Sunday, October 19, 2014

How To Keep Them on the Farm, After They've Done Improvisational Strip Piecing?

Does this line ring a bell? "How do you keep them down on the farm, after they've seen Paris?" (with Paris pronounced "pareeeeee")?

It was one of my mother's favorite things to say, relevant to so many situations.Thanks to the Intertubes, I now know it was a post-World War I hit song, in 1919, nearly a decade before my mother was born. (This song has its own Wikipedia page!)

The question came to mind because I've been doing SO much improvising lately - cutting things up and stitching them down with no fusible web and only the loosest of plans. Back in my early days of quilting, I worried that once I experienced freedom, I'd never go back to the old fashioned methods.

And as it turned out, my apprehensions were correct. Especially in the last couple of months, when I've been playing with freehand cut squares, more squares, even more squares, and marshmallows,

And most recently, mostly-solid strips left over from the squares and marshmallows.

I began this project by laying the strips  modelled after the traditional strippy courthouse steps quilt block.
I experimented with running a cut-out zig zag through it (made for and rejected from another improv project). 
Now how to glue those strips down to get them under a sewing machine?
Not brain surgery! Decided the black background needed to be larger, so I popped the whole thing on a larger square of black felt. (Can't tell where the fabric ends and the felt begins). Freemotion quilted  with a stipple in variegated thread. Move veerrry slowly or the foot might get caught under a strip (it happened a few times) and you have to cut it out. 
Tried wrapping it around a 6" square 1" deep wrapped canvas block.

Meh! I'm not feeling it.
What about sewing the two side seams together, sewing the bottom together, and boxing it, to make a vase?

Taa daaa! OK, it's not elegant, but it's the perfect size to insulate a water bottle; and with a heavy glass jar inside, it's a funky flower vase! Now if only I could get myself to Paree!

Update: Shared on Nina Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays. Check it out for more art quilting!