At our December meeting, Brandy Maslowski was our guest speaker, with a presentation on Modern Improv. Brandy is a former Manitoban, now living in Summerland, B.C., and can be found online at quilteronfire.com.
For those who have not yet ventured to one of the WMQG meetings on Zoom, I highly recommend clicking on that link to see how easy it is. In my opinion, one thing the pandemic has taught us is that Zoom workshops with quilters from anywhere in the world are not only possible, but can be quite amazing. Experienced teachers like Brandy (and our own Melissa Marginet) have cameras in their home studios, giving us front-row seats and close-ups as they teach. It’s like having a quilting expert in our own sewing spaces — and unlike Youtube, the live experience allows us to ask questions and have that personal connection.
During Brandy’s presentation, she used scraps from her stash and quilting paper (she recommends “Golden Threads” or tissue paper). Brandy walked us through a simple yet effective technique of improv cutting and piecing strips on the diagonal, using background fabric in the corners. Her tips about suggested strip widths, block sizes, and piecing proposals gave just enough ‘order’ to those who may find improv quilting somewhat intimidating, while still leaving the ‘improv’ in improv quilting, for those already familiar with working organically. One thing I appreciated about Brandy’s demonstration was how prepared she was — having scraps and blocks at various stages of completion, ready to show as she demonstrated techniques. Finally, of course, the magic happens when she put the blocks together with some background blocks. She had a finished quilt top ready to show — just one example of how this simple technique can create a striking, one-of-a-kind modern quilt.
Brandy’s experience as a quilt judge and fibre artist also brought another facet to the discussion — she encouraged us to be brave with our thread choices and our quilting, and not to be afraid of taking traditional principles and ‘blow them apart’ a bit. It was an enjoyable and informative demonstration, and I look forward to following Brandy on social media to see what else she is up to.
— Ann Hodges