solid quilts

Time for PLAY

Triangle Play Improv Quilting

My big Bernina is acting up. It is making me more than a bit frustrated. 1. That is an expensive machine that, for me, has not lived up to the hype. 2. I want to finish quilts and that is my machine for quilting! In an effort to chill out and still be hanging out in the sewing room I pulled out my old machine (which is perfect for piecing), consulted my great big list of quilts under construction, and picked this improv piece to play with.

I checked and it turns out this project was my summer play 2 years ago. And I haven’t done much on it since!

Improv Piecing Solid quilts

As I said in my last post, this summer is low key when it comes to quilting and my business in it. I am encouraging my kids to be free range and PLAY as much as they can. We are swamped in the school year between classes and their chosen activities, life is Capital B Busy. Just like them maybe I need to be putting aside the ‘supposed to’ things and need to play a bit more. Yes, I am swimming and frisbee tossing and bike riding with them, but I mean play for myself.

Yeah, this time is for me to play so that is exactly what I am going to do with these blocks. Unexpected or weird colour combinations. More angles and less angles. Experimenting. Making mistakes and getting creative trying to fix them. Moving my body and brain in ways it isn’t necessarily used to doing but is exactly what it needs. Venturing into the unknown with a sense of adventure and only a little bit of direction.

Play.

Firefly Quilt Top in Solids

Pattern Drop Firefly Quilt

All 15 fireflies taking flight!

After finishing up my epic scrap quilt last week I needed a break. Not from sewing, mind you. Only a break from little pieces and all those scraps. Like a sorbet course in a very fancy meal I thus turned to my palate cleanser - precision piecing.

Thanks to my handy dandy list of Quilts Under Construction it was easy to pick and locate a project to play with. And when I took out the blocks I had already made I realized I only needed 3 more to finish my top. A few Morning Make sessions and the blocks were all done. A quiet Sunday and the top was assembled!

There is a reason I only made 15 fireflies and left a block blank, I will share that later. If, and when, I get this quilted.

Pattern Drop Firefly Quilt
Pattern Drop Firefly Quilt

Each firefly is unique. I played around with my small stash of solids, going with colour combinations that felt right. There was no regard for colour theory or even a colour story, to be perfectly honest. I would pick three fabrics for the body, sometimes a gradient, sometimes not. Then I would pick a dark for the head and back and a light for the wings. The only really conscious decision was trying not to repeat combinations or colours in each part. For example, in the photo above the two top fireflies have a pale pink and a pale peach for their wings, they aren’t the same colour.

Do you want to hear something else? I’ve never actually seen a firefly before. They aren’t native to around here and I’ve never been somewhere else during firefly season.

That didn’t stop me from trying to have a little glow in each precious bug. The highlight around their bodies is actually Metallic Essex by Robert Kaufman. It almost blends into the regular Essex background, almost. Just enough of a sparkle to me. And I liked the idea of the metallic being woven in as I find most metallic prints fade quite a bit with regular washing.

Cheryl Arkison Firefly quilt

A few things to note:

- The combination of solids and the Essex linens mean there are A LOT of loose threads on the back of the quilt. It will require a thorough going over but I will do this right before I baste it so no more appear in the night.

- It is extraordinarily hard to get a full shot of this quilt when you are taking selfies in the back alley. But hey, at least the lilacs smelled nice.

For those of you wondering, the pattern itself is by Pen and Paper Patterns. It is one of the most detailed patterns I’ve read, I don’t think she forgot a thing! As I am not generally a pattern follower I truly appreciate it when it is so clear, no questions for my improv brain! You can buy it from Pattern Drop, Lindsey Neill designed it exclusively for them. (I was a Pattern Drop designer myself last year.) Here I thought I would make one or two blocks to help promote the pattern and now I have a whole top!

Itty Bitty Curves to Carry Me Through the End of Winter

Small Piecing Improvisational Picing

Oh these improv curves! 

In sharp contrast, at least when it comes to colour, I pulled out these little blocks last week. With my Names for Snow quilt top finished it is great to play with bold colours again. 

Here's where it stands. 

I'm running out of fabric. But I am nowhere near running out of motivation to sew these little blocks together. So now I am debating finding more fabric - it is a mix of random vintage solids, Kona solids, Connecting Threads solids, and I think some Essex Linen. It wouldn't be hard to figure out what I've used so far and buy just a little bit more.

As it stands, this is about 65'' tall. But only 38'' wide. I have baggies of blocks, but they are little and get used up quickly. Hmm...

Improv quilting Modern quilts Eames chair

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