I’m popping in to share an update on my 100-Days of mini quilt collages with you!
The last time I shared this project with you, I was early in the making of my creative exploration. Since then, I’ve gone on to make quite a few more pieces.
Today I wanted to share:
- how the project evolved;
- what I loved most about taking on my fifth 100-day challenge;
- what I learned; and
- how this exploration has enticed me to keep up the exploration with a new colourway 😊
You’ve mentioned to me how much you love these mini compositions and how curious you are about diving into your own 100-day project, so I hope this post gives you some insight and encouragement to do just that!
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Where the 100-day project started
As with most of my 100-day projects, everything started with a pile of fabric scraps – ha!
You know how much I love maximizing my fabric dollars and making great use of every scrap is one of the ways I do that.
While a go-to for most quilters is to make a scrappy quilt, for some reason my go-to is improv quilting (no right or wrong here, just what feels right to you!). Working with scraps is how my improv quilting adventures got started, which you can read more about in this Mondrian quilt I made for a local women’s shelter.
That improv play solidified my love for this quilting technique and gave me new insight into the possibility fabric scraps offer.
Plus, I just love the freedom that comes when working without a quilt pattern.
What I wanted to explore
I share more about what I wanted to explore in this latest 100-day project blog post but suffice it to say, I was curious about exploring layers, shapes, and texture.
That’s a key approach to my work – I like to keep things simple.
What I made
This is the fun part, getting to share all the little mini quilt collages that I made throughout this project.
As the weeks went on, my fabric scrap options dwindled. This is where you need to dig deep and listen to your creative instincts, as you might be tempted to think “there’s too little to work with here”, but that’s all part of the challenge.
Seeing the possibilities when the options are limited.
That’s when you really challenge your improv muscles to think outside the box to see what you can create.
That’s when you make breakthroughs, learn about what’s holding you back, and practice pushing through that block and discomfort.
The best part?
When you realize that you can make something from what you think is next to nothing!
See them in action
Sit back and enjoy the show! I thought you might like to see them one after so you can easily so how they differ from one another.
I’d love to know which resonates the most with you!
What I loved most about this 100-day project
There are a few elements that I particularly loved during the making of my mini quilt collages.
First, I loved the colours I was playing it. I had so much fun experimenting with using all the colours and then featuring only a few to see how that changed the effect. Some worked better than others, but it was interesting to see which resonated the most with me (I preferred when most of the colours were featured), which I felt lacked intensity (normally the ones with a limited colour palette), and which offered me the most opportunity for fun stitch work (the ones with negative space).
Second, I absolutely adored the evolution of my stitch work in these minis. I had so much fun stepping away from the simple straight stitch to see what new embroidery work I could add. Embroidery stitches were something I had explored during my series of collages on paper, and I was eager to bring more of that texture into my compositions.
Third, there’s something about working on a smaller scale that I truly love. I don’t know if it’s because I can see the entire composition on my cutting mat, or the small scale encourages me to keep playing as they don’t consume as much time as a larger piece would. Whatever it is, minis have a soft spot in my heart, and will no doubt be a size I return to time and time again.
What I learned throughout this creative challenge
There are a couple of takeaways that I learned by taking on this specific challenge.
The biggest one is a reminder that I’m human – ha! Sometimes my creative goals are not always feasible or realistic with what my body can handle. As I get older, I seem to need to remind myself that I’m not a machine and that my body needs breaks. I first learned this the hard way when I developed tendinitis. My body was physically telling me I needed a break from all the repetitive motions that come with quilting and phone scrolling 😉 The next example is more recent and relates to the flare-ups I keep experiencing on my hands. What started as dry patches has turned into severe dryness that leads to deep painful cracks on my fingers. Once again, I’m learning that my creative intent is being managed by my physical limitations and I’m taking it as a cue that I need to slow down.
Does this frustrate me?
100% it does!
But I’m also learning that life is about balance and seasons. There are seasons where I’ve been prolific in my making and, other times, for whatever reason, less so. I think this is normal. We can’t always be in ‘create’ mode. Sometimes we need the downtime to gain perspective, allow our bodies to rest, and give ourselves permission to just simply dream.
How does this relate to the minis I’ve been working on?
Well, the biggest limitation has been not being able to hand quilt when I’ve wanted to. Even with Band-Aids and thimbles on, it’s been too painful to stitch when I have those flare-ups. I’ve worked around this limitation as much as possible by focusing on the steps that I can accomplish, which are mainly the base collage composition and the machine quilting.
So, to keep my focus and engagement up, I’ve worked ahead on some of the collage compositions and snuck the hand stitching in when I could.
This leads me nicely to my next exploration 😊
Where my exploration is heading next
After working my way through my initial set of fabric scraps, I turned my attention to these bold and colourful Pure Solids. You might recognize them from the last Cloud Surfing quilt I made (which I still have to quilt!). I was curious about the colour play this combination would offer. It’s such a rich vibrant pairing that I was excited to see what I could create with them.
Plus, the trimmings are completely different from those I was working with in the Ruby and Bee solids above. This is what’s so exciting about working with fabric remnants – the shapes offer you a new jumping-off point and help keep things fresh.
So far, I’ve pulled together several base compositions and they’re all patiently waiting for texture to be added in.
The threads I’m planning on using for this next step include:
- Grellow 40wt thread for machine quilting
- Pink EZ21 pearl cotton
- Grellow EZ17 pearl cotton
- Blue tint 471 pearl cotton
If you’re curious about diving into improv and would like some guidance along the way, then I’m excited to share that Amanda from Broadcloth Studio and I are kicking off our 3rd summer of 30 Days for Improv Quilt Along. It’s free to participate and all you have to do is sign up here and follow the email prompts!
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