Peace Like A River
May 3, 2015 § 14 Comments
A year and a half ago, Sherri Lynn Wood of Dainty Time sent out a call for folks to test out her improv quilting methods for a future book. Thinking that I might learn something, I signed up. As her book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters hits the shelves this week. I thought I might share my experience in making a test quilt.
The improv methods or techniques that Sherri uses to get you started are called “scores.” Something akin to a musical rhythm or classification like polka or waltz. Each of the test quilters filled out a questionnaire that included what they felt their current skill level was in terms of improvisational quilt making. I felt like a beginner, so I was assigned a score that was suitable for beginners.
At the same time that the instructions were being sent for our particular scores, my mother passed away. And my assignment quickly became a therapeutic outlet for processing my grief. I’m a little self-conscious about sharing my process because of this. But, then again, it’s a part of my quilting journey. While my quilt wasn’t chosen to be included in the book, I would really like to try this score again as well as develop my own version of some of the other scores in Sherri’s book. Her techniques for creating improvisational quilts are both directive and freeing. You’ll have to try one for yourself to experience just what I am talking about.
Below are a few photos that I took as I was making this quilt. I started with a limited color palette and it quickly morphed into so much more. Maybe too much for this simple score? My assigned score was called Floating Squares. Our rules included cutting fabric without rulers. That in itself was hard for me at the beginning. But it got easier as time went on. You can see more examples of Floating Squares from other test quilters in Sherri’s Floating Squares Flickr gallery.
As I went along cutting and sewing and remembering my mom, the old hymn It Is Well With My Soul kept running through my head. The first line of the song starts with “when peace, like a river, attendeth my way,” hence the name of this quilt. My sewing became more water-like as I went on. When I shared what I was doing with my dear friend, Letty, she shared a photo that she had taken of rippling water that was so much like the vision for this quilt that it was uncanny.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.