A little bit of Improv fun…

Over the last month or so I have been slowly making a quilt top, using nothing but my solid scraps.  This week I finally finished sewing it all together to make this piece of modern crazy….

modern improv quilt It all started when I began cutting up my solid scraps into useable squares…

my 5 inch block collection

I was left with a pile of long strips, small square and random shapes.  As a scrap quilter I could not just throw them away, so I started making Improv blocks.

improv orange blockMy first step was to sew lots of the small little bits together to make bigger units.

aqua improv blockIf I found a curved piece in amongst the scraps I used it…

improv pink 2The same with triangles (there was no shape biased here!)…

red improv blockI was not afraid to slash through a block and add extra bits…

purple improv block And I always made sure that there was tonal variation in the blocks…

green improv blockI worked colour by colour….first I pulled out all my yellow scraps and made blocks….then my orange…then my red etc.  Working row by row, colour by colour I could make sure that there was some flow between each line of blocks…

improv quilt detail 3My blocks finished at 6 inches square and not one of them is even remotely like the another.  I found an amazing freedom in making this quilt….there was no pattern to follow, no measuring or pre-cutting to do.

quilt detail 1 When I needed a break from paper piecing or just wanted to do something quick and creative I grabbed a handful of scraps and made some blocks.

quilt detail 2So much fun…I can highly recommend this process… it is perfect for letting go and just playing.  There is no right or wrong, just colour and creating and fun.

Ellen’s Snowball…

Last week I posted the last pink block I was using for the baby quilt I am making….it was not my last pink snowball though.  While posting on Instagram a friend requested I send the quilt to her…I could not oblige but as a compromise I said I would make her a pillow.

So this weekend I sat down and designed Ellen a snowball block.  I must admit I was a little influenced by the New York Beauty blocks I have been making…and I came up with this.

Ellens Snowball blockIt is a little more complex than some of the snowball blocks but I love how it turned out.  The block consists of 56 pieces but came together really quickly.  I of course had to throw in some dinosaurs and my beloved Aussie kangaroo print.

block piecesNow the block you are looking at is 16 inches big.  I enlarged the pattern for the cushion and will add a black and white border around the block to have finished size of 18 inches.  So this weeks pattern comes in two sizes… the original 12 inch block for those that want it as an option to go with the other blocks…Ellens Snowball 12 Inch pattern.  And just in case you are interested in doing a pillow version like me the 16 inch pattern (which comes in two pieces/pdfs)…Ellens Snowball Pattern A and Ellens Snowball Pattern B.

Cross Stitch Sparkle quilt

This week I managed to finish up another quilt… my Cross Stitch Sparkle quilt finally got quilted and bound….it only took 30 weeks and a friggin ton of half square triangles!

x stitch sparke quiltThis quilt started last year when I agreed to test a quilt pattern for Sara at Knotty Gnome.  I love to challenge myself and I had never done anything with half square triangles before so I jumped in feet first.   Each block is 18 inches square and I thought I could make a little baby quilt.  My original top finish was four blocks by four blocks.

cross stitch sparkle topBut…in a moment of crazy a month or so ago… I thought I would make the quilt bigger and added an additional 5 blocks!  I had just cut a whole pile of 4 inch solid squares so I thought why not use some of them.

x stitch sparkle detail 2Actually I love this size quilt…I think you really get a great sense of the pattern with the extra blocks added.

x stitch sparkle quilt detailI used so many different warm and cool solids in this quilt.  I know I have tons of Kona and Michael Miller Cotton Couture as well as Moda and a sprinkling of American Made in there.  Basically any appropriate solids I had in my scrap bin went into this thing.

quiltingI quilted the top using straight lines on my home machine.  For some reason I did not want to quilt it too densely and straight lines echoing the grey center square seemed to be the thing to do.

quilt backingFor the backing I used part of an IKEA duvet cover I had in my stash… it was the perfect back for this crazy colourful quilt.

quilt bindingFinally I hand bound the quilt using scraps of different greys.  The grey was the perfect way to frame the quilt and contain the colour explosion.

Quilt Details

Pattern:  X stitch Sparkle by Knotty Gnome
Fabric: Various solids
Quilt Size:  55 inch x 55 inches

Pink is the new….

Another Pink themed Paper Piecing Monday…

pinwheel snowball quilt blockToday’s block is the last one for my baby quilt.  It is another EQ inspired block that I turned into a paper pieced pattern.  You can find the free PDF pattern for this 12 inch block here…Pinwheel Snowball

pink block piecesNow that I have completed four of these blocks, I have been playing with the layout for the baby quilt.  For the first time I had a plan for my paper piecing Monday blocks before I started making them…

baby quilt wipI knew I wanted to make the most of the scrappy black and white background fabric so I cut a stack of 6 1/2 inch square blocks from my b/w stash and started playing with the layout.

design wall wipI have a bit more rearranging to do with the blocks, but I am close to being happy with the layout.  My hope is to have the top done by Friday…weather permitting!

Back on track….

So I am not sure if any of you noticed…but I have been very slack in my posting lately.  I have managed to keep my Paper Piecing Monday posts happening but everything else has just fallen by the wayside.

Bad bad me.  Last week I was teaching all week and found that my creativity was completely absent.  I have been a little out of kilter for a couple of months now and I am slowly getting my mojo back….and here is the proof.

Do good stitches cross quiltYesterday I had a blast using the new Bernina long arm machine at my LQS (local quilt store), Modern Domestic.  Up until yesterday I had never done a whole quilt by myself, and I was so excited by how much fun I had.  I did an all over squares and boxes pattern which seem to come very naturally to me (that means I did not quilt myself into a corner once!).

quilt detail 2The quilt was one of my unfinished Do Good Stitches quilts…  and I love the scrappy feel to it all.  If you are interested in the pattern we used, you can find the link on my original post here…

do good stitches cross quilt detailI did a simple solid back and a wide navy binding to finish it all off.  In a couple of weeks I am going to go back and give it all another go with one of my other unfinished Do Good quilt tops.  I may branch out and try something loopy!

quilt detailI have a long way to go before I master this long arm free motion thingy but I am pleased with the results of my first step.  I must admit I am now hankering for some straight stitch quilting on my home machine, so I may baste up some more quilts this weekend.  I had forgotten how satisfying it is to actually finish something up.

Pretty in Pink

I am running  a little late today…sorry but it is still Monday in the US so I am still within the set parameters of Paper Piecing MONDAY!  So here goes…

Cactus Snowball blockI ummed and ahhed about making the center of the block black and white or pink.  A pink center give the blocks a cool star at its center but I liked how the black and white highlighted the pennant like section of the block.

blocks piecesThe free pattern for this 12 inch block can be found here….Pink ball 3.

I will have four blocks done next week which will allow me to start playing with the layout of the quilt top.  I promise to include some wip photos of all the blocks next week.