Scrappy Improv: Little Quilt Stories
One thing that really struck me as I started pulling my little tri-part blocks together is how good of an exercise this is in breaking out of your go-to color/fabric combinations. I know you're all in ruts like me! I kept getting struck by the little stories my small blocks would tell, and kept seeing all of these shape and color combinations come together that I never would have considered! My piecing was predominately driven by size more than design, but I couldn't help but root for the interesting ones, and appreciate when previously uninteresting combinations evolved into something more.
I just love the combination of different greens in the first block, and the clear but not overdone Christmas-y vibe with the second set (that gold is so fun in there!). The third block had the interesting bend that continued to be interesting even when squared up, and I love the warm colors and the offset HSTs in the fourth block. Some of these combinations don't seem super novel, but I think until you sew them up, you don't really "see" how they can come together (especially prints, I'm terrible at being adventurous with prints!). Some of these continued to catch my eye in later iterations, like the first one:
hat pop of coral is just perfect with the Kona wasabi and the buttercream print. The different whites help blend it all together too- especially that gold-speckled print right in the middle.
Oh! I have three tips for piecing to help keep things manageable and interesting:
- Shoot for squares. It's easy to daisy chain pieces by the short sides and end up with long strips (which, now that I think about it, could also be cool), but shooting for squares helps keep your growing blocks flexible and more easily paired with others.
- Match dense to dense. So, for example, I could have put the bottom piece in the block to the left on the left side of the block instead. However, I would lose some interest and cohesion with the big white strip breaking up the middle. I liked centering blocks around the denser piecing so it kind of fades to the edges.
- Don't square up your edges right away. One, you'll be trimming and trimming and trimming forever. Two, not squaring up adds some endearing wonk and wave and voice to your blocks (see third block pictured above).
Over the smaller blocks (even up to the sizes in this post), I didn't have too much difficulty easing fabric to make things fit, or I just tied my seam to the straighter of the two edges. I started squaring up with some regularity once I had gone through and paired all of my blocks through my biggest pile, because at that point, I was starting to worry about puckers and waves. If something got too far off before then, I just hacked it off with my rotary cutter by eye.
I found so many more examples of unique colors and fabrics and textures that I never really considered together, but I'm so excited to go back and explore these combinations. I definitely think there will be more rectangle-with-HSTed-corners in my future, maybe some offset HSTs, and I'm going to experiment more with different greens (which aren't really a primary component of my general color palettel).
Have you ever been surprised by a color or shape combination in your quilting?