Thursday, January 15, 2009

Be Still My Heart

It's Oiyi's turn in the Common Threads Virtual Quilting Bee. She's making a quilt for her totally cute daughter, Melody, and she requested a heart motif somewhere on or in the block. She wanted rich reds...no pink. Though I loved her idea and was excited about it, I had trouble coming up with an idea I liked. I decided to go with a simple heart block and then tried to come up with an idea to make it special. Oiyi sent lots of small scale fabrics, so I went small and started playing with some one inch strips. This is the final product. A big heart for mom.

Since I did so much experimenting before I actually cut into Oiyi's fabrics, I had lots of strip sets left over. I didn't want them to go to waste so I made a small heart for Melody. Both blocks were a challenge for me. Another kind of improvisation. Take a traditional block and make it your own in some way. Cheryl, of Naptime Quilter has done a post about improvisation called 'Breaking Free.' It's a great read for those of you just starting to step out on your own, actually for all of us. Thanks Cheryl!


Lastly, I'll respond to the emails I've been getting about "what do I have against patterns." As you can see, I don't. I use patterns, I adapt patterns, I make my own patterns, and sometimes I don't use patterns at all. I have a free pattern in my sidebar. I made it because folks asked how to make the teacup quilt. I learned to quilt using patterns. Project improv is not about disparaging the use of patterns. It's about the freedom to exercise your creativity...to play and have fun with your own ideas.

Alissa and Tracy, your blocks are in progress....soon.

51 comments:

Amy @ Park City Girl said...

These are beautiful! I love that you made it your own - so special that way :) and the collection of prints are great!

Katy said...

*thud* I just collapsed - that is too beautiful!

Purple and Paisley said...

oh, wow! absolutely beautiful! very improv-y yet traditional and patchwork-y at the same time...does that make sense? lol...i love the heart blocks!

QuiltedSimple said...

Very pretty - very "Jacquieesque" - looks wonderful. Love how you made it your own.
Kris

Patty said...

I absolutely love these blocks! Do you have time to do a tutorial on the large heart? It’s an amazing block.

Shannon said...

Neat! I love the heart...

I have trouble with instructions. I still buy a lot of books and patterns, but fortunately I'm experienced enough that I can look at a quilt and make it without the frustration of instructions.

I also find that a lot of instructions are poorly written or too edited for the average person.

I like to change things up, too. I usually do this with block size and/or the borders.

Kerri said...

so lovely!!

jovaliquilts said...

I love using pieced fabric to make something else. These are adorable!

Molly said...

So beautiful! And so "you"! Your beautiful quilting is so inspiring.

Renee said...

These are fabulous! I just finished a valentine's day piece and may have to make another one using those colors! I've never been "into" hearts and valentine's day, but there's a certain charm to it for me this year. I want red and pink things all over my house! Thanks for the inpiration.

Oiyi said...

I gasped when I saw it on the Common Threads blog. I love the rich and deep colors. You are so talented. Thank you so much!

sarahmurray said...

Those are the cutest heart blocks I've ever seen! I love how you used so many tiny strips. They're precious, and old fashioned and modern all at the same time. x

Alissa said...

How funny that people would think you have something against patterns! It's not like patterns/improv are mutually exclusive, you know? It's about mixing and just doing what works for you! And there's SO MUCH MORE out there on quilting with patterns. It's so wonderful you're filling a bit of a gap with Project Improv. Which I completely appreciate.

Anyhow - lovely heart blocks! And I can't wait to see what you make for me!!!

Vicki W said...

Oooooh! I love these red blocks!

Beth said...

Oh my...your blocks are strikingly similar to my project improv idea...does that mean I am an improv follower?!? ;-)

Jackie said...

Your creativity amazes me. I love these little heart blocks. Thanks for the links.

Stephanie said...

Pretty! I love hearts. As for patterns...well said. Who said it was a requirement!!!

nicolette said...

Love your heart block!

On the pattern stuff: I love to make wonky blocks, to explore, to design my own quilts, but I also love to make Dear Jane blocks, to use patterns, follow workshops and classes, use tutorials from blogfriends. I don’t want to exclude anything in my quilt learning progress!

liz taylor said...

I love the deep reds of both blocks! Very cute.

Tine said...

so what if you didn't like patterns?! you are allowed not to like or use patterns ever! and you are certainly allowed to say so on your blog. some people need to find better ways to spend their time. really!

apple cyder said...

The thin, thin strips are so pretty. I love the reds so much. Nice work, J!

Cheryl A said...

You said it, it's about making it your own.

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

words cannot say how much I love those blocks, they are outstanding!!!

Eileen said...

I really like that it is red and no pink.. very rich looking. And I do love that block and how you made it your own. Perfect!

Cheryl in CT said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

audreypawdrey said...

These are beautiful! I like how the hearts are made of small strips of all that beautiful red fabric!

henny said...

ooh...red!! That's my favorite color....I love them all, beautiful.

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Amazing...

Rose said...

Wow, those are beautiful! I can't even imagine trying to make that without knowing what I was doing to start with!! Absolutely wonderful.

Emily said...

Just in time for Valentines day! Love the hearts! You come up with some beautiful things.

Gail :) said...

The hearts are lovely! Doesn't it feel good to sew in a clean space. I finally finished cleaning mine too. I was able to make my first block during Adler's naptime today. You are very motivating to me ;)

em's scrapbag said...

Love the heart blocks. The fabrics are great and I like the way you turned the strippy blocks.

Victoria said...

Very sweet, great job!

shannon said...

Wow, I love, love this heart. Love those reds, so sweet.

Greenmare said...

oh I LOVE that! and oh so funny, I have some of those fabrics too!

Jeri is said...

Very cute heart blocks! I absolutely love what you did with those little strips of fabric! Who knew that 1" could provide such cuteness!

KateKwiltz said...

I love how you listen to the fabric and design to bring out the best in it. Another beautiful piece of work!

ivyarts said...

What a lucky girl. The blocks are lovely.

amandajean said...

i LOVE your hearts. both versions are just beautiful!!!

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

The idea that you think about doing something special with each quilt is awesome....whether using a pattern or making up your own. I admire the idea and try to do that myself.

Victoria said...

You know I have been thinking some more about this post, and it occurred to me that this debate, that some want to start, about pattern vs. improve, is similar to the debate that people used to engage in concerning hand quilting vs. machine quilting. It was only a decade ago, that I would overhear major disagreements at quilt shows on this subject, something that I now would be shocked to hear anyone debate, as both forms peacefully coexist side by side in the quilting world.

I think that some people may at times feel threatened by "new" ways, (not that improvised quilt making is new!) that they may fear will replace the old ways they are comfortable with. Hopefully things will calm down, and everyone will realize that all forms of quilt making and self expression through quilt making are welcome! There is room for everyone, including those that like to try a bit of everything!

susan said...

i think both blocks are lovely, but i prefer the small one with the wide border. lucky oiji and melody

MightyMom said...

oh I love that it's strippy!! makes me wanna strip! (strip piece that is heeheehee)

"What do you have against patterns?" I love that. too funny. Hey, let's just try to stir up animosity for the hell of it why don't we?? After all there's just not enough bad feeling in the world!

Sara said...

So so beautiful! You have inspired me to try to make something similiar that I can possibly donate to the Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Heart Center (I'm still a peds patient so it someplace I hold close!) for them to use either for decoration or whatever they feel the need to use it for. I love love love it and I think I will have to try to make my own also!

iknitipurl said...

You have been a busy bee! Love the hearts, perfect for Valentine's Day. Or just to show someone that you love them.

Carol E. said...

Help! I can't remember how to upload photos to the Flickr page. I have three pink/orange blocks to show.

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

The heart blocks look so effective! Love the strip piecing.

Ravenhill said...

Oh, such lovely heart blocks!!!
~Emily

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I laughed pretty hard about you having to comment on not "liking patterns". The creative process for me means doing my own thing too. How funny that you have to defend yourself! Hilarous. The heart turned out so cute. I love the thin strips. It is like a mosaic. So wonderful just like you Jacquie.

Alice Grace said...

What a joyful pattern! I love the way you designed the heart! You are so creative, I am amazed everytime I visit you!

Needled Mom said...

Great tutorial. I will have to give this one a try. Thank you.