"process"

Improv Quilts Can Be Precisely Pieced

Stars BOM Quilt

Sometimes I just get in the mood for some precision piecing. Actually, it was more that I needed the distraction that comes with the need to focus when precision piecing.

The first of these blocks was probably made a decade or so ago. It was part of a BOM I found online called Constellations. I think I did the first 3 months and then never looked at or saw it again. Years back I tried to find the pattern to finish it because it was quite good, but never located it. Now and then - about once every year or two - I would pick a star block pattern I could find and make another block. I didn’t have to recreate the original quilt, after all! No plan, no rush though.

This is actually improvisational quilting. Yes, even though I am doing precision piecing. I define it as improv because I have no idea where I will end up. Improv = starting without knowing where you will end.

But this past week of dealing with stress and needing a different kind of break with my quilting brought out these blocks, and a path forward.

  • 36 blocks needed

  • 3 blocks of each star pattern

  • Add more variation in the shapes of the stars for remaining blocks.

So I am digging through the scrap bins and raiding the stash for more combinations of fabrics, playing with the original colour scheme I started. I cut a block or two at night, to be ready for my Morning Make. And I’ve picked out patterns for the two new sets of three blocks I need to make to get up to 36 stars in total.

It’s exactly what I need right now.

Star Quilt

Solid Triangle Play Quilt Top

solid triangle improv 1.jpg

In a way, it makes perfect sense to finish this quilt as summer ends. Although I started it a few years back, only as a class sample, it symbolizes the play of this past summer. And the stress relief that comes from play.

A bit of a loose plan - the rules of the game:

  1. Each block to be made from only two fabrics.

  2. Fabrics must be high contrast.

  3. Piecing is improvisational.

  4. Use the triangle and the many ways to make it, manipulate it, shape it to piece together the blocks.

That’s it. The rest of it evolved as it went, like kids making up new rules as they play the game. Square up to similar sizes once I’d made a few blocks. Oh look, I like it in rows so it goes in rows now. And then it was big enough and the game was over. Actually, the game was over and I just made it big enough.

(It finishes at about a lap size but I don’t know the actual measurements.)

As I shared the blocks over on Instagram I had some people mention different shapes they saw. How cool, like watching clouds! That completely changed my plan for quilting. For now, though, it gets added to the pile of quilt tops and moves places on the list of quilts under construction. Soon enough.

Solid fabric Improv Piecing

Now, as our brief moment of fall starts to pull back the curtain and as I ready myself and the family for our active schedule I will hang on to this spirit of play for it did me a load of good!

Euroa Quilt Update

Euroa Quilt English Paper Piecing

And done.

Not the quilt, just the second row. It seems I am on track for one row a year as I started this quilt a little over two years ago. I haven’t quite worked up the energy to assemble the two rows together. More accurately, I haven’t found the time to clear the dining room table to do so because that is the only place I can do it.

This whole thing is sewn together via the flat back stitch. I love it! Unlike a whip stitch, which most of us seem to use for EPP, the stitches totally disappear with the flat back stitch. On the small scale it is no less portable than the whip stitch. I always have my sketch book with me so I tape my pieces together on then get right to stitching. On the large scale though, like when I have a mega block together or am assembling a row like this, I need to go back to my old stand by - the dining room table.

In time for summer I should have the two rows together and the next batch of blocks ready for work. Slow and steady on this project. I will say that finishing this row is motivation. Yes it is only row two out of five, but seeing it all together is exciting! It reminds me that my work is indeed getting me somewhere. One block at a time it seems interminably slow, but I am drinking in the process. Camping, road trips, and the odd lazy afternoon are coming up, perfect for a little more assembly. Probably by the time I get the third row done it will be dandelion season again!

54 -10 = 44

Happy Birthday Cheryl Arkison

Today is my birthday. 44 trips around the sun.

Because I have a love of alliteration I have a special affinity for this particular year. I suppose that means I like all years that are multiples of 11. Perhaps there is a meaning to that in numerology?

Regardless of both my birthday and whatever that numerology may mean, I’ve been thinking about my Quilts Under Construction list this week. So far in 2019 I’ve finished two quilts, a handful of quilt tops, and just have the binding to do on another. Miraculously, I’ve only actually started one quilt and it is already a finished top. Every day I sew, it’s just that it takes awhile to see progress the way I do it - 30 minutes a day, if I’m lucky and small piecing of late.

Quilts Under Construction

Morning tea in hand, I double checked my master list of Quilts Under Construction. It stands at 54, as of today. Even with those finishes I mentioned above. It isn’t that the number upsets me, it’s that I actually do want to finish some quilts. I want the excitement that comes with burying the last threads from quilting or the peace of hand stitching the binding. I want to live with these quilts, not just the creative outlet.

So, as of today - my birthday - I am stating the goal that I want to make this list down to 44 by next year. It seems doable. There are a lot of projects on there that I am still so excited to work on! A few small ones to round out some epic projects, some ones that have been around forever and deserve their day in the sun. And, my Bernina just came back from a trip to the spa so some quilting is in order.

But first, cake. Then assembling those blocks behind me into a quilt top. And washing the floors so I can baste a quilt or two. I did want to research lights for filming video this week. Oh wait, I have to take my son to ballet today too.

10 finished quilts this year. Hold me to it, alright?