Present Perfect Blog Tour

The Beginnings of an Improv Proverbial Quilt


Last Friday, I took a plane East to New York where I spent a craft weekend with Denyse Schmidt and Heather Ross in the Catskills. There was a small group of us (12? 13?) staying in a large house, laughing, making, eating, drinking, stitching, talking, making jam until Sunday afternoon. Everyone could work on whatever they wanted to explore. It took me awhile to decide what to take along, but in the end I decided on Denyse's Proverbial Quilt pattern.

Prov 1

I decided that I wanted a very scrappy looking quilt. I chose a bunch of low volume prints from my stash and decided that if there was ever a time to use all the Flea Market Fancy and Katie Jump Rope hanging around, it was for this. When I mentioned my plan to Denyse, she immediately said, "You can improv that pattern, you know."

Prov 2

And when Denyse tells me to improv, I do it.

Using the pattern as a guide, I sliced and diced my fabrics into strips. I rustled up some paper bags to pull the fabrics from so I wouldn't over think color and pattern and then I just sewed. The first few letters took some time to piece as some were a little short and others had to be cut down. But once I got the hang of it, it was liberating and fun.

Prov 3

Often when I am working in my studio, all by myself, with my head down and eyes focused on what is right in front of me, I get a little tunnel vision. Improv sewing opens me up creatively and making the beginnings of this quilt was enjoyable. It is so important for me to remember to play and have fun. This is what it is all about. And making letters improv style was challenging in the best way. I love wrapping my brain around these kinds of puzzles. Let me tell you, I was pretty damn proud of my "M".

Prov 4

I left the Catskills on Sunday afternoon with new friends, renewed enthusiasm and the beginnings of a VERY large quilt. It's going to take some time to get this one completed, especially with other projects that have firm deadlines on the horizon. Maybe I can a letter or two when I have time? Or a word a weekend? Regardless of when I finish, I am so excited about this quilt and all its possibilities.

Thanks you Heather and Denyse for a wonderful weekend. It was just what I needed.



Love it, Erin - can't wait to see it finished and in person!

Melissa f



so jealous of your getaway with heather and denyse ~ two of my favorites! i am working improv style with that quilt too....i have all my letters done just need to find time to put it all together xo


ooh that sounds divine!! sometimes I can't wait until Hugo stops nursing so I don't have to bring him everywhere with me...on the other hand, I'm trying to savor these moments. anyway, maybe next year!!!


My (Jewish) kids go to a Quaker school and sing that song all the time! I have to share your picture with their head of school, who is a quilter!

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