I went to a Becky Goldsmith workshop last week. I know Becky is a Master of Applique--but I am not hugely into applique, and her improvisational patchwork workshop sounded more interesting, so that was the one I signed up for. The workshop got off to a bit of a rocky start--working improvisationally isn't easy for everyone, and quilting seems to attract a fair number of people with orderly minds who like having a set pattern to work from and exact measurements to cut, and asking them to just dump all that and start improvising left a few folks struggling a bit with where to start. Once people started cutting though, it started going more smoothly.
I decided to start a beach wallhanging, since I've always wanted to do one but somehow have never got around to it. I pulled all my beachiest fabrics, and a few random ones that weren't so beachy, and packed them up for a day of sewing. I got part of the beach and part of the sky pieced, but didn't even begin on the sea before it was time to go. Mine is the one in the middle. Becky had some interesting ideas about how to transition between the beach and the sea, we'll have to see how it works out when I get going on it again. I must admit that I wrapped it up in a tablecloth at the end of the day and haven't touched it since. I'm still deep in several other projects right now, so I'm not sure when I will get to it.
What intrigued me at the workshop was that one of the other quilters there started working on a 1/4-log cabin wallhanging, which is what I have been working on at home for the past couple of months. I had not consciously considered the 1/4-log cabin blocks that I've been working on as improvisational patchwork. How do you define improvisational patchwork? To me, the 1/4-log cabin blocks that I've been working on are a pattern, albeit a loose one (sew several scrap strips of fabric to two sides of a 2-inch square, trim to 7-1/2 inches square), so I didn't really consider them improvisational. I thought improvisational piecing involved less planning and less regularity, but I guess these blocks straddle the line between improvisational patchwork and regular piecing.