Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Winging It

This past weekend I took a quilting class taught by Lynne Tyler at Quilted Threads, an amazing quilt shop in Henniker, NH.  The class was called "Birds, Birds, Birds" and in it we learned to use improvisational piecing to make bird blocks.  I sometimes use improvisational embroidery or wool appliqué in my work, but this was my first time trying improvisational piecing and I LOVED IT!

It was absolute play -- no pins, no rules, only minimal measuring, and the brighter the colors the better!

My first bird -- love his wing and chartreuse beak.

Lynne's method is such a fun and liberating way to quilt and it makes you look at your fabric in a totally different way -- you start to look for patterns and prints that would provide interest and motion on a wing and you seek out body and beak colors that both complement and contrast.

Second bird - love the blue, but his beak seems a bit small for his body.

I quickly realized that the fabric I brought with me wasn't nearly bright enough for the splashy birds I wanted to make, so during lunch I treated myself to a few new fat quarters to try out.

Post-lunch and fabric run bird.  Getting there!

The best part of making the birds is watching each of their unique personalities emerge as you make fabric, color, and cutting choices.  Lynne challenged us to make a bird that represented someone we love.  I chose my daughter Grayson because I find her brilliant, confident, colorful, and beautiful.  Here's my Grayson bird:

I made five birds during the class and when I got home, I had to force myself to pay attention to my family instead of running to my work room to make more.  Apparently improvisational piecing can be slightly addictive -- the class description should have included a warning!

If you'd like more info about Lynne's birds, methods or quilts, check our her blog:  The Patchery Menagerie.  She's got a few tutorials on her site, including a brief bird how-to.  And as for me, I can't wait to find the time to add to my flock!!  Happy quilting indeed!