Orange, Layered Curves Top sans Border

Out came the last three blocks and asked to please be layered, cut, and pieced and added to their nine companions.  How could I say, No? Once that was accomplished, I moved furniture so I could use my “design floor” and tinker with arrangements.

layered curves before trim

Although I knew I’d get a better idea once they were trimmed, I also knew I might find a block that needed more layering and cutting, and I didn’t want to lose more size than necessary, nor did I want to retrim all if I lost size. So I did a first approximation, and I did add one cut to one group of three.  I toyed with keeping irregular edges as Sherri Lynn Wood suggests in her Improv Handbook, but I decided that this quilt  needed square blocks.Maybe because of the once square blocks in the starter orange quilt.

I’d started with ~18 1/2-inch squares and made 3-4 cuts in each set. At half an inch per cut, I’d expected to end with 16 1/2-inch squares. One, however, had gotten quite misshapen and it could only be 15 inches in one direction. Add a piece or trim all? I opted for the latter thinking that the added piece would disrupt the lines of the design.

I had several design considerations as I moved the parts–in the order of priority, one being most important:

  1. Something meaningful with the curves and curved stripes
  2. Balancing the amounts of orange/blue
  3. Alternating the blues with the orange, pieced parts
  4. Not placing two from the same set of three side by side
  5. Alternating the medium and dark blue blocks
  6. Alternating the blue and brown of the original 36-square piece.

Obviously, I was not going to be able to accomplish all six, and that is why I prioritized. After a lot of rearranging (wherein I was too involved to think photo), I ended up with this:

quilt top

~43 x 58 inches

I quickly abandoned #6 as impossible, but I actually accomplished all the rest except #3. I was surprised that by abandoning alternating blues and oranges I actually ended up with a better overall balance of the orange portions.

You can see from my arrangement considerations that I don’t consider planning an opposite of improv, nor do I consider randomness a synonym of improv. I don’t think Sherri does either. Apart from making the 12 blocks square, I did follow her suggestion of cutting without a ruler. I chose to use scissors because it was hard to go back and recut where  I’d not cut through all three layers with the rotary cutter and no ruler. And as I moved pieces,  I added her criterion of arranging so that colors/values “bleed” and create new shapes.

I’m thinking of naming it “Blurring the Boundaries” since it has elements of traditional, modern, and art quilting. Those “boundaries” are something I’ve given a lot of thought to, and recently was delighted to see  Yvonne’s post on Quilting Jetgirl. Do you think it could be entered into an art quilt show as well as a modern one? Why or Why not? (Don’t worry, you won’t offend me if you say, No.)

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall (Button in sidebar)

I had really thought to be on a new project by now, but since that one has been all mental quilting, here is this top, finally finished except for its blue borders. Linking to AHIQ (button in sidebar).


Filed under design, quilting

15 responses to “Orange, Layered Curves Top sans Border

  1. Elisa

    very cool, Claire

  2. I think you’ve ended up with a great quilt despite a not so promising start. I wonder about the modern quilt description. It seems to me there’s almost a requirement for large amounts of negative space in most quilts I’ve seen categorised as modern, which this quilt doesn’t have – not at all to its detriment, I might add. Art quilts traditionally tend to be built up from a combination of carefully considered placing of fabric, often hand coloured or dyed, and lots of stitching to build up or reinforce colour or image, and are generally considered as almost sculptural wall hangings. Again, I’m not sure this piece fits the bill, but it is lovely nonetheless.

  3. dezertsuz

    Perfect name, Claire. I like the finished top. I don’t feel constrained to classify it, but if I did, I WOULD call it modern. It’s a much better balance than the original quilt, and it does have quite a lot of blank space (aka negative space) for whatever you choose to quilt. Whatever it’s genre is, it is quite appealing. =)

  4. I don’t know enough about modern quilts or art quilts to answer your question, but I love the visual interest.

  5. Cher

    well, I think you did a fantastic job of flow in these blocks and colors…and there is plenty of “negative” space in my opinion as well. so yes to modern and yes to improv and certainly even art quilt would be within range too. truly a smashing job!
    can not wait to see it in person…well done!

  6. I think you should enter this is Quilt Con the modern quilt show next year!

  7. Such an interesting piece! Well worth the time you put into revising it ☺️

  8. Another great project Claire! I love how the colors “bleed”!

  9. It’s great. And since I’ve been trying to do some big freeform curves myself, I appreciate the technical difficulty of what you did. BTW, it’s definitely modern. Just not the current ‘modern’ color palette. But give it a few years. Or you may find that you’re at the very beginning of a new color trend!

  10. Claire you blew me away on your blog with “Blurring the Boundaries” and you could definitely enter this in an art or modern quilt show. It’s wonderful! I like and agree with what you said about planning and randomness!

  11. Heather Bassett

    You raise a lot of interesting questions in this post. I lot of people seem to think that ‘improv’ means ‘random’, but personally I find that working in an improv way actually requires constant planning and decision making throughout the construction of the top. That is why I love it – I feel so stimulated and engaged, and it is exciting to see where it ends up. Your top turned out great – heaps of flow.

  12. Looking good! Great design floor, I have a design floor too.

  13. Ann

    You’ve learned so much making this quilt. Thanks for sharing it with us. I am struck by the way the nine-patches are not only layered with the solids but have a sense of depth. Your layout blurs the boundaries well, too. Congratulations. Thanks for linking this interesting post with AHIQ.

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