I have done quite a bit of Improv quilting over the course of the last year or so…. for me it is a great way to dust off the cobwebs, particularly if I have lost my sewjo a little.
So this wonky log cabin was a fun project that started after I had collected a hug bag of navy scraps….
So I started with the navy scraps and as I begin putting the log cabin blocks together the navy seemed boring… it needed a little something to give it a lift. It just so happens that I had a small scrap pile of orange bits that were left over from another quilt and the navy and orange were the perfect combination.
The orange is the perfect contrasting color to the blue… these two colors are actually opposite each other on the color wheel…. which just enhances the impact of the color splashes.
The trick is to only put a few pieces of the highlight color in each of the log cabin blocks…. some of the orange is a full strip and other bits of orange are only inserted into the navy strip…. and I think those little splashes are the most successful pops of color.
Because of the randomness of the orange inserts your eye moves around the quilt more… hunting out those little splashes of contrast.
This quilt is also already out in the wild. I made it after the hospital said they needed a few more quilts for older teenage boys. I am a pink girl through and through but I loved the challenge of making something not too girly.
2020 was definitely the year of Bear Paw blocks for me. I taught a color class for Modern Domestic, a local quilt store, which was all about color in quilting. We used a fabulous book by Rachel Hauser of Stitched in Color called a Quilters Field Guide to Color as a resource… and like Rachel does in the book we workshopped color using Bear Paw blocks. What this means is I made enough bear paw blocks to finish up 8 quilts… you are going to see a lot of bear paws over the coming months.
But before I started my over zealous production of bear paws for class, I set the block as my Do Good Stitches block. Actually in May 2019 I posted about making two blocks at a time in various sizes… the result of the tutuorial and my Bee mates work is this stunning quilt…
This quilt uses blocks that are 3, 6, 9 and 12 inches big… a whole rainbow of colors…. and tons and tons of scraps.
Each body of the bear paw is made up of four squares which allows for maximum fussy cutting potential and scrap usage. I know with the blocks I made I had a blast finding different novelty prints to cut up.
Now laying out this quilt was not to hard because there was a logic to the size blocks I chose – using a 3 inch grid…. but being a perfectionist I did um and ah about it a lot. It sat on my design wall for a bit before I was happy with it.
It was slightly tedious to sew together…. I grouped blocks together where I could and only had a few partial seams to deal with. I could have made it easier on myself and just gridded the layout so there were no difficult seams but in the end I loved the layout I had put up… it does not feel regular or predictable.
So this post I am giving you half the Nick pinkies photos to end… as well as the a full body shot. Mr Wombat is usually pretty camera shy but I snuck this picture of him. His identity is safe as he is fully masked LOL.
This quilt headed into the wild last year via the Portland Modern Quilt Guilds charity quilt program… which we somehow managed to keep going despite a world wide pandemic… actually we managed to get 15 to 20 quilts a month to our local Pediatric Intensive Care Unit which was quite a feat.
First I want to say thank you to everyone for the well wishes and kind comments on my last post. I read them all… and will slowly work through responding but know I was really touched by the reaction to my news. It was not an easy post to write but now that it is done I can start with the quilt catch up…
And first up is one of my favorite finishes over the last year or so… an improv cool tree quilt…
I started this top in 2019 when I was teaching Improv quilting at Modern Domestic…. I had a pile of light blue fabrics and wanted to use them…
I have definitely made improv trees before usually with green follage of varying shapes and brown trunks… but with this quilt I limited myself to triangle trees in navy blue with dark grey for the trunks.
I used up a bit of my navy/blue scrap pile but really busted through my light blue/light grey stash and scraps. There is a fun “anything goes” with improv and it all seems to work… as long as you define some rules to begin.
For this quilt my parameters were for the background either light blue or light grey or low volume with blue print. I wanted the background to read overall cold. You can see from the pictures the cream based fabrics have a little warmth to them but they are not over powering.
The trees were navy or a dark blue. The touches of different shades of blue, like the royal blue add interest to the tree tops, so that they are not just a solid navy.
For the back of the quilt I used a piece of Tula Pink wide back that I was gifted by a friend. In the last couple of years I have been piecing a lot of my quilt backs….using up bigger cuts of fabric and scraps of wide back. I am not sure the long armers who help with the charity program as thrilled by my backs, but they make the quilts fun.
I have to finish with the obligatory photo of Nick’s pinkies. Mr Wombat has been such a support the last year…. not just holding up quilts but holding me up through some not so fun times.
At the beginning of the year I started making a lawn quilt using a selection of Cotton & Steel lawns. I had not made a quilt out of this soft delicate cotton fabric before but had been become fascinated with using it after starting my Liberty adventures. When I got my hands on some yards and half yards of some Cotton & Steels prints I started playing…
To make this quilt I used some Triangles on a roll... which was another new experience for me. I managed to get my hands on some rolls of this fun way to paper piece while I was at Quilt Con…
These paper rolls allow you easily make a continuous line of flying geese with no joins. Triangles on a Roll also use a pretty waste free method, which I love.
You are also not having to flip the pattern to look at the reverse side (as you do with other patterns) because the marks for aligning your pieces are printed on the front of the pattern….which is genius.
So for my quilt I did three rows of 14 geese and I made sure that one of the geese in each row was a made from an alternative colour way of my geese fabric.
When I started this project I did not have a grand plan… I just wanted to play with Lawn and see how it quilted up plus I wanted to play with the triangle on a roll.
There is a fun optical illusion with this quilt that I did not plan for but which I kind of like. But more than anything I love how soft this quilt is. The quilt is headed to the local PICU, and I know it is going to be of extra cuddly comfort to some kid.
I also know that I will be using lawn again to quilt with as it is just so soft and I am already planning my next Triangle on a roll project. I love this way of paper piecing….
My slight disdain for the colour brown began when I was a kid in art class…when mixing paints it was all to easy to mix too many colours and end up with a dirty brown colour…. and it happened to me all to frequently.
You do not have the same problem when making quilts, but I was still resistant to using brown at all. In traditional quilting brown has long been considered a neutral colour, but Modern Quilters on the whole tend to be wary of it.
Strangely though I have quite a bit of brown in my stash…not as much as I have pink or navy blue, but more than I should have. I have also had a few brown scraps given to me over the years and at the end of last year my brown scraps hit critical mass… there was only one thing to do…
Yep I made a scrappy improv quilt using my brown scraps and a touch of orange… and it was an interesting experience.
I forgot how many fabulous fabrics Heather Ross has done in brown… I used her seahorses, butterflies, octopus and plants in this quilt.
On of my other favorite designers, Lizzy House, also has done some lovely browns… with mice and cats and of course my all time fav – Pearl Bracelets.
And in between all that novelty goodness is a eclectic collection of prints including a handful of batiks.
It was kind of fun to challenge myself to work mainly in brown… it made me rethink the colour. The result was I came up with a few more brown colour combinations I want to play with including…
A red based brown with teal….
Brown, yellow and pink…
And the classic brown and baby blue (not dissimilar to one of this years Pantone colours).
So you have been warned that there may be more brown appearing in this feed. So is there a colour you have in your stash that you avoid?
Quilt block: Modern Improv
Fabric: Various scraps
Quilt Size: 48 x 48 inches