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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!