Improv Curves - Scrappy Versus Scrap

Improv Curves Color Girl Quilts

I knew there was a reason I couldn’t throw away the scraps.

There I was, playing around and making this improv curve quilt. It was completely inspired by a very precise pattern by Sharon at Color Girl Quilts (Indigo). But the way I chose to make it meant then I was left with a lot of cut out curves. They matched and all, but they weren’t needed for the quilt I was then making.

Rather than toss them aside to get jumbled or lost I kept the pairs of pie and crust together then sewed them up when everything else was done. Then they got tossed aside and nearly jumbled and lost.

A few weeks ago I was in the mood to finish something. I was also in the mood for some design wall play. With zero plan for these scrap curves I started playing. For a few evenings I arranged and rearranged. Some layouts were too much like the original. One was, ahem, a little too lady-like. I had flowers and other things up there too. In the end I settled on the one that - at first - felt too predictable. But that first instinct proved the best. It used up all but 9 of the blocks and I am thrilled with the results.

Improv Curves

When I went to take the photo I discovered a very interesting thing - the scrap quilt was bigger than the original! Side by side they relate by way of colour scheme and the improv curves, but they are too very different quilts! One fundamental difference, however, is that I would call the first quilt scrappy, while the second is a scrap quilt. That is, the first one has multiple fabrics, all chosen deliberately. The second one was me working with what I was handed in scraps. It might be a subtle or even a semantic difference, but there is a difference.

Side note: The difference between scrappy and scrap is one of my new truck shows!

These now get added to the pile of quilt tops. No matter when they eventually get quilted though, I think they will have to go to a certain pair of sisters that lives in my house.

Improv Curves Color Girl Quilts

Itty Bitty Curves Update 2 Years later

Tiny Piecing Improv Curves

When I posted some photos of these little curves the other day a non-quilting friend asked me if I was making another version of the quilt. Because she remembered me working on them last year. Nope, same quilt. More piecing.

I pulled this project back in to the rotation last week. After so many scrap projects of late it is nice to be working with a controlled colour scheme. Not that the piecing is any faster with these itty bitty curves! I guess this was the itch that needed to be scratched.

Many times I’ve been asked how big I plan to make this quilt. The answer is always “Until I run out of fabric.” Of course, since I am working with solids I could replace them. Frankly, I’ve done that once already. But even I have limits and will likely stop once this round of fabric is done. In actuality, the supply of yellow fabric is getting low so I guess that will be my limiting factor. As it currently stands, the pieces for the top make it about 40’’ x 60’’ .

Tiny Piecing Improv Curves Quilting

As the fabric supply dwindles I’ve decided to focus on making the little blocks instead of assembly. I have absolutely no idea how much bigger this can and will get. My little plastic baggies are filled with the size sorted blocks, like some sort of quilting drug deal. Every time I sew, press, square up, and add to the collection my potential finished quilt gets an inch or two bigger. By sewing all the blocks now I will ensure that my colours stay balanced across the entire finished quilt and not have a portion where there is no yellow, for example. So I will sew all the blocks first then sew them all together. Fingers crossed this leaves me with a functional sized quilt.

It’s been precisely 2 years since I started this project in a class with Chawne Kimber. At the time it was a fun experiment, a good way to play with one of my idols in the room guiding me. There is no rushing tiny piecing, especially when you want the finished result to be large enough to cover a lap and not just a wall. There is also an inherent boredom in tiny piecing, especially when making something larger. It is a A LOT of repetitive action. If it takes me a few years, it takes me a few years. I am thoroughly engaged in the process when I am doing it and have no problem letting my interest ebb and flow. I’m floating down a slow river and the ride is good.

Chawne Kimber tiny piecing

The Problem and Joy of Small Piecing

Itty Bitty Improv Curves

Problem: It takes forever to make anything not small when the pieces are small.

Additional Problem: I have a really, really hard time making anything small, even if the pieces are small.

Small Piecing Quilting

The Joy: It is delightfully meditative.

Additional Joy: It looks so cool. Ridiculously cool.

Super Additional Joy: It is always there for me.

Conclusion: Joy outweighs any problems. Keep sewing.

Mighty Lucky Quilting Club Year of Colour July Challenge

Mighty Lucky Quilting Club

Welcome to the fourth instalment of the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club! I am rather thrilled to be bringing another challenge to subscribers. 

This month is all about two things - bossy fabrics and improv curves. For the full low-down on bossy fabrics you will have to get the challenge itself. But I will let you know that it is all about managing those dominant fabrics to use them effectively in quilt design. 

The improv curves you can see above. There is the beginner option and the full star treatment. This is a great intro to improv circles and I am really excited to see what people make. This row is the final frame before the center block. I maybe had a sneak peak at the plans for the center and let me assure you, the whole quilt is coming together amazingly!

Improv Curves Mighty Lucky

This whole experience is rather fun. I am making the quilt myself, not just my rows. Some quilters are ready and waiting for this instalment. Some, like me, need to make some more. No pressure. Sew what you can, when you can. I love checking out the #mightyluckyquiltingclub hashtag on Instagram.

If you are joining us here from the group, I want to encourage you to have fun with this block. It might seem intimidating and more than a little awkward. If you've never done curves, improv or otherwise, before have faith that the process will work. I believe in you! Yes, there are scraps. Hang in for a few weeks and I will show you a couple of ideas for your scraps. I have quilt a few myself, from all the rows!

Now, to get back to my own CMYK inspired version!

Mighty Lucky Quilting Club Improv Stars

For all the scoop on Mighty Lucky and what you might be able to discover through the challenges check it all out here