Improv Stars in Love Patchwork & Quilting
Most of the time when I have a design published, it’s because I pitched it to a magazine and they accepted it. But last year, a magazine in the UK came to me, which was very exciting. I have often purchased Love Patchwork & Quilting because quilters in other parts of the world sometimes have a different aesthetic, or at least a different viewpoint, and it’s a good way to expose yourself to their ideas.
They had seen my Instagram and wondered if I would design a scrap quilt for an upcoming issue. They didn’t have to ask twice.
But let me tell you the full story of how this quilt came to be, because it took a circuitous route to completion.
Years back when I was with Quiltmaker, we had an idea for small blocks that we’d present online at no charge. I designed and wrote some of the block patterns along with my colleagues, and we named them QM Bitty Blocks. We had so much fun coming up with them, testing the instructions and making huge sets of the blocks for ourselves.
Eventually I put mine into a row quilt, and coincidentally I just heard from my longarm magician Julie Lechner that she has finished the quilting. I can hardly wait to get it once life settles down.
Apparently I got carried away making scrappy stars because I had a lot left over. I made a video of the leftover stars and posted it on Instagram.
I wonder if this is what the magazine editors saw when they contacted me. I was in the process of trying to figure out a design in which I could use all these 4″ stars. I thought maybe some contrast in the form of wonky little stars would do the trick.
I started with a few and made them a little bigger than my others. I tried a checkerboard look.
I made a few more and thought about putting them in rows, keeping the same kind together.
It never felt quite right so I added a larger improv star and went back to the checkerboard idea.
I made more stars and tried putting them in diagonal rows. See how the red ones travel diagonally across the quilt, above? Still not convinced.
Eventually I had made so many stars and tried so many configurations that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. At times like this you wonder why you wanted to be a quilt designer.
It was around this time that Love Patchwork & Quilting came calling. I agreed to create a quilt for them under a deadline, which meant that I had to get cracking and figure it out. They also wanted a cushion (Americans call it a pillow) and step-by-step photos with instructions for everything. Yowza. But I complied. 😊
Issue 85 was to have arrived on newsstands in the UK March 18, but with the pandemic I am not sure what happened. And I’m not sure when paper copies will arrive in the US, but you can always get a digital edition! I wasn’t sure how I’d like digital magazines and books, but I am a fan. This would be the perfect time for you to try it. Order a hard copy if you prefer. Or wait for the pandemic to pass and then visit the newsstand at Joann or Barnes & Noble.
The pillow was actually fun to make. It has an envelope back so that you just pop in the pillow form of your choice, and it can be removed for laundering.
If you find it on the newsstand when life returns to normal (it will do that, won’t it?), there’s a bonus gift inside, a booklet on making a modern medallion!
I couldn’t be happier with the process, the project and the experience of working with the Love Patchwork & Quilting staff.