rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

So, here I am at the end of another day: making samples and testing out ideas with "what if?" as I go along. Big problem: one thing sparks another idea and I'm off on a tangent. Well, maybe not such a problem: more of a problem would be if I forgot what the idea was before I made at least one trial block to see if it would work.

In my video I was playing with strips (or strings, as I prefer to call them because it sounds more playful). After I finished talking to you I decided to cut up another of those blocks with the diagonal line corner-to-corner. Here's what I ended up with. ' It isn't anything - but it will go into my bag of ideas and maybe I'll continue some day, or cut it up and use it somewhere. Or not. Maybe it will inspire you to play around with some ideas.

In any case, I am working on my first course; making samples. This morning I had to run over to the studio to bring back the thousands and millions of leftover strips to my living room. In fact, there are so many that I had to order two more storage crates to keep here, for now.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Leftover strips of all sizes, colors, eras, cultures, and patterns; also, commercial solids and Helene Davis' gorgeous hand-dyes. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. LOL.

Enough! I have to get back to work. I have more ideas about what to do than I have time to try them out. xo.

Don't fall over laughing - no, I changed my mind - it's fine to fall over laughing. Shooting yourself (which I am ready to do) without another person to deal with the camera is not only a learning curve, it is a TIME CONSUMER. This is about 3 days worth and I am totally not going public with it -- it's a run-through and at this point, I can't remember what it says or doesn't say. And you will hear all the noise when I move the camera down. ARGH. It's the real me (as my mother used to say).

BUT - it's only for you, my blog readers because it's a practice piece for a new video editor. (they are all awful, IMO). Not dressed up, no makeup, and in need of a haircut, this is the way I am in a classroom and I simply don't know how to be a "buttoned up" teacher or anything else. What you see is what you get. Have fun!

Oh, you should know that I have not been able to decide what the first thing I teach should be, so you can help me out here. This link will take you to the list of workshops on my website, although it probably needs updating. Let me know in the comments what catches your fancy and which ones you'd enjoy taking on line with me. It will help me make some decisions on where to start. http://www .studio78.net/workshops (and I don't need a critique on this video. LOL)

Thanks and I love you!


I went over to the studio earlier than usual yesterday. I have a small apartment in another building about 5 min away by car which I use as a studio and overflow guest space if I have more than 2 people visiting. (Fat chance to have anyone these days). After a couple of hours I smelled something burning and thought I heard an alarm. It wasn't mine. Long story short, smoke was pouring out of the apartment downstairs, we had to run for our lives and stay outside. I grabbed my purse but left my computer, my iPad and my phone. The fire department came and eventually put it out. The individual (who is very strange and honestly, non compos mentis, put eggs to cook on the stove and then either left the building or went visiting a neighbor, or fell asleep or who knows what. Smoke and rotten eggs - yum. Fortunately, nobody was hurt but his apartment was pretty much destroyed and the building smells awful. SO, I am working at home for the next few days or however long I feel lazy enough to stay home. Late afternoon I went back to grab my devices and the squares I had cut to make samples for the video and I am now set to work on my kitchen counter and the bridge table in my living room. I have a 6' design wall in the studio but non at home, so I grabbed a leftover 24"x48" piece of insulation foam, brought it home, and wrapped it in cotton batting. It will do.

This little quilt was made with leftover blocks from the one on the cover of Create Your Own Improv Quilts. Honestly, most of my best pieces started with leftovers from another quilt. I needed to see if I could do a different setting with the leftovers and I'm really happy with it. Someday I might get around to putting the facing on.

This is such a fun class to teach and to take. Strips (no ruler) squares (ruler ok when you cut them and trim them at the end, but that's IT!) Here's a closer look.

I have taught this so many times and it's never the same twice. (In fact, nothing I teach is ever the same twice - at least in the class room).

Here are a few student pieces on the design walls. No two alike!

I was thinking about offering this as an online class because people love it. But as I was going through my photo folders I found some 'WHAT IFs" that I had experimented with as I was writing this book. I never put them in the book because I was in the early states of 'let's see what happens when I do THIS" and I didn't have time to keep going. But I think this has good potential and I'm going to play around, see where it goes - and it's another riff on strips and squares (or rectangles).

There are so many possibilities with strips - and I love working with them because you really don't have to think. I am ready to start playing again.

I have several classes to put together for the guilds that have suspended in-person classes till we see what 2021 holds. But I have a couple of other ideas to follow up on. Everything leads to something else, don't you find that?

So I'm off to play and hope you will do the same. One of these days we'll play together!


 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019