How Do You PLAN an abstract art Quilt?

Last fall I had the privilege of speaking with a local quilt guild about my contemporary, often abstract art quilts.  It was a typical Trunk Show but I spent some time talking about HOW I plan and construct my art quilts, all the while using traditional piecing methods.  For quilters who make quilts from blocks and from all straight line piece sewing, my art quilts look crazy and complicated.  But they really aren’t.

As I shared with the guild, the first step I shared is identifying the fabrics to be used which I then cut into strips.  For landscape quilts, these strips might be 4-8″ high and the width of the quilt.  For sunrise or sunset quilts, the strips could be 3-5″ high and the width of the quilt OR the width of the space in the quilt where I envision the fabric going.  When you see a finished art quilt, you often see thin strips of different fabrics sewn together.  Other quilters may use a different technique but mine is to use larger height strips for sewing in on one side and then trim them down to the design I want in the quilt.  It is much easier to sew in a slightly larger strip than a skinny strip.

Abstract Landscape 13

Since I have many many bins of strips of fabrics, sometimes my strip sizes are not at all related to the final color piece in my quilt.  I am a great user of old scraps!!  

This step looks very rough and it is. It is a general idea of the order I want to add strips to create a sunset.  In the process, I may decide I need another shade between two pieces when I’m piecing it.  Then its time for a fun trip to my local fabric stores!!

I recommend you try sewing curved pieces in an abstract design for the first few art quilt attempts.  it really can be fun!



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