June 21, 2017

100 Days of Modern Improv Quilting – First 50 Days

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

It was a Tuesday morning in early April that I first heard of the official The 100 Day Project. I was sipping my coffee and catching up on my IG feed when I noticed a post by Amanda from Gypsy Moon Quilt Co announcing she was joining in. Planning a 100 day project has been on my “to-plan” list for awhile. I liked the idea of being creatively focused and felt it would be a fun way to explore different ideas. What could I create if I just let go and explored?

So, I was immediately curious to find out more details on how to play along.

Turns out the day I heard about it was the official kick-off day…gah, already behind! But I didn’t let that deter me. I figured I could spend some time that day mulling ideas for my 100 day plan. I initially thought of being really specific and focusing only on curves. And it may very well end up there. But I didn’t want to narrow my scope too early on and box myself in. The concept of improv kept coming back to me. I just adore a good improv quilting session, what better way to further explore that area of interest.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.


And then I thought of these little fabric snippets and orphan blocks that I’ve had sitting patiently in a Ziplock bag just waiting for me to play. I’ve been meaning to since April 2016, in fact! Ever since I initially started stacking these pretty cut offs while preparing my hexies and triangles for my Weight of  Love quilt. And since then, I’ve been dreaming about sitting down and creating with them.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

While I have some orphan blocks and larger fabric scraps left, my heart has really been set on playing with this stack of lopsided triangles – or scalene triangles as they are officially known. And so that’s where my project started. The parameters are open – my goal has been to have fun and focus on modern improvisational quilting, wherever that may take me. Essentially no rules 😉 No pattern, just me and these little fabric scrap gems.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

By Day 45 these little scraps had dwindled considerably. 

I’m amazed that I’ve been able to create 36 modern unique improv blocks from the fabric scraps I had. And, I probably could have kept going for a few more, but wanted to save some for binding.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

Once I had my blocks all stitched up, the next little bit of this creative challenge was focused on pulling these 36 blocks together to form a cohesive design.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

When I found myself at the quilt layout step of this quilty journey, I hadn’t a clue where it was headed, but isn’t that all part of the fun?! After several days of just mulling, staring at my design wall and playing with quilt block layout, I finally decided to go with my initial instinct. Since I was loving seeing them paired next to one another, but didn’t want the overall design to be TOO chaotic, I opted for quadrants separated by solid strips laid out in a way that it appears to be spinning. Almost like a windmill.

It’s still a little crazy, but now it is more controlled chaos 😉


I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

To help keep the focus on the quadrants, I added a thick white border to help keep it light and bright. The borders give the design room to breath and give it a sense of floating in space.

What surprised me the most was that I got the backing and ALL of the basting done in less than a half day. That’s a record for me. Normally, I finish piecing the backing of the quilt and then have to work up to the basting stage. Ugh, that’s really not my fave step. But, this time, it got done lickitysplit. Which was awesome, as I didn’t end up dreading that task for days before finally doing it!!

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

And so far, I’m loving the challenge! There have been days where I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s kinda akin to when you don’t want to workout! But you start anyways and soon realize that you’re into it…there have been days like that. Even better, is that some of those off days produced some of my best little improv blocks.

Overall, this project has been a great lesson in staying the course and plowing through even when you might not be in the mood. It’s amazing what you can create even when you start off a session not entirely in the mood! There is something to be said for showing up at your sewing table and just starting. By the end of my daily session I felt accomplished and satisfied, which is a great feeling to have especially if I started off unsure or not in the mood.

I'm sharing all about my 100-days of Modern improv quilting project. Fun creative challenge to hone your skills. Shannon Fraser Designs textile art.

That summarizes the first 50 days of the challenge. I’ve really been trying to be good to post everyday on Instagram.  As it stands, I’m currently on Day 67 of the challenge. If you want to follow along for the remaining 33 days you can do that here. I’ve also created a Pinterest board dedicated to this project, which you can find here.

Since I didn't want to overwhelm you with a bunch of photos in the post, I put together a Flipagram video to show the progression of the first 50 days.

video

If you’re looking to challenge yourself creatively, explore new techniques or simply want to develop a new daily habit of making, I encourage you to give your own 100-day project a go. I bet you’ll be surprised at the amazing designs you uncover and create.

Happy quilting my friends!

xo

Shannon

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4 comments:

  1. I love that you stuck with this, even on the days when you really didn't want to. You are going to have a really fun quilt as a result. :-)

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    1. It’s been challenging, but really fun! I’m actually tempted to do it again 😉

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  2. Just look what you created by setting your parameters, showing up every day and exploring with improv! Thanks for letting us follow along. I have a button that says, "start", and when I am in need of inspiration, I remind myself to just Start!

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    1. I love the idea of a start button, Marla!! Sometimes it really is as simple as just starting 😊

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