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.

57 thoughts on “A little bit of Improv fun…

  1. It almost looks like it spells something, and if I were a kid I would be convinced that it does and spend hours trying to figure it out. Love it! I have decided to challenge myself on my next quilt and make a big (bed/throw sized) quilt made 100% from scraps. I have enough scraps that I can pull it off. I want to be challenged this way because it’s easy to go buy fabric that is complementary.. but it will be a challenge (one I fully accept!) to make a beautiful quilt out of 100% scraps. This sort of reminds me of what I plan to do except I’m sure this one wasn’t made from scraps! LOVE it. Beautiful job!

    • I promise you that this was only scraps….which included some left over 2 1/2 squares of Kona solids and left over bits of various jelly rolls. It was so fun to just use the scrap pile only…a challenge but fun!

      • Oh so cool! Perhaps I did not read the blog post.. I am distracted. I just reacted to the photo. I love it! I am still trying to find the hidden words. LOL

      • I must admit you are not the only one who is looking for hidden words. Next time I will have to make sure I put something in there… or maybe I just do an alphabet quilt like this….mmmm ideas are now bubbling.

  2. I love this, it’s so fun! There’s a wonderful blend and balance on each row. I think in need to start incorporating more solids into my projects. My eyes also want to read letters out of the squares.

  3. This is fantastic!!! You know I love colours and scraps and you really have got the best out of them! Now I only need solid scraps – a lot! Thank you for an enjoyable moment and inspiration! x Teje

  4. This is so fantastically awesome!! I LOVE it. I need to organize my scraps and make some sense of them. I also feel like there is some hidden message in here. It makes it really fun to look at. And alphabet quilt with this style would be so much fun! Gorgeous finish!

    • My thoughts as well! This is a wonderfully compelling quilt to look at over and over again – and it looks like there are letters, if you could just focus on them. Fabulous 🙂

  5. Beautiful work, amazing use of colour (not that I’d expect anything less from you!), and like everyone else, I’m *almost* seeing letters and words. Maybe that’s your next challenge… So, did this quilt make any kind of a dent in your scrap stash…?

    • Kate my scrap stash seems to refill as soon as I use any of it. The process of cutting squares and making this top took my solids bucket down a little…but not for long I am sure.

  6. Your quilt top is absolutely stunning! Can’t wait to see it once it’s quilted and bound (binded??). It’s going to be amazing!!

  7. Amazing! Inspiring! I love this to pieces…no pun intended! Scraps make the best creative pieces and this is among one of my favorites I have seen lately! I love Improv…it puts me in a ‘zen’ state!! I can not wait to see how you quilt it!

  8. I tried improv piecing for the first time last year with my scraps. It was really fun. I had planned to work in colour blocks as I managed to sort all my scraps according to colour. So far I’ve made a brown one. Ugh, brown I hear you all say. It turned out very autumn like with colours ranging from chocolate to rust to gold with tiny bits of teal mixed in. Do you ever use earthy tones? You’re quilts are so colourful!

  9. As a Costume Designer, I can get locked into a dry spell. That is when I take out my teeny tiny 1930’s scraps and without looking, grab and sew. So scary and yet so freeing! I suggest that everyone try this for at least 3 blocks. You will be amazed at what you create.

  10. Just jaw droppingly awesome! I’ve made slabs which are improv blocks with one piece of white fabric in the middle and then scraps of one particular colour around it, but having the solid scraps makes all the difference!

  11. this so very happy, free and fun cath! I love your paper piecing as well, but i love that you made this! 🙂 you brought a little order and structure to improv, which i think executed lovely! 🙂

  12. Pingback: Rainbow Crazy | WOMBAT QUILTS

  13. Thank you for taking the time to document your creative journey in pictures and posting them to share on your blog. Truly inspirational! (I have just discovered your blog, and plan to use your square-in-a-square paper piecing pattern to use up my ‘1001 Peeps’ yardage I bought awhile ago without a pattern in mind. Hope you don’t mind, but the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, right? Gorgeous quilts, love the colours!

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