I’ve been playing with oversized freehand cut curves for the last several years–cutting the curves without patterns or templates, using my rotary cutter as a drawing tool. The blocks are created individually, with each curve cut on its own.
Then I add fun elements like insets, wonky triangles, confetti pops, skinny lines, and “fried egg” curves.
Below are some of the quilts I’ve made using this technique.
Recently I started asking myself “what if?”–my favorite design question that often leads me down interesting rabbit holes.
What if I added in another element to the design, like stripes?
I made some large Angled Stripe blocks using 10″ x 12″ rectangles and put them on the design wall with some new freehand curve blocks.
I decided on a cool blue/green color palette with small pops of red purple and elements of black and white. I’m just using insets, skinny lines, and wonky triangles this time–no confetti pops because of the stripes–unless you count the small purple squares surrounded by turquoise as confetti pops.
The initial idea made me happy, but I wanted the top to be bigger, so it was back to the sewing machine.
This version did NOT make me happy! It just seemed too chaotic and there was no place for the eye to rest.
One thing I really wanted to explore with this one was having the curved blocks all different sizes and emphasize them not meeting in the centers. This process often ends up with blocks that are a variety of sizes, and I wanted to embrace that imperfection. But the busyness of this version didn’t give any room for that.
I spent much, much longer on piecing this top than I had expected (the joys of Improv) and there were several days when I just needed to do something else.
It finally came to me what I needed to do–add in some plainer curved blocks with much less information in them. You can see them in the upper left, lower left and right, and to the right of center. Just one curved cut plus a black and white inset.
This feels better to me. And that’s what Improv design is all about, I think. Auditioning lines, colors and shapes and arranging and rearranging them on the design wall until the result makes your heart sing. It’s important to learn to listen to, and then trust, the small creative voice inside of you that says–that’s it!
I haven’t decided how to quilt this one yet–and I may still make some changes, but so far I’m happier with it.
If you’d like to join me on the freehand curve journey, I’ll be teaching Fabulous Freehand Curves at Hudson River Valley workshops in upstate New York this summer–August 13 -19, 2023. 5 days of freehand curves–plus confetti pops, wonky triangles, insets, and stripes to spice things up! Visit https://www.artworkshops.com/workshop/fabulous-freehand-curves-with-cindy-grisdela/ for more information and to register.
I hope you’ll join me!