Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks, & Free-Motion Quilting by Cindy Grisdela
96 pages; softcover book, $27.95; e-book, $19.99
Quilters often ask, “what machine do you quilt on?” as a way of getting to know the new quilter sitting next to them. The answers are always fascinating because a lot of people do great work on machines that are not high-end or expensive. That’s the truth lived by Cindy Grisdela, author of Artful Improv. At the end of the book, there is a photo of Cindy with her machine, a BERNINA 1080. It’s about 20+ years old, has a couple of bells and whistles (such as the needle down feature). The fancier, newer, higher-end machines have a lot more juice, including knee-lift and a lot more stitches, too.
So, while the new mid- to high-end machines are off-the-hook-amazing with space and capabilities, great work is also possible on almost any sewing machine. encourages practice. It’s practice that makes a huge difference, says Cindy.
Now, Cindy’s book shows off her quilting prowess and wisdom in lovely color and detail, but being a curious sort of magazine, we wanted to know more about the quilter herself. Here’s a snippet of our conversation. (Warning: Some of the following conversation has nothing to do with quilting.)
GenQ: What’s your favorite ice cream?
Cindy: My favorite ice cream is pistachio.
One of the quilts featured in her new book was made without a specific pattern–a classic improv technique. For those who’ve been pattern-bound, that can feel a bit risky. But make the jump! Go ahead and do it…and you might end up with your own Butterfly Kisses.
What’s your favorite adult beverage?
I enjoy drinking Bass Ale.
While there is an improv look and feel to each one of Cindy’s quilts, good technique is still a necessary solid foundation. Rotary cutters and rulers are used in each quilt so that blocks are square and lines straight. Except where they curve. Then they’re curvy. With Butterfly Kisses, she made each block without pins, then squared them up so the points would meet.
And…your fave shoes?
My Frye short boots.
Another one of her improv secrets is to embrace the screw-ups. Says Cindy: “It’s okay to make mistakes while you’re trying something new. In fact, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not learning as much as you could. Above all, realize that you don’t have to be perfect — you don’t have to share every piece you make with the world, but you’ll learn something even from (or especially from) the mistakes. Embrace them.”