cirrus solids

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!

Shiver of Sharks - Quilt Top Complete

Shark Quilt Improvised Piecing Improv Quilting

The Shiver of sharks is complete!

I could have kept making these blocks. Highly addictive and so easy. Not to mention that it was terribly fun to play with the colours of the background. I could have bought all the blues, turquoises, teals, and greens from all the solid manufacturers and had a lot of fun laying it out. Alas, at some point you either run out of fabric or the quilt is getting rather large. It was a bit of both.

My daughter still sees orcas...

This is definitely at the top of the quilt top queue for finishing as well. Just yesterday I was at a party and doodled potential quilting designs on the paper topped tables. I'm sure people thought I was strange. 

Well, I made a quilt of sharks, so yeah, I acccept that.

Cirrus Solids Cloud Nine Fabrics Kona Cotton Ombre Fabric


Improv Triangles with Cirrus Solids from Cloud Nine and Kona Cotton

A certain Britney Spears song is running through my head right now.

I was on a finishing quick. Trying to turn blocks in to quilt tops, basting a few quilts, and making more blocks for others. No real reason other than a desire to have things move around on the list and maybe get a finish or two. Then this happened...

You see, I was prepping for a class. Wanting to augment my existing class samples I decided to try something else. I did that one thing, shared it on Instagram, someone commented on it, that led to another idea, and I went ahead and played. So bits of that piece on the bottom left became an attempt at shark fins on the top. But I couldn't quite get the shark fins to look right so I kept trying. Frankly, then, they started to resemble orcas more than sharks. It was at that point that I got the idea for a whole pod of orcas/sharks. 

That bit on the bottom left also greatly intrigued me. I decided to pick two other high contrast solids and play some more. The blocks are made up on different sorts of improv triangles (that's what my class was on that day). I am completely in love with the interesting shapes that come from sewing the different components together. Positive and negative space at work.

So I did what any respectable quilter would do when faced with two fun ideas would do - I went shopping. My solids stash is actually quite minimal. I picked up a whole bunch of blues to add to the pod and add variation to the ocean background. Then I snagged a bunch of random coloured solids. 

These are both excellent Morning Make projects so they will certainly be in the rotation. Let's see what I can finish before the fabric arrives.


Cirrus Solids Improv Quilt


60'' x 60''

Improv isn't just for wonky cuts and pulling fabric out of a bag. You can start with a shape, precise cuts, and a playful spirit. That's exactly what I did when I started this quilt, oh... almost 3 years ago.

I did have a plan, but when that didn't work I had to figure out something else that would still make a beautiful quilt. There was no way this beautiful fabric was going to waste. It is made from the Cloud 9 Cirrus Solids, their first colour release. It is extremely soft and oh so delicious. Bonus, it is certified organic cotton. So when my initial intention did not work out, I came up with an alternative quilt top.

This is what playing with improv teaches you to do - figure out a solution no matter what. Whether it is running out of background fabric or making a mistake in piecing, whether you simply don't like the way it turned out or you suddenly want to make the quilt bigger, having the spirit of improv means you can come up with a low stress solution. It is about tapping into that ability to embrace the unknown and find a path forward. 

So back to the quilt.

Half Square Triangles Quilt

When I took my mostly random half square triangles and settled on a layout - after a lot of design wall play - the top got pieced and added to the pile of tops in the closet. Periodically I would pet it (that fabric is seriously soft) but that's about it. Fast forward to last month when friends of ours asked if just maybe I had a quilt to donate to a charity event they were hosting. I think my husband answered for me, with the strongest yes ever. Rather than take a finished, and therefore used, quilt from the racks I decided to finish one fresh for them.

I've also learned that for charity donations like this people seem to like quite traditional or quite bold quilts. This one is definitely bold! The other thing I've learned is that while I am generous, I can't be ridiculous with my time. I do have that family/work thing to do. So I went with straight line quilting that actually added some movement plus a cool secondary pattern of an Ohio Star where the lines intersected. I picked a turquoise Aurifil because when any colour will work that is always an excellent choice! It also looked great on the back, one of the first Prints from Rashida Coleman-Hale with Cotton and Steel, Moonlit.

Heather Givans Paper Obsessed Quilt Binding

Binding choice was probably the most difficult. Again, any solid colour would likely do. I was leaning towards hot pink or carrying the turquoise out. Then I spied the perfect fabric peeking out of my stash - a ruled sheet of paper inspired print from Paper Obsessed by Heather Givans (of Crimson Tate fame). It's already on the bias, and the touch of blue and pink is just enough to make it so much more than a solid binding. And thankfully it looked great on the back.

The quilt has already been auctioned off. I'm always a little bit sad that they don't fetch more, but happy that the quilt is going to a loving home. And I met the winning bidder so I know it will be well taken care of. I may however, need to restash some of those Cirrus Solids now.