This blog post is about so much more than a Modern Quilted Table Runner which is inspired by a piece of art that I recently inherited.
Back up a bit….As my parents age, my sisters and I have had to make hard decisions regarding our aging parents. And I mean hard. We basically kidnapped my parents and forced them to move into a senior apartment near one of my sisters. (We’re really not cruel people. My mother fell, bled everywhere, and then my Dad stuck a bandaid on her wound, and put her back in the bed. No more living on your own, Mom and Dad.)
Fortunately, my husband’s mother came up with her own plan that didn’t involve kidnapping. My husband’s sister moved in with my mother-in-law. It’s ideal because my mother-in-law can still live semi-independently in her own home but now has someone looking out for her.
All of this parental moving around has opened up a ton of opportunity to inherit longed-for furniture, art, and other stuff. Y’all may have read how I am basically beyond wanting anymore furniture, art, or stuff ~ with one exception.
A painting that I love. I mean really, really love. It’s a mixed media piece made with tissue paper and paint. The artist gifted it to my mother-in-law loooonnnnnng ago. It’s the one thing I secretly always wished we could inherit. And my husband’s mother no longer had room for it with the new living arrangement. She offered it to us.
If you look around my house you will see evidence of this painting through color choices, rugs, and even art pieces. I think I’ve been trying to replicate this piece for years. All that aside, it is a great improvisational piece of art.
And that got me thinking about improvisational quilts. I have been reading blogs about improv quilts and have been wanting to make one myself. So I pulled out a few fabrics with similar colors and just started piecing them together while staring at a picture of The Painting.
The painting has more browns and beiges ~ I replaced these colors with grays. I created two similar panels that I flipped and connected in the middle with two strips.
It’s not identical, but it definitely gets its inspiration from The Painting. Once the quilt was pieced I decided to do simple quilting with a diagonal stitch. I used a walking foot and drew diagonals that pointed towards the middle transition piecing.
Each of the diagonals were spaced 1″ apart. I absolutely love how this quilting created another layer of modern inspiration. While not in The Painting, still a very modern touch.
For the center panel I did a back and forth Free Motion Quilt stitch. This way I was able to transition between the two separate sections that face in opposite directions. I’m showing this on the back because it stands out better.
For the back I pieced together a gray and white lettering fabric that I got who knows where. I didn’t have enough for the entire back so I used some strips of lighter fabric leftover from my Jelly Roll Jam Quilt. These were all leftover strips from the front piecing and were the perfect size. All in all, there was very little waste with this quilting project. Most of the fabric came from remnants of other sewing projects.
While I know that this quilt isn’t quilt show worthy, I gained a ton of knowledge about improv quilting and have decided that I really like it. Even though this quilt followed a pattern that I made up by looking at a painting, it was still very much improvisational.
This project was satisfying on so many levels. I was able to pay homage to a piece of art that I have loved for years and years. I was able to use this painting as a starting point in experimenting with improv quilting.
I find that the more I quilt the more I love it. Everyday I have new ideas for quilts and I hope I can turn a fraction of these ideas and inspirations into real quilts. It’s like I have started to see the world through quilting eyes.
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Now for some very sad news. While I was sewing this quilt my mother’s health began rapidly declining. Right after I finished it, I got a call from my sister in Ft. Worth ~ my mom did not have much longer and I should get there ASAP. I got there in time to say goodbye and within a few hours my mother was gone.
It has been a whirlwind of activity. We’ve been in Ft. Worth, Houston, and Austin. My daughter who lives in Newfoundland came with her family for a week. All good things. But, that is why I’ve been pretty quiet on social media and the blog. Things are starting to settle down and I should be back to regular posting by the time you read this.
On the brighter side, quilting and the ability to do something with both my mind and hands has been a lifesaver during these difficult days. And creating something that can be handed down gives me even greater satisfaction. Currently, one of my grandsons has asked me to make him his own quilt with a red arrow.
I am thinking that this will be my next quilt. If you know of any quilt patterns with arrows, send them my way!