Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Precision Heaven :: DP Circles

After so many improv projects I was ready to get back to a little more precision quilting.  It's funny, when I do a lot of one kind of quilting such as improv, I can't wait to get back to something that requires a bit more structure.  Going back and forth between different methods and techniques is what keeps things fresh and exciting!

It was also another opportunity to bust more of my stash.  It's been a great year for stash busting and I've lighten my load enormously!  After collecting, hoarding and accumulating over the years, there's nothing more satisfying than finally...finally using what I have!

51.5" X 63"

I totally love circles!  So picking the Drunkard Path block was an easy choice.  I grabbed my totes of less than loved fabric along with some that I love but could part with, and decided I'd use a 5" DP block.  The background is a combination of  neutrals such as Kona white, snow, ivory, bone and natural.  I've also accumulated random pieces of neutrals that were either too small for quilt backs or not enough for a full size quilt.  Turned out to be a win win!

Once I had all my DP blocks pieced, pressed and trimmed I was ready to lay them out on the design wall.  My original plan was to simply stack the blocks in neat and tidy rows, but that soon fell by the wayside.  The size was not at all what I wanted if I went that way, so I brainstormed and decided to stagger the circles.  By adding side strips on each horizontal row I was able to increase the size.  It's a simple fix that works every time!  

One thing I love about scrappy quilts is you can basically throw the kitchen sink of prints and colors together and it always looks amazing!  Isn't that true?  Or is it just me?!

Another way to use up scraps is in the binding.  I had plenty to work with and always have skinny strips of prints that are waiting to be used.  

But let's not forget about the back!  It's a good way to use up bits and pieces or stray blocks.  If I have a backing that isn't quite large enough, I often add a strip or two to enlarge the backing and make it work.  

The quilting was all about lines.  Vertical, horizontal and diagonal.  Nothing too crazy, nothing too special, but effective and perfect for this quilt.   

What would a post be without the obligatory quilt pile?!  Probably not my post!  It was fun seeing the different prints while I was making the blocks.  I got to reminisce about when I bought the fabric or what quilt I used it in.  Many times I was doing a happy dance to have finally used every.last.piece!  Rewarding, exciting and done!


Friday, October 16, 2020

BOO! The Craziness Continues

I've heard a few times just how crazy I am, and this is one of those times when I full agree with everyone who ever said so!

We all know I like to make small things like mini mini quilts, tiny houses or small improv.  I love taking on the challenging task it can often lead to.  Part of what makes those things work is my stash of scraps I keep on hand.  That being said, I often have a stack of fabric that I tuck away from a project in hopes of using it one day.  

The other day I came across one such pile and decided it really wasn't worth my time to use it and promptly tossed it in the trash.  It felt good...until it didn't.  Guess who dug through the trash and recovered the scraps?!  I kept thinking about what I could do with the scraps if I had kept them, one thing led to another and before long I was so deep into it that my head was spinning!

18" x 18"

Go me crazy!  I made a pixelate ghost.  It just happened and for the life of me I'm not sure how.  I'm also not a big Halloween fan, but here we are! 

I started cutting the trash scraps into 1 1/2" strips and soon learned I would need many, many, many more in order to make this pixelated ghost.  Instead of making 600 tiny squares and sewing them together one by one, I sewed strips in sets of 2-6 strips and subcut from there.  

The painters tape was used to make sections in which I could layout the pieces and minimize possible mistakes.  Working with a small section at a time helped immensely!  

Eventually I was able to sew each section together and end up with this adorable pixelated ghost.  It wasn't easy or quick, and it sure isn't perfect.  I know the goal in each and every quilt we make is mastering those perfect seams.  Perfection.  I threw that goal out the window half way through.  I tried, I hoped and I moved on.  It wasn't going to be perfect and frankly I was completely fine with that. 

Moving on from piecing I grabbed a wool batting scrap got ready for the quilting.  I love wool batting as long as I don't have to quilt it, but thought I could handle it for this one small quilt.  

What better way to deal with imperfection than by quilting imperfect pebbles?!  I sense a theme with this ghost!  The proof is in the pudding as to how funky imperfect my piecing turned out.  

Knowing from the start that this was going to be a challenge and there would be issues, I decide I'd share anyway.  I don't mind sharing my quilting flaws and hope that you don't mind seeing them.  Who's perfect?  Maybe next time I'll do better...or maybe not!

Besides, from a distance it looks fabulous and if I were to wash'd never know!  


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

'Water Color' :: Delicate Improv

This is my attempt at a softer side of improv!  Maybe even a softer side of myself, which isn't always apparent!

When I was making another improv quilt I came to a crossroads of sort.  I was having a debate with myself whether I should add a top and bottom section using very light colors.  I had the blocks made it came down to will it be a good thing or not necessary.  In the end I did add them, but during the debate I fell in love with the light pastel colors. thing led to another!

34 1/2" x 45 1/2"

The large improv is full of warm of orange, yellow, pink.  Which led me down the path to a different color story.  Let's get 'cool'!      

The hardest part was finding lighter colors in purple, blue, green and aqua.  Easier said than done with my stash!  I'm not immediately drawn to pastel colors when I buy fabric, but I have been trying to round out my stash with every possible option.

The background fabric is Kona Natural.  It's very close to Kona Snow, but has specks of natural fibers dispersed throughout.  Not large pieces or a lot, just enough!  To me Kona Snow is to pristine and I like having the Natural option on hand.

For once I didn't have to let the quilt sit while I came up with a quilting solution.  It would be organic matchstick-ish straight lines.  For the majority of the lines I used Aurifil Chalk, but I wanted to add some pizzazz and interest with other thread colors as well.  In each color section I used a coordinating pastel thread color and went to town.  Before long there it was!  A finished quilted quilt!

When I quilt organic lines like these I first start by marking sections with my hera marker that are generally straight and vary in width from 3"- 6" wide.  This way I can still do organic lines but I can stay on track so the lines have the illusion they are semi straight.  

I'm a big believer in doing what works for you and there really isn't a 'by the book' method in achieving the organic matchstick look.  The end result is all that matters.

I used Kona Ice Frappe for the backing for this quilt.  As you can see the texture is amazing!  The lines are randomly placed with varying widths which I know will always look amazing after a wash and dry!  The texture is pronounced and exactly what I was hoping for!

I'm not sure where this quilt will end up, on the floor with a baby or on a wall?  Either way I love everything about it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

More Improv :: Black & Red

I've said for months and months how I wanted to get back into some massive improv projects.  It's appropriate to say 'be careful what you wish for'!  When it rains, it pours!  I had no idea I would take it quite as far as I have, most of which I haven't even shared yet.  To kick off my improv extravaganza I'll start with this simple table runner!

15 1/4" x 42"

I've always been drawn the the classic red and black color combination.  I think it can be super dynamic and visually pleasing.  It was a nice change working with these colors after my last couple improv quilts.  Changing it up with color, yet still having the improv bug!

After raiding my red stash I came up with 5 different red fabrics.  The difference in the reds is minimal but noticeable.  As always I like to add a slight twist, so for visual effect I grabbed some coordinating woven stripes.  

The pieces of stripes that I added are small.  I didn't want those to be the standout in this table runner.  I'm not sure they could be considering that red and black is pretty much an 'in your face' mixture.

Once I decided basically how I wanted the shape of the center to be I set about making my blocks.  As with most of my improv there is no rhyme or reason.  I just start and continue adding pieces of fabric until I think it'll work.  And when it isn't quite the right size...I'll add another piece to it.  Eventually I find the sweet spot and can move on to the final piece of the  

One thing about making table runners is that there doesn't have to be a set size they need to be.  I like that I can make something 15" wide give or take an inch or two.  If during the squaring up process I need to take off another 1/2" to make it straight, it usually doesn't affect the finished design.

Another plus to table runners is how much easier it is to quilt them!  Granted I don't usually get creative or detailed in most of my quilting adventures, but it makes the process fast and fun whatever the final quilting design is.

In this case I started quilting straight lines 2, 3 or 4 inches apart with black thread.  That let me add more lines in red thread.  I didn't want a lot of red lines from side to side, just enough to please myself.  The plan was to have more red thread detail focusing on the center section, which did happen.  Once the red was finished I continued with black lines from side to side to fill in.

The quilting ended up being semi dense, not over the top dense.  The main attraction is the design and it didn't need more to make it standout.  Red and black is a combination that often doesn't need to be enhanced.  It's pretty bold all on it's own! 

It's been a fun adventure with all the improv I've done this past month, but with all good things it has come to an end.  At least for now!  All that freedom with cutting, piecing and assembly can get to a girl!  Which means I had to move on to something that was more structured!  

Isn't that one of the great things about quilting?!  You don't have to stay in one lane.  One day it's improv, the next day it's paper piecing!