A little Improv

After battling with Internet outages all this week I am pleased to be able to share another quilt with you this Friday….I was planning a WIP post on Wednesday but we had not internet all day.   It is not until you are unplugged that you realise just how much you rely on the net for your day to day workings.  I am now playing catch up on the Aussie Open tennis  and quilting while watching the matches of the last couple of days.

Anyway onto business… today’s quilt is another beautiful group quilt from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild charity sew days.  We are currently making quilts for the local children’s hospital, and they are readily supplied with cute kids quilts, they struggle at times to find quilts suitable for their older patients – they treat kids up to 18 years old.  So with this in mind I chose a black and white with a splash of colour…

pmqg-improv-charity-quilt

For this quilt I pulled a whole pile of black and white scraps and a small handful of solid scraps in ranging in colour from orange/yellow to a pink/red.  The scraps were dumped out on a table in our sewing area at Modern Domestic and people just went to work sewing bits together and making blocks.

quilt-detail-4

There are so many fun little bits and pieces in this quilt… and also some nice little fussy cut moments.  I love this kids quilts because it is such a great opportunity to throw in  a fun print here and there…even for the more “grown up” kids.

quilt-detail-2

Some of our talented volunteers went about making their own fabrics by cutting and cross cutting their blocks.  I just love how different each piece was…

quilt-detail

The over all result is just so much fun…

improv-quilt-detail

The finished quilt top was then handed over to the wonderful Nancy Stovall who weaved her quilting magic all over it.

improve-quilt-detail-2

For the back of the quilt I must admit I got a little carried away piecing it… I had some larger black and white scraps as well as a part quilt top that had been donated.  It was all sewn together to produce this…

pieced-quilt-back

The quilt was then finished off in some scrappy solid binding, reflecting the colours of the solids in the quilt…

binding

If you have the opportunity to be a part of a group charity quilt you should jump at it.  There is something wonderful about a group of people getting together and making something for a stranger…it gives me such a sense of community and gives me hope.

Quilt Details:

Name:  Improv love
Pattern:  12 inch Improv blocks
Fabric:  black & white scraps and Kona solids
Finished size:  60 x 72 inches

Rainbow Crazy

This week I finished up my Rainbow Improv quilt just in time to ship it to Sisters for their quilt show next month….there is nothing like an impending deadline to get you working hard!

rainbow improv quiltI started this quilt a little while ago, making the blocks in between some complex paper piecing projects.  It was so much fun to do something so free from rules and constraints.  You can read more about the process on my original post

quilt detail 2I just used a rainbow of solid fabric scraps and played with colour.  I must admit I did not know what the end product would look like, I just enjoyed the process of making the blocks.

quilt detail 3Because this quilt was going to Sister’s I wanted to do something modern for the quilting, but I did not want to distract from the blocks too much.  In the end I went with my beloved straight line stitches but used a rainbow selection of thread for the quilting.

threadEach row of blocks got their own colour, which was so much fun to do.

straight line quiltingI just used my walking foot as my line guide…I did contemplate marking up the quilt top but this was so much easier and worked out perfectly… I got 16 lines of stitches per row and only went a little off course, one or two times.

improv quilt backFor the back of the quilt I went with a patchwork of solid Kona greys (Ash, Charcoal and Medium Grey), which was perfect for highlighting the change in the thread colour.  If you look closely you can see the rainbow effect of the quilting.

quilting detailThe final touch was some scrappy grey binding, a label and I was done.

bindingI am so thrilled with how this quilt turned out.  It is so different from what I usually do, but was just so much fun to make…

Quilt Details:

Blocks:  6 inch improv blocks
Fabric:  Variety of solids – Kona, Michael Miller, American Made and Bella.
Finished size:  48 x 48 inches

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.

A little quilt showcase

I thought I would take the opportunity to share with the wider world some of the amazing Charity Quilts that the Portland Modern Quilting Guild has produced this month.  For those of you who follow me, you know that I am a pretty active charity quilter and I organize our guild’s charity sewing.  I am constantly amazed at the generosity and talent of our guild when it comes to our program….

Some Guild members donate orphan blocks that we make up into quilts.  Our wonderful Guild president this year, Elsa, donated the blocks that made this beauty….

green star quilt topElsa donated ten blocks which were sewn into a top by me, and then quilted by Coleen of The Quilted Thistle.  Photos do not do Coleen’s quilting justice, it is beautiful.

quilting detailOh and did I mention the little hedgehog?

star detailI used the tenth donated block in the back of the quilt…

back of green yellow star quiltOther guild members donate fully completed quilt tops to us… Sam Hunter of Hunter Design Studio donated the top and back for this beautiful quilt….

sams quiltand another guild member Gail Weiss free motioned quilted all over it, to great effect…

sam's quilt detailOne or two of the quilts we donate each month start life at our Charity Sew Day, which are held at our local quilt store Modern Domestic.  Once a month we invade MD’s class room space and whip up blocks which in turn are made into quilts…

rainbow improv quiltI love this improv rainbow quilt top.  All the blocks were made at the Charity Sew Day in January by guild members including Mary Ann, Kim, Debbie, Dawn, Michelle, and Elsa.    The top was then quilted by the fabulous Dawn Graf-Thiessen, another one of the Guild’s talented long armers.

rainbow improv detail

The fabric for these blocks is from scraps that were also donated to the Charity Sew program.  When I receive a donation of scraps I sort them into colours (each colour has its own shoe box).  What is left over is put into a catch-all box of multi coloured scraps…

improv quilt..and some of those scraps were used to make blocks for this bright improv quilt.  In November last year I asked Guild members to make a 12 inch square bright improv block, if they wanted, which would then be used in a Charity quilt.  This top was the end result…

Improv quilt detailBright loud and fun this quilt is definitely going to make some kid very happy…  The top was quilted by last years Guild president, MaryAnn.  She did a great job free motion quilting on her home machine.

The last quilt I want to share is a simple quiet baby quilt…

low volume charity quiltThis top was made during a Charity Sew Day by guild member Anne.  She took some precut squares that had been donated to the program and made a disappearing nine patch block.  On Sew days I always pack some precut or orphan blocks so that people who do not necessarily want to make the block of the month can play.

low volume detail

Another guild member, Emily, free motioned this darling pattern all over the quilt using her home machine.  The sweet pattern works so well on this low volume quilt.

I would like the thank all the PMQG guild members who every month help our charity program in ways big and small…either by donating fabric or blocks or their time and talent.  We could not do it without you.  Thank you.

Scrap busting quilt…

This morning I managed to finish up the improv baby quilt I started last week.

easy scrap baby quiltI started making blocks last week as a way to take a break from doing old WIP’s (see my original post about the process) and found myself making blocks here and there as I worked on other things.

improv quilt detial 2The blocks are all random improv and used up quite a nice selection of my low volume and pastel scrap stash.

quilt detailThere are lots of novelty prints with enough bits and pieces to play a good game of I spy (aka eye spy).   But for me the most fun of this whole process was the quilting.  If you follow this blog you know I am determined this year to get better at free motion quilting and this week I got some help.

maching bindingLast Friday I took delivery of a wonderful Bernina 550, which I have on loan to play with and oh what a difference a good machine makes.  When it came to quilting this baby up, I was excited to attach the free motion foot and stitch regulator and really play.

quilting detailNow the quilting is far from perfect but it is okay and so much better than anything I have free motioned before…. and most importantly it was great fun to do.  I just free motioned squares and I am now chomping at the bit to try some new things.  I have dusted off my Angela Waters books and bought Christina Cameli’s new book “Step by Step Free Motion Quilting” and I am ready to get serious about this quilting thing.