. That's not how Anna would do it, I'm sure. But it was  a place for me to start where I felt comfortable. I suspect I'm still straightening out too many edges, but I am getting looser as I go along. Baby Steps.

This love block in particular was inspired by Nifty Quilts. She's working on a quilt with 52 virtues (you're all invited to play along and make your own Virtues Quilt.

But Anna and Nifty are not my only inspirations.

The talented Victoria (who blogs as Bumble Beans) made an incredible ruler-free quilt back in 2009. I've learned so much from reading the WaveRunner Tutorial even though it's taken me way too long to try some of the techniques. She shows cutting and sewing wavy UNMATCHED strips (ie, those gentle curves don't curve the same say) and then steam ironing the heck out of them.

It looks so much scarier than it is. Really and truly. In fact, it is way fun. Great place to dip your toes in...

Another fabulous quilter I admire is Sujata of The Root Connection. Last year she made a wonderful quilt with, as she calls them, "bubbles and bumps." Using only scissors, she added and subtracted fabric to create this quilt, very intentionally letting the fabric speak to her and not worrying about flatness. Whee!

But the last straw that finally pushed me over the edge into madness freehand cutting? I discovered Sherri Lynn Wood's blog Daintytime. Whee, another kindred spirit. I've read her whole blog and it pushed me into action. I highly recommend her Mod Mood Quilt Along and in particular the posts about cutting fabric without a ruler, sewing together the puzzle pieces, and curve piecing.

Additionally, I love her Passage Quilting (insert little trademark symbol here) in which she sews (and teaches others to sew) together meaningful clothing items. Very moving. And wow, daring. She goes much farther than just using cottons. (Anything but leather? Wow, that is adventurous.) She has a Mini Passage Quilt Tutorial and it is wonderful. It really inspired me to use the curves of the shirts, instead of just hacking them into straight strips and squares.

So are you all inspired to try freehand cutting and piecing too? 

That is enough for one post. Gotta get ready to watch Fringe... Too bad we're not going to get any more of Anna Torv channeling Leonard Nimoy. She did it fantastically.

Later, gators!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm Still Here

Once again I have neglected my blog and am now so far behind I barely know where to begin posting. aagh. I want to write a thoughtful post about the project I am currently working on, but if I do that, I'll never get this written. So here's a hint of what I'm working on:

No, everything up on my design board does not go together. These are Mary C's Hallowistmas blocks

I love the jolly Christmas house set among the black and white tombstones and spooky mansions in particular. I also received a set of Hallowistmas Bordertown Houses from Julie. I fully intended to have fun making these houses but have to admit I haven't been able to get into the swing of it. ugh. So I'm going to push the deadline on that one for all of us. It will be easier to make these the closer we get to the holidays.

Speaking of which, wheeee more Bah Humbugness. I do believe I have all of the blocks now. These fabulous ones came in from Cherie, Marge and Amy.

I haven't laid out all the blocks for the quilt yet - I need to move furniture around in order to get the floor space first.

I squealed when I opened the package from Marge. Wheeeee more robot fabric. I'm absolutely thrilled.

Habibi loves the fabric too.

Alright, quick dip of the toes back into the blogosphere accomplished. Hopefully it won't be so long before the next post. Ya'all take care.