Quilting marathon colored as a blue sky

activism, collaborations, improv process

I’m happy to announce the start of a social sewing initiative, launched by local quilt shop Patchworkvictim, dedicated to the women and aimed to create a king size charity quilt.

We’ve been talking in the background of this project for several months, and now it’s ready to start. Quite on purpose, the initiative connects two dates, as the start and the finish of a quilting marathon, that are: November 25th 2020, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and March 8th 2021, International Women’s Day. Since my experience of some years ago, when I worked in my city council as a member of gender diversity and equal opportunities committee, I care that not just a single day is used as a celebration for such important themes, but a continuous practice is adopted, together, collaboratively. The charity recipient of this initiative will be a very effective working group: the local centre for protection of women from violence, G.O.A.P., a team well equipped to act both on the cultural change and on the practical needs.

So, here we are! The initiative calls for quilters that contribute by sewing one (or more) squares having 10 inch size each, up to a total of 132 squares. All those pieces shall be made using the technique I love most: improv piecing! I’m so happy to contribute to this project with local discussions on improv, and in the final sewing phase of more than one hundred pieces into a unique quilt top!

Improv can be defined in several ways, but in this occasion its main feature will be: composition! Indeed, participants are invited to experiment with minimalist composition improvisationally done, within own 10” square block. Isn’t it a nice challenge? To try graphic effects with the smallest possible number of elements? Minimalist composition can be both difficult and very simple: how to find elegance with tiny piecing and a wide negative space? There is a lot of room of expression with abstract mark making!

The rules to keep a uniform approach within the overall quilt are simple: use solid background, and choose light blue and white colours. Our quilting marathon looks forward to an arrival into the fresh air of new year Spring, and our community quilt can talk the language of clear white clouds running in a light blue sky!

If you wish to participate, all that is needed is to book your participation writing to info@patchworkvictim.it ; on Patchworkvictim blog all the details of the initiative are presented, including address for block shipment, key dates and initiative contributors.
I’ve already started to make a few improv blocks… come and sew with me!

Joining pieces, joining people

collaborations, improv process

Last Autumn I discovered the extraordinary work of Leslie J.  Riley. Her quilts, full of textures, secondary motifs, and swinging colours, suggested me the idea to make systematic exercises in textured piecing. I started preparing blocks with different texture types, such as: striped columns and rows, log cabins, high contrast colours, low contrast colours, and so on.

Last Winter I joined the local quilt guild “Biechi Mati”, mainly focused on traditional patchwork, but open to trying any type of technique. According to their request, I carried my sample texture blocks, they put on the desk all their sewing machines, and we spent one afternoon playing with improv piecing together.

Last Spring it was planned to repeat the textured improv exercise at local quilt shop Patchworkvictim. Francesca made the Zoom platform available in order to keep the discussions on improv virtual and interactive. During the first session I have been sewing some pieces of the column and rows texture, and this sample is shown in the first video resumed at this page (visible also on Patchworkvictim you tube channel).

This Summer I took my textured samples out from the demo bag, and I decided to grow one of them wider. Now that I’ve finished the columns and rows quilt, I’m aware of how many people has influenced this year long work!

Quiltmaking is precious


The secret of steelmaking is based on the possibility to change the crystalline structure of steel in many ways.
I’ve spent several professional years looking at the microscope, and flying above wide landscapes of abstract metallographic images.
May quiltmaking be infused with the beauty of precious crystals?
Next week I will tell something about cristallography, in the opening of the zoom live session dedicated to improv patchwork, arranged by local quilt shop (Italian language). Information and link to join the talk of next July 2nd can be asked to Patchworkvictim.

Composing with figures or abstract shapes

collaborations, improv process

I’ve just finished the top started during the on-line workshop by Sherri Lynn Wood on improv wedge curves. This has all been improvisationally made: no drawing prepared, no measures taken.

It’s been a great exercise on the distinction between graphic line (followed by the eye) and sewn line (may be the same or a different one).

Tomorrow I will talk about graphic compositions, small and large, in a zoom live session hosted by local quilt shop. Italian language. For link to join, please contact Patchworkvictim.

To cut is to draw

collaborations, improv process

I’m reading an essay from influential Italian designer Riccardo Falcinelli, Critica portatile al visual design. I love all his books.
In the chapter about “screens”, he talks about the use of the body during design making: “to sketch, to paint, to attach, to photograph, all of those are actions that should be kept alive, in order not to limit ourselves to few repeated moves done in front of a screen, to shift pixels, otherwise we risk to repeat a type of graphic design that looks all the same”.

I have to say that, when I sew, it’s a pleasure to stand up from the sewing table, to go to ironing board, and then check the result at the design wall, in order to return to the cutting mat with a decision in mind about how to go on.
It’s true: the physical gestures required by patchwork have a great influence on the result.

How to cut fabric?
When do I piece fabric?
Before or after having sewn them?
(After? Really? Well… what’s wrong with sewing first, and reduce pieces by cutting them, only later?).

Tomorrow I will talk about this: in a zoom livestream session.
The good part of this platform is interaction. How and when do you cut your fabric pieces?
I wish to see you then, and to talk about that!

If you want to join, you can ask for Patchworkvictim newsletter (italian language), and you will receive the meeting link.

Collaboration started with local quilt shop


Improvisation stories will be the subject of virtual chat on improv, starting from April 25th 2020, arranged by local quilt shop Patchworkvictim; for further information: ask to shop owner Francesca and you will be inserted in the newsletter providing session link; event will be in Italian langauge.

The quilt described in the virtual chat are on display at local quilt shop , and work in progress is visible on the Instagram profile The cult of quilt. Video sessions are interactive and include sewing demo, composition stories and improvisation tricks.