applique

Pocket Squares - Improv Applique with Tag Fabrics

Pocket Square Improv Applique Quilt

Pocket Squares

40’’ x 50’’

So many of my quilts start with random ideas. Some times the ideas come to a full quilt, other times not so much. Happy to say that after a few years this quilt is now fully done.

It started with mini charm packs of my Tag Fabrics that I cut for giveaways. I had one left over. Enter the need for a hand work project. The mini charm pack made friends with a charm pack of Kona solids sitting on the cutting table. I snipped a corner off each minicharm and appliqued it to the charms. Each one has slight variations - improv in hand applique!

After finishing all those I decided that I would do another layer of applique, bringing Tag fabrics back in to it. Each fabric in this collection of mine is represented in the quilt twice - once small and once as the background.

Aurifil Straight Line Machine Quilting

NOTE: This is why I am no good at promoting fabric collections. I started this quilt 2 years ago when my first collection came out and I am only just finishing it.

It isn’t a fancy quilt. I’m not breaking any design barriers either. But it sure was fun to make! Another great example of the process being as important, if not more so, than the finished quilt.

Because it’s been a long time since I quilted anything myself I got back into the swing of things with some straight line quilting. Originally, I thought I might do a grid, but at first pass my lines are 1/2’’ apart. That would have been a tiny grid! With chronic pain plaguing me these last 9 months I didn’t want to push it too much. I was just happy to have got through basting the thing. The Aurifil thread in this purple ended up perfect.

If you’ve ever seen me talk or paid attention to my quilts you know how I love to throw contrast into the whole thing. In this case, I introduced a completely different colour with this teal and white binding. Which brings me to my first finish of 2019 and my first finish since May of last year.

Cheryl Arkison labels Tag  Fabric

Oh, and full naming credit goes to my friend Sharon at Color Girl Quilts. Every time I posted a picture of this quilt on Instagram she said it made her think of pocket squares.

Tag Fabric + Improv Applique = Fun

Improv Applique Kona Cotton Tag Fabric Connecting Threads

Seriously, I might just call this quilt Fun. It's nothing precious and doesn't take itself too seriously. It was just some play time that resulted in a finished quilt top - shocking!

I started with a bundle of mini charms of my Tag fabric. It was one left over from a guild trunk show where I gave them away. I also happened to have a bundle of Kona Cotton charm squares. One day they landed on the table together. It happened that that day I was sheduled to teach Improv Applique. So I grabbed to two bundles and they became friends. And well, you know me, I don't like mini quilts all that much so I couldn't very well just sew 20 charms together and call it a day. So the solids got attacked by the scissors too and then those got sewn to more Tag Fabric.

True confession: there was intense debate with my daughter about what shapes I should cut. She said the initial shapes I cut out of the mini charms reminded her of Alberta so the other ones should have been too. I argued that it would get too meta, even for me. So now we have gems/envelopes/whatever you might see. 

That's the joy of Improv Applique. Take some scissors to the fabric and see what happens!

Improv Applique Kona Cottons Tag Fabric

Park Quilt Blocks Done and Resting Together

Park Quilt Mid Century Modern Calgary

Over two years worth of hand applique. Not the only hand work I did in that time, but definitely the bulk of it. Maybe it should be a relief that it is over, but there is some sadness there too. It's been such a constant companion in that time. Coming with me on trips, to pools, while watching shows, on quiet Sunday mornings. Forever forcing me to slow down, to be silent. A welcome respite from the frenetic energy of improv piecing, deadlines, and household chaos. 

All that being said, it won't be getting quilted anytime soon! Mostly because I haven't a clue how I want to quilt it. The quilt top needs some time to rest and I need time to think on it.

Carolyn Friedlander Park Quilt

The whole thing started for two reasons. One, I was teaching a couple of hand applique classes and Carolyn Friedlander's pattern is a perfect lesson. With her permission I used the block. The other starting point was a bundle of fabric I gave to Lysa Flower to paint years ago. She asked for a bundle of my favourite fabrics. Many of those fabrics are in this quilt and the originals inspired the rest of the fabric selection. 

Hand Applique Park Quilt

It was a lot of fun to pick different combinations of fabric for the blocks. Some times I went for really high contrast, others for almost none. The pattern combinations are shocking to many, but I love each and every one.  I was able to use some of my new Tag fabrics with some old treasures.

I really do need to think on the quilting so I can do the whole quilt proper justice. It's okay, I'm not going anywhere and neither is this quilt.

Carolyn Friedlander Slow Down and Sew

Another Improv Applique Project

Tag Fabric Charm Pack

Precuts are quickly becoming my favourite go-to for Improv Applique.

My current project combines a charm pack of Robert Kaufman Kona solids and a mini charm pack I made up with my own Tag fabric. Both were lying around the sewing room, collecting dust. I needed some mindless hand sewing and did not have anything prepped. 

That's my favourite thing about Improv Applique, there is no detailed prep required. Grab some fabric, cut a shape, and go. As long as you have supplies handy it is an instantaneous project. 

All I did, in this case, was snip a corner off the mini charms prior to basting them to the solids. Just for a slightly different shape. My daughter says they remind her of the shape of Alberta, our Province. She's right, albeit squared off a bit. 

Improv Applique with Tag Fabric and Kona cottons

Like all improv projects I start, I have no idea where this will end up. I am quite enjoying the black and white with the solids. It may stay small, I may not do any more, or I could make this something entirely differently. Who knows? What I do know for sure is that it is a fun little project for on the go.

For any local, or relatively local, folks I am teaching Improv Applique at My Sewing Room May 30, 6-9 pm.