Category Archives: improv quilts

Improv Stripes

Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table started an improv stripes QAL recently, and today is the day some of us will be revealing our work. This has been such a fun little QAL;  check out #improvstripesqal on Instagram for more inspiration.

We were to pick some fabrics and/or scraps and sew them into strip sets. I had a couple of oddball fat quarters tucked away in a drawer. Oddball not because the fabric was ugly, but oddball because I really couldn’t figure out what to do with them. I’m glad they came to mind for the project because they seemed to work well. I happened to stop at a quilt shop during the sewing, so I also picked up a couple FQs I thought would be a fun addition.

There is something very relaxing and fun about cutting randomly and then just sewing away. I didn’t really think much about what should go next to what, or how big the strip sets were. I just sewed them together. My first sets looked like this. If you follow me on Instagram at @piecefulwendy, you can see my progress as I went along.

Improv stripes - piecefulthoughts.com

I sewed strips together until I had no more fabric left, adding in a bit of gold here and there. Thinking I’d make a little mini square quilt, I squared some of the blocks right away, but left some as they were until I figured out how to fit them together. In the end, I moved them around and made a runner.

Improv Quilt - Runner 1 - piecefulthoughts.com

The runner measures about 11″ x 25″.  I used a piece of gray fabric from my stash for the backing and binding. I’m not sure where I picked it up, maybe at SRHarris. I realized as I was working with it that there is a very light staining on the fabric. I’m wondering if it is from water damage, or maybe it just wasn’t a good run and that’s why it ended up at the store. It’s barely noticeable, so I’m not too concerned.

Improv Quilt - back view - piecefulthoughts.com

I quilted it with a lime green Aurifil thread. I originally intended to add one more color of thread, but I was enjoying the green so much that I just kept going. Keeping with the improv feel, I made organic lines both horizontally and vertically in groups of three.

I also set some of the longer strips aside. A few people mentioned how the longer stripe groups looked like birch trees, and I couldn’t resist going with that. So I made this.

Improv Quilt - Birches - piecefulthoughts.com

It’s a little mini runner, about 9″ x 30″. I’ll call it “Birches”. The gold fabric makes me think of  little streaks of golden sun along with the other purples and pinks of the sunset. Sunset through the birch trees — see? It works for me.

Improv Quilt - Birches back detail - piecefulthoughts.com

I used a variegated gold thread (Gütermann) to quilt this, just stitching some organic lines here and there. Once again I considered adding in another color of thread, but ended up with just the gold. The same gray fabric was used for the backing and binding on this mini as I did in the other.

Improv Quilts - runner and Birches - piecefulthoughts.com

Have you ever done improv? Did you enjoy it or not? I’d enjoy hearing about your experience. I’ll respond to every comment; however, I won’t be responding until next week after I return from the road trip.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wendy

Project Line Up

Projects! Our quilting lives would be dull indeed if we didn’t have projects to be done (and fabric to be bought, but more on that in a minute). I was just thinking that I had some pretty relaxed quilting time ahead, and before you know it, I have a list of projects to keep me busy. We won’t talk about the WIPs languishing on my shelves!

I had a delightful time last Friday when I went up to a local quilt shop, Quilt Cove, and finally was able to meet Nancy from Grace and Peace Quilting. I was able to chat with her for a bit, just before a busload of quilters came in for the Minnesota Shop Hop. Nancy is just as delightful in person as she is in her blog. If you don’t follow her, go visit her page and get to know her!

One of the things I’ve enjoyed since I began blogging is getting to know you, my readers or followers. On Saturday, Karen of Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats sent me a quick notice that she was going to be at another local quilt shop. I couldn’t get over there to meet her, and I am so sad that I missed that opportunity. Karen writes such great posts on her blog; she makes it just plain fun and is very creative. I encourage you to visit her as well; you won’t be disappointed!

I picked up fabric at Quilt Cove, of course. I was specifically looking for fabric for the Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt. I’ll share that fabric with you in another post. The mystery quilt begins tomorrow, so I’m ready! One thing I will tell you is that some of the fabrics are bright! Surprised?

While I’m waiting for that to start, here’s what I’ve been working on.

Garden Dreamer Quilt

All the pieces are cut for the quilt using Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer fabric. Truly, this is gorgeous fabric.

Project Line Up - piecefulthoughts.com

Improv Play

I’ve been exploring some improv quilting, and finding that I really, really like it. I have over 20 blocks of these two color blocks. I know where this is going. Once I finish the rest of the blocks, I need to square them and then put the rest of the quilt together.

Project Line Up - improv blocks - piecefulthoughts.com

Since I was having so much fun with those, I decided to join up the improv stripes quilt along with Debbie Jeske at  A Quilter’s Table. This is a fun way to give improv a try if you’re interested. Jump in and join along if you wish. You can see all the fun progress at #improvstripesqal on Instagram.

Project Line Up - more improv - piecefulthoughts.com

I wasn’t really sure where these blocks were going, but an idea has come to mind. I’m excited to see if I can make it work.

That’s my mid-week project line up. I’ve purposely signed up for projects that have no tight deadlines since I have a couple of trips scheduled in August and September and I don’t want to fall behind on projects.

Linking up today with Mid-Week Makers at Quilt Fabrication and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

See you Friday!

Wendy

Three Project Peeks

I have three project peeks for you today. This week has been a fast one with the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop and seeing all the fun projects from the bloggers who are participating. I hope you keep following each day, fill your to-do list with some fun Christmas projects, and make sure to comment on each blog so you qualify for the great giveaway. You can find the details on the giveaway and the blog hop  here.

So let’s get to the peeks! I’ve had some fun this week working with my stash of fabric. Do you ever get fabric and know you want to make something — like, you kind of have an idea, but not really? I have had a couple of pre-cuts that fit that description. Finally this week the lightbulb went on, and I had to get to work on them.

So I’ve been doing a little of this. This will be a gift for a friend.

Three Project Peek - piecefulthoughts.com
This is not my design, but a fun little project.

And a little of this. I have no idea what I will do with this.

Three Project Peeks - piecefulthoughts.com
This isn’t a design of mine either, but it sure is colorful!

And a whole lotta this. I have no idea what I will do with this either, but I am having so much fun.

Three Project Peeks - piecefulthoughts.com
I told my husband, “It’s improv, but I have a plan!” He thought that was funny.

None of these projects are done yet, but they are well on their way. I’ll post my progress!

In Other News

What else is going on in my life? Here’s a few random things.

  • In less than a month we move our daughter to Florida.
  • In a little more than a month we go on our 30th anniversary trip.
  • I have 6 quart jars of brandied cherries soaking up the sun in my kitchen window.
  • Fred and I have separated, but we are still friends. He is residing with my other boots and shoes. PT is more fun than wearing Fred the Boot.
  • I’d like my own personal chef so I wouldn’t have to make dinner.
Before You Go

Since we’ve been talking about Christmas projects this week, and if you’ve enjoyed the QAL that’s been going on with the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop, I want to put a little plug in for another QAL coming up on August 1st.

Earlier this year, I was part of the 2017 New Bloggers Blog Hop and I have met some of the most amazing bloggers through that group. Some of them have put together the I Wish You a Merry Christmas Quilt-A-Long and if you enjoy QALs, you don’t want to miss this one! I’ve seen the blocks that will be part of this, and they are cute! You can get all the details here.  Don’t miss it — you’ll have a fun quilt all ready for Christmas!

Have a great weekend, everyone! I hope you sneak some sewing time in!

Wendy

Flashback Friday Fun

I’ve been having fun this week, working on the baby quilts and getting ready for my Monday post for the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. I hope you visit my blog on Monday and get to know a little more about me. I don’t have any progress photos to show you, so let’s take a look at a fun Flashback Friday photo.

One day back in 2015, I pulled out my scrap bins and just started to sew. I had no plan, just a little bit of an idea in my head. Here’s what I came up with.

Flashback Friday Fun, piecefulthoughts.com

I remember that it was really fun. I should maybe pull this out and add a little more to it. What do you think?

Next week I get to do my blog hop post, and I get to spend some time with a quilty friend at a mini quilt retreat. Jealous?

What are you plans for the weekend? I hope it includes some sewing time!

See you Monday!

Wendy

Cross Cut Finish

It’s not often that I finish a quilt, all on my own, within a few days of piecing it. I have a habit of setting quilt tops aside and moving on to the next project. I am really excited to show you my completed Cross Cut quilt.

It took me a little time to decide how I wanted to quilt it. I noticed a little, somewhat fractured, heart in the quilt. This wasn’t planned by me; I didn’t see it until I started looking at the quilt after the top was sewn together. See it there, a little left of center?

img_7521
My 423 quilt is 17″ square.

So I began to think about that little fractured heart, about what I should name this quilt, and how to quilt it. And just like that, an idea popped into my head.

One of my favorite verses from the Bible is Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

So this little mini is named 423 after that verse. Inside the heart, I made some simple curved lines to represent a spring or spray of water. Then I just stitched an echo around the outside of the heart. Nothing too risky or fancy, just keeping it simple.

img_7520
Some simple curved lines to represent the spring/spray

Here’s the echo work. I just eyeballed it and stitched away.

img_7519

I decided to use a black and white fabric from my stash for the backing, and red fabric for the binding. Here’s a picture of the stitching on the back.

img_7525
You can see the spring/spray a little if you look closely.
img_7524
Top, back and binding on display

I’m still getting comfortable with machine quilting on my domestic, so this is far from perfect, but I’m excited because I had an idea, and I actually made it work!

The black and white fabrics in the quilt are Thicket by Gingiber for Moda; the colors are Riley Blake Crayola solids. I used a spool of red Gutermann thread that I had on hand for the machine quilting.

The one frustrating thing during the machine quilting process was that my walking foot was causing some problems. I would stitch along just fine, and then all of a sudden my needle would just drop out. I checked to make sure the walking foot was on correctly. I made sure the needle was tightly screwed into place. It was so annoying. The needle stayed threaded (no breakage); it just dropped out of its holding. I used spray baste (could that be the problem, even if the needle didn’t feel tacky?) and used Warm & Natural batting. If you have any advice, I’d be happy to hear it.

So that’s my Friday Finish — my little 423.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

I’m linking up today with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wendy

CrossCut Phase 2

I had hoped to have a finished mini to show you today, but that will have to wait until another post. However I do have a completed top to reveal.

My plan was to have some pretty outdoor photos for you, but we have had torrential rains here and everything outdoors is just plain wet. So please forgive the less-than-great pictures!

Here’s a photo of the 8″ blocks once I had sewn them all together.

img_4750

Then the cutting began once again. I was so eager to cut them out that I completely forgot to take pictures. I cut them into 6″ blocks.

Once that was done I played with them on my design board, and came up with this. Here’s my mini top, all stitched together.

img_4753
We have had incredible amounts of rain as I stitched this. No outdoor pictures, and this one was taken late at night, so not great, but I think you can get the idea.

While I sat and looked at this quilt, I think I have figured out how I want to quilt it. From that idea and a comment from BigJ, it also has a name. I’ll reveal all of that when I show you the completed quilt.

This has been so much fun! If you’ve never done this, give it a try.

Tomorrow I’m off to take a quilt class from Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. I am so excited!

Linking up with Crazy Mom QuiltsConfessions of a Fabric Addict and Busy Hands Quilts.

 

CrossCut Fun

Back in August, several of the quilt blogs I follow were participating in a Cross Cut QAL. You can find the tutorial for the project from Debbie at A Quilter’s Table here.  It looked like so much fun, but I was working on some projects at the time that had a deadline, so I couldn’t participate. Those that did participate posted some incredibly fun, creative results! I was inspired, so I tucked the idea into the back of my mind for a day when I had time to play.

So, this week I am giving this a try. There is something incredibly fun and freeing about working from a basic set of instructions while adding your own twist.

For my fabrics, I am using part of a layer cake of Thicket by Gingiber for Moda. It was an impulse buy, I’ll admit. I’m drawn to black and white prints.

I also signed up for the Sew Sampler boxes from The Fat Quarter Shop. One of those boxes included a pack of Crayola colors by Riley Blake. They will pair perfectly with the Thicket layer cakes for this project.

img_4735

Debbie’s tutorial is so easy to follow, so I sliced up a few of the black and white blocks, and cut two 1 inch strips from each of the colored fabrics.

img_4741
A pile of fun color to play with!

I decided to mix it up a little and sewed one strip between two different triangle pieces.

img_4742
But wait! More cutting to come!

Next I cut those blocks on the diagonal.

img_4743

And sewed another colored strip between them.

img_4745

Now they are sitting nicely on my makeshift design board. The next step is to stitch the blocks together. Is it done then? Nope. More cutting to come! Hopefully I’ll have a finished product to show you on Friday!

img_4747

So stay tuned and see what I come up with later this week!

Linking up today with Quilt Fabrication and Sew Fresh Quilts.