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.
As summer is coming to a close here in the US I took the opportunity to make the most of the sunshine recently and get some quilts photographed…. I actually have a stack of quilts finished but have not got all of them photographed.
I got a little bored with sticking the finished quilts on coat hangers and hanging them on the back fence so I have been venturing out with them when I can…
My latest adventure took me to the Oregon Coast with my cousin (aka. the quilt holder)…
This quilt was made at one of this years Charity Sew Days. Actually we made two of these tops in one day. This year the charity program has exploded in a wonderful way.
This is a fun block that I have made before but I love this all solids version. The pattern was designed by my talented friend Michelle Friedman several years ago and you can find my step by step of it here… We did vary the pattern a little, using pre-cut 3 1/2 inch squares instead of strips, but the result is pretty much the same.
I absolutely love the quilting on this quilt, done by one of our talented long armers, Nancy Stovall. She used fluorescent green thread which was a daring choice but works wonderfully with the quilt.
This quilt has now been labeled and set aside for next years Camp Erin. The sister quilt, which was slightly smaller (4 blocks x 5 blocks) has already headed out to our local PICU.
Block: 12 inch Urban Chicken block
Fabric: various solid cottons including Kona, Bella Solids and Cotton Couture
Finished quilt size: 60 x 72 inches
Yesterday I shared the group Quilt for Pulse we made… today I am sharing my the quilt I also made for the cause. I had actually started making this quilt when we decided to make a group quilt.
For my quilt I used some more of my pre-cut solid squares, but worked with my 3 inch stash this time… I have a lot of pre-cut squares and both of these projects did not even start to dent my pile!
I played around on my design wall to find a heart shape that I liked and then went to work making these blocks in a rainbow assortment of colours.
I made sure there was a good mix of lights and darks in each heart and used a variety of whites and creams in the background. For the background I also threw in some pastel pinks, purples, greens and blues but I made sure I did not put the pastels right next to the heart so that there was clear definition to the heart shape.
I also quilted this quilt on Modern Domestic’s Q24 longarm… I quilted this one after I had done the huge heart so I was over loopy hearts and went instead for straight line boxes. It was nice to do something more structured on this quilt.
I think I am going to revisit this block. It was easy and really effective…plus I still have shoe boxes full of 3 inch solid squares!