New Obsession with Tiny Piecing

Improv Cuves for Size

I'm a fan of a big quilt. Always in favour of sewing more to make it bigger I have a hard time making something smaller than 84'' square these days. I have to push myself to go smaller. None of that, however, applies to piecing. The day may have now come where I have to push myself to go larger in piecing, at least for now.

While at QuiltCon East in Savannah last month I had the great joy of taking a tiny piecing class with Chawne Kimber. Mostly, I just wanted to hang out with Chawne for a day. She rocked my world in so many ways!

Small patchwork squares
Tiny Improv Curved quilt blocks

After a demo and short talk about the mechanics of tiny piecing she let us loose. Not one to follow the crowd, I decided I would try my favourite improv curves scaled down. Way down. I started with squares cut anywhere from 1 1/2'' to 2'' big. With scissors I cut a curve and started sewing. 


Not easy, especially on the classroom machines. But also not too difficult. And once I got home and could use my own machine with a smaller foot it got much easier. So much so that I am totally addicted. I can't stop cutting fabric and sewing blocks!

Tiny improv Drunkards Path quilt blocks

To keep from going totally insane and to make a finished pieced more interesting I change up the size of the starting squares. So far, the largest ones cut are in the 3'' range. They seem enormous in comparison. I square up according to what it can be, but the smallest ones are about 1 1/4'' wide. Even though Chawne taught us how to make log cabins and pineapple blocks with 1/8'' finished pieces, I think that is about as small as I can go and still be able to sew them in the first place. 

It takes a lot of work to get to any size when working this small. I break it up to keep from total insanity (although, I may already be there). One day I might cut and sew a bunch of the curves. After the kids go to bed I might press the handfuls of little blocks. With some good music I tackle the tedious job of squaring up, sorting the blocks into piles of different sizes. This, by far, is the part that makes me doubt myself the most. Then it is play time. I took about 4 hours to get this piece together, from ready blocks. It measures about 9'' by 28'' at the moment. 

Tiny impov curve quilt blocks

Another student in the class - a woman who has actually taken an Improv Curves workshop with me - teased me for being so on brand with this. After a good laugh I conceded that she was right. I just like what I like!

Because it is me, I have zero intention of stopping at a wall hanging or even a baby quilt size. Must go larger! For now, I will play with this until I don't want to play anymore. Seeing as this seems to be pulling me out of a funk I don't anticipate boredom anytime soon. 

Amazing what some experimentation and a lot of play can do for the soul.