Thursday, October 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Improv Quilt

A couple of months ago I started an improv quilt, combining techniques learned in online classes at, as well as Liberated Quiltmaking. Throughout the process I've tried not to plan too far ahead, dealing with whatever happens as I go.

This is how it looks now.

Please read on to see how I got there.

The idea for the quilt came from a color challenge found in a blog post by The Color Throwdown: navy, pale plum and green. The challenge is actually for cardmaking, but I adapted it to quilting.

I started with less than a yard of this pretty fabric which had been in my stash for many years.


I sewed together pairs of strips, then cut them into sections.


Trying to gauge how many sections would be needed to cover the length of the squarish background piece.

Sewing sections together

One long set of strips

That'll work.

Trimmed up the edges without worrying if they are parallel to each other.

Cut in half

Laid on top of the background. Looks good.

Cut roughly in half

Inserted one strip

Turned the block, then cut in half again.

Trying out the placement of the second strip. I like having the blue area in the center.

Sewn together. Block will be trimmed to size later.

Second block done.

At this point I set the project aside until yesterday.

Made two more blocks similar to the original ones.

Took a squarish background piece, cut it in fourths, and then sewed on triangles in a wonky fashion.

Triangles flipped and pressed

View from the back


View from the front

The points don't match but that's okay.

Inserted pink strips

Trying out a navy print for the center. I like it.

Five blocks done. All will be trimmed later.

There are four spaces that need to be filled. Trying out a French Braid look.

Flipped and pressed
This is where I ran into problems. I couldn't figure out how to make the braid without leaving an exposed edge. I spent about an hour trying out different ideas, without success. Finally I ditched all four blocks in this partially made state. They are now in the scrap bag, destined for Binky Patrol at some future date. Bye-bye!

Decided to keep things simple. I liked the idea of the on-point navy square in the center of the green background.

Just for kicks, I re-arranged the striped blocks. I liked them better the other way.

Before I started on the green blocks, I measured the five already-finished blocks. They varied in width and height from 9" - 10". I trimmed all five to 9" square.

Five blocks trimmed to size

I had two oblong strips in this mottled navy. I just cut them in half with scissors - no measuring.

I decided to applique the squares to the background. I could have zigzagged over the raw edge, but I chose to press under the edges for a clean finish. Above, two sides pressed under, about 1/8".

All edges pressed under

From the right side

Turned the "square" on point, positioning it roughly in the middle of the 9" square background.

Top-stitched just along the edges.

View from the back

Nine blocks done
The quilt is pretty small, would finish less than 27" square at this point.

Trying out different border fabrics

Blueberry wins.

Still wanted some pink. This one is nice and bright, but it's much bluer than the pink in the center square.

Found a couple of pinks that were more orange. The polka dot is cute, but perhaps too cute.

I chose the solid pink, which is just a little darker than the pink in the center block. I think it will help the design if I repeat the color.

Nine blocks sewn together. What a happy quilt.

Border fabrics with the main quilt top
I like what I see.

As I mentioned before, the quilt will finish up pretty small, even with the additiion of the two borders. I could use it as a wallhanging, but it will end up too wide for the space I have in mind. I've decided to give the finished quilt to Stanislaus Family Justice Center, where some child (probably a girl) will be able to use it for naps, cuddling up, or keeping her dolly warm.


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