As you all know, I’m a sucker for instagram scrapbsters! Amy from @amyscreativeside hosted a #improvwithamy that had daily email prompts to encourage subscribers to play around with different improv quilting techniques. Sign up here!
Anyway, I was totally intrigued, and immediately pulled like, three quilts’ worth of fabric:
I ended up going with the purples, although I’m eyeing up the peach/blue pile for another string quilt… Too many projects and not nearly enough time!! There were six prompts: strip piecing, scrap piecing (like this quilt!), triangles, log cabin, gentle curves, and foundation paper piecing. I did five of the six, although I didn’t love the scrap sets I put together. I ended up using one in the middle of my log cabin, and I think I’ll use the other one on the back!
My purple fabrics were a great pull for this because I ordered 10+ for my Log Lodge pattern, and they made this great gradient overall (as highlighted in the triangles) but there was also this great division between the warm pinky/red-y purples and the cool blue-y blurple purples. I wanted to highlight that contrast, and I think I really succeeded in the strip set.
These ranged in size from 10x10 (triangles) to 13x15 (strips), so I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with them. I ended up taking inspiration from Amy’s 100 days of improv quilt (on the blog post linked above) where she pieced her disparately-sized improv pieces into one quilt by adding sashing and squaring up the blocks.
In order to do this while minimizing trimming off pieces of the actual blocks, I started by adding generous white borders to three sides of my smallest square, which was the triangles. I also added a 1.5” border along the side that bordered the strip block. I added thinner borders to each long side of the strip sets and then sewed those two together (on a slight angle) and trimmed them square. This meant that borders between the pieces weren’t equal widths, which I felt played on the improv nature of the blocks. I followed a similar path with the other two and when I sewed them all together, I got:
I really tried not to think too hard about widths and angles for the sashing beyond making sure that the pieces fit together. Since this picture, I’ve added asymmetric borders, resulting in a quilt that’s about 35x40? I think it would be really cute hanging on a wall in a nursery, or as a tummy-time/play quilt.
I’ve done a lot of these techniques before, but I really enjoyed the improv curves. They aren’t any harder than regular curves, and I like how they break up the strip set background. I’ll definitely be exploring that more! Let me know if you have a favorite block, or if you’re planning to sign up for the challenge yourself!