The theme of repetition reminded me of a neat quilt. With variations in color and block sizes that help give liveliness to a static pattern. What can happen in the improv patchwork since there are no precise measurements or perfect cuts to use?

Deformation, similitude takes over, but not equality (which is unlikely to be done freehand). Color repetition can help, but if color is not used systematically in the various blocks what will be the result? These are the first considerations and questions I asked myself before starting the Blue Improv repetition game. I decided that I would try to make an “improv” quilt without intention, helping me with an additional parameter ( in addition to those given by color and shape) namely: time limit, trying to work quickly, acting on instinct without a predefined initial idea. This is something unusual for me as I usually make decisions step by step and take a lot of time especially when defining the composition on the design wall. But since it’s a game, let’s play and experiment.

 

I then chose the palette and the basic shape, the rectangle. In short succession I cut some strips, sewn, assembled, cut out and in a short time I finished my top. Only there I stopped to look at it, to see the result in its entirety. The final step was to choose a title.  (Paola told us her adventures with titles in an article  in this blog.)

Why give a title? To identify him? To give meaning? Both I would say. So when you have a clear idea to convey, it’s usually a pretty easy job. But in this specific case, when you start without initial ideas, how can you choose a title? When you look at an image, instinctively, the brain tries to recognize a “something”, a known form, or that in some way can be associated with a definable thing. The first thing that came to mind was a nice Scottish tartan fabric so “Improv tartan” seemed to be a fitting title. But I was not satisfied with the first impression and I also wanted to ask my husband and my children. The question was: what is it? What does it bring to your mind? I felt a bit like the Little Prince’s aviator when as a child he showed the drawing of the boa that had eaten the elephant and adults mistake it for a hat. The answers were: a hashtag, a video game, a cage. Interesting I would say! Everyone has elaborated the image in his own way, based on knowledge, experience, preferences. Perception, psychology, neurology blend together and transmit a different result for each of us, prompted by something that was born by chance and does not actually have a precise meaning. I find it fascinating! Who knows what answers I would have by asking more people? So, in addition to the fact that I stumbled upon a topic to investigate, neuroscience, I found the title for my quilt: “Perceptions”

I could have used the famous: “Untitled”, but I don’t like it, it leaves a void and creates a kind of detachment between the author and the viewer even if it can always be a way of saying: “you choose, it’s what you think!” Happy sewing to you!

The material we use when we start sewing improv, can have a consequence on the resulting work.

For example, I’ve noticed that the size of the fabric I group on my sewing table as a fresh start, occasionally influences the piecing mesh I will finally execute.
Do I have available large yard stash?
Do I prefer to handle medium pre-cut strips?
Do I recover all tiny-piece leftovers having the same colour of the planned palette?
For me, the initial input sometimes happens to remain embedded in the coming composition, such as: in the tessellation scale, in the shapes elongation… even if at the beginning there was no intention for it.

May small gestures subtly create recurrence?

Recurrence easily translates into repetitions.
Repeated gestures are a very natural element for improv quilting.
The act of piecing and sewing has its own rhythm that is reflected in the resulting image; the more repetition is effortless, the better uniformity is achieved, so that the flow of composition stays mirrored in the fabric without hiccups.

Sometimes I ask myself if I can keep repetitions regular for a long time.

If unity of time, space and subject is adopted during piecing (as in Aristotle’s drama rules!), my resulting texture remains uniform. If, on the contrary, my top piecing is interrupted by other projects, and re-started after some mind changes, then fabric may play unexpected tricks. Some extra-feature slips in, changing the mark-making act…
For example, it took me one year to complete “Dam”. When I started, I allowed sewing line to follow scrap border irregularity. Months later, I introduced a straightening cut to each block. Only later I understood that, from that moment on, all the composition took a turn.

How will I deal with #blueimprovrepetition challenge? I still need to start, but I can already look at the examples from quilters who joined us, and have shown their progress. I can peek on sewing gestures taking place in sites upper than Northern Polar Circle, in Australia, in Chile, in Russia, USA and so on…
I can’t wait to be with them!

Before the launch of the new Quilt Improv Studio game, we proposed a poll to quilters interested to participate, in order to decide whether one or more shapes will be used during blue improv repetition challenge. The result was:

ONE!

Thus, each participant shall decide which shape to use within the quilt.

SHAPE

Since that day, I’m thinking about the meaning of “shape”.

The first understanding of shapes goes back to childhood memories. Primary shapes are squares, rectangles, triangles, circles; many baby toys are made with such shapes, aimed to be inserted within holes, or as fancy buttons that sing varied tunes, or combined with meaningful colors. Our experience returns to these cubic blocks when we, as adults, play with babies on the floor, allowing that cylinders, balls and stars gather on the carpet and roll happily around.

When learning geometry rules at school, we understand that the shapes may be of many more types. Shapes are classified by the number of sides, and their names acquire complexity… who remembers what’s an icosahedron or a dodecahedron? Maybe the gems of the Seven Dwarfs can give an idea? And the irregular rhombus of a kite? And the symbols, the letters and so on? #@&%$! We live in an universe of shapes!

After those scattered experiences, we arrive to the question of today: which shape to use for our quilt?

I’m still thinking of that: I’m searching for the magic shape, that allows me to express the idea floating in my mind. Blue palette is ready, and the fabric I’ve collected is suggesting me a theme. Maybe I will change my mind during the improvisation process, but in this starting phase, I visualize a deep ocean, soft waves, swimming fish… a tropical and calm sea, fat and slim marine creatures, splashing around, like in a day dream… 

Which form can render this?

Can I call a fish “a shape”? How many sides, straight and curved, are required then… if I can manage to sew it at all?

My background as a Math teacher brings me back to practicality: piecing and engineering needs prevail. I’ve decided: I’ll use four sided shapes. One rule, many possibilities for repetition and deformation… perfect for improv!

My list is done: good fabric, simple rules, evocative vision… am I ready to start? How easy is to translate fantasy into something real? The improvisation path is open… A populated ocean is free to evolve, and possibly turn into a sky filled with flying kites!

Let’s join the participants of the  #blueimprovrepetition  game, and you will see how the story goes on.

Some time ago, my mother visited my home, strolled around the corridor, checked all the rooms, looked at my wall panels, and concluded: “You make too many blue quilts!”.

One of my early quilts was made using almost only blue. I pieced some striped blocks, I tried their position on the table, right near the solid fabric remainder. It looked so nice that I decided to embed that solid as negative space. I allowed myself to piece blue lines on light blue background, in spite of their similarity. The resulting quilt had very mild contrast: pieces seemed not separated objects, but rather ripples within the same object. That Kona shade was named “pool”. Quilt title became “Water”, and free motion quilting populated the waves with diving creatures.

Blue color is often in my gaze.
I live in a town facing the sea.
I love exploring river courses with my bike.
I noted that there are recurrent water related subjects in my quilt titles: “Lagoon”, “Seaside”, “Fountain”, “Nautilus”, “Pond”, “Boat race”, “Ford”, “Dam”.
I’m not the only one who feels immersed inside blue subjects. Also my son, when observing this quilt of mine full of deep blue, decided to name it “Sails”. It’s incredible how a slight curvature is capable of transforming a triangle piece into a moving vessel. 

So, combination of a certain shape and a certain colour is enough to become evocative? I shall be aware of this, before I pick the shape to be used in our next improv game! In a past quilt of mine, where I cut wavy pieces while using just a spark of blue, this combo was enough for me to choose its title as “Tide”.

Today I collected all the blue fabric in my stash, and I found some double pieces. When I visit my favorite quilt shop, I often end up buying their blue solids again and again. I can be sure it will be used someday.

I must admit that, before taking this picture of my fabric, I cleared off the doubles. Among this pack, I will select my favorite shades. We are all busy with preparations: Carla has retrieved her blue fat quarters coming from New Zealand; Giovanna is checking that, among us, we choose different shapes; I’m adding contrasting colors to the blue field that fills my sewing desk. And you? How do you select your starting material for the  #blueimprovrepetition game? 

As you probably know, one of our goals is to have fun together while improving some skills, technique or ability, to create a personal style and to reunite improv quilters that want to participate in these initiatives.  During one of our recent virtual meetings we started to talk about “shapes” and “repetition” (Paola loves to use repetition in her quilts, Carla wrote a lively article about the magic of the kaleidoscope that changes shapes every moment). Hence the idea for the second Quilt Improv Studio game. What about playing with a shape? Rotating, enlarging and reducing it? Or any other idea you can think of, with your selected shape. Repetition is an element of design, a recurring feature in many forms of art, in photography and in both traditional and modern patchwork. It is used to give a rhythm, and it is a way to create unity. How will we use it in improv quilting? There are many possibilities to express our creativity and we hope you will play with us also this time!

Now that you know that the focus of our new game will be: “Improv repetition” you can start to think about it; in the next few days we will propose to you some polls on our Instagram stories in order to decide together other aspects of the game (yes, we like to do things in a collaborative mode).
Thus… look at @quiltimprovstudio IG “stories”: polls will be published there starting from October 1st.  

The game shall not have many rules: you will find them on our site once the polls are finished. You know that what we like (and has also been appreciated by the previous participants) is the fact that we share our pictures and thoughts while working. Remember that you can do your mini quilt following your own rhythm and feeling free to make posts when you want.

Curiosity, study and research are the base of the knowledge development, so we collected some articles on the subject that we are happy to share with you. You can also look at your books, magazines or other sources and let us know!

Be ready, fun is starting soon!

link: visual communicaton design-principle-of-repetition-pattern

link: the quilt show-design-to-quilt-principles-of-design-pattern-repetition week 35

link: the quilt show-design-to-quilt-principles-of-design-pattern-repetition-week-36  

link: Sherri Lynn Wood blog-Repetition, Improv, and Trance Quilt Making 

Our first challenge is going to finish in a few days. This is the right time to stop and to think about it, before we start another one. 

In April we decided to launch a game about color and to post all the works on Instagram, hence the idea of involving anyone who wanted to join us: quilters from every part of the world accepted our invitation to play with us. It was a big pleasant surprise!  

Many of them expressed their enthusiasm for this initiative, experienced in a moment of closure. We believe that people appreciated the “social” aspect and the chance to focus their mind on a personal project to carry on. We are really happy about this!

Looking more at the practical side, we decided to propose some questions to quilters who have already finished their work within September 15th  to pursue our community sharing intent. Questions were about what they liked about this game, what they think to have learnt and how they have overcome the difficulties while working. We have collected the replies, you can read them below.

This occasion prompted some of the participants to make their first try with improv.

Adriana Pereira @drikartesatelie from Brazil told us how it was her start: “I went in search of my orange hand dyed fabrics and other commercial fabrics, to construct the improvisation palette. After that, I spent about 15 days just looking at those beautiful fabrics and thinking: I’ll spoil fabrics because nothing will come out!!! But I thought, if I don’t start, I won’t know I can ever do it: I was really scared! I confess that the first cut and seams are there in my patchwork box, but then I found myself full of so many ideas and small blocks done, that it was difficult to choose what to use in the challenge. When I started to put blocks on the wall, choosing the position and taking pictures, there were many photos: for mathematicians, an almost infinite progression!!!! In August 2020 I finished my orange summer challenge. Wonderful and enriching experience with modern and improv quilting.”
Marta Vázquez Urbez @vazquezurbez, Spanish from Oman, said: “this has been an incredible opportunity to try something new. I’m completely sure that I’m going to use this technique in future works.”
Bagarus Magdi @bagarusmag from Hungary replied: “It felt good to play together, I enjoyed the unrestricted freedom of improv quilting, learning from the group. I painted materials, I planned what theme I would choose for the colors, I watched the work of the quilters of different nations and I made my first improv quilt.”

We created on-line improv games as a positive reaction to the mandatory distancing period, and we’re glad to hear that this approach resonated also with the participants’ minds!

María Paz Avalos @sakura.quilting from Chile said: “In my case, most of the time, patchwork and quilting are very lonely activities. But in occasions like this challenge, I felt part of a group. I needed this feeling because of the world situation; the quarantine and other restrictions have imposed a severe distance, but our art has made us stay close. I think that the quilters that participated in the challenge were all motivated and felt very welcome. The community was warm and positive.”
According to Brigitte Rossetti @patchbri from Switzerland, “it was a beautiful experience to do something together with people you don’t know. I like challenges. It was also a good way to spend time during this pandemic!”

The international and social aspect of the experience popped out from the comments of many quilters.

Melanie Rudy @melanie_rudy_art from Canada said: “It was amazing to connect with all the wonderful participants from all over the world. I joined the group thinking it was a local organization from Canada and it originated from Italy. Such a surprise! This experience had to do with making lovely friendships. The participants were so talented and interested in each other’s work.”

For Carolyn McKibbin @quiltygardener from the USA, “it just seemed like a fun, casual group of quilters with open minds. Willing to be vulnerable, to accept feedback and to offer constructive feedback. All the quilters had a passion for improv and such different personal styles. I liked the step-by-step progress photos starting at the fabric pull. This way I could really see how each quilter honed an idea and made adjustments. It was like taking an improv quilting class! The small quilt size meant it was something I could complete in a week or two without a major long-term commitment. I also love the color orange, as well as Italian people in general.”

Chiara Cingano @therollingcat from Italy said: “I usually don’t take part in Challenges or Quilt Alongs or that kind of thing, mostly because of time constraints and also because I like to make my own choices. This time it was different: the rules were few and clear and this meant that we had in fact A LOT of freedom!”

Everybody used the same colors, and still, @vazquezurbez  noted that “even if the palette was only orange, the final works were so different!!! The best part has been seeing how other people work and create their quilts. This experience has been very useful to meet other quilters, and in particular to share it with my mother Maribel  @mariurbezg, who prepared these comments with me, since she joined the challenge too, from Spain, despite the distance between the two of us!”

The replies of the participants concerning their efforts, provide tips that can be useful for all of us:

@melanie_rudy_art suggested, in case of difficulties, to “just keep trying. Use a good iron. Use the starch called Flatter when things seem off. Take a break for a day or two and on second look it isn’t usually a problem. Remember that there will be another layer of quilting to add to the canvas. Enjoy the process!”

Andrea @morphea80 from Germany made a notice on constraints: “I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work at my own pace. I also liked the fact that there were only a few specifications such as color theme and size. There were no difficulties during improvisation, because I understand improvisation to be a playground without any rules besides those I make up myself. This way I’m free to go wherever even the difficulties will carry me.”

@patchbri feels that “it’s not difficult, when you add one piece after the other. If the result seems too odd, you can still correct it!”

Enza Pizzolotto @pizzolottoenza from Italy uses the following strategy to find adjustments: “When I encounter some difficulties, or when I feel that I don’t like the work done, I stop and I take a break doing something different. Sometimes I wake up in the night, and I return to my work: then, I look for something to add or to subtract from it”. 

Why not asking for a different point of view? @sakura.quilting wrote: “My husband is an engineer but has a modern artistic vision that I share. Sometimes I ask for his point of view regarding a project. Often his suggestions are part of the solution I needed.”

@marialuisama takes a break from her work when she doesn’t know how to continue: she takes a picture of the quilt and looks at it while having a coffee. Then, she comes back to work, now equipped with the “coffee suggestions!”

When @barthelregina finds some difficulties she “tries to find another way to deal with it. The good thing about improvisation is: nobody knows what I wanted to do and what I decided to change”.

Finally they shared with us what they’ve learnt:

@vazquezurbez told us: “I’m not sure if I can share a lesson from this challenge, but as a beginner in the process of improvising, sometimes I overthink about what I’m doing… next time I will try to think less and to cut more. Be free!”

@therollingcat described the following experience: “I had to be very disciplined: I learnt that it was vital to iron each and every seam, especially the very narrow ones. I quite like the result. It’s different from anything I have done so far.  It’s right there on the wall in front of my computer. So, when I look up, I see it and I go back to a strange Summer when I took up a challenge… and I survived to tell the tale!”

@pizzolottoenza underlined that “you always learn something new, when you look at the work of others, either if you like them or not.”

Last words, from @quiltygardener: “It’s okay to be vulnerable. To not be really sure if you like your work, but share it publicly anyway. Have faith, stick to your vision, and carry through with it, but be open to making improvised adjustments along the way.”

Thanks to the feedback from participants, we got confirmation that a common passion (in our case, improv quilting) facilitates development of ideas, and connects even with language differences and distanced conditions. 

The pictures of this page represent a small preview of all works done. We invite you to appreciate the gallery of all Orange Summer Challenge quilts at the following link: @quiltimprovstudio, where you will find complete info and other comments from the authors. 

Additional Orange quilts from participants that still need to complete their work, will continue to be published in @quiltimprovstudio gallery, until the start of a new game (in preparation for the next month). Because, as @therollingcat told us: “Ladies, I’m ready for the next challenge!!!” 

Thank you for joining us, adventurous quilters for adventurous projects!

 

Improv process sometimes reminds me of game-books, those stories where the reader can decide how the plot goes on, by choosing between different options at the end of each chapter, thus being redirected to distant pages to continue reading; multiple story endings exist, as a result of the alternative routes taken.

Sometimes I see, inside one of my completed quilts, all the different paths I had in front of me while sewing, all the versions that I didn’t make come true, like the multiple game-book story ends.

For example, during the construction of the columns and rows quilt, I prepared digital images that developed possible options on how to finish it: a full texture overlay; texture fields interrupted by windows. Even if I finalized it in another manner (with an open-boundary network), I still would like to look at the real quilt, and to see, like a hologram, the other possibilities coming true.

Photographing construction alternatives is even stronger in showing me the history of a quilt improvisation path. I completed my first exercise attending the  course of Irene Roderick, where I photographed all the different compositions tried with the process named quiltdance. I still love one of such photos, an improv I did not materialize, a “deep sea” version: it had a blue area going down bigger and bigger; it should have contained strange yellow shaped creatures, diving scattered versus the bottom: I still wonder which shapes those creatures may have grown into.

When I pose myself the question on how to check the effect of different composition choices, I can hear the voices of Nancy Crow and Lisa Call, telling me: “Do them all! Work in series!”. I visualize the effort of spending months sewing the remake of all the imagined versions for the same quilt. But, in contrast to such good rule, many other ideas push and wish to open the door; all the unused colors in my fabric stash ask for their turn in a fresh new start. I often remain with the words of Alanis Morissette, singing in my mind: “The good advice, that you just didn’t take… isn’t it ironic?”

In the long run, with some favorite shapes, I still do a bit of work in series mode. I have a few preferred motifs, or concepts, to whom I periodically return. Such as the simple, and evergreen, nested square shape. In the past years, I’ve tried several ways to position squares in a textured field. This month, The Orange Summer Challenge gave me the perfect opportunity to continue such series.

Since the Orange Summer Challenge is still open until late September, I decided to sew a second orange quilt. While participating to the game with a second entry, I didn’t feel the pressure I experienced with my first entry: I didn’t need to try something unusual. I could select something I was familiar with, remixed within new boundaries, i.e. the simple rules set by the game.
Now, my orange squares quilt has become one of my favorite versions of square-based quilts in my series. I can admit it: repeating an exercise serially feels like a good idea.

When I was a child, I was fascinated by kaleidoscopes. I mean, old style kaleidoscopes, made with fragments of colored glass, inserted in a cardboard tube, with mirroring internal walls. The most beautiful ones were quite heavy for my childish hands, and when I rotated the tube, a charming clinking noise captured me. Pointed pebbles trilled like bells, accompanying the formation of shapes inside the pipe: multicolored flowers, fading shapes… bright hues, optical illusions lasting for one second and disappearing while I was trying to give them a name… I spent hours with my eye in the viewfinder!

Today’s kaleidoscopes are made in plastic, they are not as enchanting as the old ones… but I don’t mind: because I found my new kaleidoscope in the world of improv!

I was thinking of this yesterday evening: it’s days that I’m struggling with the quilt top dedicated to our game; I decided to challenge myself with free-form creation, postponing to a later phase the issue of how to unite a series of jagged pieces.  

I create blocks, I place them on the design wall, I displace them trying to harmonize each one with the other parts. If the audition is successful, I take a photo to remember parts positioning, and I immediately try another version. Each trial creates a new design, and the overall perception of the image is recombined every time! It’s like a kaleidoscope: images are fragmented, rotated upside-down, remixed, and in each session I think: “Yes, this is the right shape!”, but it’s not really true, because the following trial opens new possibilities again! Even the pictures taken become quickly obsolete, because something has changed in the meanwhile, some blocks have been cut and sewn in a new fashion, a new order, a new version…

My head becomes populated with a series of images, where my top becomes alive, it shows a smiling face, an elegant bow, a funny grimace, and then disappears, leaving me alone, with the last choice fixed in stone on the wall. 
Is this one in front of me the best possible combination ever? 
I don’t know, probably it’s not the right one, maybe another option (tried twenty changes before) was a better one… but pieces have likely been cut and modified too much: that old revision is now unattainable… 

I don’t know if I expressed my feeling well, but for me, improv is like this: a captivating acrobat that offers kaleidoscopic visions as a gift.

You may say it’s just fabric, just an ordinary attempt to create a beautiful work. You may say that there are hundreds of wonderful patterns (I’ve appreciated and executed plenty of them myself too), patterns which are easier to be followed with their step-by-step instructions. But my reply is that improv can be understood once it has been tried. Trying to play with fabric, to free one’s mind, to follow a dream… the worst result is a piece that needs to be modified, to be readjusted, unless that feeling arrives: the sensation of having reached what was desired. A voice from the heart telling that it’s possible to stop, and to enjoy the result.
I wish all of you to find the kaleidoscope of your dreams, while trying improv!

Venice, Rome, Trieste. This is where each of us is living. A distance of 700 kilometres keeps us apart, we have almost never seen each other in person. Ok, to be honest, Paola and Giovanna met once in Trieste, and we have ideas for visiting Carla in Rome, but such plans have no date yet. Thus, the solution is clear: our common passion travels essentially on-line.   
Distance is not a show-stopper: on the contrary, it sparks our curiosity!
When a conversation on improv does start, it cannot be stopped. We feel like visiting the same sewing room, the virtual studio we have created seems to be working like a real place! Quilt Improv Studio is a departure gate from which many adventures can fly, following the line of a thread.

Improv patchwork is known by a small number of people in Italy: we wish it becomes more widespread around us… and the world is full of improv quilters! 
By comparing information from each of us, we familiarize with new methods, we share notice on quilt artists to be followed, we express our thoughts on approaches to improv… and the geographical distance between us disappears: it doesn’t matter if we’ve not met yet, the bond grows strong!
Two months have passed since the launch of our Orange Summer Challenge: seeing that it reached quilters from distant places in the globe has been a joy and a surprise! 
We feel the charm of experiencing a collaboration really aimed to deepen our knowledge and, when possible, to involve more quilters in improv initiatives.   
There is still time to try the Orange initiative: we hope that it gives fun, that it facilitates connection between quilters, and the only risk in practicing improv is to get passionate for it!

If you are starting or finalizing an Orange improv quilt, you may be interested to know that we are already engaged in phone calls, chats and discussions on the next steps: we are setting the foundation for the new game to come. We invite you to keep an eye on @quiltimprovstudio Instagram stories, because in the next period we shall involve you on some decisions for the next initiative, in order to take your preferences into account.
What to add? Our video talks on the topic of quilting are like a river of words, flowing and flowing along… until they are interrupted by a burst of laughter! And we love those moments too!

When I started doing patchwork, most of my work, since the beginning, took the shape of wall quilts.
I completed also a king size bed quilt, some baby quilts, table runners as wedding gifts; but hanging wall quilts have always been my preference.

A wall quilt deserves a title, doesn’t it?

My quilts are abstract, but it’s easy to see emerging shapes within an abstract pattern. So, my titles often reflect what I can see as popping out, usually during or after the composition: not an initial intention, but the surprise brought by improv.

I realized soon that each viewer does notice a different pattern of his own within a given abstract image; sometimes this vision remained parent to my title, other times it was very different, thus showing the opening of possibilities. Due to this, I occasionally quilt (in the form of sewn handwritten text) all the words that the viewers told me, derived from their mental images: their suggestions came while the work was still in progress, which was a lively experience I was honored of. For the finished quilt, the title could still be a single word, but the multiple options remained embedded in thread on the work.

In other occasions, I went more extreme.
Looking at my older quilts reminded me of all that was happening in the period when I was piecing it. I experienced this also with drawing, including some drawings done when I was a child, and with my photographs: they often kept inside years-old memories, even if not at all related with the picture subject. Thus, I started to fix, in a quilt title, a favorite moment coming from the period when that work was in progress. Quilt scope is free!
Some of those titles are very personal hints. They may hold small instants of magic. Such as: “Paper puppet”. This name refers to a fleeting moment spent with my kind on the balcony, when we played with home-made paper figures, pending from a thin rope held in our hands, figures who seemed to dance while moved by the air… to jump and run on the mild wind… “Paper puppet” became the title of a patchwork, which contained many floating squares: some resemblance with the title still exists, while our playful memory becomes unforgettable, sticking to the name of the quilt.

Titles like these are less representative of the image visible on the quilt: they are more an expression of the feelings experienced while sewing that piece. Still, in one of my last quilts that has name selected as a story memory, I noticed that the consequences of this approach can be funny.

In the days when I was sewing the quilt for the Orange Summer Challenge, I spent a weekend on the mountain: my first holiday in open air, after months passed strictly at home. I met friends, and we took a long walk in the wood; at a certain point, it started to be late, and the only way to get back in short was to pass through a river barefoot, in a point where the water was not too deep. No bridge available nearby. I opened the way, testing if it was possible to pass. The water was icy… it hurt the feet. We were nine: parents, kids, persons aged from 10 months old (a child who stayed dry, clinging on the back of her mother) to seventy years old (a brave grandmother who passed the river with fluent and bold stride!) Since at the beginning we felt unsure, it was a great emotion when all of us succeeded! We reached a restaurant just in time before the rain started to pour!

When I was back home, I titled my quilt, which contained nine rounded log cabins (exactly as the nine faces of us, who looked at each other happily after the river crossing experience), “Ford”. This wonderful memory deserved to be fixed there.

Some days later, my quilting friends Giovanna, while looking at the finished mini quilt and hearing of its title “Ford”, asked me: “Where is the river?”. And I had to admit: “There is no river”. The abstract quilt image was weakly connected with the symbol of the nine of us who passed that ford, but I had not depicted any river, and even the colors had nothing to do with water… the quilt surface was extensively covered by warm orange solids. Giovanna insisted: “I meant, where is the river you visited, geographically?”. This, I was more than happy to tell: I love being familiar with all the river names in my region, so I could explain everything about its flow line. And I allowed myself: maybe my title was not so odd.

How many different ways to choose a title may exist?