Category Archives: Improv Piecing

Icy Blue Finish

I have just a small finish to share this morning. For RSC16, I am making two projects. The first is the pattern, Pretty Gemstones, created by Cynthia Brunz and recently published in the McCall’s Quilting magazine. The second project is still a bit undefined. However, I know that it will be based on “made fabric” as taught by Victoria Findlay Wolfe in her book, “Fifteen Minutes of Play”.

At this point, I am making four squares of each color for the Pretty Gemstones quilt. I completed the Icy Blue color for January.


On each corner you’ll notice a very pale green rectangle. That green is a Kaffe Fassett cotton, called Ecru. I totally don’t get the name because Ecru makes me think of an off white color. At any rate, it will be the background fabric. I bought the end of the bolt at my local LQS, which always gives me a sense of satisfaction. She gets rid of a small amount and I get 15% off.  Win Win!  I defintely have enough to complete the project throughout the year and not be in fear of being unable to match it. These blocks take no time at all to stitch up and the effect will be fun at the end of the year.


With the exception of the one darker blue block, I tried for pale blues with gray and light purple tones to them. I want this quilt to have a cool tone to it which means I may skip some of the colors during the year. Definitely orange and brown, as they are such a warm color. I will make four of each and then may have to go back and augment certain colors to complete the quilt.

The next project, using made fabric, needs a bit more definition. I have really enjoyed reading the Fifteen Minutes book. So much so that I have been through it twice already. I have done almost no improv work but she makes it so simple. I have been sewing scraps together like crazy.


The biggest hurdle for me is to make everything lay flat. She talks about this in the book and basically says to chop of the parts that ripple and reattach them elsewhere.  I am getting better at it though.


I want this quilt to be really bold. I am thinking of creating fabric in the color of the month and then squaring it to about 13 or 14″. Maybe I will make HST’s with the improv pieces, using the same color for the other side of each one. I think using big, blocky HST’s might make a fun quilt, and there are endless ways to lay it out. I am still not quite sure though. So, I made two pieces of scrappy, icy blue fabric and will leave them be until I have a few more colors created.


In the next picture you can see a bit of rippling. I will slice it up a bit and reattach it so the piece calms down a bit.


Both of these RSC quilts are great fill in projects. I can pull out the bin and sew for a while without having to think too hard. Neither take lots of time and the results from both will be a lot of fun, with the added bonus of using up scrap.

One more thing – remember the baby bird quilt I made using orphan blocks that I had thrifted? I linked that post over to Muv’s Freemotion Mavericks linky party and this week she featured my project.I am flattered! Thanks Muv! I brought the quilt over to a local organization in our town, called Kare Crisis. Kare Crisis is a house that is open 24/7 and they will take care of any child ages 0-5 years if the parent is in need. They do not define the crises, rather it is up to the  parent to decide. Sometimes it is just a matter of having a sick baby and the mom needs to go to work. Sometimes it is something far more serious.  They also provide a safe place for supervised visitations. It is an awesome resource and the director, Lynne, was thrilled to have the quilt for babies to use.

Happy weekend everyone. It is raining hard this morning. After I run Julia over to school, I will spend some time in the sewing room.  Hope you are doing the same, wherever you are.  🙂

Linking with Angela at So Scrappy and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.

The Week’s Progress

This has been a good week for sewing. I made progress toward my April goals for ALYOF. Which is a good thing, considering April will be over before you know it. The speed with which time passes seems to increase frighteningly each month.  Anyway, it is April 23rd and I am over 3/4 of the way there. My goal was to make two table runners and either a wall hanging or runner. I wanted to complete three smaller projects this month. I finished the chevron table runner which I posted about last week.

This week I completed the second table runner. The process I used was new for me and was inspired by the way that Victoria Gertenbach at The Silly BooDilly works. I started reading her blog and looking at her style over the past couple of months. She is a modern quilter with a gorgeous sense of line and color. She quilts and does a lot of other work in fiber and paper art. I strongly suggest you take a look at her site as her work is lovely.  One of the tutorials she wrote was about pattern-less design.  She has developed a way of cutting a piece of fabric and then adding sections to it, thus creating her piece. I love the idea. While I didn’t actually follow her tutorial with this project (because it didn’t work with the fabric I had on-hand) I was surely inspired by her process .

About a year ago, I purchased a scrap bag from an on-line fabric shop. Sorry, I am not positive but I belive it was Alaska Quilting Adventures.  I ended up with loads of strips, probably end cuts from the bolts as she was creating bundles of precuts.  First I cleaned up the strips so they were (relatively) straight, though I did not cut them exactly the same width. Next, I sewed a set of them together to make a long rectangle of fabric. I cut that into three sections. I then played with more of the strips, creating blocks to add between the sections. Kind of hard to describe, but it was a very simple process. As I have mentioned before, I usually sew from a pattern or tend to copy other’s ideas for inspiration. This was very freeing. I want to try this again with a Kaffe Fassett jelly roll of shot cottons that I have. Here is the resulting table runner.

runnerThe colors are soft and soothing.  I had fun creating the block in the center which has a bit of extra detail in the piecing.

table runner detailWhen I was ready to quilt it I decided to use something with curved lines to offset the straight lines of the piecing. I chose the Baptist Fan pattern. I had not done this before so I drew it on newspaper with a sharpie until it was comfortable and then sewed a few fans on a practice piece. It is really a simple shape to FMQ. I didn’t trace it on the runner before quilting. If I had, I am sure my lines would have less wobble.

image3 (3)

It is backed and bound with the same fabric. Not sure what it was but it used up some of my stash which is always a good thing. Overall, I am happy with the result and it was a huge learning experience, both in piecing and quilting. Yay!

The third April project I worked on is for my first mini-swap. This swap features fabrics by Allison Glass. I was really getting nervous about this project, doubting my abilities till I was just about stuck. I decided to start cutting fabric last weekend and just dive in. I chose the Fireworks pattern by Canoe Ridge Creations. She does a lot of mini quilt pattern design and I have several of her patterns. They are easy to use and her instructions are great. I have the blocks done and need to stitch them together. It should finish out at 24″ x 24″. The swap isn’t due to be mailed out until early June so I am way ahead of schedule. May is going to be a busy month so I’m glad to check this one off. (By the way, for those of you who have done swaps, do you usually put anything on the back for hanging, or is that up to the recipient to do that?  Please leave a comment if you have experience here! I appreciate it. )


The colors aren’t showing correctly due to the poor lighting but I am happy with it. The blue in the third section out is much more vibrant than shows here. I really need better light in my sewing room. When this is finished I will take a picture outside. I am hoping to sew the blocks together later today and get it quilted next week. Of course, that leads to the perpetual questions, how do I want to quilt this? Most likely I will straight line quilt it with a narrow spacing.

First though I have a garden swap to go to this afternoon. I joined a gardening group and we are exchanging plants from our gardens. About six weeks ago, I potted starts from my Shasta Daisies, Oregano, and Chives.


It will be fun to give these to the group and bring home something different. Hoping for plants that don’t require much in the way of water!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday and  Crazy Mom Quilts. Links to these wonderful sites are at the top of the page, under Link Ups.