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.
November is once again my turn to set a block for Do Good Stitches Hope circle. As always I procrastinated and pontificated and finally landed on this block….
I decided to call it the Splodge block. It is an improv log cabin…with most of the precision coming from choosing your fabrics carefully and not from cutting. Here are the steps to making this block…
Pull out all your blue, grey and white scraps.
Sort your colored scraps. This is a really important step in all scrap quilts and I am going to give you some guidelines for these blocks. This quilt is based on a cool palette and to make the block work you need to weed out some of your scrap because they will muddy the block.
BLUES: For the blues you are going to need dark, medium and light scraps… but in fabrics that are blenders, tone on tones or solids. Any fabric that has colors other than blue needs to go. That means…
You can see from my test block that I still used novelty prints, it is just they were cool prints with no extraneous colors.
GREYS: For your grey you are going to use the same principle as blue – tone on tone or blenders and no extra colors. But with grey there is one extra step.
Did you know that not all grey are the same and that grey fabrics have an undertone to them? This is a color cast that makes grey take on the hue of another color.
Grey can have a blue, green, orange or purple undertone. For this project we want to have cool greys in our block… we want to avoid using the warmer grey because it will muddy the block. A piece or two of the warm grey will not hurt but we want to mainly use the cool grey – the ones with a green, blue or purple undertone.
WHITE: The final pile of scraps to sort is your whites. We are looking for bright whites – solid or prints. In my blocks I have used a few white fabrics that have a bright white background with a cream print on them which have worked well… but we want to avoid cream fabrics if we can. Cream is a warm version of white and can again add warmth to a block if too much of it is used. A random piece is okay though.
You should end up with a curated pile of scraps that you can work with to make these blocks.
Start making your improv log cabins. The center of your log cabin is going to be your darkest navy blue fabric.
You can tell from this photo that I do not pretrim anything…. if I need to cut a piece of fabric smaller I use my scissors.
Keep building outward using lighter blues and greys as you move out from the center. Once the log cabin has started I do press as I add new pieces and I do trim the block….
…and when I say trim I mean I use a rotary blade and ruler to get a straight edge but I do not square anything up or check that anything is even. I just want a straight edge to sew my next strip too.
As you progress, I encourage you to make “logs” for your log cabin by sewing smaller pieces of fabric together to make your own strips.
These custom made strips are a great way to break up the traditional log cabin structure and give the block a more improv feel. They are also how the block becomes a splodge of color and not just a square of color.
Keep building your log cabin out until you have a piece that is just larger than 12 1/2 inches square. You want to make sure the your last logs are white and/or light grey…you need a white frame around your splodge.
Once you have a large enough improv log cabin give it a final press and if you have starch (eg. Best Press) use it liberally at this stage to get your block to lay as flat as you can.
Using your 12 1/2 inch ruler trim your block to it’s finished size.
Note your splodge does not need to big. In my first block the blue splodge took up most of the block…while in this block there is a smaller lot of blue. You can make your splodge as big as you want….have fun….let go….play.
When I go to put this quilt together I decided I wanted to use filler blocks to give the splodges room to breath. These filler blocks are being made using just light grey and white fabric with the occasional blue or darker grey spot.
They are 12 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inches unfinished and will allow me to layout the finished quilt in a irregular pattern…. the splodges will not all be neatly lined up but rather scattered around the quilt.
So there you have it… the splodge block. I am looking forward to seeing how my fellow DGS peeps interpret the splodge…and really looking forward to putting this quilt together.
The quilt I am sharing today was made during one of our Guild’s Charity Sew Days. For these sewing adventures I usually pick a block to make in advance, pull and cut all the fabric and do a couple of sample blocks. There is quite a bit of prep work… but not on Improv days….
On Improv days I get to pull fabric but I do not have to cut anything…. I really like those days… and Improv log cabins are the best…
This quilt was inspired by some mustard metallic that had been donated to the program – some Mirror ball and some Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets. I also had a stash of black and white scraps which needed using and a plan came together…
There are some wonderful novelty prints in this quilt and some great fussy cutting. That dog looking out put a smile on my face every time I see him…
The color scheme is gender neutral and I think a little more grown up than some of the brights I usually do… and I thought this would be a great quilt for an older kid.
The photo shoot for this quilt (and a few more I will share in the coming week) took place at a local garden. Mr Wombat was very patient and a real trooper as some of these quilts are quite big…
And the wind did not always co operate with us… I finally gave us trying to get a decent shot of the back of the quilt… and went for a close up instead…
The close up gives you a better look at the fabulous ostridges and their golden butts that are on the back. This is actually part of a sheet set I bought at Macy’s… I have become obsessed with the Whimsy sheet sets Martha Stewart does as they are perfect for backing kids quilts.
Block: 12 inch wonky log cabin
Fabric: black & white scraps with a smattering of mustard.
Size: 60 x 72 inches